Thursday, April 25, 2013

China is now NZ's biggest export market! What will that mean for us?

The days when New Zealand saw the UK as the 'Mother 'Nation' have totally gone; consigned to the annals of history. That time in our history really went south when Great Britain failed us at Singapore in the Second World War. Yes, we still have excellent ties and cultural links with dear old England but the reality is that we are a Pacific nation with ever increasing ties to Asia, China in particular. This new reality will need to be reflected in our diplomatic relationships with the new economic giants we trade with. That is going to be difficult to 'swallow,' when some of these nations, particularly China follow policies that we have traditionally found hard to relate to namely those issues around human rights. Will we have to kow tow to China now and put aside our 'discomfort' in the name of economic survival? Yes, Australia will continue to be our ally in all sense of the word and the USA will remain in our sphere of interests. Maybe it is time for us to pursue a 'non-aligned' foreign policy stance and not get dragged into every war that our former economic masters have led us. It is a 'brave new world,' one that we must adapt to and perhaps take a less than holly ground stance about what constitutes what is 'right for us.' Scary thought eh.

Forsyth Barr Stadium drawing large crowds--Go for it Dunedin!

What a fantastic piece of news. That the so so-called 'white elephant' in Dunedin is starting to gain a solid reputation amongst many overseas (and local acts is good news for the stadium itself and for Dunedin as a whole. The FBS drew bigger crowds for two big name acts than those achieved in Australia. It is time for Dunedin to build on this success. The money that is added to the local economy and maybe a few extra jobs are most surely welcome. Let this be part, even if only a small part of a new beginning for one of our provinces that is well away from my native city, Auckland. Go for it Dunedin!

Sythentitic Cannnabis is still being sold at a shop near you---Do something becuase we can not wait any longer!

Synthetic cannabis is still being sold in a shop near you. I am feeling more and more angry that this is so. We now know that these substances are even more dangerous than the substance that it purports to copy. Our A and E wards are seeing young people in dangerous states and we are going to see more 'casualties of this  nasty 'product. Why do we have to wait until August when  a Government can 'decree' a regulation and get this crap off our shop shelves NOW!? Lets name and shame these shops and take away their right to b e in our communities. If they can not demonstrate that they do not sell SC, then let everyone know in your neighbourhood. Put the names in my 'comments' section of this blog and send it on to your friends on Face Book, Twitter and anywhere else. I strongly recommend that you do not become involved in anything illegal, and implore you to be sure that those you put up on this blog are indeed selling the SC. Get out into your communities and find out. The NZ Herald named a few shops this morning, so you can start with those. Tell them in no uncertain terms that you will not tolerate their 'community unfriendly business practices. BUT, BE careful about the accuracy of your accusations! It is time to act!

Syria---now nerve gas enters the picture.

Who is who in Syria? Which side offers the best for its people? The answer is extremely complicated. On one hand we have the despotic President and his clique and on the other a disparate group of rebels who once the battle is over will fight amongst themselves because they do not represent a majority view. What hope is there for a country when the choices are so confusing? The risk is that the winner will be the side which is best organized and that could well be a 'Taliban type' group.Tell that to the women and girls of Syria who may find that even under the present leader their position is far better, even if that did mean not having any real political say in the running of their country. Is the choice really that sinister or will some sort of consensus prevail?---I doubt it.
For the USA and other 'bystander nations,' the choice of whom to 'help' is also problematic. There is no point in hoping that the 'Islamic world' will be ale to provide an answer because they too find it  as hard to agree as does the rest of the world.  Why should the Islamic world be any different to other nation groupings? It all comes down to complex relationships and economic groupings that have always been the main influences on all world events.
Today we hear that the USA sees the latest developments around possible use by the present regime of nerve gas' against its own people as being the 'tipping point' re international intervention (read, USA involvement). That would be a crucial mistake for the USA; such an intervention will result in further complicating an already intolerable position. Has the USA not learnt from its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and the sad fact is that the USA will drag its 'lackey' friends (NZ etc.) into a hopeless venture. For once, I hope that NZ and others will resist all moves and pressure to become involved in yet another disaster.
Where does that leave Syria? Look at history!

There's got to be a better way than using schools, churches and golf clubs for building housing on.

The headline in the NZ Herald about the possibility of using large tracts of land in Auckland, currently used for schools, churches, golf clubs and some luxury large sized homes for infill housing has to be seen as extreme in the least. The 'plan' does say that such proposals are at the outer limit of meeting the needs for extra housing for the people of Auckland in the not too distant future. We shall hear the outcry from a wide cross-section of groups, ranging from 'educationalists to the rich and influential. For a start, we know that the latter group will have their day and win in court, but other groups will not fare so well under the 'proposals.'
Maybe these early 'flagging's have been put out there, just to stimulate debate. OK, bring it on, but maybe we should be looking at another more sensible solution to the ever expanding (Land and people) needs of Auckland. Do we really want to have about 50% of NZ's population in one city, leaving the remainder of NZ for tourists and animals?
Would it not be far better to finally look at serious attempts to 'grow' the rest of NZ? Most of us, of a certain age, remember attempts by various political parties in the past to implement policies for 'regional development.' Little came of them, once the party proposing them came to power. The reality was and possibly still is for NZers to choose where they live and any Government veering from that is doomed to failure.
That means it will take political courage to pressure people into choosing elsewhere to live other than Auckland and there is precious little evidence that any of our current politicians, at least those who have their noses in 'Welle-trough' to make some tough decisions. Maybe Len Brown, Mayor of Auckland could be seen in that light, but his power is limited to those things 'Auckland.'
How about making it extra attractive for newly arriving immigrants to have an incentive to live elsewhere. How about attracting entrepreneurial capital on positive terms, if it is used in the 'regions?' Maybe a tax holiday or other incentives can help. Perhaps a 'think tank' of people can come up with ideas to entice people from Auckland? I do not mean pushing beneficiaries into regional NZ although to a small extent that is happening. We need jobs in these areas that will in turn attract people out of Auckland.
The ideas proposed in the 'plan' are surely meant to stimulate discussion and for that, it is a good plan. We cannot continue to pour resources merely to chase the tail of traffic, housing and other problems besetting the Queen city.'