We may not have a National-led Government after the next election. Here's why we probably will.
In the spirit of this Sunday Star-Times fantasy, I present a transcript of the first cabinet meeting held after the 2011 election ...
Phil Goff (Prime Minister) (Sitting astride a Harley-Davidson whilst dressed in a leather jacket, motorcycle helmet and red-top gumboots, with a lamb carelessly tossed across his shoulder): If we could come to order, please. I think we might begin proceedings with a motion of thanks to the man who has made this day possible.
David Cunliffe (Deputy PM, Minister of Finance and Thwarted Ambitions): You mean John Pagani, whose behind-the-scenes, masterful reworking of your image proved so pivotal in helping ordinary kiwis accept you as one of them?
PG: Don't be silly, Geoffrey. I'm talking about Dan Carter ... more particularly, Dan Carter's left achilles tendon.
Grant Robertson (Minister of Sport and Allowable Music): Quite right, boss. If this election campaign reveals anything about the country, it's that we just don't have adequate depth at first-five. Perhaps I could make that my first priority, boss? Just let me know. Happy to help.
PG: Thanks, Mike. But I think we all know what my government's first order of business needs to be ...
Winston Peters (Minister of Allowable Citizens and Himself): Just a minute. Just a minute, here. This isn't your government, Mr Goff. This is a government of equals. The retirement homes of New Zealand have spoken, and they have said that they are sick and tired of the same old politics from the same old parties. I won't sit around this table and be told what my government is going to do. At least, I won't do so without first receiving a large donation into Mr Henry's trust account.
Peter Dunne (Minister of Allowable Relationships): Quite right. I have a rather exciting proposal that I wish to see given urgent consideration: exempting married families from having to pay GST, while requiring non-married persons to pay an extra surcharge on all non-family-related activities. My hairdresser and I have been discussing it at great length over the past few weeks and I think it's a real solution to the real and urgent problem of people not getting married.
Russel Norman (Minister of a Bicycle) (Poking his head out from a closet in the corner of the room): I wonder if Metiria and I could come out and sit at the table soon? This is quite a small closet, you know, and we've been in here quite a long time ...
RN: Right, sorry, sorry ... we don't want to cause trouble ... just wanted to ask. (Retreats back into closet).
PG: Thanks for all your contributions. But the government's first order of business is something we can all agree on. Getting revenge. I've asked Michael to do some thinking on this. Michael?
Trevor Mallard (Minister of Police and Shitkicking): It's actually Trevor, boss. Unfortunately, Key is out of our grasp for the moment - he's quit and currently is being relaxed in Hawaii, kicking the tyres of his jetski. But we can get him down the road when we abolish knighthoods again and instead make him a MONZ ... he'll have to spend the rest of his life explaining to everyone he meets just what the hell it means.
English should be easier. I've asked MAF to examine the $10 million no-bid contract he awarded to Mary for her "books-in-mangers" programme. I'm pretty sure there'll be some missed paperwork that justifies our pulling the plug on it.
Brownlee's also easy. We can use the CERRA to exempt his house from the RMA and so fast-track approval for an open-cast coal mine on the property. He can bitch and moan about it, of course, but only ivory tower latte drinkers will give a shit.
The real problem we're going to have is with Simon Power.
PG: How so, Russell?
TM: It's actually Trevor, boss. Well, Power's gone and barracaded himself on the third floor of Vogel House. He says he's got too many important reform projects on the go to be distracted by something as minor as a change in government, and that if we want anything from him we'll need to get the Law Commission to consider it and give him a report to ignore.
I've talked to the police about sending in the armed offenders squad, but Greg O'Connor tells us that the whole situation is just too dangerous for that. He says that this sort of situation is precisely why the police require an aerial strike wing with nuclear capabilities.
PG: Well, we better get on that straight away. Maybe check with Garth McVicar if there's anything else we need to do. But what should we do in the meantime, Bill?
TM: It's actually Trevor, boss. I've got a containment line in place around the building, and it's only the Ministry of Justice so we won't miss them for a few months yet. That should give us enough time to come up with a long-term solution.
PG: Excellent. Well, I think we're off to a very good start. This is just the kind of bold, decisive, visionary action that we promised the country - a real break from the past and statement that we are focussed on the future. So I'll call proceedings to a halt ... I have to go and have my photo taken looking statesmanlike on the waterfront.
(Some hours pass ...)
RN: (Poking head from out of the closet into a darkened room): Hello? Hello? Can we come out and sit at the table now?