Well, this is turning out to be a boring election, isn't it?
Friday's multi-party debate promised to liven things up, and I suppose it did if you were concerned about the definition of burglary, daily fishing bag limits and the very existence of MMP. When Hone Harawira quoted child poverty statistics and said something had to change, all I could muster was "you think?". On the big stuff, the politicians keep stating the question and fudging the answer.
Meanwhile, the media and the beltway keep obsessing about the dirty politics scandal. It's not the big issue when it comes to the future of the country. It's the behaviour of a few narcissistic obsessives which is easily excised. Crusher Collins is now Cauterised Collins.
So in the absence of some true vision, the election has gone tribal. Lefties are calling righties corrupt Tories, fascists, racists, oppressors and, famously, rich pricks. Lefties are described as loonies, weirdos, commies, wreckers and morons.
And if you're a Labour voter in Christchurch in a munted house, according to Whale Oil, you're scum.
The politicians have responded to the kneejerk electorate and soundbite media by similarly giving us the old topline-only manifesto. John Key responds to David Cunliffe in debates by saying "whatever" like a petulant teen and holding a policy platform along the lines of "more of what we've been doing".
Not exactly "I have a dream", is it?
On the Opposition side I have some sympathy for Labour because what National has been doing is what Labour was doing before them. It must be galling to have lost the Treasury benches to a party opposed to Working For Families and interest-free student loans only to see them keep the same policies on. Then that same party gains kudos for handling the GFC by borrowing to keep afloat those policies they said were profligate in the first place.
Which is probably what you would have done too. You can argue that National 2014 is Labour lite but tougher on beneficiaries and civil servants. You can't even argue it's the tax-cut party as it raised GST.
In the shadow of the most left National Government in a long while, Labour's been forced out into the wildlands for a point of difference. Cue the Capital Gains Tax debate of the past week. David Cunliffe, one of the architects of the CGT policy, couldn't answer a simple question on it during the Press debate. Then there was the "do we have to sell mum's house within a month after she dies?" debacle. It's become full of exemptions and clarifications, which is exactly what sunk the GST-on-food debate. And will it mean more young families in houses or just more money for the Government?
Where's the back of the envelope that you wrote that one on? All Labour is saying is we want a Capital Gains Tax, we know it's really complex, we haven't figured it out yet, but vote for us and a panel of experts will figure it out later. It'll be good. Promise.
Hello. You've had six years in opposition. This should be watertight.
I saw a comment that said that we're not a banana republic, we're a milk powder republic. Pretty much. Highly indebted farmers are facing payouts in freefall. Bean counters I know are whispering that the rockstar economy still needs rehab. Milk, trees and tourists do not an economy make. If another credit crunch hits, we've got nothing left in the piggy bank.
In the first debate only one line stood out for me and it came from David Cunliffe. He said the question New Zealand has is "where are we going and where's my share?" Great question. Pity no one has the answer.
The Government is running a model that all Governments have run since the 90s and the Opposition seems more interested in sharing out the pie we've already got rather than learning how to bake some more.
So in the absence of that "vision" thing, the zealots have resorted to calling each other nasty names.
There's a middle New Zealand sitting here right now waiting to be re-energised after a hard time and I think it's fair to say it ain't happening.
They're wanting to know where we're heading and how we all fit on the bus. They're looking at policy mixes that haven't changed since the 90s. They're tired of the dirty politics headlines, they're uninspired by the same old thinking and dumbed-down rhetoric and so, like me, they're just plain bored with this election.