New opinions often appear first as jokes and fancies, then as blasphemies and treason, then as questions open to discussion, and finally as established truths.
- George Bernard Shaw
And the thing about my jokes is, they don't hurt anybody.
- Will Rogers
Electronic Attack Alarms Labour Chiefs
by Ruth Laugesen, political editor
Labour party officials have sounded the alarm that the government is under attack on a new front, with a growing campaign of email jokes against Prime Minister Helen Clark and her administration. Party general secretary Rob Allen and president Bob Harvey are understood to have warned MPs at two recent caucus meetings that the party needed to take action to counter the threat. They called for the party to boost its own use of the internet and emails.
One email joke circulating pokes fun at the shrinking value of the New Zealand dollar, showing Clark's head on a $20 bill which has become a $16 bill. Another has Clark announcing that the Labour Party is changing its emblem to a condom because cause it more clearly reflects what the party stands for. "A condom stands up to inflation, halts production, discourages co-operation, protects a bunch of dicks, and gives a sense of security while screwing others," it says.
Allen declined to comment on his briefing to caucus, but said the stream of anti-government email jokes was significant. "I'm seeing two or three a week. They range from anything from quite clever and non-offensive, to quite offensive in terms of content. I think they are part of either a formal or informal campaign against the government and they move perceptions. They will be something that we have to counteract and take into account the impact of.
"We shouldn't underestimate what is the power of a new medium which is being used. We are seeing the increasing emergence of it as a tool in politics," said Allen. The Clark shrinking dollar graphic had probably popped up on 100,000 screens nationwide, he said.
National is not taking any credit for an organised campaign to poke fun at the government. "I don't know where they're coming from but perhaps we should look into doing some ourselves," said John Goulter, spokesman for National party leader Jenny Shipley.
Source: Sunday Star Times 22 October 2000
I feel the "Shrinking Kiwi Dollar" isn't an attack at all. Notice how attractive Helen Clark in the photo. If this were a practical joke by her political enemies, I think she would have been made to look unattractive. Personally, I think she should be flattered. Just look at how jokes helped defuse public outrage toward Clinton! I think humour helps to soften...
As a teenager, Clark was politically active, protesting against the Vietnam War and campaigning against foreign military bases in New Zealand. She has declared herself agnostic. Clark supports New Zealand becoming a republic. Support for a republic also exists elsewhere within the Labour Party. Clark's term in office has seen a number of alleged moves towards a republic, such as the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council and the setting up of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, the abolition of titular honours in Knighthoods and Damehoods, and the abolition of the title "Queen's Counsel" (replaced by "Senior Counsel")... On 10 January 2007, Clark passed Sir Joseph Ward to become New Zealand's 7th longest serving Prime Minister. On 24 July 2008 she will pass Sir Robert Muldoon to be 6th longest-serving Prime Minister. Should Clark's government be re-elected at the New Zealand general election, 2008 Clark could serve until November 2011, passing Sir Keith Holyoake to become New Zealand's 3rd-longest serving Prime Minister. Clark would need to stay in office until 17 January 2013 (slightly over 13 years) to be the longest-serving Prime Minister in New Zealand's history.
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