Sunday, September 16, 2012

John and John---the best friends Labour ever had!

John, please don’t fire Johnny. We need him in parliament. Labour needs him there, wasting tax payers’ money, providing entertainment and showing us just how desperate the PM has become.
It seems that Johnny Banksie will say and do almost anything to keep his greedy hands and mouth in the trough and his mate, PM Johnny Key knows that without the vote of the afore mentioned gentleman, his Government could well be on the edge of the crapper.
What a situation. One wonders how much more senior partner John will endure from his buddy. I wonder if he grinds his teeth in anger at night. His dreams must be littered with the ‘goings on’ and continuing denials from his tea-supping partner in political convenience. It says much about our PM.
I wonder what his colleague, Ms Parata makes of all this. I guess she has little time to ponder her leader’s never-ending story. She is far too busy ripping her foot from her own inept political gob. What will she come up with next?
 Labour, the Greens and NZ first must be sitting on their hands with glee, knowing that they need do little to make things much worse for the National Party. Then, there is the Maori Party on the side, intent on their own agenda and trying to find a reason to continue their arranged marriage with National.
Peter---oh Peter. You must surely be wondering at your choice of bed-partner. Change beds man, before you are swept away into political no-man’s land.
Oh well, such fun, such fun as Miranda’s mum says so eloquently.
Maybe Miranda should come and stand for parliament.

To live in Auckland can mean you are 'poor.'

I know, that is a very strange or confusing title to my blog. I need to explain my statement. I am of course talking about the high cost of living in Auckland. Take housing for example. The housing market is such that even a cool half million doesn’t buy much anymore, unless one goes to the extremities of the city, namely south or west. For those wishing to purchase anywhere within the central or near city suburbs, you will be looking at 600,000 plus and then some.
Imagine a young couple (or God forbid a single income family) trying to raise a mortgage (without help from Mummy and Daddy) to get a foot into the market. One would need a combined income of well over 100.000 and even then the prospect would be for a very long term mortgage.
OK---buying is too expensive, so maybe renting and hoping to save. That’s a trap too. Rentals in central are way too high. You can expect to pay upwards of 600 per week for anything decent.
So what to do: Buy or rent in the outer suburbs and then face expensive traveling costs if you work in town. Either way you’re stuffed.
Back to my opening statement: Unless you are prepared to live in the outer suburbs and live not too far from work, then after meeting your housing and transport needs, you will have little discretionary income. Auckland is a poverty trap. Most Aucklanders have little or anything left over after their housing and transport needs are met and I won’t even talk about those on benefits of any sort.
 The fact is that despite the flash looking suburbs and cool cars that some people manage to own (or the bank does); life is not easy for those in the queen city. What the can they do if they want a better life?
Move to the secondary cities and provinces. Havant we heard that before under the guise of ‘Regional Development?’ Successive Governments have tired that on us at election times and then conveniently forgotten or moved it to the back-burner.
They should not have. We need our smaller cities and towns to be lively and successful. We don’t need a third (and growing) of our population living in one centre. Surely if we were a little more evenly spread, more NZers would benefit and have better lifestyles. We have to think about developing our provinces in new ways. It may take some government intervention to start the process off.
Imagine cities like New Plymouth having about 100,000 and the smaller Taranaki towns adding a few thousand, The province as a whole would be more vibrant and less young people would need to move to the ‘ big smokes’ to find work and entertainment.
Mirror that process throughout NZ and create jobs. Firms may need encouragement/incentive to move. New immigrants could be persuaded through a range of tactics to experiment with living in the smaller centres. We would all gain form that rich cultural exchange.
Yes, we have ‘talked’ about this issue in the last, but have we really embraced it as a policy? I am not saying that we should make Auckland smaller but I am saying that it does not need to grow at the expense of the rest of NZ.
Let’s get our collective heads around this issue and come up with some answers. Think of the advantages of a rail system and public transport system that can only benefit from healthy provincial centres. I am not saying that we should go back to the last--- I’m saying we should go back to the future.

Teachers do not trust the Government re the rebuilding of schools in Christchurch---nor should you!

I have an increasingly strong feeling that the Government is not to be trusted in its plans to rebuild the education sector in Christchurch. Some of the announcements in recent days smack of a hidden agenda, one that will become clearer in the next year or so. They are ripping communities apart---those very communities that depended on these ‘soon to be closed or merged schools.’
The Government has failed to even acknowledge the role that teachers (many of whom were also suffering from the effects of the earthquakes) and how they held together many of the communities based around the damaged schools.
I also note John Minto’s claim that the Government may have many of these schools reopen sometime in 2014 as Charter Schools. Why should we trust a government on Education issues after so many blunders and misinformation statements have been issued since the earthquakes?
The answer is that we can’t. The answer is also hidden in the desire of the Government to slash the Education ‘spend’ by reorganizing the sector in Christchurch and beyond. You can be sure that any ‘savings through reorganizing’ will be replicated elsewhere at the first opportunity.
Is this just one more fiasco, similar to what we have seen re the Asset Sales Programme? I think yes.

Will we ever have peace in the Middle East?

On some days I take the view that we may never see peace in the Middle East. There are several reasons for this.
The Israeli/Palestinian question must be resolved before that thorn in the side of world peace can be removed but until all parties genuinely seek an agreement, then my hopes will be dashed.  I know that there is no simple answer. It is more than a question of giving up land.’ The sources of the issues go back many centuries, based upon broken promises and conflicting desires. Add in the religious zealots on both sides and you see a solution even further away.
When you look at the wider geographical area an even more unpromising situation reveals itself. Iran and its leaders are increasingly threatening a new conflagration, all based on their desire to build a nuclear weapon. I doubt that anyone on the Middle East, including fellow Islamic nations feels comfortable with the prospect of a ‘nuclear Iran.’ No amount of protestation on the part of Iran’s leaders will quell the fears.
Israel will never fold when it comes to survival. The history of the Jewish people only adds to their determination to never face annihilation again. They have returned to a land where their history began. For many Israelis, no one or any country will be allowed to threaten their survival again. If that means taking out the Iranian nuclear project, then they are prepared to go to war.
The wider implications of such an action for the Middle East and the world as a whole are indeed dire. Years of talk and yet more talk have achieved little to resolve this issue. Iran is a ticking time bomb and I believe it is a matter of months before we see an Israeli attack on Iran. The sad fact remains that such an action will not lie to rest the question that has persisted for decades--- the place of Israeli in the region.
The riots we have seen around the Arab world and in other large cities over the so-called film that insulted Islam, will be as nothing compared to the ramifications of a conflagration between Israel and its neighbours, because rest for sure, such a conflict will not be one between Israel and Iran alone. The possibilities for world peace are mind numbing.

Get out on the streets my Russian friends!

I was quite heartenning to Russians out on the streets. There is hope yet that you can bring and end to what is becomming a new dictator in the form of MR Putin. I think you are very brave, given how people are being harassed. His actions  and tose of his colleagues take the form of a 'creeping' takeover of power. Russians will wake up very soon to find that all the promise of a new beginning havewell and truely gone. It will be very difficult to 'rebirth' that hope.
Get out there in huge numbers. Thwe whole world is watching!