Ram raiders by Susan Grimsdell

Auckland is enduring ram raids, where stolen cars are driven into the front of shops by kids, some as young as 7.  This causes terrible damage to the shops, as well as terror to the shopkeepers. Let’s blame the parents There was a column in the media recently saying, “Where are the parents, what’s wrong with the parents?”  Research into the circumstances of the offenders shows that they are usually school dropouts at the age of 11 or 12, with a family background of violence, drug abuse and gang life.   Role models… Read More

Beatniks, bombs and bollocks by Trevor Plumbly

Peace and love In the 60s, the British public weren’t ready for hippies. We had long hair, moustaches that struggled to impress and a creative scruffiness guaranteed to make mothers cringe. We were the new aliens; others tore themselves to pieces chasing the dictated norm, but we dwelt on a higher plane. We knew full well where the ills of the world lay, but didn’t achieve much in the way of curing them. We marched, of course, clutching signs saying, “Ban The Bomb!”, or the more creative, “Fighting For Peace Is Like… Read More

Poverty, inequality and tax by Susan Grimsdell

I’m always puzzled that politicians, the ones who either run the country already or want to run it, fail to see that introducing policies that make things a bit more equal will make things better for everyone. Who benefits from tax cuts? For example, the National Party is campaigning on a promise of tax cuts, but their plan will benefit people who are already doing quite well, and benefit the poor hardly at all.  Those on $90,000 a year will get an extra $58/week, those on $15,000 will get $1.35. Our Labour… Read More

The state of the nation by Angela Caldin

Yesterday, I had two interesting conversations which I’ve been pondering on overnight. The food bank phenomenon I was on the tube when I met a colleague from my days in the magistrates’ courts. He’s a defence solicitor and therefore sees on a daily basis and at first hand the poverty and deprivation experienced by many of those who commit petty offences. He commented wearily that food banks are just about the only growth industry in this country nowadays. It’s true that food banks are springing up even in areas which are traditionally… Read More

Earning a Crust by Trevor Plumbly

Dollars and Sense? As the old Jewish saying goes, ‘There’s no profit in looking in another man’s pocket.’ By and large, I’ve done my best in life to avoid doing that, but a newspaper article the other day forced a bit of a rethink. A CEO of one of our leading banks is now being paid over $4 million a year; stick a few perks in the mix and you’d probably end up nearer the $5 million mark. Big salaries are an accepted part of American corporate life; what I’m asking is,… Read More