Here’s why we should all feel particularly glad to live in New Zealand at this time, and not only because Covid-19 has gone.
First, because we have no natural predators, and secondly the three rapacious leaders of America, China and Russia don’t think we are worth bothering with. And just in case they do happen to look our way, they will be confused by our headlines. Trump may not bother to read them unless they mention his name, but imagine the other two reading about Todd Muller’s first week as leader of the National party. That one of his senior colleagues forgot who he was and called him Simon, and another made out that one of the shadow cabinet, Goldsmith, was Maori, only for Goldsmith to deny it. Then, after media coverage, Muller had to hide his prized Trump hat. And before the hat was back on its shelf at home, Muller found himself justifying to an emboldened media his right to select who he wanted in his shadow cabinet. But there was more. Goldsmith, he who denied being Maori, was told off for telling the Prime Minister to ‘stick to her knitting.’
Any power hungry world leader who happened upon these headlines on a slow day (and Trump appears to have many slow days) would swiftly decide we are barmy. And any thought of devouring us would be dismissed. We’d be considered inedible. But just in case of second thoughts, the owner of The Captain Cook Hotel in Dunedin, a pub loved by thousands of students for over sixty years, is getting a name change. Because “Captain Cook was a symbol of colonisation and oppression.” If that doesn’t deter anyone with invasion in mind nothing will.
Having secured our national borders with silliness, we can all get on with our lives and rejoice that regardless of opinions on the depth of the cabinet as well as the opposition, we have a gold standard Prime Minister.
And personally, had I forgotten just how fortunate we are, this email from an English friend who lives in Spain reminded me.
“To be honest I don`t know how to give you the latest on the plague here because I can`t keep up. For a start I am starting to confuse UK with Spain, neither government can keep to the script.
“Boris has yielded to pressure from the airlines and in return for them dropping actions against the government, he will now not enforce the “two week quarantine” requirement.
“Today, in order to get the kids to fit into the classrooms, he says ‘Well maybe we can reduce the safe distance to just one metre apart.’ I am beginning to think he is taking advice from Trump.
“Yesterday we had our ritualistic (expats) Wednesday lunch. There were ten of us and we sat two metres apart. You need a megaphone to get the salt passed.
“I am still puzzled by the quietness of the streets. As each phase has relaxed the freedoms, Kath and I have gone for it, but even today there are not many people about. Fear continues to dominate.”
But back to Trump. I heard him claim that they now had a mine that could produce clean coal, coal “that could be cleaned”. God bless that lad.
And then he held a Bible aloft for a photo op, as clumsy as in fact he is – because the Good Book was upside down while police charged a lawful protest in Lafayette Park. Melania looked unhappily at her husband, but it must have warmed the hearts of Trump’s evangelical base.
Then the leader of the free world met officers in Dallas to talk about law enforcement ‘cos he’s the self-described Law and Order President. Only thing wrong with that – all the police top brass in the city are blacks – and they weren’t invited! God bless that lad.