The PM looked up and said petulantly, “But why can’t I have a bite?”
It was late and everyone was tired after a long day. There was still a lot to get done before the PM headed off for a family holiday to Hawaii next morning.
The aide groaned inwardly. There really wasn’t time for brain fades. Luckily the Deputy PM jumped in and said, “John, the pies are for the TV journos tomorrow. If they ask any pesky questions, the pies are a good distraction. Look, we’ve got a serious problem on our hands. We need to nail it otherwise the projections getting to a budget surplus are going to be hard for us to sell.”
That got everyone’s attention.
The Deputy PM continued, “I think those McDonald’s buggers are going to go ahead with it. I don’t know why they can’t just stick to bloody Big Macs for their Index. First, they went and launched Georgie Pie at $4.50. That was just crazy. Now they want to replace the Big Mac Index with a Georgie Pie Index. That’s going to send the New Zealand dollar even higher. And there goes my budget surplus.”
The PM shrugged and wondered what all the fuss was about. “No one cares about the exchange rate. It’s so high already that a bit more is hardly going to be noticed. We can just blame it on Auckland house prices. Or maybe the Green loonies.”
But the Deputy PM wasn’t giving up his budget surplus that easily. “Look, John, the reality is that this is going to hurt us. Isn’t that right Steven?”
The Minister for Everything had been distracted, thinking about what he could tweet next to blame Labour. Hearing his name, he nodded enthusiastically, “That’s right John. In the real world, people don’t sit around talking. We’ve got to find out what’s going on. It’s just a simple matter of listening in to the Skype conversations their CEO, Patrick Wilson, is going to have next week with their HQ team in the US.”
The PM liked what he was hearing. He winked at the Minister for Everything and said, “Wouldn’t it be great if that could happen. I’ve got to go to the loo. I’m sure you can make use of that time.”
Once the PM left the room, the Minister for Everything was all business now that the PM had deniability. “OK, here’s what needs to happen. We’re going to put DPMC in charge. Andrew, make this a priority. Work with Rebecca. Get out an Order in Council to have DPMC a law enforcement agency in the Telco Spying Act. Ian, I need your boys to lead this. Once the PM has left for his holiday tomorrow morning, get Chris to sign an interception warrant. And then get to work. Tell the Microsoft guys what you want. Don’t worry, we’ve worked with them before, they just need to be told how high to jump. Bill, you need to front this with the journos.”
It was at that point that the PM came back, smiled vaguely, and said, “Right, shall we move to the next thing on the list?”
The next morning, the Deputy Prime Minister beamed at journos and briefed them about the Cabinet meeting. It barely made the evening news which showed a laughing Deputy PM saying, “We have no concerns about Georgie Pie. But this Government isn’t going to tell mum and dad investors whether two Mighty River Power shares are worth less than a Georgie Pie.”