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Luxon's High-Calibre Delegation

./img/lookingdown.jpg Looking down on the plebs.

Oh, look at Mr. Fancy Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, the former CEO of Air New Zealand, now trying to play the big shot. He's gone and called previous business delegations a bunch of C-listers and tag-alongs. But oh no, don't worry, his current crew is so much more "high-calibre," he assures us.

When asked about his not-so-subtle shade in Tokyo, he pulls the classic "taken out of context" card.

Meanwhile, Labour's Chris Hipkins, probably rolling his eyes, defends his own delegation of top-tier execs from Air New Zealand, Fonterra, and the like, saying Luxon’s comments are just sending the wrong message.

Hipkins can't help but wonder why Luxon needs to puff himself up by tearing others down. After all, New Zealand businesses have been rock stars through tough times, growing exports and all. Maybe instead of calling them C-listers, Luxon could try giving credit where it's due. But hey, what do we know?

#Incompetence #Ideology

The Plane Predicament

./img/brokenplane.jpg The Air Force, waiting for a new plane.

Oh dear Christopher Luxon, what a grand stand,
Stranded in Papua New Guinea, wasn't that unplanned?
Before the election, replacing planes was too dear,
But now, surprise! He's had a change of cheer.

With bipartisan support, the tune's been altered,
Successive governments? They all just faltered.
Now Luxon’s singing, "We need that 757 replaced!"
How convenient, given his recent misplaced.

Minister Judith Collins, chiming right in,
Saying resolution's closer than it's ever been.
Labour's Chris Hipkins, quick to remind,
He backed plane replacements, not lagging behind.

Oh, but Luxon, politicising the plane,
First, he'd never use it, then flying it again.
Credibility damaged? Well, some might say,
As he boards commercial, his stance in disarray.

The Defence Force’s plight, so dire and true,
Planes for more than VIPs, if only he knew.
Morale was low, but hope’s on the rise,
In this geopolitically unstable surprise.

So now we watch, will they spend on this craft?
Or is it just talk, another political draft?
The Defence Force waits, while reports are unfurled,
Money and action, not just words, will change their world.

#Incompetence #Hipocrisy

The Cursive Conundrum

./img/cursive.jpg The cursive conundrum.

There once was a call for cursive flair,
And tests each year for students to bear.
But teachers did shout,
"That's old-fashioned, no doubt,
And politically driven, unfair!"

#Education #Ideology

The Comedy of Covid-19 Mandates

./img/antivaxxer.jpg Winston Peters and bugs, the real stars of the show.

The coalition's promise to end Covid-19 vaccine mandates has become a comedy of errors.

New Zealand First secured this victory, blissfully unaware that the mandates were already a thing of the past, thanks to Labour's swift axing of them. When asked for details on fulfilling the promise, NZ First's response was basically a shrug and a "still figuring it out." The Prime Minister passed the buck to the Minister of Health, who seemed equally clueless. They're now pondering if "mandate" applies to workplace policies too, leading to a hilarious game of bureaucratic hot potato.

Meanwhile, Health New Zealand is tiptoeing around the issue, trying not to offend anyone, and the Health Ministry's idea of advice seems to be sending emails stating the obvious. Labour's health spokesperson finds the whole ordeal "slightly odd," suggesting it's just a ploy to keep conspiracy theorists happy. It's a saga of governmental fumbling that could rival a sitcom plot.

#Incompetence #Ideology

The Tragedy of Tax Cuts

./img/shakespeare_tax_cuts.jpg The tragedy of tax cuts, a tale of woe.

In lands of governance, strife and discord reign, As opposition cries foul, and numbers wane. 'Tis Finance Minister Nicola Willis's hour, To face the tempest's rage, her will to dour.

The Budget Policy Statement, her unveiled decree, Points to economic woes, a grim reality. Tax cuts, she proclaims, the heart's desire, Yet foes assail her, with tongues of fire.

Labour's Chris Hipkins, with scornful tone, Decries the delay, the dysfunction shown. "Hypocrisy and incompetence," he doth proclaim, A tale of chaos, a government in shame.

Barbara Edmonds, the voice of Labour's fold, Speaks of lack of accord, a story old. A coalition of chaos, she doth decry, As taxes promised, on promises lie.

The promised tax cuts, a folly, they claim, A siren's song, leading all to shame. Deeper cuts to services, inflation's rise, A tragic fate, beneath darkened skies.

Chlöe Swarbrick, the Green co-leader fair, Adds her voice to the chorus of despair. Trickle-down tax cuts, a folly, she deems, A path to ruin, in misguided dreams.

Inequalities deepen, as tax cuts loom, A damning verdict, cast from doom. The public sector, stripped bare and forlorn, A tragedy unfolds, as hope is torn.

Thus, the stage is set, the tragedy unfolds, In numbers and promises, the tale of old. A government in disarray, its fate unknown, As the echoes of dissent, in shadows, groan.

#Incompetence #Ideology #Finance

The Great Public Service Purge: Seymour's Slash-and-Burn Strategy

./img/public_service.jpg Public servants, facing the axe.

In a display of callous disregard for the livelihoods of hardworking public servants, ACT Party leader David Seymour is championing a ruthless campaign to slash jobs across government departments. With a casual shrug, Seymour suggests that spending "hundreds of millions" on redundancy payments is merely a necessary sacrifice in the quest to shrink the state and fund tax cuts.

Despite Seymour's campaign promise to ax 15,000 public service jobs, he now admits that the cuts won't be quite as severe as he'd hoped. How magnanimous of him. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nicola Willis remains tight-lipped about the looming job losses, conveniently sidestepping the human toll of her government's austerity measures.

As department heads scramble to deliver on the coalition government's demands for budget cuts of up to 7.5%, public servants are left anxiously awaiting their fate. With the specter of unemployment looming and inflation on the rise, Seymour and his cohorts seem determined to drive the economy further into turmoil while lining the pockets of the wealthy with tax breaks.

While Seymour may see these job cuts as a prudent long-term investment, for those facing the axe, it's nothing short of a devastating blow. But hey, as long as the rich get richer and the state gets smaller, who cares about the little people, right?

#Incompetence #Ideology

Tubthumping-gate: The Musical Misadventures of Winston Peters

./img/tubthumping.jpg Tubthumping, the real star of the show.

Ah, the timeless tale of politicians thinking they can just snatch up any catchy tune for their political rallies without so much as a by-your-leave. And who's the latest culprit caught with their hand in the musical cookie jar? None other than Winston Peters, the man who apparently missed the memo on basic copyright law.

But fear not, dear listeners, for Chumbawamba's very own Boff Whalley is here to set the record straight! In a riveting interview with the Tova podcast, Whalley expresses his utter disbelief at the audacity of politicians like Peters, who seem to think they can just help themselves to the band's iconic hit, "Tubthumping," without a second thought.

And Peters is just the tip of the iceberg, folks! From Nigel Farage to Clive Palmer to *gasp* even Trump himself (pre-presidency, of course), it seems like everyone and their uncle has had a go at appropriating Chumbawamba's anthem for their own political gain.

But fear not, for Whalley is not one to take such shenanigans lying down! With the threat of legal action looming large, Peters and his merry band of political pranksters may soon find themselves in hot water for their musical misdeeds. And wouldn't that be a sight to see?

So buckle up, folks, for a wild ride through the world of political plagiarism, where the tunes are catchy, the politicians are clueless, and the legal battles are just getting started. It's the saga of Tubthumping-gate, and it's sure to be a smash hit!


The Comedy of Errors: A Whirlwind Tour of New Zealand Politics

./img/threeheaded_monster.jpg The three-headed monster of legislative lunacy.

In a land where the term "urgency" seems to mean "let's hurry up and mess things up," New Zealand's political landscape has become a veritable circus of repeal, cancel, and chaos. Strap in, dear readers, for a rollercoaster ride through the labyrinth of legislative lunacy!

First up on the chopping block, we have the repeal of beneficiary legislation, because who needs alignment with wage growth when you can push 13,000 children into poverty with the flick of a pen? Talk about a magic trick gone horribly wrong!

But fear not, for the repeal of Fair Pay Agreements swoops in to save the day, delivering a swift blow to the hopes and dreams of disabled people, women, Māori, Pacific people, and young folks everywhere. Because who needs fairness when you can have chaos, am I right?

And let's not forget the triumphant return of the 90-day trials, because why hire with confidence when you can just throw new hires to the wolves and hope for the best? It's like a reality show where the contestants are unsuspecting employees and the prize is a pink slip!

But wait, there's more! Prepare to be dazzled by the repeal of smoke-free legislation, because nothing says "progress" like a lungful of secondhand smoke with your morning coffee. And who needs clean air anyway, right?

And just when you thought the show couldn't get any crazier, behold the repeal of the Clean Car Discount, because who needs lower emissions when you can have more greenhouse gases? It's like Mother Nature's very own comedy hour!

But wait, there's still a plethora of cancellations, repeals, and reversals waiting in the wings! From cancelled public transport discounts for kids to axed cycling and walking initiatives, it's a veritable smorgasbord of backwardness and bungling.

So buckle up, dear readers, for the ride of a lifetime through the wacky world of New Zealand politics, where logic takes a backseat and absurdity reigns supreme. After all, in the land of the long white cloud, anything is possible – even if it's completely bonkers!

#Incompetence #Ideology

The Tax Time Tumult

./img/tax_time.jpg Tax time, the real star of the show.

**Breaking News: Tax Time Tumult!**

In a press conference that can only be described as "slightly chaotic" – a term which, in political jargon, is akin to saying "the Titanic encountered a slight inconvenience" – Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has stirred the pot of fiscal uncertainty once again.

Luxon, the maestro of muddled messages, stood firm on his promise of tax cuts in the upcoming Budget but remained curiously silent on whether these cuts would match the grandiose proportions outlined in the coalition agreement. To add a sprinkle of suspense, Luxon tantalizingly refused to rule out the possibility of new taxes, leaving the nation collectively scratching its head and nervously eyeing their wallets.

But fear not, dear citizens, for in the cacophony of financial fumbling, Deputy PM Winston Peters emerged as the voice of reason, agreeing with an assessment that suggests a rather sizable shortfall in the government's financial plans. Perhaps Peters should be renamed "Winston the Wise," for his keen insight into matters of budgetary bungling is nothing short of legendary.

Meanwhile, Nicola Willis, the ironclad guardian of fiscal responsibility, is holding the line against accusations of a gaping $5.6 billion shortfall, displaying a level of steadfast determination that would make even the sturdiest of rock formations jealous.

But wait, there's more! Former Reserve Bank economist, Michael Reddell, has weighed in on the debacle, proclaiming that the current fiscal deficit is akin to trying to fill a leaky bucket with a thimble. In his words, "It's not the time for tax cuts," a sentiment echoed by many economists who, no doubt, are shaking their heads in disbelief at the political theatrics unfolding before them.

