Hi folks.

Just a note to say  that this issue  has been beset by - of all things - a cuppa. (Teach  us not to mix a laptop with sugared tea! ) It's  now on its last legs  in a sweetened  end ,  so  RIP  ThinkPad.  Back to normal  next month  - we hope!)

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Who would be National’s leader when an election is scheduled for next month? Who would be that leader for the years ahead? National has chosen Judith Collins, and let’s just for a moment dismiss the Trumpian nickname ‘Crusher’ Collins. Nicknames like that tend to backfire when your opponent is PM Jacinda Ardern.

Just this month, adding to Arden’s already formidable reputation, the latest accolade came from Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stigler, who rated New Zealand’s response to the pandemic as the world’s best. And in the same month, the UK Prospect magazine listed her as second in a list of world thinkers. Collins is a battler. National needs that. Ardern doesn’t.

Give a little

Within living memory there were many men and woman who kept secret the ‘shameful’ fact of growing up in an orphanage or similar homes for children who could not, for various reasons, be cared for by parents or extended family. Whatever the reason for their exclusion from society, the inevitable implication was that they were unwanted, by family and community.

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War and Peace

There they were – a family straight out of one of those irritating television advertisements. Sitting together on a park bench – handsome dad, attractive mum, two photogenic kids.

When I looked again the kids had gone – playing with wild abandon on the nearby swings and slides, Then something caught my eye.

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Pop songs revisited

Some of the artists of the 60’s are revising their hits with new lyrics to accommodate aging baby boomers who can remember doing the “Limbo” as if it were yesterday.
They include:

Bobby Darin —
Splish, Splash, I Was Havin’ A Flash

Helen Reddy —
I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore 

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Orlando

Shooting_at_Pulse_NightclubWhile it was a shocking incident for those involved, for us, television viewers from afar, the Orlando massacre was not in the least surprising. Not surprising either that American politicians should exploit the tragedy even before victim’s families were informed of their loss.

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Ali and the Bard…

ShakespeareThe other day we trotted off with the other greys, the tinted, the bald and the in-betweens to see the film Shakespeare Live, marking his death 400 years ago.

Like some of the Bard’s plays it grabbed us from the start with Leonard Bernstein’s opening to West Side Story and its compelling choreography, to the close with Prokofiev’s menacing Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet…

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Learning to live in world of suspicion

Surveillance is back in the news again, now that the government has received the Independent Review of Intelligence and Security Services by Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy. Later this year there may well be a new law in place with enhanced surveillance capacity for our intelligence agencies.

So, what is ‘surveillance’? Why should we be concerned about it?

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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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A day in the life of Nick Smith

7:34 am

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.

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