Democracy shone bright in the New Zealand Parliament this week as the Government's croupier-in-chief, Steven Joyce, at last brought to public attention that most profound yet taboo of injustices: freelance journalists not getting their invoices paid in a timely fashion.
Throughout the country, freelance journalists punched the air, their pyjamas wobbling in solidarity.
A columnist for the niche trade newsletter the National Business Review, it turned out, had been waiting as long as four months to get paid by Andrew Little for some advisory work during the Labour leadership race. This is the same Andrew Little who used to be a union leader, the same Andrew Little who bangs on about workers' rights, day in, day out.
But wait. Andrew Little? What is a columnist doing working for a politician, you may wonder. Why hadn't it been disclosed until he wrote complaining about the non-payment? Isn't that a bit, you know, inappropriate? Possibly, yes, but it apparently pays well.
What do I have to disclose? Nothing paid, but I have proffered advice from time to time. Once, seated beside Winston Peters at a fancy lunch a year or so ago in Hamilton, I advised the handsome old owl to stand in Epsom. He grinned, stared at his expensive watch, and left to go the men's room.
Another time, I advised the pipsqueak Act candidate David Seymour to refuse any government role, should he be elected, to make it clear he was no National Party lickspittle. He told me they were planning to do exactly that.
Today, Act leader Seymour is parliamentary under-secretary to the Minister of Education and parliamentary under-secretary to the Minister of Regulatory Reform.
Naturally, should some modern-day Medici try to hire me as their Machiavelli, I would politely decline. And yet it hurts never to have been asked.
Maybe I should write more of those columns full of thundering sentences that begin "National should this" or "Labour must that". Or, better still, I could offer a bit of timely advice for all the leaders, a teaser of the sort of counsel they'd get if they contracted me, which they can't, but like I said it's nice to be asked.
This advice, unsolicited and uncensored, is free of charge. But if you follow any of it I'll invoice. And if you don't pay I'll tell Steven Joyce, burly parliamentary repo-man for freelance-journalists-cum-political-consultants.
If it ain't broke, right? Keep doing your magic thing. Keep smiling, keep waving, keep derp-facing, keep polling, keep commenting, keep not commenting, keep not commenting but looking like you're commenting, keep doing that strange noise through your teeth after you answer a question in Parliament.
Maybe keep Steven on a slightly shorter leash, definitely keep an eye on Judith, and keep close tabs on the reported sightings of Aaron Gilmore in Christchurch East party circles - you may need to deploy Gerry.
The America's Cup funding is a bit of a pickle; don't want it to get mixed up in the public mind with all the casino economics. How about declaring that without state cash the catamaran will be an eyesore?
No, don't do that. Think outside the boat. Instead of giving that young buck millionaire grinder Grant Dalton loads of cash, offer up some law changes instead.
Like, I don't know, let all Team NZ crew members catch 10 snapper instead of seven, or stick a tax on red socks, or give them control of the schools' bankroll software. Steven is bound to have other creative ideas.
With your weekly hard-hitting interview on More FM approaching, see the attached talking points and position notes on committing troops to Iraq, addressing the housing crisis, The X Factor, the struggle to find an independent lawyer who will come to the right conclusion about David Bain compo, the Captain Cook dump painting, the phallic clouds of New Lynn, Slash, the importance of net run rate in the group stages of the Cricket World Cup and how the Auckland fruit fly exclusion zone is going to affect house prices.
Cut the crap and pay your bills. Make strong, disapproving noises about America's Cup funding but also sort of support it. Make strong, disapproving noises about sending troops to Iraq but also sort of support it.
Make strong, disapproving noises about sexism in pork advertising but then tell a joke to make it clear you know all about jokes.
Send a bottle of wine to Metiria Turei. Point out that it is important for David Shearer to sit on the intelligence committee because his electorate includes parts of the fruit fly exclusion zone, the most clear and present danger to the security of the country.
Be more like John Key. People really like him.
Pay your bills, all of them. Don't run any secret trusts. Don't keep any money in New York bank accounts. Don't sign any paintings you didn't paint. Have you paid your bills yet? Pay them.
You're pretty much on your own now that Australian fellow - I forget his name - is quitting. The election for a male co-leader needs to be an exercise in the grassroots having their say, although it wouldn't be too terrible if the members who think homeopathy is the best weapon against Ebola or believe trapping fruit flies is animal abuse were accidentally sent the wrong date for the hustings.
The other problem with the male co-leader election is that it looks like all the candidates will be men, which is hardly very 2015 if you know what I mean. Perhaps you should consider standing. Did that bastard Little send you a bottle of wine?
Intone ominously to anyone who will listen that you know things about things, terrible things about frankly shocking things that go to the very heart of the integrity and credibility of this Government, and that those things, terrible things, will come out in time, and that when they do come out those things, which go to the very heart of the integrity and credibility of this government, will shock and appal decent people around the country and especially Northland.
Also denounce the Prime Minister for failing to adequately dock the Devonport ferry.
Te Ururoa Flavell
Speak up a bit.
Knock on all the doors in Epsom to update them on the situation with the fruit fly in the favelas of Grey Lynn.
You've been a bit invisible lately. Need to reboot that profile, grab some headlines. How about suing the Grey Lynn fruit fly. A parody video, Fifty Shades of Colin?
No, here's a better idea for a man of heritage, a man of nature: save the Western Springs pohutukawa. Climb up one of the threatened trees, strip off your clothes and pledge to stay there till they're safe. I'll bring a Thermos.