Canaan to chaos by Trevor Plumbly

I used to find books a comfort in my autumnal years, but I’ve decided not to seek enlightenment via the Old Testament any more. The BC stuff’s OK, but it’s all a bit passé compared to our NZ parliamentary scene. Forget that ‘thou shalt not’ crap, down here most of it’s bloody near compulsory. In a few weeks we’ve had back-stabbing, voluntary exile, dummy-spitting and, for those who find government doings boring, there’s cyber willy-waving and a bit of backroom bonking. I know about ‘casting the first stone’ and all that stuff,… Read More

Another fine mess by Susan Grimsdell

Does the resignation of the Leader of the NZ Opposition, Todd Muller, send a signal that the public has a  standard of decency, one that he failed to meet?                                                                                                                               … Read More

New Zealand on the map by Angela Caldin

There was a time when quite a lot of people were vague about where exactly New Zealand was. Somewhere down at the bottom of the world was a good guess; fairly near Australia perhaps. Sometimes maps of the world left New Zealand off altogether, as though its two islands just a bit bigger than the UK were too insignificant to bother about. Containing the virus But in the last few months New Zealand’s stock has risen dramatically, because under the leadership of prime minister Jacinda Ardern, Covid-19 has to all intents and… Read More

The decline and fall of Paula Bennett by Susan Grimsdell

One of the wonderful strengths of our political system is the peaceful transfer of power.  We don’t get rid of a leader by killing him or her.  Instead, the defeated candidate steps down, following long-established protocols, and often expresses respect and praise for the new person. Democracy rules There are no guns or armed insurgents ready to assassinate the outgoing politician.  It’s unthinkable to even imagine such a thing. The procedure is based on respect for democracy and is carried out with courtesy.  While watching it happen, we all get confirmation that… Read More

Staying alert by Angela Caldin

I’m living in New Zealand at the moment, but I’ve been following developments in the UK as well. On TV here, there’s an adaption of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker prizewinning novel The Luminaries. I read this book when it first came out and couldn’t put it down. The only problem was that when I arrived breathless at the end, I had no idea what was going on among the huge cast of characters. It was good therefore to understand from the first episode on TV that two of the main protagonists, Anna… Read More