In the grand opera of New Zealand politics, where the stage is set with spreadsheets and the performers dance to the tune of fiscal folly, one can't help but marvel at the sheer absurdity of it all. As Luxon struggles to keep the ship afloat amidst turbulent tax waters, and Peters dispenses pearls of wisdom like a modern-day oracle, we can only watch with bated breath as the drama unfolds.

Stay tuned, dear readers, for the finale of this fiscal farce promises to be a spectacle like no other.

#Incompetence #Finance

The Great Kiwi Comedy: Tales from the Political Circus

./img/political_circus.jpg The political circus, where the absurd meets the sublime.

(Scene: The hallowed halls of New Zealand's Parliament, where the drama unfolds with all the flair of a Shakespearean comedy.)

[Enter Christopher Luxon, adorned in a regal suit, clutching papers labeled "Accommodation Subsidy."]

Christopher Luxon: (with a flourish) Behold, my esteemed colleagues, for I, Christopher Luxon, Prime Minister extraordinaire, have devised a cunning plan to claim subsidies for my own abode! Why settle for a mere mansion when one can indulge in the delights of taxpayer-funded accommodations?

[Enter David Seymour, ACT Party leader, brandishing a stack of papers labeled "Free School Lunches Repeal Bill."]

David Seymour: (in a tone dripping with privilege) Ah, my dear comrades, behold my latest masterpiece! A bill to halt the wasteful spending on free school lunches for the impoverished masses! Why should we feed the hungry when we can shower tax rebates upon the affluent landlords?

[Enter Shane Jones, Minister of Strange Metaphors, clad in an eccentric ensemble.]

Shane Jones: (waxing poetic) Gather 'round, ye denizens of the political arena! For I, Shane Jones, doth justify the allocation of seven million sovereign coins to sustain a ski field amidst nature's snowy embrace. 'Tis but a trifle, a mere dalliance, for the enjoyment of the well-heeled few.

[Enter Nicola Willis, the Budget Maestro, juggling calculators and spreadsheets.]

Nicola Willis: (with a furrowed brow) Alas, my fellow lawmakers, 'tis a conundrum of Herculean proportions! With subsidies for the affluent, repealed lunches for the destitute, and millions for snow-capped playgrounds, how shall I balance the budget and conjure tax cuts from thin air?

[Amidst the chaos, the politicians engage in a symphony of absurdity, each striving to outdo the other in the art of political satire.]

Christopher Luxon: (raising a quizzical brow) Perhaps we shall find solace in the echoes of laughter, my dear colleagues. For in the grand tapestry of New Zealand politics, where the absurd meets the sublime, we are but players in the greatest comedy of all.

[As the curtain falls on this satirical spectacle, the audience is left to ponder the whimsical follies of their elected leaders, knowing that in the great Kiwi circus, the show must always go on.]


The Tax Cut Tease

./img/tax_cuts.jpg Tax cuts, the real stars of the show.

Oh, what a thrilling tale of government achievements! The Finance Minister, Nicola Willis, was asked if the Kiwis were better off, and her brilliant response? Tax cuts! Sure, they haven't happened yet, but details, details. Who needs tangible benefits when you can have promises?

Then enters the charismatic Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon, with the same dazzling act. Tax cuts, fuel tax scrap, Reserve Bank changes - it's like a magic show, but without any actual tricks pulled off yet. Maybe they're saving the grand finale for their next election campaign?

Let's not forget the groundbreaking move of changing the Reserve Bank mandate. Only a month in, and voila! Inflation takes a tiny dip, proving once and for all that quick legislative changes can totally reshape the economic landscape. Well, maybe not.

And who could overlook the heartwarming concern for renters? National believes property perks will eventually benefit them, like a fairy godmother transforming pumpkins into castles. But hey, the clock hasn't struck midnight yet, so no relief for the renters.

But wait, there's more! The government plans to index benefits to inflation, ensuring beneficiaries stay in step with the slowest of economic dances. Who wouldn't want to be worse off than they would have been without these thoughtful changes?

And the Auckland Regional Fuel tax - a true hero in this saga. It's getting axed, but don't rush to the pumps just yet, Aucklanders. You'll have to wait until June to cash in those whopping 11.5 cents per litre savings. What a time to be alive!

Let's not forget the unexpected rego hike, a delightful surprise gift from the government. An extra $50 a year for the pleasure of driving, phased in slowly like a bad plot twist. But hey, who needs consistency when you can have a rollercoaster of surprises?

In the end, the only real triumph seems to be the reversal of the 'ute tax.' Hooray for new ute owners, or not. They're just less worse off, and EV enthusiasts lose their subsidy. But hey, it's the little victories that count, right?

So, as we eagerly await May's budget for the grand reveal of those tax cuts, let's all hold our breath and hope for the best. After all, who needs concrete results when you can have political rhetoric and unfulfilled promises?

#Incompetence #Finance

The Police Pay Paradox

./img/police.jpg The police, waiting for their pay raise.

So, picture this: the police force is feeling a bit like they've been stood up on a date. After rejecting a 4% pay raise last September, they get handed the same offer on a silver platter this Friday. It's like déjà vu, but without the fun.

The Government's reasoning? Oh, just the classic "tough economic times" excuse, as if that's going to butter up their bread. Meanwhile, across the Tasman Sea, Australia is waving wads of cash at Kiwi cops like they're celebrities at a nightclub.

Now, instead of sipping their coffee and grumbling in private, the police are considering making some noise. They're talking about industrial action, which is like saying, "Hey, Government, we're not just going to sit here and twiddle our thumbs while you shortchange us!"

But here's the kicker: it's illegal for cops to strike. So, they're getting creative. They might just go all out with a "work to rule" tactic. Imagine police officers suddenly becoming sticklers for rules, refusing to work overtime, and taking every mandated break like clockwork. It's like watching a workplace sitcom unfold in real life.

And the Government's latest offer? Let's just say it's about as welcome as a cold shower on a winter morning. They're offering a $5000 raise but cutting down on vacation days and axing compensation for last-minute calls to duty. It's like being given a shiny penny while having your piggy bank raided.

The morale in the force? Well, let's just say it's lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut. Some officers are so fed up they're eyeing the exit signs, either heading for the greener pastures of Australia or scouting out new career paths like they're on a job hunt reality show.

But fear not, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon assures us they'll still deliver on their promise of 500 new police officers by 2026. Although, with Aussie states dangling fat paychecks in front of them, it's like trying to keep the cookie jar full while the neighbors are handing out free candy.

In the end, it's a classic tale of David versus Goliath, with the police trying to negotiate their way out of an economic pickle while the Government plays hardball. Let's just hope they all end up laughing about it over a pint at the pub.

#Incompetence #Ideology

David's Wild Ride

./img/seymour_bike.jpg David Seymour, the fearless cyclist.

Oh, dear David Seymour, the man who not only navigates the treacherous political landscape but also attempts daring stunts on electric bikes. In a riveting episode of "David's Wild Ride," our fearless ACT Party leader recently had a near escape from gravity's clutches.

Picture this: David, clad in his political armor, careening down Parnell Road on his trusty electric steed. Alas, a fierce oncoming car disrupted this noble journey. In a display of unparalleled athleticism, Seymour decided to perform an impromptu cartwheel over the handlebars. Bravo, sir, bravo!

But the drama didn't end there. As our hero lay on the cold, unforgiving asphalt, he found himself not only battling shock and a sore wrist but also facing the wrath of a cheeky bystander with a camera. In a British accent, this mysterious stranger proclaimed, "Sometimes you get exactly what you deserve." Classic British wisdom, isn't it?

And as if the road acrobatics weren't enough, our stuntman-turned-politician had to defend himself against accusations of being an out-of-touch trust fund baby. Oh, the perils of being a two-wheeled crusader for ACT principles!

But fear not, dear David, for you're not alone in your vehicular misadventures. Simon Bridges, the Auckland Business Chamber's very own scooter maestro, graced the headlines earlier this year with his electric scooter escapades. It seems our political leaders are determined to master both the art of legislation and the physics of electric transport.

So here's to you, David Seymour, the unsung hero of Parnell Road, bravely pedaling through the pitfalls of both bike lanes and political debates. May your rides be smooth, your brakes forgiving, and your British critics silenced by the wind in your helmeted hair. Until the next episode of "David's Wild Ride" – stay upright!


The Political Circus

./img/luxon.jpg Mug

Oh, the adventures of Christopher Luxon, our dear Prime Minister! This week, the man of the hour decided to treat himself to a sweet $52,000 taxpayer-funded accommodation allowance. Because who needs to live in their mortgage-free Wellington apartment when you can milk the system, am I right?

But fear not, loyal citizens, for Luxon quickly realized he was becoming the star of a political sitcom and promptly gave back the cash. It's like a plot twist where the protagonist realizes they've stepped into a puddle of political quicksand and desperately tries to wriggle out.

In the midst of this riveting drama, we also witnessed the Air Force 757 having yet another maintenance meltdown. Luxon had to ditch the glamorous government plane and sprint to catch a commercial flight. Oh, the glamorous life of a world leader!

But wait, there's more! The government decided to spice things up with a controversial bill, fast-tracking consents without bothering with pesky things like public input. Because who needs the opinions of the people when ministers can play environmental superheroes with their extraordinary powers?

And just when you thought the week couldn't get any wackier, a $50 rego fee hike came crashing into the scene. It's like discovering an unexpected charge on your credit card statement – a surprise no one asked for, but here it is, courtesy of the government.

In the grand finale, Luxon and Transport Minister Simeon Brown took the stage to announce a $70 billion spending spree on roads. Because who needs fresh ideas when you can revive the classics? Potholes, rejoice, for your time has come!

As the curtain falls on this week's political circus, we're left wondering what absurdities next week will bring. Will Luxon discover a secret underground lair beneath Premier House, or will the Air Force 757 finally get its act together? Stay tuned for the next episode of "As the Politics Turn"!


The Hypocrisy of Premier House

./img/houses.jpg Christopher Luxon's property empire.

Oh, gather 'round, folks! The revelation of Christopher Luxon, the wizard of Wellington real estate, claiming a $52,000 accommodation supplement while juggling a mortgage-free home collection has set the stage for the latest episode of "Hypocrisy in the Beehive."

Luxon, the proud owner of not one, not two, but seven properties – because why settle for just a mortgage-free house when you can have a whole mortgage-free empire – has been caught dipping his well-shod feet into the taxpayer-funded honey pot. A $31,000 allowance for MPs who temporarily forget where their primary residence is, apparently wasn't enough for the man with a penchant for property.

But wait, there's more! Luxon, the self-proclaimed warrior against wasteful spending, is now facing more pressure than a balloon at a porcupine convention. The same guy who campaigned on slashing public service expenses is now doing a tap dance on the line of contradiction, claiming a subsidy that's higher than the annual salary of your average minimum wage earner.

And what's the excuse this time? Premier House, the official residence, apparently has "long-standing maintenance issues," and our property tycoon extraordinaire prefers the comfort of his own abode. Never mind the fact that taxpayers might be a bit miffed about shelling out cash for his living expenses while he's leading a campaign for fiscal responsibility.

