PRESS RELEASE: Rt. Hon. Nick Smith, Cabinet Minister.
TO: Whomever will listen.
Still Minister for Lots of Things, Nick Smith, today welcomed the announcement from the Prime Minister that he would be losing his responsibilities for Crown land to Amy Adams. Bill English made the announcement at cabinet early on Monday afternoon.
“I have been working tirelessly for this National government,” says Dr. Smith, “in my attempts to create a situation where we can perhaps build several thousand constructions of a liveable standard for people who currently live in cars or motels or with their parents or out on the street.”
The minister was keen to point out how successful he had been.
“I have been very successful,” he said.
Dr. Smith was also keen to point out that his original plan with given the key role of Minister Responsible for Building All Sorts of Stuff on Spare Crown Land was to be so remarkably successful over such a short period of time that it would be unwise for any Prime Minister to keep him on in the role because the public might expect the government to display similar massive success in a range of other areas like the Christchurch rebuild or inequality.
“It would be unfair for me to put that kind of pressure on my friend and Prime Minister, Mr. Bill English,” he said.
Dr. Smith was also keen to point out his hugely successful Crown land plans for building houses on ancient cemeteries and that would definitely probably not turn out like it did with the Indian burial ground under Drew Barrymore’s house in Poltergeist.
“People love living in houses,” said Dr. Smith, “that’s a scientific fact. I say any home is home sweet home no matter where the house that home is in is situated. If I didn’t already own thirteen houses, I would be happy to live in that slightly darkened but not at all scary or haunted house if it was built for me close to but not directly on top of what could possibly have been an ancient burial ground.”
Dr. Smith was also keen to point out he had finished his press statement.
It is with great joy and immense happiness that I announce the National Party are planning to give all aged care workers a pay rise. It’s not just any pay rise. Nooooo…. this is much bigger than any pay rise that anybody has ever gotten in the history of pay rises.
Let’s just break down some 0f the figures shall we…?
Having just spent a large majority of the Easter period unsuccessfully attempting to buy bread from various stores around the country, MyThinks thought it might be important to help explain the new Easter weekend trading laws. These laws were passed last year by a conscience vote in parliament following some high-level moaning by a couple of garden centres.
Question: Can you open a business on Easter weekend?
Answer: The answer is quite simple really. Yes. And no.
Answer: Well… when the government were wording the legislation, they didn’t want to diminish or be seen to be diminishing the Christian traditions of Easter by saying, “Yes you can all open all weekend.” At the same time they didn’t want to have to interrupt their holiday weekend by having to explain, yet again, to the news people that the Department of Labour would be investigating any infringements brought to their attention.
Question: Um…. ???? again.
Answer: What the government effectively did was defer any decision making on whether or not businesses could open back to local councils.
Question: So the local councils are allowing businesses to open on Easter weekend?
Answer: No. Most of New Zealand was again closed this long weekend.
Question: But how come? Surely it would be in a council’s best interest to allow businesses and shop owners to open on a long weekend when people are wanting to spend their holiday money?
Answer: Yes. You would think that but, just like central government, local government are terrified of making a decision that would offend anyone so most of them haven’t made said decision.
Question: So was anywhere open on Easter weekend, then?
Answer: It really does come down to the local authority. Some have decided, because they are tourist areas, that all stores can open. However, others decided that only essential services like garages (which sell petrol and cigarettes) are the only businesses allowed to open. On top of this you have certain rules surrounding the sale of certain items. Supermarkets can open but they can’t sell alcohol in the morning, for example, so they have to hire more staff to police the alcohol sections to stop people looking and then getting grumpy that they can’t buy booze despite standing next to pellets of the stuff with clearly marked “on special” signs all over them. And if that wasn’t enough, since the last Labour government put in legislation requiring employers to pay employees time and a half when working on a public holiday so a lot of businesses are deciding not to open because they don’t want to explain to customers why their flat white is suddenly $7. At the end of the day it is up to local government and businesses whether they open on a public holiday weekend like Easter. I hope that’s cleared it up for you.
Question: Ok… thanks for that… So what’s the story with ANZAC Day morning?
