Random Play by Graham Reid

Alternative Nation: Tea for . . . Who?

In a move described by political commentators as either tactically brilliant or political suicide the prime minister this week announced a new approach from Labour in the forthcoming election.

Stung by surveys which showed public resentment over controversies which had been skirted over lightly or simply ignored, the prime minister announced “a slow down and consider approach” to important issues from now on. And maybe even after the election.

“In the past we have been mindful of the damage certain incidents could do to the party and so have put things behind us and moved on. But negative research shows declining support which could cost us our jobs. So we -- that is, I -- have decided to take a more measured approach.

“When certain issues come up which affect party members -- driving while drunk, lying to Parliament and other such minor indiscretions -- we will air the issues fully and freely before burying them.

“It is time to adopt a slow down and consider approach.”

The prime minister would not be drawn on what exactly this approach would entail and indicated she was far too busy to answer further questions, however political commentators have noted this unexpected new direction has the potential to derail other parties.

“No politician worth their pension and free air travel could argue that taking time to consider issues is a bad thing,” says Professor John McRoberts, senior lecturer in polling and phrenology at Taharoto Polytech and/or University. “Except one, perhaps.”

While most parties remained mute over Labour’s change of direction the leader of New Zealand First waded in to the Labour Party at a rally in Te Hana last night.

“This smacks of something we’ve heard before from this intellectually bankrupt Labour Party,” he said to the bewildered pensioners whose Housie evening he had interrupted. “This is just another version of ‘a cup of tea and a lie down’ that David Lange promised you.

“And I ask you now, how many here tonight ever remember getting that cup of tea? Let alone the chance to lie down?

“Today it will be chai lattes on Ponsonby Rd for Helen Clark’s ivory tower academics, or more likely that insufferable green tea so popular among immigrants, overstayers and surgeons in the so-called Asian communities.

“You can bet big city people are having their tea -- and probably a biscuit -- while decent hardworking New Zealanders are going home to their state houses just hoping their pensions will arrive.

“This is what the Labour Party has brought us to. Dependency on the state brought about by waves of migrants causing traffic problems in Auckland and denying hip operations to decent hardworking New Zealanders, whether they need them or not,” said Mr Peters to loud applause before sweeping off in his motorcade to an outdoor rally in the Warkworth Motorcamp.

The prime minister could not be contacted last night for a response, but a thick-set spokeswoman wearing brown trousers said Ms Clark would probably reply in due course, “and in a measured manner“.

“But more likely she will wait until the public loses interest and moves on.”