An interesting piece in today's NZ Herald highlights excerpts from speeches of various MPs deliberately personalising the "kiwi dream" by relating their own childhood experiences. It makes the MPs seem a little silly and their anecdotes contrived when thrown together but it could be coincidence. Whatever. The mad rush to be a state house kid (or grow up next to one) began with the Prime Minister.
The nostalgia for the sixties should be tempered though.
I was flipping through a book at Lower Hutt library yesterday and stopped on a page describing 1961. TV was just being introduced. A handful of restaurants were being granted licences to serve alcohol (their names were recognisable to me illustrating how few there were). The only businesses open at the weekend were dairies. Every man trundled home to his suburban housewife and kids to embark on a weekend of gardening and home maintenance maybe with a trip to the park or some sports game or beach. Lives were quite predictable and uniform.
I also picked up Gordon McLauchlan's The Passionless People Revisited and opened it somewhere at the back. He was explaining why New Zealand wives last so long as sexual partners. Apparently because they have so few moving parts. I thought that was jolly funny and decided to take the book out. But on getting it home I was disappointed to find it opens with a deeply grudging literary assassination of John Key and a litany of every thing wrong with New Zealand. Another soul pining for regulation and state control.What a drudge. That's going back unread.
It is true we have left behind some good values, or moved away from them increasingly. But it is also true much that was undesirable has been consigned to the past - thankfully. If the sixties were put up for auction I doubt there'd be a bidder in the room.
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