There’s a song from a guy called Afroman that I think would be the perfect theme for this year’s election.
Yes, there is a massive health crisis facing the world. Borders are shut, people are dying by the thousands every day.
World economies are bracing for a financial fallout of nuclear proportions. In New Zealand, Government debt is forecast to pass $100 billion, if not $200 billion in four years.
But that’s alright - as Afroman sings – ‘because I got high, because I got high, because I got high’.
In addition to making the most important political decision for several generations, in typical Kiwi fashion we are also voting on whether we should get high or not, in the cannabis referendum.
When the smoke clears on this election it may not matter if your party wins, or loses, or if we all tumble into poverty – it will all be cool man.
If it really turns to custard, we can just build a teepee in the backyard and disappear in there until it’s all over.
It’s all relative
What I love about our country is that it doesn’t really matter how comfortable or successful we are, it only matters how well we are doing in comparison to everyone else.
I must admit, that in the absence of sport I have been following the COVID-19 stat's from all the main players and comparing it with our own. Like the Olympics we are right up the medal table in terms of population versus rates of disease.
There does seem to be an overwhelming sense of optimism that because we have been nominated for the Oscar award for ‘Best Country in a Pandemic’ that will somehow translate into ongoing economic success.
Thousands of wealthy business owners will pack their bags, stuff their corporations into shipping containers and flee their countries in search of the legendary Land of the Long White Cloud.
This will certainly be true if there is a really deadly pandemic stalking Earth but I’m not sure this one is quite going to have that effect. I think we’ll just get the ones who like a bit of a puff on the green stuff.
Therefore, we are stuck with ourselves for now. Fortunately we are a clever bunch and there should be some pretty epic ideas coming out of those teepee sessions. These can be piped straight to the Provincial Growth Fund for consideration.
One such idea that has clearly come from a session is the plan to build 100,000 houses over 10 years.
On average there has been 19 houses built each month since the KiwiBuild project began two years ago, which means that it will take 436 years, at that rate, to complete the project.
The target has since been revised from 100,000 to “a significant number”. My journalism tutor would have been appalled at the use of the word “significant” because what it actually means is nothing much.
Return of sport
The single weirdest thing to happen to me out of this whole COVID-19 thing, occurred when I sat down on the couch last Friday.
Out of the blue Mrs Hutch says ‘You know, I’m actually missing sport on TV’.
I looked at her for a bit to see if she was taking the proverbial out of me, but she didn’t flinch. No twitching of the corner of the mouth. She was quite serious.
A dyed-in-the-wool Cantabrian, Mrs Hutch likes the fact that the Crusaders win all the time and it brings back a lot of fond memories for her of family gathered around the TV or going to matches.
But she never deliberately watches a game - it’s just a familiar part of life and one that everybody is looking forward to getting back in their lives. I suppose I’ve never switched over to Coronation St, but I still know all the plots and characters. I notice that is still going.
Now hats off to the pair of trampers who literally went the extra mile to distance themselves from everyone else in the Kahurangi National Park over the last few weeks.
Having spent years covering every tragedy interesting enough to make the national papers in the top of the South Island, I still get a little emotional when someone beats the odds. Sometimes it is just totally unexpected. Most of the time people just don’t survive those things.
Let’s hope that this is a good omen for the country because I personally believe that it isn’t so much which politicians win or lose this September, it is the will, determination and positivity of Kiwis that will need to prevail one way or another.