Maybe it's being on the brink of nuclear war, but I feel like we didn't make a big enough deal of the fact that it's now Spring. We've made it through winter! Time to peel off the puffy jackets, and let thoughts turn to sunshine and fertility, where thoughts belong.

Another pleasant distraction from the imminent apocalypse is our election. Our election seems so benign after the elections we've seen in the US and UK, which were both about building walls.

Take this week's TV debate. Both Jacinda and Bill English tried to out-do one another on how much they would do for child poverty. It was like a child poverty custody battle, and each parent was saying: "I'm Santa!"

"No, I'm Santa!"


"Well, I'm Super Santa!"

"I'm gonna feed them by hand!"

"Well I'm gonna kidnap them, in a hybrid vehicle, and make them all live in my spare room!"

"I'm gonna put them in my bed!"

Both spoke of poverty as a social problem to be addressed by government, not a character flaw. There wasn't one side saying the poor should be deported - to a country where poverty is more culturally acceptable.

New Zealand's ideal population came up. Obviously it's important to have a nice round number, so we can all do quick 'per capita' equations in our head. Do we want a ceiling on the population? (As opposed to a roof - and not a car roof.) And how do we maintain a population diet: by curbing immigration; or by increasing abortion? (It seemed those were the only two options.)

So does New Zealand have an ideal population? Well, I've done some sums. Right now, we're sitting about 4.7 million, in a land area of 268,000 square kilometres.

By comparison, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland make up an area of 242,000 square kilometres - ten percent smaller than NZ - yet they manage to fit 63 million people.


Ten percent less land; 13 times the people.

So even if we allowed our population to swell to 20 million, overnight, we'd still be less than a third of the UK's population density. But is that going to provide for enough emptiness?

As a country we like emptiness by the panorama-load, in Cinemascope, the kind of emptiness that spares filmmakers having to Photoshop out roads and power lines.

Emptiness that says: "Hey world, look! We have no infrastructure!"

Maybe immigrants should spin a wheel and be forced to live wherever it lands. This could mark Invercargill's big comeback, as a mystery break. Or, immigration could work like a sports draft, and the emptiest of places get first choice of immigrants.

Would Jacinda introduce a Capital Gains Tax? She said something like, no, but maybe, but if you put your thumb on your forehead, and say, "Bags not," it gets paid by whomever your elbow is aimed at.

Or, it could be a Capital Gains Tax which only applies to people at 65, once they qualify for Super.

The candidates were asked what they'd do if Trump rang, at 3 in the morning, breathing hard, to ask for our help in a nuclear war against North Korea, but using clean nukes, like clean coal.

Both candidates were too polite to say they'd hang up.

America, where they still use miles, feet and gallons, and where flood intensity is measured in Noah's Arks, is taking the giant leap backwards against science. Trump's new head of NASA is a climate change denier.

"What would science know?" That would be America's mantra, except mantra sounds a bit foreign.

Weather forecasters - no doubt using techniques like palm reading - project Hurricane Irma to approach Florida, where we can only hope it lands on Mar-a-Lago.

No doubt the president already is underestimating Irma, being a female storm, and he will try to grab her by the low pressure system. He will tweet that Irma is beautiful, that nobody expected how strong she could be, not even his inner circle of alchemists and relatives.

If Irma becomes the second 1-in-500 year event in a week, that will only cause Republicans to praise God and blame Obama.

Before anyone can say, "Irma, Imma let you finish," there's another storm right behind.

Truly. Just behind Irma is - not making this up - Jose. The name itself will not enamor itself to Trump's base. And if Jose arrives in America, that's climate change and immigration all in one, a sharknado of Trumpette triggers. He'll say I told you so.