The Dim-Post

August 29, 2012

Government crumbles under lobbying from impoverished children

Filed under: Politics,satire — danylmc @ 8:42 am

The government has reversed its position on child poverty and announced tough new measures to combat the growth in poverty amongst young children after an intensive campaign by key players in the influential but secretive impoverished children’s lobby group.

The dramatic reversal comes after late night, closed-door meetings between senior Ministers in the National government and powerful representatives acting on behalf of very small, very poor children, including six year old Otara based Ruby Savea and political king-maker Liam Wehi, a four year old boy from Northland with type-I-diabetes, referred to by Beehive insiders as ‘the Prince of Darkness’.

The children also had international support when they were joined by a high-level delegation of emaciated ragamuffins from the slums of Santiago and Karachi, who were welcomed at the airport by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, then sprayed with jets of high-pressure water and deloused before being whisked to the Prime Ministers residence in a convoy of crown limousines.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister John Key has described the talks as ‘frank and productive’. ‘The two parties ate fairy-bread, listened to the Wiggles and then hammered out a detailed plan.’ She denied rumours that the talks came to an early end because the Prime Minister became cranky and needed a nap.

Details of the agreement include tax-rebates for insulation rental homes, improved access to high quality early childhood education, and the development of low-decile schools as ‘community hubs’ aimed at providing social services to poor children. Business leaders are crying foul at the government’s u-turn, describing the policy reversal as ‘cowardly’, and questioning the level of influence small, starving, filthy children have on government Ministers.

‘These policies will result in warmer homes and lower levels of respiratory disease in young children,’ warned National Business Review editor Nevil Gibson. ‘And guess who lives in a freezing, damp home and suffers from chronic bronchitis? Ruby Savea, the very same person babbling adorably in the Prime Minister’s ear and influencing policy decisions. It’s classic pork-barrel politics.’

Criticism has also been leveled at the level of access very poor children have to Parliament where they can influence legislation directly, without public oversight. Dr Oliver Hartwich, Director of the New Zealand Institute, alleges that the extreme thinness of poor children allows them to wriggle through ajar windows and the gaps above the automated parking doors, then make their way through the ventilation system to Ministers’ offices, sit at their knees and stare at them reproachingly with huge, liquid eyes. ‘For politicians to actually see the people most affected by their policies undermines the entire integrity of our political economy,’ Hartwich cautions.

Finance Minister Bill English has come under particularly strong criticism for his links to diseased, desperately miserable children, in the wake of revelations that he played ‘Pirate tag’ on a rusty, abandoned truck parked outside a derelict factory with both Ruby Savea and Liam Wehi. ‘Was there a quid-pro-pro?’ demands former ACT leader Dr Don Brash. ‘Did Wehi and Savea show him their secret shortcut to that burned out truck in exchange for funding a hot meal every day at their schools? These are questions the New Zealand public deserves answers to.’

Business leaders allege that the power of starving children over the public sector goes beyond simple lobbying of Ministers, extending throughout the public service, citing reports that many senior Treasury staff spent their winter holidays with key players in the impoverished children sector huffing butane on the banks of the Waiwhetu stream. The Auditor General is investigating the claims.

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20 Comments »

  1. I thought this was completely believable until the last sentence. Surely the plausibility of this post rests on the investigation being undertaken by the Auditor-General?

    Comment by J — August 29, 2012 @ 8:46 am

  2. Yes! Fixed it – thanks.

    Comment by danylmc — August 29, 2012 @ 8:53 am

  3. @J: what was it before? Witchfinder-General?

    Comment by dfmamea — August 29, 2012 @ 9:02 am

  4. It previously referred to the Attorney-General.

    Which would be impossible, obviously. Chris Finlayson would have a clear conflict of interest after his debate with six year old Jade Thomas on the validity of paper-scissors-rock as a legal dispute mechanism.

    Comment by J — August 29, 2012 @ 9:14 am

  5. This is why I like Danyl’s blog. The man retains the capacity to be outraged. David Farrar, eunuch sans pareil to the sublime porte of the National party, dismissed the Children’s Commissioners report with a comment so blithely banal and cynical it deserves repeating:

    “…Call me old fashioned, but I always thought it was the responsibility of parents to supply breakfast, not schools…”

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 29, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  6. This is really, brutally good. Deserves a wide airing. Thanks Danyl.

    Comment by Sam F — August 29, 2012 @ 10:05 am

  7. I just feel really sad.

    Comment by Stephen Doyle — August 29, 2012 @ 10:42 am

  8. Brilliant. From start to finish.

    ‘For politicians to actually see the people most affected by their policies undermines the entire integrity of our political economy,’ Hartwich cautions.

    Comment by Aztec — August 29, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  9. Joyce presumably had been sent to bed early without dinner to dream wild dreams..

    Comment by Sacha — August 29, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  10. The Standard should syndicate this.

    Comment by alex — August 29, 2012 @ 11:39 am

  11. F’ing genius.

    Comment by QoT — August 29, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

  12. Not so far from reality. Except you left out the Treasury report.

    They released one earlier this year discussing the cost benefits of smokers dying younger rather than receiving public health care into old age. Perhaps they could advise on the “significant cost benefits” of letting poor sick children die young, rather than be a burden on the taxpayer through acquiring lifelong health problems? (Come to think of it, there would be similar “benefits” to taxpayers from legalising euthanasia.)

    Comment by uke — August 29, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  13. Amusing, but depressing.

    Comment by nw — August 29, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  14. @5 re. Farrar’s comment:

    It used to be the responsibility of employers to pay a family wage – sufficient for a couple with three children to have a moderate but respectable standard of living. Today, employers rely on the state to shore up families’ wages. They also expect the state to subsidise the wages of new labour force entrants and meet the cost of their training. I’ve seen no protests from Farrar about this turn of events.

    Comment by Laura — August 29, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  15. Wow. Well written

    Comment by PC Brigadier — August 29, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  16. I love the PM’s blithe dismissal of the idea of a universal child benefit. He points out that “in New Zealand we have a very targeted system through Working for Families (WFF)”.

    Given the discriminatory nature of the In-Work Tax Credit (IWTC) component of this a more honest name would be “Working for Those Families (that have work for at least 20 hours a week)(WTF)”.

    Comment by PPCM — August 29, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  17. Brilliant, hilarious, poignant, and sad.
    Possibly the finest piece of satire I’ve read this year.
    Sharp as Valyrian steel.
    Great work!

    Comment by neilwatts — August 29, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  18. The problem will be solved when they pass the bill that bans mixed sex marriages and lower the drinking age to 10.

    Comment by Eddy M — August 29, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  19. Ruth Richardson and Jenny Shipley must be loving this. The lower classes are finally being put in their proper place by an Hawaiian Wall street trader with little or no understanding of resident New Zealanders.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — August 29, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  20. Aaah – now it all makes sense. Can we trust the future to these cunning young subverters???
    I don’t normally on-send blogs, but this…this needs all the eyes that can read it and the minds that can understand.

    Comment by Carolyn Lane — August 29, 2012 @ 8:12 pm


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