Mike Hosking: Our country needs to shake off its malaise


As we slide towards Christmas, the overarching sense I get from this year is we largely escaped a virus but caught a disease far worse.

We have a massive dose of malaise.

Well in excess of a month after we voted in the election, Parliament finally opened and the first thing the Government did in the year of a global pandemic and its many and varied issues was to announce its intent to declare a climate emergency.

Are they serious?

That was THE thing they wanted to do and be remembered for in opening their new term of government.

It wasn’t even original. Half the world has declared a climate emergency, every half-baked council in the country has declared a climate emergency, and here’s the truly depressing thing about that, given it isn’t new or remotely original, this government could’ve seen that declaring such a thing achieved literally nothing.

It’s all words, it’s hot air, it’s woke intention.

But that is the malaise under which we suffer. We have become a country of hot air, good intention and little if any action.

After all, 50 per cent of the country voted for this approach, and make no mistake, Labour’s win was an historic one. Labour has a majority that allows it to govern in the way it sees fit without the impediment or traditional constraint of MMP.

So what’s the first card they play in their heavily stacked hand? A climate emergency.

Since the election, we have scrapped over the border that’s still closed and according to them will be for well over another year, despite the fact the head of the Centre for Disease Control in the United States says they’ll be back to normal by May next year having vaccinated 70 per cent of the population.

We don’t even have an arrival date for the freezers to store our vaccine, and we certainly don’t have a start date.

We can’t get enough workers into the country to harvest fruit and crops. Some 2000 were given the green light last week but that is still 11,000 short.

We won’t expand managed isolation and quarantine facilities to help solve that problem, the shovel-ready projects so far announced amount to three small-time activities that will hardly provide the economic heft required to dig us out of the economic mess we’ve got ourselves into.

The travel bubble is non-existent, and shows no signs of opening up.

We’ve got bogged down in yet another fruitless debate over housing with an exchange of letters being the breath-taking culmination of ideas that will ultimately yet again lead nowhere.

The saddest indictment is the fact so many of us think this is all OK. What are you complaining about, we are free of Covid, they say.

In other words, being a tiny island nation miles from anywhere once we closed the border, the inevitable attitude followed – “that’s enough for us, that’s plenty”.

We can get a latte, we can go to some sport and that will do fine thanks.

What an underwhelming view of life, the world, and general expectation.

We have been led to believe that or got sucked in, take your pick, that we have done spectacularly well.

The truth is we’ve done okay.

There was a survey last week that looked at all the countries people from other countries would move to if they could.

Canada won.

If you didn’t know that and I asked you “What country does the world think did well with Covid-19 and they all want to move to” – many would have said New Zealand.

Not because it’s true, but because we’ve been suckered into believing it.

People from 30 countries said they wanted to move to Canada more than anywhere else. We weren’t even in the top 10.

Which is not to say we aren’t great, because we are. It’s not to say it’s not worth living here, because it is. But we could be so much better, and that starts at the top.

The government sets the mood, it sets the outlook, it sets the expectation.

I want more for this country and I want more from this government.

And most of all I want way more from all those who look at this government and think that a climate emergency was a good start to a new term.

I’m praying the summer holidays bring the comatose and complacent to their senses. There is work to do.

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