Carbon footprint by Angela Caldin

I’m getting increasingly concerned about my family’s carbon footprint which is fast assuming the proportions of a giant’s imprint. Yesterday we took our younger daughter and her partner to the airport for their journey back to Brisbane after a brilliant family Christmas here in Auckland. They took with them, as well as the usual suitcases, two mountain bikes in enormous cardboard boxes and a surfboard with its cover stuffed with all sorts. They’ve set up in Australia after two years in the UK. Our elder daughter lives in Auckland and our son… 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

Yorkshire mini-break by Angela Caldin

I’m up in Yorkshire enjoying a few days immersion in all that is wonderful about this county including its down-to-earth people, its direct talk, its breath-taking landscapes and its wry humour. Northern rivalry I should point out that I’m from Lancashire, a diamond of a county, but locked in a centuries old rivalry with its neighbour over the Pennines. Who remembers learning about the Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth century with the white rose for the House of York and the red rose for the house of Lancaster? As if… Read More

Young people on the streets by Susan Grimsdell

I’ve come across two crowds of young people in the past couple of weeks.  On 24 May hundreds and hundreds of students marched down Queen Street in Auckland blocking the entire street. They were angry at us – oldies – who have used and abused the planet: the damaged, degraded planet they will be obliged to cope with in the coming years.  They carried handmade placards with messages from the heart.  These were not mass-produced as is the case in some protests.  “I’d be in School if the Planet were Cool”, “I’ll… Read More

Courtesy calls by Trevor Plumbly

Cellulitis? As befits an old geezer, I’ve stuck to the landline telephone. There are reasons for hanging on to this ancient means of communication: I’m a fully paid up ‘blindy’, so grubbing round for a trilling bit of plastic half the size of a fag packet held little joy for me. Unlike the mobile, the landline is a single entity, it has a dignified ring as opposed to a semi-musical demand for attention, it does all it’s required to do without torturing me with ‘additional features’, it has a tactile reliable feel… Read More