Cause For Celebration: An Entirely Fictional Exchange



A PRIVATE DINING-ROOM in an exclusive Wellington restaurant. Seated at a window table and reading a newspaper is JULIAN, a well-dressed senior officer in the NZ Security Intelligence Service. The door opens and a waiter ushers in RACHEL, a much younger officer.

RACHEL: That’s not The Guardian I see you reading, is it Sir? Tsk, tsk! What would the Minister say?

JULIAN: Well, yes, I’m afraid it is, Rachel. I’m keen to discover exactly how much they actually know about our SAS deployment in Iraq.

RACHEL: Shhhh, Sir! Walls have ears! Even here.

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JULIAN: No, Rachel, not here. The GCSB sweeps this place every week. We can speak freely here.

RACHEL: Well, that’s good to know because I’ve just received some very interesting intelligence from one of our more reliable sources in the Labour caucus.

JULIAN: Hah! I’m relieved to hear that at least one of them is reliable! What have you been told?

RACHEL: It’s your old friend, Mr Cunliffe. He’s leaving Parliament.

JULIAN: About bloody time!

RACHEL: I thought you’d be pleased.

JULIAN: More relieved than pleased, Rachel. Cunliffe was a real problem.

RACHEL: For a while.

JULIAN: Oh, for more than a while, I think. From the moment he began to grasp the implications and ramifications of the Global Financial Crisis the man’s been a bloody great thorn in our side. Vaunting ambition armed with a convincing explanation. Nothing is more dangerous to the status quo than a man in a hurry with a story that makes sense.

RACHEL: Not that very many people ever got to hear it.

JULIAN: No, that’s true. But we were forced to rely on the media to an extent that made me distinctly uncomfortable.

RACHEL: But it worked, didn’t it? Our journalistic assets made sure that Cunliffe’s message never got taken seriously.

JULIAN: Oh yes, it worked. But the media is an unreliable ally. All it takes is for someone like Cunliffe to say something on live television or radio that resonates with the electorate. Something that can’t be edited out. Something that sets people on fire. When that happens the bloody journos just can’t help themselves. A story – is a story – is a story.

RACHEL: But Cunliffe did just the opposite, didn’t he? I mean, if we had worked night-and-day for a month we couldn’t have come up with anything half as good as “I’m sorry I’m a man.”

JULIAN: Heh-heh! No. That was way beyond even our most sanguine expectations!

RACHEL: And even if Cunliffe had said something … inconvenient … we were still covered. Didn’t you tell me that there was plenty up the Service’s sleeve if the campaign looked about to tip Cunliffe’s way? Something about a woman? Or was it two women?

JULIAN: Oh yes, there was plenty in reserve if something was needed to “shift the narrative” – as our academic friends might say.

RACHEL: Like a $100,000 bottle of wine?

JULIAN: Like a $100,000 bottle of wine.

RACHEL: And then there were the ABCs – although they never needed much in the way of encouragement from us!

JULIAN: No, they didn’t. But it was good to know they were there. Nothing turns the voters off faster than the spectacle of public disunity – let alone open revolt.

RACHEL: They would really have gone that far?

JULIAN: Rachel, my dear, they would have gone as far as tearing the Labour Party into bloody little chunks on the six o’clock news if that was what it took to prevent Cunliffe becoming Prime Minister. These are seriously unpleasant people – even by our rather loose standards.

RACHEL: Well, I suppose we only have to look at what’s happening in the UK to get some idea of what Labour MPs are prepared to do to ensure that a socialist never becomes prime minister. I had no idea MI5 had so many of them in its pocket.

JULIAN: No, neither did I. It has really been quite an impressive demonstration.

RACHEL: Corbyn’s still there, though.

JULIAN: For now. We, on the other hand, have something a little closer to home to celebrate. Some Champagne, I think.

RACHEL: Excellent idea, Sir! But, before we celebrate, I’d like to know why you think it took Cunliffe so long to take the hint – or should that be hints?

JULIAN: Do you know, I think it can be put down to his misplaced faith in Andrew Little. He really did believe that the man he helped to install as leader was a politician after his own, rather soft, Anglican heart. That although Little had to pretend to the ABCs that he shared their loathing of him, Cunliffe was convinced that, deep down, what Little really shared was his ideas. That, when victory came, there would be a prime, if not a prime-ministerial, job for him in the new Labour-Green cabinet. It’s taken him two years to realise that, in the highly unlikely event that Labour does win the 2017 election, there will be nothing for David Cunliffe. Nothing at all.

RACHEL: Good to know that Little can be relied upon to do the right thing.

JULIAN: Yes, it is, isn’t it? Cause for celebration. See if you can find that waiter, will you.


  1. Betrayal is the byword of the age we live in. Indeed, it has been the byword since the 1980s. Betrayal in an ocean of lies. The gang that is control are more than happy to betray their own children, and have done so. And the betrayal is not going to stop any time soon

    We’ve probably got about 3 more years before the collapse, which is a natural consequence of so much betrayal, starts to accelerate markedly.

    It’s not only environmental collapse that is coming, of course, but also financial, economic and energetic, with the inevitable social collapse.

    As for The Guardian, since it became corporatized it has gone rapidly down the drain and can now be relied upon to tow the corporate line. Hence, like most of the corporatized media, The Guardian cannot be regarded as a serious newspaper and anything Guardian says has to be taken with many pinches of salt.

  2. The MSM should be purged, burnt on the stake, so to say, I get dismayed every day, with what their shallow, consumerist focused and middle class friendly focus is. It is nothing of quality or of value, that they generally report, it is trash, gossip, misinformation and more of that trivial crap we see and hear every day.

