Waitangi’s ‘Pinkie’ flies around the world

(With apologies to that old song ‘a Gordon for me, a Gordon for me’ etc., here’s a Waitangi Day rendering about the flying pink phallus which hit Economic Development Minister Stephen Joyce):

 A Dildo for thee

Was not meant to be,

A Dildo for Key

Was where it should be…

At least Joyce had the good sense to laugh it off. The same can’t be said about the Prime Minister who should have been there in the first place. But no, he was at the Nines, possibly thinking he would be welcome, though reports said some in the crowd booed him. Key described the Dildo protest as ‘appalling’.

“It’s appalling because that image has gone around the world and there are now people in countries all over the world saying the way New Zealanders theoretically commemorate or celebrate their national day is with a senior politician having a sex toy thrown at them.”

The dildo was tossed by Josie Butler, of Christchurch, who yelled “that’s for raping our sovereignty”, as the sex toy headed for the Minister. It wasn’t appalling – it was inventive, witty and, on the nose, so to speak. And because it was so novel, it was picked up by just about every major news outlet around the world.

Appalling? It doesn’t even come close. Appalling is when the government does shonky deals with Saudi Arabian businessmen; when it never mentions sovereignty but wraps itself in proposed new flags (logos?) to divert attention from the central issue – sovereignty; when, in a hushed Sky City it signs the TPPA while thousands of protesters rage around Auckland’s Streets.

What’s appalling is not the flying dildo, but the documented hunger of Kiwi kids, homelessness, the deliberate and genuinely appalling pollution of our clean green image, our rivers, the lack of worker protection, the unchecked flood of immigrants denying those already here the chance of a home. Appalling starts with A in this alphabet of Governmental neglect.

Applause – also starts with an A – and it’s what many of us think Josie Butler deserves. Because her protest may have involved a sex toy, but its message was about something we’re only beginning to understand fully – the ongoing loss of our sovereignty.

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rebel flagIn central Auckland on an intersection from Auckland International Airport is the street protest of the old New Zealand flag. Great spot – just about every traveller from the airport sees it. It’s one of a number promoting the old flag while the Government promotes dozens of its favourite design up and down the country. Good design yes, but a question; who would die for this new design?

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Of the things to get excited about here’s one which tops the list – at least in France where they treasure not only their country and cuisine, but their language.

The BBC reported that 26 years ago the French Academy proposed some minor language changes including the deletion of the circumflex and hyphens in an estimated 2,400 words. Publishers say they will include the new spellings in schoolbooks.

The result: outrage. Social media ran hot with accusations about the changes constituting a ‘dumbing down’. One hashtag #JeSuisCirconflex was among Twitter’s trending topics last week and the controversy over the linguistic ‘little house’ rages on.

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.