Toby Manhire

Toby Manhire on New Zealand

Toby Manhire: Another year, another Key power summit

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John Banks and John Key in a huddle during their now-infamous cup of tea. Photo / Dean Purcell
John Banks and John Key in a huddle during their now-infamous cup of tea. Photo / Dean Purcell

November 11 last year witnessed one of the great summits in New Zealand political history. In an upmarket cafe in Auckland, John Key and John Banks huddled together for a deeply confidential exchange, to which dozens of journalists were invited.

Almost a year later, another of the Prime Minister's high-level dialogues has been captured, probably by some intern or blogger.

The authenticity of the recording, intercepted in the early hours of this morning, cannot yet be confirmed, but the Leader of the Opposition got it from that guy at the dairy, who was sent it by a friend's flatmate who knows what he's talking about.

In the interests of openness and transparency, it is published here unexpurgated.

"So, look, O-dog! Barry baby! Fist bumps!"

"Hello, sir."

"El Presidente! Obi-Wan! You're my only hope. And change. Star Wars! Four more years! U-S-A! Love it. Give me some skin. Up high."

"One minute, please."

"Down low. Too slow. Kidding. Banter."

"Mr Key."

"So, look, serious. You say forward, I say brighter future. We're on the same page. Enduring."

"As you know, we regard this as America's Pacific century."

"Love it. Enduring and close. Serious. Go the Breakers!"

"We welcome your support."

"Five-way handshake!"

"Sir."

"Just jokes. Guitar solo!"

"Sure."

"How about those Republican refugees?"

"The what now?"

"Max showed me on his Facebook. They reckon all the angry Romneyvores - they say they're moving to New Zealand cause they just hate your guts, can't stand the sight of you. I was saying we'll be like Planet Mitt or something. And Max said you sure now how to throw a tea party. Funny bugger."

"OK."

"And I said, send them to bloody Banksie that'll scare them off!"

"Of course."

"All good. We'll stick them up north."

"Up north, sir."

"Yip. Stick them up north, Bay of Islands or whatever, and - topical joke - call it a gay red top."

"Oh."

"A gay red top!"

[Silence.]

"Just kidding around. Fist bumps!"

[Silence.]

"Yip. Anyway at the end of the day it was gay-weird not gay-bad or gay-sex. Like you might call me Johnny-Baby but you don't think I'm really a baby. Same thing. It's all there in the dictionary."

[Pause. Indistinct sucking sound]

"So, look we're both leading the charge on this gay marriage business, we're practically gay icons. Like Kylie Minogue. Love her early stuff."

"Any minute now, sir. May I ask, any developments in regard to your eccentric celebrity outlaw?"

"Oh, look, at the end of the day I was misoverheard. I said pigsh*t, but that kid said I said it was batsh*t and I don't need to tell you I know my sh*t from my clay. People want leaders to be entertainers, you know what I'm talking about Barry. You can't learn this stuff. Chilled out."

"I mean, sir, the German. Mr Dotcom."

"Right. Right. Yeah. Kim. Gay. Weird gay. Yeah. Nah."

[Indistinct sucking sound]

"Please hold."

"Megaballsup.com I said to the guys, and they loved it and I told Max and he said, 'random, dad. Gay, dad. Random.' And I said, 'yeah, random.' And then I said, 'I love you, kid.' And he said, 'Whatever, dad.' And I said, 'Loser," and made an L-shape with my hand on my head, you know, and gave him a hug and he hugged me and we had a good laugh."

"Sure."

"Anyway. Good times. Buy you a beer in Cambodia, B-man."

"Strengthening trade ties is a fundamental part of our realignment to an Asia-Pacific-facing future."

"Morrrdorrr!"

"Sir?"

"Morrrdorr! Crazy. You seen that? On the inflight TV? Guess not. It's on YouTube. So funny. I'll send it over."

"Hold the line."

"Morrrrdorrrr!"

"Sir, putting you through to the President now."

"Oh. Right."

"Mr Prime Minister, how are you?

"Yip, good."

"Thank you for your call. As you know, I regard this as a Pacific century and your proud nation is an important part of that and I want to thank you for your support."

"Right. Love it. Well done. From everyone."

"Thank you, Jeff. We will be in touch."

"Yip. Great."

[Indistinct sucking sound. Ends.]

- NZ Herald

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