Friday, November 30, 2012

'Fast food and diet/low fat' foods are killing us!

‘What a ridiculous statement!’ you say. Well, report after report is coming out about the fast food wave that IS SWEEPING THE WOLRD. Any country that embraces it (for example the Gulf States in the Middle East) rapidly sees the waistlines of its population increasing along with the accompanying issues of heart diseases and Diabetes. The medical bills for the nations so afflicted will increase along with the weight of their people. If you take the time to search out some of the excellent material online you will easily find evidence that we have a huge problem on our hands.
‘That’s OK’, you chortle in disbelief. ‘I shall just buy the non-fat and low fat options.’ Go ahead and watch your weight balloon as you consume the copious amount of sugar hidden in these products. Hell, some of them will even have the ‘Heart Foundation tick on them. We are all being fooled into dieting and consuming products that are killing us. What can we do?
If you are a fat bugger like me, over 60, (or to be more precise—over 40) throw away the diets and the yo yo affect that inevitably happens, and go back to the portion control and various other methods, but in the end, it may be that Bariatric surgery may be the only option. Go look it up and find out about the pros and cons and make your own decision.
Do you know many people who go on diets and manage to keep the weight off? I have seen numerous reports that about only 5-10% of people are ‘lucky’ enough to achieve this. So, stuff ‘dieting.’
‘OK, its lifestyle,’ you say. Well yes it is, but once again, old habits and your own body are fighting against you. Many studies say that increased exercise will not anywhere near alone make much difference. I always found it made me hungrier and you know the rest! Yes, exercise is good for a whole range of reasons, those gym bunnies that spend half their lives in the gym are often lucky enough to have a make-up that suits their approach. For the vast majority of us, it’s the Yo Yo and exclusion that can go along with being fat.
Right, if my little diatribe doesn’t get a few comments, then I will just assume that I am speaking the absolute truth!

The Russian people deserve so much better than the violence their police show!

The BBC showed a chilling report about police violence in Russia. The example of Kazan, a city about 400kls for Moscow, seems to illustrate what is becoming endemic in the new Russia. The world had thought that the bad old days of the USSR were well and truly gone. Not so, if these reports are to be believed.
 I am waiting to see the RT (Russian TV) is free enough to be able to show the same reports. This will be a test to see if ‘freedom of expression’ actually exists in Russia. I have given RT some pretty fine plaudits for some of the reports they have shown, but I am not so sure that they will be able to openly challenge the alleged actions of the police.
I wonder if my diminishing number of Russian readers is able to respond to my fears, or have they too slipped back into the days when people feared that midnight knock on the door, or more likely loud bashing, when people were taken from their homes, never to be seen again.
RT is only too happy to present an alternate or open view of issues in the West or in Palestine, but can they take the same ‘balanced’ view of events in their own country?

The Government showed some spine!

When the Minister for Foreign Affairs announced that New Zealand had supported the vote for Palestinians to achieve ‘Observer Member status,’ I was a little surprised. Usually NZ lines up with the Americans on UN votes. This time, even the Australians, our coussies across the ditch abstained rather than make a positive decision to help the Palestinian people. That says something about where they stand on resolving this issue. I am glad that we ‘thought for ourselves’ and came to the only decision that will move the situation in the Middle-East forward. Unless there is a basis for the two parties to talk then the area is doomed to further death and destruction.
 I am not anti-Israel. I fully support their right to exist as a nation and to be free from missiles and bomb attacks and the constant rhetoric that is thrown at them from hostile extremist governments. By saying that, I include the Hamas organization. They too have to pull back from the violence and continue to work through the UN to achieve their aim of attaining a ‘homeland for their people.’ That will not happen as long as they send their missiles Israel’s way.
Israel is angry about the vote. Yet, while the debate raged (along with the violence) they continued to build illegal housing in the occupied areas of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. That in itself sends a message to the Palestinians that Israel has no intention of giving up any land for the establishment of a new state. Until Israel comes to the table with a willingness to compromise on this issue then the tension will remain, breaking out into all-out war from time to time.
Both people have the right to exists. One must give some land and the other must stop the language of hate and stop the ‘jihadist’ actions that can only ever be the basis for war and yet more death. The USD has the ability to ‘lean on Israel’ in order to bring the two parties to the negotiation table. Other powerful nations need to stop using the area for their own political aspirations and support any move that end the terror suffered by the ordinary people on both sides of the debate.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

James Cook HIgh PSSP Graduation night 2012

Graduation night for the James Cook PSSP team was a happy culmination of a year’s work. The students have provided a much needed service to the students in the school. PSSP stands for Peer Sexuality Support Programme.  The goal is to give students relevant, correct and safe information about matters sexual. It is about dispelling myths surrounding sexual matters. It is about helping students to make good choices; about not giving in to pressure.
The night started with our dramatic entry. We took the school minibus (the only school that did) and parked it right outside the entrance. I suspect that they may have preferred an extended limousine.
I was so proud of them as they each went up onto the stage to receive their certificates. They have worked hard all year to support the kids around issues that go way beyond the ‘sexual.’ They encouraged kids who were sad and depressed to get help and they linked many students into the services within the school and to outside services.
At the end of the formal ceremony they demolished the supper almost as quickly as it appeared and then they must have felt sorry for me. They suggested we leave. That took ages, as they all lived in different parts of Manurewa, but they had me well organized to make this as seamless as possible
Well done PSSP team for 2012.

Palestine one step closer to full recognition--timely?

