Monthly Archives: November, 2015

The New Zealand Police: “Please – Let me explain.”

Hello. I’m Mike Bush. I’m the big boss of the New Zealand Police. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? Yesterday I was on TV3 talking to their interviewing people. I looked pretty good. You should check it out.

I’ve been asked to write a few words in order to clear up one or two things since the commentary of Dr Jarrod Gilbert and his inability to gain access to crime figures in order to conduct his research.

There are a few things that need to be cleared up about this small misunderstanding.

Firstly, the contracts that Dr Gilbert is talking about are old contracts. They are not in use any more – except, obviously, for the one we still, quite accidentally, have for Dr Gilbert. That one seems to have slipped through our fingers.

Secondly, if the above paragraph were true, then it would be a much better explanation than the actual explanation, which is pretty much along the lines of what Dr Gilbert was saying during the week.

Thirdly, there is absolutely no researcher blacklist. Why on earth would the New Zealand Police ban researchers from using their data? When have we ever been worried about how we are portrayed in the meda? When have we ever done anything immoral or illegal in order to protect our image and the people who work for us?

Exactly.

I hope that’s cleared up a few things.

Regards,

Commissioner Mike Bush.

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The Great Flag Referendum

We here in the government care about a lot of stuff. From the ninth floor of the Beehive, our care trickles down to the masses like a failed economic experiment. Quite often we ask ourselves the hard questions. Like, for instance, how can we best care for our nation? What, as politicians and leaders, can we do to rise above partisan arguments about stagnant wages, unaffordable housing, and children with no shoes?

Why not have a referendum on the flag?

I mean, we in the government talk to a lot of people. Last week we talked to Brian waiting in line down at Work and Income. He told us he’d rather vote in a referendum than feed his kids. He asked us if there were any referendums currently planned. We were able to tell him yes. Yes there was. He was soooo excited. What a great bloke.

The flag referendum is a chance for New Zealanders from all across New Zealand to vote on which strip of material they thinks best represents New Zealand when people are talking about New Zealand in an outside of New Zealand context.

A flag is very important to a country’s mana. Canada, for example, has a fantastic flag. Two colours, in three strips with a picture of a leaf on it. What about the United States of America? All those stars and stripes. Don’t bother with Australia. They just copied us and put on an extra star.

We in the government think it’s important that we get a chance to change to a flag that more represents the corporate interests that we represent.

A flag is more than just a flappy thing at the top of a flag-pole. A flag is an ensign that tells the world, “Hey! Look at us!! We’re a country, god-damn-it!” It can also tell the world that this block of cheese, pound of butter, or pottle of yoghurt was produced with love in a country that prides itself on cosying up to the middle man – especially if that middle man as graduated up through the ranks and is now running the company/organisation.

What would you like to see more on your butter? A flag that was a quarter the flag of another country, or a flag that sort of looked a bit like the old flag with parts of the All Blacks flag on it?

Yes. That’s what we thought.

So when you are voting in the flag referendum this week, just remember that no matter what anyone else says, this government cares about you and that is why you deserve this chance of a lifetime.

Thank you and good afternoon.

Love,

H. M. Government.

Inside the Labour Party conference

Last weekend MyThinks were lucky enough to be invited behind closed doors at the Labour Party annual conference in sunny Palmerston North. Although much of the conference was closed to the media, we were lucky enough given special access to workshops and policy development forums across the weekend. Our reporter chose to spend Saturday afternoon at the Chris Trotter Memorial Debate hosted by a cardboard cutout of Jim Knox. Here is his transcript of the discussion.

KNOX: Welcome everyone to this inaugural Chris Trotter debate. The topic for today’s discussion is: Labour Debates – now and in the future. We are joined today by half a dozen delegates from around the country all here to debate Labour debates. Debating debates we’ve had in the past; debating our present debates; debating any future debates we might debate in the future. Let’s start the ball rolling. Who wants to begin?

PAPATOETOE DELEGATE: I would like to begin by affirming your introduction to this debate. You’ve both introduced the debate and welcomed us all here, which is more than I can say for the New Lynn branch who wouldn’t even stump up with a gingernut when I was up there last weekend.

NEW LYNN DELEGATE: (shouting) Countdown was closed! Rats!! How many times do I have to say it!!!

KNOX: Alright. Calm down everyone. Don’t peak too early.

NEW LYNN DELEGATE: I’ll peak when I want. I’m the damn electorate chairman for Cunliffe.

PAPATOETOE DELEGATE: I’m sure you wouldn’t be this angry if you had a robust supply of gingernuts.

(sounds of wrestling and swearing heard on tape)

KNOX: Alright you two. Settle down. I’ve got a krispie in my pocket. Will that do?

PAPATOETOE DELEGATE: I had my mind set on gingernuts.

