When we went into the first lockdown, effectively stopping much of the national economy, no one could have predicted that six months later house prices would be going nuts.
Then again, not many people foresaw the Reserve Bank embarking on a $100 billion programme of quantitative easing.
I had thought quantitative easing, more commonly known as "printing money", was something only the big economies did. The United States could get away with it because their dollar was the world's de facto reserve currency.
For the little old New Zealand economy, I thought it would be too risky. Time will tell on that one.
So how's this money-printing trick done?
The Reserve Bank buys back government bonds from the local market.
Bonds are parcels of government debt originally packaged by the Reserve Bank for investors and banks to buy, earning them interest over a fixed term. It's a standard way that governments borrow.
The trick is achieved by the Reserve Bank buying the bonds with money it creates by simply entering the figures into its own accounts.
Bond investors are happy because they get an immediate cash windfall. They can use it to buy more government bonds, or, if you're a bank that holds government bonds on its asset sheet, you can take the money the Reserve Bank has given you for your bonds and lend it to someone else.
The upshot is that the injection of newly created money allows more credit to be made available. Everyone who makes their profits from lending is encouraged to do so, lest some other bank gets there first.
This puts downwards pressure on interest rates.
The Reserve Bank's money-printing trick gives a lot of wealthy people and institutions cheap money to play with. It also discourages keeping money in the bank, because interest earned is so low.
Anyone with money is thus encouraged to invest.
They could invest in businesses, which is what the Reserve Bank and the Government say they prefer. Or they could invest in assets, hoping prices continue to go up.
It's like a parent giving $10 to their child to buy a healthy lunch and then the kid deciding to buy instead a half-litre energy drink, a meat pie and a doughnut.
The junk food option for investors and the big four Australian banks is housing.
Given the opportunity, who wouldn't want to keep pigging out on the easy gains from housing investment?
But like eating junk food every day, it's creating health problems for our society to deal with. Inequality is growing to obese proportions, largely due to the house-wealth divide.
While an outright poverty pandemic is infecting more and more of our community.
Yet onwards we go down the same path.
For so long the economy has been chugging on low interest rates and debt, fuelling the spike in asset prices. Policymakers inside government and the Reserve Bank are very wary of altering course.
No one wants to prick the house price bubble and see it explode in a mess of human suffering and economic chaos.
Right now, it all looks good to buy houses on the back of low interest rates, a shortage of housing stock, and the expectation of high rents, tax right-offs and capital gains.
A big shift in any of the variables above - interest rates going up, the Government prioritising building 100,000 state houses, or tax changes that disincentivises housing investment - could see house prices fall.
But it would also see a whole lot of other things happen, like a contraction in consumer spending, a difficult environment for the Government to borrow, and declining tax revenue.
I'm all for screaming at the Government to do something about the housing crisis, don't get me wrong.
The problem is, this Government is caught up in a complex network of policy settings that, like the Helen Clark and John Key governments, it has no appetite for changing.
To do something about the housing crisis, I mean really do something about it, would require an almost revolutionary sweeping away of current economic orthodoxies. This Labour government isn't showing any signs of wanting to do that.
• Northern Advocate columnist Vaughan Gunson writes about life and politics.