Category archive: Viewpoint

Democracies in retreat…

Last year Freedom House, the much respected freedom watchdog issued one of its most compelling reports:  Democracy in Crisis. The global report warned that democracy faced its most serious crisis in decades.

So what was its call to arms this year?  Democracy in Retreat.

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Rangitoto’s ‘blood-red skies’

It’s there.

It’s always been there.

And I, like so many other Aucklanders looked on it as an iconic sight, simultaneously  everyday – and spectacular.  Like Mt Eden where we  could climb any time for  360 degree views of  Auckland. Or  humble Mt Roskill where  as kids  we  hurtled over sheep ruts in  wooden sledges.  Or  gracious  Cornwall Park and  One Tree Hill,  (now better known as None Tree Hill).

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Gangland

Sign on the Cook Strait Ferry Arahura prohibiting the display of gang patches

Sign on the Cook Strait ferry Arahura prohibiting the display of gang patches.

We have within our society groups of people who prefer to live in a primitive tribal community framework. Primitive in that they have their own laws and anyone not in their tribe is either not to be trusted or an enemy. They call themselves clubs, motor cycle clubs mainly. They are commonly known as gangs. The police use more accurate terminology; criminal organisations.

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A loose bullock – and a reluctant child celebrity…

Part one of John’s adolescent dilemma

Despite the progress women have made in the last generation and a half , some things are and have always been easier for girls. At 13 years old they are blessed with greater confidence, greater maturity, greater common sense and most importantly are not faced at every turn by the constant threat of embarrassment. True! Here’s a story I kept to myself until my children found out about it when they were in their teens.

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Greed Addiction

I don’t believe the love of money is the root of all evil but it has a lot to answer for. Love of money, and its inevitable bed-fellow, corruption, is rife among the leaders of nations. It seems incredible that people who have literally sacks full of money, billions more than they can ever spend, steal still more, often from the world’s poorest people.

Greed has always been with us. Is it increasing or are we simply better informed by all manner of media?

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A worthy career…

So you’re an idealist and you want to make a difference by reducing suffering and making the world a better place.

Social work seems like a good place to start. You invest your time, hopes and a significant portion of your financial security in study and training. Along the way you decide which branch of social work would suit you.

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The Wellbeing Budget and Amy Adams

There must be a special school for budding politicians, out of sight in the Wairarapa hills, where Party affiliation is no bar to entrance. All that is required is determination, dedication, and the ability to stand in front of a mirror for hours every day practicing the specialised language and robotic delivery of political Esperanto.

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On being secular…

Climate change, the future of work and bog standard racism should be enough to be getting on with. But no, a political party for religious fundamentalists is about to torment us by adding its peculiar ecclesiastical code of conduct to the various tribes in parliament.

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Autumn – raking leaves and a bit of navel-gazing!

Never mind the  Pin Oak leaves  swirling in a sudden backyard leafstorm –  those russet layers of  red and  gold are the stuff  of  deferred gratification: raking them in the  backyard,  in  the pale autumn sunlight.    And forget  pulling out the spent summer crops, trimming trees and  the other gardening  chores.

Most  can be ticked off as done and dusted but the one I’ve put off  longer than usual because it’s been such a gloriously golden farewell to summer, is cutting back  our grapevine.

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