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

Toby Manhire: Are Fox and Flavell really treasonous?

Maybe we’re just so adoloscent that we can disagree within NZ, but on the world stage we must speak as one.
Maori Party co-leaders Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell have sabotaged us all, like frogmen drilling holes in the hull of KZ7.
Maori Party co-leaders Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell have sabotaged us all, like frogmen drilling holes in the hull of KZ7.

Blame the great political drought of Winter 2016. Amid the longest parliamentary recess since the Cretaceous Period, the media's parched mouths snapped furiously at news the Maori Party was refusing to back Helen Clark in her bid to become the next UN Secretary-General.

Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox's intervention revealed profound and lingering anger over the Clark-led government, in particular the foreshore and seabed controversy, that fetid wellspring of the party itself. It also revealed some internal muddle, given both leaders had apparently backed Clark for the job before, and party founder Tariana Turia still did.

But as they used to say in Parliament before they shut it down for a month, pfffft. What matters above all is the grave offence against the New Zealand Inc nation. "Treason!" said Paul Henry in the morning. "Treason!" said Duncan Garner in the afternoon. "Treacherous in the extreme!" hummed Winston Peters all day long.

Quite right, too. One can only salute their forbearance in stopping there with bad words beginning in "trea". They might easily have added "treacly" or "treadmill" or "treaty" although perhaps in the circumstances not that last one.

The essence here is obvious enough: Fox and Flavell have sabotaged us all, like frogmen drilling holes in the hull of KZ7. The doyen of New Zealand Inc diplomats, Terence O'Brien, told media that it wouldn't really make any difference to the appointment of the UN job, but what does he know? Treason! Has he seen the search histories of the Security Council delegates? How does he know they're peppered with stories from nzherald.co.nz and ashburtonguardian.co.nz and whatever the other one is? He should be shackled to a railing and forced to watch the NZ Inc Olympic team stumble haplessly through their events, their eyes cold as death, all hope and patriotism extinguished betrayed by Maori Party treachery. There have been numerous reminders over recent years that we must express a united front. Disagree within NZ Inc, by all means, but on the world stage, we speak as one.

Not that long ago, for example, meddling science man Mike Joy had the temerity to question the "100% Pure" mantra in international media. The pointy-headed scoundrel was upbraided in an electronic mail from patriotic political lobbyist Mark Unsworth, who denounced his "sabotage", endemic of "the foot and mouth disease of the tourism industry", adding that "most ordinary people in NZ [Inc] would happily have you lot locked up", before helpfully suggesting, "Possibly think of changing your name from Joy to Misery". Someone on a topical blog thought locked up was too timid. "Joy should be taken out and shot at dawn for economic sabotage."

Then there was the literary subversive Eleanor Catton, who erred catastrophically by saying that she didn't think the government in NZ Inc was good. To be clear, she is entitled to not think the government is good, but she should keep those remarks to book launches or private salons or the letters page of the Herald, which do not go on the internet. But, no, she said she didn't think the government was good while in India, which is a country outside NZ Inc. No wonder that she was admonished as a "traitor" by radio personality Sean Plunket - and he knew a thing or two about traitors, having levelled the same charge at Mike Misery. Her words were so hurtful that NZ Inc CEO John Key was forced to imagine she didn't really exist at all, calling her a "fictional writer". Not much has been heard from Catton of late. With luck she hasn't been taken out and shot, but instead put away in a medium security facility for ungrateful huas. Fox and Flavell can join her there.

In light of these serial unpatriotic offences, it may help to spell out the rules. 1. The first rule of Kiwi club is there is no Kiwi club, we just all think along the same lines. 2. The second rule is don't say anything mean about NZ Inc or NZ Inc-ers in places where people overseas might hear you.

Argue all you like in the privacy of your own homes and workplaces about whether or not David Bain did it, but if there's an international audience, he definitely didn't do it, because there is no murdering in NZ Inc. We're hardworking and friendly and have excellent progressive race relations and binders full of women in senior jobs and we're always punching above our weight, albeit in a peaceful, nuclear-free, non-murdery, pro-candidate for a big global job sort of way.

In the unforgettable words of the 1974 Commonwealth Games anthem, "We've got to join together / let our laughter fill the air / time for treacherous traitor types /to shut up". For we are very clearly an adolescent nation, and if Auntie Helen is to vanquish rivals such as Irina Bazooka and Antonio Goodygumdrops - and I misspell their names here not solely for the cheap culturally insensitive sport of it but to avoid being caught up in internet searches which would lead to this very column almost certainly being used to destroy Clark's prospects - we must all sing from that same song sheet. And then get back to taking the piss out of Kevin Rudd.

Don't blow it, support the Canes

In Greek mythology, the god of the vicious north wind and winter's harbinger is known as Boreas - depicted as a winged old man with shaggy hair and an immense beard. One story chronicles Boreas' wrath at the complacency of the Trojans, whose spell of glorious weather had seen them grow plump and lazy. They did laugh and mock the impassioned but starving Achaeans. And so Boreas, who thought this sort of thing downright distasteful, pursed his lips and blew an almighty storm upon Troy, whereupon the soils turned grey, leaves wilted, and a famine ensued. They would only prosper again, said Boreas, after the Achaeans feasted, or won a major sporting trophy.

What I'm trying to say, friends, is that supporters of the Blues, and everyone else, should cheer for the Hurricanes enthusiastically tomorrow night, because the only way your side has a hope of throwing asunder the NZ wooden spoon under the demigod Tana is for the Hurricanes to win the competition first. On this point, the gods are clear.

- 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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