How often have we seen images of death and destruction on our screens in the area around Israel that loosely goes by the name of ‘Palestine?’ Many years ago another new state was created and the UN voted in favour to make this happen. New Zealand was amongst those who backed the move. Israel was born and ever since there have been wars to change this, simply because no real move was made to create a homeland for the Palestinians. Both people claim some of the same land and while one peoples’ aspirations are not met, how can there be peace? Promised has been made to both groups in the past that could not be met, because once again, the land claimed was promised to both.
Now, we see only too regularly these frustrations played out with ‘violence’ being the main actor. Surely, both deserve a place in the sun. Neither is willing to make compromises and it seems nigh on impossible for them to coexist in one nation.
Israel is a reality and it has had to fight to keep its foothold in the Middle East, with the Mediterranean at its back and millions of potential enemies placed on the land borders. Some of these nations have made ‘arrangements’ with Israel that go a way to keeping peace, but others, further away, have stated repeatedly that they wish to cast the Israel’s into the sea. Obviously this has led to Israel’s strong military stance, backed up the USA.
Israel can never be at peace as long as the people of Palestinian descent do not have a homeland, fully recognised by the UN and comprising land that they have held for countless generations. Unfortunately much of that land is now occupied by the State of Israel. Two small areas; Gaza and the West Bank could be the basis of a new nation. Jerusalem, the city held sacred by the ‘three religions’ is a difficult issue. In the past it has been something like an ‘international’ city. It is where compromise must be made. Gaza and the West Bank must also somehow have a corridor linking the two enclaves to help make the new nation viable.
None of this will happen as long as either side lops missiles, invades the other, drops bombs on targeted individuals or continues a cycle of violence that makes discussion impossible. Violence begets more violence and extremist views take hold, further pushing back any chance of peace.
Both the Palestinians and Israel have a right to exist. If both deny that right to the other, then there is no basis for consensus. A real mind change from the leaders of both and a move away from extremist views, held by both sides must happen or we are doomed for more wars; ones that could drag in other nations. Must we see the dire predictions of an Armageddon in the Middle East come to fruition? The choices are there to be taken.

The All Balcks and the tummy bug--shades of another time?

Of course not. I am just been a tad bad and mad at the possibility that the ABs could lose out once again to fate. I won't go on about how we once lost the World Cup to such a crappy event. OK, I know--- the match against Enlgand isn't quite so important, but we do like to beat the Poms---as the cheeky upstart colonials doing their thing to state their by place  in the sun. What I really want is a good, clean and untainted game that makes us proud to be Kiwis and that forges closer bonds (not shackles) to Grandma England.

Do we really need a bigger port in Auckland?

An efficient and large port is most definitely needed in Auckland because it is an important entry and exit point for many New Zealand businesses. Auckland being the largest city needs such an enterprise, but does it need to further expand, making the surrounding roads and railways busier than they need to be; clogging up the free flow for the rest of us?
I am obviously not an economist and my position maybe somewhat naive. I base what I say on gut feeling and a little bit of knowledge about New Zealand as whole.
Many have been saying for ages that Auckland is becoming disproportionately large and the remainder of New Zealand is losing out as a result. Would it not be better to enlarge regional ports like Tauranga, Northland, Gisborne, Napier and Taranaki? (and others in the South Island). Surely those ports serve as export ports and to a certain degree, receivers of overseas goods. The two nearer ports could serve as ‘satellites’ for the upper and central North Island.
The jobs created would not go amiss and the railways that are not operating to capacity would benefit from the business, satisfying the presents Government’s obsession with ‘making ends meet.’
The link between ports and railways is a sensible one; taking off the roads some of the huge trucks that scare the hell out of unsuspecting drivers. The cost on our road infrastructure could benefit from the lessened need to ‘refurbish’ them all the time; a direct result of large trucks. The accident rate caused by trucks and inpatient car drivers may also take a dip.
Regional development has been an evergreen issue for many decades. We must take every opportunity to make this a reality and the concentration of services in the Ports of Auckland plays directly against this possibility.
I say no to any expansion of the port into the Waitemata Harbour for another obvious reason. Aucklanders love their incredible sparkling harbour and they do not want to see it become no more than a river. For recreational and environmental reasons alone, but with the added possibility of incentivising regional development, we must send the message to any ‘enlargement of the port believers’ that---- no--- keep your greedy hands off our special harbour!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just Smile! Go on, do it now.

Smile, because if you do, they will.
Smile, because the sun’s shining.
Smile at that kid who looks sad---watch their face!
Smile, even when your boss doesn’t—they got their own shite to deal with!
Smile at the teenagers approaching you looking like they’re gonna rob you; they won’t!
Smile at your kids before you tell them they have done something wrong yet again---then maybe you won’t have to.
Smile for absolutely no reason at all. You will feel better for it.
Smile, because Mrs Brown fecken well said so!


Now that's a great book review for 'Roskill.'

I have been hoping for some book reviews for my books for ages. It seems that these are hard to come by. OK, here’s one, in a funny sort of way that really had me laughing.
One of our students at school (a 15 year old was reading a book in his maths class. His head was down and he was most definitely not doing his maths. His teacher noticed his ‘inattention’ to her teaching and approached him. He didn’t notice her until she pounced on him. She was about to let him know offended she was that he should be ignoring her. It was then that she saw the title of the book.
‘Oh,’ she said. You’re reading Mr Coleman’s book. The class laughed and she let him have the book back at the end of the period. All was forgiven and hopefully he is continuing to read the book at more appropriate times. I think he is relating to one of the characters.
Good one my loyal reader!

'P' (Methamphetamine) is alive and well amongst us!