To renovate or not to renovate, that is the question. Luxon, caught in the crossfire of public scrutiny, is holding off on deciding whether to fix up Premier House. Perhaps he's waiting for a sale at the DIY store – gotta be fiscally responsible, you know.

In the grand tradition of political double-speak, Luxon now faces the Herculean task of explaining why it's perfectly acceptable to snatch taxpayer cash while simultaneously declaring an end to the days of the public being treated like a "bottomless ATM." Ah, the sweet symphony of political irony – it's almost poetic, isn't it?

#Incompetence #Hypocrisy

The Economy Comedy Caper

./img/economy.jpg The economy, doing its best to stay afloat.

In the comedy caper of Kiwi Finance Funnies, Finance Minister Nicola Willis is backing up Prime Minister Christopher Luxon's claim that the economy is more fragile than a soap bubble at a porcupine party.

Luxon, in his grand State of the Nation address, declared a mission to rebuild the economy, restore law and order, and presumably teach schools and hospitals how to tap dance. He warned of tough choices ahead, signaling an end to the "free ride" – probably the only ride anyone's been on lately with skyrocketing interest rates.

Willis chimed in, saying the country's been in a two-year-long cost-of-living crisis, dealing with interest rates so high even banks are getting nosebleeds. Now, unemployment's looking to join the party, making the outlook for growth lower than a limbo stick at a sloth convention.

To make matters worse, Luxon threw shade at the previous government, claiming they left behind a $200 billion spending hole. That's a financial pit so deep, even Mary Poppins would think twice before jumping in.

Willis, armed with Standard and Poor's recent AA+ rating and OECD median debt stats, cautioned that "careful choices" needed to be made. It's like telling the country's finances, "Hold my coffee; I've got this."

In the never-ending saga of political promises, Luxon pledged to be "straight up" about the economy's fragility. Meanwhile, Willis hinted at revealing hard targets in a Budget Policy Statement on March 27 – a document likely filled with more suspense than a thriller novel.

The opposition, led by Chris Hipkins, accused Luxon and his National party of exaggerating economic woes to escape tax cut promises. It's like calling someone out for promising a unicorn when all they've got is a donkey in a party hat.

As the government plans for welfare reform, Hipkins warned against sanctions, suggesting more carrot, less stick, and a sprinkle of magic beans to help people into sustainable employment. Greens co-leader Marama Davidson joined the chorus, rejecting the narrative that beneficiaries are lazy, and proposing radical tax reform – because who doesn't love a good radical tax reform in a Kiwi comedy?

Stay tuned for the next episode of Kiwi Finance Funnies, where numbers dance, promises prance, and the economy tries not to trip over its own shoelaces!

#Incompetence #Finance

The Work Check-In Drama

./img/jobseekers.jpg Jobseekers, time for your work check-ins!

In the latest episode of "Welfare Reform Reality Show," Minister Louise Upston has unveiled the government's plan to give jobseekers more check-ins than your nosy neighbor. They're calling it the "work check-ins," where even your pet rock might need to explain its employment prospects.

Upston, not one to shy away from the spotlight, announced these moves alongside Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, proving that welfare reform is the hottest topic since avocado toast. Luxon, armed with financial math that's probably more complex than my attempts at assembling IKEA furniture, claims that a young person lounging on a benefit could cost taxpayers a cool million. Cue gasps and dramatic music.

The group check-ins, estimated to be about 2500 a month, will apparently be the first step in a welfare monitoring extravaganza. And of course, it comes with a price tag - a mere $1.2 million a year, because who said accountability comes cheap?

But wait, there's more! Upston is cooking up a comprehensive benefit sanctions feast that includes mandatory reapplications, community-provided job coaching, and a traffic light system. Because nothing says "get a job" like a red light, right?

However, Upston is quick to assure that those on sole parent or supported living benefits can keep sipping their tea peacefully – this drama is for the job seekers. She's not about to mess with those on the "supported living payment," which, in this tale, seems like the VIP lounge of benefits.

In her closing statement, Upston declares that they're taking "early action" to break the chains of welfare dependency. It's a reality show that promises suspense, surprises, and perhaps a touch of bureaucratic comedy. Will the jobseekers rise to the challenge, or will the welfare system get a makeover? Stay tuned for the next installment of "Welfare Reform Reality Show," where the government attempts to turn jobseekers into jobkeepers!


The Tax Bracket Tango

./img/tax_brackets.jpg Tax brackets, the real stars of the show.

Terry Baucher, our tax wizard, is throwing shade at the government's fiscal plans. According to him, the government's signals are so mixed, they're starting to resemble a GPS navigating through a maze.

Baucher spills the tea, suggesting that the government might have to cut more corners than a coupon enthusiast to deliver promised tax relief. A Treasury briefing adds to the drama, whispering about the need for "substantial fiscal consolidation" – sounds like someone left the financial oven on too long.

But wait, there's more! Baucher unveils the mysterious concept of "fiscal drag" or bracket creep, making it sound like a villainous plot twist. Apparently, the $48,000 tax threshold is the Justin Bieber of tax rates – stuck in 2010 and desperately needing a glow-up.

National enters the scene with promises to adjust these tax brackets, but it's like waiting for a sequel that keeps getting delayed. Baucher suggests that bracket creep changes should be programmed and inflation-adjusted – because, you know, transparency is the superhero this financial fiasco needs.

In this episode of "Budget Bloopers," will the government's fiscal acrobatics leave everyone laughing or crying? Stay tuned as Baucher navigates the maze of fiscal mayhem, making sure the lowest income earners aren't left holding the bag in this tax-rate rollercoaster!

#Incompetence #Finance

Luxon's Festival Frolics

./img/big_gay_out.jpg Big Gay Out, the festival of surprises.

In the latest episode of "Luxon's Grand Festival Adventure," our Prime Minister decided to take a detour at the Big Gay Out festival in Auckland. With enthusiasm matching a kid in a candy store, Luxon confidently declared his love for the event, claiming last year's visit was a smashing success.

However, the festival turned into a rollercoaster ride when Luxon found himself facing a different kind of rainbow – one made of protesters expressing their feelings about trans rights and the situation in Gaza. It's like going to a party and realizing you accidentally crashed the wrong bash.

As Luxon navigated through the festival grounds, protesters created a mobile entourage, chanting "free Palestine" and "blood on your hands." Talk about a lively parade – not exactly the celebratory atmosphere he had in mind.

After a morning of defending the government's stance on sexuality education changes, Luxon faced a heated confrontation, with at least one person getting up close and personal. It's the kind of drama you'd expect from a reality TV show, but this time, it's politics at the Big Gay Out.

In response to concerns about changes to sexuality education guidelines, Luxon assured everyone that sex education would remain in schools, but with a twist. He emphasized age-appropriateness and the need for parental involvement, turning the curriculum into a family-friendly feature.

As Luxon exits stage left, leaving behind the echoes of "free Palestine," one can't help but wonder if this unexpected festival adventure will be a highlight reel or a blooper in his political journey. Stay tuned for more episodes of "Luxon's Festival Frolics," where every visit is a surprise, and the unexpected is just a protest away!


The Budgeting Circus

./img/poor_child.jpg The real winners of the tax cuts.

In a stunning display of fiscal acrobatics, the National-ACT-NZ First Government recently pulled off the tax-cut tightrope act, but the catch? They seem to be using kids in poverty as the safety net. In a move that makes budgeting look like a circus performance, they hastily switched benefit indexation from wages to prices, hoping to save a whopping $670 million over four years.

Now, I'm no financial wizard, but that's less than a third of the $2 billion they were aiming for. It's like trying to buy a Ferrari on a bicycle budget. Social Development Minister Louise Upston chimed in, saying this shift would encourage people off benefits. Because apparently, nothing says "get a job" like potentially throwing 13,000 kids into poverty.

And hold your laughter, because they used parliamentary urgency for this spectacle. It's as if they shouted, "Quick, before anyone notices!" while juggling economic decisions like flaming torches.

In the grand finale, the government now faces a $4.33 billion shortage for its tax cuts. Bravo! Labour, of course, is ready to paint this as a magical act of pulling tax cuts out of the poverty hat. Who knew fiscal irresponsibility could be this entertaining? Step right up, folks, the circus of budgeting wonders is in town!

#Incompetence #Finance

Ferry Follies

./img/new_ferries.jpg The new ferry that might not be new anymore.

In the latest episode of "Ferry Follies," KiwiRail is in a pickle, contemplating canceling its overseas ferry-building extravaganza because, well, the government isn't feeling too generous with the cash. It's like planning a grand party, but the budget committee just burst the balloon.

In a statement that probably took several cups of coffee and maybe a therapy kitten to write, KiwiRail spills the tea about starting discussions with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) to break up their $555 million ferry-building relationship. It's like a high-stakes breakup, but with more zeros.

The government, unimpressed with the funding request for new ferries and upgraded ports, decided to play the financial tough love card. Now KiwiRail is stuck between a rock and a ferry place, unable to proceed without the government's piggy bank.

But fear not, for the government plans to appoint a Ministerial Advisory Group to contemplate the future of Cook Strait connections. It's like asking your friends for relationship advice, only this time it involves massive sea vessels.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Union is throwing shade at the government, calling the funding denial a taxpayer dollar waste. They're wondering aloud about the breakup penalties and whether KiwiRail might end up paying millions just to cancel the ship orders – a breakup fee for ferries, if you will.

The union's national secretary, Craig Harrison, is warning of potential ferry fiascos, suggesting that buying secondhand ships might be a more expensive and sub-optimal option. It's like opting for a used car when you had your eyes on a shiny new one – except this car is a massive floating vessel.

So, stay tuned for the next installment of "Ferry Follies," where KiwiRail navigates the stormy seas of budget woes, breakup negotiations, and the eternal quest for the perfect ferry match. Will the ships set sail or be stuck in dry dock? Only time, and maybe a few more government meetings, will tell.

#Incompetence #Finance

The Luxon Encore: A Masterclass in Déjà Vu

./img/luxon.jpg Christopher Luxon, the visionary leader.

Oh, what a riveting display of originality from Luxon, the master of eloquence! First, a profound moment of unity with a prayer, because nothing says "I'm a visionary leader" like quoting Bible verses. Then, the pièce de résistance - a groundbreaking team photo cut short, followed by a masterclass in dodging the media like a seasoned pro.

Luxon, the oratorical genius, treating us to the same script as last year. It's like he discovered the copy-and-paste feature on his speechwriting app and decided, "Why bother with fresh material when I can recycle the hits?" And when confronted about this literary deja vu, his response? "We've got some great work to do." Ah, yes, the work of Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V, truly groundbreaking.

