Insights Newsletter
1 March, 2024

Today I found out that both the Prime Minister and I are self-described “test cricket tragics”. If he can tell me what Neil Wagner’s final bowling average is upon retirement, I’ll believe him.

This past Monday, the Prime Minister welcomed both the New Zealand and Australian cricket teams to Premier House. It was to celebrate the upcoming test series between the two sides.

However, despite strict rules to not mention the underarm incident, there was still a diplomatic faux-pas at the event.

It now seems that the Prime Minister does not actually live at Premier House as it is “condemned”. This, according to Australian batsman Usman Khawaja.

The Prime Minister, of course, denies saying as much. He claims that there are “long-standing maintenance issues” which prevent him from living there.

Khawaja and Mr. Luxon are an unlikely pantomime duo, but this exchange of “yes you did!”, “No I didn’t!” has added an unexpected twist to the build-up to the cricket.

But what we really saw was a masterclass on how to perform political double-speak.

Luxon says that the house has maintenance issues serious enough to prevent him from living there. He says this information comes from a report that was also handed to his predecessor.

So, the issues are serious enough to mean he cannot take up residence in Premier House and old enough to have been an issue before the change of government.

Sounds pretty condemned, right? But you can’t say that because that sounds bad.

No, much better to say, “long-standing maintenance issues”. Because that is really boring and most people will ignore it.

Obviously, none of this is Luxon’s fault. These issues pre-date his government and it’s not like he can wave a magic wand and fix it.

Someone should have warned Luxon, however, that the Australian cricket side cannot be trusted. Are they really here to just play some cricket? (Ed: Yes).

Or are they here to steal state secrets? It’s certainly quite convenient that they should be playing the first test in Wellington, thus giving them time between innings to snoop around.

There are already reports emerging that David Warner, Australian batsman of particular fame, was spotted writing down what the Prime Minister said on a sheet of sandpaper.

All seems pretty suspicious to me. And by attacking not our bowling attack, but our Premier House, the Australian mind games have already begun.

Let’s hope we can condemn them to a series defeat.

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