Posts by Chris Horan

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

This week CYF social workers will be muttering, ‘another bloody review.’ But they’ll take it in their stride because new directions have become so characteristic of the department that old timers don’t even count them anymore. (I sometimes wonder if public service departments with a high political content would be better off if run by a version of Pharmac).

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False Prophets

Donald_Trump_August_19,_2015_(cropped)

My brother, an Australian citizen, was once a strong trade unionist and Labour supporter.

When he retired he maintained his interest in politics and trade unions. In earlier days on the building sites he worked on, he rubbed shoulders with some of the young men who would later lead his union and other unions and eventually become public figures.

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Unfinished business

Ohau cyclewayI met a group of fellow cycling tourists at Lake Ohau Lodge, a stopover between Twizel and Omarama on the Alps to Ocean bike trail. One of them wore an exasperated frown when she said, “Why do New Zealanders not tell the truth about the standard of the trail? What are they afraid of?” I was taken aback, as much by the irony as the question.

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Three free years…

students in lecture roomWhat a can of worms Labour has upended with its policy on tertiary education. It promises to turn the clock back to the conditions most of our current politicians enjoyed when they were students; a free university education.

But how will the thousands of student with huge debts feel about this proposed policy? Bitter, is my guess, and with just cause. On the other hand the parents of young, achieving teenagers will be relieved, possibly to the point of considering changing their vote at the next election.

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‘Suffragettes’ and votes for women…

220px-Annie_Kenney_and_Christabel_Pankhurst

Impossible to get it all right, of course, but films based on historical incidents and political movements can’t help being superficial. I have not seen Suffragettes but from reports I have heard and read this film is no exception. At least it focuses on a fictional working class women instead of perpetuating the idea that the Pankhursts carrying the entire burden.

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Fixing Waitangi

We can talk all we like about the founding of the nation and the bi-cultural partnership and the rest but all most people want from Waitangi day is a holiday, preferably sans politics. Most of us will never get to Waitangi anyway. I mean, it’s not Mecca is it?

I’m sure the sight of massed wakas and all the other cultural activities are wonderful to behold but the truth is, most people think Waitangi is a pain, at least the TV version, and that’s all we will ever see.

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Torture?

Mt‘Torture: Children locked up 23 hours a day’. At least that was the media created impression, unless one chose to delve behind the headlines and ten-second TV screamers. But it was handy for giving Serco a pasting even though whatever fault there was, belonged entirely with the Department of Corrections.

First, the young prisoners under discussion were on remand in Mount Eden Prison and therefore not allowed to mingle with sentenced prisoners.

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Resisting the Urge

Generally, the immediate response of law abiding citizens to horrible crimes such as the rape and murder of a child, is to sentence the offender, even if not yet convicted, to life imprisonment with hard labour, hanging, or perhaps half-hanging before drawing and quartering.

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That damned flag!

I’ve been all over the place on this issue. I began by being unhappy with the current New Zealand flag, largely because I could never remember if it was us or Australia who had the extra star. And while this is no excuse for my lazy ignorance, I know some born and bred Kiwis who live with the same confusion. So I was ready for a change until John Key put me off.

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