Thursday, February 16, 2023

Derek Mackie: Chip off the old block

January 2023. It all started so well. 
A 5% jump in the polls just for becoming PM - nothing else. 

 This probably reflected the return of borderline reasonable ex-Labour voters desperately hoping the party would revert to its traditional core policy of just trashing the economy, rather than democracy as a whole. An outpouring of relief that Jacinda’s minority-obsessed, divisive and authoritarian rule was apparently over, rather than faith in Chippy’s abilities to run the country. 
 Nevertheless, trying to maintain the momentum, he pushed forward. That’s when the cracks began to show. 

 He visited Auckland, during the severe flooding. In typical all-or-nothing Labour fashion, and reprising his Minister for Covid role, he announced every school in the city would shut down for a week even though many were unaffected. A few days later he changed his mind, apologised and said the schools could choose. 
Remind you of another Chris? 

 He appointed a special Minister for Auckland, Michael Wood, who had a track record of promising big public transport improvements which cost mega-millions in consultancy fees, but never came to fruition and would never have worked in any case. 
 The same guy was also responsible for curtailing immigration, leading to a chronic shortage of workers across most sectors, despite record “job-seeking” beneficiary numbers. 
This didn’t stop Chippy stating how important the city was to the NZ economy just before announcing the new appointment. 
Auckland business owners must have wept. 

 He rearranged the cabinet deckchairs on the NZ Titanic using the same crew who claimed, despite frequent and regular sightings, that all the icebergs had melted due to climate change and it would be plain sailing from here on in. 

 And, no surprise here, he backtracked on his predecessor's intention to slap the fuel tax back on in March. 
To be fair, this money had only resulted in Waka Kotahi buying a lifetime supply of road cones, which they decided to put to immediate use, and producing pot-holed riddled roads, so what was the point of collecting it? 

 On a roll, he canned the TVNZ/RNZ merger which served no purpose, was a complete waste of money and also gave him the opportunity to put Willie Jackson in his place….which turned out to be four places higher on the party list than before. That’s showing him, Chippy! 
 Anyway, there were cheaper and easier ways to control the media. See what $55 million can get you. Compared to the merger it’s a bargain at twice the price. 

 He even dumped a key climate change pledge - poor James Shaw must have been inconsolable, yippee - and immolated the biofuels mandate with a hefty dose of 91 Octane. He knew this would only increase the price of fuel and exacerbate the cost of living crisis which would have seen his chances of reelection go up in flames as well. 
Save the planet or save himself? It was a no-brainer for your archetypal hypocritical progressive socialist - self interest wins over moral fortitude every time. 

 But….. and this is where Chris revealed his true Left-wing, woke credentials. He only postponed the hugely expensive Unemployment Insurance Scheme, a direct tax by any other name, which would see families paying another 3% of their earnings to keep redundant workers on the couch watching Netflix on 80% of their former salaries for up to 7 months. 

 And, the anti-free speech and divisive Hate Speech legislation was referred to the lefty lawyers at the Law Commission for review. In other words, wait until after the election then magically revive it. 

 Then he made his really big mistake. 
He actually promised to fix the economy, crime, health and education….well, eventually! 
Not that he really thought there was much wrong with the last three, particularly crime and education, which he felt he had presided splendidly over. 
 And, he pledged to concentrate on the bread-and-butter issues and get rid of all the woke nonsense. Although, any mention of winding back Labour’s separatist co-governance agenda was conspicuous by its absence or hidden in a smokescreen of “mati tahi”, Chippy’s new favourite Maori phrase. 
 However, he did promise to explain better to the public how he was going to turn NZ into a two-tier, tribal-ruled, apartheid state. Gee, thanks mate for the clarification! 

 Maybe Chippy will turn things around….just a little bit! 
After all, he doesn’t have to achieve much with Luxon and National as his main threat. All he has to do is convince enough voters that he’s a better bet than the other Chris, who is as inspiring as a White Ferns World T20 innings. 
That’s not a big ask! 

 What follows is my semi-satirical vision of NZ in about 6 months time, based on Labour’s past miserable performance, broken promises and inept government.
In truth, and I never thought I’d say this, I’m actually hoping that things get worse because that’s the only sure way of getting rid of these Lefty loonies that have hijacked our country and turned it into a paradise for a tiny minority of entitled, self-pitying racists who are happy to corrupt our history and democracy for their own selfish and greedy ends. Dim-wittingly aided and abetted by a disgraceful bunch of woke academics, public servants and the media. 

