Comment: Politics no longer looks fun, exciting or enjoyable, instead becoming a steady progression for the exit door, writes Rowena Duncum.
There was a time I really enjoyed politics. I can even pin point it - 1996.
The year of OMC's How Bizarre, Danyon Loader's double golds at Atlanta and the first time we put MMP through its paces.
Like most of the country, my primary school held a mock election and I formed a party with my best mates called "Peoples' Future".
Admittedly not the most inspiring name, but none-the-less we made pretty posters to stick up and campaigned on getting fish and chips added to the Friday lunch menu once a month.
The stuff that really matters.
At some point during our campaign window (a single lunch break), we formed a coalition with "United Youth" and thus began marching around the playground, trailed by an entourage of younger children all chanting "Youth and Future …Youth and Future" again and again.
United Youth were offering free marbles once a month, which was significant currency in the mid-nineties.
Very exciting times.
Long story short, someone came up with a catchier chant, or a shinier offering before we hit the voting booths, and we finished about third.
Fish and chips were not enjoyed by all and sundry once a month on Fridays and we had to fall back upon diving for loose change in the back of the couch to top up our marbles stash.
While the experience didn't exactly inspire me to become a politician (at that point I was firmly stuck on becoming an eskimo when I grew up and wearing a fluffy jacket), it did make politics look fun.
Of course, all of this would be totally politically out of place in today's world.
We'd be campaigning for "Vegan Wednesdays" or "Low-carbon lunches".
Marbles would have been declared a choking hazard by an opposition party, who then painted us as being harmful, reckless and out of touch with the well-being of our constituents. And as for wanting to be an Eskimo when I grew up – given the lollies and ice cream are being rebranded, you can imagine the optics on that political profile.
Maybe it's just me, but politics no longer looks fun, exciting or enjoyable.
There's a steady progression for the exit door - last one turn the lights out. Just as we think we've reached "peak 2020," another bombshell emerges to dominate the news headlines.
When we should be seeing policy announcements, there's comment over how well the latest scandal has been (mis)handled.
Granted, those "north of 60" in the office tell me what we're seeing today is tame compared to the late seventies - a time where posters about rooting pigs in Ngaio referencing an alleged affair popped up around town, and when the Prime Minister of the day callously destroyed an opposition MP's career by outing him as a homosexual in Parliament.
There's no excuse for that. But right now, a day is long time in politics, and we're staring down the barrel of a very long and tedious seven and a half weeks.
For all our sakes, I hope there's a bunch of bright-faced, politically-savvy kids waving around banners promising field trips to Alaska or pet lambs in the classroom, who'll learn from the shambles we see before us and become a kick-ass (not literally) Parliament in the future.
• Rowena Duncum is the executive producer of The Country. You can catch her on Newstalk ZB, iHeart Radio, Hokonui and Gold AM from Monday to Friday at midday.