Hard News by Russell Brown


2014: The Meth Election

The Guardian today has a story about how North Korea's system of official graft has evolved such that crystal methamphetamine is now seen as "an ideal gift" for government officials who need bribing, alongside more traditional considerations like beef.

I need hardly explain to you how this might go wrong. Bureaucrats on meth would fairly swiftly become crazy, even by North Korean standards. Indeed, the only thing worse than a jobsworth on the P would be one who's not getting his P.

I submit to you that the latter scenario is, in fact, the past week of New Zealand's election campaign. Dirty Politics is the methamphetamine of Decision 2014. Remember how it made you feel 10 feet tall? Remember when Guyon demanded the Prime Minister account for the behaviour of his errant Justice Minister? It was titanic. Now he's just demanding that his subjects confess the election result; sucking on the blackened, empty glass pipe of accountability as if it'll deliver the hit he needs.

Just a couple of days ago, Tova O'Brien was reduced to signing off a completely unrelated electoral story with the intonation that "the fight for Mangere just got dirty," as if saying so would turn rock salt into pure ice. And Corin Dann found himself in a surreal fever dream where everyone had been hacked.

And the public? Don't get me started on the public. They're jonesing so hard. They just want to feel like they did that first time, in the bookshop three weeks ago. Is it really only three weeks? They're paranoid, angry, anxious and lashing out at the journalists, who are feeling vulnerable, hurt and confused.

The problem is that the Man has left town. Whaledump, Rawshark, Heisenberg -- whatever you want to call him -- he had the good stuff, and the fucker just skipped. He left a note saying he'd deposited the rest of his supply with some retail dealers, but they're getting heat from the law and the fuckers won't even say if they're holding.

The only happy crew are the gang that used to run things. They figure maybe they'll be able to start dealing that shit stuff they flooded the market with for so long. But even they're feeling the fear. Maybe people don't want that stuff now they know where it's come from. I mean, are you gonna go back to something made of borax, rat poison and water from the toilet bowl?

It's tense out there. Far too fucking tense.

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