Responding to attacks by opposition MPs in the Labour Party about poor economic performance and rising unemployment the Prime Minister today insisted that the New Zealand economy was seeing ‘green shoots’ and that he was confident robust tourism numbers, a strong export market and the wisdom and magical powers of Gandalf the Grey would return New Zealand to a position of strong economic growth in the second half of 2009.
‘I have complete confidence in both the people of New Zealand and Gandalf,’ Key announced this morning while speaking to a meeting of manufacturers and industrialists in Onehunga. ‘And while normally members of the Istari do not intervene in human affairs they may do so in certain desperate circumstances.’
‘If the need is there Gandalf can and will take a more direct role, as we saw during the Battle of Five Armies and the assault on the Necromancer’s stronghold in Dol Guldur and I believe he will do so again given our current debt to GDP ratio.’
The Prime Minister took questions from the press after his speech but refused to give details on when Gandalf would intervene, saying ‘I do not wish to gainsay the Grey wizard but economic fundamentals such as unemployment, a stagnant property market and private borrowing levels are clearly dire enough to warrant his personal involvement.’
Labour were quick to criticise the Prime Minister’s plan with Labour finance spokesperson David Cunliffe casting doubts on Gandalf’s fiscal experience and credibility on financial matters, although he was quick to distance himself from Green Party leader Russel Norman who has repeatedly alleged that Gandalf is only a character in a book and does not actually exist.
‘It is the position of the Labour Party that Gandalf is not qualified to take a direct role in setting macro-economic policy, however we have the greatest respect for him on a personal level and condemn the Green Party’s baseless slurs against the hero of Helm’s Deep. We call upon Dr Norman and the Prime Minister to apologise to Gandalf for involving him in such petty political gameplaying.’
Key dismissed the opposition attacks, saying, ‘if Labour had not run down our economy through overtaxation and overspending then they would not have put Gandalf in this difficult position.’
Key has responded cautiously to suggestions that the wise yet mysterious wizard might send him personally on an epic quest.
‘I’m not sure how that would work with my responsibilities as Prime Minister, nor do I accept that any member of the Council of the Wise has authority to send me on a quest,’ Key said, before acknowledging that both Thorin and Aragorn effectively served under Gandalf during the Journey to the Lonely Mountain and the War of the Ring, respectively. ‘To that I would say that my position is somewhat different to Strider’s since neither he or Thorin were functioning as heads of government during their time with Gandalf.’
In response to further questioning the Prime Minister refined his position, saying. ‘Look, if directly called upon to embark on an adventure I would probably go. You have to look at the specifics. If I were to be accompanied by Gandalf himself and any high elves then probably, yes, but if it was going to just be some dwarves and a bunch of hobbits then that would not be a high priority quest for me.’ ‘
Key would not be drawn on any specific actions he hoped Gandalf would take.
‘Obviously any help on Gandalf’s part would be appreciated but if the Great Eagles were involved – possibly by somehow lowering our currency value to strengthen an export led recovery – then that would be ideal. Gwaihir and the Eagles are awesome. Failing that Gandalf could use Narya, his Ring of Power to promote job growth without contributing to an inflationary wage increase. Not many people know Gandalf himself is a ring-bearer.’
Gandalf could not be reached for comment.