Ah, I see, it's a metaphor, despite the Herald not using quote marks in the headline. Also, there is no such programme; it's just something that John Key felt sounded good as a sound bite, and which the Herald bent over and took. So what kinds of programmes are we talking about, Prime Minister?
Prime Minister John Key says several of Labour's "hug a polar bear" programmes are on the hit-list as the Government tries to cut costs.
Mr Key said his ministers had uncovered several ineffective programmes with the "nicest, friendliest sounding names" during detailed reviews of their departments.
"The 'hug a polar bear programme' will survive. It doesn't matter what recession occurs, it sounds like a really nice name.
"But the reality is if you look below the surface, the hug a polar bear programme might not do that much for polar bears. And if it doesn't, then we shouldn't continue to fund it."
"Mr Key would not identify the programmes but said there was a series of them."Ah, ok. To be fair, one mentioned was "the Ministry of the Environment's programme for a carbon-neutral public service":
"It generated a huge number of bureaucratic appointments but a very inconsequential change if any to New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Key said.How huge, well, 20 jobs are being lost due to the restructuring of which this was a part. But Key may be right about this one - it does sound like a silly kind of project that wouldn't contribute much to the environment. Just like banning incandescent light bulbs, right John?