I know, that is a terrible headline, but read on and then you may forgive me. ‘P’ which goes by various names around the world, is a scourge on society. It is pushed by an ‘underworld,’ that often poses as being part of ‘respectable’ society. The links between the majority ‘mainstream’ and the underworld that controls the distribution of this destroyer of families, businesses, relationships and individual lives are deep and play out right under our noses.
There have been many high profile arrests which serve to point out that those making the money and acting as distributors are often people we know. We are regularly surprised when their faces appear on TV or in the newspapers. They may not have affected our lives, unless we fell under their spells, but we can be sure that their actions had ramifications for far more than the people close to them.
Think of the families who will suffer, either by their use of the illicit drug, or the places of work, where these ‘suppliers and users may have held top positions and once caught, the casualties mount as businesses go under and employees lose their jobs.
The violence in the underworld is best illustrated by the fact that they Real Estate agent who was arrested in the last week or so, had in his possession a pistol. What does that tell you? Violence, death and ‘payback’ are rife in this underworld.
However, there are signs of hope around the issue of ‘P’ use. It seems that it is not quite so prevalent in the last year or so. This is either a ‘blip’ on the radar screen or it is an indicator that the police are getting a handle on the problem.
Having said that though, don’t be surprised if another ‘drug of choice,’ equally, if not more dangerous will take the place of ‘P.’ I don’t mean the ‘synthetic cannabis options; it is more than likely that another copycat version of ‘P’ will hit the scene. Time will tell.
We all need to be vigilant, especially those of us who work in schools. After all, it is the kids who suffer along with the other silent victims of all of these nasty products. The underworld that feeds into the desire to partake in substance/drug abuse will always be there. That in itself is reason enough to keep police funding and public education at high levels.
I wrote ‘Roskill,’ to illustrate the effects on a family, when a father comes under the ‘control’ of ‘P.’ I wrote it primarily for teenagers and their families. It is available from my website or directly through my email.
Get a copy now----for Xmas.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hobbit has its premier today in New Zealand.

Wellington, new Zealand, the capital of Middle Earth is going odff today as thousands of people. many from overseas come to celebrate the premier of the Hobbit. The streets are full of people strecthed either side of the 500 metre long red carpet. We as a nation are so proud of Sir Peter Jackson, our talented film maker. Go see the movie and then come and visit Middle Earth. See our wonderful scenery, even the parts where the film was made and partake in our tasty cuisine. Open a bottle or two of our wines and go for a picnic on a deserted beach.
I can't wait to see the film.

yipee---I got my 50,000th hit on my blogs---wish I knew who it was!

Yeah, I'd give them a free book. Anyone wanna claim it by making a comment---the best one wins--anywhere in the world. Chooese a book from the three.

20% of our kids are failing%

I sit somewhere in the middle for this debate. It has been plain for many years that most of the kids at the bottom end of our educational system are from poorer segments of our society. We know that they are coming out of our schools with little or no qualifications and go on to have families that replicate the failure.
Why is this so surprising? If the resources are not in the home in the form of roll models, will, monetary resources and consistent parenting, then the students starts way behind their classmates from more affluent families. That is not to say that parents I poorer areas are bad parents.
We all know of hard luck, bad luck, ‘struggle stories’ and we can hold these up as shining examples of success, despite the deficits described above. We need to ask, why is it that some students succeed despite the odds stacked against them.
Some people talk about ‘cultural capital’ as the explaining factor to success. Put simply, that means that students from families who are familiar with the  ‘basics’ of what it takes to succeed; including family values that are reflective of the dominant sectors in society, real economic resources that can support education, role models who have succeeded and understand ‘education,’ uncrowded housing, to name a few.
If students succeed despite these odds then we need to examine what bios different about their stories. Was it good teaching, personal character, school or Sate policies around education or something that we have missed?
Either way, what are we going to do? Teachers and school systems, backed up with good resourcing going into looking at engagement that will bring these kids who are failing back into the system. We as teachers will need to think outside the square, because if we keep doing what has clearly failed without looking at our own practises, then the failure will continue.
 I am well aware that many teachers in many schools are doing just that. The problem does come down to what we are prepared to look at and having Government policy that supports this rather than the mish-mash we are getting from a directionless Government   that occupies parliament at present.

Bariatric surgery---The big decision--to my friends, readers and colleagues

I have been considering bariatric surgery for the past two years and my doctor has increasingly put gentle pressure on me to go that way. Once I told friends and colleagues that I was thinking of taking up the option, even though it was going to cost me a great deal, because I am too old for the free operation that people can get in New Zealand if they are under 50, they tried to talk me out of it.
I was told---‘Neil, you will never cope with not having food as a central part of your life,’ or ‘Neil it’s all about portion control,’ or ‘Neil, try this diet or that approach,’ or, ‘Neil, it’s all in your mind.’
OK, I love my friends, family and colleagues and I believe that they have my best interests at heart, but they are not me. Everyone is different. We all have different beliefs, different body types, physiology, metabolic rates and God knows what else. These differences are what make each of us unique. BUT---I know myself. It’s not that I am weaker when it comes to making decisions. It’s not that I don’t try. It’s not that I don’t listen and it’s not that I don’t care about myself.
The fact is that I have tried, and then tried something different. I believe that I started putting on weight that would not come off as a ‘net loss,’ after trying all of these diets and ‘lifestyles.’  The trend is always up. Yes, I would lose weight and then put even more on. It’s that crucial factor that something within me ‘turns on, (or off as it may be), a switch’ that makes me get off the programme, whichever one it was---like Weight Watchers or Sureslim, not to mention the wacky and stupid ones---the ones that we get sucked into spending heaps of money on.
My dear friends--- thanks for your wonderful support but if I get a blank look on my face when you ask me if I have tried this or that diet, it's not that I am trying to tell you to ‘feck off’ as dear Mrs Brown says on that funny TV programme (Mrs Brown’s Sons), it is just me preparing myself for this new challenge.
Thank you to the fantastic people who are encouraging me who have been through this operation. Special thanks to my friend Ngaio in Australia who has been through all this and has witnessed me in the past going through the rigours of countless diets. Ngaio, your words yesterday were inspirational. Thanks for ‘knowing me.’ Maybe when I have transformed I can come and see you in the dessert--- knowing that I can outrun the snakes, scorpions-----ooooooh I’m scared!
OK, enough of the soppy stuff. I feel a few unPC things coming. I have my first consultation with the specialist on December the 13th.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Given that the USA is by far the biggest readership for my blogs, then it's about time I made my books available at a reasonable cost. I accept that the prices as quoted on my website (plus postage) is not an attractive deal. I am in discussion with my printer (The Colour Guy) to see if we can stick my books on Amazon and also convert them to Ebooks so that you can read them on Kindle and other media. I shall keep you posted.

Goodbye Pork Pie part 5--Let me down!--Now!

