By Raybon Kan

The hoardings are up.

The grinning has begun.

It looks like an alien invasion by a planet of real estate agents. But no. Welcome to the 2017 season of Game of Seats. Or perhaps that should be Ohariu: Ragnarok.


Already, National has told its supporters to vote tactically, for Act and United Future, those boutique, one-MP, sole trader parties. You can't even call them a mom-and-pop operation, because that would imply two MPs.

Are Act and United Future really political parties, or just a form of political cosplay? A party with one MP, an unwavering solitary quorum, looks like a pyramid scheme that never quite took off. Indeed, a failed soufflé that's decided to claim it was only ever trying to be a pancake.

Thankfully, our campaign season is brief.

Imagine if we had to go through the American ordeal. All that money, all that attention, scheming, emotion, money spent on caps, t-shirts, bumper stickers, instead of those resources going into something, anything else.

Still, it's worth reminding ourselves that democracy is a good thing. Who woulda thought that was even up for grabs, as an idea, in 2017? In that regard, we do owe Putin some thanks.

While we have our own election at hand, it's still hard not to fixate on the nuclear cluster-circus that is America.

Suddenly, a big part of my brain is occupied with America's healthcare system, even though I have no plans to become sick there.

I think I know more about American healthcare now than I do about Kiwisaver. Or for that matter, the rules at a roundabout.


John McCain's brain tumour - which possibly explains his choice of Sarah Palin in 2008 - didn't stop him showing up to vote the way Trump wanted him to.

The intrigue continues.

Will yet another decision be made against the interests of the general population?

You can tell Trump isn't invested in whatever bill they're trying to push through, by the mere fact he doesn't refer to it as Trumpcare. Or Doctor Donald.

Donald Trump's Wellness Wall! Grab 'em by the pleurisy. Germs will be stopped at the border! Sickness will be banned until he figures out what's going on! (The crowd cheers, smug in the knowledge that only their political opponents have ever become sick.)

I alone can heal! Extreme vetting! (That's when an American can't afford a doctor, so they go see a vet instead.)

I don't know why I'm getting so het up. It doesn't affect me. But the fact his scam of a presidency is still in progress, six months later, is still galling.

Speaking of people voting against their interests, Honest Boris Johnson (patron saint of the NHS, to the tune of £350 million per week, if you believe the side of a bus) showed up here.

You think he'd have something more important to do - like Photoshop himself out of every picture with a bus - but it's like he heard there was an election in New Zealand, and couldn't resist showing up to make some promises.

Britain is single and ready to mingle, he kind of said. He wanted some free trade, and said we were at the front of the queue - because is there anything more British than a queue? - and invited us to swipe right.

As we head into an election, and the UK is in limbo, I couldn't see the point of his visit, unless he had some carbon credits to use up, or needed a big trip to maintain some platinum status.

Until Brexit is negotiated, Britain simply doesn't know what Britain is free to trade. That's two years away. Or was he here to recruit some trade negotiators to staff his side of the Brexit divorce?

He sucked up and name-checked butter and wine. He said the OE was safe. Of course the OE would be safe. It's the key to getting the good end of a brain drain.

But what's in it for us? When I was in the UK, the most appealing part of Britain was the south of Spain. And the south of France. Oh, and Tuscany.

It's not even that Europe was the bonus. Europe was all the best parts of the chicken, and Britain was a few soggy chips.
For many Kiwis, the OE is really a way to discover how nice New Zealand is. And Brexit will only make that clearer.