Waitangi weekend again – and a man was close to tears. Nothing unusual there. It’s what the place does to some. What was different this year was that the man was Pakeha – no let’s pass over that pejorative for another description: he was white.
Category archive: Politics
Well, it was a long time coming but John Key finally put a smile on my face. Okay, I’m prejudiced but I still think he was by far New Zealand’s most mediocre leader. So why was he so popular? Was he popular? Television news certainly thought so; the PMs smiling face was on the screen daily whether the events he attended were newsworthy or not. Television, and the media generally, loved him.
The other day some friends talked about Auckland’s homeless and how awful the conditions must be sleeping rough. Auckland’s Spring was having an identity crisis, reverting to the chills and rain of Winter, dallying briefly with its sunnier self – then plunging into yet another sodden bout of seasonal recidivism. So these comfortably housed friends were right – how ghastly it must be to live day after day on the streets or crammed in the hothouses of cars at night.
How did we get to this point at which homelessness is so overwhelming, but at the same time beginning to slip down the news agenda? How could it be fixed they asked? They shook their heads sadly, but history has some answers…
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.
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.