Andrew Gunn: Sweet relief from flag debate
SATIRE: A new survey has revealed that 74 per cent of New Zealanders now approve of the use of medical marijuana to numb the effects of enduring chronic flag-referendum analysis.
The shift in public opinion comes as commentators and barrow-pushers of all hues and agendas continue to publish screeds of opinion-based opinion on the whys, wherefores, whos and hows of the flag referendum, even after the final results have been published.
According to media expert Moana Snoot, ongoing exposure to flag-based typewriter-interviewing has likely contributed to a continual dull pounding ache in those members of the general public unlucky enough to suffer from not really giving a flying fig one way or the other. And that's causing even middle-of-the-road New Zealanders to reach for the bong.
"The tabloid New Zealand Herald recently ran an article – and I am not making this up – entitled The 20 Best Analyses of the Flag Referendum", Snoot explained to Stuff from a secluded and well-ventilated park bench out of view of security cameras.
* Analysis: politicians hijacked our flag debate
* Kiwis vote to retain the current New Zealand flag
* Five referred to police over flag referendum voter impersonation claims
* Flag debate: Full coverage
* Flag selection process 'undemocratic'
* Rejected flag designs show laser kiwi wasn't that outlandish
"Twenty! And that's not all of them, that's just the best! How is this a thing? How many trees died for this? No wonder people are resorting to the medicinal wacky-baccy to get a break."
"Want a puff?", Snoot added before inhaling deeply. "This is some seriously good ganga. Oh that's better. That's the business."
The epidemic of what has been dubbed Referendum-Related Over-Exposure Syndrome has resulted in some unlikely users of the plant-based psychotropic. Elsie (not her real name), a sprightly blue-rinsed Kaiapoi pensioner and long-time listener to talkback radio, considers herself a law-abiding citizen.
But, speaking through a haze in the small conservatory at the back of her ownership flat, Elsie admitted to Stuff that she's been forced to resort to medical marijuana to get through the last six months of chronic flag-referendum commentary.
"All that jibber-jabber and it just won't stop! Flag this, flag that. I've tried everything else. My doctor prescribed the usual half an hour of Leighton Smith. That usually puts me right out. But the flag talk keeps breaking through. That's why I need my little green helper."
"Hey, go easy man", she added, prodding your correspondent. "Don't bogart my doobie".
Opponents of medical marijuana, while sympathising with the plight of those like Elsie, remain implacable.
"It's a slippery slope", argues Gruff Kneejerker, spokesman for the family-values-based Olden Days Foundation.
"If we allow people to use marijuana to be used to get through a bad bout of flag analysis are we going to let them 'light up a J' every time Mike Hosking says something stupid? Because that's like, most nights."
Helping himself to a large scotch that he claimed had never done him any harm, Kneejerker said that there were legal alternatives to marijuana that sufferers could use if, for example, they accidentally stumbled across a current-affairs show panel discussion on the flag referendum.
"The remote is the obvious one. Throw it at the TV as hard as you can and pour yourself another one of these. Works for me."