The week in memes: where have you been all this time, Dr Shane Reti?

Too much news? Welcome to the only round-up you need.

Which would you prefer: accidentally telling 500,000 people to get Covid tests immediately, or approving $11.7m to a private school that hosts conspiracy theorists? You don’t even have to choose because both happened last week. Congratulations.

James Shaw – NO

James Shaw was doing so well. He had that laugh which was great, and also that laugh which was great. But then he laughed all the way to the bank and approved nearly $12m of funding to a Taranaki private school despite the Green Party being explicitly against funding private schools. Methinks Shaw won’t be laughing in front of reporters anytime soon.

The Taranaki Green School – Unsurprisingly NO

To add insult to injury, the school Shaw gave funding to appears to be open to Bad Ideas. Parents from the school hosted a fundraising event that involved a “lion’s gate abundance and manifestation ceremony” with “bio-energy field cleaning” and “DNA activation”. They also planned to plant a field of crystals with the students. “We are going to be unifying them and bringing in this 5th dimensional consciousness,” said one of the parents, which I can only read in Matthew McConaughey’s voice for some reason.

I’m going to give Shaw the benefit of the doubt and assume the DNA activation wasn’t mentioned in the school’s request for funding. If anyone knows how to activate my DNA without taking all my money, please get in touch. I’m curious but I’m on a budget.

Government comms – NO

On Sunday, less than a day before Auckland was scheduled to transition into level two (or something approximating it), the government issued a testing update through its Unite Against Covid-19 social media pages. The update essentially asked 500,000 South and West Auckland residents to get a test, even if they were not symptomatic. Some people freaked out, some people didn’t, and after half a day of not acknowledging it, Jacinda Ardern clarified that that’s not what the government meant. Hahahaha jk jk. Wow, can’t anybody take a joke?

Winston Peters – NO

Is Winston Peters the deputy prime minister or is Winston Peters the leader of the opposition? It’s been hard to tell right throughout the past three years but now that it’s election season, Peters is well and truly playing his own game. National argued that the Health Select Committee should reconvene in light of the second lockdown and delayed election. They didn’t have a majority until Peters and New Zealand First stepped in to lend their support. Ladies and gentlemen, the call is coming from inside the house.

This is all to be expected of Peters, who loves to go rogue at every opportunity. Which makes it even funnier that he then attempted a Jacinda Ardern-trademark at-home Facebook video. He did not nail it.

Billy Te Kahika – NO

Just no. Sometimes there’s not even a joke to be made. Billy Te Kahika Jr is spreading all sorts of conspiracy theories in a way that is extremely dangerous to vulnerable people. Newshub Nation interviewed Te Kahika on Sunday and showed exactly why interviewing dangerous figures makes you complicit. While we’re on the subject of conspiracy theories … Billy Te Kahika (BTK) and Brian TamaKi (BTK) are both adept at spreading dangerous rhetoric while wearing suits, and have similar sounding names. Have they ever been seen in the same room? I can’t be sure, I’m just a curious intellectual looking for answers. And, no, they do not get a meme.

Shane Reti – YES

In a year marred by a global pandemic, politicians have fought hard to stay relevant by getting rolled and shooting themselves in both feet. One of the few who hasn’t (yet) is Dr Shane Reti, National’s health spokesperson. Reti has proven himself to be the calm, confident, collected voice of the opposition. It makes you wonder why it took so long for National to make Reti the health spokesperson (he only began in the role in July). Maybe he was being overlooked or maybe he was simply biding his time.

Cannabis – YES

There are many valid and good reasons to vote yes in the upcoming cannabis referendum. If you’re unsure about how you’ll vote, read up on both sides of the argument and then make an informed decision. Unfortunately, none of points in favour of legalising cannabis are helped by the “Make it Legal” campaign.

YES campaign – NO

Carol, no. The #makeitlegal campaign has been working hard on social media to get people voting yes in October. Only problem is that they seem to be doing the exact opposite. When this is the feedback you’re getting from people who agree with you, you know something needs to change. I wasn’t feeling too optimistic about the referendum result and then I saw this meme(?) from MakeItLegal, authorised by Metiria Turei, and I wept.

Judith Collins – NO

In general, politicians’ partners and children should be allowed to live their own lives. BUT if rumours about Clarke Gayford can be front page news on the Herald then questions can certainly be asked of Mr Judith Collins, David Wong-Tung. Wong-Tung has been posting anti-Jacinda Ardern memes on his Facebook page. The bad memes are insulting to Ardern as a person and insulting to me as a fan of memes. When boomers lean into their social media, no good comes of it. I’ll leave you this week with Collins’ quote in defending her husband’s posts.

“He is one of the least sexist men I know, he is married to me, how could he be sexist?”



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