But fear not, dear citizens, for the Labour leader is here to point out the obvious: Luxon still thinks he's in campaign mode. Someone needs to remind him that he's not just wooing National Party voters; he's the Prime Minister now, allegedly leading the entire country. Yet, Luxon, in his infinite wisdom, preferred the Crown car escape route over engaging with the masses at Waitangi.

What a spectacle! Luxon, the visionary leader, walking in the footsteps of his past self, avoiding questions like a pro, and proving that in the grand theater of politics, some things never change – especially the speeches. Encore, Luxon, encore!


Down Under The Corporate Veil: Luxon's Airborne Governance, Costello's Affordable Smoke Signals, and Jones' Oceanic Odyssey

./img/jones_and_luxon.jpg Christopher Luxon (right), the CEO of New Zealand.

In a groundbreaking political twist that has left Kiwis scratching their heads and checking their boarding passes, Christopher Luxon, the former CEO of Air New Zealand, is now at the helm of the country, or is it the cockpit? Confusion reigns supreme as Luxon, who seems to be suffering from a severe case of corporate amnesia, continues to refer to New Zealand as if it were just another business venture.

During a recent press conference, Luxon accidentally declared, "We need to increase shareholder value by investing in education and healthcare." He quickly corrected himself, but not before the nation collectively wondered if they were now stocks on the New Zealand Exchange.

Meanwhile, in a bizarre move that has public health advocates gasping for breath, Associate Health Minister Casey Costello is allegedly pushing for more affordable cigarettes. Leaked documents reveal her secret agenda, but Costello vehemently denies any such intention. In a classic case of smoke and mirrors, Costello insists, "I'm just exploring options for economic stimulation. Tobacco just happens to be a very lucrative market."

Critics argue that her economic stimulation plan might end up stimulating a surge in smoking-related diseases. When questioned about the leaked evidence, Costello responded, "Leaks? Oh, you must be referring to the humid weather in Wellington. Very unpredictable."

On the other side of the political spectrum, New Zealand First MP Shane Jones is championing a cause that would make Captain Ahab cringe. In an effort to save jobs, Jones wants to block marine conservation efforts and continue bottom trawling, claiming it's the only way to keep the ship of the economy afloat. He explained, "Our oceans are like a big, mysterious bowl of seafood soup. We can't let it get cold; we need to stir things up!"

Environmentalists argue that Jones' metaphorical soup is turning into a toxic stew of overfishing and habitat destruction, but Jones remains undeterred. "We need to embrace the chaos in the ocean to save the livelihoods of those brave sailors on the trawlers. It's a salty sacrifice, but someone has to make it."

In the midst of this political circus, James Shaw, Co-leader of the Green Party, has resigned without offering a clear reason. Sources close to Shaw suggest that the incessant absurdity of New Zealand politics has finally taken its toll on the usually composed environmentalist. In his farewell address, Shaw stated, "I've decided to leave politics to spend more time tending to my garden. It seems more grounded than dealing with the garden of political absurdities that has sprouted in the Beehive."

As New Zealanders try to make sense of this political farce, one can't help but wonder if the country is destined for new heights or if it will simply be stuck in a holding pattern, waiting for the next CEO... er, Prime Minister, to announce the boarding call for a brighter future.


The Tobacco Tango

./img/luxon_and_sister.jpg Christopher Luxon, the tobacco-free Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has admitted that his sister-in-law is in cahoots with a tobacco company. Luxon, however, insists that their conversations are more tea-and-biscuits than smoke-filled rooms, claiming he's never once discussed tobacco policy over family dinners.

Meanwhile, Associate Health Minister Casey Costello is under scrutiny for sending cryptic notes on smoke-free laws and freezing tobacco taxes, all while doing a stellar impression of a forgetful goldfish, conveniently forgetting the origins of a document proposing a three-year tax hiatus. Health experts are now suggesting the government should be more transparent than a glass window in a fish tank about their ties to the tobacco industry.

As the pressure mounts, Luxon is confident that his sister-in-law's tobacco tangos are no cause for concern. In a statement, he reassured the public, "Yes, she works for a tobacco company. No, we don't chat about smoky affairs. I've checked the Cabinet Manual, and I'm pretty sure I haven't accidentally turned New Zealand into a tobacco-sponsored reality show. Yet."

#Incompetence #Health

The Referendum That Never Was

./img/seymour.jpg David Seymour, the magician.

David Seymour seems to have a unique talent for recruiting deceased celebrities to his cause. First, he suggested Nelson Mandela would be an Act supporter, prompting Mandela's grandson to swiftly disagree. Then, Seymour claimed women's suffrage pioneer Kate Sheppard as an Act sympathizer, only to be corrected by the president of the National Council of Women. Undeterred, he proceeded to speak on behalf of chiefs who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840, confidently declaring they'd be voting Act today. However, Act's reinterpretation of the treaty seems as likely as finding a unicorn in a haystack. In a surprising twist, Seymour's grand plans for a referendum on Te Tiriti are met with skepticism and eye-rolls from various quarters. Some even argue that Act's strategy involves offering fake Treaty principles, hoping for civil unrest, and then accusing National of siding with radicals. It's a political circus, but the call to toss this referendum idea into the dustbin of history echoes louder than a skeptical spectator at a magic show.

#Incompetence #Ideology

The Price is Right, but Only for Tobacco

./img/cigarette.jpg Both Casey Costellos.

In the magical land of tobacco regulation, where common sense takes a vacation, we meet Casey Costello, New Zealand First's Associate Health Minister, who seems to have more ideas than a brainstorming session at a caffeinated unicorn convention.

Casey's grand plan? Well, hold onto your nicotine patches, because she's suggesting a three-year freeze on inflating cigarette prices. Yes, you heard that right. In a world where everything seems to get pricier, Casey wants to put cigarettes in a cozy bubble, shielding them from the harsh realities of inflation.

But when confronted with this brilliant proposal in an interview, Casey pulled a Houdini. "I haven't looked at a freeze on the excise at all," she declared. Oh, really? RNZ, armed with the smoking gun (pun intended), uncovered a Ministry of Health document revealing Casey's freeze-fest plans. Whoopsie daisy!

In a plot twist that even seasoned sitcom writers would envy, Casey, despite signing off on the freeze in December, conveniently claimed, "I've had no discussions on that at all." Maybe she was too busy trying to find a loophole in the nicotine matrix.

While Casey juggled her contradictions like a circus performer, Professor Janet Hoek stepped in with the voice of reason, arguing that freezing tobacco prices would make them as untouchable as a museum exhibit. She suggested helping people quit instead of treating tobacco like the diva of consumer goods.

In a world where smoking rates drop faster than hot potatoes when prices go up, it seems Casey might be staging a solo act in the comedy of tobacco regulation. The Cabinet paper from 2020, featuring insights from Ernst & Young, reminds us that increasing tobacco prices is the real MVP in the battle against smoking. So, in this theater of the absurd, will Casey's freeze frame make it to the final act, or will the audience demand a plot twist? Stay tuned for the next episode of "The Price is Right, but Only for Tobacco."

#Incompetence #Health

The Three-Headed Taniwha

./img/taniwha.jpg The three-headed taniwha.

Politicians at the Rātana celebration faced more scrutiny than a detective with a magnifying glass. The annual event featured watermelon floaters, fried bread, and a brass band that doesn't discriminate—politicians get the same cheery beat. Children also played the role of equalizers, shouting things like "Yo Christopher" and questioning hair whereabouts.

The political drama unfolded with the National/NZ First/ACT government being compared to a three-headed taniwha, drawing boos and ridicule. Even the usually unflappable Winston Peters got a taste of the booing medicine. Amidst the chaos, Christopher Luxon vowed to honor the Treaty of Waitangi but left room for speculation, reminiscent of his non-committal stance on working with Winston Peters in the past.

Rahui Papa, a spokesperson for the Kingitanga, stole the applause with his challenges to the government, especially regarding potential meddling with the Treaty. Luxon's commitment to honor the Treaty was met with cautious optimism, but the absence of a categorical rejection of ACT's Treaty principles bill left some feeling like they were in the midst of a political déjà vu.

Winston Peters delivered a speech that felt like a greatest hits album, complete with jabs at Labour and comedic relief despite the jeers. Meanwhile, Chris Hipkins fired a political bazooka, accusing the current government of encouraging racism and earning the title of "enemy of Māori."

As Rātana marked the unofficial start of the political year, politicians found themselves under a magnifying glass, with Waitangi looming as the next stop in the Māori event trifecta. With differences among government parties on Treaty principles, Luxon assured everyone of "massive alignment," leaving the Prime Minister with a week and a half to ponder just how much Māori rights matter before facing the storm at Waitangi.


The Electoral Review: A Political Magic Show

./img/goldsmith.jpg Paul Goldsmith, the spoiler.

In a move that could rival a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat (but with less applause), Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith unveiled the final report of the Independent Electoral Review while simultaneously giving the thumbs down to some of its juiciest suggestions.

Picture this: the review, commissioned in 2022, was like the electoral system's very own makeover session, with a panel of experts attempting to spruce things up. It received more submissions than an ice cream truck on a scorching day – over 7,500 of them. The interim report dropped in June, featuring bold ideas like lowering the voting age to 16, giving the party vote threshold a trim, and throwing a referendum party to decide on the length of the parliamentary term.

But, hold your laughter, because the final report kept those recommendations like leftovers in the fridge – still there, but probably not getting the attention they deserve. As for the government's response, it's the political version of keeping your crush on read – yet to be formally released.

In a press release that likely had the gravity of a clown car, Goldsmith played the role of spoiler, declaring that the government won't be hopping on board with some of the flashier suggestions. Sorry, population growth, you won't be getting more MPs. Prisoners, no voting privileges for you. And 16-year-olds, you'll have to wait a bit longer for your electoral debut.

So, as the curtain falls on the Independent Electoral Review, it leaves us with a mix of excitement and disappointment – like finding out the magic show didn't have real unicorns but still had a few card tricks up its sleeve. Stay tuned for the next political drama, where the real magic might just be in making everyone agree on something.


The Political Circus

./img/gandalf.jpg Gandalf, the political GPS.

In the land of the long white cloud, also known as New Zealand, the political circus is in full swing. Christopher Luxon, the self-proclaimed Prime Minister for all, seems to have misunderstood the concept of "all" and is primarily focused on his fellow landlords, the wealthy, the healthy, and those fluent in English. His policies have been so exclusive that even Santa Claus is considering relocating his toy factory to Australia.

Nicola Wills, the Finance Minister, recently presented a mini mini budget that was more like a budget snack – not enough money for the promised tax cuts, leaving citizens wondering if they accidentally stumbled into an episode of a budgeting reality show hosted by a financially challenged leprechaun.

Shane Jones from coalition partner New Zealand First is a man of contradictions. While introducing numerous funds to combat climate change, he now denies the very existence of climate change, speaking in weird metaphors that have left scientists scratching their heads and wondering if they accidentally stumbled into a poetry recital instead of a climate change debate.

