Posts by Chris Horan

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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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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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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There is nothing like a Knight…

I’ve been thinking about John Key for some time. John who? Yes, exactly. The New Zealand electorate’s love affair with John Key, which is still far beyond my understanding, seems to have ceased the moment he gave up being prime minister. It is as if he was swallowed by the hole of regretful memories. Does anyone remember why they loved him? Or is it a case of being embarrassed by a teenage romance best forgotten? Forgotten until recently, that is, when he popped up with a knighthood.

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The PM Confessionals

 I watched Radio New Zealand’s Guyon Espiner’s interviews of past prime ministers on the computer to check out the body language as well as the words. I took notes of the  show (The Ninth Floor),  but with my prejudices it’s just as well I didn’t try journalism as a career. So let me state from the outset  that Jenny Shipley is far and away my least favourite PM. She reminds me even now of a bossy head girl who’s never had a moment’s self doubt.

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My friend – the earwig

Let me start with tomatoes. My home grown tomatoes have thin skins and flesh as dense and true  as wild meat. I have red, orange and pinkish heritage type with a variety of wonderful favours. But we have a short growing season and my toms are just about finished, which is why my wife bought some supermarket tomatoes.

I ate half of one.

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Who Really Owns Cadburys, Dunedin?

Property is a commodity, a possession, which may be sold or disposed of as the owner sees fit. After the transaction is legitimised by a legal document, justice and all democratic and economic requirements of fairness to all parties is served. It’s simple really.

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Joining the hordes

I decided to visit my daughter in Christchurch via the Haast and Arthur’s Passes. Not the easiest route on a bike, even with my friend (electric motor) to help me up the hills.

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Charlotte Bronte said it long ago

With hope borne of nothing more than a fresh year, I dream on: That we all woke up to the inequity that has passed for national values for too many years. The reckless obsession with the glittering lights of our economy, dairying and tourism, illustrate how self-interest has overtaken public interest as a legitimate goal. I couldn’t resist showing, with minor deletions, Charlotte Bronte’s view of this clash of values in Shirley, published in 1849:

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