Raybon Kan is an award-winning stand-up comedian

Raybon Kan: Kiwimeter survey? Don't bother

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Survey of our identity lacking in ‘yeah nah’ or ‘kinda’ and ‘ish’.
Kiwis coming together over sport is something we actually need to get over. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Kiwis coming together over sport is something we actually need to get over. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Whatever you do, don't do the Kiwimeter survey. I just did, only because it was trending, and now I feel both dumber and more annoyed than before I began. I would have thought the advantage of dumbness would be greater contentment, but Kiwimeter proves the opposite.

Briefly, Kiwimeter is a survey on TVNZ's website, purporting to ask the eternal Kiwi question: what is the New Zealand identity? If you thought the flag referendum was a distraction from the TPP, then this is a distraction once removed, and it's proof that there's nothing more distracting than a mirror, a pedestal and some flattering light.

A giant selfie stick, Kiwimeter is an intrepid journey deep into the Kiwi heart, with you as the expert, and you as the star, but unfortunately via the colo-rectal passage.

To give TVNZ some credit, we can only hope the survey is designed to plant malware and other surveillance viruses on to your computer. Because other than clicks, many of them made forcefully, via your forehead, in rage, it's hard to see what was in it for them.

No credit card number, no ideas for new TV shows, no pulse for them to finger.

It's a parade of verbal inkblots, shrill patriotic outbursts, seemingly drawn from 20 minutes of talkback radio.

"Immigration is a threat to New Zealand's culture."

"New Zealand is not perfect, but its values are superior to others."

"New Zealand is the best country in the world in which to live."

You're asked to rank how you feel about each statement, from strongly agree, to strongly disagree. This is the scientific method used by Facebook to diagnose whether you're a vampire, pirate or zombie, or more of a Katniss, Bella or Buffy.

Between "strongly agree" and "strongly disagree", you get to agonise whether "slightly disagree" is more or less than "somewhat disagree". "Yeah, nah" wasn't an option, and nor was "Meh". Nor was "ish", nor was "kinda". But all of the above would have been clearer than slightly or somewhat. Take a few seconds. Is slightly, more than somewhat? Is somewhat, somewhat more than slightly? Does your degree of disagree, affect your Kiwi pedigree?

Let's take this statement: "Nothing brings New Zealanders together like a sporting event." Well, yes. That's unarguable. But that's also the problem. It's something we need to grow out of. How does it distinguish us from any other country?

Contrary to local belief, the Olympics aren't just an event attended by New Zealanders. Indeed, the Super Bowl draws nearly as many Americans as the war in Iraq. And of course, the Springbok tour of 1981 brought all New Zealanders together.

The picture category was something the flag panel should have considered. Symbols like the silver fern, a rugby ball, and pounamu were to be ranked. What do you most closely associate with NZ? The All Blacks, beach holidays or the Queen? The great outdoors? Well, other countries have beach holidays, the outdoors, and the Queen. So obviously the All Blacks is correct. This was not a difficult quiz.

Unless you enjoy pulling your hair out, what's in it for you to fill in the Kiwimeter? Nothing. Not so much as a single Fly Buys point.

Your prize is to be labelled, from a menu ranging from Traditionalist to Globalist. Household Shopper 25-44 was not one of the categories. I didn't see Redneck or Moron, but some of the statements look like dogwhistles to meet up one moonless night, put on bedsheets and start singing the praises of Donald Trump.

I wouldn't have heard of Kiwi-meter except for Labour MP Kelvin Davis, who took issue with this statement: "Maori should not receive any special treatment." He called it "out and out racism".

Since the survey is agree or disagree anyway, the statement could easily have been posed in the positive: "Maori should receive special treatment" might have avoided the backlash-inviting implication that special treatment is happening. (Although, obviously, it would still be the Tourette's version of small talk.)

For what it's worth (and I'm gonna round the worth up to zero), I'm an egalitarian. That's good, because it sounds good. But I would have liked it more if I hadn't been told that Egalitarian was 22 per cent of the population. Couldn't Egalitarian be a little more select? This many questions, with this many options, only to be narrowed down to almost a quarter of the population? Next time, I suggest TVNZ introduce a category that makes us feel better about ourselves. How about "Egalitarian Platinum"?

www.raybonkan.com

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Raybon Kan is an award-winning stand-up comedian

Raybon Kan's books of humour include ‘America on 5 Bullets a Day’ and ‘An Asian at my Table’. Before comedy, he graduated with honours in law and his legal research was published in the New Zealand Law Journal. His TV work includes a documentary in which he trained to be a casino croupier. He once held his breath for 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Visit RaybonKan.com

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