It has been hard week for Prime Minister Bill English, who made the abrupt discovery that New Zealand was apparently very much the Fifth Wheel in the Five Eyes arrangement.

That was made clear when dual citizens for all the other Five Eyes countries - Britain, Canada and Australia - were given exemptions from US President Donald Trump's ban on nationals from seven countries.

New Zealand went looking for its exemption as part of the gang, but was left hanging and only got it when every other country in the world did too.

English was left to rally from this consignment to irrelevancy as best he could. He did that by insisting the tides of discontent overseas do not exist in New Zealand.


When there's bad juju about and the times are grim there are few better solutions than to completely ignore them.

But there was some evidence for English's statement in a round-up of our own politicians' recent attempts to force a revolution by tapping into the anger of the masses.

First up was United Future leader Peter Dunne, a long-standing firebrand whose past causes have included 10-year passports and extending daylight savings.

His new cause is moving the summer holiday from the Christmas period to February.

Then came NZ First leader Winston Peters. His great campaign was a petition for sporting games of great significance to be screened on free to air television.

Look out world - New Zealand is coming at you.

Here in New Zealand, we are clearly still wearing short pants when it comes to populist endeavour.

Even Samoa's Prime Minister is better at it. His latest call was for couples to go forth and multiply, mainly to ensure a steady supply chain of players for the national rugby team.

He dismissed the concept of "family planning" and presented the Samoan version of China's One Child policy: the Ten Child Policy.

He stated that couples in their early 20s should have at least 10 children.

This would have benefits in later life, he insisted, because those children could get your cigarettes and massage you.

Nonetheless, better news for Bill English did await - and it came courtesy of Labour leader Andrew Little.

While English declared that the election would be decided on boring matters such as the economy, Little showed a bit more imagination and said it would be decided by the Chinese horoscope.

Little told the audience at his State of the Nation address that the election year signs for his own animal, the Snake, were very propitious indeed. Those of his rival Bill English, an Ox, were less so.

Little noted English's horoscope for September, the election month, was very grim: "the luck in every respect will decline."

These days it pays to check everything a politician says lest it prove to be fake news. So the Herald was quick to ask for the horoscope in question.

It was duly dispatched and showed there were alternative facts in play.

The "September" referred to was the Chinese lunar September rather than the Gregorian calendar September. That means English's run of bad luck will not start until October 20.

For the Gregorian September, the horoscope said English's luck would "reach the first peak of the year" and a promotion was "very likely" with the added bonus of a good development in his love life.

The outlook was similarly optimistic for Little, however - it too suggested "promotions opportunities" were on the cards, although he did have a "black day" listed for the 21st of September - two days before the election.

English will not care a jot for any of this, judging from his dismissive talk of Little's state of the nation as being all about "the vibe" rather than things like policies.

That was a riff on the Australian movie The Castle, in which the main line of defence used in court was that it was about "the vibe."

But what English might be interested in is what the horoscope has to say about a third animal - The Rooster.

NZ First leader Winston Peters is a Rooster and is set to have the most propitious year of them all given it is the Year of the Rooster.

The Rooster and the Snake are deemed a good love match, although in this case the Rooster is very dubious about sharing the hen house with other suitors. In fact, he has past form of turfing others off their perches.

But despite English's claim Peters was an "unlikely partner" for him, the horoscope Little delivered also shows that the Rooster and Ox are a "perfect match," will draw wide admiration and "will stick it out through thick and thin together."

There's some good vibrations for you, Mr English.