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May 30, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Key Confirms Cutbacks, Carries Out Cuddle Campaign

Would you marry me when we are seventy? You have nothing to lose,” says key

Following the Government’s 2011 Budget announcement, Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English have set out to quell the concerns of those opposed to the financial plan.

While the pair intend to stand strong on their budgetary declarations, they set out last week in what is being called ‘Hugging the Nation: National’s 2011 Campaign for Re-election’.

The campaign plan, published last Friday, includes no mention of fiscal compromise; it instead comprises a list of things that Key and English plan on doing to make everyone ‘feel a bit better’. Among that list are: tucking the population of New Zealand into bed, cleaning over400 student residences following flat-parties when everyone’s in town that night, and ‘getting the bill’ unprompted, on a number of occasions.

Cape Reinga resident Pareao Ahitana, 36, said that the experience had in fact made her feel a lot better about the coming year. “I’d just gotten into bed when John came in with a glass of water and a copy of The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. He sat on the edge of my bed, read me a few chapters, and then tucked me in nice and tight. I was beginning to feel a bit more confident in his government’s economic proposals, then he leaned in, kissed me on the forehead and whispered in my ear, “Things will turn out the way you want, if you could just stop doubting that I love you.” That was when I knew that we’d be safe and sound in John’s velveteen arms.”

While most accounts of John and Bill’s bedside visits have echoed Ahitana’s glowing sentiment, not all have taken the ‘warm and fuzzy’ political approach so well.

“It was nice at first but then Key turned off the light and lingered in the room by the door. I asked him what he was doing and he said, “I like it when you cry, because it means you have to wear your glasses. No, actually I don’t like it when you cry. I find it horrible. Especially when it’s not for me.” It was a bit awkward to be honest.” said Kerikeri resident Miles Hopkirk.

Not the first of National’s ‘less-than- conventional’ initiatives, ‘Hugging the Nation’ is, however, the first well-received attempt at reaching the public through alternative avenues. In 2009, Women’s Affairs minister Hekia Parata was publicly denounced by women’s rights groups for her ‘Building Site Strategy’ in trying to combat negative self image in young New Zealand women.

Parata set up groups of young to middle aged men at central locations around the country who were employed to wolf-whistle and yell sexually suggestive things at ‘girls and women of all shapes, sizes and colour,’ in an effort to promote the concept that all females are beautiful.

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