Off the Top of My Head
By Paul Murray
Karamea, West Coast, New Zealand: February 17, 2016
The New Zealand Minister for Economic Development the right honourable Ms Joyce Stevens announced today that given the success of recent regional austerity measures, such as the reduction in police services in remote areas and the redirection of national funds to urban areas where most voters live, that the ministry would now expand the scope of the programme to include education, emergency services, utilities, health and roading.
The ministry recently conducted an economic analysis of police services in rural regions of New Zealand and found they could significantly reduce the cost of policing the country by cancelling such services on the ground that there was insufficient crime being committed to justify maintaining a police presence.
In his report into West Coast police service delivery, Police Commandant Rob Malthusian suggested the “disestablishment” of the Karamea Police Station and the removal of a permanent police presence in the region. The community of Karamea reacted with rightful dismay to the recommendation by the commandant and a wave of antidisestablishmentarianism swept through the district as the anguished populace faced and uncertain future.
Stevens went on to say that “Using the same logic, we can now apply the process to other expensive public services to redirect public expenditure and ensure the money is available where it is most needed.” When asked to expand on that statement, Stevens said, “Well it’s simple really, if demand for such services is deemed to be insufficient, supply will fall to meet it. My ministry has determined that there is little need to maintain fire or ambulance services if there is low demand…if there aren’t enough fires, medical emergencies or accidents, it is difficult to rationalise the provision of such services and they will thus be terminated.” She went on to say that because there were insufficient numbers of illiterate children in rural New Zealand, schools would be closed and roads no longer maintained if traffic levels were low and dental services would also be cancelled if the unacceptably low level of tooth decay persisted.
Minister of Police the right honourable Mr Colin Judith when asked about the recent reduction in police services across rural New Zealand said, “Look, we have been providing nationwide police services in low crime regions for long enough, if the people living there don’t want to fully utilise the services we provide then there will eventually come a time when we can no longer justify the provision of such services….that time has come.” Judith cut short his press conference after he was injured by being hit in the face with a flying IUD, which was apparently removed and thrown at him by a disgruntled member of the assembled local press.
After the Minister was released from Westport Hospital, he met with Buller Mayor Harry Goward at the Council Chambers. The Mayor pressed him to further explain his decision to terminate police and other services in his district and Judith said,”Well look at the case of Karamea––perhaps the most remote town on mainland New Zealand––crime rates are so low there that we need to address the situation. Clearly the removal of permanent police presence in the area will serve to increase crime rates to an acceptable level and perhaps when that have been achieved, we can justifiably reinstate a police officer to meet demand.”
Goward said in a press statement that, “It seems the people of Karamea have themselves to blame for the loss of their police officer and the disestablishment of their police station, they are just too honest and law abiding.”
Karamea businessman Muzza Rongo, a known social commentator, said, “I happen to believe that the provision of essential services like police, utilities, emergency and education are the basic responsibility of government, to fail to provide such services is tantamount to criminal negligence. If democratically elected government officials neglect their most basic responsibilities, they may experience a revolutionary uprising and be replaced with actual leaders who have a vested interest in caring for their constituents and the disposition to actually honour their responsibilities and live up to the expectations of the people who helped them to power.”
However, not all agreed, retired bureaucrat Mac Cleveland said of the report, “This is a classic example of a reverse Malthusian Trap whereby a declining population meets with an abundance of public services that lead to an unacceptably high quality of life…this situation is untenable in political terms and changes need to be accepted.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jonki, who now goes by the title His Excellency, President for Life, Commander in Chief, Lord of All the Beasts of MiddleEarth and Fishes of the Seas Sir Jonki, said, “We will no longer provide services that are not being fully utilised, if you want police, commit crime, if you want medical services, spread disease, if you want emergency services, create demand, otherwise, national fiscal resources that are currently being wasted on maintenance of economically unviable ministrations will be redirected to serve more loyal and responsible citizens in urban areas and the provision of such services to rural regions will be terminated until such time as they can be warranted.”
Karamea Community spokesperson Luke Rictus and Buller Community Coordinator Howard Peters said in a joint statement that they welcomed the opportunity for anarchy and lawlessness, that they were sick and tired of legal compliance requirements and saw great opportunities for regional economic revival through graft, violence and larceny, and that they looked forward to a bright future of corruption and malfeasance for their families and cronies. Without police, emergency services and education, they saw tremendous scope for the emergence of previously unacceptable and illegal activities that will prove lucrative and provide the much needed economic stimulus required by their constituents.
Prime Minister Jonki said, “That is precisely what we seek in rural regions, it’s time for provincial yokel types to take more responsibility for their own existence. My government cannot continue to provide services to people who are just not using them, these measures will create a future demand and when it is deemed their provision is again economically viable, they may be restored,” he added.