The government is to focus its efforts on re-arranging the furniture in John Key’s Beehive office, the Prime Minister announced today, ending months of speculation about National’s plan to reduce the deficit and grow productivity during their second term.
In a speech that is expected to set the political and fiscal agenda for the next two years, Key made the announcement at a breakfast meeting of the Waitakere Business Club, who greeted the policy with sustained applause.
‘This government will form a high level committee to carry out this task, consisting of myself, Finance Minister Bill English, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Northland electorate MP Mike Sabin who used to shift pianos when he was a student and is still in pretty good shape.’
‘This committee will sit atop all other departments and sub-committees focusing on this issue and produce regular reports on current and ongoing furniture deployment and office topology, allowing us to move towards a workspace where I don’t have the sun shining right on my laptop screen for most of the morning and a brighter future for all New Zealand.’
Although some heavy lifting will be required, the government expects to shift the heavy leather couches and wood and steel meeting table using wireless mobile devices and social media tools, somehow.
The announcement is aimed at voters worried about the government losing direction during tough economic times and Christchurch residents exasperated at the slow rate of the re-build, although it is also expected to quell dissatisfaction amongst business leaders and National MPs who feel that the Prime Minister’s office is too cluttered and twee, with an odd mixture of furnishings ranging from French Empire to contemporary, and where you can’t hear things properly because of all the hard surfaces.
‘Finding the optimal re-orientation of my desk is vital to restoring ongoing competitiveness to New Zealand business,’ the Prime Minister told reporters at a briefing after the speech. ‘If it’s facing this way you’ve got the sun, but the other way I can’t see people when they walk into the room. There’s a lot of moving parts here and it’s not going to be easy, but we’re up to the challenge.’
Despite criticisms from opposition leaders, Key insists the policy will yield tangible benefits to the economy. ‘Our initial estimates were savings of several hundred dollars a year due to reduced carpet cleaning costs, while Treasury models put a more efficiently arranged office returning five to six billion dollars a year after five years. Realistically the real number is probably somewhere in the middle.’
The radical new reforms will also revolutionise the Prime Ministerial white-board, which leans against a wall and is fastened to a table with blue-tack. Currently the white-board lists operational priorities of the Prime Minister’s Office: rebuild Christchurch, grow the economy, win a third term and be invited back to the White House.
‘Instead of a sequential list we’re looking at writing them in a circle and drawing arrows between them,’ Key explained. ‘Poor policy decisions in the 2000s damaged confidence in the New Zealand economy and we think this will get it back on track.’
The list of priority items are currently re-ordered on a daily basis, using either numbers, asterisks or bullet-points, dependent on fluctuations in world markets, overnight polling data and the flight patterns of sea-birds over Wellington harbor, as they wheel and dive in the empty sky.