Monday, 25 February 2013

Secret New Government Initiative Announced Unintentionally

While recently attending yet another function held by the government designed to pointlessly spend taxpayers’ money, I found myself unexpectedly in deep conversation with the Minister for the Generation of Revenue. After a few glasses of the Ch√Ęteau Margaux, the Minister let slip that the government is poised to implement an initiative more cunning than the time it tried to sell Antarctica to a passing American billionaire.

'This plan,' gabbled the Minister, 'can't fail. Even we won't be able to stuff this one up!'
Indeed, so excited was the Minister there were disgusting flecks of spittle at the corners of his mouth which I was hoping he might wipe off but which he instead just played at with his tongue.
As I was no doubt aware, the Minister chortled on, Australia had recently passed a law requiring all cigarettes to be sold in plain packages.
'If the Australians are stupid enough to be first up against the tobacco companies, it's hardly our fault, is it?' he chirped. 'Still, good on them for taking it on, and at the same time opening the door to us to make a whole lot of money!'
'What's that,' I said, 'a whole lot of money? Howso?'
'Well,' the Minister giggled, 'we've just secretly created a company that will serve as a front for the New Zealand government—no one will ever know that we actually own it!—and can you guess what this company is going to produce, on the cheap, in China?'
'Houses?' I suggested, thinking it would be a real vote-winner, although I couldn't see its immediate connection to cigarettes.
'Don't be stupid,' yelped the Minister, 'who needs cheap housing? No, no, this company will produce'—and here he paused for what I think was supposed to be dramatic effect, but became instead a chance for him to belch—'lots and lots and lots of bling bling cigarette cases!'
'Cigarette cases?' I cried, 'but who can live in a cigarette case?'
An early prototype of the cigarette cases to be produced by the NZ government
'Fool, they're not for living in, they're for people to express their individuality, to say, this is me, I'm incredibly interesting and clever and creative and have lots of money and whatever! Do you think people are going to stop smoking because cigarettes come in plain brown packages? Of course not! But don't  you also think they might like to be able to choose their very own cigarette cases—they'll even be able to personalise them if they want—and they can even have one for every occasion—it can't fail!'
By this time the Minister was more or less screaming at me in his breathless excitement and it was all I could do to avoid the flying bits of voulevant hurtling from his mouth.
'Do you mean to tell me,' I said, 'that the New Zealand government's contribution to reducing smoking will be to sell personalised cigarette cases so that consumers will be able to enjoy the sweet and soothing deliciousness of their favourite tobacco while also being able to express their individuality and personal style?'

'Yes!' thundered the Minister, 'brilliant, isn't it!'

'Rather!', I said. 
 
 

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