Stepping up for some sandpit power play, pants optional.

Being the parental diplomat

Power-sharing is a tenuous thing, as Charlotte Rietveld observes away from  the Beehive and outside the sandpit.

And just like that, December is upon us and we’re left wondering where 2018 has gone. The year has been a good one for farming fundamentals – the weather has been kind and product prices sound. This might be enough to keep the rural world chipper were it not for the odd sandfly in the sauvignon.

We are now the land of milk and honey and Mycoplasma bovis. While public empathy may be improved, it would be foolish to think the daggers are down. Farmers have come under attack more so in prior years but you could be forgiven for thinking our nation is trying to eradicate more than one of these three.

Our unprecedented government structure has turned one and it is clearly beginning to flex its muscles. As it happens, my son has also recently turned one and is starting to do the same.

The Year of the Sheila has delivered us the golden defence against all anti-farming’s marginalisation, mis-information and bullying so here’s to us being the stars of 2019 #EweToo

Much like the coalition, he’s just finding his feet, still gets the wobbles and has many a meltdown, but true colours are starting to shine through. Still short of a few teeth, he has a horizontal grin to rival that of our smiling assassin deputy prime minister and is just as crafty.

Much like ’Cinders, his big sister is still holding the reins, but the power play has begun. The sandpit toys encounter an ever-increasing leadership challenge and it seems inevitable that mud will begin to fly. Power-sharing is a tenuous balance – in my experience held together only by sending one on an occasional diplomatic envoy to the biscuit tin for peace talks. The wee fella also likes a regular drink as much as I suspect the old fella does but fortunately he’s yet to show any interest in the fillies.

Not that we’re to mention any such extra-curricular activities. For a while there the nation had the Netflix subscription on hold, the Beehive offered a far better soap opera. One mention of bedsheets and we couldn’t hit the refresh button fast enough. Alas, the health and safety flag was rightly raised and we were left in wonder, peering through the cracks of political correctness.

It seems ironic that the very institution creating legislation for concepts such a NAIT and anti-money laundering has such trouble reporting its own financial position and mating records.

Indeed procreation has been a recurring theme of 2018. Along with a bevy of royal babes, our own prime minister – an unmarried female, heaven forbid – marked the year of the suffragist in style. It really has been the Year of the Sheila. But that’s probably not the correct term. And if I am unsure of the appropriate title, the much-maligned poor ol’ financially-sound middle-aged white man is probably too scared to even open his gold-crowned mouth at all.

Little could epitomise Year of the Sheila more than the #MeToo movement but in true Kiwi style, the brief has expanded. The lovely concept of a kind and caring government is admirable until me too becomes we too and before we know it, half the country is striking, albeit understandably, for better wages and conditions.

But before you think this ol’ girl has really gone to the dogs, fear not. On the contrary, I think we humble farmers have never been better poised to stand up proud. The Year of the Sheila has delivered us the golden defence against all anti-farming’s marginalisation, mis-information and bullying so here’s to us being the stars of 2019 #EweToo