Lookee here, Santa has come early for all those boys and girls in parliament. So what did he bring the politicians? Did they get what they wanted – and what they deserved? Let's sneak a cheeky peak
Just two sleeps until Christmas. Can you hear the sleigh bells? So what's underneath the political Christmas tree this year? I know, they haven't all been good boy and girls, but let's just assume they all deserve something for their dedicated public service.
National: "Three more years", the label says. Very generous and the best gift its had for, oh, three years. But you can't say they haven't been assiduous in their efforts to get that gift. Everything they party's leaders have done in the past three years has been angling towards this gift. They've hardly done much to spook the reindeer.
Santa says that the silver lining to the global recession and natural disasters is that any reforming zeal has had to be curbed; conservative instincts – and polling – have won the day. He's worried they might be a bit naughtier next year, so will have the elves watching closely.
John Key has been most generous with the gifts himself – a big, fat Cabinet of 20, plus four ministers outside of Cabinet, two parliamentary private secretaries, two whips and a partridge in a pear tree. Then there are nine new MPs who owe him their new jobs. Out of 59 MPs it's almost like he's gone out of his way to get something for everyone!
Oh, and here's something for Godfather John as well: a majority within his majority, just in case his one seat advantage in the House comes under threat. Nothing like suring up loyalty in the good times, eh?
To the left of the National gifts – but slightly further right than they were a year ago – is Labour's gift. It's "a new start". On the (charity produced) Chrissy card is a picture of David Shearer playing guitar while riding a surfboard, and in the ocean he's surrounded by the faces of hundreds of hungry but happy African children. Awwww.
And wow, it's exactly what they needed! It's even what many of them wanted... But National seems to think it asked for that as well! Has Santa got the card right? Only time will tell.
Phil Goff has left two gifts for his party – one says "bugger all MPs", the other "some policy credibility". Better than what Bill English gave National back in 2002, you might say.
And right beside that there's a David Shearer doll – a new toy for the media to play with. How long do you think before they break it? At least it made it under the tree. The David Cunliffe doll had been bought months ago for this Christmas, but Santa had to take it back because no-one wanted it. And of course there's a Labour advent calendar with David Shearer in the pouch for Christmas Eve and an attached booklet called 'The Shearer and the Wise Men: A new narrative of rebirth and resurrection'. (A bit early for Easter, isn't it?)
Talking of resurrection, Winston Peters gets the biggest present of all this year, labelled "one last chance cos voters didn't want to give one party a majority". But it looks like Peters has tossed that one to the back of the pile and instead grabbed the pressie intended for Rodney Hide. Can't quite see the label on that one as it's so dirty and torn, but it reads something like 'r_v__ge'.
It seems Hide got his gift back in November and doesn't need it anyway.
Peters does seems a bit previous, however, given that he's already sitting in the corner composing his letter to Santa for next year. And really, while we all like to get nuts in our stockings, I don't see why Santa should give him John Key's and why Santa should serve them to him on a plate. Still, 'don't ask, don't get', I guess Mr P. That was your mantra with donors, so why not with Father Christmas?
Peter Dunne's stocking is stitched together from spreadsheets. I confess I took a peak inside and I glimpsed an abacus, a Crown car and a comb. Plus a packet of raisins, of course. And I swear I heard a last laugh somewhere at the bottom of his sack, so I guess he got one of those too.
Somewhere in Hone Harawira's stocking is the winterless North and Kelvin Davis' scalp – a gift from Labour's list committee. He insists he got everything he asked for and is just delighted he doesn't have to share his toys this year – but it's hard to tell whether there's anything much in his stocking or all the sticky-out bits are made of hot air. I guess we won't know until he starts pulling them out in the new year.
There are two nice big cushions for the Maori Party and a couple of hammocks. They'll enjoy a nice lie down, eh? But there's one spade and a toolkit there with Te Ururoa Flavell's name on it. Lucky for some, bro.
Then there's a seat and a table under the tree with John Banks' name on it. He got that at least, but it's just one seat and looks kinda lonely there all on its own. Still, there's a fat cheque attached to it and one other gift... what's that? It's a "John Key-led government?" Well, that's what he asked Epsom... I mean, Santa... for time and time and time and time again, so it's nice that he's a happy old man... I mean, happy boy.
Gee Santa, how did you know? What a great array of gifts for everyone. Hang on, where's something for the Greens? Do they just get the tree, or something?
Oh no, that's right, they got their gift on November 26 – double digits. When I saw Russel Norman last week he was still grinning, saying it was the best present in the world, EVER. And man, did he work for it. But what's he doing eyeing up Labour's presents? And having a word with Santa about getting some of its votes... I mean presents... next year. Careful there, Norman!
(Oh, and look at that, Christchurch gets just what it didn't want – more earthquakes. Bloody Grinch faultlines!).
And on that note, let me wish all Pundit readers a very merry Christmas. I'm knackered and fighting off a nasty summer cold, hence my lack of posts this past week or so. But thanks for being such a smart and savvy community, and one that cares so much about this country and its future.
May the star lead you to bright and blessed things, one and all.