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Scoop Satire: The Christchurch Dialogues

The Christchurch Dialogues

Satire by Lyndon Hood

Gerry brownlee,
henry VIII

Gerry Brownlee to be played by first person with immaculate comic timing that comes to hand. Scoop to be played by his straight man.


Scoop: So – this Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act.

Brownlee: Yeah. So with y'know the RMA and so on we were a bit worried we wouldn't be able to get on with the job of rebuilding. I mean, it wasn't designed for this situation, was it? It'd be ages just getting basic consents. So we all got together and decided the best thing, the best thing to do, for the recovery of Canterbury, was to pass a law that let me – well, the Executive Council but, y'know, me – to let me just rewrite any law I wanted to.

Scoop: Isn't it Parliament that makes laws?

Brownlee: Well, it used to. Now it's me.

Scoop: Just laws about Canterbury?

Brownlee: No, everywhere.

Scoop: Any law?

Brownlee: Well not any law obviously. That would be ridiculous. Clearly there have to be limits. Like I'm not allowed to rewrite the Electoral Act or the Constitution Act or the Bill of Rights or… or… there's another one I can't rewrite…

Scoop: I'm guessing not the Resource Management Act?

Brownlee: No, you're right, I can do that one. Specifically mentioned.

Scoop: The Commerce Act?

Brownlee: That too.

Scoop: The Hoildays Act?

Brownlee: That's not it.

Scoop: The Crown Minerals Act?

Brownlee: Ha, no.

Scoop: The Crimes Act?

Brownlee: No.

Scoop: I wouldn't have thought you'd need to rewrite the Crimes Act …

Brownlee: Oh man, tip of my tongue.

Scoop: So if you wanted you could, say, make fraudulently obtaining a passport legal.

Brownlee: Hahaha. Yep.

Scoop: Or raise the drink-driving limit?

Brownlee: Don't be ridiculous.

Scoop: The Decimal Currency Act?

Brownlee: That's not it, I can change that one.

Scoop: But why would you …

Brownlee: Shh, I've almost got it…

[pause]

Scoop: The Abolition of the Death Penalty Act? The Accident Compensation Act? Acts and Regulations Publication Act, Administration Act, Admiralty Act, Admiralty House Act Repeal Act, Adoption Act, Adoption (Intercountry) Act…

Brownlee: Ooh, the Adopti… No, no sorry, can rewrite all of those…

Scoop: The Adult Adoption Information Act, Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapu Claims Settlement Act, Age of Majority Act, Agricultural and Pastoral Societies Act, Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act, Aid to Water-Power Works Act …

Brownlee: Look, you're just distracting. Oh never mind, I'm sure it it'll come to me. Where were we?

Scoop: Don't you think this is undemocratic?

Brownlee: Well I can't stop the elections.

Scoop: True.

Brownlee: Well, I can, but only local elections.

Scoop: Oh, yes, because you'd already sacked Environment Canterbury.

Brownlee: Actually I meant if I want to I can rewrite the Local Electoral Act, but you've got a point there. Look, just because I've been granted absolute powers over New Zealand's laws, doesn't mean I'll exercise them.

Scoop: So who'll decide if you do?

Brownlee: Me. But I'm sure the opposition is will provide plenty of scrutiny.

Scoop: Scrutiny?

Brownlee: That's right.

Scoop: So if you decide to go about randomly rewriting the laws enacted by New Zealand's Parliament…

Brownlee: … everyone will watch very closely while I do it. Scrutiny, see, very important. And we'll consult too, which as you know means…

Scoop: Before you randomly rewrite the laws you'll tell everyone.

Brownlee: I promise. Can't ask for fairer than that.

Scoop: And this bill that lets you do this passed unanimously?

Brownlee: Yes.

Scoop: What was Parliament thinking?

Brownlee: Anybody that dumb, I couldn't begin to guess what their motives are.

Scoop: Doesn't this all seem a bit authoritarian to you?

Brownlee: 'Authoritarian'. Yes, I think that's exactly the word. Well done.

Scoop: So your Government…

Brownlee: I'll just write that down.

Scoop: Your Government rammed through the Super City and disestablished the Canterbury local government. One of your Ministers released personal information on people who complained about their policies. Is authoritarianism your answer to everything?

Brownlee: I wouldn't say that.

Scoop: I know you wouldn't say it, but is it true?

Brownlee: I don't think it's very fair.

Scoop: Well can you think of any problem you wouldn't solve with authoritarianism?

Brownlee: Well, I, for example if my problem was I wanted a cup of tea, I might boil the jug or I might ask someone to make some for me.

Scoop: And if there wasn't any tea?

Brownlee: Well, if it was like that I suppose I would go for the authoritarianism.

Scoop: Perhaps you'd commandeer some tea?

Brownlee: Obviously I'd have to suspend the Crimes Act first otherwise it would be stealing. But look, that's not reason to go around calling us names. Some might say that's hampering the reconstruction effort.

Scoop: Oh.

Brownlee: There must still be a gallows somewhere in this country.

Scoop: Sorry, Sir.

Brownlee: If you oppose this legislation you're against rebuilding Canterbury! Why do you love earthquakes?

Scoop: But I ... You're loving this aren't you?

Brownlee: Yep.

Scoop: You [expletive deleted]

Brownlee: The Judicature Amendment Act! That's it! I knew I'd get it eventually.

********

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