This is my one-eyed look at last year’s political performances. I should have known better than to expect more than half-million-dollar ‘affordable’ houses from a Labour government. And the big policy announcement? Six hundred more teacher’s aides for special needs children. Surely that’s merely an admission that the ideological straight-jacket of inclusion has never suited all children.
Category archive: Nostalgia
(From the archives…)
Yesterday I put roll-on sunscreen on my armpits – somewhere that rarely sees the light — forgot the day of the week when looking up the tide times and couldn’t find my phone. I couldn’t call it since I had left the sound turned off after that disturbing movie about billboards.
Gabriel’s Gully and Gabriel Read
On a branch of the Tuapeka River near Lawrence, Gabriel Read discovered gold on May 23, 1861. ‘At a place where a kind of road crossed a shallow bar I shovelled away about two and a half feet of gravel, arrived at a beautiful soft slate and saw gold shining like the stars in Orion on a dark frosty night.’
Absent-mindedly listening to ‘Radio NZ National’ some years ago, my attention was suddenly focused on the words of an elderly caller.
She was reminiscing with then afternoon host, Jim Mora, about her favourite music. Apparently, she’d grown-up in the King Country milling settlement, Rangataua, just south of Ohakune.
The woman remembered fondly a band that used to play the occasional Saturday night in the local hall in the late 30s. Two things stuck in her memory – the small woman who played the piano, and the large Maori man who played the drums. Apparently, the woman had a ‘great sense of rhythm’.
Another day in Auckland and another tree falls. No, not just one but three – all native Puriri.
“Where will the wood pigeons go now?” an anguished neighbour asks as the chain saws roar and a wood chipper finishes the job, grinding once proud trees into garden fill.
Media interests, particularly television, give us, or most of us, exactly what we want; the gossipy, exciting, human interest side of politics that requires no thinking. So much so that we tend to forget that Parliament exists to debate and determine the principles and policies that serve the public interest.
So I was pleased and pleasantly surprised when an editorial in the Otago Daily Times raised questions about policy: “What do we want our public health system to look like? Do we want it to be world class and free? Or a safety net with no-frills care for those unable to afford health insurance?” The answer to this question may not be as predictable as we think.
Not long ago Jane Fonda visited New Zealand for a special one night appearance where she was interviewed about her life on stage in front of a full house. I was there. Way up in the back row applauding wildly. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. At 71, I’m a bit embarrassed to confess that I am a “fan”. But I am.
Six years had passed and in that time another member of the family had died. It was time to pretend the gruelling flight to England would be better this time. It wasn’t. And nor was saying goodbye again, wondering if it would be the last time. But in-between was lots of fun which included tramping over Yorkshire moors and staying in villages and market towns, endless reminiscences and just enjoying one another’s company.