David Seymour from ACT, another coalition partner, has been uncharacteristically silent lately. Some suspect he's gone on a silent meditation retreat to find inner peace or perhaps just to avoid being associated with the chaos unfolding in the government. Rumor has it he's communicating solely through interpretive dance until further notice.

As for Chris Hipkins, leader of the opposition, he seems to have taken a leaf out of David Seymour's book. After losing the election three months ago, he has been on an extended vacation, leaving his party in the capable hands of an enthusiastic intern who accidentally refers to the opposition as "the backup singers."

In this comedic saga of Kiwi politics, the only thing certain is that the nation is in dire need of a political GPS to navigate through the absurdity. Perhaps they should consider hiring Gandalf – he's great with maps, and at least he knows a thing or two about navigating through unexpected journeys.


Education: The Sequel

./img/stanford-teaching.jpg Erica Stanford teaching the new curriculum.

In the thrilling sequel to the 2023 election saga, the new government is unveiling changes to education that have experts scratching their heads and teachers practicing their best poker faces.

First up, the relationship and sexuality education guidelines are getting the boot. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters wants to kick "gender ideology" out of schools, leaving us all wondering if textbooks will now be filled with relationship advice from Gandalf. The timeline for this radical shift is as clear as mud, but Education Minister Erica Stanford assures us that the funding will come from the magical realm of existing education funds.

Next on the curriculum catwalk, charter schools are making a comeback. State-funded but privately run, these schools are like the rebels of the education world, setting their own rules and curriculum. It's like giving schools a backstage pass to the education concert. When will they return, you ask? Well, Education Minister Stanford is still in talks with the ACT Party, probably negotiating whether charter schools get their own theme music.

In a surprising move, primary and intermediate schools are about to become the gym rats of academia, pumping an hour of reading, writing, and maths into their daily routine. It's not a strict one-hour boot camp; they just need to average it out, ensuring every kid gets their literary and numerical gains. Annual tests will be the new report card flex, tracking students' progress in the educational weightlifting competition.

Last but not least, the government plans to give New Zealand's histories curriculum a makeover. ACT wants to bring back balance, claiming the current curriculum is too focused on colonization and has a left-wing narrative. We're left wondering if history class will now include a debate between Captain Cook and a Māori navigator, moderated by a time-traveling kiwi bird.

In this education rollercoaster, one thing is clear – the government is rewriting the textbook of hilariously questionable decisions, leaving us all to wonder if they skipped the class on common sense.

#Incompetence #Education

Mini mini mini budget

./img/willis-bbq.jpg You can spend your tax cut on a sausage!

Nicola Willis strutted in fashionably late at 12.06pm, unleashing her inner fashionista with a pink pantsuit that screamed, "Move over, Grant Robertson, the shade queen has arrived!" She sprinkled her speech with gems like "fiscal cliffs" and accused Robertson of committing "fiscal vandalism" and engaging in "economic mismanagement" – basically, she threw more shade than a forest in winter.

In the budget itself, Willis pulled a rabbit out of her pink hat, claiming $7.4 billion in savings by keeping campaign promises. Homeowners rejoiced as tax cuts rolled in, thanks to the bright-line test doing the moonwalk back to two years. However, the big mystery remained: How would National fund those promised tax cuts? It seems Willis is still playing hide-and-seek with the money.

When asked if she had any groundbreaking announcements, Willis boldly declared, "Yes, I’m announcing that an era of economic mismanagement is over." Spoiler alert: It's not.

The real nail-biter was what to call the budget. The folder screamed "MINI BUDGET 2023," but Willis insisted it was the "mini-mini-mini budget" – basically, the Shrinky Dink of budgets. Robertson dubbed it a "nothingburger," and even James Shaw couldn't come up with a snarky name, leaving him flustered and nameless.

As the day unfolded, the blame game continued, with Willis blaming the previous government for everything wrong with the economy, and Labour tossing dirt about lack of details. In the parliamentary circus, Willis unintentionally brought the house down, claiming, "What New Zealanders care about is the size of the sausage, not how it’s delivered," prompting laughter and facepalms all around.

Exiting the political stage, Willis sealed the budget's fate, declaring it forever known as the "sausage budget." Move over, economic theories – it's time for a sizzling budgetary bratwurst!

#Incompetence #Finance

A Kiwi Tango: Taxpayer-Funded Linguistics and Sausage Shenanigans

./img/hipkins-peters-tango.jpg Opposition leader Chris Hipkins and deputy PM Winston Peters give a masterclass in political tango – two left feet and a whirlwind of nostalgia!

In the vibrant political landscape of New Zealand, a cast of characters brought a touch of absurdity to the otherwise serious affairs of the nation.

At the forefront stood Christopher Luxon, the Prime Minister who managed to convince taxpayers to finance his te reo lessons. Luxon, a man of contradictions, advocated for personal responsibility when it came to education expenses for others but conveniently embraced public funding for his own linguistic endeavors. With a property portfolio that rivaled a Monopoly board, Luxon deftly passed laws favoring landlords, all while expressing a curious lack of consideration for the rental struggles faced by his own constituents.

Enter Nicola Willis, the Finance Minister with a penchant for peculiar metaphors. She recently unveiled a "mini mini mini budget" that left citizens wondering if it was a financial roadmap or a whimsical crossword puzzle. Despite promises of imminent tax cuts, the budget's savings were as scarce as a Kiwi bird sighting in downtown Auckland. In press conferences, Willis raised eyebrows with her seemingly unrelated references to sausages and holes, leaving journalists hungry for answers.

On the opposition front, Chris Hipkins, the leader of the opposition, wore a perpetual expression of disbelief at the government's antics. "It's like watching a dance between chaos and confusion," he remarked, highlighting the sheer absurdity of Luxon's policies and Willis's culinary comparisons.

Meanwhile, the nation's deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, seemed to be navigating a maze of nostalgia. His ramblings about the simplicity of bygone political eras left everyone pondering whether he was reminiscing about a distant past or the previous week's cabinet meeting.

As the political tango unfolded, Kiwis found themselves caught between laughter and exasperation. Luxon's te reo lessons, sausage anecdotes, and nostalgic ramblings created a surreal spectacle, prompting citizens to question whether their leaders were addressing serious issues or orchestrating an elaborate comedy routine. In the dance of taxpayer-funded linguistics and sausage shenanigans, the Kiwi political stage had become a theater of the absurd.


The Irony Chronicles: Tales from the Beehive

./img/tesla.jpg Also no more EV rebates for you, peasants!

Get ready for the spectacular saga of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, the master of contradictions! Luxon, the staunch advocate for fiscal responsibility, finds himself entangled in the intricate web of his own te reo Māori drama.

In a jaw-dropping plot twist, Luxon, who once pointed fingers at taxpayer-funded language lessons, conveniently omitted the fact that his own Māori tutorials were generously sponsored by none other than the taxpayers themselves! Ah, the sweet symphony of irony! It appears the "real world" Luxon referred to exists in a parallel universe where politicians foot the bill for their own endeavors.

But fret not, for Luxon isn't alone in this theater of absurdity. The Taxpayers Union, that stalwart defender of financial virtue, has declared that Luxon should graciously reimburse the public coffers for his linguistic escapades. After all, nothing quite says "lead by example" like repaying your own teach-yourself-Māori debt.

In an unexpected turn of events, Christopher Luxon, the unsung hero of Māori learners, garners commendation from Chris Hipkins. "Bravo, Luxon, for delving into the intricate world of Te Reo Māori," one can almost hear the applause.

However, the plot thickens as Luxon's government is accused of hypocrisy in a twist befitting a Shakespearean tragedy. "It's absolute hypocrisy for his government to then set about canceling the taxpayer subsidies he used to do so, thus denying others that same opportunity," declares Hipkins. The audience gasps, realizing they are witnessing a tragicomedy of the highest order.

And just when you think the drama has peaked, Hipkins plays the Tesla card. Luxon, the virtuoso of subsidy claims, caught red-handed canceling the scheme for others. The parallels drawn are nothing short of a satirical masterpiece: "It's a lot like claiming a subsidy for his new Tesla then canceling the scheme for others."

In this riveting saga, Luxon's commitment to te reo is likened to proclaiming oneself a fitness guru while covertly indulging in donuts. The hypocrisy is so thick you could spread it on toast.

As Luxon navigates the treacherous terrain of linguistic enlightenment, we eagerly await the next installment of "The Irony Chronicles: Tales from the Beehive." Stay tuned, dear audience, for in the realm of political theatrics, reality often delivers the best punchline.

#Hypocrisy #Ideology

As the Health Authority Dissolves

./img/maori-doctor.jpg "As future doctors, we are extremely conscious of the continued ways our health system is failing Māori."

"New Zealand's medical students are like, 'Hey Prime Minister Luxon, can we have a quick chat? We've penned you a letter, complete with doodles, asking you to reconsider breaking up with Te Aka Whai Ora, the Māori Health Authority. We, the future doctors, think it's a bad idea. But Health Minister Shane Reti responds with, 'Oh, don't worry, we're committed to the breakup, but like, respectfully.'
It's like watching a soap opera where the characters are doctors, politicians, and a health authority—it's got drama, commitment issues, and the occasional prescription for better health. Stay tuned for the next episode of 'As the Health Authority Dissolves.'"

#Incompetence #Health

The Minister and the Bike Lanes

./img/simeon.jpg The bike lane is going nowhere fast.

In a move that left local authorities scratching their heads and cycling advocates fuming, New Zealand's Transport Minister, Simeon Brown, hit the brakes on cycling and walking projects. In a letter resembling a plot twist in a sitcom, Brown declared the end of "wasting taxpayers' money on endless reports" about reducing car reliance. According to him, the era of telling people to drive less is over, and the new focus is on building a roading network for Kiwis to zoom around safely.

The minister's decree threw councils into confusion, with mayors desperately seeking clarity—because apparently, "stop" could mean anything from a brief pause to a full-blown cancellation. Meanwhile, opponents of a proposed $14 million cycleway celebrated, seeing it as a golden opportunity to go back to the people and shout a resounding "no" to the project. One councillor even argued that spending $17 million on a project to reduce emissions without proof of actual emission reduction is like buying a gym membership to lose weight without hitting the treadmill.

In the ongoing drama, Cycling Action Network's spokesperson, Patrick Morgan, chimed in, suggesting that the minister might have mistaken his role for a director yelling "cut" on a movie set. And with more than 40 councils eagerly applying for funding for safe cycling and walking, the stage is set for a comedy of errors in the world of New Zealand transportation. Will the cycleway get the green light, or will it be left in the dust of confusion and bureaucratic backpedaling? Stay tuned for the next episode of "The Minister and the Bike Lanes."

#Ideology #Environment

The Interislander: A Financial Ferry Tale

./img/willis-boat.jpg The Interislander Ferry is going nowhere fast.

In a plot twist that has union leaders reaching for their resignation-demanding pens, Finance Minister Nicola Willis played a high-stakes game of budgetary poker and abruptly folded on the Interislander upgrade project. KiwiRail, in a bold move, had gone all-in, requesting an additional $1.47 billion for their Inter-Island Resilient Connection (iReX) project.

