Setting: a room on the 9th floor of the Beehive. Dear Leader enters. The bosses of Stuff, RNZ, NZ Herald, TV1 and Newshub stand and bow in reverence to her.
Dear Leader: Sit down! Look at this by-election result in Tauranga — only 25% of the vote for my party: it’s dreadful!
Mainstream media in unison: We agree it’s a bad result, Dear Leader.
Dear Leader: And it’s all your fault!
Mainstream Media in Unison: How is it our fault, Dear Leader?
Dear Leader: You don’t praise me enough! And you give coverage to awful protestors against my government. And those pesky opposition parties in parliament: they got an unbelievable two thirds of the vote — aren’t you ashamed of yourselves?
Mainstream Media in unison: We attack them as much as we can, Dear Leader.
Dear Leader: Well not enough. Only those people who vote for my government are proper Jacindalanders, oops, I mean Aotearoans. The rest are scum.
Ms Boucher of Stuff: Promoting your government costs us subscribers, Dear Leader. How about some more Taxpayer dosh?
Mr. Kenrick of TVNZ: Exactly. People switch off our News now, particularly since we started introducing everything in Te Reo.
Dear Leader: Money from the public purse is no problem. Just tell Grant what you need and he’ll fix you up.
Cam Wallace of TV3: We will.
Dear Leader: Now tell me what you’re going to do in return for it?
Paul Thompson of Radio NZ: We’ll treat all your opponents including those in Parliament as fringe extremists, belittle them, and praise you and your policies even more. And every editorial employee of ours must be approved by your Joanna Kidman or the boss of your Department.
Dear Leader: Now that’s what I — and Nanaia and Willie — want to hear. But I want no more mention of vaccine injuries, apartheid, homelessness, inflation, truancy, gangs, hospital waiting lists, crumbling infrastructure, and awful protesters. Got it?
Mainstream Media in Unison: Got it. Can we go now?
Dear Leader: I’m not finished yet. The beginning of every TV News Bulletin must show me taking selfies with admirers, and people cheering me. Every newspaper front page must have stories quoting supporters and no comments from opponents. I must be presented as the saviour of Aotearoa. I can provide you with as many public servants as you need as extra actors. This is my movie! I am the heroine!
Mainstream Media in Unison: Yes, Greatest Prime Minister of all time.