Category archive: Information

Emergency powers and human rights 

We’re in a state of national emergency and it’s having a dramatic effect on how we live our lives.

I simply want to highlight a number of human rights issues that have arisen as a result of the lockdown. And I’d like to flag a number of my concerns about possible long-term human rights implications, after the pandemic is over.

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Kiwiosities: The Great Depression or The Slump

Excerpts from Kiwiosities, a book by Gordon Ell on the traditions and folklore of New Zealand.

The most traumatic civil event of 20th-century New Zealand. After the prosperous 1920s, New Zealand was plunged into a well of unemployment and social misery by the international breakdown that followed the Wall Street Crash of 1929. An economy dependent on primary produce sold overseas was particularly vulnerable.

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Max’s Dogs – Every dog has its day

Heroes

Disabled by a car accident in 1995, British man Gareth Jones became accustomed to and adept at using his wheelchair in company with his ‘service dog’. But the dog’s training didn’t include towing or hauling – until Mr Jones crossed a field which proved too muddy for his wheelchair. It sank, and he found himself firmly stuck in a location remote from any possible human help.

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Remember radio  when it was – King?  

Before television, families gathered each night around the essential piece of lounge furniture – a stylish floor level radio console (perhaps branded Atwater Kent or Gulbransen) – or faced the ornate mantle model (Philco), waiting with expectation for the crackling  radio valves to warm up.

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Democracy’s malaise…

The Centre for the Future of Democracy at Cambridge University recently  stated that: ‘Democracy is in a state of malaise.’  It’s not been like this since the 1930s.   Now, Facebook refuses to police its political ads which aid and abet  liars. And the world’s democracies are not seen to be doing much about it.

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Don’t mention the war!

Indian students with their awards for education excellence.

It was John Cleese who made the above comment famous in regard to German guests in the 1960s television show, Faulty Towers. The theme; attempting to keep silent about guests whose behaviour or history you think deplorable is universal, which is what made the show so brilliant.

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Superstitions – Impotence

If they have faith in an old superstition, men who are concerned about their sexual vigour should eat a generous amount of rabbit kidneys. Rabbits are known to very procreative, by why their kidneys were regarded as the seat of their rampant passions has never been explained. (Nor is there any suggestion that another part of the male rabbit might provide a more logical encouragement.)

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Ghosts…

Outside it’s sunny, a hot, muggy Auckland day. A plump Tui swings on the untidy flax bush by the bedroom’s open window; slothful clouds drift past in a china-blue sky. But inside the bedroom it’s cold, chilly enough to raise goose-pimples. Despite the golden light outside, the room is shadowy, its corners dim and blurry.

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Once upon a Charter

A very long time ago when I was an NBR media commentator, a senior Treasury official asked me what I  thought about the  future of TVNZ.  I told him that its hyper-commercialism was  driving viewers away; that people were  sick and tired of ads and much of the network’s ratings-driven  programming.

He paused, stroked his chin and looked into the distance.  “Hmm” he said.  “Here, we would call that a long term strategic loss.”

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