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.

 

 

The typewriter rebellion is here!

Now here’s something an old hack would never have dreamt could happen: A typewriter revolution – typewriters reverentially dusted off from their obsolete past, and ushered into a welcoming  present, wreathed with terms like  the  ‘typosphere.’

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Miscellany – Of words and oranges and lambs…

Feel like some wordplay  for the festive season?  Well try  these from the Washington Post  for a giggle.  The newspaper published a  contest for readers in which they were asked to supply alternative meanings for various words. These were some of the  winning entries:

Negligent, (adj.), describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightie

Lymph, (v.) to walk with a lisp.

Balderdash, (n.) a rapidly receding hairline.

Testicle (n)  a humorous question on an exam.

Oyster (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.

Pokemon (n.) a Jamaican proctologist.

Circumvent (n.) the opening  in the front of boxer shorts.

Willy-nilly (adj,) impotent.

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A sleepy lagoon, a tropical moon…

Absent-mindedly listening to ‘Radio NZ National’ some years ago, my attention was suddenly focused on the words of an elderly caller.

She was reminiscing with then afternoon host, Jim Mora, about her favourite music. Apparently, she’d grown-up in the King Country milling settlement, Rangataua, just south of Ohakune.

The woman remembered fondly a band that used to play the occasional Saturday night in the local hall in the late 30s. Two things stuck in her memory – the small woman who played the piano, and the large Maori man who played the drums. Apparently, the woman had a ‘great sense of rhythm’.

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Another day in Auckland…

Another day in Auckland and another tree falls. No, not just one but three – all native Puriri.

“Where will the wood pigeons go now?” an anguished neighbour asks as the chain saws roar and a wood chipper finishes the job, grinding once proud trees into garden fill.

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Shattered….

‘Christel is at shattering point’ the back-cover blurb says of Kirsten Warner’s The Sound of Breaking Glass. Shattering.

But I’m still feeling shattered.  And I’m already three days out from finishing the novel.

There’s a lot going on in this book.

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Partisanship on the rise…

Decades after the damage was done, it has finally become acceptable for economists to admit that neo-liberal economics is a politically manipulated means of ensuring that the rich and powerful become more rich and powerful. But with that madness in decline, another has sprung up.

This one is harder to define,  but  people are angry. Intolerance, and partisanship are on the rise. Hard-won laws of justice are threatened. I believe the New Zealand media’s response to US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, is our small contribution to a growing hysteria.

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Godzone – the way we want it?

 Media interests, particularly television, give us, or most of us, exactly what we want; the gossipy, exciting, human interest side of politics that requires no thinking. So much so that we tend to forget that Parliament exists to debate and determine the principles and policies that serve the public interest.

So I was pleased and pleasantly surprised when an editorial in the Otago Daily Times raised questions about policy: “What do we want our public health system to look like? Do we want it to be world class and free? Or a safety net with no-frills care for those unable to afford health insurance?” The answer to this question may not be as predictable as we think.

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