In summer silly-season news, German tourist Hans Kubus is sentenced for attempting to smuggle out 44 geckos and skinks in his underwear. Court rejects Kubus’s defence that he had spent too long around ill-dressed male bathers and had simply mistranslated the term “budgie-smuggler”.
Meanwhile, in what will later be seen as a pre-emptive strike against WikiLeaks, the US Defense Department reveals the whereabouts in Afghanistan of our SAS, including media-shy hero, Colonel Willie Apiata, VC.
Telecom XT network crashes yet again in the South Island and lower half of the North Island. CEO Paul Reynolds fronts apology showing why an honest-sounding Scottish accent and silver hair are worth 5 million a year. Questioned about rumours that special forces have been called in, the SAS will confirm only that Willie Apiata is deployed “somewhere south of Taupo”.
In overseas news, the America’s Cup is finally decided by two actual boats sailing a race. Race is criticised as a stunt and a sideshow detracting from the noble sport of litigation.
Government replaces elected council Environment Canterbury (ECan) with Dame Margaret Bazley to remove vexatious obstacles to overturning water conservation orders, such as due process and the judiciary. Legal commentators break into cold sweat.
At Academy Awards, Matt Damon misses out for 1995 Rugby World Cup movie Invictus, but Sandra Bullock wins Best Actress for The Blind Side, while Best Picture goes to The Hurt Locker. Martin Snedden and 2011 Rugby World Cup officials read latter title as reference to Ali Williams’ injury woes and praise overdue interest in the centrality of rugby to world cinema, just 18 months before most important sporting tournament of all time. An angry Snedden denies the nation is obsessed with the Cup.
Pita Sharples pops up in UN Assembly in a Māori Television exclusive to pledge New Zealand commitment to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Clearly singing from the same hymn book, the Maori Party extols the DRIP to its supporters as the highest form of politics: “pure aspiration”; while the National Party reassures its supporters that the DRIP is toothless and non-binding: “pure aspiration”.
In international news, BP oil well explodes, spewing crude into Gulf of Mexico. Company insists “It’s a small spill on a big table” and activates emergency procedure to plug well with shredded remains of suppressed internal safety warnings.
Controversial Three Strikes Bill passes into law, to applause of ACT Law and Order spokesman David Garrett and fans of baseball everywhere.
Public march against opening Conservation Estate Schedule IV land to mining. Gerry Brownlee exhorts nation to dig for victory. Nation wins.
MPs’ credit card and travel spending announced to taxpayer outrage. Big spender Chris Carter wins some sympathy for showing that at least $74.99 went on sending flowers to his bereaved partner.
At Football World Cup, lowly All Whites hold “Slamdunk” Slovakia, “Paramount” Paraguay, and “Invincible” Italy to draws, earning them the fearsome moniker “Giant-Non-Losers”. Only other undefeated participant is Paul the Oracle Octopus, who correctly predicts results.
In Trans-Tasman news, Kevin Rudd disappears from office overnight. Rudd is last heard asking “What’s that steel thing in my back and where the bloody hell’s Ju—?”
In wider international developments, John Key is revealed to be in secret talks with China to swap kiwis for pandas. Green co-leader Russell Norman, fresh from scuffle with Chinese security guards at Beehive, accuses Key of pandaring to human rights violators.
Chris Carter sends apparently suicidal tip-off letter warning of Labour leadership coup. Letter is in Carter’s characteristic handwriting and personally delivered to the Beehive messengers’ room across 200 metres of the most video-surveyed floor space in the country. Carter claims he would have said it with flowers but InterFlora had revoked his credit card.
In international news, Kevin Rudd recovers in hospital after the surgical removal of Julia Gillard. Fiji Law Society warns that “interim” regime’s dismissal of magistrates for rejecting regime’s corruption allegations constitutes interference with judiciary. Commodore Frank Bainimarama responds that the only interference is that by neocolonial bullies New Zealand and Australia, and threatens to extend the hectic schedule leading to elections in 2014 because of judiciary’s and public’s unacceptable expressions of opinions other than his own.
BP oil well continues to spew. In PR disaster, BP’s CEO testifies that he deserves his life back. BP’s board draws up dismissal papers and head-hunts Paul Reynolds for future apologies.
Heather Roy, ACT deputy and ex-Territorial, seems to sabotage her leader publicly and then complains of being bullied by him. In tense television appearance Hide and Roy make up but are swift to deny relationship is rosy, apparently fearing rumours of romance. Hide later privately remarks he hasn’t felt this uncomfortable with a woman since Dancing with the Stars.
In sports news, All Blacks sweep Tri Nations. Grim-faced rugby officials fear the team has peaked early just 13 months before the only tournament that matters.
In Chile, 33 trapped miners are contacted through tiny shaft left intact. Necessaries of life lowered to them include 33 mini-bibles, Prozac, and contracts for the film rights. Miners swear solemn oath of brotherhood pledging that if they survive they will share any film proceeds.
In a busy news month, financial collapse of South Canterbury is followed by seismic collapse of whole province. Parliament unanimously rushes into law the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Bill, making Gerry Brownlee de facto emperor. Agitated legal commentators become delirious and are rushed to hospital.
David Garrett admits stealing the identity of a dead baby but claims it is the kind of youthful indiscretion that all 26-year-old lawyers are prone to. Garrett strikes out.
