With parliament in a lengthy recess, MyThinks thought it was appropriate to head out there to find out what your elected officials were up to during their days out of Wellington.
John Key, Prime Minister: I’ve been travelling around the world doing all sorts of interesting stuff. I’ve met with several world leaders and I spent some time in Malaysia trying to run away from this Todd McClay nonsense. I mean, really, imagine saying one thing and then the truth turning out to be the exact opposite. That was very disappointing having to deal with that. I would never have operated like that. I’m looking forward to returning to parliament to hound the opposition about their policy platform before adopting the very same policy platform about a month later.
Paula Bennett, Social Housing Minister: During my holiday I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and reflecting. Thinking about how awesome I am and reflecting on how awesome I am. You know, I was the politician that offered people $5000 to move out of Auckland following a similar policy to offer people $3000 to move to Auckland. That’s pretty awesome. I’m pretty awesome. What a great holiday.
Bill English, The Other Housing Minister: I spent my holiday reading a book about pivot irrigators.
Todd McClay, Trade Minister: What have I done on my holiday? I’m not allowed to make any comment on anything any more. I’ve been banned from talking. Even answering this question could get me in hot water with the PM. Are you aware how great he is? I am. He’s really great. Really, really great.
Steven Joyce, Minister of Innovation, Employment, Business, and Cleaning Up Shit: I’ve had a pretty awesome break. I put on a hard-hat and a flouro vest and paraded about a muddy building site with Nick Smith to announce something we had already announced in the budget. It’s important to keep announcing stuff – especially the stuff you have absolutely no intention of doing – because then it looks like you’re doing something. So that’s what I’ve been doing.
Hekia Parata, Education Minister: I’ve spent a lot of time this recess consulting with a range of stakeholders across the educational community. I’ve been accepting submissions on a number of different projects and ideas we are developing. It is hugely important to me as a minister in this government that I consult widely with all relevant stakeholders at every available opportunity. So, yes, I’ve spent my recess at my holiday house drinking chardonnay and talking to nobody.
Metiria Turei, Green Party Co-Leader: During my holiday I suggested we try to reduce house prices gradually rather than having them fall 40% in one giant and economically devastating correction. I was mocked out of Wellington by the people who have created the conditions for this potential disaster. I didn’t say much else after that.
David Seymour, ACT Leader and Secretary Under the Education Minister: I spent my holidays at the Scout Jamboree in Takaka. I got my knot-tying badge and we spent an afternoon at the local aged care facility where we made brownies for the residents. I also went to that awesome Lego exhibition and saw Finding Dory about 4 times.
Andrew Little, Labour Party Leader: I spent a lot of time on this break reacting to the nonsense coming from the National Party, visiting people who work two jobs but can’t afford a house, selling Labour Party policy (which we expect to be stolen at some point soon), developing policy to deal with various economic crises arising from the mismanagement by the National-led government and hunting new hair for Peter Dunne.
Murray McCully, Foreign Minister: I’m still here. I am indestructible. I am like that squeaky ball-bearing in the shopping trolley – incredibly irritating yet utterly essential to the smooth forward movement of this juggernaut. You can’t get rid of me. I will be here forever. Plus, I have a folder on every single one of you.
Today on The Nation, the Finance Minister Bill English was interviewed about his government’s reaction to the housing crisis, homelessness and the general unwell-being of many New Zealanders. We at MyThinks got stuck in and whipped out the transcript of that interview. Here are the words of that transcript.
LISA OWEN: Good morning Mr English.
BILL ENGLISH: Good morning.
LISA OWEN: Let’s get right to it. Your government has come under fire in recent months over the number of New Zealanders who are being completely excluded from the housing market. How do you react to this?
BILL ENGLISH: Thank you, Lisa, but you have to remember that the National-led government increased the benefit by $25 last year. We were the first government to lift benefits in decades.
LISA OWEN: Yes, but how do you react to the many politicians, experts and ordinary New Zealanders saying you are not doing enough.
BILL ENGLISH: Yes, Lisa, you have to remember that the National-led government increased the benefit by $25 last year. We were the first government to lift benefits in decades.
LISA OWEN: But minister, that’s not really answering the question. How do you react to those who say you aren’t doing enough.
BILL ENGLISH: That’s simple, Lisa. You need to remember that the National-led government increased the benefit by $25 last year. We were the first government to lift benefits in decades.
LISA OWEN: Am I going to be able to get you to answer this question, Mr. English?
BILL ENGLISH: You totally are Lisa. The National-led government increased the benefit by $25 last year. We were the first government to lift benefits in decades.
LISA OWEN: What if I asked a different question?
