As the New Zealand Labour Party reels from its worst electoral performance outside the silent film era, elders are conducting a review into the calamity, while four MPs compete to become the next leader. Submissions to the review from senior players - unauthenticated but replete with solutions - have washed up in a thumb-drive on Oriental Bay.
David Cunliffe, former beloved leader, smited candidate for leader:
Do I take responsibility? Of course I do. I take particular responsibility for muscular and acclaimed performances in the debates, for leading a powerful campaign in the face of a range of unforeseeable incursions, including leaks and dumps and dirty politics and moments of truth and lapses of judgement on the part of Aaron Cruden. I take responsibility for reaching out to New Zealanders despite the distractions of caucus colleagues who, as someone noted on Twitter, know no bounds in their jealousy and have fed the media for years. I take full responsibility for achieving a result very similar to one achieved by Labour's mighty totara, Norman Kirk.
I stand aside for the good of the party, but I will be here, waiting, watching, menacingly purring. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, in a process of change going forward.
Grant Robertson, candidate for leader, beer and rugby lover:
The words of popular music artist Prince contain many lessons for the Labour Party. Such as this: "Lay down your funky weapon, come join us on the floor / We r the new power generation, we want 2 change the world." I often reflect unschemingly on these ideas of an evening, while drinking rugby and playing beer.
The Labour Party needs a leader who can embody this new generation, but who has also been around the traps for as long as anyone can remember. New but old. Insider and outsider. Bad supermarkets, good beer and rugby.
Reconnect, rebuild, refocus, relax, revert, resuscitate, rerebuild, rerugby and rebeer.
Andrew Little, serious-faced candidate for leader:
There is no point sugar-coating it. Last month's result was a disaster. We need to understand why we became so deeply unpopular, so unelectable, and that process is best led by someone who has personal experience of being deeply unpopular and unelectable.
We have become bloated with unpopular policies, disunity and deficient messaging. We need a Littler policy platform, Littler infighting, and many more photo opportunities with domestic animals. We need to ask ourselves many questions, especially those questions to which the answers are "someone untainted by years of caucus rivalry" and "it takes guts and a tremendous sense of humour to perform the horse-riding dance from Gangnam Style in Parliament".
David Shearer, former leader who would definitely have been PM:
Look, we need to take a close look at what we stand for and who we represent. For too long we have neglected, for example, the most persecuted and marginalised of New Zealand's minority groups: pakeha men. Too many white ants, not enough white blokes. Pretty obvious when you think about it.
We must stop the pathetic bickering and infighting and name-calling, especially David Cunliffe and his mates who are such total dickheads. Rejuvenation depends on everyone working together and keeping confidences just as soon as we have subjected Cunliffe and his dickhead cabal to full and bloodthirsty utu.
Greater respect must meanwhile be accorded those who achieved success with the party - those who have, say, lifted the party's polling to the mid-30s before being outrageously deposed by a bunch of dickheads who then sent support diving to the mid-20s and more or less stuffed up everything for everyone.
Nanaia Mahuta, leader candidate and princess:
The party owes a debt of gratitude to David Shearer, whose considered analysis has inspired me to single-handedly diversify the leadership contest. Just before the deadline on Tuesday it was shaping up as a race between three spluttering and battered white vans. And now over the horizon emerges a magnificent, beautifully preserved, spectacular and Technicolor Austin Princess.
Labour needs experience, and Labour needs a new face. Only one candidate combines almost two decades in Parliament with being an almost complete unknown. Let's drive.
David Parker, leader candidate, timely and reliable:
Please see the spreadsheets attached.
Clayton Cosgrove, white bloke:
In a nutshell, not enough white blokes, too many blogs. Speaking of nuts, grow a pair, you politically correct pussies! But these blogs make me furious. Furious in a steely monotone lips-not-moving kind of way. Furious because these blogs are used by unnamed cowards to seep invective into the public domain. I'm happy to give you the names of the bastards off the record over a beer.
Richard Prebble, former Labour luminary:
The election result was a rejection of Labour's half-baked crybaby socialism and a clear endorsement of the Act party programme. If I was still running Labour I'd take a leaf out of that mongrel Tony Abbott's book - not that he reads books, he's no wuss - and rip my shirt off and kayak to Moscow and wrestle Vladimir Putin to the ground. Commie bastard.
Kevin Rudd, former Australian prime minister:
Shane Jones, NZ envoy to Pacific beach resorts
:Wish you were here, etcetera. Not really, obviously. Kia kaha!
Tau Henare, former MP, various:
#socialmedia #LabLeaderRace #GuruTau #Tweetmeupforconsultingwork
Helen Clark, future UN secretary-general:
Please see 1999-2008.
John Key, leading political commentator:
In response to questions about child poverty, Government tactics on Official Information requests and daily sidesteps in our position on going to war against Isis, please find attached a 200-page document on the essential talking points in the Labour leadership race.