Category archive: Viewpoint

Three free years…

students in lecture roomWhat a can of worms Labour has upended with its policy on tertiary education. It promises to turn the clock back to the conditions most of our current politicians enjoyed when they were students; a free university education.

But how will the thousands of student with huge debts feel about this proposed policy? Bitter, is my guess, and with just cause. On the other hand the parents of young, achieving teenagers will be relieved, possibly to the point of considering changing their vote at the next election.

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Rangi Walker – visionary

Rangi WalkerIn the protest decade of the 60s and 1970s, my reporting beat covered Auckland University where, being the Sixties, full-time students were also part-time protesters.

Their activism embraced everything from feminism and environmental issues to the most riveting of the time – the growing protests against the Vietnam War and Apartheid.

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February miscellany

You just know things are getting dire in the change-the-flag camp when its promoters have to rely on the candlelight of celebrity.

Richie McCaw supports the change. Wow. Well that’s a must-vote for the new one then. And Dan Carter too. Double wow – it’s pretty much a done deal, but some obstacles remain.

Like the quasi celebs who are also in their camp – Mike Hoskings, TVNZ newsreader Peter Williams among others. They’re all flag-happy and flapping behind the PM, our flag change leader-in-chief (he sometimes sports the new version as a badge – subtle huh?)

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Beware Greeks bearing gifts….

130207-billboard-morning-hold-2A bus strike in Auckland  – how strange that  was  when  media  reported little in the way of carpooling,  the tactic which served locals well  in the oil shocks of the 1970s.   Another hint of the collapse of community?  Aucklanders  were warned  about the obvious traffic jams ahead – as if there aren’t any most other days.   The city’s woeful dependence on cars is its major failure and in Wellington that hasn’t been helped by a lack of vision.

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How DOC missed the track…

Makarora RiverIn the light of December’s news, of the third death in 2015 in Mt Aspiring National Park within a two to three day walk of Makarora, it’s natural to ask why the Department of Conservation has closed its Makarora Information Centre this summer season. (DOC uses the words, unmanned decommissioned.)

You could miss Makarora on State Highway 6 between Haast Pass and the head of Lake Wanaka: a sprinkling of accommodation, the once ‘manned’ DOC information centre, a café and fuel pumps, a base for Siberia Experience trips and Wilkin River Jets and Southern Alps Air’s bright yellow Cessna.

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What is your idea of success….?

Success is something most human beings desire and gravitate towards. The word itself has a rich, positive connotation.

A lot of products and services get sold based on the promise of success. Buy this or do that and will find yourself in the winner’s camp.

But what does success mean to you?

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‘Suffragettes’ and votes for women…

220px-Annie_Kenney_and_Christabel_Pankhurst

Impossible to get it all right, of course, but films based on historical incidents and political movements can’t help being superficial. I have not seen Suffragettes but from reports I have heard and read this film is no exception. At least it focuses on a fictional working class women instead of perpetuating the idea that the Pankhursts carrying the entire burden.

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Fixing Waitangi

We can talk all we like about the founding of the nation and the bi-cultural partnership and the rest but all most people want from Waitangi day is a holiday, preferably sans politics. Most of us will never get to Waitangi anyway. I mean, it’s not Mecca is it?

I’m sure the sight of massed wakas and all the other cultural activities are wonderful to behold but the truth is, most people think Waitangi is a pain, at least the TV version, and that’s all we will ever see.

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Torture?

Mt‘Torture: Children locked up 23 hours a day’. At least that was the media created impression, unless one chose to delve behind the headlines and ten-second TV screamers. But it was handy for giving Serco a pasting even though whatever fault there was, belonged entirely with the Department of Corrections.

First, the young prisoners under discussion were on remand in Mount Eden Prison and therefore not allowed to mingle with sentenced prisoners.

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