The housing crisis remains a stain on politicians of all colours. Last month, we didn’t test how big this crisis was – we simply visited open homes in affluent and not so well-off areas. In both, young people queued to see units, once grand homes and flash new townhouses. All they sought was a home of their own. But according to a 2013 stocktake, just under 65% of households owned their dwelling - the lowest rate of home ownership since1953. ‘Declining rates of home ownership have become a defining feature of New Zealand’s housing landscape since 1991’ said the report. 1991 was the year of the Mother of all Budgets…. Some mother.

 

 

Gozzy’s Dilemma

The locals are restless. The roads are full of camper vans. There are so many people going up Mount Roy and Isthmus Peak that toilets have been put on the tops, to be helicopter serviced at our expense. The final blow, they’ve put trial traffic lights on Albert Town bridge over the Clutha. When you see traffic lights you know things have gone to the dogs. Even my dog, Gozzy, knows you can have too much of a good thing.

Continue reading

Who said that first? – Hear no evil, see no evil

It’s doubtful that anyone ever said it in English before the end of the 17th century. The concept of ‘see not evil, ‘hear not evil’, ‘speak not evil’ related back to Confucius in China, several hundred years BC, and then travelled to Japan, where it was known for centuries as a moral maxim. By a trick of the Japanese language, the maxim eventually became known world-wide.

Continue reading

Climate change – fact and fiction

So as the end of last year approached and perhaps with thoughts of the End of Days, Dr Google was on hand to offer the latest reports on the impacts of climate change. In seconds I found I was in a crowd – 335,000,000 to be exact. 373,000 – in 30 seconds. That came as a shock but that’s the impact of war – on this occasion the Infowars raging on google and other search engines about this issue.

Continue reading

Last year’s political performances…

This is my one-eyed look at last year’s political performances. I should have known better than to expect more than half-million-dollar ‘affordable’ houses from a Labour government. And the big policy announcement? Six hundred more teacher’s aides for special needs children. Surely that’s merely an admission that the ideological straight-jacket of inclusion has never suited all children.

Continue reading

When Ajax visits town

The recent morning book launch of Ajax the Kea Dog was crowded out, so a second session followed for fans to meet this celebrity dog and his young Department of Conservation mate.

Sam Neill narrated the BBC documentary featuring Ajax and Corey Mosen in 2016.

Continue reading

A tail of tuff fluff…

In a humble Siberian village, mere days after being accosted by a street thug …

I’d run out of Lipton English Breakfast Tea. It was getting late. There are no street lights here in Poselye. There was no moon on this particular night, either. It’s fair to say that it was darker than my sense of humour. Admittedly, the shop is only one hundred metres away, but dangers lurk aplenty in the lands beyond the walls of my safe haven. Faced with this conundrum, I donned my ninja costume and embarked on an ‘epic’ adventure …

Continue reading

Best Laid Rumbles…

The slow progression of attitudes to sharing the road with cyclists is much too fast for some drivers. The Otago Daily Times frequently publishers letters from drivers who are livid on the subject.

Despite the fact that most adult cyclists are also drivers, and that some people, no matter their mode of transport, are inconsiderate and selfish, the ‘livid’ drivers reserve their hatred for cyclists.

So the battle lines have been drawn. Drivers hate cyclists and cyclists hate drivers.

Continue reading

Pushing back ageing…

If you shop for birthday  cards  you’ll find the funny, the odd and the entertaining.  But among them there’s a surprising  number for those who make it  to  their 100th  birthday.

So how many Centenarians are there in  New Zealand?  Based  on  the 2013 Census, Statistics New  Zealand puts the number  at  561.  Five years on  and given the fact that for nearly 200 years mankind has been pushing back  ageing, that number is  likely  to be higher  in the 2018 Census.

Continue reading

Sunscreen on my armpits…

(From the archives…)

Yesterday I put roll-on sunscreen on my armpits – somewhere that rarely sees the light — forgot the day of the week when looking up the tide times and couldn’t find my phone. I couldn’t call it since I had left the sound turned off after that disturbing movie about billboards.

Continue reading