The project, promising two shiny new rail-enabled ferries by 2026 to replace their current maritime headaches, had the previous government nodding in agreement, albeit with a cautious financial eye. However, Willis, now holding the financial reins, declared a cost blow-out crisis, asserting that the project's price tag had ballooned from $775 million to a jaw-dropping $3 billion since 2018.

In her defense, Willis argued that the spending resembled financing a Ferrari when all KiwiRail needed were reliable Toyota Corollas to navigate the Cook Strait. In a masterstroke of metaphor, she claimed that only a fraction of the budget was allocated to the much-anticipated ferries, leaving KiwiRail with a shiny, expensive sports car but no gas money.

Unfazed by the potential impact on ferry travel efficiency, Willis maintained that conceding to KiwiRail's financial pleas would handcuff the government's ability to address other pressing matters, like essential projects and the Crown's financial well-being. However, she insisted that the demise of the project wouldn't throw a wrench into the government's plans for tax cuts, leaving everyone to wonder if this was a bold financial strategy or just a game of budget bingo gone awry.

#Incompetence #Finance

Shane Jones: The Trump of New Zealand

./img/shane-coal.jpg Shane Jones, the Trump of New Zealand.

Shane Jones, New Zealand's own "Trump-in-training," has declared "war on nature" by announcing a mining comeback. He's ready to bid farewell to any critter, even a blind frog, that stands in the way of extracting rare earth minerals. According to Jones, if we don't dig up Mother Nature's treasures, we'll be plunged into blackouts, brownouts, and a power system lacking security—because apparently, coal and gas are the only saviors. In true Trump fashion, he wants a fast-track process with politicians in charge of decisions on aquaculture, mining, and more.

Catherine Delahunty, from the Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki, calls Jones "full Trump" and warns of war on conservation, biodiversity, and climate science. She urges the Prime Minister to rein him in before he wreaks havoc. Jones dismisses her as "shrill," defending his pro-mining stance and encouraging Kiwis to ditch Australia and find jobs in the "legitimate" industry of mining.

The saga continues from the previous Labour Government's promise to ban mining on conservation land. With New Zealand First back in the mix, the debate rages on, delayed by concerns over Ngāi Tahu's rights to mine pounamu and the tricky business of reclassifying stewardship land. Prime Minister Luxon promises a sensitive approach, balancing economic and environmental interests. Will this be a comedy or a tragedy?

#Ideology #Environment

Winston in Wonderland: A Conspiracy Odyssey

./img/winston-rabbit.jpg Winston Peters, the rabbit in the headlights.

Winston Peters, the great survivor, decided to take a curious journey down the rabbit hole of the "freedom movement." The movement, ranging from vaccine skeptics to full-blown conspiracy enthusiasts, welcomed him with open arms, much to the bewilderment of the rest of the political landscape.

Winston, having once danced with Jacinda Ardern during the Covid response, decided it was time to tango with the self-described "freedom truth-telling movement." Embracing them like a long-lost friend, he found himself at the mercy of the movement's charismatic figureheads, like Liz Gunn, a broadcaster turned conspiracy theorist leading the NZ Loyal Party.

In a bizarre turn of events, Winston pledged his allegiance to this eclectic group, thanking Reality Check Radio for helping him secure his political fortune. Little did he know that this decision would lead him down a path filled with outlandish claims, questionable characters, and a conspiracy-laden Wonderland.

The plot thickened when a frustrated health employee named Barry Young, armed with dubious vaccination data, sought refuge in the arms of misinformation peddlers. Even the giants of the antivax scene, Voices for Freedom and Chantelle Baker, rejected Young's claims. Yet, Winston found himself entangled in the web of this bizarre narrative, with accusations spreading like wildfire across the globe, amplified by notorious disinformation spreaders.

As Winston's star began to flicker in the fringe-right circles, the once-praised politician found himself dodging calls from the likes of Liz Gunn, who had gone to extraordinary lengths, even claiming to have visited Winston's house in an attempt to make him the hero of the freedom truth-telling movement.

But Wonderland had more in store for Winston. Counterspin, a conspiracy-riddled platform, called on tens of thousands to write to Peters, urging him to expose the deep state. The chorus of voices demanding Winston's loyalty grew louder, with figures like Lee Williams and Amy Benjamin joining the fray.

To make matters more surreal, Winston Peters was even name-dropped by the infamous Alex Jones, the man who claimed the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. Alex, in high spirits, declared Winston a key player in toppling the global corporate Blackrock fascist operation.

As the Wonderland saga unfolded, Winston found himself caught between a rock and a conspiracy. The once-heroic figure faced the dilemma of either embracing the freedom movement or risking becoming the villain. The rabbit hole proved deep, and Winston, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, wondered whether he truly wanted to be cheered or jeered by conspiracy theorists at ribbon-cutting ceremonies in rural New Zealand or diplomatic functions around the world.

Alas, in the Wonderland of conspiracy politics, once you go down the rabbit hole, there's no escaping the absurdity that follows.


Prescriptions and Politics

./img/luxon-drugs.jpg Luxon pretending to be a healthcare expert.

In the land of Kiwis and prescriptions, it's a battle of fees and frugality. The National party wants to bring back the $5 prescription fee, like it's the Beyoncé of healthcare costs. However, a poll shouts, "Hold on a minute!" with 86% of Kiwis doing the hokey-pokey for universal fees-free prescriptions.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, the maestro of money matters, argues that the wealthy shouldn't get a $5 discount on prescriptions. He's all about playing healthcare Tetris, moving funds around for cancer treatments like a financial wizard.

But when asked about the income eligibility for Community Services cards, Luxon seemed lost in the healthcare labyrinth. "I don't know off the top of my head," he admitted, leaving us to wonder if he knows where his head is at all.

Meanwhile, Breakfast presenter Matty McLean throws some shade on income criteria, revealing you can qualify for a card if you earn just over $33,000 a year. That's less than what some people spend on avocado toast, but hey, who needs breakfast when you have prescription fees to worry about?

Luxon, the financial maestro, reminds us that New Zealand isn't swimming in cash. He suggests ways to dodge the $5 fee, depending on your pharmacy's generosity. And for families, prescription fees have a cap at $100 a year – it's like a discount subscription for your health.

But the real plot twist? Luxon won't spill the beans on scrapping funding for Covid vaccinations, leaving that decision to Health Minister Shane Reti. So, in the epic saga of Kiwi prescriptions, the $5 fee might be making a comeback, but the real drama is whether we'll have to pay for our COVID shots. Stay tuned for the next episode of "Prescriptions and Politics."

#Ideology #Health

Kiwi Chaos: A Political Ballet

./img/ballet.jpg Luxon dancing the ballet of politics.

Act 1: The Luxon Legacy

(Scene: The Beehive, where Prime Minister Christopher Luxon is inaugurating his term)

Luxon: Ladies and gentlemen, I promise a new era for New Zealand! A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, and unlimited WiFi for all!

(Enter Chris Hipkins, leader of the opposition)

Hipkins: Unlimited WiFi? That's your grand vision? I can't even get a stable connection in my office!

Luxon: Well, if the opposition had its way, we'd be sending carrier pigeons with USB sticks!

Act 2: Tax Cuts and Thin Air

(Scene: Parliament debates on fiscal policy)

Willis: Tax cuts for everyone! It's simple math: less money for the government means more money in your pocket.

Hipkins: But where's the funding for these tax cuts? Are we supposed to pay with Monopoly money?

Willis: Details, details. We'll figure that out later. Maybe start a lemonade stand or something.

Act 3: The Unheard Advice

(Scene: Brooke van Velden's office)

Van Velden: Official advice? Who needs it? I make decisions based on my gut feelings and astrology charts. That's how you run a country!

(Enter an advisor, holding a stack of reports)

Advisor: Minister, the experts strongly recommend—

Van Velden: (waves hand dismissively) Save the paper. I have a crystal ball at home. Much more reliable.

Act 4: The Poetic Politician

(Scene: Shane Jones addressing the nation)

Jones: In the shimmering moonlight of Aotearoa's embrace, where the rivers dance and the mountains sing, let us ponder the kaleidoscope of destiny's tapestry.

Reporter: Mr. Jones, what does that even mean?

Jones: Ah, my friend, the river of knowledge flows in mysterious ways. I am but a humble vessel navigating its poetic currents.

Act 5: Not Anti-Maori, Just Pro-Confusion

(Scene: Shane Jones in a debate defending his stance)

Reporter: Mr. Jones, some say your rhetoric is hard to understand. Are you anti-Maori?

Jones: Nay, fair maiden! I am but a humble wordsmith, weaving linguistic rainbows. My intentions are as clear as a foggy morning in the Southern Alps.

Act 6: The Political Circus

(Scene: Parliament in chaos)

Luxon: Tax cuts for all, unlimited WiFi, and free magic carpets for the elderly!

Hipkins: This is madness! We can't run a country on wishes and whims!

Van Velden: Who needs advice when you have a lucky charm?

Jones: Behold the majesty of my words, like pebbles skipping across the pond of enlightenment!

(Chaos ensues as politicians juggle impractical promises, contradictory policies, and poetic speeches)

Curtain falls, leaving the audience to ponder the absurdity of the Kiwi political landscape.

#Satire #Coalition

The Minister of Workplace Relations: A Policy Pirouette

./img/brooke-experts.jpg Brooke van Velden, the Minister of Workplace Relations ignoring experts.

In a stunning display of legislative acrobatics, Minister for Workplace Relations, Brooke van Velden, has chosen to pirouette past expert advice, donning the blindfold of indifference and tiptoeing around the concerns of women, Maori, and young people. In a recent interview, she boldly declared, "I was elected to enact policies, not to indulge in the trivial pursuit of listening to those who actually know stuff. Who needs experts when you have a political compass and a penchant for unilateral decision-making?"

Van Velden's new policy, which has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer in a china shop, reportedly comes with a side dish of unintended consequences, particularly for the aforementioned groups. When confronted with expert opinions warning of potential harm, Van Velden, like a philosophical cat chasing its tail, seems content in her pursuit of policies over pesky details.

In an era where listening to experts is as fashionable as avocado toast, Van Velden's retro approach to policymaking is truly avant-garde. It's as if she's saying, "Why consult the map when you can proudly lead your constituents into the uncharted wilderness of policy chaos?"

Observers note that Van Velden's selective deafness to expert advice is a masterclass in political multitasking – she manages to both ignore crucial insights and perform a high-wire act on the tightrope of public opinion. Critics argue that this is the kind of bold leadership that can only come from a deep-seated conviction that the best policies are born from the echo chamber of one's own thoughts.

As the dust settles on Van Velden's policy spectacle, one can't help but marvel at the audacity of a minister who believes her election victory was a mandate to shut out the voices of reason. Perhaps, in this brave new world of governance, listening to constituents and heeding expert advice is just a quaint relic of a bygone era – a vintage notion best left to history books and well-adjusted democracies.

