Toby Manhire is a Wellington-bred, Auckland-based journalist.

Toby Manhire: Pavlova Papers - Bill's Budget tips

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As Finance Minister English shuffles his thoughts for next week, his Government colleagues offer suggestions.
Illustration / Rod Emmerson
Illustration / Rod Emmerson

Following a labyrinthine pursuit through networked online internet social media "dark web" communications in underground carparks, we are able to reveal for the first time the contents of the Pavlova Papers. The Papers, which your correspondent has been privy to as New Zealand's sole representative of the International Consortium of Imaginary Journalists, are drawn exclusively from the inbox of the high-powered, tough, and weirdly lovable overlord of the New Zealand exchequer and Acting Prime Minister, Bill English.

The electronic messages, many of which pertain to next week's government Budget, were supplied following a flirty Instagram exchange between the notorious digi-ninja outlaw Lambshank and the fishy enfant terrible of the whistlehacking community, John Dory. In a manifesto explaining his or her motivations for serving up the entirely fictitious materials, Dory writes, "The neo-imperial superstructure brooks no orthodox criticism, and so invites a digital insurgency," and it goes on like that for ages, it's really very boring, but the point is here are some bits from English Bill's inbox.

From John Key:

'Sup, Wingman? Just about to take off but I did one of my quick focus groups and what I will tell you is that hardworking Kiwis from up and down the Koru Lounge came up and said things like, "Gidday Prime Minister," and "Keep it up, John," and "Would you mind stepping away from the thoroughfare, we're trying to get to the buffet." But they all loved the idea of a tax cut, Bill.

That's my flight. Got to go. Did I tell you Max has blocked me on Snapchat again?

From Nick Smith:

On Auckland housing, the bad news is it's clear that the situation has reached the brink of full-blown crisis thanks to short-sighted political pandering to a home-owning leafy suburban voter base. The good news is that the person who's been doing that is a lefty councillor called Mike, and we're on to him.

From Paula Bennett:

Some blue sky thinking. Reclassify cars as dwellings? Motels of national significance? Nationalise Wicked Campers and convert them into CBD apartments? Tax property investors reasonably? (Just kidding that last one obvs!)

From Steven Joyce:

With the greatest of respect, you might want to lighten things up in the Budget speech next week. Some thoughts: something to do with the revolving Labour leadership and the penis transplant news. Something to do with the Greens and living in electric cars. Avoid all fish-themed material until that MPI clusterdump debacle blows over. One more thing: we're going to need a new logo for the Future Investment Export-Oriented High-Tech Innovation Stream Pre-Seed Accelerator Business Growth Agenda Fund.

From John Key:

Just stood in the middle of the Koru Lounge at LAX. Mood of the nation? Tired, businesslike, pro-tax-cut. I hear what you're saying about toning it down, about the way it sounds in light of the housing stuff. But you know the way Mike Hosking makes me melt: "Everyone wants a tax cut," he rasped unforgettably on Monday morning. "Give me my money!" I tell you this, Bill, in the moment it feels not so much a question as an invocation of astral spirits, timeless and transcendent truths. You know what I mean?

Anyway, it's only a bit of harmless tax-cut foreplay. All I did was offer an indication of an intention to consider issuing a possible signal of a commitment to campaign on a potential tax cut, circumstances permitting. And the other thing I'd say is that the housing issue is an issue for all New Zealanders, too. Even Mike will be upset at the thought of people living in garages, if only because he's anxious about cars not being properly sheltered. I'd say this to you, Bill: we can use both hands - one to signal a $3 billion tax cut and the other to signal the direction to the local Work and Income office. Turn a lose-lose into a win-Winz. You get me?

From Len Brown:

Yah, kia ora. Kind of miffed about you and Twyford ganging up on us. Hard to know what to say. So I've attached some really top scenes from The Young Ones, really top scenes. I've been watching it quite a bit again lately, alone, at night, watching The Young Ones, can't say why, don't know really, but take a look and let me know what you think.

From Judith Collins:

On the flight back from London, where as you know I flew the flag of our proud nation - with a Union Jack and the Southern Cross, a proper flag - at David Cameron's anti-corruption summit, I took the opportunity to watch some films. One of them, a hard-hitting local documentary, affected me particularly. Called Hunt for the Wilderpeople, it explores the depravity of the human spirit as a disrespectful, renegade child and a wicked, hairy, middle-aged man evade hardworking and decent officers from Corrections and police. I understand this harrowing film has struck a nerve in middle New Zealand and, well, without putting too fine a point on it, you'd be crazy not to accordingly boost the budgets of the relevant authorities, those being the Department of Corrections and the police. Are we clear?

From Todd Barclay:

Hi uncle, just a heads-up: I searched the Panama Papers and there were like a bunch of matches for "English". There's the Botswana English Acceleration Academy and the English Breakfast Tea Lovers Society, and quite a few others. Probably nothing to do with you, it's like a common name and all that, but thought you'd want to know, uncle. Do you have any idea by the way where the spare printer cartridges are kept in the electorate office? Bit short-staffed and that.

From Anne Tolley:

Just a note on usage. It's "Work and Income" and not "Winz". Hasn't been Winz for years and it can lead to confusion. Someone's just called saying that since the PM's helpful advice, a stream of people who have nowhere to sleep have been turning up at the home of the NZ Herald's senior rugby writer looking for emergency support, so that's not ideal.

From Gerry Brownlee:

Don't forget the bloody pandas, you bloody [redacted] of a [redacted] [redacted] bloody [redacted].

From John Key:

Are you sure about the breakfast radio shows? I think you'd love Dom-Dom and Jim-Jam: great way to communicate the fiscal message. Just make them promise no nudity.

Need anything from Paris? Une Toblerone? Duty free!

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Toby Manhire is a Wellington-bred, Auckland-based journalist.

Toby Manhire is a Wellington bred, Auckland based journalist. He writes a weekly column for the NZ Herald, the NZ Listener's Internaut column, blogs for listener.co.nz, and contributes to the Guardian. From 2000 to 2010 he worked at the Guardian in London, and edited the 2012 book The Arab Spring: Rebellion, Revolution and a New World Order.

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