Overseas, the Commonwealth Games are under threat. India deploys three zillion soldiers to save Games from Pakistani insurgents, many apparently disguised as corrupt tradespeople, King Cobras or food-borne diseases. NZ offers to send three Hercules, Dame Margaret Bazley and Willie Apiata if we can find him. Indians reply that they would be happy with Paul Henry’s head on a plate after perceived anti-Indian comments. Games go ahead but NZ flag-bearer Irene van Dyk leads team right out of stadium at opening ceremony.
Paralysed by indecisiveness, Australia cannot correctly name the winner of either Australia’s Next Top Model or the general election, nor break a tie in the Aussie League finals. Commodore Bainimarama explains this is precisely the trouble with giving the people or independent judges choices, and offers to invade to restore order.
Among loved ones standing vigil at the Chilean mine, the sobbing wife and mistress of miner Yonni Barios discover each other’s existence and find they, too, have been shafted. Tears turn to rage.
As income tax cuts and GST rise kick in, Labour boldly pledges to remove GST on fruit and vegetables. Although Phil Goff denies that drawing the line would be unworkably complex, he cannot answer whether tomatoes, being arguably both fruit and vegetable, will have the tax removed twice.
Paul the Oracle Octopus dies; world mourns. Paul Henry resigns; nation yawns.
At local body elections, voters lack patience to read to end of long alphabetical lists of names they have never heard of. Landslide victory follows for The Party of Candidates Whose Surnames Begin with A, B or C. In Auckland, Brown funkily raps Banks into defeat, while anti-anti-smacking campaigner Craig marches into a confused third.
Phil Goff opposes selling foreigners our farmland, since if we can no longer afford it they shouldn’t be able to either. Meanwhile, John “The Dealmaker” Key opens new market selling our legislative sovereignty. Warner Bros steal deal on legislation ousting courts from deeming Hobbit contractors to be employees. (Questions will later surface over status of the elf-employed.) Delirious legal commentators deteriorate further. Hospital press release saying they are in a “stable and satisfactory condition” terrifies everyone who understands medical euphemisms, since this clearly means that they are comatose but just not complaining about the food.
At the Commonwealth Games Australia “medals” 177 times but New Zealand medals only 36 times, proving that (a) Australia is bigger than us and (b) in English any noun can be verbed. Silver Ferns medal gold after van Dyk locates stadium.
Media frenzy as all Chilean miners freed, although the disgraced Yonni Barios first insists on a non-molestation order. Miners immediately defect from pact to split film rights, blaming intolerable pressure from human nature and fulfilling iPredict consensus that pact was always a goneburger.
Foreshore and Seabed Act returns cunningly disguised as Marine and Coastal Areas Bill. Sacred right of access to the courts is restored, provided iwi can perform poi dance on the head of a pin. Now, instead of everyone owning the foreshore, no-one does. Legal commentators, the only people who could have explained the difference, remain too sick to elucidate. All sides claim victory.
In US mid-terms, the Tea Party – the party that is not a party, based on economics that is not economics – successfully pledges to crowd hundreds of its candidates into government in order to reduce the size of government. However, fruits of victory turn to tea leaves in their mouths as they realise that a nuclear arsenal sufficient to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age cannot be financed by grassroots charitable donations, and may instead require actual taxation. Sarah Palin refudiates this.
Non-rugby obsessed Parliament passes World Cup Empowering Act letting Murray McCully non-judicially review his own Rugby World Cup Authority’s decisions, to applause of Liquor Licensing Trusts everywhere. Meanwhile Simon “People” Power announces streamlining of criminal justice system, to applause of Sensible Sentencing Trusts everywhere. Critics of Power’s speed and perceived populism feel provoked to query just how sacred the right of meaningful access to the courts is. Power responds that provocation is no longer a defence, urging critics to exercise right to silence while they still have it. Government claims ECan sacking and Hobbit and earthquake-recovery laws are mere exceptions from which no trend should be inferred.
Perspective is tragically restored by another disaster in the South Island, as the nation grieves for 29 men killed at Pike River mine.
At Cancun Climate Summit, negotiators begin to sense political downside of oceans boiling, continents drowning and extreme weather mayhem. Surprise guest Gaia provides real-life PowerPoint of instructively horrific 2010/2011 examples: freezing of Europe, submerging of Pakistan and scorching of Russia, and inundation of Queensland, Sri Lanka and Brazil. Sceptics caution that these events, and the relentlessly upward-pointing graph of global mean temperatures, are mere exceptions from which no trend should be inferred.
Whistleblower website WikiLeaks releases more diplomatic cables. Revelations range from the predictable casual shooting of civilians to the outrageous suggestion that NZ Governments may have said one thing to China and another to His Highness the Dalai Lama.
In bizarre burst-condom incident, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces extradition from UK to Sweden over allegations of sex crimes, though Assange terms them “unprotected disclosures”.
In the annual season for predictions, Wikipedia turns 10. Typically editorially unbiased and fact-checked entry appears declaring that if Asange [sic] is rendered to US to face death penalty then, as well as exemplifying “shooting the messenger” [q.v.], this will officially leave Jimmy Wales King of the World. Jealous FaceBook founder Mark Zuckerberg takes time off from latest lawsuit to unfriend Wikipedia on his own site, but FaceBook’s target, the market leader Google, responds by “Liking” this prediction.
In NZ, Rugby World Cup pundits mindful of fate of Paul the Oracle Octopus predict only that every side will claim underdog status – despite arguably superior track record of overdog. Revived legal commentators forecast that referendum on MMP will be won by Winston Peters, and that a general election will be held by December, after which Sir Peter Leitch will ask Willie Apiata to form a government. Dame Alison Holst will have to be content to win second MasterChef.