 So, let's take a magic carpet ride and fast-forward to September 2023. 
  • The economy and cost-of-living crisis are now worse 
  •  Staff shortages are causing business closures as people emigrate or snuggle up to their guaranteed, no-strings-attached benefits package 
  • Three Waters survived the purges and is actively recruiting personnel and wasting money hand over fist 
  • Wanted posters - Dead (preferably) or Alive (if you’re squeamish) - are on every lamppost looking for the Minister for Auckland who has continued his dire record of failed policies and was last seen on CCTV boarding Te Huia, heading south. 
  • It’s nigh impossible to find a liquor store that isn’t boarded up, so you can’t even drown your sorrows with a stiff whisky or gin. 
  • International tourist numbers are still well down and four out of five visitors to NZ would rather camp than stay in a motel and think ram-raiding is the country’s national sport.
 Predictably, and just like his predecessor, all Chippy’s promises of action have come to nought.

After all the early media fanfare and hype it turns out that the new Labour team is no better than the old. And why would it be? 
 Same cast, same screenplay, different roles.      Another flop at the box office! 
And our new PM is just as big a disappointment as the old one. While Jacinda initially had star attraction, she overacted terribly and was simply unable to perform. 
Chippy has no stage presence, can’t deliver his new lines and keeps reverting to the old script.

 The people of NZ have had enough. 

 Things have gotten so bad a second parliamentary protest has sprung up, much bigger than the first. Protesters are once again ruining the lawns and the Trevor Mallard Memorial Playground! 
They brought their own music with them this time. “We won’t be fooled again”, by The Who, has become their anthem. 
This is not just about vaccination or freedom of speech. This is about the right to demand that governments rule for the majority, first and foremost. And that they obtain a clear mandate from the public, by referendum if necessary, before enacting major policy which impacts on the equality, rights, freedoms and….yes, responsibilities of all Kiwis. 

 Even the police have joined in. It’s more rewarding than watching the ram-raiders you’d arrested the day before being freed, with a group hug from the judge, because they’d had a tough upbringing or were suffering from PTCD (post traumatic colonial disorder). Then jumping in a car with their mates, doing a doughnut outside the courthouse and firing up their sat-nav to find the nearest liquor store. 

 The people have laid siege to parliament and are demanding the government resign immediately, even though the general election is only a month away. 
 You see, it’s become a matter of principle. The principle of fair, open and honest government which has been completely lacking in NZ for the past 6 years. 

 As a result, the boy from the Hutt Valley and his chums are surrounded and holed up in the Beehive. The siege has lasted a month but they have a plan. 
     They’re going to make a daring escape, in WWII PoW style. 
Only in this story, the audience will be cheering for the camp guards. 

 It might make a good movie one day. The Great Escape….or Shallow Grave? I know which one I’d choose. 

C: Chippy Hipkins 
W: Woody Wood 
J: Digger Jackson 
Scene: Camp Beehive, mid-September 2023 

C: Right chaps. I’ve got a plan. 
J: Oh no. There’s that horrible sinking feeling again in my gut! Like a lump of undigested bully beef. 
W: Don’t be a chump, Digger. 
Go on, Chippy. We’re all ears. 

C: It’s our sworn duty as progressive socialists to try to escape and carry on the good fight. Agreed? 
W: Well, yes….I suppose. 
Although, things got pretty rough for me when the trouble started. I only got out of Auckland by the skin of my teeth. If KiwiRail hadn’t managed to finally fix the track and run that Te Huia train on schedule for once I could have found myself under the foundation stone of the Auckland Light Rail Project. 

J: No danger of that, Woody! 
Still waiting on the consultant's report recommending the shape of the foundation stone and what type of rock it should be made from. And we need a culturally approved Maori translation for Light Rail. 
It’ll be ages yet. 
W: I was still in a jolly tight fix. 

C: That’s all in the past, Woody. Best foot forward now. There’s a good chap. 
Now, as you know, the election is less than a month away. We need to devise a means of escape from Parliament so we can regroup with the woke resistance movement - aka Stuff, TVNZ and TV3. 
That’s your area of expertise, Digger. 
J: What - the means of escape? 
C: God, no! Using your media connections, I mean. 
I’m taking personal responsibility for the escape plan. 
J: Never thought I’d hear a politician say that. 

