July 10, 2014 by Doug Coutts
Being a Cabinet Minister is the dream of every schoolboy, especially in private schools where it often pays to pretend you’re asleep. Girls too yearn to grow up to have a job that comes with imported designer frocks and dangly earrings. But while not everyone can be a Green or even Steven Joyce, there’s still a chance you could land an important job running the country and a bunch of surly public servants – if you put your mind to it and practise seven simple habits:
- Never forget your roots. Those cameras in the House are very high-angle so successful cabinet ministers make sure they get touched up on a weekly basis.
- Mantra is not repetition. Nothing is worse during Question Time than a minister repeating the same thing over and over. And over again. Reminding the Opposition of government policy through the recitation of mantra is, however, completely acceptable. There is a fine line between the two but as a successful cabinet minister if you can’t tell the difference, neither will they.
- Be careful with money. No one likes overspending – it’s a drain on taxpayer donations and tends to get negative press. That’s why successful cabinet ministers are very prudent and make sure the bucks stop way down the line.
- Keep the doors closed. Successful cabinet ministers know the importance of shutting all the doors for the efficient retention of heat and salary, so don’t let anything out or admit it either. Even in court.
- Patience is a virtue. Unless you’re Minister of Health when they’re a pesky drain on resources. Otherwise, just chill. Successful cabinet ministers know that while they’re staying calm and doing little, a cabinet minister further up the chain will be unsuccessful sooner or later and everyone can shuffle along one.
- Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Successful cabinet ministers do this because the ensuing kerfuffle lets them sneak away to rifle through wastepaper baskets and download emails. Also, any fatalities mean you’re closer to the top spot and don’t have to sit right behind the PM at Question Time. Fawning while the camera is on for minutes on end can get tiring.
- Be wary of social media. A successful cabinet minister will never buy a drink for a member of the Press or join the Gallery drinking school, no matter how friendly they appear to be. No one wants to be scooped, or even get a mention in the paper.