Oh, Jolisa. This is wonderfully written, and hit me right in the heart.
You know, I'm suddenly wondering where all the authors are (save Islander, of course)... Is there a parallel discussion somewhere, in which they are busy swapping stories about the declining quality -- and terrible rudeness! -- of readers these days?
In any case, I would like to buy them all a drink.
PFFFT authors never complain about readers, and certainly not over drinks.
(I just got the VERY BEST terrible review yesterday. I do love an awesome bad review.)
My thoughts re: the New Zealand novel begin with noting that your definition is somewhat limited, Jolisa, doubtless by word limit constraints as much as anything. If the "New Zealand novel", or even "the NZ literary novel" is "adult contemporary fiction", then okay, my feeling is also that there hasn't been anything that really tickled my fancy for a while. I enjoyed The Rehearsal and its rhetorical trickery, but I'm more looking forward to the hopefully eventual play.
But genre and young adult snob that I am, I'm not a huge fan of most adult contemporary fiction at the best of times. New Zealanders are writing some fabulous sci fi and fantasy, and our YA writers continue to include some of the best in the world. I'm not a huge fan of gender role essentialism in Nalini Singh's paranormal fantasies, but her worldbuilding is second to none. And then there are the comics! Ant Sang's Dharma Punks and Dylan Horrocks' Hicksville were published not that long ago, and are just incredible.
(And my Mum swears by Deborah Challinor's historical novels, though I've never picked up up. Subjectivity, it's what we do.)