Global lurch to right looms large as we weigh options for new PM.

In a week that went downright paranormal - mass salmoncide? - here was another blow to Nostradamus. John Key resigns? Nobody thunk it. And in a strange year, a strange time to quit. Who will be the Apprentice PM? Who will be our Next Top Minister?

John Key stated a preference for Bill English. Which is probably just as well. Max and Stephanie aren't ready yet.

Imagine if John Key had held a press conference to announce: "I want to spend more time with my family. So I've appointed Max and Stephanie to Cabinet!"

Of course, one treat for Key will be when he finds out how his blind trust went all these years. My prediction: those shares in that flag factory didn't pan out quite as well as hoped.


If there's a defining issue in the John Key era, it's the price of houses. The man who denied there was a housing crisis, until this year, now departs as the bubble looks poised to burst. And how you rate his performance will probably correlate to whether you own, what the Unitary Plan says about it, and what rate you fixed on.

So whose side was he on? When it comes to houses, there were two sides: the people who own, and did well, and the people who want to own, but are priced out. By siding with the people who own, the Government went with the older generation. And probably that was a smart decision: young people don't vote.

Maybe the polling showed that young people were going to vote next year.

(God, why are we even talking about houses? Did people used to talk about house prices this much in the past? Surely not. It's almost a legal requirement in New Zealand to talk about the Reserve Bank for two minutes, before you're allowed to converse about something else. Did it happen overnight? Did reality TV shows about house renovation spur the price rises? And if so, are we healthier now that we watch cooking shows?)

Anyway, does our next PM matter? I mean, obviously it's juicy. There's characters we know, who we have opinions about.

But politics isn't just gossip and rage-clicks. Politics shouldn't just be entertainment.

If Trump has taught us anything, it's that voting has consequences. Voting is serious, hazardous material. People should have training before going near it.

I'm not sure how to make us take politics more seriously. Charge 99 cents to vote?


Can we avoid being part of this Trump-Brexit lurch right?

The most optimistic thing I've read about America recently, is that America is so rich, Donald Trump can't personally steal it all within one term.

So at a bare minimum, in New Zealand, we should be guarding against that. Public geese being sold, instead of eggs, should attract extra scrutiny. Or laws being changed to favour the 1 per cent. These are the warning signs, the paving and digging that happens before wholesale plunder.

And unfortunately, the bare minimum is what we should be shoring up now.

The bar is so much lower. Previously we were high-jumping, and now we're doing the limbo. Remember when politicians used to aspire to giving a speech like Obama? Now, they only have to tweet more coherently than Trump.

Trump reminded us that voters are human. And humans are pure emotion. Easily distracted. Bad with numbers. Bored by graphs. Suckers for celebrity. Humans can be convinced it's economically feasible to build a wall the length of America.

And democracy doesn't just happen during certain elections. The game is being played - and gamed - almost more so, where we don't focus.

Take the American Senate. Each state gets two senators in the Senate, without regard to population. California, population 40 million, has the same number of Senators as Wyoming, population 600,000. Here in New Zealand, we'd see Wyoming as punching above its weight. Yay, Wyoming, per capita! We'd identify. They're getting one senator per 300,000 people! Those dumb Californians need 20 million people just to get one! Wyoming is 60 times better at politics than California!

The impacts are huge, say on any job like a Judge, that needs Senate confirmation, but instead, we focus on the Electoral College.

The states with the lowest IQ, the states that young or progressive people flee as soon as they can afford a bus ticket, hold Senate clout well beyond their population.

Short of progressive people deliberately gentrifying those places, Trump will be re-elected. And after him, it will be Queen Ivanka.