It must be here somewhere.
I've been looking for It for what seems like all year and I just can't seem to find It.
I've looked high and low.
People describe low-hanging fruit as if it's a bad thing but it isn't, not entirely.
But no matter how many of those kinds of fruits I've plucked at, I still haven't found It.
That mysterious It.
That faraway It.
I used to hold It in the palm of my hand. It glowed, and gave Act strength, and purpose, and a future.
But then I lost It.
"It's got to be here somewhere," I told the Act MPs over morning tea.
We got to work. We rattled a few sabres, banged a few drums, whistled in the dark, typed in "Woke" and "Māori" and "Vegetarians" into all the search engines… And then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a passing reference to a December press release which mentioned NZ On Air was funding a documentary about Chloe Swarbrick.
"Oh my God," I said. "I've found It."
My outrage over the spending of $220,000 of government money on the Green MP has got a lot of oxygen.
I said, "This is a gross misuse of taxpayers' money."
Independent commentator and right-wing operative Bill Ralston said, "People at the moment, as the cost of living is rising, are very wary of any squandering of money, especially for political purposes."
Luxon said, "It just doesn't feel right that you should have a sitting MP the focus of a major documentary."
The whole thing doesn't add up to a hill of beans but that's not the point. The point is that the story has surely restored at least a measure of that beautiful and necessary commodity to Act: It.
I said to the Act MPs over morning tea, "We need more of It."
They looked at me with blank faces.
"You can never have enough of It," I said.
They reached for another biscuit.
I said, "Do any of you even know what It is?"
Someone mentioned tomorrow was Budget Day.
"Yeah," I sighed. "Yeah. Can't hurt."
My outrage over the spending of $5.9 billion of government money on public services has got a lot of oxygen.
I called it, "The brain drain budget."
Snappy, easy to digest.
I said, "Ambitious New Zealanders, tired of being milked, will weigh up leaving for greener pastures."
"Milked" and "greener pastures" work well in the same sentence.
Well, not a bad week. Chloe. "Gross misuse." The Budget. "Brain drain."
You have to try everything.
You have to keep searching.
You have to play the long game.
Piece by piece, bit by bit, as the price of living goes up and support for the Government goes down, with any amount of low-hanging fruit and dog-whistles, Act will once again take possession of that mysterious, lost, life-affirming It: relevance.