A fourth rate estate by Trevor Plumbly

My brain has passed the R&D stage; these days I prefer the more frivolous things in life because too much reality can get depressing at my age. The process hasn’t been entirely voluntary; most of it was forced on me by the media’s insistence that short, sharp jabs of unpleasant news would make me more aware of what’s going on. It seems, to me anyway, that lately shock/horror is weighing too heavily in the balance of daily news. What was once considered bait for the tabloids is now rammed down our throats… Read More

Fire and flood by Angela Caldin

Unprecedented bush fires in Eastern Australia and devastating floods in the North of England. Some of the responses to these tragedies have been extraordinary. Michael McCormack, deputy prime minister of Australia and leader of the National party, said concerns over climate change while fires were burning were a ‘disgrace’. He went on to say “They (the victims) don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time.” When do they need those ravings, one wonders; if not when three people have died in fires that are… Read More

The best medicine by Trevor Plumbly

It might be an age thing, but I reckon it’s getting a bit harder to laugh things off these days. Politicians used to be OK for a bit of a giggle, but now, despite their comic instability, there’s something scary about them. There’s little point adding to, or rehashing, any of the ridicule that’s been heaped on Trump and Johnson; it might provide us with a bit of spiteful comfort, but that’s about it. Once elected, they become satire-proof. Until quite recently, political leaders led by example; these days, it seems, integrity… Read More

Prorogation: a word for our times by Angela Caldin

There’s a kind of hush over our house now and we are no longer drawn to watching the news at all hours. This is because on Monday 9 September, our prime minister prorogued parliament. This means he’s shut it down so that for the next few weeks we’ll be spared the sight of Boris Johnson making sexist remarks from the despatch box, of Jacob Rees-Mogg lounging arrogantly on the front bench and of the House of Commons flailing around in the mess that is Brexit. Prorogation is a new word for a… Read More

Get it together and get it right by Susan Grimsdell

Sometimes I think different parts of the NZ government live on different planets. One part is always warning of the risk to the economy of New Zealanders’ high level of indebtedness. We’re told we’re deeper in debt than almost anyone else in the world: Fitch Ratings (whoever that is) reports that this country has one of the world’s highest household debt levels, at 93% of GDP. Save or spend? By the same token, we’ve also been told time and again that we need to save more. Consumer advocates urge us not to… Read More