I struggled with what to write all week. To start subjectively: The egg came first and gave birth to a chicken, Labour doing an about-face on capital gains tax. Objectively, it could be said they bowed to the will of the property owner collective.
Mess with people's selfish interests at your peril. Not what you can do for your country. But what can the country do for selfish me.
One of Labour's big hopes was to bring house prices down. Now they won't, until after the 2020 election. But I doubt it; now I do.
A friend just told me a capital gains tax did not work in Australia and I hear him. Why don't politicians go to the best business minds for solutions to our housing price calamity? Do our business leaders think Labour's plan to cut the numbers of immigrants by 20,000-30,000 annually and stop foreigners buying residential property in Auckland will bring house prices down? Or do they touch our taonga, our residences, and bang a bit of tax on every sale?
If we knew what the smart ones think, it might make our election choices more clear. But that doesn't mean politicians will stop thinking they know better. Is the abrupt about-face by Labour just being realistic that politics is a dirty business?
Clearly the impossible poll swing putting the Nats 10 points ahead, as well as their relentless attack on Labour's supposed tax policies, did the damage. But aren't the polls so wildly at variance they almost mean nothing? Why get scared at a single poll?
Or did the party leaders accept that homeowners, farmers and businesses won't tolerate being the first to suffer a drop in value of their beloved cash-cow homes, farms, shares and fat, tax-free capital gains?
Farmers are bleating about paying 1.44c per thousand litres of water. A 250ml bottle of water at a service station can be $4-plus.
A big apple grower in Hawke's Bay said 2-4 cents per thousand litres is a concern. Good God, man. Wait till Maori get ownership, we'll all be paying 2-4 cents a litre royalty. Plus another cent or two for insurance against flood and droughts.
Seems we're down to the "Jacinda-effect" and that's it. But who wants to be voting for an image? Leaders are supposed to be respected before they're liked, let alone become a beloved cult figure. But she is likeable.
Let's go to good old staid Bill English then. A decent man, most agree, no skeletons; but he can fight dirty. Oh, but such a shame he lacks "charisma". Listen: None of them has charisma. It's a myth, an illusion we seem to need to invent.
You don't go from school teacher, trade unionist, second-rate lawyer, or Joe farmer, to having an aura. Those rare people with a real aura have their own highly successful business or profession. Charisma comes from within, not pinned on like a medal by public perception.
Both major parties have good leader-and-deputy combos. I could find a conspiracy in both deputies being part-Maori. But see, rather, a good reflection on New Zealand society how significant, politically, Maori have become of their own accord. (But don't let us get ownership of water, Pakeha folk. In rugby terms, the fools will have handed us possession.)
Did the Government, three terms under the Nats, do a pretty good job? Unquestionably, yes. Sure, a few more ministers got the hubris virus, house prices kept climbing to insane levels. But most citizens ended up a bit better off. Labour has to somehow show they can do a better job, or why not stay with the tried and proven? They'll suffer from arrogance once in power, too.
Jacinda offers freshness. If Kelvin has to step aside to let a kingmaker take his lesser crown, will he take Maori Development and do a better job than Te Ururoa Flavell? What else does a Labour government offer?
What does a majority of voters want? Stability or change? For example, would either party demand the Minister of Police drop its fixation with the road toll and focus on sexual and physical abuse of children who often grow into traumatised adults who take their own lives?
NZ First and the Greens are a vital ingredient, and out of left (pun intended) field, can the capitalist renegade Gareth Morgan make a late run with TOP? This weekend the world will feel ended for some and gloriously begun for others. The world will still turn and actors stay the fickle, inconsistent, contradictory same.
Then it will be 2020 and the country, possibly in mourning for a lost Rugby World Cup, in no mood for any but the most outrageous promises from competing political parties to help kill the pain.