    Only occasionally do we get a report that deserves respect such as this:

    NO Wonder unemployment is “down”, with this going on!

  3. Further to my comment above, re the TV3 and WINZ activities, this is the WINZ “privacy statement” they require to be signed by clients, before MSD or WINZ answer to media questions, from Aug. 2013:

    “Privacy Consent

    I authorise the Ministry of Social Development (and the responsible Minister) to publicly disclose information in response to any information I have given to the media, including any other information that is necessary to respond to questions arising from media coverage.

    Name: …………………………………………………………………..

    Date of Birth: ……………………………………………………………..


    Phone contacts including mobile: ………………………………………………..

    Signature: ………………………………………………………

    N.B – Recognising that people may find it difficult to sign and return this form in a timely manner, we will accept the consent form without a signature if we are satisfied that it has been sent from the individual’s email address.

    Send to reporter or fax 04 918 0066 or email

    Read it carefully, it basically exposes beneficiaries to MSD telling the media about stuff that the beneficiary may find rather personal and inappropriate even, which is unacceptable to force upon vulnerable persons.

    We have much more info on all this, good on Vanessa Cole from AAAP to comment on this all on TV3 News tonight!

    • Yep. It’s a complete onslaught with corporations and government working together in predation against the poor and vulnerable populations, who have only tiny, overrun advocacy agencies to protect them. It is both frightening and disturbing.

      A medal to the guy with his back against the wall for letting us all know. Very distressing.

  4. Which character is closer to Chris Trotter’s blue / pink fevered heart.

    Rachel or Julian I’ve a feeling it would be Rachel…but on the other hand it could be Julian who knows, for they both are plotters and rubber-bands for other corrupted forces.

    Its funny and yet ironic how the bit players now love Cunliffe after he’s gone… Oh what a web we spin… but I must admit Chris writes a better novel than he does an essay.

  5. Yeah, but…

    There’s no need for a fictional intellectual discourse between a Rachel and a Julian because that’d be casting pearls before swine so yeah-nah.
    New Zealand people are so beyond directly acting politically that it’d not matter that Julian was a space invader consisting entirely of an arse and a bladder and Rachel had five legs, spouted acid when aroused and slept on the ceiling.
    The grave realisation that we, us NZ’ers, are now beyond shock and horror that anything short of the moon colliding with the earth, again, would arouse in us sufficient numbers to act in any manner. I bet we’d need counciling plus directions to replenish the toilet paper in the shitter of the UFO invading us.
    We have, in fact, become that which we feared we might become the most. We’ve become stupid.
    You and I/me and other wonderful TDB’ers know it but OMG. There are the many others that have not one single miserable, lonely, wet socked idea of what it is that is, in fact, the problem. More chillingly? They’ll go to their graves never knowing. Ok. If I were to be kind; Perhaps only knowing that life was shit and difficult and worrisome and then I got that cancer and then I died and everything. But my poor little Bobby? Still in jail after importing that P pre curser.
    My advice to the youth of today?
    Be debt free. Learn a thing about growing the noble potato, know how to build a hut, become wary of the bullshitter, be kind, love and learn how to load a gun.

    • Sure, but I thought and think that Chris’ gratuitous little slime-job done on Andrew Little at the end was ill-chosen.

      Little may appear to be a plodder at times, but I doubt that he has had it in for Cunliffe. More likely realpolitik would suggest that the way back might be slow for DC. And even that is open to doubt. His performance on the Paul Henry show was stellar. If he had presented like that, speaking from the heart, rather than displaying an earnest desire to be all things to all people in an entirely unauthentic way, he might be Prime Minister today. (It’s not for nothing that most cynical but successful politicians swear by the principle: Never Explain and Never Apologize).

      Okay I know that at the time of the election there was disunity in the ranks, Kim Dotcom offending the xenophobic, a faux-terrorist scare in Aussie, the Dirty Politics thing resonating only among the Left base while mobilising the complacent Right, the two major parties of the Left bickering as the Greens (foolishly in my estimation) sought to topple Labour at the leader of the opposition etc etc, but still…

      I, for one, was mightily disappointed with his pre-election showing, which seemed to prove all the hopes in him expressed on the Left misplaced. I’m sure I wasn’t alone. I was equally unhappy with his latest showing, as it hinted at what might have been.

  6. Probably pretty accurate apart from the Andrew lIttle.

    If the centre left vote splits again and Labour does not get enough votes, then it leave’s it open for National to get a forth term?

    Little has made alliance with Greens, helped win Northland from Natz, said no to TPPA and has Matt McCarten as head of his Auckland staff. Little does not look like a leader that has renounced the left.

    That Cunliffe has been harassed to leave politics is appalling, however undermining Little is going in the direction that National wants.

    • Totally agree with you, and it was inevitable that Cunliffe would leave, he knew back in 2014, so maybe not as “harassed” as people think. After 2014, there was no logical reason for him to stay longer than the next election.

  7. Thought that was the usual nasty piece from CT. By the way, the media is an extremely reliable ally for the nats. David Cunliffe knew that after the nats, msm and the likes of CT and some in lab caucus put the knife in, it was over for him for good. He said in 2014 that he may not remain in politics. Look at the timing of this announcement, no by election, and it gives time, especially for the haters, for the dust to settle before the next election

  8. Since when did we the hard-working tax paying quickly-fleeced general pleb population of this once-delightful country have our taxes used to cover the celebration expenses of our spooks?

    Private dining space indeed!

    Time was when they carried their pie and Penthouse (or was it something else?) in one of those ubiquitous plastic public service briefcases. And that should be enough.

    The economy is only at rock star level – not premier league footballer. Rein in the spooks, Prime Minister. This is an outrage!

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