It’s election time which means turning one’s attention to the issues that are important.

This only takes an hour or two. A simple contemplation of what’s important to you. What better time to do that than on an early morning drive from Taupo back to Tauranga?

Now, I generally take the road less travelled when I make this trip. I’d rather take two minutes longer and take the scenic route, via Rotorua. It’s just a better class of motorist for some reason.

The beginning of this journey takes you through a lot of steam and old geysers. There’s distractions and natural sideshows all over the place.

None of this interested me – I’m looking for a clear, straight road and a good steady speed. Competence and common sense please.

Journey and thoughts progress harmoniously as this voter travels in a safe, warm cocoon through the darkness.

Soon the fog becomes so thick it’s unclear if the headlights should be on high beam or low beam. Either way it was hard to pick the corners so it’s just a matter of slowing down and taking it easy.

Better to make good choices and get the right outcome.

The rabbit and the tortoise

Not everyone shares this philosophy though. Some have travelled the road so often with success they have no fear of the unknown. No need to change policies.

So I have a follower on the campaign trail as we wind our way through the fog. It is unclear if they’re simply using my tail lights as a beacon through the pea soup, or want to get past.

Either way, I prefer to travel alone and make my own decisions. I like time and space and while they weren’t super close it’s still too close for comfort.

For kilometre after kilometre we pierce the fog in tandem, probably going faster than I should but not fast enough it seems. Golden Springs is coming up, I’ll pull over there and let the pushy one go past.

I’m thinking how funny and slightly annoying one of the candidates is when out of the soup a pair of big headlights appears, while simultaneously a giant rabbit darts across the road.

I can’t brake too hard because I’ll collect the car behind me. I can’t deviate at all because of the oncoming truck. It’s just a matter of wincing as the bumper punches the hapless hare with a solid thud.

“Well that’s F###d!” I exclaimed, as a kind of summary of the situation really.

It was pointless and downright dangerous to turn around and try and find the animal in the dark and the fog. Anyway, it was dead and most likely thrown off the road.

Thoroughly convinced I carried on to Golden Springs a wee way up the road. The car behind was keeping a respectful distance now.

Under the street lamp, in front of a yard full of  rural school buses, I hopped out to check for damage and make sure the carcass hadn’t lodged anywhere.

The hard reality

Sure enough, it was wedged in the grille but it wasn’t a carcass. It was making the same noises the seagull made when I snagged it out of the air while casting my line off the rocks in Dunedin Harbour that time.

Unlike the seagull, the prognosis was not good. It would be fair to say the hare’s injuries were unsurvivable.

‘Don’t worry buddy, I’ll sort it out’ I said to the wee fella.

The whole situation was getting quite stressful but the right course of action  was clear.

In the spotlight

Now, I’m not sure if you know Golden Springs very well but it basically consists of a run-down camping and motel complex and few other utilitarian buildings. Despite its name, it’s creepy at the best of times.

Add in a guy standing in a pool of yellow light by the side of the road swinging a hammer at a bunny, and the scene is complete. I guess that’s why they call it ‘being cast in a  bad light’.

Anyway, the whole thing was soon over but I felt awful and the episode had a profound effect on my election ponderings. Completely unexpected things happen sometimes and it’s how you deal with it that matters.

The rest of the trip was sombre but uneventful and I got to thinking what the different political parties would think of my actions.

The right leaning folk would say the roads are clearly for tax payers and hares take their chances. Those to the left would argue the small creatures are perfectly entitled to go about their business. It’s up to us to look out for them. There’s issues of environmental sustainability and social conscience too I guess.

Personally, I would rather just stay in the comfort of my own car and not have to worry about any of it.

Sometimes though, especially in a time of crisis, you do have to make a decision and you don’t have long to make it.

RIP Buddy

Daniel Hutchinson
From The Hutch