Bill English’s press secretary deserves a DB

by Jake Quinn

So Bill English’s office changed the words of the dodgy promo ad.  That sounds like ‘political interference’ doesn’t it?  That is, untill you read the embarrassing original script, where it turns out it was more like some well timed ass-saving.

BK Drinkwater is on the mark here saying: “The initial TVNZ script was bad. How bad? I’ve walked in on people having really weird sex and the result was less embarrassing than this ad would have been had it gone to air as drafted.”

He outlines the changes:

  • SCRIPT: We can beat those Aussies. Time to back ourselves – kick for the corner then muscle over the line.
  • REWRITE: You know, we can beat those Aussies. It’s time to back ourselves. With a bit of old-fashioned Kiwi can-do, we’ll get there.
  • SCRIPT: It’s time to give the snip snap to the zip zap plastic fantastic (make finger scissors gesture).
  • REWRITE: Lets get investing and back our exporters. That’s where the jobs will come and that’s how we can boost our incomes.
  • SCRIPT: Keep a few bob in the bank and Bob will be your uncle. We’ll get there. Bottom line: it’s your economy too.
  • REWRITE: We’re nearly through the tough times and things are looking up. We have plenty of work to do. But I’m confident New Zealanders are up for it and together we’ll do it.  (Changed by TVNZ for final cut to: We’re nearly through the tough times and things are looking up. Together us Kiwis can do it.)

The mind-numbing rugby analogies creeping into political discourse are irritating at best (“rolling mauls” and all that) and as Mr BK rightly points out, “In my experience, New Zealanders generally can grasp a point without it first being converted into a rugby metaphor. Besides that, the metaphor’s crap: usually, kicks to the corner result in a try more due to the speed of the wingers than the muscle of the front row.”

I can only assume TVNZ’s “writers” were trying to make him sound like the odd-smelling sheep-farming uncle from the bay that no one wants to sit next to at family functions, who speaks in old-timer quips and that nobody thinks is funny.  “Bob will be your uncle!”  Jesus.  Thank goodness his office got to run their pencils over this thing.

Putting aside that this promo video achieved two things, neither of which helped Mr English – it embarrassed the government and its finance minister because it walked and quacked like a political advert, and that it probably quadrupled the ratings of the TVNZ7 economy show – Bill would have sounded like an utter moron had he spoken the original lines.

So while he shouldn’t have done the bloody thing in the first place, top marks must go to his press secretary for saving his/her boss further embarrassment.