Posts by Paul Smith

Pushing the envelope, outside the square…

I don’t know what other boomers expected from this election but here’s what one, not a million miles from this keyboard hopes for:

Hope.  In the arid landscape of ideology over the past 30 odd years it was as precious as water – but there’s an oasis ahead and room for hope. Just look at what’s happened abroad, as Martin Jacques wrote in the Guardian recently:

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Trees for our health…

It’s not easy being green…  and especially not in Auckland. The most common  suburban sounds here for the past five years has been the angry buzz of chainsaws. To hear them is bad enough because you know that another beautiful tree is about to  fall because, well it’s in the way of sunlight/developers/over-sized houses.  One third  of the city’s residential trees have been felled in the past five years according to the Tree Council.

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But we won…didn’t we?

The results  are in.  The swearing-inners have sworn. The dust has settled – but the whining,the utter incomprehension of the bewildered born-to-rule shows no sign of abating. Judging by the first week after confirmation that a coalition of Labour, NZ First and the Greens would be the Government, the first of the moans is the least accurate, but makes a good slogan for the newly dispossessed and it goes – and will go –  like this:

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Compassion over competition?

It’s over… sort of. Yet something seems missing, something so boring it wouldn’t make it to the debates about the pressing issues of homeless, inequality and the other depressing social indicators.

It’s not so much a policy as a theory which has guided this and other Government’s policy since the Reagan-Thatcher years. A time so brainless it ran on the empty slogan of ‘there is no alternative’.

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Walking Man

Man  starts to shave. Sees his reading  glasses  on the basin shelf. Wonders why. Wife  tells  him breakfast is  getting cold.   Hurries to the table.  Spoons down porridge.  She gives him a peck on the cheek (when  did they stop kissing  the way they used to? ) and  rushes off to work the way he  once did.

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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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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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Last stop for prickles…

He’d been lying overnight in the debris of  leaves and kindling from seasons past. Hiding like the rest of us from July’s  polar blast we thought. He’d buried his nose in the pillow of leaves and created one hell of a mess – sticks and leaves and dirt scattered everywhere on the path.  We let him slumber for the weather remained bleak and lots of people were doing much the same in rather more cozy  beds.

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Of rage and compassion…

Little Auckland has some of the problems its truly large cousins suffer from.

Sometimes it’s a comic opera of irritations and at others, flashpoints which could turn nasty. Road rage for example. Or more curiously – supermarket trolley rage. Come on, I hear you say. That’s silly – but not if you’re elderly, routinely civil and at the receiving end.

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For ‘disconcerting’ readers a July Miscellany…

 Bedrooms: 3  Bathrooms: 2  Garaging: 2 Grammar:  nil – read on:

….. one our most popular designs for those looking for a superb home that will tick all the boxes. From you the moment you walk through the front door you will notice the large living area and good use of space. This unique floor plan offers the disconcerting buyer a stunning open plan living area which opens out to the ideal outdoor entertaining area with the added bonus of a sun nook, media room and beautiful open gas fire place’.

(We think they meant discerning buyers…)

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