A Freudian slip from the minister
MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Martin van Beynen
OPINION: At last poor old battered Christchurch is to get what it needed all along. A six-part drama series funded by the taxpayer on the aftermath of the earthquake.
A spokeswoman says it's too early to talk about storylines but I have the good oil on the characters that will provide the ballast for the series.
In fact there are really only two main characters, both with personalities big enough to guarantee top ratings. While the series will obviously be an imaginative gem that tries not to portray actual people (one is called Gerry Brownlee and the other is Roger Sutton), in a daring blast of originality it will be called "Yes Minister".
The first programme is based around a particularly pesky bunch of people who have lived on TC3 land, in broken, leaky homes without proper toilets for nearly two years. The feisty local rag has published a survey that shows widespread dissatisfaction. The script goes as follows.
'Roger, I see the unwashed hordes have been buggerising around on their Facebook pages again and trying to make us look bad. I bet they all vote Labour."
'Yes minister. They do seem rather angry. Perhaps we shouldn't do anything to aggravate the situation just now."
'Damn and blast them Roger. All this carping and moaning instead of getting on with things like we are. Homeowners, Roger; give me a good down-and-out benefit bludger any day."
'Please minister. I understand completely. This is very hard for you. It must be very difficult living in your TC3 house in deepest, darkest Merivale. But don't forget these people have been living in their damaged homes and streets for two years now."
'Always making excuses for them, Roger. How are we ever going to make a good Nat of you. Of course I don't live in my TC3 house, but I've been in politics long enough to know all about leaks. But buggerise all this pussyfooting around. If a reporter rings me up I've a good mind to tell them exactly what I think."
'Minister is that really a good idea? Perhaps a more sensitive approach until things calm down. And I think you will find the verb of bugger is to bugger."
'Bugger. Buggerise. Who cares Roger. Sometimes people just appreciate a bit of honesty. They like you to be frank. They want you to tell them what you think. If you think they are whiners and malingerers, they need to hear it. They respect you for it."
'I'm sure you're right minister. But perhaps we could speed the rebuild up a teeny little bit."
'What are you saying Roger? All those wonderful insurance people and fantastic Earthquake Commission workers busting their guts and look what they get from those ungrateful peasants."
'Well there is this perception, minister, that insurance companies are dragging their heels and EQC is full of overpaid buffoons. Unfortunate, but there it is."
'We can't have this Roger. Absolutely not. I want the names of every TC3 property holder. Hack into their computers and see if they answered this survey and what they said."
'Isn't that a little Murdochian, minister?"
'Yes I knew I had heard of it somewhere before. That clever Aussie bugger had the right idea."
'Well let's see if we can draft a press release anyway minister. I thought something like, the minister understands only too well the frustrations . . . but you wouldn't want a hasty but bad . . . in the long run etc."
'Stop there Roger. None of that namby pamby horseshit. Let's try something a little more subtle. How about. Stuff you. If you think you can do a better job have a go. How about a little gratitude now and then. I knew it was a mistake to let the unwashed hordes own property. If you would just stop buggerising around we might all get somewhere . . . etc etc Get the gist?"
'That seems a little extreme minister."
'Of course it is. That's what makes it so effective. When people have become numb from disaster you need to use a different sort of dictionary."
'But do we have to beat them over the head with it?"
'You're getting the idea Roger. No watering down of that wording, now. Let's get on to more important things. What's for morning tea?"
'There's been a slight delay minister. The truck is just backing up the alleyway to the goods area."
'I hope there's real cream in those profiteroles today Roger. And those savories better be hot."
'Sometimes minister you really do take the cake."
'I love your sense of humour Roger. Now let's see if we can't throw the rabble a little bit of meat to distract them. What about announcing a new swimming pool or sports arena? Anything up our sleeves? I know. What about a weekly free sausage sizzle where all these malcontents hang out. Get them off their Facebooks."
'Might be a little literal but it could work."
'And we'll get Rent-a-Key down for the day."
- The Press