Who won the first debate between Jacinda and  Bill? All day talkbackers and  pundits pronounced on the clash. Jacinda brought fresh ideas and values and won by a nose. Bill fought back but sounded like a spokesman for an exhausted movement.  The real winner was the much vilified host Mike Hosking who probed,  grilled both fairly and with journalistic flair. Hosking by a length.

Hooked on the Hokianga

I could write a whole catalogue of clichés to describe the beauty of Omapere and the impact it has had on my life. But, let’s just start with a couple – it’s a beautiful jewel on the Hokianga Harbour, which has totally taken my heart.

“Oma-where, Oma-what. Where the hell is this Omapere?” I remember saying.

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Turning a blind eye to torment

I can’t remember when I wrote the following paragraph about using containers in prisons to mop up overcrowding:

“My response to the use of containers to imprison convicted criminals was to ask myself the following questions: Are the containers secure? Will they mop up overcrowding? By prison standards of accommodation, are these containers humane? The answer is yes in all cases.”

What I was really concerned about was contained in the following paragraph:

“I am more concerned with the policy of ‘doubling up.’

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Time for public television?

“If I am in the privileged  position of being  Prime Minister, my expectation is that politics will be based around ideas and policy” –  Labour  leader Jacinda Ardern, on  Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report.

What’s this?  Ideas  defrosted  from the ice of  ideology? Policy untrammelled  by The Market, that  blinker on  political   imaginings.

So here’s an idea:

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Emotional intelligence in the workplace

Historically, emotions have had a bad rap in the business world.

Good decision-making has typically highlighted clear logic, rational analysis, and excellent critical thinking.  All of these venerate cool logic over messy things like emotions, intuition or gut feelings.

In fact, with some organisations, the mantra has been “when you come to work, leave emotions at home!” Yep – hang it like you would a coat on a coat-stand before you enter the work place.

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Miscellany – September

Say what you will about Jacinda Ardern but we’ve rarely seen a polly who slips  so easily into disarming self- deprecation. It’s part of the appeal of the new Labour Leader who can rally supporters to come to the Labour launch at the Auckland Town Hall while adding: “There’ll be a special musical guest – and I’ll be laying out my relentlessly positive vision (is this getting annoying yet?”)

And then after a PS urging supporters to volunteer,  a PPS saying: “Hey Mum… this is me checking you’re reading all of my messages!”

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What – Boot camp?

Boot camp, again? Yes, I’m afraid it’s an enduring election issue. Regimented places of enforced residence designed to change the hearts, minds and behaviour of young people who are out of control. Boot camps tend to be short-term and usually emphasise self-reliance and self discipline. What’s different about the latest election ploy promoted by Bill English is that to me at least, it makes sense.

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Kiwiosities – Niagara’s gold

A sensational sea disaster in 1940 was then followed by a spectacular attempt to recover a cargo of gold, worth more than 2.5 million pounds. The Niagara was nearly 50 kilometres off Whangarei Heads, bound from Auckland for Vancouver when she struck a German mine on June 19, 1940.

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Once upon a time in New Zealand…

I remember when the government helped young people to move up in the world. It was a time when all mothers got the Family Benefit, which could be turned into a deposit (capitalised) on a house with an affordable State Advances mortgage. I also remember when inexpensive night school classes for school certificate and university entrance were common. And also affordable university evening extension courses leading to professional qualifications. Labour and National governments abandoned the leg-up philosophy as well as collective responsibility. Union protection was replaced with individual contracts and, conveniently, a low wage economy.

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Death is full of surprises

I never imagined I’d sit with my mother as she died.  Or view her a few days later.

But then I never imagined we would be right there in our kitchen with our vet, Brendan, as he gave Bill his last injection.  The ‘we’, included Suzy,  Bill’s canine litter-mate of thirteen years.

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