Saturday, December 10, 2011

Coalition Negotiations, Imagined

Scene: the interior of a cafe. John Key and John Banks sit on opposite sides of a small table, drinking coffee.

KEY [winking]: Well, you've really got us over a barrel here, John. Can't govern without you. Holding the balance of power and all that ...

BANKS: I wouldn't worry, Prime Minister. I'll be doing my utmost to ensure a stable, John Key-led government.

KEY: Yes, of course...but, technically, you are in a pretty powerful position. I'm guessing there's probably a few concessions you want to extract from us.

BANKS: Concessions?

KEY: Yes, something you want, in return for letting us govern.

BANKS [strokes tie, looks down at table]: Well, since you put it like that...there is something I do rather want...only thing I've ever wanted, really...

KEY [sighs]: Look, I thought we'd gone over this. I can't make you Mayor of Auckland.

BANKS [pouts a little]: How about Minister of Auckland. Or Minister for Auckland, isn't that what they call it these days?

KEY [shakes head sadly]: Sorry John, no can do...not in this term at least. Anyway, what I really meant was that you, I mean the ACT party, probably have some policies that you want to implement, and you can make some demands about those...

BANKS: Policies?

KEY [looks slightly exasperated]: Yes. Hasn't Don been getting you up to speed?

BANKS: Strange chap. Wants to have us all smoking weed. Over my dead body, I say.

KEY: Yes, quite. But there's all the core ACT policies, like...shall I get you started? Low and flattened tax rates. Reducing burdensome regulations. Reforming the RMA. Individualised unemployment insurance. Education vouchers.

BANKS: Education! That sounds like me. Can we give more money to Auckland Grammar?

KEY: Hmm, I suppose...[picks up some papers and shuffles through them]. How about we just let anyone, say a successful business, set up a school to see what they can do with it. They get public funding, but don't have to put up with all the red tape and regulations. To hell with the teachers' unions and all that...[looks at the papers]...charter schools.

BANKS [grins]: Busting the teacher unions? Heh. Count me in.

KEY: Ok, charter schools it is then. Something else?

BANKS [adamant]: We've got to stop giving so much money to the Maoris.

KEY [shuffles some more papers]: about just a cap on all government spending?

BANKS: I'll trust your judgement, Prime Minister.

KEY: Excellent. Charter schools and a government spending cap. I'll get Stephen to work on the details. Cheers.

They clink coffee cups.

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