How safe is New Zealand? By Angela Caldin

‘On behalf of New Zealand, I would like to apologise to Grace’s family; your daughter should have been safe here and she wasn’t and I’m sorry for that.’ These are the words of Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, speaking about the recent murder of Grace Millane. She continued, ‘We pride ourselves on being a place where people are welcome, where they are safe and this hasn’t happened. I feel a sense that New Zealanders are carrying this quite personally.’ Homicide rates I was intrigued by her claim that Grace should… Read More

Truth versus opinion by Susan Grimsdell

When did opinion take over from truth?  I’ll give you an illustration. Warrants of fitness Recently, it has been found that some garages in NZ who are authorised to issue warrants of fitness (WoFs), certifying the car is safe in all respects, have been doling them out to drivers without actually checking cars. NZ has an enforcement agency tasked with visiting garages to make sure regulations are being followed.  It seems that in some cases, these enforcers have very “kind” hearts, and have been turning a blind eye to breaches, merely reiterating… Read More

Values versus science by Susan Grimsdell

New Zealand has been seeing some pretty scary behaviour from seemingly ordinary people lately.  Government staff have been the target of a torrent of abuse and threats, on social media, in phone calls and by email. This has included death threats and, following up on that, some staff have had the wheel nuts on their cars loosened.   Dead birds have been thrown on the steps of Parliament and thousands of people have marched in fury down the streets of our cities. Predator danger The issue?  Dept of Conservation dropping a poison, referred… Read More

Truth and alt truth by Susan Grimsdell

It’s bad enough when individuals form “opinions” that have little or no bearing on actuality, but much worse when governments do, because their opinions become policies that we all have to comply with.  Trump’s a grand master at doing this – alt truth.  But he sure isn’t the only one. Toxic decisions Here the news lately is full of the disaster of so-called “P” houses, where no one in government making decisions had bothered to look into the scientific evidence, and as a result, handed down polices that meant millions of public… Read More

From the back of the front line by Trevor Plumbly

Honours and horrors I’ve made a few mistakes this week. The first was to scan the Queen’s birthday honours list. For some strange reason, I follow this every year; it’s a bit like squeezing pimples, it’s not pleasant but people do it anyway. I do it, not to check if I’ve been included, more to see if they can top last year’s inanities. True to form, there’s a ‘Sir’ for a rejected prime minister, baubles for a forgotten pop star, some sportsfolk and whoopee, a ‘cookery writer’ (services to glazed carrots?). Those… Read More