C: I propose we dig three tunnels, all radiating out from the Beehive basement. They have to go far enough so we surface beyond the protesters' perimeter fence. 
W: Why three tunnels? Why not just one? 
C: Good question, Woody! Well done. You still surprise me…..occasionally. 
Firstly, one of the tunnels may collapse and have to be abandoned. 
J: I’m not digging that one! 

C: Secondly, the camp guards, I mean protesters, may discover a tunnel and capture one of us.
W: I’m definitely not digging that one! They’d just fill it back in on top of me. 
C: And thirdly. It featured in this old war movie I saw once, so it’s tried and tested. 
The tunnels were called Tom, Dick and Harry. 
I bags Tom! 
J: I bags Harry. 
That means you’re a Dick, Woody. Ha! 

W: Oh, come on! Surely we can come up with more appropriate names than that. 
What about Marx, Lenin and Mao? 
J: Impeccable pedigree but so last century. 
W: Lange, Clark and Ardern? 
Oops, I’m terribly sorry Chippy. What was I thinking? 
C: I still blame that woman for all the troubles we find ourselves in. 
J: Quite right too. It’s standard procedure to blame the government before you….even if you were a senior minister in it and personally responsible for a good chunk of the cock-ups. 

W: Or, if you want to instil some personal pride in the escape, we could use Chippy, Woody and Digger. 
J: I bags Chippy! 
C: Don’t be ridiculous, Digger. We’d obviously dig our own hole. 
W: That’s what the people of Auckland were threatening me with if they caught me. 

J: What about Maori names? 
After all, compulsory Te Ao Maori is still a cornerstone of all government policies, even though Chippy “promised” the public that he would back off on all the pro-Maori indoctrination. 
C: We simply don’t have time for that, Digger. The election’s next month, not next year! 
Let’s go with our own names and engender some healthy competition. 
Right, Woody. You were Minister for Transport so you have the most experience of building a tunnel. 

W: Steady on. How do you work that out? 
C: Well, they build tunnels for roads, don’t they? You were in charge of all that. 
J: And look at the rotten job he did! I don’t want to be in any tunnel Woody’s responsible for. It would be full of holes, top and bottom! 
W: It’s easy to poke fun, Digger. Your pointless media merger was so unpopular it got axed.
Anyway, with a name like yours shouldn’t you be telling us how to do it. 
J: Well, you need a spade to start with. Then…..hold on, where are we going to put all the dirt?

C: Looks like it’s up to me….yet again! 
There are plenty of spades down here from the cleanup of the first parliamentary protest. We can use the centre-right opposition offices to store the dirt. 
Although, in the war movie they put dirt down their pants and tied the leg bottoms with string. Then they went out into the camp yard and pulled the string in their pocket and the dirt trickled out without the guards seeing. 

W: We could taunt the protesters by going out on the balcony and waving, while scattering tunnel dirt down onto them. 
Literally turn them into “rivers of filth”! 
J: That would really give the game away! 
C: Digger’s right. We don’t want the protesters to have any inkling of our plans. 
Heads down, bums up! That’s how we succeed, chaps. 

W: How do we hold the tunnels up? They’ll just cave in, won’t they? 
C: It’s all under control. In the movie they broke up wood from their beds and huts to use as supports to hold the roof and walls up. 
J: Supply of wood surely falls under you…..Woody! 
W: As a matter of fact, I do have an idea on how we can solve this. 
All the back benches in the Commons Room! 
They’re made of strong hardwood and they have lovely green padding which will stop us banging our heads as we crawl through. 

C: Excellent, Woody. 
Now we’re humming along at the new national speed limit - 60kph! 
J: OK. So we can dig the holes, get rid of the dirt and shore up the tunnels. 
But how do we know which direction we’re going in and if we’re beyond the protesters camp?
W: I’m on to it again, chaps. 
We can use Google Maps and our mobile GPS location to show us where we’re going and how far we’ve got. Bet they didn’t do that in your movie, Chippy! 
C: Mmmm. Not sure we’ll get a signal under the ground. Worth a try, though. 
We can always fall back on the ball of string method and a compass. 
J: You’ve lost me! 
That’s obviously why you were Minister for Education. 

