From the drafting yards of North Otago Jane Smith surveys the scrum at the top of the Government’s ranks.

Like David Cunliffe apologising for being a man, I wholeheartedly apologise for buying a new rain gauge 10 months ago. In hindsight, I should have stuck with the old version that had 3 slug gun holes in it, via son number two. Just like a millennial’s CV or a career politician, this new version has consistently over promised and under delivered to the tune of a paltry 307mm for the calendar year thus far.

A dry autumn was followed by a mild winter (with only one snow storm during lambing) and a spring and early summer with relentless norwesterly winds. That said, we have had good lambing (with the Perendales scanning bang on our triplet minimising target of 180% and weaning at 166% with no flushing, drenching or shepherding). The ewes are in great nick, delivering on lamb size and quality, despite having to wean a month early – which shows decades of robust genetics pay dividends in hard years. With A.I of the stud Angus cows done and dusted and the bulls out there doing their job in their tussock blocks and calves growing out well. We have had a number of RMPP Action Network groups come through the gate since lockdown, it’s always good to be challenged by fresh eyes on doing what we do. Spending time with young guns is what we love, including some great work being done in our local Waitaki highschools promoting dynamic careers in agribusiness.

The recent announcement of ministerial positions was akin to a hungry hoard feverishly dining from a smorgasbord of incompetence – yes I’ll acknowledge that Cindy has a pretty robust front row, but the rest of the scrum, wingers and backs are nothing more than a diversity delight.

We live in an age where apologists and activists are celebrated and no party are brave or stupid enough to put forward people on merit, ability or work ethic.

I have put forward my own suggestion to Jacinda for a new ministerial portfolio – the Department of Unintended Consequences. In Margaret Thatcher’s words, “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money”.

I have skipped ahead a few pages in the Socialist Handbook to see what joy the next three years may bring. I can assure you it’s all pretty standard communistic fun – social engineering, ethical but empty economies, and innovation suppression – I was sorry to read however that our beloved game of Monopoly will be soon banned for fear of breeding a generation of driven, fiscally astute tax paying citizens – and replaced with more inclusive games like Downfall or Snakes and Stalins.

Even to work out which government department you are on hold on the phone to these days is a tricky task, I wonder how many canoe registrations Waka Kotahi process a year.

With our small rural school struggling against the Ministry to get a cent of funding towards our sewerage system consent (a piece of paper via Otago Regional Council costing $10,000), I was delighted to see that the government are still benevolent to much more important projects – as long as they do not show a single ounce of tangible benefit. With $16M for the Creative Arts to play with, taxpayers have just contributed to innovation such as $18,000 for ‘Developing a children’s drag theatre show, The Glitter Garden’. I have taken the liberty of signing Blair up for the $13,000 taxpayer-funded study ‘Research and write the first draft of a novel about male affection in hypermasculine spaces’.