Hey---let me down---now! I’m sick of been stuck up here and you tell me that I’m not going to be on the road until way after the holidays. What am I expected to do while you’re all stuffing your faces at Xmas. Fun for me---not.
Oh well, I shall just be patient and dream of that long stretch of the Desert Road, buzzing along at 100 KPH. I doubt that I will go much faster than that.
I wonder who is going to buy me. I expect a clean garage and a weekly bath---got it! I also expect nice people driving me--- no drunks. Hell, it’s taking long enough to get me right, so stuffed if I’m gonna let drunks in me. I’ve seen the looks I’m getting. Some of you think I’m yours now. If I have any say, it will be one of you guys who work on me all the time.
By the way--- I have a little secret. I can talk too, so listen up next time you are around me. You’d be amazed at what I’ve seen in my two lives.

This is a biggie for me---- but then, that's why I'm doing it!

‘What the hell is he on about now?’ you may ask. I know I have had some pretty wacky blog posts over the last two years, but this one may take the cake---or not take the cake. That is what possibly spurred me on to making this decision---too much cake!
I have made a huge decision about my ‘battle of the bulge.’ This battle has gone on for the last 30 years, one way or the other. I have tried many diets and I won’t list them here. I will list them in forthcoming blogs and yet another book that I shall be writing over the next 18 months. I had hope that I could get a publisher behind me this time, but that probably won’t happen. I am well versed in the self-publishing pathway now and I know how to cut out unnecessary costs, but costs it will. That’s why you are all going to buy my other three books and pass on my blog to your mates, along with my website—I wish. ( )
I don’t want to write this as it will appear in my book, but I am going to give you an idea what has led me to my momentous decision. In summary, I was a skinny kid and right through to about 35; I never worried about my weight. I could eat what I liked and in that, I excelled. A BBQ would consist of copious amounts of the ‘charred stuff’ with repeat servings; then came several plates of dessert. I am sure some of you can relate to that. I didn’t know it then, but I was setting myself up for some major health issues a few years down the track. At the time it was full-on,’ and if I ever thought I needed to lose a few kilos, I just did it. It seemed to ‘melt off’ with a bit of exercise and cutting down a little; like not having so much spread on my bread.
Things changed once I hit 45. I started the ‘diet wars,’ and yes they worked, but I always got to a point when something inside me snapped, and----goodbye diet and hello yet more weight. So began that yo-yo treadmill. Each time I lost weight, it would go back on at some stage and then some, with a vengeance. My body seemed to be saying---‘I’ll get you, you bastard---- how dare you starve me!’
My weight gradually trended up, until one day I hit the magic 100 kilos. I embarked on yet more diets and the same thing happened. Many people gave me advice, ranging from the doctor to ‘well-informed’ friends and colleagues. The weight came off and then went back on. I attended gyms and quickly realized that such a pathway was just not in me. I did research, firstly in the myriad of books available and then on the net. The pattern repeated and the weight went on; you know in that up-down-up squiggle on a graph, but the trend was always up.
The doctor’s voice became increasingly urgent as I developed all the ‘full-house’ of health issues that go along with being very over weight. I started to hear the words ‘stomach bypass’ and bariatric surgery. Hell, that wasn’t for me. I would try yet again, sort of knowing that it wouldn’t work.
Finally, I went to the doctor for a renewal of my many pills and my doctor wasn’t there. In my mind, I was beginning to accept that I couldn’t do this on my own anymore. I was lacking energy and even daily walks with a Jack Russell couldn’t take the weight off. At best, it stopped going on, but by then, I was obese and my health could only take a major downturn in the near future. The doctor gave it to me straight, mirroring the words of my own doctor and using the language I understood.
I made up my mind, there and then and he gave me the contact details for a bariatric surgeon. I also left a message for my regular doctor, saying that I wanted to go ahead. A problem nagged at me though. I am too old for the freebie from the State, so I have to do this on my own with a little help from my insurance company. What the hell--- what’s another $20,000 on my mortgage? This way, I shall be around to pay it. Thus begins my journey!

New Zealand, 100% pure---well no, and stop shooting the messenger!

Anyone with half a brain has known and often cringed when they see the 100% pure advertising claims. If they have travelled even a few kilometres they would see that this is simply not true. If they drove to a river where industry or big time dairy farming is the predominant factor then they would be doubly cynical about the claims. Check out the figures for faecal matter at many of our city beaches and they would not go swimming at times.
Along comes an honest guy who dares to question NZ’s ‘Greenness’ and what happens. Politicians call him an ‘economic traitor.’ I don’t. Perhaps it is most timely that he has reminded us of the falseness behind the claims we make about our environment. I am not saying that NZ is polluted to the extent of many other countries or that life is hazardous here or that we risk our health every time we go for a swim or drink from a mountain stream, but I am saying that it is about time that we woke up and owned that which is less than good.
Yes, New Zealand is a beautiful and outwardly green country but we have many aspects of our environment that need addressing. Only when that has been achieved, should we use that 100% claim and then we should back it up with the facts that such a claim requires. The claim has been silly to say the least from the beginning of the campaign. We would be much better off slowly forgetting it or at least pulling back from its ‘sanctimonious embellishment of what is not true.
Let’s embrace the words of the brave man who has brought this to our attention and move towards that position as the greenest country in the world. In the meantime, shall we just pretend to be hobbits living under mountains with fresh (not pure!) running streams and bathing our hairy little feet as we sit on a non-rock-snot encrusted boulder?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

'My kid is not in a gang, but I am.'--Yeah, great message eh!

The ‘big gentle non-gang-member’ (according to his father) who was stabbed and now cannot be operated on because of the position of the bone that was forced up into his brain, has a parent who is in a gang, along with two other family members.
Is that not a message to this ‘caring’ father? --- get yourself out of the gangs and be the role model your boys need! Your boy was walking innocently along a Wanganui street and was viciously assaulted by a Black Power member. This underworld does not just affect other gang members. The rest of us have to put up with the actions that can only be described as criminal, no matter what explanation that ‘experts’ have for gang membership. Even I have alluded to the lack of family life and how young people are driven from dysfunctional homes, seeking a ‘family’ that cares for them.
Unfortunately joining this new family comes with a price attached. It means breaking the law and making other peoples’ lives unsafe and the rest of us are at risk from the illegal and often violent activities.
We can put in all the resources in the world to help affected families but in the end some hard decisions need to be made by parents and wannabe gang members. It is heart-breaking seeing kids going down the road of gang membership and into a life that is very hard to come back from.
 I hear of desperate parents, moving house and town in order to get away from gangs, but sometimes, the trouble follows them.  Is that what happened in Wanganui?

