The Dim-Post

April 16, 2012

The DIY Recess Diary of Finance Minister Bill English

Filed under: polls,satire — danylmc @ 10:43 am


Right. There’s a huge amount of work to be done renovating the house and restoring efficiency to the living areas. I have a clear and comprehensive program to achieve that, but there are going to have to be sacrifices if we want a strong, stable house and a brighter future in the downstairs family room.

First order of business is to carpet the hallway. Now some silly people think that the best way to do this is to measure the area of the hall and buy an equivalent amount of carpet. That’s just nonsense. You don’t see businesses in the private sector going around figuring out what they need and then purchasing it. So I’ve sourced a book of carpet samples and left it in the linen cupboard. I’m confident that left to itself the carpet will grow to match the space required within the next twenty-four hours.

Tomorrow. Re-puttying the dining-room windows.


Still no growth in the area of carpet, but I’m confident that left to itself it will increase in size within the next twenty-four hours.

Puttying the windows is an important part of keeping the overall structure weather-tight. If you get cracks in the putty then you get water in the frame, and that rots the wood. After taking advice from Treasury I’ve decided to apply the sealant with a hand-held circular saw.

The result is a slightly less intact window-pane than I would have liked, but that’s due to poor decisions and planning when the window was first installed by the builder. I’m satisfied that future circular-saw applied putty jobs will be more robust.


Fixing the gutters. Some of the nails attaching the guttering to the wall have rusted and come loose. They need to be replaced. This is a tricky job – you need to keep your gutters level or you get water run-off down the walls. Once again the circular saw performs well, and I’m reasonably happy with the results, although the gutters and the walls behind them under-perform. I note once again that these walls were installed by the previous home-owner.


Still no growth in the area of carpet, but I’m confident that left to itself it will increase in size within the next twenty-four hours.

It rained during the night and I wake to find several centimeters of water flooding all the downstairs rooms, having come in through the broken windows and gaps in the walls. The rain is an external factor beyond my control, but it will need to be addressed. I put together a high-level task force to provide strategic leadership on the issue, and appoint Murray Horn and John Sherwin to run it. The initial cost of the task-force is $1.5 million dollars over two years, roughly $1,499,000 more than I budgeted for these renovations, so there will have to be cutbacks made in other areas. I unplug the refrigerator.

Next I clean a bit of mould off the gazebo. The next door neighbor stops by to complain about the sound of sawing, and while he’s here he suggests I put tarpaulins up over the broken windows, which – he claims – will keep out any future rain. I explain to him that I’m operating in a tight fiscal environment and that all that tarp would cost dozens of dollars. You can’t solve a problem by throwing money at it.


Carpet growth still softer than I’d like, but there are signs that it’s picking it.

Today I wall-paper the study, carefully stripping back the old paper and then applying the paste. I’m satisfied with the results, although yet again the environment created by the previous home-owner leads to under-performance, and a lot of paper, paste, plaster and wood gumming up the blades of the circular saw. Not quite the outcome I would have liked, but this house is still better off than comparable homes that never even had a study to start with.

In the afternoon I head down to Bunnings to replace the saw blade – I need it tomorrow to replace the old washers in the laundry – and the sales clerk tries to sell me an insulating blanket for my hot water cylinder, claiming it will reduce my electricity bill and pay for itself within six months. That’s just nonsense. You don’t see businesses in the private sector investing money to provide a greater return than the cost of the investment.


Carpet size is holding steady, with growth tracking roughly median performance – which I’m happy with, although obviously I’d like to see it pick up.

The Why Is My House Full of Water task-force published their interim report today. Now we’ll see some progress! It’s excellent, challenging stuff, and they’ve identified some real problems with the house and signaled the way forward.

Their top priority is to address the strategic issue of the basement. This is filled with large concrete pillars sitting between the earth and the bottom floor of the house. As they say in their executive summary, ‘An effective, efficient house should support itself. These concrete piles will have to be removed if this house is to remain competitive with other dwellings on this street.’

