Mike Hosking: 2020 in review – ‘Too many of us turned out to be sheep’


So, a year of learnings then, to use the business vernacular. Or a year like no other, if you want to use a cliché.

I say this because this is it for the year for us, it is time for a break.

I end the year with mixed feelings. I’m grateful that we are getting out the other side of this. There’s a long way to go and many, and I think quite rightly, think 2021, in some respects, is going to be tougher year than 2020. But with the vaccine, the end is closer than it was.

I’m grateful also that we have done a lot better than most. Our size and isolation afforded us an outcome to this point, that has been a lot simpler than many have faced, or continue to face. We should be grateful to be “out” and not “in.” So free, and not restricted.

Things aren’t as bad as they thought, but then that’s part of my mixed sense of things.

No, they’re not as bad. But that’s only because we had no idea of what was going to unfold. We made it up and catastrophised the lot, so when the calamity didn’t eventuate, we breathed a sigh of relief.

This has been, and still is, a massive mess. There are 150,000 New Zealanders who have lost their livelihoods this year. That, sadly, appears to have been too often forgotten. As we’ve bought houses, cars, art, and god knows what else, a lot of people have had their year wrecked, their lives tipped upside down, and their futures made most uncertain.

But I’m grateful that unlike so much change that’s talked about, I think we might have found a few permanent things, like moving to the regions and working from home. These are things that will stick. If you’ve reset your life, priorities, and that change is for the better, then there is good out of bad.

I have mixed feelings around our compliance. Too many of us turned out to be sheep, happy to be locked up, told what to do, what to think, and how to act. And we are still a little hypnotised. Not enough pressure and questioning of the Government’s lack of action around borders, vaccines, workers, and the various and pressing issues we face.

As a nation, our ambition and aspiration seems to have been sapped.

From a personal point of view, one of the ironies of this year is our audience has gone through the roof. People wanted to know what was going on, and if you delivered news you were in clover.

I guess ultimately that’s the story for many, isn’t it? For some, it actually turned out way better than you might have imagined, literally and figuratively. If that’s you, I’m thrilled for you.

But didn’t this year put a lot of stuff in perspective? Didn’t we work out what was really important? And what was just noise?

There will be more of it next year, but with less of the uncertainty. So, a year then to look forward. After all, mostly, life is what you make it.

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