Shortland Street to Receive Millions

Insights Newsletter
5 July, 2024

In a groundbreaking move to elevate New Zealand's cultural standing on the world stage, the government has announced plans to subsidise the production of Shortland Street to the tune of millions. The long-running soap opera, known for its focus on extramarital affairs and promotion of D-listers, is now entering the pantheon of Kiwi high culture.


Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Peter Silversmith, explained the rationale behind this decision: "For too long, we've wasted taxpayer money on foreign, lowbrow endeavours like opera, ballet, and literature. This government is serious about investing in real Kiwi culture. And what could be more quintessentially Kiwi than Shortland Street?"


The government's investment comes with value-for-money expectations. Among these will be the relocation of Shortland Street away from its perpetual reruns on nan’s T.V. set and into the classroom. School children will be required to watch at least three episodes per week as part of their curriculum. "It's essential for their cultural education," insisted Education Minister Eric Standfall. "How else will they learn about the intricacies of hospital administration or the correct way to dramatically reveal a secret lovechild?"


In addition, the iconic line "You're not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata" will replace "God Defend New Zealand" in the national anthem. "It's more representative of our nation's values," the Prime Minister declared. "Plus, it's catchier."


The government is also considering replacing traditional diplomatic gifts with signed boxsets of Shortland Street. "Forget about pounamu and Marlborough wines," Foreign Minister Winfred Auldman chuckled. "Nothing says 'Kia Ora' quite like 30 years of melodrama set in a fictional Auckland hospital."


Critics have suggested that there may be more pressing issues the government should address, such as the housing crisis and climate change. Coalition leader Davie Saylis, invoking the 'agree to disagree' provision for the second time this week, stated, "This policy is a soap opera in itself. We're writing blank cheques for fictional drama while real New Zealanders face real problems."


Undeterred, the coalition is forging ahead, counting on support from Opposition. The Labour Leader (himself a long-time fan of the show) was quoted as saying, “The constant infighting, backstabbing, and arguments really remind me of the job. Shortland’s a home away from home for me.”


Meanwhile, the Minister Silversmith claims that the new policy is "completely unrelated" to his binge-watching habits. "The fact that I've seen every episode since 1992 is purely coincidental," he insisted, hastily removing a Chris Warner bobblehead from the lectern.


God defend New Zealand, indeed.


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