Now we have a real road-map as to what an effective, twenty-first century house will look like. I contract in Goldman Sachs to sell the piles on my behalf, at an initial investment of $75 million dollars. This should be recouped when the piles are sold, but until then we’ll just have to tighten our belts and press on. I siphon all the petrol out of my wife’s car. We’re all in this together.


Success. The ratio of carpet to hallway has now reached the optimum level. I reject criticisms that this is because the hallway has collapsed – it’s true that it’s not performing to the levels I’d like, but it’s still a space inside the house between the kitchen and the TV room.

Today is a day of rest. It’s been a productive week, and the next seven days are critical in establishing my plans for a super-room, which combines the pantry, shower and garage. I need to build on the momentum I’ve established, and really hammer home the inefficiencies.

Tomorrow: back-office functions. Moving gas fittings to the front-line, outsourcing sewerage, and migrating the storm-water drains to the cloud environment.


  1. Clearly Treasury were correct in their advice – the problem was with the way their advice was applied.

    Comment by Ataahua — April 16, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  2. Perhaps this could be a series. Tomorrow could be Gareth Hughes and his relentless quest to save the planet one empty community hall at a time using only a pot of week old humus and the meagre resources of parliamentary services and Air New Zeland.
    Call it Anti Frack Man does Koru.

    Comment by barnsley bill — April 16, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  3. Bill really understands the Power of Market Forces. The Market is bound to appreciate the value of his new improved property. And dish out a knighthood or two. “Sir Bill!” A just reward don’t you think?

    Comment by xianmac — April 16, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  4. Peter Creswell informs me the real problem here isn’t you have not used a big enough circular saw. Now, if you had outsourced your circular to a private provider with a bigger, machine driven one then you could have achieved you weekly goals as early as Tuesday. Of course, Bernard Darnton thinks the whole problem is you own a house in the first place.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 16, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  5. I presume the carpet metaphor is intended to teach us that the economy will no more grow without government action than a piece of carpet will grow by itself.

    Seems legit.

    Comment by Hugh — April 16, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

  6. i missed you

    Comment by dfmamea — April 16, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

  7. …migrating the storm-water drains to the cloud environment.

    This has knowledge wave innovation written all over it.

    A clever extended vertical integration of the precipitation to drainage process, with a corresponding natural gain in supply chain efficiency by removing the roof from the catchment activity is pure cost-out.

    Note to self: Memo David Carter to discuss potential bottom line efficiencies to be promoted in the dairy industry by blending grass to replace milk.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 16, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  8. “you need to keep your gutters level” – unfortunately this advice on Wednesday from Treasury is as inaccurate as their forecasts – if the gutters are level the water will not flow fast enough to the drain-pipe. If $75 (+ GST) had been spent on a plumber instead of the $1.5 million on the task force the problems on Thursday could have been partially avoided.

    Comment by MikeG — April 16, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  9. Dears sirs,

    PLease to be interested in my proposals to finance yours outstanding excellence in the field of outsourcing. We can extend
    to you funds sufficient for your circular saw and pantry into garage expansion plans. Please send an initial desposits of $10,000 (in Botswana shekels) to PO Box 28, Upper Victoria Falls, Mugabeville.

    Yours in architectural plunder,
    C Mugabe Finance (not associated with Mark Bryers in any known ways)
    P.S. We can lend your governments $20bn at cheep rates if yous want.

    Comment by bob — April 16, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  10. Yeah, this is funny. But you’re still only playing second fiddle to Shelley. First sentence of the latest offering – “Mobile phones are almost everywhere but one place they most definitely are not is on Singapore Airlines’ long-haul flights such SQ282 that recently jetted me towards my Easter break in Malaysia.”

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — April 16, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  11. One shouldn’t poke fun at the retarded, AG.

    Personally, I have come to believe that Ms Bridgeman is some form of cleverly constructed homage to the Theatre of the Absurd.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 16, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

  12. Meanwhile, Shearer continues to demonstrate his irrelevance by “touring the provinces”. Can’t he even have a lackey twitter on his progress instead of pretending that he’s “above all that”? Great Green Arkleseizure, politics is so depressing these days, not least due to the resolute and persistent ignorance of our “representatives”.

