I would love to be able to speak te reo fluently. I would also like to play the violin, solve Einstein's field equations and run a sub-three hour marathon.
I can't do any of these things. It's not that I am lazy. It's that I am busy. I figure the reward wouldn't justify the required effort. My priorities are where the effort is less and the reward greater.
There in a nutshell is the problem with making te reo compulsory in schools.
It would be marvellous if all our children were fluent but it would come with a cost. Students don't now have an hour a day at school with nothing to do. That means dropping something in their curriculum to make way for te reo.
That's where the Green and Labour MPs fall down. They don't explain what is to be given up. Is it physical education, mathematics, science or English? Or a bit of each?
It's as though a language can be inserted into the curriculum without consequence. That's not the case.
The Greens (and their supportive Labour MPs) also show how out-of-touch they are with mums and dads. We desperately want our children to do well at school so they can develop into well-rounded and productive adults. We want them to nail that all-important first job.
We see where science, maths and English fit into that aspiration but te reo? That might work if their choice of profession is teaching or working for government but beyond that not so much.
The choice of job opportunities is too narrow and compulsory te reo for 10 years would cost our children a lot but add not much.
We want te reo to survive but we don't see why our children should carry the burden. We are selfish in wanting what's best for our children and we don't want them used to achieve some or other politically correct goal set by politicians eager simply to demonstrate their wonderfulness.
The Greens and Labour also ignore the practical problems. It's part of the ideology and practice of New Zealand education that all teachers are equally good. They must be all paid the same and can't readily be sacked.
So how then are Greens and Labour to find the thousands of te reo teachers their policy would demand? There aren't thousands of te reo teachers waiting to be employed. And there aren't thousands of existing teachers ready to make way for them.
The call for compulsory te reo does serve a purpose: it serves to show that Labour and the Greens are totally out of touch with voter concerns and not ready for the practicalities of implementing policy in government.
Their call also highlights another problem. Labour and the Greens have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to change the Government.
But where does that leave Green policy such as this one? Does that mean a Labour-Green Government would make te reo compulsory? Voters need to know.