‘Briefcase’ Blog – LawFuel.co.nz – By John Bowie – John Key only needs his own fairground barker, like the funnier-than-Letterman Johnny Carson, the late, late night show host, who had Ed McMahon of “Heere’s Johnny!” fame. This is a role suited to someone with barristorial gravitas and a hole in his schedule, like Richard Worth or Winston Peters and who could bellow: “Ladies and gentlemen, fresh from a sellout season at Caesar’s Palace. He headlined the New York Comedy Festival. He’s won his home town Billy T awards for the past three years. Heeeer’s Johnnnny Key”.
Unfortunately John Key may be a stand-up guy, but even his life as a money market-maker doesn’t give him the comic timing to make it as a standup comedian. Mind you,
he performed with credit given the lousy material he was given to work with. Even if he had given the aw-shucks Key smile and said something like “Wanganui” the crowd would have erupted with choreographed applause and wolf whistled themselves silly as if it was the second coming of, well, Johnny Carson.
After all, even David Letterman, a man who took 16 years to propose to his girlfriend, and is afraid of flying and fluffed his lines. The prime minister of New England? CBS pay $31 million a year for that?
But, carefully scrutiny of the questions and answers provides a useful legal subtext to life in modern day New Zealand.
Question Number 10. Auckland Airport has a cinnabon. Not true. Cinnabon is an American bakery chain which helps make America the Land of the Fat. A better question may have been: ‘How come the Canadians own Auckland Airport’? which is also untrue, but at least Americans know where Canada is. Hmm, maybe not. Even Letterman thought New Zealand was somewhere near Tasmania, as if the dust-bowl continent was in the North Atlantic or alongside the Cameroons, wherever they are. It therefore touches upon issues of overseas ownership, which will become more pronounced as China starts buying our dairy farms until most of the country is Chinese, just like Auckland is today.
Question Number 9: The loosest slot machines in the Pacific Rim. Securities laws come to mind here. The banking crisis would never have happened down here. Even last week’s Securities Commission report indicated that laws needed tightening, but in fact the real issue is that the current law also needs enforcement. Loose slots indeed.
Question Number 8: Only a convenient 20-hour flight away. Away from what? It’s not as if Roman Polanski’s flew here, but Vince Siemer did and it has become a refuge for numerous American malcontents. We are also continuing with the Americanisation of our laws with the adoption of various US-style privacy, securities, money-laundering, three-strikes and other such developments. No one takes the witness box any more, they all “take the stand”. Rumpole’s been usurped by Alan Shore.
Question Number 7: It’s like England without the attitude. No again. The wowsers and killjoys of England are alive and kicking over here as we’re endlessly exhorted to watch children (but not too closely), ensure our chocolates weren’t made in factories where a peanut once existed, keep to the track, avoid the cliff below you, don’t drive fast, in fact don’t drive at all . . and so on and so on. Law-making has replaced quilt-making and crochet as the pastime of the spellbindingly bored. Even New Zealand’s ‘most powerful lawyer,’ Sir Geoffrey (he doesn’t need a second name, like Bono he can just be “Geoffrey”) said New Zealand had become “the fastest lawmakers in the west”.
Question Number 6: Down there Leno’s on at 9 o’clock. Kind of an in-joke about Letterman’s rival and, of course, also wrong. We may be 20 years behind but we get to see the next day before them.
Question Number 5: Get the whanau together, stay in a bach, crack open the chilly bin and slap on your jandals. A non-question, of course, which made it 9 questions and John Key can count. However it displayed a focus on New Zealand vernacular and introduces issues like the spelling of a provincial city name. Only here could we have a national debate over the decision of academocrats at the Geographic Board putting an ‘h’ into a provincial city name. Will this mean that they next place the i before the e in Feilding? Or take one of the h’s from Ashhust, or take one of the five spare ‘h’s’ from the longest placename in the world, near Waipukarau ?
Question Number 4: Visit in the next 30 days, I’ll pick you up at the Airport. This might be related to unlimited travel and accommodation perks enjoyed by parliamentarians, Taito Phillip Field excepted, since Bill English was a boy. The loosely enforced travel and accommodation bonuses have been a chit-fest for MPs for far too long. Bill English plays with a straight bat but has been caught with a ‘bad look’ and will need to place his family trust on the table for all to see, I fear. The Kos QC opinion helped, but probably not quite enough.
Question Number 3: 70% of our energy is generated through renewable hydropower. Aah, environmental friendliness. We love that. We’re green and they’re envious. Even after Sue Bradford thankfully did the right thing and fell on her sharpened oatmeal loaf, we’re busy pushing the emissions trading scheme tax because, as we know, tax fixes everything, including the climate.
Question Number 2: We drive on the left side of the road, like the British and Lindsay Lohan. Not quite right. We have recidivist drunk drivers and off duty cops on the right side of the road.
Question Number 1: Unlike most of the world, we still like Americans. Wrong again. Anti-Americanism became the new state religion under Labour. But, let’s be nice to them. Just this once.