#Satire #Ideology

Watercare: The Financial Flood

./img/water-money.jpg Water is about to get a lot more expensive.

In a tragicomic twist, Auckland's Watercare rates are set to triple, leaving residents questioning their life choices. The culprit? Luxon's brilliant idea to repeal three waters, leaving Watercare financially high and dry—quite literally. Mayor Wayne Brown, in a late-night confessional, spilled the beans that the government's Three Waters repeal means water charges will skyrocket. To solve this aquatic apocalypse, he suggests an alternative model, probably involving unicorn tears and magic beans.

As if that weren't enough to drown your spirits, Watercare is in a debt straitjacket, unable to borrow enough to fix pipes that may outlast your great-grandchildren. The mayor wants Watercare to have a debt level that screams, "Hold my water bottle," reaching a whopping 500 percent of gross revenues. Apparently, internationally, drowning in debt is cool for water utilities, as they're considered too big to fail—unlike your dreams of affordable water.

However, Watercare is stuck in a soggy mess, as international ratings agencies see its debts as part of the council's, making lenders about as confident as a cat near water. So, Aucklanders, brace yourselves for the impending financial flood, brought to you by Luxon's Three Waters repeal—a comedy of errors that would make even the darkest stand-up routine blush.


The Leaky Cauldron: A Political Whodunit

./img/leaks-starting.jpg Luxon is confident in his Cabinet.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon exudes confidence in his Cabinet as a leak investigation unfolds. Newshub claims to have caught wind of a leaked Cabinet paper detailing the government's hasty Christmas plan to bid adieu to the Fair Pay Agreements legislation of yesteryear.

The leaked documents, revealing that Māori, Pacific People, women, and young folks were set to be the winners in the Fair Pay Agreements game, took a turn when Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden presented a contrasting view, labeling the agreements a 'blunt tool.'

Luxon, donning his PM cape, assured the public that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was on the case, investigating the leak faster than you can say "political intrigue."

"I have every confidence in my Cabinet," Luxon declared before entering a caucus meeting, leaving the punishment fate of the leaker in the hands of MBIE. Because, let's face it, leak investigations are the real MVPs of political dramas.

Luxon emphasized that while advice was welcomed, it was not mandatory for the government to follow it. Flexibility is key, he argued, echoing the sentiment that Fair Pay Agreements aren't the government's cup of tea.

Leader of the House Chris Bishop chimed in, downplaying the leak's significance, insisting that the government's fair pay repeal was hardly a covert operation. "We used to lord them over when we got leaks that actually meant something," Bishop reminisced, dismissing the leak's breathless reporting.

In a statement that may or may not be underscored by dramatic music, MBIE chief executive Carolyn Tremain confirmed the investigation's launch, promising a swift unraveling of this political whodunit.

#Incompetence #Coalition

Waka Kotahi: The English Saga

./img/willis-driving.jpg Willis driving the Waka Kotahi saga.

In a shocking turn of events, Finance Minister Nicola Willis reveals the groundbreaking news that calling yourself by your English name won't break the bank. Yes, you heard it right – it seems slapping 'New Zealand Transport Authority' on the Waka Kotahi name tag won't have the national budget crying for mercy.

In a move that's expected to shake the financial world to its core, Transport Minister Simeon Brown has issued a directive for Waka Kotahi to introduce itself in English first. Willis, the financial wizard of the National Party, seems pretty chill about the whole thing, confidently stating that the cost is as elusive as Bigfoot – no one knows for sure.

As for concerns about changing letterheads and signs, Willis trusts the public servants to flex their practicality and common sense muscles. Because, you know, who needs extravagant letterheads when you can have a practical and cost-effective one that screams, "We also answer to New Zealand Transport Authority"?

The government's grand plan to sprinkle some English on its department names has caused a bit of a stir, with protesters expressing their displeasure. In the midst of this linguistic turmoil, the Māori Language Commission seems to be taking it all in stride, assuring everyone that as long as Waka Kotahi keeps its te reo name, they're cool with it.

So, fear not, dear citizens, for the financial fabric of the nation remains intact, and the Waka Kotahi saga continues – now featuring a cameo by the English language, coming soon to a bureaucratic theater near you!


Mini mini mini budget

./img/willis.jpg 89 pages is a lot for a politician to read.

In the world of fiscal theatrics, Finance Minister Nicola Willis is prepping for a pre-Christmas Mini-Budget that's apparently more about setting the mood for fiscal policy than revealing the government's entire shopping list. Willis, with the finesse of a maestro, is downplaying expectations, leaving us all wondering if it's a fiscal symphony or just a teaser trailer.

Labour's finance spokesperson Grant Robertson has unleashed a counteroffensive against Finance Minister Nicola Willis' accusations of clandestine budget maneuvers. In a recent press rendezvous, Robertson, armed with rhetorical artillery, fired back, claiming Willis had blown the alleged budget secrecy out of proportion.

According to Robertson, Willis seems to have trouble distinguishing between a surprise party and the well-documented 2023 Budget. He boldly asserted that the short-term funding for projects like school lunches and cyber security, deemed suspect by Willis, was nothing more than a justified budgetary soiree.

In a moment of theatrical flair, Robertson waved the Budget document, pointing out page 89 like a seasoned detective revealing a crucial piece of evidence. He asserted that if Willis had paid more attention during her opposition days, she would have noticed the budget's transparency about time-limited funding.

Robertson, with a hint of concern in his tone, questioned Willis's ability to grasp the nuances of budgetary intricacies. He even went as far as suggesting that if she couldn't read and comprehend the budget, her role as finance minister might be cause for worry. In a playful jab, he mentioned Willis's proposed need for a new document or changes to the Public Finance Act, asserting that the information she sought was already neatly packaged in the existing Budget.

In this budgetary showdown, it seems the real currency is not just dollars and cents but the ability to read between the fiscal lines. Stay tuned for more riveting episodes of "Budget Brawls: The Parliamentary Chronicles."

#Incompetence #Finance

The Game Plan: A Comedy of Errors

./img/hipkins.jpg Hipkins enjoying the show.

Labour MPs have strutted into their Caucus meeting ready to plot their end-of-year game plan. Opposition Leader Chris Hipkins, armed with the wit of a stand-up comedian, took aim at Prime Minister Christopher Luxon's mathematical misadventures. Luxon, in a dazzling display, claimed Labour's smokefree laws would leave just one tobacco retailer in Northland. The Ministry of Health, being the buzzkill they are, pointed out it would be more like 35. Hipkins, unimpressed, advised the new government to "sharpen up," reminding them that in power, numbers need to be more than just fancy decorations.

According to Hipkins, the National Party's brilliant strategy of funding tax cuts with more smokers didn't exactly light a fire in the hearts of Kiwis. He found it amusing that their promises of affordable tax cuts were as reliable as a chocolate teapot. The decision to let former tobacco lobbyist Chris Bishop explain policy changes was branded "interesting" by Hipkins, probably as interesting as a cat chasing its own tail.

Meanwhile, in the global arena at COP28, New Zealand earned the prestigious title of 'Fossil of the Day' for steering off course on fossil fuel policies. Hipkins admitted it was a national "embarrassment," but let's not forget, New Zealand has a tradition of fossil awards, almost like a yearly subscription.

On the local protest front, Hipkins claimed innocence about Te Pāti Māori-organized protests, endorsing them as a "very legitimate" form of democracy, as long as they keep it legal and mind their manners. Labour's climate change spokesperson Megan Woods warned that National's policies might turn New Zealand into the class clown of the world, risking its hard-earned reputation.

As for Chris Bishop's past life as a tobacco lobbyist, Ayesha Verrall promised to dig deeper, showing an enthusiasm rivaling an archaeologist on a quest for buried secrets. Labour Māori caucus co-chair Willie Jackson, seemingly the protest soothsayer, foresaw upheaval over Māori issues, suggesting the government might want to reconsider their stance on the Māori Health Authority. In the game of political chess, it seems the pieces are moving, and the laughs keep coming.


The Lone Tobacco Retailer: A Tale of Smokefree Utopia

./img/last-cigarette-seller.jpg The last cigarette seller in Northland.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, the visionary leader, boldly claimed that there would be only one lonely tobacco retailer in the vast expanse of Northland under Labour's abandoned smoke-free law changes. Such a heartwarming concern for the well-being of that solitary shop facing the perils of crime, ram raids, and gangs! However, it appears there's a tiny glitch in this utopian narrative - a minor inconvenience known as reality.

Despite the Prime Minister's confident assertion, it turns out there were not one, but 35 tobacco retailers listed in Northland, according to the Health Ministry's pesky publication in September. But hey, who needs bothersome facts when you can rely on the profound understanding of senior minister Chris Bishop, a man with such an impressive track record, having previously dabbled in the art of tobacco lobbying.

When confronted with the incongruity of their claims and the actual data, Bishop gracefully responded with a classic "I haven't seen the list" and doubled down on the belief that Northland would have just one store, conveniently ignoring the contradictory evidence. Why bother with details when you can confidently rely on personal beliefs?

And let's not forget the enlightening debate over the effectiveness of Labour's changes. According to Bishop, there's no evidence to support the notion that these changes would have saved lives. Who needs evidence when you can dismiss reforms as "highly speculative" and claim they were opposed by some anti-smoking folks? The former Labour government's well-intentioned efforts to improve public health through world-first law changes were, of course, scrapped for the noble cause of funding tax cuts promised during the election campaign.

In the end, it's heartening to witness such a seamless blend of confident assertions, selective amnesia, and a genuine commitment to a reality tailored to fit the narrative.

#Ideology #Health

The Government's "National Interest Test"

./img/aunty-helen.jpg Helen Clark is not impressed.

In the latest episode of "Government Decisions: A Comedy Series," Prime Minister Christopher Luxon unveils a policy that even the audience didn't realize was on the 100-day plan. The plot twist? A reservation against adopting World Health Organization (WHO) regulations, leaving former Prime Minister Helen Clark cringing so hard she might need a neck brace.

Luxon defends the move with a "simple" explanation – they just want to take a pause and make sure the regulations meet a "national interest test." Because, you know, the international health regulations are like a tricky math problem, and New Zealand needs a moment to figure out if it's in their best interest.

Meanwhile, public health experts are scratching their heads, with one expert calling the policy "incoherent." But fear not, Health Minister Shane Reti assures us it's just an "interim position" to give the new Government time to receive advice. Because apparently, when in doubt, just hit pause and call it an interim position.

Former Health Minister Ayesha Verrall joins the comedic chorus, slamming the policy as rubbish and expressing deep concern about it appearing on the internet before making its way into a Coalition document. Maybe they should consider a "National Interest Test" for internet content as well.

