Feeling the cold? Here’s an option for you…
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.
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.
Ah yes, the delights of Auckland. This city is a second home to me. Look how prosperous the inhabitants are, how well everyone appears to be doing.
Look at that family over there sleeping in their car. It’s a bit cramped with Mum, Dad and the four kids squeezed in, but I remember when I first got onto the property ladder. You don’t start out by buying the biggest and most expensive accommodation. You start small. Those people have the right idea.
I’ve always struggled to understand economics, which means I have a bit of cheek embarking on a view of the economics of the western world. Still, in my possibly naive view there are simple rules. Take Alzheimers for instance. By taking daily exercise, eating healthy food and maintaining mental and social stimulation, there is a good chance of avoiding Alzheimers. Similar rules apply for avoiding type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and probably many other diseases that swoop in when the rules are ignored.