Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela is dead.

Nelson Mandela is dead. I doubt that nay nation can lay claim to a former leader who has had the same impact on the birth of a nation in quite the same way this incredible man had. I search though the history of my own country, New Zealand, and I cannot come up with anyone approaching his status.
If it was not for his magnanimous manner, I am pretty sure that the transition from the old oppressive Apartheid regime would have been far more problematic. What could have been a tumultuous time, was instead one of ‘forgiveness’ and ‘rebuilding.’ What could have been a time of hopelessness, transitioned into an era of hope.
When he became President, Mandela could have launched a bitter period of ‘payback and violence’ against the former leaders but he chose not to. Instead, he embarked on a nation building process that was inclusive; one that acknowledged the ‘truth of the past,’ but also looked forwards to a brighter future, for all South Africans. If his vision fails, it will not be because of any failing on his part, but totally with those he left the reigns to.
Yes, South Africa has a long way to go before the inequalities of the past are healed and for all South Africans to be able to take part in all aspects of the economy and political structures. Mandela has left behind a nation that clearly shines as one in Africa that has a good chance to achieve the goals that so many other nations aspire to. There are ‘warts’ and processes that have yet to worked through or corrected, but he helped to lay the basis that is so essential for his dream of a Rainbow Nation’ to take its place in the world. It is up to his successors to make it happen. They must put aside those tendencies that have derailed so many other dreams. ‘Father,’ you will be so sadly missed, but now it is your ‘rest time.’

Christmas reading---check out 'ROSKILL' on Kindle.

The Xmas Holidays (and yes, we still say Merry Xmas in New Zealand!) are about to descend upon us and some of you will actually have some time to put your feet up and stick your head in a good book. Well, may I suggest that you consider ROSKILL, my first book to go on Kindle? If you like a fast moving, topical, funny, yet serious at times story, then maybe ROSKILL is for you.
Imagine leaving behind a life in a city you grew up in, picking up a new job and then---there is your family to consider. Your partner has always been there for you, but in the new city, things start going very wrong. If your partner ‘changes’ and your children start to drift into dangerous new ‘worlds,’ what would you do? Will anyone help?
Read ROSKILL and find out what could easily happen to any family in any city---anywhere. ROSKILL is a story that every teenager should read and parents too.
HOW?  You can visit my website and download the Kindle version. Haven’t got a Kindle? NO problem! --- Just click on the reading App or buy one through the link. Please do a review of you download and read ROSKILL and pass on the link to your friends and contacts.  
Now, go and click on my website and start downloading ROSKILL.

Auckland needs more apartments and shopping malls? Head out, south and to the rest of NZ!

The reports in the NZ Herald that Auckland is destined to keep growing, probably at the expense of the rest of NZ (my words) is indeed worrying. That we may need many more new shopping malls and huge apartment buildings because more and more Aucklanders will move into the central city means more congestion and quite frankly a life-style that seems a bit different to what we know and love in NZ. Perhaps it is that Auckland is catching up with the rest of the world and that ‘inner –city dwelling’ is the way of the future. Perhaps it will mean that people do not have to commute so much and maybe it will be safer to walk Auckland’s streets at night, with the advent of more people and light around in those hours when ‘bad things happen.’ So, is it all bad that Auckland will suck up what Christchurch leaves over from their rebuild or will tradespeople and other skilled employees turn their eyes back to Auckland?
I don’t know how it will all pan out but we should be concerned that Auckland as the power engine of NZ (Don’t tell the farmers I said that!) will continue to take the focus from the regions? Do we really want just a few cities in New Zealand to be the vibrant sectors of our economy while the remainder of New Zealand becomes a ‘quaint’ middle-earth reality? Do we let Auckland become the ‘Shanghai of New Zealand,’ whereby each year thousands of Aucklanders return to their roots in the provinces? Of course some of those ‘provinces’ will be offshore, as a significant proportion of Aucklanders hail from overseas.
Maybe Auckland will find a balance that is right for New Zealand, but not without planning from central Government, in the form of some sort of incentivising people to live outside the behemoth that Auckland is becoming.
There is of course another trend that will emerge as a serious factor; that of an undersupply of skilled workers in the building and allied industries. Where are all these workers going to come from? We are not training enough in New Zealand as young people seek out employment they see as more exciting, ignoring the fact that they could have well-paid jobs in that sector. We will need to bring these skills in from elsewhere, hence the inflow from many countries; a large number of whom will want to settle in---you guessed it---Auckland! How do we avoid this tendency; one that just acerbates an already unbalanced situation?
We must offer incentives for people to settle elsewhere; yes even the ‘subsidy’  word should be heard or some sort of ‘bonding,’ much like teachers had many years ago. What is the point of allowing thousands of people into NZ only to have them add to the top-heavy population of Auckland?
Maybe we could use the ‘S’ (SUBSIDY!) word for New Zealanders. Offer free training for ‘trades people’ in NZ, attracting applicants from domicile NZers and Residents. The provinces could well do with a ‘shot in the arm’, re diversity and the ‘excitement’ that cultural enrichment brings.
I don’t want to rain on Auckland’s vibrancy but would it not be better for all of New Zealand if we retain a bit more of balance as to where people live. I am not advocating some sort of paternalistic ‘control, but for the good of New Zealand as a whole, let’s out some effort into nurturing other areas of our wonderful country. We will all be the winners. Would it not be wonderful seeing our smaller towns and cities having populations that support the services that they now need to travel great distances to receive? That can only come with more people living in those areas. For those in the rural areas who want to retain their solitary existences; well you can still do that. Maybe I shall join you!