What a time it is to be a New Zealander.

Here we are spending millions and millions on choosing a new flag. Meanwhile, a quarter of our kids are living in poverty.

Here we are spending millions more on garish new banknotes, while the gap between the rich and poor grows ever wider.

And then, of course, there's rugby: the All Blacks and the World Cup madness that's about to begin. I'll be keeping my counsel on all that though.


In any case, I'm pretty sure I don't want to live in that New Zealand, because it's awful.

I want to live in the country that those wonderful, wonderful Topp Twins visit every Sunday night. It's a country of wide blue skies, of green fields and of plenty. It's a country where people care for their fellow man and woman. It's a country which happens to be called Topp Country (8pm, Sundays, TV One).

Out there in Topp Country, in places like Kaikoura and Nelson and Warkworth, the people don't vote in a man who pulls women's ponytails. They don't wave awful flags about. They don't cheer on a bunch of preening, overpaid sportsman.

They're far too busy for that! They have their own cheese to make, their own damson plum paste to boil up or their own delicious-sounding goat curry to cook. They have enormous blueberries to grow, their own vodka to distil, their own woolly jumpers to knit and their own cow to milk so they can turn the milk into butter which they then clarify so that they can run their little tractor on it.

This is Topp Country. And I wish New Zealand was just like it.

Marching about this blessed realm, this land of milk and honey and homemade cider, are the Untouchable Girls, kitted out in waistcoats, 10-gallon hats and nostalgia.

They're greyer than once they were and perhaps a little rounder, but the twins' sheer warmth and passion for this country and its people remains undimmed. And so too their ability to make you care about this country and its people.

The format for this show, which is just a half-hour, isn't built for anything complicated. Each episode (there have been two in this series so far) visits three places. Once there, the Topps cook and nosily ask questions about how couples met and why they do what they do (make cheese or feijoa wine and so on).


And it's delightful.

The Topps have described their show as Country Calendar with love stories, and that seems about right.

For people of a certain age - mine - there is something quite timeless about this New Zealand, a place that may never have existed, or never existed in the way that it seems on Topp Country.

Not that it really matters, because when Lynda and Jools visit Topp Country they always make you feel like it did.