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Shearer rattled after John Key declines to stand by all his statements

David Shearer has lost all confidence in himself, and now sees the world through a dull, grey lens of misery.

David Shearer has lost all confidence in himself, and now sees the world through a dull, grey lens of misery.

Labour leader David Shearer is a faint shadow of his former self today after Prime Minister John Key shut down his line of questioning in Parliament by declining to stand by all his statements.

The incident occurred just after 2pm yesterday when Shearer opened parliamentary Question Time by asking the same question he always does.

“My question is to the Prime Minister,” began Shearer, “and asks, does he stand by all his statements?”

“No,” replied Key.

There were gasps heard throughout the chamber, and Shearer was left looking to his colleagues for help.

“Uhm, point of order, Mr. Speaker,” said Shearer, struggling to get to his feet. “I think I misheard the Prime Minister. Would you mind asking him to repeat his answer?”

Having been asked to by House Speaker David Carter, Key repeated the answer: “No.”

This led to another awkward silence.

“Are there any further supplementaries?” asked Carter.

“Uhm, uhh,” stumbled Shearer.

“Are there any further supplementaries?”

“Uh, yes, Mr. Speaker,” said Shearer. “To the Prime Minister, why does he not stand by all his statements?”

“Well, because some of the things I say are quite silly, frankly,” said Key.

Shearer, who regularly uses the tactic to draw Key into explaining his sometimes awkward utterances, was left shattered, frozen in shock as the rest of his Labour caucus filed out of the chamber in dismay.

“That was a low point,” said Shearer today, recounting the incident. “Grant [Robertson] asked me, he said ‘David, do you still want to be Leader?’, and I said ‘No, not really.’”

Shearer said he struggled to get out of bed this morning, and when he did, he felt like he’d died. He reported that the world seemed “a pale grey” and that he had trouble performing simple tasks such as making toast.

“To be honest, I was already bad at making toast,” he said. “It can be hard to get it in there sometimes without spilling it everywhere. But yeah, this morning was a real mess.”

Shearer’s wife, Anuschka Meyer, told reporters that he hadn’t been himself since it happened.

“He’s just been sitting out on the deck, staring into space, and talking to no one,” she said. “At one point he actually got up on the balcony and threatened to jump off. He’s pretty weak-willed. We knew he wouldn’t do it.”

In the wake of Key’s surprising answer, Labour strategists have begun drafting a series of other all-purpose opening questions – such as “Is the Prime Minister satisfied with the state of the economy?” and “Does the Prime Minister think he’s a swell guy?” – but Shearer says they’re “just not the same.”