Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Zealand is at a crossroad re how we deal with drugs in the workplace and elswhere in our society.

I want to state that I would hate to be labelled as some right-wing blogger who pontificates around issues and appear to be insensitive towards those whop partake in drugs. Firstly let me state that drugs always have and always will be part of society and that we will never eradicate them. At best we may be able to come to a place where the usage is such that society as a whole is not unduly affected. We are far from that place; indeed the flow-on affect of drug use (I include alcohol) is having a devastating affect on our young people in particular and on various statistics re health, work and general wellbeing. Those affects destroy families, business, employment and the life of our kids, who may have no say in what goes on around them.
 I am not disputing the claims that people turn to drugs for a number of reasons and that the use can become endemic within a family or other groups in our society. There may be a strong reason to 'escape' and no amount of 'Hey if I can do it, then they can,' will justify an approach that further pushes people away from 'normal' society and all that comes with being successful in NZ.
Now the hard part. I have not often agreed with Paula, the Minister in charge of benefits etc., but her move to make it harder for people to stay on drugs and still collect benefits is not entirely without merit. If there is not some 'incentive' to get off drugs and re-join society, then we can only look forward to a permanent disenfranchisement of large groups within our society. That people turn up to job interviews 'smashed' or drunk is not acceptable. We should not be expected to support these people through our welfare system to stay permanent on 'support. Unless there is a medical reason (Physical or mental health wise) then no young person should be able to sit at home, doing nothing and still expect the 'State' (us) to support them. We do not want to establish a group that will never have aspirations to support themselves. The Maori Party and Mana  (amongst other groups) have long advocated discontinuing the dependence on State hand-outs. They also want to be able to have the power and resources to break the cycle of dependence. If that means more resources going into the control of Maori, either through Treaty settlements or other methods, then so be it. After all,  Pakeha NZ has not managed to make huge improvements. That statement will rankle with a proportion of the NZ population, but I say---just look at history and make a call as to whether the schemes we have tired have worked to an extent that  social issues have lessoned.
Back to Paula Bennet 'toughening up.' As long as programmes are in place to give a 'hand up,' to address some of these that hold back groups in our society, then go for it. If an individual chooses to stay on a benefit while also refusing to make life changes (with help) then they are also choosing to marginalize themselves from society.
Of course my words will fall on deaf ears when it comes to the massive amount of resources that will be needed to break the cycles that hold back large portions of society form achieving a level of lifestyle that most of us have come to expect as our right. The areas needing this 'social investment' include, education, health, housing just for a start. Add in some of the issues around institutional racism and we will have a good start to making a better New Zealand. Unfortunately we do not have the 'pool of forward thinking' politicians who will put the future of New Zealand ahead of the 'three year cycle of getting their noses back into the political trough!

Day 6---post surgery.

How do I feel? Great, but no pain killers from today on, so it may get a little rough.
                         Fantastic, because I no longer need pills for Diabetes.
                         Good, because I have halved my blood pressure pills.
By the way, that was not my decision. I would never do that unless the 'doctors' told me to!
                         I can walk a bit more, so long as I pace myself. This too is acting under instruction.
                         I am managing the 'tiny' meals (about an egg cup and a bit full). Soups seem to be the best option, all made by myself or good friends. My freezer is overflowing with them. All food has to be liquidised so that's the way to go. Oh for a soft-boiled egg!. I also eat cottage cheese and salmon form a can. I mixed that and it looked like cat puke but tasted fine. I thinned it down with unsweetened yogurt. Yogurt is my 'friend' as it is so soothing and slips down a treat. I will begin to make my own soon.
Now, here is my recipe for an incredible chicken stock, which forms the basis for many of my soups. All I have to do is add extra protein, like lentils and various other vegetable 'protein.'

Buy some chicken carcases. (They are cheap and this reminds me of the fact that my food bill is now miniscule.) Gently simmer them with an onion cut up but not peeled, garlic, bay leaves and a carrot. Don't salt it but pepper is OK. I simmered mine for 3 hours. Let it cool. Pour into a large sieve and squeeze as much fluid as you can into the bowl below the sieve. Let that cool some more in the fridge and skim off the layer of fat. Next day the results will be a lovely jelly like stock. I use this for everything; poaching chicken, making soups and stews. Healthy, cheap and lovely.
I'm off for afresh air walk and I just heard form my dietician. She said to eat a little more and that I can have an egg every day from now on. Whoopee!


Sri Lankan refugees 'bound for New Zealand! What can we do?

The news that a boat containing more than 50 Sri Lankan refuges has made it to Perth but the real destination could be NZ is disturbing for a number of reasons.
Firstly it cannot be too long before someone organizes a boat that is actually capable of crossing the treacherous Tasman Ocean. Such a 'ship' wold of course have to be much bigger than those so far seen plying the seas around Australia. If they actually get as far as NZ, what will our immigration and Government do? Will they pack them up and send them back forcibly to their nation of origin? That's where things get a bit confusing as many may well have left their native shores many years ago and have existed in various 'camps' around the world.
This is where New Zealand has traditionally supported those in 'genuine' refugee status.' We have taken large numbers of refugees at different key point in our history. Outside those times we have taken a 'quota' from refugee camps and other areas. New Zealand has a good reputation for these actions.
Australia is in a different geographical position in that it that much closer to the 'flow' of refugees. It is that much closer to South East Asia, which has become a 'stepping stone' for those wishing to attain Australian residence. This has led to a great deal of political carnage for Australian politicians as they grapple with this ever increasing problem; the arrival of countless numbers of genuine and economic refugees. Many of them have 'jumped the queue' and  ended up illegally on Australian shores, exacerbating the position of those waiting to get into Australia legally, by going through the correct channels. Each time a boat load of 'refugees' achieves their goal, the message must be filtering through to the camps, further raising the expectations of 'would-be be' boat people.
Was it not for the Tasman Ocean, New Zealand would be in exactly the same position. I feel for our Aussie cousins who haver yet to find a human solution to this difficult issue.
New Zealand must continue to support 'legal entry' through existing programmes, but we must also resist any attempt by refugees to reach our shores in mass. We are not set up to deal with this and I suspect the first large number of refugees is going to result in a great deal of confusion and anger from New Zealanders as a whole. We need to start this discussion about a response now, because the time is nearing when our TV screens will feature a large ship, slipping into Auckland's harbour.
Unfortunately our politicians have their heads in the sand on this issue, apart from the New Zealand First Party, but the noises enemating from that source do not always address the real issues. Making a 'big noise,' generally at election time is no more than 'pissing in the wind.'