The sight of a Minister reading a speech to Parliament about a Bill he clearly hadn't even read has done what not even the Electoral Finance Act could: it's killed off a vital part of political discourse in New Zealand.
"NZPA carries the story of National Minister Jonathan Coleman introducing legislation to the house with a ten minute long speech that actually described a different bill introduced three years ago. Normally I’d get a kick out of something like this – or the artlessness of Pete Hodgeson’s latest smear – but instead they just feed into my deepening depression about the mediocrity of New Zealand’s political class and the culture surrounding it, related to my wider despair at the state of the economy.
Someone once asked Jonathan Lynn – co-author of Yes Minister - why his show never dealt with events in the House of Commons. He replied:
there was not a single scene set in the House of Commons because government does not take place in the House of Commons. Some politics and much theatre takes place there. Government happens in private. As in all public performances, the real work is done in rehearsal, behind closed doors. Then the public and the House are shown what the government wishes them to see.
In our current situation we have a government that knows much about theatre and politics and almost nothing about government and an opposition that probably knows much about government, but in vain because they know nothing about politics or theatre.
Anyway, I’ve reached the point where it’s all too banal even to laugh at so I’m taking a break from blogging for an indeterminate period."
While I've differed with Danyl's analysis on certain matters (as well as taken the piss out of his frankly scarey sounding job at other times), I've found him to be reliably funny and generally thought provoking in his writing. He also attracts an ideologically diverse, attractively eclectic and surprisingly knowledgeable set of commentators, with whom I've spent far too much time sparring.
So I hope he isn't off-line for too long.
As for the Peter Dunne-Johnathan Coleman double act responsible for driving Danyl into the depths of such dispair, all I can say is that those two guys are worse than François Duvalier.