Posts by Paul Smith
Friends joke that they knew we’d come home crowing about Oz; how much sunnier it was – and all those beaches.
They were right – and wrong: Eight days in Melbourne and we saw the sun only when our Air New Zealand flight lifted off the tarmac. Beaches? Sort of. Great long strips lacking the intimacy of ours, with their Pohutukawa blossoms and streams meandering their way into the sea.
We did however return with something unexpected – memories of a vibrant public broadcasting industry.
Since 2001 JAFAs have quite rightly called it None Tree Hill. Some even grew accustomed to the sight of the shorn iconic cone in their midst. Most people assumed that a tree would be planted soon after the Monterey pine was attacked for the second time in 1999 by Maori activists. Not so. All it took was a mere 15 years of PC tip-toeing over protocols and types of trees.
‘The Super Gold Card recognises the valued contribution our seniors and veterans have made, and continue to make to New Zealand society’. Ahh… warm fuzzies. Makes you feel proud doesn’t it? Included. Accepted. Institutionally respected and acknowledged at the highest levels. Free to roam, off-peak that is.
‘Why you’ll love your AT HOP card…’ says the AT handbook about the change from Gold to HOP card in Auckland. You can simply tag on, helping everyone board faster, and tag off. This speeds up the bus journey too, helping to make the service more punctual….(at a price).
Just after he’d won the last election, John Campbell interviewed Prime Minister John Key who was humbled by the result. He told Campbell that arrogance would not be a characteristic of his government or of his ministers… And at this stage some years down the track, we’re entitled to a little giggle. He might just as well have said that shame would not characterize them either. And he would be right.
(On the map:
red = no paid leave;
orange = < 14 weeks;
yellow = 14-25 weeks;
pale blue = 26-51 weeks;
dark blue 52 + weeks.
The other day we trotted off with the other greys, the tinted, the bald and the in-betweens to see the film Shakespeare Live, marking his death 400 years ago.
Like some of the Bard’s plays it grabbed us from the start with Leonard Bernstein’s opening to West Side Story and its compelling choreography, to the close with Prokofiev’s menacing Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet…
There’s an 800 lb gorilla sitting in our living room. It’s called immigration and the scale of it influences almost every issue from education to housing and infrastructure. But only New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is drawing attention to the limitations of an open door immigration policy.
What happens if you’re in the middle of Auckland with its 60-plus ethnicities and want just a sip, not a bottle of water?
Linguistic confusion. It’s born out of the locals taking their lingo for granted – and new arrivals interpreting what they say, just a little too literally.