Denial takes many forms, and one of them is not talking about the problem – even when it's the biggest problem any party, country, or indeed the world has to face: climate change.
Amid a plethora of pricey promises and seeming-sincere pledges to address this or that election issue, excluding economics and Covid-19, the state of the planet is a glaring omission.
Seemingly no major party wants to talk about it. And reporters don't even bother asking. Well, except for the Greens, and opinion columnists like myself, that is.
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You wouldn't know the Climate Change Commission is about to produce (by February) the first three five-year plans for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions; plans that the incoming government will have to pay a great deal of attention to.
Plans that will, almost assuredly, provoke a complex and holistic restructuring of the way we do business and the way we live in order to go anywhere near meeting our commitment to net carbon zero emissions by 2050 - let alone any earlier.
You might think that timetable would raise debate on the climate and ecological emergency to top of the pile of issues to be put before voters, because surely – surely! - the parties have drawn up their likely responses to what promises to be their biggest ever policy challenge.
But apparently not. Certainly if they have, they're not telling us.
Jacinda Ardern's rousing description of climate change as her generation's "nuclear moment" is now a whole term behind us – and we're still waiting for that moment to arrive.
Meanwhile National is happy to blindly make things worse by building endless new roads and bridges – and "greening" them with electric vehicles.
That last was of course one of the Labour/Green initiatives scuppered by NZ First, who like to pretend the crisis doesn't exist at all.
Only the Greens and, arguably, TOP, have any realistic view on what's needed. The Greens' innovative farming policy, supporting transition to regenerative agriculture (which surely deserves Federated Farmers backing), is the only new policy brokering genuine change.
But that's nowhere near enough. And we, the voters, need to be aware of that, and demand more robust solutions.
Which is where Extinction Rebellion has come to the party. Two XR crews are presently touring the country, starting from Bluff and Cape Reinga en route to Wellington, highlighting the need to focus on climate change when voting.
They're presenting analysis of the various party's stands, talking with individuals along the way already experiencing the effects of the crises, and calling on government to declare a climate emergency and initiate a citizens' assembly on the issue next year.
The North Island crew – two retired women from Auckland – will arrive in Hawke's Bay on Tuesday for a media-focused event. Naturally I will be cheering them on – as I hope will many.
But a volunteer activist group like XR should not have to go to such lengths to start the conversation during what is perhaps the last election to have a chance to set us up to redress these problems before it's too late.
Every candidate of every party should be putting their climate views forward, and every voter should be discussing those. Because at base, nothing else – not a new hospital, not water storage, and certainly not a new highway – matters.
If the climate crisis is allowed to go unchecked any longer then any other human concern will be completely irrelevant.
In short, vote like your life depends on it this election – because it does.
* Bruce Bisset is a freelance writer and poet. Views expressed are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's.