NZ SAS 'could' have provided the 'intellegence' for attack say Key

Does Mr Key really think that providing the ‘intelligence’  behind the killing of a Taliban leader who was thought to be responsible for the death of three NZ personnel is going to make it safer for our troops over in Afghanistan? He is way off the mark. The killing of one Taliban leader or for that matter, multiple members of the organization is going to make in difference in the long run, then he is deluded.
I have always thought that any ‘revenge’ tactics on NZ’s part is just playing into the hands of these medieval throwbacks. Nothing we do is going to change the manner in which they operate. The deaths of their colleagues are just going to spur them on even more. There are plenty more where they came from---- that’s a sad fact of life when it comes to dealing to the Taliban and the sooner we get the hell out of there the better.
I know that women, girls and children will be the main sufferers when the ‘coalition’ leaves, but surely we must put the lives of our own above this wasted military adventure. It is a road to nowhere and history certainly should have taught us this---ooops=====we don’t learn from that!
Revenge, Utu, call it what you like. It isn't pretty!

'Housing for New Zealanders first!'

Labour’s 100,000 houses in ten years policy is worth considering, but it would be even better of the present government got off its butt and did something now. For a start, they could look at a capital gains tax, even if that at first is only for foreign buyers; the ones who are forcing up the price of housing so that many New Zealanders can no longer get into the market.
How many of you have heard of people going to countless auctions only to be out bid by overseas bidders, many of whom are not even resident in NZ. This has to stop. Where the hell is Winston Peters on this on? He has been quiet for too long. Come on Winston, we need you!
The national Government seems to be staring at an oncoming train, unable or/and unwilling to act. What are they gaining from this inaction? Maybe they are once again trying to placate their rich mates and that forlorn lone voice of the Act Party. New Zealanders deserve so much better. It is too long to wait for the next election. Too much damage will be done while we are waiting. Of course we need to take Labour’s new announcements with a grain of salt too. We have been disappointed on that front too in the past.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hi ya Poland---great to see you.

You are so very welcome, my Polish reader. I often wonder what it would be like living in a country that is stuck between two major powers, who have at their whim, used you as a transit point for their own selfish ambitions and guess who pays?---the ever suffering Polish people. it is great to see a reasurgent Poland. Come and see us in New Zealand sometime.

Rodney Hyde sometimes has to hide when he makes comments but lately

I am as far away from being an Act supporter as you can get and even though Rodney Hyde is no longer leader and as far as I know possibly not a member of the said party, I have found myself partially agreeing with some of his statements.
He almost praised Len Brown a month or so ago by intimating that the Mayor has done some good things for Auckland. OK, I got over that and had to agree, although that wasn’t so hard for me when it comes to Mayor Brown.
Today Rodney was in his usual provocative mode when he was on the warpath about bad parenting. That’s not quite how he put it and I am sure that many would say he’s out and about again bashing the beneficiaries. Yes, that’s one of his usual targets, but if anyone read all the way through his little diatribe today, they may have some of the ideas he was putting forward as containing some truths.
I think the opening statement was sort of misleading in that he was using numbers of prenatal deaths as being a major cause of deaths and then the reader could have stopped there and thought that he was attacking mothers. However, if one read further they would have gotten the point he was making and they would have noticed that he wasn’t labelling Maori as being the main perpetrators of the sad deaths.
I guess he wasn’t kind on these mums but he did allude to some of the causes, most of which we are only too familiar with. Rodney then went on to more familiar ground and once gain he expressed what many if not most New Zealanders feel about  the mistreatment and abuse that so many of our very young kids are subjected to, mainly through bad parenting, bad decision making and deprivation caused by the actions of those who should care for them.
Rodney labelled the young Mums as druggies and various other nasty names, but there is a truth about what he is saying. Making babies is easy but bringing them up safely and then being able to participate in our excellent education system is another matter altogether. It takes consistency, sacrifice and a good deal of support, be it from family, the State or a combination of the two.
We have read or heard Rodney’s statements on that matter on numerous occasions and maybe have been part of the loud voices of disapproval. Should we not forget who the messenger is and listen to their message (taking out that which is most offensive). Is not that message similar to what other groups are espousing?
There is a good deal of ‘wrongness’ about how we allow many to bring up their children and unless we face this unpalatable fact and address the reasons behind the terrible figures of child abuse and neglect, then we are failing as a nation.
My blogs purpose today is to ask for us all to listen to the message; not to put down the messenger and come together as a nation and make some hard decisions about interventions to make the life chances for many of our ‘babies.’ It is often too late when they arrive on the steps of our secondary schools after having endured years of poor upbringing (not necessarily of the financial kind) and abuse. They are damaged and have often sought out new ‘families’--- the world of gangs and their like.
The usual outcry along with the accompanying labelling will no doubt occur when some read this blog. To all of those hard-working, loving, wonderful single parents who are managing and giving their children the love, time and consistency that they need--- keep doing it. Your kids are fine and they are a pleasure to know. For those kids who get an inkling of what life could be like, in spite of the manner you have been ‘uncared for’ I pray that someone reaches out to break the cycle. You too have potential and deserve so much more.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Democracy is just a dirty word!--if you live in the Middle East

President Morsi is showing his true colours----So much for the ‘Arab Spring,’ and the hope that it brought to millions of people in the nations of the Middle East and North Africa. The Muslim Brotherhood are just another fanatical fundamentalist group that has only one goal—the establishment of Islamic Republics across the region.
For all of those many thousands of demonstrators who came out into the square in Cairo---my heart goes out to you. Once again you are spilling your blood in order to have a brighter future for your children; one not chosen for you by bearded clerics. Most people in most countries have similar aspirations for their families. Yours have once again been cut short by this new Pharaoh-like man. How can he be so ignorant or should I say--- maybe he is finally fessing up and showing us his true colours. I just pray that we don’t have another Iran rising to the East of that country. Maybe the new Pharaoh will become friends with his mate the Czar in Russia.
 All power to the brave, real people of Egypt!

