At question time in parliament yesterday, Prime Minister John Key was pressed by Labour Leader David Shearer on whether the government would offer a comprehensive aid package to farmers affected by the North Island drought. Key responded that, while the government would provide routine aid in the form of funding to rural support trusts, the prospect of a wider aid package was “droughtful.”
There was a brief moment of silence after the Prime Minister’s pun, followed by uproarious, uncontrollable laugher from both sides of the House. “Order!” demanded House Speaker David Carter, who himself was crying with laughter. “Order! Order!” As his attempts to recover question time fell on deaf ears, Carter declared “Oh fuck it” and adjourned parliament for the day.
Once a majority had caught their breath, Key received a standing ovation from every member of the House, with the exception of Labour MP Shane Jones, who witnesses say was laughing so hard he couldn’t stand. Jones was later taken to hospital.
“Fucking brilliant” said an exuberant Deputy Prime Minister Bill English after leaving the chamber. “That’s John Key for you. I think Shearer will think twice about challenging him again.”
Public reaction to the pun was overwhelming, with 96% of respondents in an instant poll approving of the Prime Minister’s handling of the joke. 2% of respondents didn’t get the joke, while another 2% felt that it was irresponsible of our nation’s leaders to be laughing at the expense of people they’re not giving aid to.
Farmers strongly disagreed with that sentiment. “Oh we found it hilarious” said Rangitikei farmer William Morrison. “You know out here, we’ve been big supporters of Mr. Key, and yesterday just shows you why, doesn’t it? Bloody terrific.”
TVNZ’s One News last night featured a half-hour special on the pun, while TV3’s Campbell Live scored a one on one interview with John Key.
“How did you do it?” a beaming John Campbell asked the Prime Minister.
“Oh I don’t know” said Key, trying not to smile. “Just a bit of dry humour, really.”
In wake of yesterday’s pun, the Labour Party is reportedly reassessing its plans to contest the 2014 General Election.