Steve Braunias presents his annual wishlist for the new year. Spoiler alert: Includes world peace
1 Another minute of Mike's Minute
"Mike," I say pretty much every time I hear one of his pithy and persuasive 60-second raves, "is right." But in a sense he's only ever half-right, or half-finished: I'm often left wanting twice as much. I wish New Zealand's greatest broadcaster would consider doubling his monologue — he could rename it Mike Has a Couple of Minutes to Spare — and give us more fulminating opinions, more wild prejudices, more Mike.
2 Bring back Graeme Hill
Mike Hosking is New Zealand's greatest broadcaster only because Graeme Hill has gone missing. This guy is a stone-cold genius, wildly entertaining, street smart and university smart, a true original. But he got the hoof when Radio Live transmuted into Magic, and the airwaves have felt a lot dumber in his absence. Radio New Zealand! Give him a show, any show.
3 All Blacks to explode
"Oh no," Ian Foster's wife was reported to have said when her husband told her he'd got the job as All Blacks coach. I love the despair and the anxiety in that answer, and look upon it as a prophecy foretold.
Wouldn't it be amazing if the ABs set about a hopeless, witless losing streak on Fozzie's watch? It'd be as shocking and historic as a visit from another planet, or watching the sea sucked down a plughole. Also, everyone would be up in arms, and nothing unites New Zealand like one of the founding principles of our way of life: Complaint.
4 Good novel recognised
I really wish either Westport writer Becky Manawatu or Wellington writer Carl Shuker will win the 2020 Ockham New Zealand national book award for fiction.
The publicity would make more people head to a bookstore and receive immense enjoyment from reading either Auē, Becky Manawatu's powerful portrait of a Māori family torn apart by violence, or A Mistake, Carl Shuker's surgically precise story about a patient fatality at the hands of an imperious, possibly reckless Wellington surgeon.
Or you could just buy them now and read them this summer.
Gee they're good.
5 A sensitive and intelligent documentary on Whakaari/White Island
What happened on December 9? The horror and heroism of that day is something no one will ever forget.
The images we've all seen — the cheerful selfies, the moment of eruption, the SAS rescue mission — could be edited together to create a documentary record that everyone would watch.
6 A quick end to Trump's impeachment
"It doesn't feel like an impeachment," Trump said, and he's right. It just feels like politics. It just feels like wishful thinking. It just feels like a waste of time. Nothing's going to happen.
Get it over with; you don't get rid of a monster by waving a worthless piece of paper in its face.
7 A New Zealand political sex scandal
In last year's wishlist, I wrote, "We need a New Zealand political sex scandal, preferably involving someone from Labour."
The only bit I got right was that it involved Labour; the story about the alleged abuses of the parliamentary staffer turned out to be fake news. In election year, we need a real political sex scandal — a senior minister, or even some hitherto unknown MP would do, caught out in an old-fashioned illicit tryst, preferably with someone famous. No #metoo, no harassment, no trigger warnings, just adult behaviour, adult themes, adulterous sex.
8 Anti-litter terrorist death squads
I don't actually mean the bit about terrorist death squads, that's going a bit far, but the point I'm making is that we need to treat litter with the utmost seriousness. God I hate litter. I pick it up every time I walk to the shops because it makes the neighbourhood look a bit nicer.
I wish all of New Zealand looked a bit nicer and was made litter-free by some government task force assigned to pick up rubbish in every town and city, and would also have the powers to impose instant heavy fines on people caught in the act. And if a fine doesn't deter them, then let's see how they'd like being executed! Ha! That'd work!
9 The end of Facebook
The internet is a very bad place and Facebook is the worst thing on it. I wish it would go the way of all bad fads. It's evil, it's bad news, and it doesn't give af. Ugh.
A plaintive question sung by Morrissey in 1988 comes to mind: "When will you die?"
10 World peace
This is a perennial on my annual wishlist and although it hasn't happened yet and never will, it doesn't hurt to ask. Happy new year! Here's to anything resembling peaceful easy feelings in 2020.