The Lessons of Kaikohe

Humankind comes with many different characteristics, and it is sometimes informative to consider how those can be categorised.  Some people, for example, will be extroverts, others introverts, some romantics and others realists, some optimists, others pessimists. I have devised a test that I think can be used to make another – and, I think, important […]

We Need to Shift the Focus of Health Care

The report released last week showing that more than half a million New Zealanders cannot afford to see their GPs, and that the underfunding of the doctors themselves threatens a shortfall in the numbers of GPs we need, will have alarmed many – and not just those unfortunate families who are denied adequate primary health […]

Convenient Fairy Stories

Bill English has made a sound start as Prime Minister.  He seems to be down-to-earth, and a straight-talker – a welcome change from his predecessor.  But, at the same time, he seems to be prone to making statements based on prejudice and anecdote; we have a right to expect better. He was quick, for example, […]

What Price Public Service Broadcasting?

I had the privilege of serving for a number of years on the board of TVNZ.  The company had a dual mandate over that period – first, as a state-owned enterprise, it had to turn a profit by competing with commercial rivals and selling advertising time, so as to pay an annual dividend of at […]

No Excuse for Offensive Behaviour

So-called “casual racism” hit the headlines recently, following the publicity attending the Mad Butcher’s reported remarks to fellow-visitors to Waiheke.  As Dame Susan Devoy, our Race Relations Commissioner, pointed out concerning that incident, racism may not seem “casual” to those who are its target. “Casual” racism may in some senses actually be even more damaging […]

Universities Are More Than Instruments of Government Policy

    Like so many of my generation, I was the first person in my family to go to university.  In one way or another, though, universities have played a big part in my life.  I was an undergraduate at Victoria and Auckland Universities, then a postgraduate student at Balliol College, Oxford, then later a […]

Standing Up for Ourselves

As he prepared to take over from John Key as Prime Minister, Bill English made a candid – and disarming – admission.  He felt that there was an important part of his new responsibilities where his knowledge was deficient and he needed to learn fast.  The deficiency was, he felt, in international relations. His admission […]

As he prepared to take over from John Key as Prime Minister, Bill English made a candid – and disarming – admission.  He felt that there was an important part of his new responsibilities where his knowledge was deficient and he needed to learn fast.  The deficiency was, he felt, in international relations. His admission […]

Good Start – More Needed

As he prepared to take over from John Key as Prime Minister, Bill English made a candid – and disarming – admission.  He felt that there was an important part of his new responsibilities where his knowledge was deficient and he needed to learn fast.  The deficiency was, he felt, in international relations. His admission […]

Closing the Gap at Christmas

When my friend, Gary Ware, and I left Tauranga Primary School in 1951 to go on to what was then Tauranga College, it was an open question as to which of us would be the smallest boy in the school.  We have both grown a bit since then – and it is one of the […]