If satirists were choosing the leader

September 1, 2013

Imperator Fish thinks David Cunliffe should be the next Labour leader.

I thought that was a genuine view as a member of the party.

But he’s also got a gift for satire and Steve Braunias’ Secret Diary of David Cunliffe made me wonder.

MONDAY

Hallelujah! A new day. A new day for New Zealand. A new day for New Zealand in a new way, and it only added to the excitement when I cut myself shaving with a new razor. I sent out a press release. A crowd gathered. They watched me bleed for New Zealand.

When they left, I got busy. There was a job of work at hand. I bent my head to the task. I applied a dab of Endymoion cologne (a sensual fusion of citrus, spices and leather, $225), ran a Kent switchblade comb (handmade from sawcut resin, $35) though my hair, and looked at my reflection in a pair of Joseph Cheaney shoes (oak bark soles, $895). I liked what I saw.

That left five minutes to kill before the press conference announcing my bid to lead the Labour Party, so I analysed the latest Treasury reports, studied the economic situation in Japan, Ghana, and Sweden, and ironed my Marcoliani socks (cashmere, $117).

The conference went well. A crowd gathered. I felt at peace.

TUESDAY

. . . Met with my own troops. Looked them up and down. Didn’t want to look too closely. Nanaia Mahuta. Louisa Wall. William Sio. Sue Moroney. Someone called Iain Lees-Galloway.

Oh well. It could be worse. Maybe. . .

THURSDAY

Mike Hosking has come out in support of Grant Robertson, and so has Titewhai Harawira.

Poor old Grant. No one deserves that. . .

Just as cartoonists favour certain politicians whose faces lend themselves to caricature, satirists might be biased towards those who make their work easy.

On that basis, if satirists were choosing the leader I think they’d opt for Cunliffe.


Herstory of Waitangi

February 8, 2013

Trans Tasman has suggests the history of the Treaty of Waitangi might be being re-written as a herstory:

There’s a generation of school kids growing up under the impression the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between Governor Hobson and Titewhai Harawira.

This is not so much an indictment on our school system: more on the way Harawira manages to plant herself at the epicentre of our annual national day.

It isn’t clear quite how this happened. True, she managed to make Helen Clark cry, and for some of us there’s always a hope Titewhai – who has become a sort of Kiwi version of a fierce Wodehousian aunt as imagined by one of the more bizarrely gothic Dutch painters – would have a similar impact one of Clark’s successors. There doesn’t seem much chance with the current lot.

If she were to try such a stunt today, John Key would either declare himself relaxed about it, or just have one of his memory lapses. Labour’s David Shearer probably would not notice, unless a staffer or his autocue told him about it. NZ First’s Winston Peters and Act’s John Banks would respond with inarticulate belligerence, and United Future’s Peter Dunne probably with a milder, if more articulate, form of same.

The only ones discombobulated would be Green co-leaders Russel Norman and Metiria Turei: they are more used to being part of protests than being on the receiving end of them.

So what does Waitangi Day, our national day, tell us about ourselves – you know, apart from the fact we are suckers for being bullied by stroppy old ladies?

Well, we’re still working on this treaty stuff, and we’re not very comfortable about the whole race issue. But also we’re not ignoring it and we’re kind of muddling our way through it all, if a little noisily and apologetically.

Apropos of understanding the history of the treaty, I have to confess that I went through school under the impression it ended the land wars.

It was only when I did a New Zealand history paper at university that I learned that wasn’t the case.


Ho hum

February 4, 2013

Another Waitangi Day, another story about Titewhai Harawira.

Ngapuhi trustees are trying to oust Titewhai Harawira, from her self-appointed role as the kuia who escorts dignitaries, including the prime minister, onto the lower marae at Waitangi.

But they are concerned Ms Harawira may disrupt ceremonies if she is not allowed to keep her role.

Ngapuhi leader Kingi Taurua said the trustees have decided that other kuia should be given the opportunity to be part of the Waitangi celebrations.

Mr Taurua said that unlike Ms Harawira, other kuia work hard on the marae and should be rewarded for their work. . .

Ho, hum – it’s not so much a news story as deja vu.

Who can blame Tariana Turia who is refusing to return to Te Tii Marae this year because of past displays of violence on Waitangi Day?


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