It seems that 'Talk To Me,' sort of became real today!

My heart missed a beat when I read about a beautiful 12 year old Jack Russell, called Poppy, was dognapped  and the creep that took it demanded a $30 ransom. It was also apparent that the guy turned up at the Homai Train Station with his kids in tow and that he was TEACHING THEM THAT THIS WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!
What hope does the next generation have if this is the low down sort of morals that parents will teach their kids? Surely the right thing to do was to ring the number on the collar, return the dog and if a reward is forthcoming, well and good, but to put someone and a dog through his low thought processes is sad and the example he is passing on to his kids is even more worrying.
I am sure the loving owner would have rewarded him anyway.
Naturally I got a bit uptight reading this report because it was a bit close to home re the plot in my book, ‘Talk To Me.’ Check it out—
I wish the guy could have the same treatment as that served in my book!

Colours don't belong to gangs---let's claim them back!

We must claim back the right to wear whatever colour we want. A young man is in hospital because he wore a blue hat in a Wanganui street. Some nasty lowlife decided that this was a challenge and bashed and stabbed the young man, putting him intensive care. When are we going to put a stop to this insidious issue? It seems that our young people cannot wear red, yellow, blue and God knows what else. Are we all to go about in grey?
Yes, I know, it mainly affects young people, and possibly in some areas more than others, but we should still be able to let our kids go about their daily routines, wearing whatever colours they wish. Expressing oneself through combinations of colours should be a right not a risk.
This situation has gone on for too long and we regularly hear of young people being attacked, not just in the streets of South Auckland, where I work, but all over New Zealand. These wannabe gangsters are reportedly joining these gangs because they come from ‘dysfunctional families,’ thereby looking to find acceptance with one of the many street gangs that control certain streets in NZ.
It is well known that these young gangs are merely the recruiting stage for the even more dangerous gangs that have existed for many decades. Our prisons are full of these criminals and society seems to have given up; seemingly accepting that the situation is out of control.
We often hear various politicians and individuals calling to break the gangs and for us to be more inclusive in the way we handle them. There may be gang members wishing to break out and re-join society and I applaud nay effort made to support them in this. However, the very fact that these young people have joined the gangs at the lower level and then ‘graduated into the fully functional adult versions, is very worrying. If there is a way of turning these outside-the-law people back into society, then we should put the resources into achieving that.
It will cost money but once again, we should be looking at this as a long term issue, not in the short three year election cycle way we have had so far. Surely for every gang member ‘resuscitated’ from prison, the long term financial cost is less.
At the other end of the scale, we need to make our families stronger, so that there is less chance that our youngsters feel the need for the so-called ‘protection’ that these youth gangs offer. That is where we also need a zero tolerance to lower levels of street gang behaviours. If that means more police and skilled youth workers being placed in the community, then once again, it is a more sensible action than locking them up and bearing the high costs that this will involve.
Parents are not always the cause of their young people turning towards gangs, but their actions and poor roll modelling are a contributing factor. Too many parents have given up. The task is in the ‘too hard basket,’ hence their children are allowed to wander the streets, making them unsafe not only for the young ‘gangsters,’ but for the many who wish to go about their daily business; be it going to school, or going to the local shops, library or to visit friends.
As adults, even we are affected by the actions of these young people. In parts of Auckland, it is simply unwise to venture out after dark, unless one is ‘safely’ contained within a car. I feel for the kids who can’t wear the colours they would like and for the good hard working parents of kids who dare not let their young ones out on their own. We have all been prisoners for long enough! All colours belong to all of us!

Facebook and students! A new level of bullying.

The Herald article about students setting up anonymous Facebook accounts that then become the centre of revolting, cruel and dangerous harassment are unfortunately true. Working in a school and hearing from students about this insidious evil use of the Facebook services, makes me feel powerless at times to protect students from the ramifications of this situation.
It has been going on for quite a while and many students have informed me about some of the goings on. Everything and more as reported in the Herald is true. Some students have stayed home rather than face the humiliation they feel as a result of naively ‘telling all’ or from being the target of others’ nasty comments. Much of what is said about students is untrue and once the ‘exaggeration machine takes hold,’ then the story can take on a life of its own.
Schools can talk to students and bring in ‘switched on’ youth speakers to address the issue but once our young people get online, in an unsupervised (have you ever tried to monitor your kids use of the Net?) way and all bets are off about what occurs.
Adults are less than one step ahead of their kids and even when they think they know what is going on in their offspring’s world, they are deluding themselves. For some parents the only answer is to get rid of the computer but then the kids use smartphones that the parents may not even know exist.
Is this out of control? Maybe, but the old adage about ‘talking to your kids’ and having a measure of trust will go a way to knowing what is going on. If your kids talk to you, there is a slim chance that they will let you know. Sadly that level of communication between parents and their children is not how it is out there for many families.
Schools will continue to do their best to back up parents so that our kids are safe, but we can only do so much. We will continue to work with the kids and by having key students keep us up with what is going on, we can help. Encourage your kids to talk to whoever can help.
If we don’t keep up with the kids we are going to see some tragic results. It is a problem for us all, so don’t hold back.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

White Ribbon Day---James Cook High supports this important day.

