Just the normal stuff over here

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
In New Zealand, you may not like a politician, but at least you can concede that they don't seem like an active agent of evil,  says Kate Oktay.

Kate Oktay
Kate Oktay

Brexit is coming, Trump is here and how much better is New Zealand looking now that the rest of the world is really falling apart?

A lot, that's how much.

That was the start of an entire column I wrote (OK, that's a lie, I wrote a paragraph, but it felt like an entire column) about how thanks to the horrific state of the rest of the world New Zealand was actually looking pretty great. Late stage capitalism has made the countries that could previously be accused of being, well, just a wee bit boring, into lush havens of relative sanity.

I even did a picture to go with it*.

Then suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, we had the terrorist attack, and I thought at the time; well there that goes, everywhere is infected with the madness.

But, afterwards, our politicians behaved like completely normal people. And when compared to the inextinguishable toxic landfill fire that is the rest of the world's politics and politicians, we were global paragons of virtue all over again. America with its tangerine-tinged definition of the Dunning Kruger effect, Britain's Oxbridge educated huddle driving their country off the edge of a cliff, and, I'm sorry, just how many weeks have the French been putting on high-vis and punching each other in the street every Saturday? Twenty-five and counting? Australia with the New Year-New Prime Minister method, and MPs such as Fraser Anning, whom the phrase "as dumb as a box of hammers" was seemingly written for.

And, look at us, just here not being dicks; the new bar that we should all strive to reach.

Nobody said something incendiary and sound-bitey to try to draw attention to themselves for the sake of exposure. Nobody was actively courting the vote of the 3% worst of humanity. We didn't even cave to the lobbying of the NRA, truly the herpes of the interest group world.

Jacinda, whichever side of the political divide you align with, was impressive. She was statesmanlike, sensitive and effective. She did the just thing and the right thing. But, more than that, everyone else did the right thing, too. Our communities stood together as one. Gun owners didn't behave like rabid loons (cough, America, cough). The opposition decided that being decent New Zealanders trumped political point scoring. The Muslim community were brave and dignified. And the other 99.6% of us who don't think a swastika head tattoo is a good life choice, mourned and reflected. We may not have got everything right, but we tried our best. And, let me underline this again - we weren't terrible.

This is gold-medal level behaviour right now, folks.

For context, in Merr-Kerr, the President may be impeached. He has recently claimed that the sound of wind turbines cause cancer and apparently lives by a theory that the human body is like a battery, with only a specific amount of energy which he therefore tries to conserve. This explains why he looks the way he does. The news cycle is filled either with idiots, or people who think (apparently correctly) that the audience are idiots, and the insanity and stupidity is spewed forth at such a rate that is impossible to focus on anything long enough to give it the outrage it deserves.

Meanwhile, Britain is stripping itself of the best healthcare system in the world and generally has decided to self-implode. The fizzing match is being delivered by people who are steadfastly marching towards destruction knowing it is there. Just like their ancestors did in WW1's trenches. Except that this time it was started because of, (squints); internal party conflict.

In New Zealand, you may not like a politician, but at least you can concede that they don't seem like an active agent of evil. Nor does it seem obvious that our elections are being controlled by a nefarious foreign power. In the nuclear holocaust-coloured backdrop of world politics, New Zealand is a shining beacon of normalcy.

Now, if we could just stave off climate change then it could really mean something.

* I used it. After spending 15 minutes doing it, I would try to shoehorn this into anything. I have a half-written column about cats. I considered amending it for that.



Loons are avians of the North American continent, who seemingly make human like calls, like the annoying birds in 'Hunger Games'. They are not normally hydrophobic (rabid).

Fundamentalist shout out:
'Look, there's a great Gehenna, or toxic rubbish dump, down there!'