We get away with a lot of things because we're a tiny, mossy rock floating in a far off part of the sea.
What other first world country could get away with a public transport system like Auckland's? It takes me over an hour to get over the bridge in the morning. It would be quicker to paddle a giant rubber duck across the harbour.
For instance we, unlike Australia, can get away with having hazy plans for what we'd do if a boat full of refugees came to New Zealand. Earlier in June, when 65 refugees were thought to be making their way to New Zealand by boat, Australia intercepted them and turned them back.
New Zealand, as John Key said, was prevented from getting "to the point where we had to make some of those tougher calls".
So thanks to our geography we don't have to talk about or think about "tough calls". Unlike in Australia where the 2013 election became a competition to convince the public who could beat back the boats better.
We just had one near miss and then we could go back to scratching ourselves.
Doesn't this make you a little apprehensive? We might not be making threatening noises about offshore detention, queue-jumping and by-any-means-necessary-sir. But we shouldn't mistake our silence for tolerance, liberality or humanity. It's just because we haven't had to think about it yet.
Now is the time when we need to work out what we think about refugees and asylum seekers. If we wait until we're forced, we're probably going to react badly. The most ominous sign of this was the rise of the use of the phrase "boat people" after the June incident.
Attitudes towards "boat people" used to be an Aussie thing. It used to be up there with AFL and nasal accents on the list of Things-We-Judge-Aussies-For.
Then suddenly we started using it. Probably not maliciously, probably because we hadn't had time to think of new vocabulary. But still, the phrase is fundamentally problematic.
It sums up a massive trap we can fall into with how we think about refugees. We dehumanise them. "Illegals", "queue-jumpers", "boat people" ... they all reduce people to 2D moralistic stereotypes. And these names produce dialogues like, "oh, they're jumping the queue - what dicks!"
We know why this happens. If you flatten the humanity of a marginalised group it makes it easier to ignore them.
Why do we call people who send their kids to school hungry "bad parents"? Because it's easier. It's much much easier to say that than say, "hey, this is a woman who hasn't eaten in three days because she can only get enough food together for one daily dinner for the kids".
If they're a baddie then it's a simple issue - we don't need to think about it. That makes it easier for the powers that be to do what they want with them. Stick them in offshore detention camps, resettle them in third world countries, potentially pay people smugglers to take them away.
But these aren't "boat people". These are mothers, fathers, kids, sisters, brothers, boyfriends, girls next door, class idiots, high school crushes, Snapchatters, Kit-Kat eaters, babies of the family.
And they're not getting in a boat because they need something to do. They're running from civil war, poverty and hopelessness.
Just how desperate would you have to be to get into one of those boats?
You know how much it costs. You know you might die. You know your kids might die. That's not what a rational, calculating, manipulative person would do. That's what a desperate person would do. We have to remember the scope of human tragedy involved in this miserable business.
We also need to keep talking about it because refugees have very little mainstream political representation. It's not like they have a political party who represents refugee interests - they just get represented by others.
So we've got to keep reminding ourselves refugees are people. And we need to do this now. That way when another flashpoint comes, and it will, we already know where we stand. We won't buy into cheap stereotypes wielded by the powerful to shut us up.
We can start by not using the phrase "boat people". We can continue by saying that we should raise the refugee quota to 1000.
JK said that on the global scale of the refugee crisis raising it to 1000 wouldn't make a difference.
The extra 250 parents who get to give their kids a future would disagree.