C: That just leaves one thing. 
Assuming we make it out - and considering our past level of achievements, I give us less than a 5% chance - we need to stay under the radar until we reach the safety of the mainstream media. 
Disguises, documentation….that sort of thing. 
J: I can forge some National Party membership cards if that’s any use. 
C: That’s a good start but certainly not a guarantee. We also need to blend in with the average non-woke member of the public. 

W: So, don’t use PC words like “wellbeing” or “inclusive”? 
C: That kind of thing, yes. In short, we have to appear normal. 
J: Not sure I can manage that. After years as an MP that’s a big ask, Chippy. 
C: We’re all having a lot asked of us, Digger. Desperate times call for desperate measures! 
At least your face isn’t burned onto the memory of all Aucklanders, like Woody here. We’ll have to try and disguise him. 
Start growing a beard and don’t gel your hair, Woody. A few weeks of tunnelling will give you that gaunt look and your tan will fade as well. 
You may just get away with it! 

J: Now we’ve made a plan, I'm quite excited. 
It’s like just after submitting your latest departmental budget, but before the huge spending blowouts and the complete lack of tangible outcomes. 
C: Quite! 
Now, there is the small matter of productivity. 
W: Can you remind me what that is again. 
Under “she-who-must-not-be-named” all references to the P-word were removed and replaced with vague, unmeasurable concepts which were impossible to hold anyone accountable for. 

C: The election date is 14 October. We have 25 days, and nights, to dig our tunnels then reach the resistance. 
A rough glance at Google Maps tells me each tunnel will have to be about 125m long. On average, that’s 5m of tunnelling and shoring up each day…times three! 
J: I feel now’s the time to disclose my very weak wrists. I also get a shocking blister on each thumb when I have to dig over the vege garden. 
W: And I’m no good with tools. Can't even hang a picture. Don’t know a saw from a spanner. 
I also suffer from low stamina and concentration levels. I get bored very easily, especially when things go wrong. My GP says it’s a proper medical condition. 
J: What, Muppetitis? 
That must be why you keep changing departments! 

C: I thought you two would say something like that. 
So, like all good Labour leaders I’ve organised a contingency to make up for my team’s personal shortcomings and chronic failings. 
As you know, the Green Party is here with us enduring this siege. The public hates them almost as much as us. 
W: That’s some consolation, at least. 
C: I’ve told them, as an act of national reconciliation, we’re planning to build 3 ground-source geothermal heat pumps - which to the trained eye look remarkably like escape tunnels. These will provide emissions-free heat to the seat of government for decades to come and will be an olive branch between the elites and the sadly misinformed public. 
And I’ve promised to erect a plaque recognising the work done by the Green Party in achieving this “planet-saving” goal. 

J: How many green MP’s are there? 
W: Ten. 
C: Plus another whack of Labour back-benchers - who won’t have anywhere to sit after we’re finished - and that should give us enough tunnel fodder to meet our daily production target.
We’ll each supervise a tunnel. Being a senior parliamentary officer ensures certain benefits. No need for personal manual labour. That’s for the lower ranks. 
J: Isn’t that what Labour specialises in these days. Benefits without labour? 
C: Whoever completes their tunnel first out of you two gets bumped three places up the Party List. 

W: What’s your incentive? 
C: Staying on as PM. Thought that would’ve been obvious. 
Right, let’s get cracking. Go organise your teams. 
J: What if they won’t work? 
C: You won’t have any trouble with the Greens. They think they’re saving the planet. 
I suggest for our own chaps you incentivise them. 
W: Set the chief whip on them, you mean? 
C: Something more subtle, perhaps. 
The chap or chapette with the lowest productivity has to test the tunnel out when it’s completed. It may collapse….or it may come up short. He or she could end up sticking their head up into the protesters toilet block. Not a pleasant thought. 

W: Whatever happens, Chippy. It’s been a privilege to serve under you. 
J: Same goes for me. 
Shall we meet in the parliamentary bar in 30 minutes to toast the highly improbable success of our latest infrastructure project? 
C: Carry on, chaps. Let’s do this! 
Damn, I need a new slogan! 

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

1 comment:

John said...

Derek you are great. I wish your satire was delivered to everyone in parliament