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A sharp rap on the PM’s door triggered your intrepid eyewitness’s Spyfly device, and as programmed, it immediately burst into silent life and, bristling with technology, began to observe and record all that transpired in the kindergarten room that passes as the seat of power in OurTearRoar New Zealand these days.

Your eyewitness just happened to be doing the annual stock-take of the parliamentary brooms at this moment, (there were fifteen unaccounted for; parliamentary thieving is not limited to robbing taxpayers’ cash assets) and was able to view the proceedings taking place in Justinda Ardeau’s playpen without fear of interruption.

Justinda’s visitor proved to be one of her besties, the political activist who pretends to be a journalist, Covid O’Lyin’. Justinda beamed, allowing a number of fangs to escape from their lippy prison, and jumped up excitedly.

“Ah, Covid!” she exclaimed excitedly. “A friendly face at last. I never thought I’d be so happy to see Covid in my office.”

“Ah, to be sure,” replied Covid, taking a seat near her idol’s desk. “And it’s a fine thing to be seein’ of ye today, Justinda. And how would yer lum be reeking? Oh wait, that’s not Irish.”

“No need for the fake accent, Covid,” said Justinda.  “You can be honest with me; we’re friends, remember?”

“Honest!” cried Covid. “How I hate that word. Well, I thought I’d  come and cheer you up. I know that you’ve been in hiding, and very gloomy since the last change of leadership in the Notional Party. As you know, I’ve been working assiduously for your re-election, and I’ve wasted no time in attacking your nemesis, Judgy Judy.”

“Oh, yes, I’m so grateful,” cried Justinda. “That poll was like, awesomely awesome. You’ve already earned Hugetub’s share of the incentive cash. Don’t worry, there will be more. Lots more. But only if I win the election.” She gave Covid one of those special winks that makes all but the most hardened Justindaphiles reach for a bucket, but Covid glowed with pleasure, and almost burst into purring.

“Yes, the poll was tricky. But we have ways, you know.”  Covid nodded wisely. “People are saying it was a rogue poll. I like to think that I’m the actual rogue where that poll is concerned.”

“Yes,” replied Justinda, “I have total confidence in your roguery. I’m just surprised that you were so quick to action.” A rare thought occurred to her. “But what if other polling companies’ polls are quite different from Nudechub’s poll? If your poll proves inaccurate, surely nobody will take you seriously again. Our own polls were quite different, I have to say.”

“Let me worry about that,” responded Covid. “As you know, the word chutzpah was invented with me in mind. Oh, I think that word has Jewish origins. Please forgive me if I’ve offended you.”

“It’s okay just this once,” said Justinda graciously. “I think that Stalin would have sent you off to a gulag for using it, but after all, I’m not Stalin yet, am I?” She chuckled. “Speaking of Stalin, may peace be upon him,  I wanted to ask your advice on something. Be truthful now.”

“Truthful?” exclaimed Covid in a disgusted tone. “How I hate that word. But I’ll try.”

“That video is still out there, Covid. I’ve tried to have it suppressed, as you know, but it still keeps appearing from time to time, and I’m worried that it will be used in this election campaign to try to discredit me.”

“Aha, dirty politics, you mean?” said Covid. “I presume you’re talking about what is usually referred to as ‘The Comrade Video’? Where you’re accepting the Presidency of the Young Communists Union, or whatever it’s called.”

“The International Union of Socialist Youth,” corrected Justinda.

“Yes, the Young Communists,” said Covid. “Where you repeatedly call the assembled throng Comrade, and sound a bit like Stalin on a bad day. Yes, that’s a very embarrassing video. To be sure, ’twould be better if ’twere not in existence. And it would have been a lot better if you hadn’t doubled-down and said during a radio interview, that your views hadn’t really changed since that video.”

“Are you criticising me, the source of all truth, Covid?” said Justinda icily. “Remember, I hold the purse strings, and also hold Grunt Robbingson’s… ah, sausage rolls in my hands.”

“No, no, I’m not criticising at all,” said Covid firmly. “But you’re right, we do need to try and keep this as secret as we can. Leave it to me, I’ll do what I can. I am a very dirty little virus, as you know, Justinda.”

“I certainly do,” said Justinda feelingly. Then she added hastily, “but I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m ashamed of the fine socialists who are our forbears in the faith. A lump comes into my throat when I think of them. Stalin, magnificent chap. Trotsky, just the man you need in a tight spot – except where ice-picks are involved. Chairman Mao, marvellous when there’s a plague of sparrows to be despatched, or troublesome people for that matter. Ho Chi Min, what more can I say? Bless his wispy whiskers. Pol Pot; hated people who wore glasses. A very sound policy. Fidel Castro; what a man. That’s possibly why I have such feelings for Jastin Trudern of Canada. There are rumours, you know…  Robert Mugabe – what an amazing economic legacy he left. And Nicolás Maduro, the current star of hyperinflation, in whose footsteps I place my own tiny feet, and hope to match his achievements…”

Her eyes grew misty, and then she snapped back to reality.

“I have more paper dolls to cut out, Covid, so if you’ll excuse me.” She turned back to her desk, and Covid slipped quietly out of the office, already plotting more scoops which she hoped would win the election for her hero.”

Your intrepid eye-witness slipped home quietly, ruminating on the sad state of the New Zealand political scene.

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