Driving Time by Trevor Plumbly

‘It’s Just Too Much Hassle.’ (Quote from an Auckland resident on visiting the city centre.) It’s amazing how internally dysfunctional cities are – despite the fact that they are supposedly intended to house and serve people, the majority seem to struggle to do either with any degree of success. You name it, most cities have got it: casual crime, noise and air pollution, overcrowding and, of course, transport nightmares. It seems that regardless of the obstacles presented by the abysmal traffic flow and parking shortages, everybody travelling into the city must take… Read More

DIY Aliens by Trevor Plumbly

They’re Coming to Get Us I remember with some fondness the 1950s and 60s. The popular theory at the time was that the Aliens were up there and intended to invade; indeed, according to the more fanciful newspaper accounts of the time, ‘they’ had actually visited, abducted a few of America’s fairest, transported them to the mother ship and impregnated them. However, time has shown that if indeed ‘they’ are up there, they’re either not in any hurry to ‘get’ us or they’re quite happy to let us ‘get’ ourselves. By virtue… Read More

The Flood: Myth and Reality by Angela Caldin

Tamaki Drive in Auckland is flooding this morning as I write. Cars are at a standstill, wheelie bins are floating around like pieces of flotsam and the sea, swollen by heavy rain, is lashing wildly at anything in its path. There’s no denying the destructive power of water when it’s in the wrong place and this idea is melodramatically portrayed in Darren Aronofsky’s film Noah where humans and animals are wiped out in a mighty deluge leaving only Noah and his family on board the ark with a massive CG menagerie of… Read More

Go on Green by Trevor Plumbly

From Beatniks to Modern-day Greens Dope smoking, free loving, tree hugging pacifists were a hard act to follow, but it happened: the beatniks faded into non-violent old age and were replaced by hippies who, in turn, continued to fry their brains, bonk each other and love every living organism. Both were regarded as fringe counter cultures and viewed by most with a sort of amused tolerance, but the man warned ‘The times they are a-changing’, and they did! We got ‘The Greenies’. It’s hard to laugh at this new mob: they don’t… Read More

To Frack or not to Frack by Angela Caldin

Giddy Gideon backs Fracking I heard George Osborne’s honeyed tones on the news this weekend announcing big tax breaks for the fracking industry with the aim of kicking off a shale gas revolution in the UK.  The Treasury has set a 30% tax rate for onshore shale gas production. That compares with a top rate of 62% on new North Sea oil operations and up to 81% for older offshore fields. Some say this is needed to improve Britain’s energy security but others say it will greatly increase carbon emissions. A day… Read More