Southerly by David Haywood


This Week in Parliament (in Recess): 12 January 2015 - 16 January 2015

Public Address presents our weekly round-up of the important events in parliament.


Despite parliament being in recess, there’s no holiday-making for cabinet rising star Nathan Guy. The uncircumcized former farmer and Minister of Racing is spending his summer break conducting the most major upgrade to the New Zealand totalisator since it was moved to the Baring Head Lighthouse in 1989.

Goodbye Inverted Bucket

“Voters tend to forget just how much hard work is involved in running the country’s totalisator,” says Mr Guy. “On race days, the Minister of Energy and Resources, Simon Bridges, has to rise before dawn to light the boilers and get the totalisator warmed-up for the morning meetings.”

Mr Guy describes the New Zealand totalisator as among the most sophisticated in the world. “It’s a highly complex machine that incorporates three boilers with sight glasses, more than 200 bourdan gauges giving totalisator readouts, as well as numerous critical auxiliary devices such as the theremin.”

“It’s a lot for Simon to keep his eye on while everything warms up,” he explains. “Replacing the pedal-operated inverted bucket steam-trap with a venturi orifice means one less thing to worry about. It just makes economic sense.”

No Trouser MIA

Running the totalisator can be exhausting for the Minister of Energy and Resources, who may shovel as much as 30 tonnes of coal into the boilers on some race days. But Nathan Guy insists that his own role is infinitely more difficult.

“My job as Minister of Racing is arguably the most mentally-challenging of all cabinet positions,” he asserts. “A moment of lapsed concentration while balancing the totalisator and the country’s economy could—quite literally—go down the gurgler. Many of my circumcized colleagues would be focussed on what’s missing in their trousers, but luckily for New Zealand I am in my natural state, and thus I can concentrate my full mental powers on the ‘job’.”

Biofuels: No Thank You!

Despite the totalisator’s hefty carbon footprint, Simon Bridges says there are no plans to switch to politically correct ‘clean’ energy.

“While, in theory, a fuel such as wood pellets could be used via a gasifier to power the totalisator there’s nothing like the smell of coal in the morning,” he explains. “It just makes economic sense.”

Sniff My Fingers

The Minister of Energy and Resources says that even when not working the totalisator he always keeps a lump of coal in his pocket.

“Then when some engineer or scientist starts going on about global warming, I just fondle the coal and surreptitiously sniff my fingers. It really helps me tune them out.”

“It also feels more statesmanlike than putting my fists in my ears and shouting ‘La La La’,” adds Mr Bridges. “Although, to be perfectly honest, I spend a lot of my time doing that as well.”


Prime minister John Key released a statement this afternoon denying all connection to last week’s ‘Charlie Hebdo’ shootings.

“Although no accusations have actually been made, we felt it wise to pre-emptively clear the air,” says duty minister Steven Joyce. “The Prime Minister genuinely was holidaying in Hawaii at the time of the shootings, and he honestly had nothing to do with them.”

“If it transpires that there is a trail of emails linking him to Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, then Mr Key would like to emphasize that these emails were written as part of his normal duties as Member for Helensville, in which he engages in correspondence with all sorts of people. Otherwise the emails were written by his office—rather than the prime minister himself personally—and he was told nothing about them.”

In the press release, the prime minister adopts an apologetic and conciliatory tone, assuring voters that “I really am telling the truth this time” and expressing his confidence that he will be “fully exonerated when the true facts emerge”.

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