Many readers of this seemingly now irregular blog may not be aware of the fact that before my days as a teacher and irregular blogger I was a comedian. So I join many of my former comedic colleagues who have spent the last days expressing their sorrow at the passing of John Clarke.
As with the majority of New Zealanders born within the polyester-laced decade of the 1970s, my first introduction to Clarke was partly through his involvement in the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation but mostly through two albums: Fred Dagg’s Greatest Hits and Fred Dagg: Live. My father, in his infinite wisdom, purchased both these albums.
So it turned out, by the time I was eight years old I could recite vast sections of Clarke’s Dagg-based meanderings. As with many eight year olds, much of the humour sailed well over my head. However, I knew intrinsically that this was funny and I would listen over and over and over never tiring of the innate hilarity of the recordings.
One particular favourite was the 1976 handicap for fleas, from Trentham, taken from his live album. I could recite it word for word and would do so into a Tupperware jug to make my high-pitched prepubescent voice sound as much like Reon Murtha as possible. If there were ever a comedy covers evening of some kind, this would be the sketch I would perform.
Even now, due to my lack of 1970s racing knowledge, the jokes based around horses names pass me by, yet I have known, instinctively, for over 40 years, they were funny. There is nothing so quintessentially kiwi as the listening to horse race commentary. Clarke knew this and exploited it easily.
What has attracted me most to Clarke’s writing and performing is his ability to use just words, not a specific set up and gag used by many of us. Quite often it’s not just the words that Clarke utters, but the way that he says it which creates hilarity. Please now enjoy a small sketch entitled: The Front Fell Off.
John Clarke’s lasting impact on me was creating comedy through use of linguistic gymnastics, timing and the sense of the absurd. New Zealand comedy exists because of his genius. Please immerse yourself in his legacy.
Finally, here is last week’s installment from Clarke & Dawe. Wonderful.
Yesterday Bill English made the bold announcement to lift from 65 to 67 years of age. MyThinks thought it might be an idea to whip out a quick timeline because that’s what some media tend to do when they have a few column inches to fill next to a story that’s been going for a wee while.
2008: Freshly minted Prime Minister John Key announces that he will resign before lifting the retirement age.
Dec 5, 2016: John Key resigns as prime minister and anoints Bill English as his chosen one.
Dec 6, 2016: Bill English can’t believe his luck. After failing to crack 25% in an election during his previous time in charge of the National Party, he is now set to lead them, and the country, into the 2017 general election.
Mar 6, 2017: English appears on the television current affairs show The Nation to announce National were “looking at” superannuation. When asked whether this meant there would be a lift in the retirement age, English said simply, “you’ll have to wait and see.”
Mar 6, 2017: English appears on the Newshub at 6 to announce National were “looking at” superannuation. When asked whether this meant there would be a lift in the retirement age, English said simply, “you’ll have to wait and see.”
7.23am Mar 7, 2017: English appears on the Radio New Zealand show Morning Report to announce National were “looking at” superannuation. When asked whether this meant there would be a lift in the retirement age, English said simply, “you’ll have to wait and see.”
7.35am, Mar 6, 2017: English appears on TVNZ Breakfast to announce National were “looking at” superannuation. When asked whether this meant there would be a lift in the retirement age, English said simply, “you’ll have to wait and see.”
7.48am, Mar 6, 2017: English appears on Newshub’s AM Show to announce National were “looking at” superannuation. When asked whether this meant there would be a lift in the retirement age, English said simply, “you’ll have to wait and see.”
12.32pm, Mar 6, 2017: English holds a press conference which he begins with the words, “Guess what… waiting’s over. We’re lifting the superannuation eligibility age to 67 in the year 2040 – fourteen years after I start receiving it. Thank you and good afternoon.”
12.33pm, Mar 6, 2017: Bill English walks from the stage to attend the eating of his lunch.
CORRECTION: The office of Bill English was kind enough to point out once he is retired, the Prime Minister will not be receiving New Zealand superannuation on its own, but in conjunction with his generously subsidised parliamentary superannuation scheme along with almost free travel for life.