It hasn't been easy for mainstream politicians to get any attention in a country obsessed with a Rugby World Cup. So imagine how hard it has been for Don Brash.
In July, the wily old fox tried to trigger anti-Maori sentiment with an ad campaign that was met with such horror that his marketing manager walked and the Act leader himself disappeared for several weeks.
In August he returned to give a major speech that received almost no coverage. It rehashed every tired old notion the Act leader had ever tried to flog, including the abolition of Maori seats, the Emissions Trading Scheme and anything useful in the Resource Management Act.
Beyond these cutting-edge specifics it had an overall theme - nicked from Ronald Reagan - that old notions of left and right in politics should be done away with and what matters instead is whether we go up or down. The words "left", "right", "up" and "down" were thrown about to the point where I couldn't tell whether Brash was advocating policy or had invented a new folk dance. It ended with the spine-tingling rallying call "Down with Down. Let's choose ... Up!"
Faced with a universal lack of interest in Reagan's idea, Brash retreated yet again to consider his options. He has returned in fine form with a rambling discourse on law and order, which he describes as "musings rather than definitive policy announcements".
While other parties have stopped musing to get their policies sorted, and voters worry about jobs, the economy, rebuilding Christchurch and the environment, he has honed in on one of the least crucial issues of this election, though he doesn't see it that way.
"Its importance," he says, "is shown in the fact that not an election goes by without it being a political football. I'm sure this election will be no exception."
Certainly not if he has his way. And, indeed, the speech managed to get the kind of coverage for which Brash is best known - the negative kind.
Mostly overlooked was its focus on the right to defend oneself physically if attacked. Possibly because we already have a law for this, which states that "everyone is justified in using, in defence of himself or another, such force as, in the circumstances as he believes them to be, it is reasonable to use".
So most attention went to Brash's musings about decriminalising marijuana use. Here, he scored. Polls showed a lot of support for the decriminalisation stance. Unfortunately, none of those people live in Epsom, the electorate John Banks needs to win to carry some of the Act list to parliamentary glory on his coat tails.
The residents of this leafy enclave have reacted as though someone had suggested introducing a tax on kalamata olives and banning Saturday trading in Matakana. Almost uniformly horrified, they sent a clear message to Banks and his boss that this was not a goer.
Brash may be the most inept politician we have ever seen. He has managed to come up with a vote-winner that could cost his party any hope of a place in Parliament.
The students who occupied a floor of the Business School in the University of Auckland's Owen G. Glenn Building chose an apt site for their protest. One of their complaints was the regular hiking of student fees.
Other businesses regularly encounter increased costs and pass them on to their customers. Tertiary education is no different in this respect.
Once free tertiary education ended universities became centres of earning, not learning. They must make a profit to survive and go to increasingly desperate measures to do so. Corporate sponsorship, overseas recruiting drives, high-profile marketing campaigns - all these exist only because universities are fighting each other for the student dollar.
On the student side, this has caused many to treat their education like a consumer product. They are paying for something and therefore expect to get it.
Any tertiary teacher will tell you that today's students expect to pass their subjects, no questions asked. If they don't, the teachers had better have a good explanation. Those they teach are there to get a qualification. Failure is not an option. And education is not a priority.
British researchers have discovered that babies with obese mothers are themselves becoming obese in the womb, developing an extra layer of fat around their tiny abdomens.
The obesity epidemic has obviously reached the point where pregnant women who would once have claimed to be eating for two are now eating for four.