Thursday, March 24, 2022

Derek Mackie: The Ministry of Announcements

J: Grant! I’m so excited to see you. 
G: Excited, Prime Minister? Has that job offer finally come through from Guterres at the UN? 
J: No, nothing like that. Although, little birds have been whispering encouragingly in my ear….as long as I win the next election. 
G: Nanaia must have offered her resignation over Three Waters, then. Thank God! It’s about time. 
J: Grant, you’re such a joker! 
No, the reason I called you in is to ask your advice - being my closest political confidante and, if I may be so bold, my BFF at the Beehive. 

G: You know I admire you greatly, Jacinda. 
J: Yes, of course I do. But then, who wouldn’t! 
So, I’ve had one of my “special” ideas for a new government department. 
G: Gosh, more bureaucracy! 
J: I knew you’d love it! One that can truly reflect my skills and vision, and perfectly encompass the can-do attitude of my government….. but without the hindrance of being continually held accountable for promises which were made, with the best of intentions, but rarely if ever come to fruition.
G: Sounds like no other department I’ve ever heard of but put me down as the Minister, please. 

J: I’d love to Grant but you know I can’t. 
You’re the only one in the Cabinet any good at sums so you have to be Finance Minister. 
G: Damn! Put me out of my misery, then. What is it? 
J: The Ministry of Announcements! Inspired, isn’t it? 
G: Well….yes. Obviously, being one of your “special” ideas it would be. 
I’m just not clear what it would be responsible for. 
J: Oh Grant! You’re not normally this obtuse. The clue’s in the name. 

G: Sorry, Prime Minister. How silly of me. 
So, are you saying that this new Ministry would be responsible for all government announcements? 
J: Every single one! Don’t you see? 
This way we would do something which no other NZ left-wing, socialist government has ever done - apply the sacred cow of centralisation to all government statements and press releases. Every department would process all their individual announcements through my new “super-Ministry” which would act as a clearing house, specialising in the double-handling of information. 
This would, of course, slow down announcements but that is surely a good thing…for us. Provisional announcements could then be made revising the announcement of the final announcement. 
A full timetable of all announcements would be posted on government websites for easy consultation by the media. 
G: You’ve certainly put a lot of thought into this, I must say. 
J: I’m not just a natural orator and communicator, Grant. My bureaucratic skills are second-to-none! 

J: In fact, we could modify our Covid traffic light system for announcements. 
Red announcements would be those we would need to postpone indefinitely, like He Puapua issues. But we would release frequent, regular announcements about announcements to give the impression we’re actively working on it. 
Orange announcements would be those that are less politically damaging and are likely to be popular with at least 50% of the public. These would still be delayed to build expectation and excitement, principally among the parliamentary media. 
G: And green announcements? 
J: Just like Covid, I don’t foresee us using Green much at all, if ever! 

G: May I just point out that if all government departments and their ministers will no longer be announcing anything, then how will they give the country the impression of actually doing something. 
I mean, the only real plus of being a minister is to stand up in the House or, better still, in front of the media and grandstand. 
They may see this new ministry as a personal threat to their department’s budget and staff numbers. 
J: Grant! We are the Labour Party. I would never cut budget’s or reduce the public service workforce. Just look at my record - it speaks for itself! 
G: I apologise, Jacinda. You have an exemplary record in significantly increasing both. 
So, who would head this new Announcements Ministry? Chris seems the obvious choice with his background in media. 

J: You would think so, but he has blotted his copybook a number of times. Postponement of the Hate Speech legislation is yet another announcement I would rather not have made. 
G: Just out of curiosity, would that fall into red or orange in the new system? 
J: Tricky one! 
Shows that we need to allocate plenty of resources to draft a properly considered and Treaty-centric set of comprehensive guidelines to correctly colour-code announcements. 
G: With full iwi consultation, I assume? 
J: Take it as read…or should that be “red”. 

G: So, if not Chris, who then? I really think I could be the perfect candidate for this, Prime Minister. 
J: The successful candidate needs an exemplary background in PR and Communications and must exude confidence in front of the media. 
They need to be adept at deflecting potentially damaging questions and exposing alleged “disinformation” whenever it best suits them. 
Above all, they must connect on a personal level with the team of 5 million and have a dazzling smile. 
G: Thought so. You’ll be appointing yourself, then? 
J: Me? Do you really think so? Thank you for your support, Grant. We’ll raise it at the next Cabinet Meeting, tomorrow. 

G: Should I make an announcement? 
J: That’s my job now, Grant. You just need to find the money for my new department and we can start advertising for more government employees….straight away! 
G: I’ll have to put excise duty back on petrol…and that’s just for starters! The public won’t like it. 
J: Don’t worry. My new department has it all in hand. 
I’ll make an announcement about how "The Science" of apocalyptic climate change has shown conclusively that temporarily reducing the fuel tax caused the severe flooding in Tairawhiti this week and must be reversed. 

Derek Mackie is a geologist with a keen interest in current affairs.


Doug Longmire said...

Brilliant Derek !!
Reads like a transcript.. just a second !! IS it a transcript?

Sam said...


Geoffrey said...

Yes, perfect except that some of the lines are too long for the characters to master