Democracy looks good on paper but goes downhill as soon as people get involved.
And people suck.
Okay not everyone, but enough of us to regularly ruin the electoral process by diverting our attention away from all the important issues at exactly the wrong time.
As Winston Churchill said, "democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms".
For some reason, it's always worst when there's an election looming.
If I sound jaded it's because issues dear to my heart - like the economic recovery - seem to have taken a back seat in the news agenda.
Admittedly, nothing dramatic has happened on the economic front in the past few weeks, at least in context of the year we're having.
A frenzy of school holiday activity has kept the domestic economy running stronger than most of us thought it would.
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But with borders closed we know we've still got big problems coming our way.
We need a plan. We need to transform the economy. If we can't rely on tourists or immigrants to drive growth, we are going need to new export industries.
We need to shift the dial on productivity.
Hey Labour, where's the plan to boost productivity?
Oh wait, sorry I think it's in my inbox.
On Tuesday afternoon - sandwiched between the week's two big political scandals - the Government released a comprehensive post-Covid reset of its strategy for industry - literally its blueprint for boosting productivity.
I guess I shouldn't feel too bad for missing it, almost everyone did.
But I do feel bad.
I feel bad for the officials who wrote it. Imagine working late for a week to hit that deadline.
I even feel a little bad for Minister of Business Innovation and Economic Development Phil Twyford.
I mean not too bad, I'm a journalist and he's a politician after all.
But business journalists like me are always calling for action on New Zealand's poor productivity.
We sift through the GDP data and export stats and ask why isn't this country getting richer than it is.
Then we demand the Government does something.
Well, they did.
Sadly, earnest Cabinet papers didn't stand a chance last week.
This is a good one though, I thought.
It draws on the work done by former New Zealand Institute chief executive David Skilling and his Landfall Strategy Group.
That's a great start.
His report, commissioned by the Productivity Commission, pinpointed New Zealand's failure to bring through globally connected "frontier companies" as a key reason for our inability to drive wealth creation and lift wages.
Basically, New Zealand needs to do more to create large exporting companies. And the Government needs to do more to help.
MBIE's new Cabinet paper targets Agritech, smart manufacturing and construction as sectors to begin with. And if it sounds like "picking winners" it kind of is.
Twyford says he prefers to call it "backing winners" because none of this works if it isn't in partnership with the private sector.
He notes that successive New Zealand governments have had an aversion to this but that attitudes have shifted globally.
As Skilling demonstrates, the success of countries like Singapore, Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark should be a beacon for New Zealand.
The Cabinet paper basically runs through the strategic policy shifts needed to make this stuff happen and says: yep, let's do it.
Things kicked off in Tauranga last week with the launch of a joint government and industry taskforce to commercialise New Zealand's "under-invested" agritech sector.
It will look to develop a robotics academy which could drive automation to mitigate the impact of labour shortages in the horticulture sector.
Fruit-picking robots would be great for growers.
But even better is developing that robotic technology here and exporting it to the world, creating new agritech and manufacturing jobs.
Okay, yes this is just "another" report. Clearly the hard bit is implementation.
Its also requires the political will to make the strategy central to government thinking when the relevant funding and regulatory decisions come into conflict with competing priorities - as they inevitably do.
It needs support from the PM down through all levels of government.
But it's been to Cabinet, it's been signed off and there's Covid Response and Recovery Fund money attached to it.
So things are moving.
I'm sure the Opposition will have thoughts on it.
They will see flaws, weaknesses and risks. Or perhaps they'll just question the current government's ability to see this through.
Regardless, that would make for a good debate.
I hope it's one we have.
The decisions we make in the next three years will be among the most important in a generation.
We've been talking about this stuff forever but we need to get serious about economic transformation this time.
No strategy paper can be a silver bullet.
We need to keep moving on tax policy and infrastructure and all those things that are going to help reset the dial for and improve the lives of New Zealanders in the next decade.
The world will emerge from the shadow of Covid-19 it the next three years and New Zealand needs to be ready to take advantage of new opportunities.
Our strong pandemic response has given us a head start.
But we can't afford to let this election be all about scandal and personality politics.
We can't afford for it to suck.