Whereabouts is the nowhere man?
by Lyndon Hood
It was in December of 2012 we lost the Prime Minister.
We had lost things before, but they were the usual things: ballpoint pens, socks, helium balloons, finance company billions, valuables from demolition sites, the occasional central business district and – when the hot, dry nor’wester blows – our minds. Losing a national leader was a novelty.
He was here for the opening of the new Cathedral. Of course in hindsight it’s very easy to see the mistake there.
Because this particular Cathedral (despite popular belief, it is safe for a politician to cross the threshold of an ordinary church) was built from pieces cut out of cardboard. The moment the Prime Minister stepped inside, no-one could tell him from the architecture.
The diplomatic protection squad were chasing around the pews after their lost charge. Some say they could hear him. Explaining that he was relaxed about it.
His deputy went in after him, said that he of all people should be able to tell the Prime Minister from a nicely-presented cut out piece of cardboard. Perhaps, as the now-evacuated crowd listened anxiously though the open doors, he thought in the political magic of that place he might also find an economic plan. Judging by the results, he actually found a Boojum.
It was an anxious wait so we started telling ‘Your Mixed Ownership Model’ jokes. They were popular at the time. “Your Mixed Ownership Model is so ugly, seventy-five percent of the population are opposed to it.” “Your Mixed Ownership Model is so stupid, it thinks fifty-one percent of the voting shares is the same as fifty-one percent of the total stock.” You had to make your own fun in those days.
The rest of the Cabinet were diving in with their various solutions – cutting the budget, firing the staff, saying they were going to sell off half of it, selling off approximately half of it, then building a road through it (I’m not sure what those solutions had to do with the actual problem, but it seemed to make them happy) and Gerry Brownlee wandering around saying everything was fine and of course most of them disappearing as soon as they got anywhere near the place.
When we lost Judith Collins – she should have known trying to crush it was a bad idea – we dangled Trevor Mallard in on a piece of string in an attempt to lure her out. All we got for that was an empty piece of string.
In the end they turned the place into a casino. Well, they call it a convention centre. But it’s mostly used for conventions of people who are gambling. According to the operator’s statistics we lost fewer MPs there that day than the average annual rate for the rest of the world, so it’s actually a very safe place for politicians and should be expanded.
Anyway, I like to think they’re all happy in there somewhere.
That or they’ve been accidentally recycled.