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.

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!!!!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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