BILL ENGLISH: It probably wouldn’t matter Lisa because you have to remember that the National-led government increased the benefit by $25 last year. We were the first government to lift benefits in decades.
LISA OWEN: What about sausages? Do you like sausages?
BILL ENGLISH: That depends on what flavour Lisa. You must remember that the National-led government increased the benefit by $25 last year. We were the first government to lift benefits in decades. $25 is a lot of sausages.
LISA OWEN: Are you embarrassed that you can only say one thing at the moment, minister?
BILL ENGLISH: Not really, Lisa. You should really take the time to remember that the National-led government increased the benefit by $25 last year. We were the first government to lift benefits in decades.
LISA OWEN: Well, minister, unfortunately that’s all we have time for today. Thank you Bill English.
BILL ENGLISH: Thank you, Lisa, for giving me the chance to remind you and all your viewers that the National-led government increased the benefit by $25 last year. We were the first government to lift benefits in decades.
Deputy Prime Minister and the government’s chief financial guru Bill English has today said New Zealand is a great place to be poor. The former member for the Southland town of Grrrr has been praised for his pragmatic view of New Zealand’s strugglers.
English, commenting on recent figures that showed the top 10% of New Zealand earners own 60% of the country’s wealth, denied the country was becoming more and more unequal.
“Sure people are struggling out there,” Mr. English told a well-paid non-journalist from Newstalk ZB, “but you have to remember there are plenty of jobs out there for people who want them.”
When asked where all these jobs were, Mr. English simply replied, “out there.”
And it’s true. When MyThinks went looking we found plenty of jobs throughout the solar system. If you travel through the astroid belt, past Jupiter and out to Saturn you’ll find loads of well-paying jobs. Jobs just sitting there waiting to be done.
Mr. English is correct when he said there are loads out there. There are. Loads. On Saturn.
The Finance Minister also reported he was concerned that some people were also living in their cars. English said they shouldn’t worry because there are plenty of houses out there if people want them. All they have to do is spend a little bit of time hunting. Sure they might not be in exactly the places they want but, as Mr. English says, they’re out there.
MyThinks went looking and sure enough, if you keep travelling out past Saturn all the way to Pluto you will find some of the nicest affordable homes there are. The commute is slightly problematic, but when you consider Pluto is 7.5 billion kilometres from Earth, and it can take longer to get from Mt. Wellington to Henderson at 3pm on a Friday, a $250,000 house on Pluto is a very enticing opportunity for car dwellers.
So there you have it. According to Bill English, New Zealand is a fantastic place to be poor. And according to some quick (and slightly expensive) research from MyThinks, Saturn and Pluto are also wonderful places for the poor.
There you have it.
Here at MyThinks we’ve been following the career of Foreign Minister and former national Movember champion Murray McCully for some years now. From his time as Witchsmeller Pursuivant for the Bolger regime of the 1990s up until his current role of chief emissary between the current National-led coalition and the various military juntas around the Middle East. Recently McCully has been praised for his no-nonsense approach to the shifting of vast sums of money and the odd meat-works from New Zealand to well-known poor people, The Saudi Royal Family.
Today McCully called it a day. In a short statement released this morning, the MP for East Coast Bays announced he wouldn’t be standing as a candidate at the next election.
The minister said the decision wasn’t easy. He acknowledged the hard work of the East Coast Bays electorate committee and the lady members of the Browns Bay Bowling Club who, McCully said, cook a mean sausage role.
When asked about life after politics McCully was coy, however he said there had been many offers – particularly to clean up dead lambs on desert farms around the Saudi peninsula.
Thank you Mr McCully for your years of many service in discrediting people who even remotely questioned anything the National Party did. It’s a shame we will not longer feel your Machiavellian wrath or witness unique subsidies that are definitely not bribes even though you are paying money to someone to try to get them to do something which is technically a bribe except when you do it, in which case it’s a internationalised cash transfer.
Godspeed Muz. Good luck and godspeed.
MyThinks has made the unremarkable decision to blog about its plans not to blog over the coming Christmas / New Year period.
It’s important to remember this is a very slow news period with most politicians taking extended leave to attend very important family get-togethers at their Hawaiian baches. Other politicians might spend a bit of time reading about things written by Danielle Steel or the new Booker Prize-esque offering from EL James. Some United Future politicians may be spending Christmas with their hair.
Either way, they won’t be in Wellington doing what they should be doing. So, unless there is anything to write about, we won’t be writing about anything.
We thought it was important to put this in words because a few other bloggers had and we didn’t want to be left out of the slacking off loop.
Cheers and Merry Christmas.