Category Archives: New Zealand

New Zealand Says, Thanks, But No

President Obama insists his administration will not give up the battle to gain democracy in Afghanistan even though such a victory might result in the end of his party’s political party in Congress. Even as the president speaks of surges and victory, if he turned his back there might be realization that European nations are beginning to process of leaving dear old Afghanistan. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key politely declined a request from Australia for more troops from his nation to fight in Afghanistan. There are presently a few hundred New Zealand troops in that country and they work in Usuzgan province alongside Dutch troops. But, the Dutch are packing up this summer and bidding a fond farewell to the mountains and deaths of Afghanistan. Key expressed concern that his troops felt uneasy accompanying Afghans they train once the recruits leave the compound and actually get outside where the Taliban lurk.

There is growing evidence most European nations are ready to cut out of Afghanistan and leave the mess in the hands of the United States. The message is clear–the Afghan government is corrupt and incompetent so training soldiers who lack faith in their own government is an exercise in futility. It is time for everyone to make clear to President Karzai– appoint a Cabinet of honest technocrats or we leave!!

New Zealand “Nice Guy” Defends Hitler

He was termed by a colleague, “an all-round nice guy who would not have meant it.” the “it” referring to a rant made by New Zealand TV star, David Fane. Frankly, I have never heard about this man and have absolutely no idea who he is, what he does, or anything about his views on life and people. But, when so-called “intelligent” people who are in the limelight make remarks such as: “Jews were expendable,” or “Hitler had a right” or HIV sufferers deserve to be roasted” it definitely sends a message to the world concerning their ideas about the human condition. Mr. Fane now admits, “they were dumb words spoke by a dumb man,” but the dumb remarks we make during the course of a week are ordinarily concerned with other issues than defending Nazi leaders and the murder of six million Jews.

I am always fascinated at age 80 how people today refer to Adolf Hitler and, particularly those who seek to defend the murder of over 30,000,000 human beings. Of all the leaders in history why does this man select Hitler as one requiring him to be a defender? What is in the Hitler evil that so attracts one to defend this behavior? That is the question and if Mr. Fane is truly sorry, perhaps he could explain the workings of his mind which lead to these comments.

Take Off The Turban–Or Leave!!

Yes, there are oil spills, death on ships, slaughter of thousands in Asia, but the real issue confronting the Manurea Cosmopolitan Club in South Auckland, New Zealand, is what people wear on their heads. After all, allowing someone to wander into your country club with the wrong type of headgear threatens the sanctity of human existence. The club banned a Sikh from entering because the man had a turban on his head instead of a hat which resulted in the Human Rights Commission to declare the action contrary to laws of the nation. Peter Kelly, a member for 43 years of the club is furious and ready to fight in the cause of bare heads, or, at least, heads that have appropriate things on top. “We are a private club with its own rules like other clubs throughout the country.” If the Cosmopolitan Club has to allow people entering who are contrary to their rules “it surely will have repercussions on other clubs… I think we should fight- shouldn’t we?”

Kelly has a point, but which one he has is a bit confusing. I assume since people in the club are “cosmopolitan,” they enjoy a wide variety of customs and dress and people with differing views. Perhaps, the solution is changing the name of the club to “Non-Cosmopolitan Club.” This would make clear this is one club that will club anyone who wears a turban instead of the hat that God designed to be worn by all humanity.

Shakespeare In New Zealand Is Not For The Masses

The genius of Shakespeare was his ability to read stories from the past and adjust them in order to have those in his generation grapple with ideas dealing with the human condition. Zuzette Martin, a teacher in New Zealand was fired for teaching her children a modern version of King Lear. School authorities concluded the modern version was “embarrassing, corrupting and morally defiling.” One can only conclude that any group which believes Shakespeare did not utilize the slang and vulgarity of his era either never read him or read him and was unaware of what words meant in the 1590s. The school argued using a modern version did not prepare students to pass a test.

Ms. Martin, who comes from India, insisted her goal was to do “what was best for the students” and admitted she never cleared the new version with school authorities. The problem is if she had asked permission to engage her students with a new version it would have been denied.

Shakespeare is turning over in his grave at this travesty and he most probably considers the school rationale for firing Ms. Martin, “to be a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.”

Is Jesus In New Zealand?

A mayor in New Zealand has aroused a storm of protest after comparing himself to the trials and tribulations of Jesus Christ. Mayor Andrew Williams responded to charges that he had urinated on a tree by exclaiming: “two blokes got crucified this week(the other being a fellow named Jesus Christ) and both will most certainly rise from the dead to haunt some people.” Frankly, I do not understand why Mr. Williams is upset at being charged with urinating on a tree. Heck, here in America just about every day some politician or Wall Street type shits on us and is smiling all the way to the bank.

I have a hunch Jesus would not be upset at comments that he urinated on a tree given that in his day, that was quite normal. However, I just don’t think Williams is going to rise from the dead political area he now inhabits.

