Posted by BE on April 29th, 2011
Pathetic in Defeat
Posted by BE on April 29th, 2011
Pathetic in Defeat
Posted by BE on April 26th, 2011
The likely end of Phil Goff’s political career has all the hallmarks of a personal tragedy. The fates appear to have conspired against the Member for Mt. Roskill with singular vindictiveness. A 27-year apprenticeship for the top job may well end in November with the arguably more qualified candidate pipped at the post.
Yet Goff’s political CV could scarcely be more impressive:
Boy from poor Auckland family leaves home at 16; puts himself through university by working as a freezing worker and cleaner; gains a first class honours degree in Political Studies at the University of Auckland where he lectures while completing his MA; stands for Labour in Roskill in 1981 and wins the seat.
Becomes the youngest Minister in the Lange/Palmer/Moore administrations (1984-1990) holding portfolios as diverse as Housing, Labour, Youth Affairs, Tourism and Education; loses Roskill in the landslide against Labour in 1990 and takes up a teaching position (along with yours truly) at what is now the AUT; accepts a scholarship to study for six months at Oxford University.
Is re-elected MP for Roskill in 1993; Labour Leader Helen Clark whose early parliamentary career runs parallel to his, appoints him shadow Minister of Justice; is part of a failed coup to replace her in June 1996 but Clark does not demote him; under her administration (1999-2008) holds portfolios of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Justice, Defence and Disarmament; is widely respected as an intelligent, hard-working, reliable and highly competent Minister.
After Clark steps down in the wake of National’s win in the 2008 election, is unanimously elected Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by JC on April 25th, 2011
NZ on Screen have unearthed my television play Casualties of Peace, much to my amazement. I thought it had been wiped years ago. There was a shortage of tapes and we just re-recorded over everything.
It was made in 1982, starring Judie Douglass, Peter Vere-Jones and Michael Hurst, playing a teenager. It was Michael’s first major television role and he won an award for it – Best Newcomer, from memory. A very young Fiona Samuel appears in it as well, with Kevin Wilson, Ken Blackburn and Joanne Simpson.
World War II lingered on for our returned soldiers and haunted their families for decades. The vets would gather together to make sense of their experiences, and to find again the camaraderie and mateship of service life. My childhood was filled with war stories, with strange men who would turn up at our door and spend hours reminiscing with my father. He seemed younger and more alive when they were there.
This play was based on my father, these lost men and their conflict with the next generation, whose view of the Vietnam war was so out of step with their own lives and beliefs.
Posted by BE on April 22nd, 2011
With Anzac Day approaching we can expect to see a great deal of national pride expressed. There will be entirely justified talk of what a great little country we live in, how we punch above our weight in so many fields, from sport to scientific and medical inventiveness, and of our proud record in two world wars. The Anzac spirit of courage and cooperation with our friends and allies across the Tasman will be celebrated, as it should be.
When I came here in 1964 the ties with Britain were only just beginning to fray. Kiwis still spoke of Britain as ‘Home’, but with the ‘mother country’s’ entry into the ECC, doubts had begun to surface about where Britain’s true loyalties might lie. Jack Marshall returned home with assurances that our dairy and meat exports to the UK were not under threat, but those assurances had something of the quality of Chamberlain’s ‘peace in our time’.
In my 47 years in this country, it seems to me that in our affections we have grown closer to our Australian neighbours and ever further away from Britain. I doubt that anyone, other than new immigrants from the UK, now speaks of Britain as ‘Home’ or would refer to it as the ‘mother country’. Though hundreds of thousands of us will be glued to our tellies for the wedding of Kate and William, it will, I suspect, be the spectacle that draws us rather than any strong feeling of love or admiration for the royal family. And republican sentiment is growing. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on April 20th, 2011
A couple of recent media items that caught my attention:
On the Australian version of Highway Patrol, a cop pulled over a car because the parents of a child in the back seat were smoking. It is apparently illegal in Oz to smoke in a car in which a child is a passenger. The cop’s intention was to give the driver a warning, but a torrent of obscene abuse from the driver’s wife persuaded him to give both of them tickets, the husband for breaking the non-smoking with kids in the car rule, and the wife for obscenity in a public place. (A couple of teenagers were walking past as she turned the air blue.)
The wife’s argument was essentially that the cop should be chasing ‘real law-breakers’, speeders, drunk drivers and the like, not persecuting someone smoking in their own car which was essentially a private space much like one’s home.