    As for Dear Shelly, do not speak ill of her, lest she retire – and there would we be for amusement?

    Comment by Rhinocrates — April 16, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  13. Superb Danyl, superb.

    Comment by TerryB — April 16, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

  14. very lame -try doing something else

    Comment by monty — April 16, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  15. “Monty” – annnd the troll’s back again too. Oh well.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — April 16, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

  16. Hey come on, Rhino.

    Monty’s comment is, as am example of the finest style of considered critique, both incisive and constructive.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 16, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

  17. @16

    I suppose even pissing on the bore would be “feeding” in a sense. I had such hopes for him, but he shows not even the suggestion of a fantasy of a supposition of an illusion of an intimation of a hypothetical potential of a sketch of the possibility of an hallucination of the hint of the illusion of wit, let alone intelligence.

    And in anticipation of his inevitable scatological reply (“cocksucker”, “cunt” etcetera), I can only say, “Oh God, please try harder! Entertain me at least!” Trolling is supposed to be infuriating, but this kind of banality…? What have we come to today if children can’t be creatively insulting?

    Comment by Rhinocrates — April 16, 2012 @ 9:58 pm

  18. Circular saw as analogy for blunt instrument = sharp.

    Comment by MeToo — April 17, 2012 @ 9:23 am

  19. So glad you’re back

    Comment by Michael S — April 17, 2012 @ 9:48 am

  20. “Tomorrow: back-office functions. Moving gas fittings to the front-line
    The circular saw will work great, because the pipes are circular.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — April 17, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  21. At least he’s not from Australia!

    Comment by Daniel Lang — April 17, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  22. We waited in anticipation for 10 days for this?

    Ok, you’ve got a baby that has needs… do what’ca gotta do.

    I really hope, for your sake, that you speak in similar pitch and tone to Morgan Freeman. I can’t think on anyone (cunt, cocksucker, or otherwise) that I’ve had the misfortune to cross paths with (electronically) who appears to be so very in love with the sound of their own voice.

    Comment by Phil — April 17, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  23. Where’s the media analogy in this?

    Shelley from the local suburban newspaper drops in having heard the saw going. Wife of Murray, she recognises the brilliantly austere design, reminiscent of the latest trends in Europe (but not Finland) and pens an influential opinion piece about Bill’s DIY magic, the tasty peasant gruel dinner served by his wife and the fine cut of his smile.

    Comment by nigelsagentinthefield — April 17, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  24. ban rhinocrates, ban monty, ban phil

    quote this if you’re down

    Comment by Trouble Man — April 17, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  25. No Phil, my voice doesn’t sound like Morgan Freeman’s – but I do get paid for it, so it does appear that I’m not practicing a solitary vice.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — April 17, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

  26. Phil @22 I rather enjoy meeting cunts and cocksuckers. What is your problem?

    Is it the others? Perhaps you should forgo others?

    Comment by peterlepaysan — April 17, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  27. I think it was Margaret Thatcher who first compared managing an economy to buying carpet.

    Meanwhile, on the left-hand side of the street the Shearer family is still fatherless and the kids are left believing that wanting carpet is a media-fuelled capitalist conspiracy. Although one of them wants to build a carpet factory for her school friends to play with.

    Comment by NeilM — April 17, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  28. How long will it be before the Four Yorkshiremen turn up?

    And, I can’t resist this: “Freemanic Paracusia”

    Comment by Rhinocrates — April 17, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  29. Yes, I love it!
    Of course the Task Force is likely to identify the odd issue and recommend that we should all pay for a new building through our rates. Again. Just like last time.
    And the new one will probably be built in China.

    Comment by Neil — April 18, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  30. Is part 2 cancelled due to the gas thing not going well?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — April 18, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

  31. 17% of comments on this thread to date (excluding this one) were made by Rhinocrates and total of 33% were either made by Rhinocrates or name him/her (I’m guessing him), I couldn’t be bothered analysing any further but suspect that by including comments replying to Rhinocrates into the tally would push the numbers closer to 50% . On this basis I tend to concur with Phil @22.

