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

Matters of life and death by Susan Grimsdell

Choice is the word of the week it seems.  Voting in Ireland about whether or not to permit women to choose to have an abortion in their own home town or to be forced to go overseas for it, and voting here in New Zealand about whether to let everyone choose when they want to die. It seems a no-brainer to me.  I wouldn’t for one moment assume I have the right to make those decisions on behalf of anyone else, when that person is perfectly capable of making their own decisions. … Read More

Anzac Day 25 April by Susan Grimsdell

The airwaves here in New Zealand are full of war.  Remembrance of war, that is. 25 April marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. When I listen, I always get an uneasy feeling.  I hear that it’s all about “honouring” those who were killed, but when I think of all those sad, sad white crosses in the European war cemeteries, I have to wonder if the young men and women there would find any comfort from knowing that people… Read More

Homelessness by Susan Grimsdell

Homelessness is getting a lot of attention in New Zealand nowadays, particularly in Auckland. People who live in so-called leafy suburbs rarely come across it, I imagine, whereas I live in the Central City and have homeless people sleeping outside my building and in doorways and on benches all the way up Queen Street, so I see them every day and it’s hard not to think about and care about their plight. Where has kindness gone? What our society needs is a good helping of kindness.  New Zealand used to have kindness… Read More

Short and Curlies by Emily Smart

It’s been a bizarre couple of weeks which have left me pondering whether there is any sanity left in the world. I was hoping Facebook might get its comeuppance with the latest data breach news, but unfortunately, no. It would appear that (to borrow a quote from the Zuckerberg himself) “A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa”. Is he a genius or is he Machiavellian? I suspect the latter given an exchange of instant messages between the… Read More