Rob Hosking at NBR describes the Kakapo Syndrome of the government.
But first you need to know a bit about the Kakapo so you can understand his analogy.
Firstly, it finds it extremely difficult to actually find a partner. The kakapo in fact does everything it can to make it difficult to attract a partner: When it is on the kakapo equivalent of “the pull,” it’s inclined to stand at the top of an excessively tall crag of rock in a particularly remote spot and send its mating call booming across the forest tops in the hope some nice, suitable, obliging and above all patient partner will hear it and make the difficult way over the primordial forest so they can enter into the kakapo equivalent of connubial bliss.
Now, I’m not a specialist in New Zealand’s native fauna, and I’m relying on my memory from a talk someone gave at the Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club some years ago, but I seem to recall the kakapo also does this at times inconvenient to other kakapo, given that it has to do a bit of a mating dance against other males.
It may also exude a musk that actually repels most other kakapo, though I’m not sure about this.
If you need to know, google it.
The point is the kakapo makes itself difficult to love.
It may not be blessed with a huge choice of partners, and one suspects the kakapo must’ve lived in a state of almost permanent sexual frustration but it had one advantage that other creatures seldom have – it lacks natural predators.
So, the theory goes, Mother Nature, in her infinite if customarily coldhearted wisdom, evolved a way so the kakapo wouldn’t breed in the manner later made famous by the Flopsy Mopsy Cottontail and Peters of the animal kingdom.
That lack of breeding capacity, that evolutionary turning of the kakapo into a kind of nerd bird, repelling most partners, counterbalanced the absence of anything much that would effectively counter the kakapo’s place in the food chain.
So when a bunch of predators turned up in the 19th century, the kakapo had a problem. No natural defences, not used to being attacked effectively: It was very nearly wiped out.
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