    Comment by merv — April 20, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  32. It’s not that I love the sound of my own voice; I love language. I enjoy playing with it, I like the craft and I’ll try to exercise it for my own pleasure and I take great pleasure in seeing other people use it well too. That’s why I like this blog, because of Danyl’s wonderful, sharp and sardonic vignettes. I can’t say if I’m “good” myself (de gustibus and all that…), but I feel that life demands ambition and I’ll try to have fun with words and appreciate other people who will make a creative effort with both form and content.

    There’s an awful, dour and joyless philistinism in the New Zealand character that is hostile towards creative ambition that often manifests as passive-aggressive snark crafted in the dullest possible manner – hence the inarticulate gruntings of that idiot “Trouble Man/Little Stevie” and the “Duh, don’t give up your day job” lines from some that greeting this latest installment. There’s no actual verve or any attempt to improve on Danyl’s perceived faults behind these statements.

    Nobody’s forcing you to read anything, so you can easily pick up something that might be more agreeable if you don’t like what you see here, but if you’re going to engage with the conversation, engage with the spirit of the conversation too – learn to play and have some fun. If not, why bore yourself?

    Comment by Rhinocrates — April 20, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  33. Bravo, Rhino @ 32.

    I read the blog for the creativity and language (and occasionally Danyl comes to a conclusion re: politics that I might not have considered myself). Also, teh lulz.

    Personally, I enjoy reading anything that is well crafted; mostly because I recognise that my own skill with words would be insufficient to create m/any of the posts or comments here at the Dim-Post.

    Keep up the good work and ignore the nay-sayers.

    Comment by Simon Poole — April 20, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  34. And on that note:

    Danyl, I know you have a new baby and how demanding that can be, but think of your audience! Do we mean so little to you that you’d neglect to post for a whole ten days? That hurts me right here.

    Comment by Simon Poole — April 20, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  35. [Tips hat]

    Comment by Rhinocrates — April 20, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  36. Very prosaic Rhinocrates I tip my hat to your creativity and panache and also wish that the world wasn’t so full of dour tossers and pretentious poseurs

    Comment by merv — April 20, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  37. This confirmed lurker feels compelled to post in support of Rhinocrates’ continued commenting here. I very much enjoy Rhinocrates’ comments and idiot-skewering on the Dim-Post (as I have enjoyed his posts elsewhere, but Publicaddress has become so vulgar and inane). Please keep the posting up Dr Rhino; I like the cut of your jib.

    Comment by Atilius Regulus — April 20, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

  38. My cup flusheth over. Methinks I shall call upon yon plumber that I seeth passynge.

    Merv, thou miss mine point and so I say again: I am but a servant to that most lovely of Ladies: Language. She plays with me, and I with her; no more nor less.

    If you want to learn about the practice of sarcasm, consult Mr Douglas Piranha. I gather that a certain Montgomery Python, theatrical agent, has contacts with him and may be able to put you in touch. (But watch out for Spiny Norman.)

    And now, alas, I must depart to find one hundred and fifty-odd variations on “You research is adequate, but what should be a Practice Note is an essay. Please make sure that your advice is amenable to random access – and therefore appropriately subtitled and arranged in a logical sequence (a contents page would help). Also, ensure that your interpretation is presented in a way that allows application by professionals. This then requires that you are able to outline practical guidelines clearly in a manner that you have demonstrated to have been derived from your research.” That is why I am so determined to be silly here. I fully sympathise with Danyl – science is glorious, but its daily grind is often dull, and the same is the case for my fields of

    Comment by Rhinocrates — April 21, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

  39. Yes. Yes.

    No. OK.

    Very well.

    Comment by merv — April 23, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

  40. Rhinocrates #32: it reminds me of when my visual salute to Jono Swift ruffled a few feathers, and rightly so. And there’s more to come, with the whole Sky City fellating going on.

    Comment by deepred — April 23, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

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