A friend reckons the prime minister is the only politician in this country who can hold her liquor. To prove it, he's collected photos of MPs clutching glasses of wine, grasping their drinks like alcoholics on short rations. There are fingers over the rim, big hairy mitts wrapped around the glass bowl - all sorts of weird grasps. Save Helen Clark, who delicately holds the stem of a glass of white wine, not warming the contents; no danger of contamination.
No doubt it is a glass of chardonnay. Hardly surprising, because she leads a party of chardonnay socialists (yes, Virginia, clichés do come true). Café revolutionaries. Eco worriers whose lives are so filled with material riches, they have nothing else to worry about.
Clark has decided climate change - or global warming, call it what you will, Armageddon, for all I care - is the policy on which her party will win the next election. Stating you want to save the planet is so glib. I mean, who in their right mind is going to declare they want to destroy the planet? There's also the overlooked issue, well made by Deborah Ross in the Spectator, that we're assuming the planet wants to be saved. What if it doesn't, she asks. What if earth is just bored with turning round and round like a goldfish looking at the same view all the time and has decided to call it a day? What if Atlas wants to shrug? But that's another debate, forever tossed about by libertarians.
Climate change is now New Zealand's national religion. Our schools have abandoned the teaching of any philosophy, including Christianity, but David Benson-Pope is keen for all schools to have free copies of Al Gore's video, An Inconvenient Truth. It's well-documented that this piece of propaganda contains glaring inaccuracies, including the big green lie that sea levels will rise by 6m, drowning Holland, Florida and Shanghai, but the New Zealand Government is copying David Miliband, Britain's environment minister, who's distributing Gore's film to schools in a "fight to tackle the climate crisis".
Miliband, who used the latest IPCC report on climate change to justify his screaming, went on to say, "the debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over". I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies in this country - at least we're still allowed to debate the matter (just).
Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist (who originally set out to prove that climate change will destroy the planet but was mugged by the science), this month wrote a rational review of the IPCC (the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report. The only thing in danger of drowning, says Lomborg, is the truth, as waves of hysteria from journalists and politicians rise faster than any oceans.
"The IPCC squarely tells us," he wrote, "that mankind is largely responsible for the planet's recent warming. And, unlike Al Gore, who has travelled the world warning that our cities might soon be under the oceans, it refrains from scaremongering."
He also pointed out that scientists have U-turned on their estimates, and sea levels are now estimated to rise, on average, by 38.5cm. Consider this: in the last century, sea levels have risen by about 20cm. Does that make you want to take civilisation back 100 years? The IPCC report vehemently refutes other myths, for example, the Gulf Stream will not shut down and turn Europe into a vast desert.
But empirical evidence matters nought in this debate because global warming hysteria has usurped the mumbo-jumbo of religious fervour. I'm not concerned about religion, and I strongly support freedom of religion. Having faith gives people comfort. And when you take the fundamentalists of any denomination out of the equation, religions preach sound values - don't steal, don't kill, don't covet your neighbour's wife, oxen or ass (that's why I'm a bad Christian - I wouldn't mind a nice ass).
So it's deeply ironic that while the Human Rights Commission trots around the country with a National Statement on Religious Diversity, aiming to "promote religious tolerance", the Government will brook no argument on climate change. If you question it, you're a backslider, a denier, a Judas.
And now, if David Parker has his way, we'll be forced to give up our cheap lightbulbs and be forced to buy expensive low-energy bulbs imported from China (that model of eco-friendliness). As my husband said, soon they'll be prescribing what underwear we're allowed to buy - expensive, organic, fair-trade cotton, emissions-suppressing, no doubt.
It's chardonnay socialism writ large - let the poor eat their cake in the dark. So long as the planet's being saved the eco-police don't care.