My hope of a decent level of discourse this election campaign is already depressingly blown into small pieces, as we have spent a chunk of this week on the entirely avoidable “what to do with Winston” side story.
How Christopher Luxon has managed to find himself in this time-wasting corner I have no idea.
But if text feedback to my show is anything to go by, it has managed to stir up a large number of voters.
What we should be talking about is the astonishing number of people who are, for one, on bail with ankle bracelets, as revealed by the Herald at the weekend, and, two (worse!), the astonishing number of people on those bracelets committing crimes, and the sort of crimes they’ve allegedly committed to get the bracelets in the first place.
Or if that’s a bit boring for you, how about the Herald’s look into the education sector with the newly-released stats showing every single marker when it comes to qualifications is going the wrong way.
The number of kids that leave without Level 2 NCEA, the number of kids who leave without any qualifications at all.
If you want to go back to last week, what about Westpac’s assessment of the economy, the dropping tax take, the amount of bond action (debt) that will be required to cover the ever-increasing hole in the books.
They put the figure at about $15 billion extra.
They suggest the return to surplus as promised in the Budget, is a joke.
They talk of a double-dip recession starting now (the figures won’t be out until after the election).
What about the internal police document that shows the alarm within the service over growing frustration within the force with regards the “policing” of gang funeral rides or processions, and how the gangs are now hiring videographers and drones to turn those processions into artful productions.
The sense from police that they are now seen as more caretakers than police operatives, and how they worry that will infiltrate to the public who will (if we haven’t already) see cops as being soft on crime and ineffective against the gangs.
Or you might like to read the annual results of retailer Michael Hill, who reported a decent result despite the millions (note the word millions) they spent on security, because of ram raids. They noted stores that were raided saw a drop in business, some shops have been closed.
This takes us neatly back to the bracelet report that shows that young punks “foil” their bracelet to commit the ram raids.
What about health? The report out of Oamaru Hospital whereby the ED is in alarming danger of not being able to provide safe care.
They join the various other hospitals including Middlemore and Palmerston North and the clinic in Christchurch, that are closing or limiting hours, because of safety and staffing issues.
There is no shortage of serious, worryingly serious, issues to discuss this campaign.
But cleverly Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and/or was it the leader of the Opposition (one has trouble telling these days) who told us how dangerous the centre right is with Winston Peters, and how he wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole, despite Winston already having ruled him out.
And what do you get?
Luxon yet again dancing on the head of a pin telling us he doesn’t want to talk about it.
Winston Peters has a candidate who features on social media waxing lyrical about dead people who’ve been vaxxed emitting Bluetooth signals.
That alone is all you need as the leader of the most popular party in the country according to current polling, to stay the hell away and rule him out.
Luxon’s lack of clarity in a field now full of clarity, leaves him vulnerable to 1, lack of decisiveness, and 2, suspicion that he’s desperate, and no matter how mad Winnie and his mates are, he may still be willing to hang with them.
Either way, Hipkins has outplayed him by telling us who’s in and who’s out.
And leaving Luxon looking like he hasn’t quite worked it all out.
For a bloke who’s worked hard to go to the meetings, fill the halls on the old “get to know you” tour … and at last as reward sees himself level pegging as preferred PM in the latest poll, it would be a shame if it starts to come unstuck because for whatever reason, he fails to grasp that what voters want, is clarity.
Is New Zealand First in or are they out? It’s one or the other ... just tell us which.
Mike Hosking hosts Newstalk ZB’s breakfast programme and is New Zealand’s number one talk host.