Today I had the honour of attending a very special event. It was a breakfast to support White Ribbon Day which highlights the need to keep up the fight against violence towards women. The Student Health Council from James Cook High was invited to the event and I was lucky enough to be able to accompany them.
The line-up of guest speakers was quite special too and I was sitting next to an Auckland City Counsellor, who was entertaining in his own right. One of the guest speakers was a guy who had been through a pretty tough period when he was young, with gang involvement and various other activities that he is upfront about. He now acts as a beacon of hope to many people and is a strong supporter of the White Ribbon Day. His speech was inspirational.
Then Jules Huiana Mariu snag for us and when she sang Carol King's hit song, ‘Just like a Woman.’ It sent shivers down my spine. You will know she's amazing if you ever get the chance to hear her.
Some of you may have seen a young man on TV form Mt Roskill Grammar who is an incredible poet/rapper. His name is Joshua Siope-Iosefa. The first time I saw and heard him on TV I thought, ‘What a guy. What a message.’ I’m not sure what the name of his performance was but it is a message that needs to be heard and it is delivered with passion, skill and cannot fail to move. We are going to see much more of this remarkable young man.
It is timely that we mark this special day. Violence in all its forms is repugnant and that against women and children is particularly so. If this day helps in any way to address this scourge on society then let’s make it bigger each year. Men need to stand up and own the issue and address their part in it.
Those men, presenting today have given and will continue to give, so that the issue is not forgotten. For the rest of us males, we must not stand by and do nothing when we see violence. As one of the speakers said, ‘it’s not about toughening up,’ it’s about owning the problem and doing something about it.’ We can do this by walking the road of non-violence ourselves. ‘Show, don’t just tell’ would sum up our much needed approach.
Spread the word through your own actions my friends.
The Students from a range of Auckland schools including James Cook HIgh
Jules singing in the background.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Government is buying a fight that it will not win against ---

The Government seems to be resolute in its desire to take on the combined might of teacher unions, parents and many in the community who find the actions of this Government to be abhorrent when it comes to Education policy. They are determined to go down roads that have been long discredited by good research. Their aim is both ideological and fiscally driven.
This will culminate in putting education back many decades. The students will suffer and would-be teachers will make alternative decisions about what they wish to do with their lives. That the Government can’t see this is particularly worrying.
Meeting after meeting held by the NZEI is rejecting the latest proposals by the Government to put the power back with The Ministry when it comes to annual increments for primary teachers. We can be sure that PPTA will be addressing the same issue at some stage.
For those who think the issues that teachers have with the Government are mainly about money, I say think again. The conditions that both unions have fought so hard for, both to better resource schools and for the very best support we can have for teachers is a direct attack on the citizens of the future.
The battle is far from over and we can expect the teachers, parent groups and University spokespeople to ramp up the effort to try to make this Government see sense.
This is a golden opportunity for the alternative parties wishing to take control of the Treasury to come up with better policy. We cannot wait for the normal election cycle. We must see the ‘vision for the future’ planted now. Our kids are too precious and the highly skilled teachers must not be lost to other forms of employment or to overseas systems. Education in NZ is facing a crisis, driven by an ignorant Government and a Ministry that does their bidding.

Goodbye Pork Pie 3 or is it 4? The car is looking ----

The car is starting to look lke a car, albeit it in a rather dismembered piece of metal kind of way. To a very ignorant mechanically deficient person like myself, it looks like they have plenty to do. The kids and teacher informed me that it will probably take uintil Easter 2013 before
it is finished but I reckon heaps of peple will want to make it their own. Line up you wannabe Mini  owners and revisit your youth. Just don't tell any tales about what you got up to in your very distant past. Do you remember that hard suspension as you sped along some of the rough roads--- the potholes that nearly swallowed the little beastie? Then there was the crappy radio--- it wasn't even FM and  forget about CD players or Bluetooth. If you asked anyone then about bluetooth they would want you to open your mouth and have a look! So, keep it up students of James Cook High and your wonderful teachers. You do us all proud.

UK readers----- special offer for XMAS

Come on you  lot--- get my books for xmas. I own't even make a profit with this offer. Don't use the webiste. That;'s far too expensive with the way its set up. Just contact me direct on   Use the website to see the books though. Hvae  aread of a bit of Kiwiana tho innint.  Oops.  I watch to much UK TV. Hey I just love Mrs Browns feckin sons and Miranda. God, I found myslef watchiing reuns of Benny Hill the other day. My things have chnaged eh. They don't just do inuendo anymore. It's all straight up now. As you can see I didnt spell check this one.  Don't forget to pass on my blogs and website and to ask your ;local libraies for my three books. They may even buy them if you give them contact detalis.
1) Coastal Yarns---stories from a nostalgic Kiwi with a few naughty twists.
2) Roskill--- A story for teenages, espeically those who have parnets indulging in substances they tell theri kids not to.
3) Talk To Me. If you love or hate Talk Back radio and love Jack Russells, this ones for you.

Merry Xmas my Brit friends and my neice there. K--- sned me your address and I will send you Roskill and Talk to Me for free.

NZ house prices forced up because our properties help marriage prospects!

A prominent academic (Manying Ip) has claimed that many non-resident Asians are entering the housing market in NZ (Auckland in particular) in order to enhance their marriage prospects by having a house or an apartment here. That, by the very nature of the huge potential size of the ‘buyers’ that Asia represents is an issue we must be upfront about.
New Zealand Governments must put our citizens first, even in these days of the so called ‘global market.’ Should not governments look to enhance the life chances of their own citizens? Is not housing an issue that New Zealanders hold close to their hearts? If the facts as presented by the academic are correct and there is a growing sense out there on the market that they are, then let’s do something about it.
Why can we not tighten up the accessibility to all NZ assets, not just the Sate owned ones, but the very hallmark assets that most New Zealanders aspire to---- their own home? Surely if one does the maths about prospective overseas buyers, it can quickly be claimed that unfettered entry into our housing markets from this huge group of wannabe owners of NZ properties for the reasons stated and others, then it goes without saying that NZers are going to be squeezed out of the market.
What we now need is for the Labour Party to put aside its leadership wrangling and get alongside other parties and hammer out a joint agreement about where to go with this issue and make sure that New Zealanders are put first. OH--- is there not a party pout there with that name and another ne that also likes to look after NZers’ best interests, with a ‘Green’ colour.
If this issue is not enough to return Labour to a more sensible direction, than they will suffer the consequences. Forget about this National Government doing anything more that pleasing their big business partners, both here and overseas.
We are at a cross roads and now is the time for a ‘coalition of parties’ to wake up and rebuild hope for NZers of all creeds, colour and persuasions. Ms IP is not reluctant to point out the issue, so now, where are the policitians who can work to resolving this crisis? They are too busy with their infighting and political narcism.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Who's the real loser in the 'two Davids' debacle?