This was an interesting argument, which seemed to have some substance. You could argue that traffic laws ought to deal with offences related to safety on the road and not to how parents choose to act around their children. As far as I know, it isn’t against the law for parents to smoke in their own homes, or for pregnant women or nursing mothers to smoke. Yet all three are almost certainly damaging their offsprings’ health. So why should a car be any different? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by JC on April 18th, 2011
Came across this – it’s an ad, but it’s still a nice little piece:
And here is the original it was copied from:
The Power of Words is a remake of the film Historia de un Letrero, which won the first prize in the short film category at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. Thanks to Ivan Strahan in Donaghadee for the link!
Posted by JC on April 7th, 2011
A large bouquet to Campbell Live last night for letting the people of Christchurch speak for themselves. This montage of frustration told a very different story from one we’re hearing from officialdom about the EQC and the accuracy and speed of assessments. A classic was the 34 second assessment caught on CCTV.
This made excellent television – a far cry from the stumbling, bumbling interview by Mark Sainsbury on the Tupperwaka in which he
Asked such searing questions as:
Are you ashamed of your culture? (To Shane Jones)
Is this a jack-up? (To Ngarimu Blair of Ngati Whatua)
Are you saying that Pita Sharples is bribing the Maori people of Auckland? (To Shane Jones again. And no, Mark, that was the Act Party)
This mock-tough interviewing just comes across as rude and boorish. Patsy questions which are patently ridiculous. This was a subject that deserved some serious debate. It’s not going to get it on Close Up, that’s for sure.
Posted by BE on April 6th, 2011
Wednesday, around 4pm, I’m driving down Kelmarna Ave in Ponsonby on my way to the Countdown (formerly Woolworths) supermarket in Richmond Road. I’ve had it with the prices at Victoria Park New World, where (incidentally) I can’t buy an economy size tub of Olivio. The people at Victoria Park New World don’t seem to favour economy much. Maybe they think everyone who lives in Ponsonby or Herne Bay is a multi-millionaire.
But I digress. I’m driving down Kelmarna Ave, Hukanui Crescent and Parawai Crescent, which is really just one road with three different names, to Richmond Road. It’s not a route I particularly like. There are seven chicanes between top and bottom and you occasionally get someone even older than me in front of you doing 15K between the chicanes and 1K around them. And occasionally someone up your bum.
I should have mentioned that I was driving my little Smart Car. It’s small but nippy and I’m no slouch behind the wheel. So I’m surprised to find a large grey car about a metre behind me, the distance narrowing to little more than 30 centimetres as we approach each chicane. The driver and his front seat passenger are wearing bright orange high-visibility vests, so they’re almost certainly employed doing something on the roads.
I turn right round the corner into Richmond Road, then right again up the steep driveway to the outdoor Countdown car park. The designer of the speed bumps on the driveway was either a sadist or had shares in a tire repair company, and soft suspension is not a feature of the Smart Car range. To avoid losing my lunch I take it reasonably slowly. The orange vests are close enough to give me a push. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on April 3rd, 2011
‘Hundreds of staff at the quake-damaged Christchurch casino, who have been given the stark choice of taking redundancy or unpaid leave, were given a small ray of hope by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee who indicated the business could reopen. Casino licences were geographically specific, but Mr Brownlee said the Earthquake Recovery Bill could give the flexibility for the premises to move.’ New Zealand Herald 2/4/2011
If you were one of the 500 casino employees whose livelihood is at stake you would have regarded this story as good news. I understand that. But my reaction to the story was that the best place to move this and every other casino in the country was to anywhere but here. Yes, a lot of people would be looking for work, but a far greater number of lives would be saved from destruction and despair.
My view on casinos has not changed since I wrote this intro to a Top of the Morning programme 15 years ago:
Went to the opening of the casino on Thursday. I didn’t really want to go, but sheer nosiness and the fact that She Who Must Be Obeyed had a wonderful new dress, which just begged to be seen by 3,000 other people, won the day.
It’s hard to find precisely the right word to describe the evening, the ‘mot juste’ as the French, who have now stopped nuclear testing and may be referred to again in civilised society, say. ‘Disappointing’ springs to mind, along with ‘dreary, dull, drab, tasteless, tacky, sickening and stupid’.
On the plus side, the parking was excellent, the street entertainments were fun and everyone who works for the casino has been taught to wish you a very nice evening every time you made eye-contact. Read the rest of this entry »