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Alfred Ngaro’s heartfelt apology: what he said and what he meant

The associate housing minister has issued a statement of regret after Newsroom caught him spraying threats at non-government service providers including Willie Jackson and the Salvation Army. Here we speculate on how it might read after a good dousing in truth serum.

What Ngaro said: “My comments about the Government’s work in social housing and some of our partners were a bit naive, poorly worded and I absolutely regret what I said.”

What he meant: “My comments about the Government putting money into Manukau Urban Māori Authority charter schools, and how it’ll be Game Over on that front if Willie bloody Jackson goes around bagging us, and how the Salvation Army have become a bit lippy and should pull their heads in, not to mention the salvation smarmy, by which I mean John Campbell and the rest of the failing media who are manufacturing a housing crisis out of nothing but copious evidence of a housing crisis, what I’m saying is those comments were inspirational, electrifying, the eyes in the room lit up like bedside lamps in an Auckland carpark, I felt great, never more alive, but then a bit later Steven Joyce gave me that look, you know the one, and said the PM was so furious he’d burned two pizzas to a crisp, which ruined the special family meal to mark Mother’s Day, a very important annual celebration of those who get up early in the morning and clean, and that the Labour Party didn’t expect that the most successful speech of their congress in Wellington would be delivered at a National Party convention in East Auckland and now Bill’s interview rounds on Monday morning are going to be a total pain and Joycey said my comments were poorly worded and naive and so in my opinion my comments were poorly worded and naive and I deeply regret, sincerely and from the bottom of my heart, that the Newsroom blog wrote them down.”

Alfred Ngaro, flanked by fellow new cabinet ministers  David Bennett and Mark Mitchell, after being sworn in December. Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty

“The Government is doing a huge amount to tackle challenges in housing and support those who most need our help. I am hugely positive and proud of this work, and this was what I was trying to impart.”

“The Government is doing a huge amount to tackle challenges in housing, and by challenges I mean Willie and the Sallies and the media and the rest of the whingers and haters, and so we’re going to tackle them, hard and high, smash them bro. This was what I was trying to impart, but I thought I was imparting to party members, much like Henry V imparting at Agincourt, but no one told me the Newsroom of the World would be hacking my impartings. Do they get any government funding? Because if they do it’s off the table.”

“The Government doesn’t think it has all the answers to tackling challenges in housing and social support, which is why we work so closely with a range of fantastic community organisations.

“The Government doesn’t have all the answers on challenges in housing except to the question ‘is it a crisis?’ to which the answer is, ‘I just said it was a challenge, not a crisis, are you even listening?’ and I have another question for the range of fantastic community organisations we work so closely with, and they have gotta ask themselves: ‘Do we feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk? And that is what I was naively trying to impart.”

“I’ll continue to engage with our partners and ensure we are working on real solutions to help New Zealanders who need assistance with housing.”

”I’ll keep my head down for a bit and try really hard not to naively impart things that feed all the whingeing about pressure on NGOs and creeping politicisation of the public service when there are reporters within earshot.”


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