History has taught us many lessons but the sad fact is that they don’t stick. Last night I got caught up in a debate that was raging on Facebook. It was initiated by supporters of David Cunnliffe who were more than miffed at his demotion to the back benches of Parliament. I made the mistake of commenting on some of the highly emotional claims and counterclaims of the participants. I must say that the majority of the contributors were supporters of DC so I think that the debate was a bit one-sided.
Having said that, I also think that if one was to look for clich├ęs and particular mind-sets that go along with ‘died on the wool’ supporters of a particular stance or candidate, then anyone doing research on such matters, would have gathered a great deal of empirical data. At times the debate was tragic and at others it was so funny that I had to hold back in my comments for fear of attracting violence towards myself.
I remember the days when I was an ardent supporter of the Labour Party. I like to think that now, I am an armchair supporter of many of their policies, but buggered if I am going to be lumbered with some blind ‘mind-set’ that demands loyalty and ‘swallowing of the whole bundle.’ I remember the debates that seemed to centre on how ‘left’ your views were and the divisions were apparent then, just as they are now. Those divisions were ideological and personality based. If one was in a particular camp, then you could expect to be shunned by the others.
This very human phenomenon is not centred on the Labour Party alone; it is a theme that pervades any group, be it political, religious or economic in nature. As one gets ‘older’ such debates wear a little thin and one seeks some sort of understanding within oneself about how to handle such dilemmas.
Watching and reading the debate last night on Facebook just strengthened my resolve to stay away from the more strident viewpoints proposed, but I couldn’t resist making a few jibes.
OK, what then can I say about the ‘two Davids’ leadership debate? Firstly, there is no doubt in my mind that both are intelligent and experienced men; one more so when it comes to politics and the other in different areas of life. David Shearer (DS) came to politics quite late in life and possibly a little too late. His experience in the world of negotiation and working with disparate groups is impossible to miss. On the other hand, DC is very familiar with the halls of political power and manoeuvring within those circles. To get as far as he has, means that he has picked up the skills needed to garner support for his own ambitions.
In some ways, DS has not got that ‘kill factor’ when it comes to pushing his own leadership agenda and that is clearly showing now, by his clumsy attempts to either silence DC or place him where he is perceived to be less troublesome. He made a terrible mistake this morning by not fronting to the Media to discuss the events of the last few days. Oh yes, the media was trumpeting his handling of DC last night, but he didn’t follow through just when he should have. If he wants to appear strong, refusing to front is a pretty stupid way of progressing with his ‘new and harder’ image.
What DS has done today is to lose the momentum he may have been gathering. I do not know why he didn’t front, and we may hear a very valid reason and that will make my comments mean nothing. DC on the other hand must have noticed this omission on his leader’s part and be starting his comeback. However, he needs to take note of the fact that he does not have the support in the caucus that he needs and those that did support him melted away when he did not challenge DS yesterday. When he ‘lined up’ behind DS, he threw away any chance he had for the leadership in February when a formal process is due to take place. His supporters would not have won the day, but they could have claimed a base from which to work. Now, nothing short of a complete upheaval in the Labour Party will bring him back. DC is simply not liked by enough people.
The debate on FB last night was driven by disenchanted supporters from DC’s electorate. Those who disagreed with the direction of the debate were not speaking out. There was even a National Party guy, who incidentally clicked on the ‘Likes’ for his own comment. That says a lot about his contribution, but I won’t hold that against him. At least he had the guts to make a comments and then stand behind them.
DS has created further doubt about his capacity to lead by not fronting this morning and it may come back to haunt him. I hope not because he has much to give. He also missed the chance to bring DC back aboard. He would not have to look to far back in history to realize that it is better to have ones enemies inside the tent than outside. I could have used a more crude way of putting it and I am sure there will be those of you out there who know what I wanted to say.
 Look to a continuation of this drama!

Monday, November 19, 2012

House prices unafordable for NZers

It is becoming obvious that New Zealanders are living in a country that is becoming the target for foreigners wanting to buy up houses and thereby forcing the prices up for NZers. The fact that many Chinese buyers are coming into NZ and attending auctions with lots of money to spend is putting huge pressure on NZers. It goes without saying that the bourgeoning middle classes and rich in China vastly outnumber and outmanoeuvre NZers when it comes to bidding, especially in the Auckland area.
It has to be said that this is putting NZ citizens in the position of being unable to compete against such practises. When I brought my first house, no such impediments existed. Auctions were not as common, but now they seem to be dominating the sales process. Prices are now at the point where people are paying over a million dollars for houses that clearly need a lot of work done. Yes, these houses are in the inner suburbs of Auckland, but that does not take away the fact that the mat is been taken from under our feet.
It is going to take a brave Government or political party (other than NZ First) that is going to ask the hard questions or put this all out there for us to discuss as a nation.
 In a sense our independence as a nation is being brought out from under us and we seem to be unable to do anything about it. We do not want to be or appear to be racists and we need to have good relationships with the world’s second biggest economy, but surely we need to address the problem of affordability in our own nation.
We have embraced the notion of the ‘free market,’ so any interference in the ‘market’ is frowned upon. OK, but let’s have an even playing field. Are we Able to go to China and buy houses and land? I think not. Why can we not have reciprocal arrangements with nations whereby ‘if they want to be able to enter our markets to the point of owing houses and land,’ then we need to be able to do the same in their countries? Even then, we may not be able to compete, so maybe we need to weigh the odds and make them more favourable to our citizens. If we do not address this issue now, we are going to be dispossessed I n our own land. Does that not sound familiar as a factor in our own history?