Lyndon Hood: That Was The Decade That Was
That Was The Decade That WasSatire by Lyndon Hood
January 2000 – October 2008
The New Zealand dark ages. Following the fall of the Tory Empire, Economic Vandal hordes descend from the hills and commit economic vandalism. Little record remains of this period; suffice to say, it ended badly.
Top issue was smacking children, followed closely by blocks of cheese.
Election Day: Election delivers National Party the reigns of power. National leader John Key officially assumes title 'That Nice Mister Key'. Year One of the new calendar begins.
Act Party show surprising commitent to sustainability by recycling Roger Douglas.
National leaps into Government, passing and introducing bills under urgency - tax cuts and lightbulbs and so on. Which, as well as getting the new laws under way quickly, has the added advantage that nobody has to think about them too hard.
All this gets little attention, as the nation is busy trying not to visualise a 'honeymoon' involving John Key, Rodney Hide, Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia.
In the absence of the hoped-for assasination attempt, John Key breaks his own arm. This cements his status in the public eye as the greatest sitcom character to lead the country since Keith Holyoake.
As part of their ongoing righteous wrath at three terms of nanny-state oppression, the National Government supports Helen Clark's bid for a top UN administration position, and begins plotting to get her as high on the New Year's honours list as possible.
At his employment summit John Key is particularly taken by the idea of a "Notional Cycleway", stretching from Utopia to Cloud-Cuckoo-Land. This will provide much-needed distractional stimulus so the nation won't notice that the Government's response to the recession is to do nothing.
Manufacturing sector welcomes boost as Government announces plans to manufacture crises in ACC, welfare, etc.
Royal commission into Auckland governance recommends local councils be amalgamated into "one giant screaming sack of dissention". This project is placed in the able hands of Rodney Hide.
John Key admits giving Richard Worth "a bollocking" over conflict of interest issues raised by Worth's trip to India. Whether bollockings had anything to do with Worth's later sacking remains unclear.
If Steven Joyce love roads so much, why doesn't he marry them?
The Government appoints former Finance Minister Michael Cullen to the board of major state-owned enterprise New Zealand Post. Despite spending the previous four months - and planning to spend the next 30 - blaming him for 'nine long years of missed opportunities' and asserting that anything wrong with the economy is his fault. You might question their consistency, but you can't fault their ability to shut up former finance ministers.
Education Minister Anne Tolley, in a attempt to gain 'a greater understanding of population growth in Auckland', flies over it in a helicopter. This was to be the only time she was able to effectively spin anything relating to her portfolio, and after the ride she was reportedly 'no dizzier' than she was beforehand. Sure we all laughed at the time, given the decision to impose national testing had already demonstrated a disposition to suicide missions: should it have been allowed?
Pig farmers complain about H1N1 being referred to as 'Swine Flu', demand that it be called 'Trim Pork™ Flu'.
In unrelated news, Christine Rankin appointed to Families Commission.
John Key displays his financial-trader acumen by betting against Super Fund.
Richard Worth fired for no reason. Key cites 200-day trial period.
UK MPs' warning to NZ Parliament: “How wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the moat out of thine eye; and, behold, a housing allowance and a ministerial car is in thine own eye?”
Melissa Lee's poor showing in Mt Albert by-election should be seen in context with the performance of Rusty Kane, who came last, behind a man campaigning on the fact he lived in Wellington.
Clayton Weatherston beats out John Key as the man everyone can agree on.
Inspired by this approach to image management, Phil Goff proposes giving the dole to rich people.
After careful investigation of New Zealand's drinking habits and the availablity of alcohol, Law Commission wakes up with a splitting headache wondering what recommendations it made last night.
Taito Phillip Field found guilty of corruption. Winston Peters confirms he plans to stand at the next election.
John Key goes on Letterman. News of the month, that.
Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol' released. SPOLIERS: Renowned symbologist Robert Langdon looks behind the symbological couch, and sure enough, there it is.
Nick Smith hands media a huge pile of Official Information Act releases on ACC and on the ETS, presumably to discourage media investigation of these subjects by implying it would involve a bunch of reading. ACC pack inculdes memo headed 'How To Improve ACC Finances By Privatising The Only Profitable Bit'.
Taito Phillip Field Sentenced. ACC protests, legislative scrabbling and reviews. Nationals' behaviour suggesting that when they complained Labour's Emissions Trading scheme process was 'rushed' and 'flawed', it was because they thinks ETS bill should proceed in an even more hasty and shambolic manner. TVNZ makes an ad for Bill English.
Satirist comes to think absurdity of politics should be self-evident. Output suffers accordingly.
Ban on the use of handheld mobile phones while driving comes in to force. Plans to undermine longstanding protections in the justice system, introduction of new police powers including DNA sampling, draconian new immigration bill passed, speculation that energy efficiency standards for showers weren't such an intrusion on our liberties after all.
But all these tough law-and-order measures are apparently not enough to prevent a crime wave perpetrated by anonymous celebrities.
The Don Brash-led productivity taskforce report's only surprise is they way they recommended exactly what you'd have thought they would. Oscar Wilde rises from the grave to describe the report as “The incorrigible in pursuit of the untenable”. Not his best effort, but considering most zombies just go 'hurr' or 'braaains', one can hardly complain.
Police oaths bill sees urgency used to pass legislation which is actually urgent.
Following November's 'March for Democracy', Larry Baldock's referendum for binding referenda is released. Space does not permit us to reprint the question in full, but it's fair to say it's not as snappy as the one about being allowed to hit your kids. And - in a feat which is both impressive and ironic - it has even lower chances of getting someone to act on the outcome.
Minds of world leaders may have been more concentrated if Copenhagen had been held somewhere warm.
Whanganui issue and flag-flying raises Maori issues in the public eye. Why can't Hone Harawira be more like that nice Pita Sharples? Now there's a man who knows his place.
Nation politely feigns gratitude after unwrapping presents from Government. “Oh, a series of Christmas-rush policy announcements, some of which are quite alarming! Just what I wanted!”
World travel security thrown into paniced lockdown by a man who set his own pants on fire.
Satirist vows to have year in review column written for January 1.
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