Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has unveiled plans to construct a giant inflatable plastic CBD and inflatable plastic suburbs to replace buildings damaged in the Christchurch earthquake. The inflatable CBD will include a number of office buildings and a bouncy castle. To save costs, the government has rejected making the buildings here and will buy them from China.
Families will be able to rent an inflatable plastic house for $220 a week, a slightly higher figure than the rent for campervans because, as Brownlee explained “anything’s better than living in a campervan. So they have to pay more”. Toilets have yet to be arranged for the plastic houses. But inflatable outhouse covers will be supplied.
Asked about the possibility that people might want a real city, rather than an ersatz one, Brownlee responded “Well, in that case, I suppose they can always go f*ck themselves”.
At the same press conference, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced plans to deploy a dozen inflatable plastic factories around New Zealand cities. Workers will be paid in play money for doing fake jobs. Bennett said “Actually, it’s really important that we get people into actual work. And we actually back workers to the hilt. Actually, it doesn’t matter if the jobs and the money aren’t actually real. It’s actually about giving people some self-belief and really giving them all the backing we actually can”
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced progress in his programme to recruit ambassadors from outside the ranks of experienced diplomats. Otto the Autopilot, most famous for his appearance in the 1980 movie Airplane!, will take up the post of New Zealand High Commissioner to India in July.
[ironically, there actually are inflatable temporary houses for disasters. Not that Brownlee appears to have looked into them]
PS. Question of the day from yesterday’s Question Time:
“How can it be appropriate for Cabinet to vote funding for a plastic waka to the largest hapū in the electorate of the Minister of Māori Affairs at a time when polling shows he is in danger of losing his seat to Labour, when an election is imminent, and without even putting the project out to tender?” – John ‘Lammington’ Boscawen