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!