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Political Animal_April

Bill Eng­lish

Des­pite polit­ics closely resem­bling an epis­ode of The Walk­ing Dead, watch­ing Bill Eng­lish unleash his anti-cha­risma on New Zea­l­and is still com­puls­ive view­ing for his stat­ist­ics, policies and, of course, jokes going down like lead bal­loons. Will his set-list be pre­dict­able, or are there sur­prises in store? If there are broken prom­ises, his excuses could lead to bril­liant memes.

Andrew Little

His first budget response as Labour lead­er should fol­low up with some decent hits on policy, but then again, it’s Labour — they could end up heck­ling each oth­er. A high-energy act, he’ll have to be care­ful not to go over the top, but as any comedi­an will tell ya, high energy after a low-energy act can win over a crowd. Will prob­ably open with Sky­City (always a clas­sic) and head into hous­ing, but will need a good fin­ish­er to end on a high.

Gareth Hughes

Metiria, Rus­sel or James Shaw will prob­ably deliv­er the Greens’ response, but Gareth Hughes has an inter­est­ing abil­ity to really throw kid­ney punches in his Budget speeches. Maybe it’s the old protest­or in him rising to the occa­sion, or maybe he only wears his “Sharks! Sharks! Sharks!” box­ers for spe­cial occasions.

Car­mel Sepuloni

Pity Sam Lotu-Iiga. As Min­is­ter of Pacific Island Affairs, he’s got to defend a Budget that won’t be great for Pacific Islanders against sev­er­al strong speak­ers, and Car­mel Sepu­loni has been wait­ing longer than most to unleash. Remem­ber your island mate from school whose older sis­ter used to own him? That’s what this is, with a side of West Auck­land justice thrown in.

Mur­ray McCully

Included here not neces­sar­ily for his speech, but for the ensu­ing heck­ling that will come as the mil­it­ary items of the budget have to be sup­por­ted. Added com­edy will be found if Tre­vor Mal­lard is in charge of the room at that point, and there’s a good chance this is where it will des­cend into farce.

Marama Fox

Pray to the com­edy gods that Marama Fox is allowed to deliv­er the Māori Party’s response. She’s fear­less, her gift for meta­phor is under­ap­pre­ci­ated, and she could steal the whole show if she goes rogue.

Win­ston Peters

Still com­puls­ory view­ing after all these years, a Win­ston Peters spe­cial is a sur­real mas­ter class in com­edy. Will there be props? Impres­sions? Spin­ning bowties? And how obscure will the ref­er­ences get? Watch the room refill in pre­par­a­tion for his response.

Oth­er highlights

Peter Dunne claim­ing cred­it for all non-con­tro­ver­sial policies, Dav­id Sey­mour exclaim­ing on the bril­liance of Nation­al policies that clash with ACT, Dav­id Cun­liffe stand­ing up, Cath­er­ine Delahunty almost swear­ing while own­ing a heck­ler, Bar­bara Stewart’s face while Win­ston is talking.

James Nokise’s Big Words is on at VK’s Com­edy and Blues Bar, 12–16 May, as part of the New Zea­l­and Inter­na­tion­al Com­edy Festival.