"O'Connor!", I roared. "Get your arse in here."
I closed the door behind him, and said, "Sorry about that, Simon."
"No that's okay."
"Appearance's sake," I said.
"All good, mate."
"Okay," I said. "Now look. Seriously, about you posting what appears to be a wildly celebratory show of support for the overturning of Roe v Wade."
"I mean – my basic position is the same as yours," I said. "Of course, women are no better than oxen in the field."
"They get the job done."
"Yes," I said, "they get the job done. But it's a matter of expressing it in a sensitive fashion so as not to jeopardise our relationship with a niche market."
"So just think first next time," I said.
"All good, mate."
I opened the door, and roared, "Now get out!"
I said to Nicola, "Who are you again?
"Nicola Willis, deputy leader."
"Tremendous," I said. "Okay. What do you think Labour are going to do about this?"
"I think they'll probably – "
"They'll spin this," I said. "They spin everything. It's pathetic."
"Robertson said – "
"Yeah, I saw that," I said. "Robertson. That guy! I bet he spins in his sleep."
"And Hipkins – "
"Yeah, I saw that too," I said. "Typical Hipkins. 'National are anti-women.' Pathetic."
"Well, so I thought – "
"I'll tell you what I think," I said. "I think I need to issue another press release about my response to Roe v Wade."
"Okay, but – "
"It needs to be a bit more nuanced than rejecting the idea that women are no better than oxen in the field," I said.
"Perhaps if I – "
"Can you send in comms on your way out?", I said. "Cheers."
"Listen," I said to the comms lady, "our message isn't getting across."
"Well – "
"I want to be able to say that some of my best employees are women. I want to be able to say that I know what women think, often long before they think it. I want to be able to say that, like evolution, feminism is an interesting theory, even if it doesn't measure up to the facts. I want to be able to say I know how to improve pikelets - a tablespoon of hot water and a tablespoon of soft butter is the secret. I also want to be able to say that women are better than oxen in the field, although at the end of the day that's kind of moot."
"But – "
"Get the job done," I said.
Dreamed of oxen moving slowly and with sensual purpose in the field.
Had a beer after work with Simon O'Connor, Simeon Brown, Matt Doocey, Scott Simpson, Mark Mitchell, Michael Woodhouse, Chris Penk and someone who said her name was Nicola.
"Cheers," I said.
"Yeah," they bleated.
One of the boys mentioned Ardern winning the $1.8 billion free trade deal in Brussels.
The table went quiet for a while.
"Well," I said, because leadership means you have to break the silence with a remark or observation that inspires confidence, unifies a team, is in touch with the electorate and shows a way forward for all New Zealanders, "she'd have had a lot of help from the diplomatic guys with that."
"Yeah," they mooed.