"Let me be perfectly clear," I said on the election campaign today in - Mosgiel? Hastings? Blenheim? Where was it?
"Let me be perfectly clear." I remember it was cold. But everywhere we go right now is cold. And everywhere feels the same. The days blend into each other, and so do the towns.
"Let me be perfectly clear." How long has the campaign been going? Two weeks? Two months? A thousand days?
"Let me be perfectly clear." I can hear my voice saying that, because I always say that, and I'm always talking.
The phone rang tonight, and I heard myself answering it, "Let me be perfectly clear."
"You okay?" Clarke said.
Winston fronted a press stand-up to respond to the Serious Fraud Office's investigation into the New Zealand First Foundation. I watched it on TV in - Te Puke, Waimate, Papakura? He looked tired. He looked done. This is how it was always going to end for him, and for New Zealand First, too. I won't miss his aggravating obstructions and his terrible policies but I'll miss his company. He got me the job as Prime Minister and I'll always be grateful for that. I got out my phone and brought up his name in contacts. He'd appreciate a text. Politics can be a lonely career and it's easy to get so caught up with all the work that you forget to look out for people who you've spent a lot of time with helping to shape the destiny of our country and influence the quality of people's lives for better or worse.
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But I wasn't sure what to write. I turned the phone off and made a nice hot cup of tea.
The debate: two hours with Judith Collins in a darkened room. God.
Ashburton? Feilding? Nelson?
"Let me be perfectly clear," I heard myself saying in - Hell? Purgatory? Wellington?
"Let me be perfectly clear. We have to find a way forward. My Government has a plan. Our plan is not to go backward. Or to stay in the same place. It's to go forward. And to grow. Forwards, growing - all those things. Like the flower needs the rain. Like the winter needs the spring. In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have autumn and winter. And then we get spring and summer again. So let's do this. Let's keep gardening. Let's keep growing. Let's keep moving."
Please God make October 17 soon.