Sunday, August 19, 2012


I lived the first ten twelve years of my life in small communities, like Levin and Feilding. Then in 1937 we moved to a real metyropolis; Hastings in Hawkes Bay. Would you believe there were twelve thousand people living there; two primary schools and a high school, plus a separate school for Cath0olic kids.

And there so many amenities, like footpaths for pedestrians, a milk treatment station where farm milk was pasterurised and bottled before delivery to residents' houses, and a gas works where coal was burned and gas extracted for reticulation through the area, a camping ground, another park with a aviary, and another with a band rotunda, also the wonderful Municipal Theatre, which was awarded a prize when it did not fall down in the catostrophic earthquake on Fenruary 3, 1931. In another part of this building was the Assembly rooms, where a good rpoportion of Hastings's 12,000 people could attend functions like the Masonic Ball and the Hunt Club Ball.

And every week my Dad set our rubbish bin outside our gate from where it was emptied into the borough rubbnish truck and taken to the dump.And all these amenities were p[rovided out of rates as a matter of course.

As well as these amenities the population of Hastings enjoyed things like Blossom Day Parades, where the first Marching Team took part in 1938.

Hastings was a pretty good town to grow up in.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Gareth Morgan is an interesting man, he does unconventional things, and I enjoy subscribing to his newletter. Maybe he is planning to enter politics, as is everybody's right, I wish him luck.

This week his newsletter reviewed his latest book, The Great Kahungs, and his ideas about what sort of monetary system we should have.

He appears to be advocating scrapping all benefits, unemployment, widows, national superannuation, working for families etc and in their place paying a universal dividend to everybody.This universal income would be as well as whatever an individual earned from wages, salary or speculation.

It sounds great and he obviously has put a lot of thought in to it. Look up his web page if you want to read further, or better still buy his book. (I can't afford it at the moment.}

In 1922 a Canadian bicycle engineer had thoughts along the same line. The state of Alberta adopted his idea and the Social Credit Party ruled there for quite a time. The important thing about Major Douglas's Universal Dividend was that it was paid from money created by the reserve bank, and did not come into existence as an interest bearing debt. In 1933 George Forbes' government set up the Reserve Bank, but somehow the idea of paying money directly to the pwople was lost.

If saome brave parliament adopted Gareth Morgan's sceme of paying everyone a living wage it should be issued from the Reserve Bank debt free and circulated.


New Zealand nearly had a Social Credit Government in 1957 and Keith Holyoake destroyed it with two words, 'Funny Money.'A smart slogan will beat serious research any time.

The average Kiwiis too intellectually lazy to think issues out, or to research new ideas. Most of them would rather grizzle about politics while they watch football or synchronised gymnastics over a beer.

The few who do think a little say, "But printing money would increase inflation." Probably it would because a lot of lazy people would live on the universal dividend without bothering to put something into the economy, like work. But there are a lot of people like that now drawing a dole or a benefit.

When Douglas Credit ideas came to New Zealand people tried to keep it apolitical. They wanted it to be part of the country's political infrastructure, so they tried to interest all political parties. Labout was interested until it took power. National and Labour are too entrenched to be ousted by a new party, but perhaps enough people in both parties could explore Gareth Morgan's idea. and stop wittering along party lines.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I had fun writing this story around the time of the 1996 Wellington Festival. You will probably recognise the main characters. but the storyy is totally fictional.

If you like farce go to Waiata's Witterings for 'Something on the Air', and let me know what you thought of it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


In a city, not a big one, far away from the waitaki. the planners of a Polytech decided to expand. Problem was there was no land available. the city was more a series of villages. So the Polytech decided they would build on the place where students parked their cars. Up wnet the building.
"Hold on a minute." said the local residents "If you build there where will students park their cars?"
A knowledgable lady came out from a nearby big city and said,
"You must realise cars are not the way of the future. Students can catch buses. There are plenty of buses passing this site every hour."
"But," the residents objected, "You are building a school of automotiuve engineering. The students will need their cars."
For a time local residents found they could not use their own cars because students' cars blocked the driveways and garage entrances. Eventually residents won the right to have their street designated RESIDENT PARKING ONLY.
The stufents were not happy and yesterday one of my sons who lives in the Residents Parking only zone, saw a group of students tearing out the signs and parking their cars. When my son protested he was told to 'F**** off, Grandpa. You're f******* interfering with our f******* rights,' and other items of civilised discussion common amongst elightened tertiary level students.

Unfortunately for the students my son got his camera and photographed several of them pulling down the parking signs, then he rang the City Council AND the Polytec.

But the school of automotive engineering is still there, students are still parking their cars in the Resident Parking area. If cars are not the way of the future why is the Polytech teaching students about them?

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I drove up to Christchurch on Wednesday morning in time to lunch with daughter in law Audrey and get driven to Hagley Park. Margaret's memorial service waa in the 'Geo dome' an erection on the geodesic principal Buckminster Fuller first designed about 1938.

When I entered I was handed a programme and told,
"The first two rows are for speakers, the next three rows are for Governors Bay people, otherwise sit anywhere you like. I sat about eight rows back from the stage and had an excellent view of everything. I think everybody in Governors Bay must have attended, not only that the prople of Governors Bay provided afternoon tea for the more than six hundred people who attended.

The children's choir and the cathedral choristers crept and took their seats in the front rows, Louise Deans was MC and the service flowed perfectly. Tessa Duder gave the first eulogy, a biuography of Margaret's life, followed by her grandchildren sharing memories of their grandmother. Gasvin Bishop and Kate di Goldi spoke in tribute of working with her followed by a video clip of 'Down the Back of the Chair'.

The Children's Choir sang a selection of her words set to music by Phillip Norman.

Sue Collyer and Louise Easter, in rainbow wigs, told anesdotes about being librarians working with Margaret Mahey. The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage sent a representativce to speak for the Government. We watched another clip of Margaret reading 'Ghosts' and two choristers from Cathedral Grammar sang 'Pie Jesu' perfectly as her granddaughters carried her ashes out of the dome.

The recessional was 'Dance all around the world,' by Blerta with words by Margaret Mahey.

That was how Christchurch farewelled her, but it was not the only farewell. Auckland held a memorial service, probably other places did too. And in Libraries and schools all over the country Margaret Mahey stories were read in memory.

She deserved it. She worked incredibly hard at writing and encouraging children to love books, and she won the respect of everybody whose lives she touched.