Jacinda Ardern: I don't know why they're calling it a pay freeze! Ha, ha! It's so not a pay freeze! Ho, ho! Anyone who calls it a pay freeze is just being a big silly!
Chris Hipkins: It's a little bit of a pay freeze. But it's not the kind of pay freeze that anyone needs to worry about. You could take this pay freeze home to meet your parents.
Jacinda Ardern: I simply adore our civil servants! Aw! They scurry around making things work and then they go back to their little homes and eat dinner in front of the TV! So cute! They'll hardly notice the fact they won't get a pay rise for three years - bless!
Chris Hipkins: We need to examine the issue through the lens of macroeconomics and understand that what is mistakenly perceived as a pay freeze for civil servants is in fact an opportunity to raise wages in other sectors, and really I would have expected the first people to realise that and appreciate that would be civil servants.
Jacinda Ardern: I look forward to meeting representatives from the Public Service Association and the Combined Trades Union, and hearing their views! Ha, ha! Just as I know they'll be open to hearing my views! Ho, ho! My face hurts with all this laughing!
Chris Hipkins: I reject any suggestion of austerity. I completely reject the notion that this is austerity. It's the opposite of austerity. I will put this to representatives from the PSA and CTU and they will see the pay freeze for what it is - a generous offer.
Jacinda Ardern: Goddamn PSA.
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Chris Hipkins: Stupid CTU.
Jacinda Ardern: Oh well! Win some, lose some! Who'd have thought there'd be such a backlash against a harsh and punitive pay freeze imposed on the very people who make central government work! Never mind! The thing is just to keep smiling, smiling, smiling!
Chris Hipkins: I ran into a civil servant today. He was eating sandwiches he'd made for his lunch.
"Dear fellow," I said, "the pay freeze was only for another three years."
"I'll remember that at the next election," he said. He took a bite of his Marmite and lettuce sandwich, and looked away.