North Otago farmer Jane Smith has had a dream season, but not all dreams are equal.

YOU MAY NEVER HEAR THESE WORDS again but it’s been a dream season in North Otago. Full sympathy for those that have had extreme dry and wet weather this year. We usually fly by the seat of our pants to get through the seasons, alternating between feast and famine. It is mentally and physically challenging running a climate-dependent business.

We have been building our new Fossil Creek Angus selling venue (a glorified haybarn) ready for our bull sale in mid-June and have hosted a number of farmers and stud breeders from all corners of the country during the past few weeks. Never before have I seen farmers so conflicted between positivity from great product prices and the negativity via continued harassment by government regulations.

That was later the theme for a nightmare from which I woke in a cold sweat, dazed and confused, similar to the feeling when opening an ACC bill.

I was seemingly attending a function in Wellington entitled ‘the NZ Showcase of Incompetency’. Our fearless leader was to be keynote speaker, however her fiance had just tested positive to something and she was also in a Zoom call with Sri Lanka’s regulators on “how to destroy your farming sector and democracy within a 12-month timeframe”.

The dress code was a moko and cowboy hat or socks and sandals – with the theme for the night “A Smorgasbord of Socialism”. The canapés were an unpalatable mix of plant-based righteousness and laboratory-created confusion, the drinks trolley empty apart from “an optional selection of Three Waters” which upon entry we were all lined up and forced to consume.

I asked for something that resembled real food, created in soil in the way New Zealand does best. The waitress formerly known as Damien O’Connor laughed at me like a smiling Ag assassin and said “don’t be ridiculous, we sold up all the horticultural land for ghetto housing, destroyed our pork producers through world-leading unworkable regulation, and red meat has been replaced by pine trees”.

At that moment it was announced tonight’s music selection and sprinkler system would be supplied by Trevor Mallard and his two-man band, ‘The Narcissist’. David Parker was on the drums, drowning out everyone else who may have had an opinion and yelling “It’s not up for consultation, take it or leave it”.

Then came that awkward moment at any buffet dinner when they announce which tables shall go up to be served dinner first. “Any capitalists, business owners, farmers and landlords need to be punished and will be served last after all others have taken their turn. Special treatment will be given immediately to teenage ram raiders, gang members, crazy feminazi Green Party women or those that identify as women when it suits them. You have been wronged by colonialism and shall be served first tonight”.

At that moment Nanaia Mahuta burst through the stage curtains “If you thought the entrée of Three Waters was bad, wait until the main course. Tonight we have a co-governance buffet of separatism and economic treason followed by a bureaucratic litany of lies”.

I needed to get out and asked for my bill. I was greeted by the Minister of Finance (cleverly disguised as the maitre d’). He seemed to be having trouble balancing the books. He paused, looked at me and said “don’t worry about paying. I’ve learnt this fiscal trick from Greece and Turkey. It’s called quantitative easing and means the next generation pays.

“Hang on, you can’t just print money – you’re going to make the country broke,” I gasped.

I panicked and searched for the exit – but a haze of Golden Bay hay filled the room, and the after- dinner speakers blocked my escape – Chloe Swarbrick on a skateboard and the man formerly known as James Shaw (now identifying as Jemima Not Sure in order to hold on to his co-leadership role).

“Wait,” I said, “Don’t we live in a democracy?” – and the answer from all those in the room was a blunt “no, we are redefining what democracy looks like under the cover of Covid.”

At that point, Winston burst into the room with whiskey-fuelled haste yelling “I am the answer, whatever your question”.

Thankfully I woke up.