Friday 29 August 2014

A Policy A Day: Ban All Satire

In the lead-up to the election, we are going to examine one policy per (working) day. We've selected policies to be as balanced as possible across a range of policy areas and across the political parties. The idea is to explain the background, analyse the policy to investigate the pros and cons, and give a verdict on the policy at the end. Inevitably, some opinion will make its way in and we make no apology for that - after all, we're voters too. Also, I say 'we' because this series will feature some guest posts from other young people, to share their thoughts and ideas as well. A list of all the articles is available hereEnjoy!

Civilian Party leader Ben Uffindell (uff- as in the sound cute dogs make without the w, -in- as in buckminsterfullerene or absentmindedness, and -dell as in the largest global manufacturer of computers that stop working after 14 months) today announced his party's cornerstone policy - to ban all satire, in all of its forms, from all media. Standing on the steps of the Christchurch Museum, Uffindell declared that "enough was enough" and that "this charade has gone on for too long."

"Back when I started The Civilian newspaper, the satire environment was barren. There was only the occasional cactus and prairie dog, but now there is a lush rainforest, full of the greenest trees and loudest animals imaginable. The sheep no longer have wool over their eyes, the wolves have cried boy for the last time, and it is a crime that milk is so expensive in a country with so many cows. When will somebody think of the children?"

A large crowd of three people and one german shepherd cheered/barked as Uffindell delivered his passionate missive through a megaphone, even though the megaphone was not working as "someone forgot the batteries". Sporting the bowler hat and plastic pipe that New Zealand Herald New Zealander of the Year 2013 Finalist Uffindell is known for, he decried satirists such as Steve Braunias, Scott Yorke, and Patrick Gower for "destroying all that is good in the world in the name of satire." Uffindell stated "the public image of many important people has been marred by satire, making them appear uncoordinated and incompetent when clearly no help is needed to achieve that effect." Police eventually arrived to shut down the event, as multiple noise complaints were made over the 2am policy announcement.

There is more controversy surrounding the policy today, as Colin Craig has accused the Civilian Party of stealing a "core Conservative policy that we hadn't announced yet, but we'd written it down in our brainstorm already, I swear." Prime Minister John Key has rubbished the policy, saying "I don't get it," while the Taxpayers' Union said he was "furious" and that the policy was "outrageous". The Labour Party could not agree on a response at the time of publication.

Uffindell was also accused of being a National Party plant, with leaked emails in Nicky Hager's recently released book (Dirty Laundry: Five easy steps to get your whites whiter and your brights brighter) showing that Uffindell was contracted to distract New Zealanders from the election to help National maintain the status quo. In response, Uffindell stated that he had never undergone photosynthesis, that his chlorophyll levels were definitely at the human average, that he had never reproduced by disseminating pollen, and that he had the doctor's certificate to prove it, which upon closer examination appeared to be a temporary learner's drivers license.

When later asked to comment on whether this policy would mean that all New Zealand politics, as satire of how good government should work, would be banned, Uffindell said "the real victim of satire is Hamilton."

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