In this riveting comedy-drama, the Opposition suggests that the Government's commitment to international health outcomes has been compromised. But don't worry, the Government insists it's all part of the script – a carefully crafted plot twist to keep the audience on their toes. Will New Zealand emerge as the hero in the international health drama, or will they end up with a sequel titled "The Cringe Chronicles: WHO's Laughing Now?" Stay tuned for the next episode of "Government Shenanigans!"

#Incompetence #Coalition

Week One: Downsizing, Conspiracies, and Referendums: A Kiwi Comedy of Political Errors

./img/luxon.jpg Having a great time.

Once upon a time in the quaint land of Aotearoa, a new government had been elected, led by the unsuspecting Christopher Luxon. Luxon, a former corporate bigwig with as much political experience as a kiwi trying to fly, found himself at the helm of New Zealand's ship of state. Little did he know that his Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, had plans of his own.

Luxon's first week began with a grand announcement – a plan to downsize the public service, courtesy of Minister of Regulation, David Seymour. Seymour, known for his libertarian leanings, envisioned a utopian New Zealand where the public sector was so small it could fit into a Hobbit hole. Unfortunately, his first directive was to replace all government offices with vending machines selling landlord-approved snacks and gun-shaped chocolates.

Meanwhile, Winston Peters, the seasoned politician with a penchant for conspiracy theories, was on a mission. He called a press conference to declare that the government was secretly controlled by extraterrestrial beings disguised as sheep. Luxon, in an attempt to manage Peters, handed him a tin-foil hat, hoping it would act as a barrier against alien mind control. Peters promptly declared it as the latest fashion trend and urged the public to embrace it.

In the midst of the chaos, Luxon's attempt to appeal to a broad base had unintended consequences. He suggested a referendum to revisit the Treaty of Waitangi, thinking it would bring unity. Little did he know that David Seymour, the self-proclaimed libertarian, wanted to treat the Treaty like an expired coupon – void and irrelevant. Meanwhile, Peters insisted the referendum be conducted in Morse code using smoke signals, just to make it more "inclusive."

Luxon's attempt at inclusivity backfired even more when Seymour decided to take a stand against special treatment for Maori, conveniently forgetting his own heritage. He argued that all New Zealanders should be treated equally, as long as they were landlords, gun owners, and wealthy.

As the week progressed, the trio became the laughing stock of the nation. Luxon struggled to rein in his unruly deputies, Peters continued his quest for the truth, and Seymour clung to his vending machine dream like a kid clutching a bag of candy.

In the end, the people of New Zealand couldn't decide if they were witnessing a political sitcom or a reality show gone horribly wrong. And so, the curtain fell on the first week of Luxon's government – a farcical tale of downsizing, conspiracies, and referendums that left the nation collectively scratching their heads, wondering if perhaps the politicians had accidentally stumbled into a comedy club instead of Parliament.


Poor landlords given a tax break

./img/landlord.jpg A poor struggling landlord with a bag of money.

What a brilliant move by the government! Accelerating a policy to let landlords enjoy a tax refund. Because, you know, landlords really need that extra cash. The previous government had this crazy idea of making them pay more taxes by abolishing their ability to deduct interest costs. But fear not, our heroes from National, Act, and NZ First rode in on their tax-saving horses to reverse this travesty.

And guess what? National, in its infinite wisdom, promised that this change would only cost a measly $2.1 billion over four years. But wait, there's more! As part of their grand coalition deal with Act, they decided to speed up this generosity, because clearly, landlords needed that extra cash right now. Forget the initial estimate; an analysis by the Council of Trade Unions suggests the real cost is closer to $3 billion. But hey, who's counting? It's just taxpayer money, right? Thank you, government, for showing us how budgeting should be done.

#Finance #Ideology

Nicola Willis didn't read the PREFU

./img/prefu.jpg Nicola Willis looking for the PREFU.

Grant Robertson, the benevolent finance spokesperson for Labour, seems to be giving National a little lesson in basic finance. According to him, National should be "fully across" the nation's finances because, apparently, it's all neatly laid out for them. How could they possibly miss the memo, right?

Now, enter Nicola Willis and Christopher Luxon, the dynamic duo who've been waving the "fiscal cliffs" flag for months. You know, those impending financial catastrophes that could disrupt everything? Robertson, with a hint of exasperation, reassures everyone that the state of the books has been crystal clear, repeatedly. Bless his heart for patiently explaining it to those who might have missed the thrilling PREFU extravaganza.

In a tone that's almost parental, Robertson explains the intricacies of New Zealand's system, complete with a delightful acronym – PREFU. It's like storytime for politicians! He emphasizes that it opens the books, and everyone, even those in the back, can see what's inside. How considerate!

And oh, the jab at Nicola Willis. According to Robertson, she didn't quite measure up in her role as the Opposition finance spokesperson. Did she miss the memo, the brief, or maybe both? It's almost like scolding a student for not doing their homework – classic political drama!

#Incompetence #Finance

Luxon has lost control - Hipkins

./img/two-dogs.jpg They are not as cute as they look.

In the thrilling saga of the new Government's first days, Labour leader Chris Hipkins took the stage with a scathing review that could put Shakespearean dramas to shame. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, according to the eloquent critic, has not only lost control of his Cabinet but has also misplaced his moral compass somewhere in the labyrinth of political chaos. Ah, the sweet symphony of leadership.

The plot thickens as Luxon faces mounting pressure over Winston Peters' audacious attacks on independent media and the controversial decision to repeal legislation that would have dared to take cigarettes on a journey towards extinction. "Christopher Luxon needs to show he is the prime minister," declares Hipkins, presumably accompanied by a dramatic flourish. But wait, there's more! Peters, the renegade, has seemingly breached convention and the sacred Cabinet Manual by suggesting that state-owned broadcasters should align with his personal linguistic preferences. "Show some leadership," cries Hipkins, as Luxon's grip on the reins appears to be slipping faster than a politician's promise.

As the political theater unfolds, Hipkins and health spokesperson Ayesha Verrall tag in to label the smokefree changes as nothing short of a "national embarrassment." According to the masterful orator, Luxon's government has achieved the remarkable feat of attracting international attention, not for groundbreaking policies, but for increasing the number of smokers. Bravo, Luxon, bravo. In this riveting performance, Peters and ACT leader David Seymour are hailed as the maestros "running circles" around Luxon. The anticipation builds for Luxon's upcoming press conference, where we eagerly await the next thrilling installment of this captivating political drama.

#Incompetence #Coalition

Defending the indefensible

./img/smoking-doctor.jpg Dr Shane Reti defends the Government's plan to scrap smokefree legislation.

Dr. Reti, in a stunning display of logic, acknowledged the prime minister's worries about how groundbreaking legislation might impact the oh-so-thriving black market for cigarettes. Because, you know, we all want to make sure criminal enterprises get their fair share.
Despite this newfound concern for the illicit trade, Dr. Reti assured us that the government is "absolutely committed" to reducing smoking rates, probably by sheer willpower and good vibes.

In a twist of genius, vaping was hailed as the savior, the knight in shining armor, riding in on its electronic steed to rescue the world from the evils of smoking. Apparently, vaping is the magic wand for reducing adult smoking rates, slowly but surely. Who needs evidence when you have optimism?

Dr. Reti, with the finesse of a tightrope walker, denied any U-turn by the National party, conveniently forgetting that they didn't bother voting for the legislation in the first place. But who needs consistency in politics when you can have a good old flip-flop?

Concerns about an increase in ram raids were dismissed as mere paranoia, except this paranoia came from cigarette retailers themselves. Because, clearly, they're the most unbiased and reliable sources for predicting crime trends.

In the midst of this theatrical performance, Dr. Reti reassured us that he's on a heroic mission to save lives. Forget the legislation; the real tools in his toolkit are vague promises and a strong belief in the power of positive thinking.

The international community is apparently not as enchanted by this spectacle. The BBC labeled it a "shock reversal," while The Guardian suggested that New Zealand is scrapping a "world-first smoking 'generation ban'" to fund tax cuts. But hey, who cares about international headlines when you can focus on the priorities, like making sure kids have the freedom to take up smoking? Well done, New Zealand. Well done.

#Ideology #Health

Cabinet Chairs and Media Mayhem: Luxon's Debut Hijinks with Winston Peters

./img/winston-peters.jpg Winston Peters coming after the media

So, Luxon and his crew are gearing up for their Cabinet debut, but hold your horses—it's basically a Cabinet chair photoshoot on Tuesday. The real Cabinet shindig? That's a Wednesday gig, and Parliament's snooze button is still on until next week. More ceremony and fluff are on the horizon before these MPs put on their serious faces.

But, oh boy, Luxon's sidekick Winston Peters is stealing the show with his anti-media theatrics for the second time. Peters, the maestro of ceremony-crashing. Ministers are usually sweating bullets for weeks over media meddling, but hey, editorial independence is like their sacred text—hands off!

Now, Peters has gone and accused the media of accepting bribes. Seriously, Winston? Not cool for a Deputy Prime Minister. It's like accusing your grandma of stealing your snacks. And guess what? If someone tossed the same wild accusations at him, you bet he'd be lawyering up faster than you can say "photo-op scandal." The drama is real, folks!

#Incompetence #Coalition

Smokefree 2025 is going up in smoke

./img/smoking-kid.jpg The future of smoking in New Zealand.

Oh, what a brilliant move by the new Government! The world's news media is just thrilled with the genius decision to toss smokefree laws aside. Health experts are probably applauding in joy, right? No, wait, they're disapproving? Shocking.

Incoming Finance Minister Nicola Willis, the financial mastermind, has enlightened us all. Apparently, the ban on young people smoking was just cramping the government's style by denting tax revenue. How dare those health-conscious policies interfere with the almighty budget!

So, fear not, smokers of the world! Your tax contributions are now the golden ticket to promised tax cuts. Because who needs healthy lungs when you can fund fiscal policies, right? March next year is the grand unveiling of this brilliant plan. Bravo, Government, bravo.

#Health #Ideology #Finance

It starts

./img/triumvirate.jpg Luckily, the three horsemen of the apocalypse were available for the photo shoot.

Oh, what a delightful spectacle it must have been witnessing the facial gymnastics and nuanced reactions of these three political maestros - Luxon, Peters, and Seymour. Teething issues? Just a minor inconvenience, I'm sure.

The coalition documents, our holy grail of political enlightenment, apparently provide guidance for these poor souls. Because who needs personal convictions and principles when you can have a carefully crafted document to tell you what to do?

Ah, Winston Peters, the wild card of unpredictability. How shocking that his demeanor didn't match the moment! Who could have seen that coming? Certainly not the two other leaders who, in their naive optimism, expected some modicum of dignity. Silly them.

The insight into the coalition talks is like peering into the inner workings of a well-oiled machine, isn't it? Hold-ups, squabbles, compromises - the stuff political dreams are made of.

And oh, the thrilling saga of deciding who gets the coveted first spin in the deputy chair. I bet the tension was palpable. Experience cards were played, compromises were made, and Seymour graciously ceded, probably with a tear in his eye.

#Incompetence #Coalition