Category archive: Politics

When a polly makes you smile…

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.

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Teresa and Hilary

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…

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Quality TV? Fly to Oz

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.

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Brexiting – and why…

United_Kingdom_EU_referendum_2016_voting_regions_results.svgThe Brexit and all that:  A strange feeling for someone as opinionated as I am: I didn’t have a view on the Brexit referendum. My brother and sister, who both live in England, one rich, the other on a modest pension, voted to leave.

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An average democracy…

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.

maternity-leave-map

(On the map:

red = no paid leave;

orange = < 14 weeks;

yellow = 14-25 weeks;

pale blue = 26-51 weeks;

dark blue 52 + weeks.

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The gorilla in our living room…

winston-peters-feb2014-getty-images

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.

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