What to make of the latest story to emerge about a National Party MP, Lockwood "permasmile" Smith's dice with death on an airliner struck by lightning?
Well, not a lot; this sort of thing happens all the time. You put big metal things into the air and the lightning seeks them out; its elementary physics, really. Clearly though, Dr Smith does not get out that often: "I expected immediately the plane to lose power but no she just kept climbing" (notice in passing, if you will, how Dr Smith – National's Spokesman for Immigration – has adopted the syntactical conventions of Indians in 1970s British sitcoms; goodness gracious me). But, although he may be technologically challenged, Dr Smith thinks of the children: "Dr Smith said the seats on the flight were full with lots of children because of the start of school holidays."
It had all the makings of a disaster – full, plane, lightning, children, rugged hero – except danger. Fortunately, all was not lost; someone, possibly Dr Smith himself, managed to make a news story of it. And they say nothing ever happens in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, Dr Smith's rival for the Rodney electorate - Labour candidate Conor Roberts - has won a $25 beer voucher. The prize was given by Auckland's stylish SPE pub, where Mr Roberts often enjoys foaming ales and the house speciality – free popcorn. "It's a great day for wealth distribution," said Mr Roberts, who works in PR and so won't mind me inventing quotes for him if it gives him a little free publicity.
So, there you have it. Dr Smith and Mr Roberts are now equal on non-news terms, justifying the Fundy Post's reputation for fairness and balance. And I have managed to write about Dr Smith without including a photograph of him looking silly.
On the other hand, I just can't help myself.