What follows is a transcript of a meeting that was held recently between the Minister of Education and an unnamed Ministry of Education official who was giving the minister free and frank advice.
*sound of knocking*
OFFICIAL: Good morning minister.
MINISTER: Good morning official.
OFFICIAL: How are you feeling this morning, minister?
MINISTER: Well, after careful consultation with all relevant stakeholders, and following a comprehensive series of hui right across the country, I believe it is only fair that I defer all decisions regarding my health & well-being to a time when I have reviewed all the available information.
*long, confused pause*
OFFICIAL: You called me here minister?
*a further long, confused pause*
OFFICIAL: What would you like to discuss?
MINISTER: Are you able to bring me up to date on the charter, sorry, partnership school situation? Man… I can never get that right.
OFFICIAL: Yes, minister. As of this week we have whittled the applicants down to nine possibles and five probables. The probables include a Brethren group with close ties to the Brash family, two or three providers who we are grouping in the “I hope they know what they’re doing” category and one corporate call-centre operator who will run their lessons in parallel with an operation raising money for Nigerian bank orphans.
MINISTER: That sounds fantastic. And the possibles?
OFFICIAL: Look. It’s best that we don’t talk about them.
MINISTER: Why not. What’s wrong with them?
MINISTER: Who can I blame for that?
OFFICIAL: John Banks. You can blame John Banks for this. I mean, yes it was our idea and yes we told him to write it in to his coalition agreement with us at the last election, and yes we will all retire and get rich off students once we are appointed to the various boards and holding companies operating these charter schools, but you can blame John Banks.
MINISTER: Excellent. Is there any other news.
OFFICIAL: Yes. Bill Gates, the eccentric American billionaire nerd, has offered to give us several billion dollars.
MINISTER: Great. What for?
OFFICIAL: Yes. Everything. He wants to buy all our schools, our ministry and that statue of Muldoon in the corner of your office. He says it reminds him of the Buddha.
MINISTER: Ok… so when will this transaction take place?
OFFICIAL: Oh he says just whenever. I think it’s probably best that we wait until after the election. I don’t know that selling the whole sector is going to go down well with the mum and dad investors.
MINISTER: True. Alright, anything else?
OFFICIAL: Nope. Nothing.
MINISTER: Right then. I’m off to the pub.