If you were John Key's speech writer for his keynote opener in Parliament's bear pit, you would have been frustrated.

You would have spent hours labouring away to bring it all together, to brag to the grizzlies how well the Government's been doing and how much better it's going to make our lives this year. It wasn't unlike his State of the Nation effort in Auckland a couple of weeks ago, workmanlike, full of facts and figures.

At least in Auckland they were anaesthetised with wine. In the bear pit the best they could do was summon a messenger to bring them a glass of water. Key was only up to the third page of his ten-page tome, when the winding-up bells were sounding. He then went on to compress the material in front of him making him sound as though he was speaking in shorthand.

He'd run out of time because he came up with what he obviously considered was a clever line, not in his speech notes, but in his head. He was banging on about the flaky Labour lot and how they were all over the place on his beloved Trans Pacific Partnership when the light bulb went off - TPP, when it comes to Labour, he victoriously declared, it meant two position party.


You've got every Labour leader for yonks backing the free trade deal, except for one, Andrew Little. It's obvious why he's muzzled his colleagues, other than Phil Goff, mused Key.

Not one trade union has had a good word to say about it - it's payback time. Little knows he's in his current job, not because of his colleagues, but because of the unions, even if Key managed to fluff what was the best line of his speech.

If you were waiting for a "uranium on your breath" moment, you'd be sorely disappointed. Little cracked a few flat jokes about Key's summer tan being more like a frustrated red face. He was followed by the Greens' James Shaw, who if he was any drier, would have spontaneously combusted. He remembered a piece of advice he'd received as a young man working overseas that you don't try and cross the desert by walking in circles. Yeah, well it could be said you'll never make a political point by delivering it like Mogadon.

Winston Peters blathered on about how bad Key's stewardship of the economy was before offering them hope, concluding don't give up help is on its way.

And it arrived with the vanilla Peter Dunne taking the call. Fresh from addressing the Digital Leaders' Forum in the House of Commons, Dunne naturally admired the calm with which Steven Joyce handled being donged by a dildo over the weekend.

The grizzlies are back but that's about as good as it got.

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