PORIRUA DELEGATE: Oh, for chrissake. I bet National don’t get this sort of grief from Sky City. In fact, I bet they all get envelopes full of cash all weekend at their conference.

KNOX: I wouldn’t know but this is Palmerston North so I reckon if you have any cash on you at the moment you better keep a close eye on it. Look, people, we’re off track. Who agrees with me that the current debates the Labour Party is having are some of the best debates we’ve ever had?

TIMARU DELEGATE: I agree.

PORIRUA DELEGATE: I disagree.

PAPATOETOE DELEGATE: My head says yes, but my heart says no so I’m going to have to agree and disagree.

NEW LYNN DELEGATE: Rats!!

ALL: I agree.

KNOX: So who’s agreeing and disagreeing, just for our records?

TIMARU DELEGATE: I agreed.

PORIRUA DELEGATE: And I disagreed.

PAPATOETOE DELEGATE: And I neither agreed nor disagreed because there wasn’t anything that I felt I could really agree or disagree with.

TIMARU DELEGATE: I agree that you couldn’t agree or disagree.

KNOX: Ok, so that’s two agrees and two disagrees. That is, if I count your “neither agree nor disagree” as one agree and one disagree.

PAPATOETOE DELEGATE: No. I disagree. If I neither agree nor disagree then I’m not agreeing OR disagreeing. You can’t just put me down for an agree or a disagree. I don’t agree with that. If anything, they cancel each other out. Agreed?

TIMARU DELEGATE: I disagree. You can’t just sit on the fence. You have to either agree or disagree. You can’t just say, “I neither agree nor disagree.” That’s totally disagreeable.

PORIRUA DELEGATE: I disagree. If any person wants to sit on the fence they are totally within their rights. This is a free country. You don’t have to agree or disagree with anything. If you want to “neither agree nor disagree” then that, in my humble opinion, is entirely agreeable….

Editors Note: the discussion covered most of the afternoon session and, following a short break for gingernuts, continued well into the night. We pick up the coverage as the discussion comes to a close at 12:53am. 

KNOX: So it’s agreed then. No matter what the discussion, policy or proposed election platform, any delegate can choose to either agree or disagree or neither agree nor disagree. Agreed?

ALL: Agreed.

KNOX: I now call this meeting to a close.

ALL: Agreed.

Some wonderings from John Key

I was in parliament the other day when it all suddenly hit me.

What if everyone thinks I’m a liar? What if the whole world thinks I’m just some kind of ponytail pulling weirdo who struggles to get out all the syllables of any word? What if people look at me and think, “hey… that guy has about as much substance as a closed-down glue factory.” What if, at the end of the day, this National government is yet another holding pattern until the next visionary injection of nation building from the great progressive thinkers of our age. What if all I’m remembered for is spending $26 million on a failed referendum nobody wanted, making a dick of myself on Letterman and allowing Murray McCully to be a minister again. But then someone passed me the latest focus group results so I stood up and offended half the population while misleading parliament.

So everything turned out ok in the end.

Parata: School is totally like the All Blacks

Hello and welcome to a few thoughts from my brain. I’ve noticed many times in the past my brain quite often emerges from days of morose slumber to utter the most astoundingly profound musings that I really do have to write them down immediately and get my vast team of media-savvy boffins to crack out a quick meme.

Yesterday was no exception.

After joining my fellow National MPs and smothering my dainty hands all over the world cup I had absolutely nothing to do with winning, I had the idea to compare the New Zealand education system to the All Blacks. Why not? The All Blacks are one of the single most successful brands this country has ever produced.

Don’t we want that for our children?

It was clear to me. In order to win, far from having the best attacking players, or the most impenetrable defensive line, the AB’s clearly use data-driven analysis of their opponents to achieve at the highest possible level and then improve on that. Winning the world cup is a great example of a very good achievement.

The All Blacks won that final last weekend. They won it because they used more data than any other team. They used all of that data on the field, kicking it all around, tripping the Australians up with it, and ultimately dotting some of the data down under the posts for a match-sealing uber-try in the last-minute of the game.

It was the single greatest use of data I have ever seen.

When I got into the office on Monday morning I said, “If the All Blacks are using data so well and in so many different ways, why can’t those damn teachers get it into their heads that data is going to make them better. Put that on my goddam facebook, will you!”

Obviously my black-ops media people didn’t fly with that initial pronouncement. No, they went away on an all-expenses paid taxpayer-funded trip to the Huka Lodge and nutted a few things out. On Thursday they returned to Wellington, sunbed tans clearly visible, with their idea. It was fantastic. It really summed up everything I had been thinking since the weekend win and put it all in a tidy little soundbite.

If you read the meme it really does remind me of a young Apirana Ngata. The syntax is golden; the verbiage flows; the message is succinct and instantly sharable. It’s almost as if I’d actually said the words at some point. Hekia

After all… it’s all about meme.