Saturday, December 29, 2012

When Masterton went dry

When there is no current news, perusing papers from the past is sometimes entertaining. The Truth had the best articles. Here's one about what happened when Masterton "entered into the land of Wowserdom".

People drank even more as secret bingeing occurred causing "absence from work...lying and deceit..."

"There is more now solid and systematic 'silent'  sosselling going on now than ever before in the history of the district."

The writer also describes the hypocrites who voted for the "no" licence status in order to line their own pockets through sly-grogging.

Charmingly written. And a lesson for today's prohibitionists.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Meerkats breed at Xmas

It's been a somewhat strange Xmas here. The weather has see-sawed between intense heat and considerable chill, for the first time we put up a fake tree and it didn't seem to matter and my meerkats bred. When I went up the hill on Xmas morning I found two babies hiding amongst the long grasses I've planted.

But the highlights have been the generosity of my son spending all of his first ever pay-packet on his father to buy him something very special, and my daughter presenting me with a handmade teddy bear. For some reason he is 'Trent'. He's made from linen and some other brown fabric and is just gorgeous. The only thing in life I get sentimental over is my family and my few close friends. Sadly one called for help on Boxing Day night. Drunk, suicidal and lost - literally. This is someone I've only ever seen stoicism and humour from. I tried to talk her up and we cried together, fat lot of use that I am. Then she stopped answering my repeated calls to her mobile. But I knew she was receiving texts. Eventually she told her sister what bus she had taken which might indicate what park she was in. Her family got her home but I can hardly finish happily by saying all's well that ends well. Underlying troubles need to be resolved.

A trip to hospital to visit another elderly friend who'd suffered a stroke, a visit to an old folks home to leave a package for an ex neighbour who won't see me (or anyone else) and I was most grateful to return to my 'normal' happy home.

I hope you are all enjoying Xmas. For many it's not a happy time at all.  Christmas is for copers. Thank your lucky stars if you are one.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Truth column December 20

(My December 20 Truth column isn't on-line yet no doubt due to Xmas break. Below in full.)

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has announced she'll retire in 2014. She'd previously publicised leaving parliament in 2011, so this latest promise might be taken with a pinch of salt. The decision to exchange a ministerial salary for Super must be tough.

Nevertheless it's perhaps timely to look back on a couple of Turia's more interesting statements. When TV3's John Campbell asked what she meant about welfare being bad for Maori she replied, "We’re talking Maori unemployed. We’re not talking about Maori women on benefits."

At a reproductive health conference, about the high Maori teenage birth rate being framed as problematic, she said she was "intolerant of the excessive focus on controlling our fertility...Maybe one of our policy goals in the Maori Party should be to go forth and multiply."

In 2010, 46 percent of Maori females aged 20 - 29 were dependent on welfare - mainly the DPB. Tariana does not view this as being "bad". By implication, she doesn't associate over-dependence on welfare with Maori children's poor health and educational outcomes or heightened risk of abuse and neglect.

When CYF manager of Maori Strategy, Peter Douglas suggested at-risk Maori children be removed beyond whanau, Turia responded, "I am totally opposed to children being raised outside whakapapa links.” Being Maori, and growing the Maori population count, matter more to Turia than children's prospects.

She's previously complained that Maori are the only ethnicity in New Zealand that cannot grow their share of the population through immigration. (Perhaps if the 100,000+ Maori living overseas weren't beleaguered by the treaty and tribalism at every turn, they'd come back.)

It'd be fascinating to know how Turia views her parliamentary career. A tale of great achievement? Personally, I'm struggling to identify any major gains for Maori attributable to her particular ideology - racism. If a successor can't be found, and the Maori Party disappears, good. New Zealand does not need racially divisive politics.