Me Racist? No Way, Says New Zealand MP

The word, “racism” is among the most abused in the world since just about everyone can, at some point, be accused of being a racist. New Zealand MP Hone Harawira has come under severe criticism and accusations that he has engaged in racist talk just because he had a few choice words to pose about white people. While on a trip to Brussels, the MP decided to take in Paris and the side trip wound up getting him in trouble. Someone discovered he had written an email in which he referred to white people as “motherf..ers,” but he actually meant the expression as a term of endearment. After all, some of his best friends are white, or at least partially white. However, despite the remarks, Mr. Harwira is upset because someone termed them to be racist. According to the New Zealand MP, racism is “the power to impose your racial views on the rest of society” and since he lacks that power, he is, by definition, not a racist.

I am with the MP. After all, just because I refer to you as a “motherf…er” I am not insulting you, I am merely explaining your relation to your mother. How can someone who discusses his own mother wind up being a racist?

Does Posing Nude By Teacher Constitute Teaching?

A young Kiwi teacher, Rachel Whitwell, decided to annoy her boyfriend, Steve Crow, who is a noted porn king promoter, by having pictures of herself in the nude printed in the Australian Penthouse magazine. Her rationale was, “I wanted to prove to everyone who thinks he’s a sleaze that they were wrong about him.” I assume there is a bit of logic in this explanation as to why a teacher decided to share with the world the entire view of her body without clothes, but, most probably due to my being at the age of 79, I am a bit confused. Mr. Crow told her to depart, she left and is now somewhat confused about exactly what went on in this love scenario.

The Australian Teachers Council has taken a stand about a teacher who allows her students to see nude pictures of herself and is taking action to remove her name from the teaching register. Ms. Whitwell is now upset that she can not teach. I don’t know about throwing her out of the teaching profession. She i one teacher who will have all eyes focused on her when she opens her mouth, and a lot more focused when she opens her blouse.

Should Children Be Physically Abused?

A Swedish member of parliament, Helena Bargholtz, has created a furor by openly attacking a referendum to be held in New Zealand which would allow corporal punishment of children. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Article 19, protects children from either physical or psychological abuse. Of course, in many societies, the belief is that a smack on the butt of the child is the best way to get them to behave. For some strange reason, people who adopt this view do not believe that adults should receive a smack on their butt when misbehaving. Heck, how many fights have arisen because one man accidentally bumped into another?

What exactly does the smack on the butt or the face allegedly do in terms of improving behavior? Writing as one who was physically abused as a child, the only thing one learns is to get old enough to prevent the abuse from occurring. Children need love, care, and affection more than there is need for being physically assaulted. I have taught thousands of children and can identify few cases in which physical violence led to proper behavior on the part of children. Being frightened into silence and obedience is not the birth of caring and love.

OK, if children are to be beaten, how about allowing bosses to beat disobedient workers– after all, a few smacks in the face won’t hurt anyone and it will teach them to behave and do what the boss wants.

Why Do Governments Suppress The Truth?

The year was 1979 and Blair Peach, a human rights activist from New Zealand was protesting racism during a demonstration in the United Kingdom. During a confrontation with police, one of the policeman smashed his baton onto the head of Peach and killed him. An inquiry was established to investigate the death of Peach, but its results were kept secret not only from the public, but to his family. Thirty years later, Sir Paul Stephenson ordered release of the 30 year old report because there was no reason any government could offer an argument about security or endangering anyone. His family and loved ones will finally learn who was responsible, but it is doubtful if they will ever learn why it took 30 years to get at the truth.

All governments at some point yell “security” as justification for suppressing embarrassing information. Perhaps, President Obama can learn something from this story and allow an investigation into how the US got into the war in Iraq and who authorized torture of human beings.

Is An Accent An Excuse For No Job?

Linda Tang made the long journey from China to New Zealand in hope it would offer her an opportunity to establish a life in a democratic nation which had a high standard of living. Ms. Tang holds a B.A. in English and is a former English lecturer at a university in China. She did not expect any problems in the nursing program and passed her courses. However, Ms. Tang was failed in her final year because it was claimed her accent would prevent patients from understanding her and might result in a fatal outcome. According to Ms. Tang, “to say my English is not good enough is just an excuse. I feel that what they have done is discriminatory, especially to the Chinese because we are penalized not for our lack of knowledge or ability, but simply because of how we talk.”

Ms. Tang scored 6.5 on the international English language Testing System to qualify which was the level required to enter the nursing program. She argues that while not being able to speak English might cause some problems, native born New Zelanders do not speak foreign languages which would damage their ability to communicate with foreign speaking patients.

Many years ago I applied for a teaching position in my native New York City and was told they would not pass anyone who spoke with a New York City accent so I faked it. Actually, this issue is complex. If a nurse misunderstands what the doctor says or is unable to communicate with a patient the outcome could be disastrous. On the other hand, are there sufficient numbers of Chinese speaking people in a hospital with whom she could communicate as she continues working on her English proficiency?