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On the Right: A Guide to New Zealand Politics

The Devil’s Dictionary: A Guide to New Zealand Politics
By Craig Ranapia

“Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties – is designed to make lies sound truthful… and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
George Orwell

ACC, Re-nationalised: An accident waiting to happen.

California 3162 (or whatever it’s called): A television programme only Marion Hobbs has seen.

Christmas Party, Press Gallery: A good idea at the time, I think.

Comment, No: What happens when your press secretary has borrowed the car to buy some cigarettes.

Common Sense: Not around Parliament.

Confused: Drunk and/or mentally retarded.

Consensus: A position nobody sincerely believes, is too tired to argue any more, and didn’t really care about in the first place.

Drink: The only way to dull the pain of Nandor Tanczos banging on about cannabis.

Doone’s First Law of Politics: Perception is reality.

Doone’s Second Law of Politics: There are fates worse than death.

Full Confidence: 1. “I want his/her job but don’t have the numbers.” 2. “Don’t screw up again.”

Ideology: Any idea, opinion or statement you don’t agree with but can’t be bothered arguing.

Inquiry: 1. A close examination of a matter in search of information or truth. 2. A useful way to be told what you want to hear.

Inquiry, Ministerial: A useful and expensive way to justify what you’ve already decided.

Inquiry, Royal Commission of: A useful, expensive and time consuming way to justify doing nothing for years.



Member: 1. One who belongs to the House of Representatives. 2. Only Parliamentary way to call your enemies useless pricks. 3. Excuse to fill your maiden speech with dick jokes.

Member, Honourable: 1. Useless prick who took my place in Cabinet. 2. An oxymoron.

Minister: An agent of higher power with lower responsibility (Ambrose Bierce).

Minister, Associate: An agent of higher power with no responsibility.

Misinformed: A pathological liar.

No: Minister speak for “Yes, but you can’t prove it.”

Point of Order: A question as to whether the present proceedings are in order or allowed by the rules of parliamentary procedure. Usually utterly pointless and carefully designed to provoke disorder.

Pragmatism: The most acceptable hypocrisy.

Press Gallery: 1. Part of the politically correct liberal media elite. 2. Tools of the corporatist New Right media hegemony. 3. People who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t speak English, for people who can’t read ( Frank Zappa).

Press Release: The finest New Zealand fiction since The Bone People.

Press Secretary: No comment (qv.)

Queen: A woman inexplicably popular, except when Prime Ministers want to change the subject.

Question Time: 1. A period for expressions of inquiry to a Minister that invites or calls for a reply. 2. A period for the Minister to decline the invitation and feign deafness.

Question, Good: Any patsy (qv.) delivered without giggling, vomiting or tears. “I must thank the member for asking such a good question.”

Question, Patsy: An easy to answer question from Government backbenchers, mainly because the Minister writes them.

Question, Supplementary: The Ministerial equivalent of a suppository – a fearful pain in the arse to be avoided at all costs.

Rankin, Christine: 1. Incapable of running an orgy in a brothel full of sailors. 2. A fine civil servant who enjoys the full confidence of her Minister.

Reform: Proof that if it ain’t broke, it soon will be.

Revolting: The sight of a self-important prat on a six-figure salary slagging off another self-important prat on a six-figure salary.

Titewhai: A fearsome monster from Maori mythology. Used to frighten journalists, MPs and other children: “Eat your peas or the Titewhai will shout at you."

Whip: The only people mad enough to enjoy constant contact with other MPs.

Yes: Minister-speak for “No”.


Feedback to jrennie@the.net.nz


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