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Worzels World - The Redundant Vision

It was with a certain sense of dreamlike unreality that I confronted the task before me. Every vocation in life carries with it unpleasant tasks and this was certainly one of those. No one enjoys making people redundant so it was with some sadness that I called John into the office. I had my speech prepared.

“Your department has always been a drain on New Zealand Inc but recently, with steadily increasing taxation funding a steadily more oppressive and officious public sector, it is adversely affecting production. We’ve no option but to let you go.

“Yes John, things were all well and good in the halcyon days of mad growth and burgeoning profits, but now that hard times have befallen us, tough decisions need to be made. With a clear duty to stakeholders there is no question that costs must be cut, dead wood trimmed. That means unproductive and unprofitable areas of business must be closed down.

“I am sorry to inform you that in order to better compete in the free market global economy we are closing down your department and making you redundant. Think of it as another privatisation.”

He sat aghast, incredulous and uncharacteristically speechless.

“I am afraid,” I continued, “that any redundancy payout or other form of golden handshake is out of the question; it is quite simply unaffordable. If you have failed to manage your lucrative and substantially higher-than-average incomes and positions well enough to provide for the possibility of redundancy, then you deserve bugger-all. It is, after all, what you told us you were good at but which when viewing available data you have been woefully deficient in.

“There is some good news though for those being culled from the public expense: As a special redundancy offer we have waived the stand-down period at WINZ. We have achieved this by simply closing WINZ. From now on all publicly owned offices and buildings will be required for the storage of hay, silage and other stuff more valuable than politicians and public sector personnel. We have decided to set you free in the free market environment you have espoused for so long. We wish you well.”

“But, but, but…” he sputtered in abject disbelief. “It can’t be done, it’s not allowed, anarchy and chaos will reign. You can’t simply get rid of government and all its departments. How will you manage things without us?”

I sat back in my brushed pigskin chair, a little more relaxed now that the job had been done and the interview nearly at an end.

“Well John, I suggest you use some spare time – and you should have plenty from now on – to read through some history. You’ll find that this has happened many times before. Really, we’re letting you off lightly. The traditional method of making governments redundant is by removing their heads.”

He shuffled in his chair and fingered his throat gingerly.

Remembering that justice is tempered by mercy, and feeling a little sorry for this once-so-proud-but-now-so-pathetic figure, I went over to the freezer and took out a roast of pork. It would at least keep his family fed for a day or two while he decided what he would do ‘moving forward’ to earn a crust. But wait, it was home killed meat and unlawful for me to give to others. The many silly laws and regulations imposed by his now redundant department had yet to be repealed. There was much work to be done. I put the joint back in the freezer, glanced at the clock, and extended my hand to show there were no hard feelings.

“Thanks for coming in John but I’m afraid I have work to do. Oh, and as for the nation, we’ll manage okay without you. We’ve decided to install commissioners.”

Suddenly a cloud parted and a shaft of morning sunlight lanced through my uncurtained windows and penetrated the darkness of sleep. I awoke with a start. It had all seemed so real. Was it a dream? Or perhaps a nightmare? I cannot say. Though it was certainly a vision of some sort. I switched on the radio, and listening to the news realised that no such improvements had taken place.

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