Minister should make time for buggerising

19:15, Sep 16 2012

'Buggerising on Facebook' may well become my favourite phrase of 2012. From the moment our Earthquake Recovery Minister splashed the term all over the metropolitan dailies on Wednesday, I have been periodically doubling up over my keyboard and shaking with laughter. It's the small things.

I was delighted to find that my spellcheck recognised 'buggerise' without my help - as opposed to 'Facebook' which I must teach it sometime. I often keep my Facebook page open when I am spending long hours at home alone in my office, taking a look at it from time to time in the same way people in different work situations look up occasionally to see what everyone else is doing.

Each time I go to that tab now, an interior voice says: 'Might just buggerise on Facebook for a moment,' and the giggling starts.

Gerry must have been having a very bad day. I imagine you've got to be pretty ticked off to chuck out a word like 'buggerise'. To a journalist. In an interview. If he'd been calmer, he might have restricted himself to 'faff about', and if he was just a tad angry he would have gone for the more traditional, 'bugger around'. 'Buggerise' suggests he'd properly blown a gasket which, in a man with that much horsepower under the bonnet, is a dangerous thing.

So his bad day only got worse and by dinner time he was apologising a bit to the good people of Christchurch for characterising them as carpers and moaners with too much time on their hands.

Problem is - and Gerry should know this - Facebook is an entirely authentic tool for community discussion, the genuine descendant of the village pump. Sure, a lot of twaddle might go on there (someone invited me to play something called 'Buggle' today but I really don't have time to Bugglerise on Facebook) but it has also become a valid part of the democratic process.


On Facebook, everyone gets a voice and equal access, ideas get shared, and you can either argue with people of a different ilk or comfortably find your own tribe. Or both. Or just play Buggle.

It's also a metaphorical pathway from the village pump to the library - you get links to important information you might otherwise have missed. That's how I was first alerted to the Press story about Gerry saying you were all buggerising on Facebook. I would have been sorry to miss that.

Though it is possible he doesn't entirely understand all this because, while many local and central government politicians are engaged in social media because they think of it as a way of visiting the town square, Gerry doesn't appear to have either a Facebook page or a Twitter account. I see that there are some established in his honour, including one with the jaunty title, 'Gerry Brownlee Ate My Loved Ones, And My Car'.

The minister may well argue he doesn't have time to bugger around with social media. He might, on reflection, want to make the time. For that, and other things.

The Press