Mt Eden Rd during Lockdown

Every modern city in the world has rail or trams. Why? Because they’re economic and provide an alternative to air polluting cars. Remember the calm of our lockdown when the air seemed sweeter and full of birdsong? So why do our Wellington poohbahs persist in denying us rapid rail at a time when cars form gridlocks on the motorways. Blame National which blocked it three times, and New Zealand First. Will Aucklanders be walking or cycling to work soon? Or maybe they’ll prefer to work from home.

COVID-19 and The Meaning of Life

Recent isolation, and advancing years has led me to reflect on “THE MEANING OF LIFE?” and “WHAT HAVE I LEARNED ABOUT LIVING”?

As the famous song says,”What’s it all about Alfie”?

(In the interests of cordial marital relations it may not be a good idea to show your wife or partner this list!!!!)

Continue reading

Miscellany – April

 “Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.” ― said  President  Herbert Hoover  nearly a century ago.   It was if he was addressing his present day successor Donald Trump’s inadequate response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Continue reading

Remember radio  when it was – King?  

Before television, families gathered each night around the essential piece of lounge furniture – a stylish floor level radio console (perhaps branded Atwater Kent or Gulbransen) – or faced the ornate mantle model (Philco), waiting with expectation for the crackling  radio valves to warm up.

Continue reading

Be kind she said…

At first  they nodded and smiled as usual on our daily walks. Nothing unusual there, it’s our neighbourhood.

But then the pandemic arrived and didn’t  leave.  For a few days  we were confused and offered the same  greetings, though we all knew nothing would  ever be the same.

Continue reading

Democracy’s malaise…

The Centre for the Future of Democracy at Cambridge University recently  stated that: ‘Democracy is in a state of malaise.’  It’s not been like this since the 1930s.   Now, Facebook refuses to police its political ads which aid and abet  liars. And the world’s democracies are not seen to be doing much about it.

Continue reading

Don’t mention the war!

Indian students with their awards for education excellence.

It was John Cleese who made the above comment famous in regard to German guests in the 1960s television show, Faulty Towers. The theme; attempting to keep silent about guests whose behaviour or history you think deplorable is universal, which is what made the show so brilliant.

Continue reading

Ghosts…

Outside it’s sunny, a hot, muggy Auckland day. A plump Tui swings on the untidy flax bush by the bedroom’s open window; slothful clouds drift past in a china-blue sky. But inside the bedroom it’s cold, chilly enough to raise goose-pimples. Despite the golden light outside, the room is shadowy, its corners dim and blurry.

Continue reading

Once upon a Charter

A very long time ago when I was an NBR media commentator, a senior Treasury official asked me what I  thought about the  future of TVNZ.  I told him that its hyper-commercialism was  driving viewers away; that people were  sick and tired of ads and much of the network’s ratings-driven  programming.

He paused, stroked his chin and looked into the distance.  “Hmm” he said.  “Here, we would call that a long term strategic loss.”

Continue reading

Visa discrimination

It felt like Groundhog Day. I was astounded watching a TV One news item about New Zealand Immigration refusing visas to two young Ethiopians who were to be sponsored here by a group of retired professionals. It was two years (almost to the day) that I’d written a very emotional and indignant piece about the humiliation and disappointment my family had experienced when we wanted to host relatives from Egypt for a special holiday.

Continue reading