Apr 19, 2002
If International Rugby Board (IRB) chairman Vernon Pugh sees NZ Sports Minister Trevor Mallard headed his way, he shouldn't turn his back.
Angry at New Zealand losing a share of the Rugby World Cup, a "gutted" Mr Mallard was asked what remedies the Government could now take. He suggested he would like to perform a sensitive operation on Mr Pugh and Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill, using a sponsor's product.
"They (remedies) do involve Heinekens in particularly uncomfortable places," he said.
Dutch brewer Heineken is a major sponsor of the 2003 event, which will now be hosted entirely in Australia.
Prime Minister Helen Clark laughed off her minister's outburst. "Trevor is a red-blooded passionate rugby supporter and he is really expressing the disappointment of every rugby-supporting person in the country," she said.
Asked if the "uncomfortable places" threat was out of line, she said: "I'm not getting into that".
Miss Clark said the decision was very disappointing for New Zealand rugby lovers. "I guess the best comeback is to win it."
Happy Days With Helen
Apr 11, 2002
An Infometrics Misery Index out today ranks the current New Zealand Government's performance as the third best in 30 years.
It comes behind the 1993-96 Bolger Government and the 1972 to 75 Kirk-Rowling Government.
The Misery Index looks at whether economic indicators such as employment, inflation and GDP growth have improved during the tenure of a particular government.
Infometrics economist Gareth Kiernan says, under Helen Clark's leadership, there have been improvements in most areas, with the only blot being a rise in inflation.
He suggests Labour will be comfortably re-elected.
PM won't embarrass NZ
Apr 9, 2002
If you're worried the Prime Minister might embarrass the country by dressing inappropriately for the Queen Mother's funeral tonight, relax.
Helen Clark has the matter in hand.
There was controversy during the Queen's recent visit when Miss Clark wore trousers to the state banquet. But Miss Clark says she won't be setting those same tongues wagging again tonight. She says she will dress entirely in black, from head to toe, and will be wearing a skirt, not trousers.
The West Wing
Mar 25, 2002
News - New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is visiting Washington this week. She has meetings scheduled with George W Bush and top officials in his administration. She is the first NZ Labour Prime Minister to be invited to Washington in 30 years.
The Oval Office. Silhouetted against a window and framed by two Stars and Stripes flags, the president sits at his desk. To one side is a world map, with various regions shaded red. The label "Evil Empire" has been amended with blue marker pen to read simply "Evil". An aide is pointing to the lower-right-hand corner of the map.
Aide: It's right down there, Mr President, over and down a bit from Australia.
President: Australia, okay. And they're not evil, right?
Aide: No, Mr President, not evil. Well, maybe a tiny bit evil ...
Aide: They're the ones that don't want our nuclear-powered and armed ships in their harbours.
President: What's their problem?
Aide: They're nuclear free. Been that way since before your father sat in that chair. Apparently it's a very popular policy down there. Even our friends haven't been able to change it.
President: Nuclear free, hub. That does sound quite evil. Can we attack them?
Aide: No, No President, they are our allies.
President: They are our evil allies. That doesn't make sense. I thought I made it pretty clear - you're either with us or against us.
Aide: They did send some troops to Afghanistan.
President: What, now you're telling me they're part of the al Qaeda terror network of Osama bin Laden that is the face of evil in the world today?
Aide: No sir, they sent troops to help our troops. They're on our side.
President: Okay, so they're Northern Alliance, that explains it. A little bit evil but on our side! Got ya.
Aide: Never mind. Look, their Prime Minister is meeting you in five minutes. We need to go over some of the issues that will come up.
President: What's he like?
Aide: It's a she, sir, the Prime Minister is a woman.
President: Woah there, cowboy. I knew we'd liberated the place from the evil Taliban regime which harboured terrorists who are the single biggest threat to freedom and democracy in the world today, but I didn't think they'd gone that far. Does she wear one of them sheet things over her face? ;
Aide: Mr President, New Zealand is not part of the Northern Alliance. However, its government does include a coalition partner called the Alliance which is strongly opposed to our war against terror and to lifting the ban on our nuclear warships entering their ports.
President: Well, maybe we should pick 'em off with one of them tactical nuclear devices.
Aide: Sir, our information is that they have destroyed themselves anyway. And it will be most impolitic to speak about tactical nuclear devices with the Prime Minister of New Zealand. With respect, sir, the last thing we need right now, what with Mr Cheney just back from the Middle East and the situations in Israel and Kashmir, is the leader of the free world threatening to nuke the democratically elected government of a loyal ally of the United States.
President: Not all of them, just the evil ones ...
Aide: No, Mr President, I really must insist.
President: All right, all right. Sheesh. Ever since that axis of evil thing you're all on my case. What am I supposed to talk about, then - the weather?
Aide: Do not go near global warming, sir. Free trade. They're big on free trade. Really want to sell their apples and their lamb and their butter to us.
President: And their steel?
Aide: Oh yes, and their steel.
President: Tough cheese.
Aide: Yes, that too.
President: Want want want. All we ever hear. What do we get?
Aide: You might like to suggest that New Zealand reconsider its anti-nuclear policy and he welcomed back into Anzus.
President: Anzus? Sounds like axis!
Aide: Australia New Zealand United States. It's an ... alliance.
President. Against evil?
Aide: Sort of. It's a Cold War thing. We froze them out after they went nuclear free. Now it's just Australia and the United States.
President: So we want to put the N back between the A and the US.
Aide: And the Zee, sir, please.
President: You got a problem with my language skills?
Aide. Nothing of the sort, Mr President.
President: Okay then. Let's go meet this lady ...
Mar 19, 2002
Avon Products Incorporated, the world's largest direct seller of beauty products, recently said it plans to reduce 3,800 positions from its current workforce over the next two years.
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