Our biggest problem is actually what to do with the sewage and waste we create and the reality of 10,000 year schedules for when she'll be right again. As modelled initially in 1976 or something.
I'd love to see the rates graph compared to one showing house price increases. Rates are almost the only universal wealth tax levied in NZ, long may they soar.
John Campbell may have become one of the first sports reporters to suffer whiplash from covering a game of rugby. Ali's a BIG unit.
My father committed suicide and I felt it was a story worth repeating as it resulted from many issues that weren't often reported on by a media protecting the rugby, racing, beer and Roger-Douglas-was-visionary culture prevalent in the 90's.
Suicides often have an uncomfortable background of causes that go back decades, but are often symptomatic of bad policies impacting on those worst able to respond to them.
I feel by media not truthfully revealing the causes of suicide we are ignoring the parrot in the mine. Suicide can often be a protest that just doesn't involve immolation, but is as shattering for those close to the victim and is really a statement by the victim that they have no hope for improvement in their lives. We should report those reasons more.
The debate beyond that around the red peak flag's inclusion has been fairly non-existent. People aren't engaged - a third of potential voters don't turn up to a general election for example. Those I know who don't vote just think it doesn't include them anyway - the wealthy elite will get whatever they want anyway. Even my friends who do engage politically dismiss a conversation about the topic in less than a minute, whereas a convo about today's Lochinvar Station sale refusal and the approval for the sale of 50% of Silver Fern Farms may take hours, especially with a group with a range of political views present. It is unfortunately a non-issue for many who will be expected to live under the design that is victorious.
I'd like to see a change - my Irish ancestors aren't represented in the Union Jack and multiple other countries fly a Southern Cross. We should become a Republic first, and then, with that underlying cause for change and intent to do so, maybe the thinking behind the design and the involvement level of the public would be enhanced.
Maybe we could take in the boat people being held in indefinite detention by the Australian government at Nauru and Manus Island instead. They were fleeing Iraq, Afghanistan etc and the problem (the words 'ongoing humanitarian disaster' spring to mind) is very local to us.
After their ill treatment by Aussie governments of all political persuasions for the last decade it's like having a local Guantanomo housing people who haven't committed any crime other than trying to flee their war-torn homelands.
RIP Graham Brazier. What a dude! One of the only kiwi celebs I saw in the late 80's who would walk down the main street engaging randomly with everyone who took his interest. There may have been great drugs involved, but he approached me at least five times like this - just reaching out to people, interested. One of a kind.
We had 117,000 migrants arrive in the year to July. Many are in reality escaping totalitarian regimes but are wealthy enough to do so. Most seem to invest primarily in housing.
Many then invite family to join them.
No-one has ever asked if we want to ship in a million more residents each decade without thought to the infrastructure needed to accommodate them until their death, let alone the superannuation bill required.
Imagine if we took 10,000 refugees and 107,000 migrants instead. The refugees would be more grateful - we wouldn't just be a stepping stone to Australia or a way to give their following elderly relatives free healthcare and super for example.
The refugees arriving in Europe currently are the best equipped to get there. 800,000 have arrived in Europe in the last year, with another 40 million potential followers still stranded on the way according to reports this week. These first refugees are more highly qualified and had the money to escape. I think they would add skills to our economy and wouldn't push our house prices up on arrival in the same way traditional migrants would.
That Hundertwasser's flag wasn't included - just an updated version from someone else - shows how wrong the whole exercise is. I didn't realise how famous he was until I went to Germany - I even managed to buy a Hundertwasser Advent Calendar.
The story of an immigrant bonding with our young country and designing a flag based on indigenous art forms provides a story that melds with our nation's history.
That Otis Frizzell's flag design didn't make the top 4, yet a version that John Key likes being included twice with a minor colour change, shows how captured this whole process was from the beginning.
And if you were going to spend $26 million on the exercise, why on earth would you use cheap, nasty and ubiquitous display equipment like pull-up posters as the backdrop to your presentation, rather than spending a couple of thousand dollars more on something more impressive like lycra banners? Why didn't they actually print the flags rather than showing an AV representation from them? The "panel" must be flying first-class and staying in 5-star hotels, because the presentation equipment they're using must only be costing 0.01% of the budget.
An interesting statistic, reported on Monday, shows alcohol sales have increased after marijuana was legalised in USA states like Colorado - the opposite to liquor industry expectations. I think this may be because users are able to budget better since there are no supply issues, or because the price of weed has decreased - and therefore they have more money left over to spend on booze. Either way, the alcohol companies should probably start backing decriminalisation or legalisation of marijuana based on these stats. I expect that like their US counterparts, the kiwi brewers would have resisted enshrining any competition from legal marijuana up until now (but this is a guess).
Marijuana should have been legalised 40 years ago - saving us billions of dollars in unpaid tax, saving hundreds of thousands of kiwis from punishment by the state for a victimless crime, removing a huge economic boost to criminal gangs and resulting in better health outcomes for users who would no longer be as likely to hide their habit from medical professionals etc.