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New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener Issue 12 2020

New Zealand Listener is the country’s most respected general interest magazine, bringing you a wide variety of news, stories, columns, reviews, plus TV listings, every week.

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52 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
a question of recession

In the coming weeks and months, New Zealanders, along with businesses, banks, the Reserve Bank and the Government will be tested by the reaction – or overreaction – to the global coronavirus outbreak. The BNZ was the first major bank to forecast a recession – defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth – in the first half of this year. Therein lies a vexing problem for those whose role it is to comment on crises and to pick a path through them. They need to balance caution against the knowledge that fuelling people’s worries will only make a recession more likely, and possibly deeper and longer, than it otherwise might have been. Yet they also need to be transparent. As the BNZ said, and as the world has seen by the…

8 min.
coping with covid-19

We need to keep Covid-19 in perspective, as the world did in 1957/58 when the H2N2 Asian flu pandemic, a China-sourced combination of avian and human viruses, swept the planet, killing more than a million people (“Viral spiral”, March 14). I was infected as a 20-year-old RAF corporal and spent 10 days in sick quarters. I feared I was going to die on my first night with a fever so extreme my sweat-drenched pyjamas and bedding had to be changed at dawn the next day. When I was floored by flu for a second time in early 1959, it was again diagnosed as the Asian variety. Fourteen thousand Britons died from that pandemic. Shops, offices, factories and schools were closed at various times and the Government paid out £10 million in sickness…

1 min.
winning caption

Anna Gray, Auckland FINALISTS Elizabeth Warren: “Is there a doctor in the house? Bernie has swallowed too many words.” – Margaret Cannon, Palmerston North Warren: “Whoa! Heimlich manoeuvre, anyone?” – Sorrel Bovett, Kerikeri Bernie Sanders: “It was only a little shove, honestly.” – Elise Graham, Whanganui Sanders: “Small hands are not a qualification for Potus!” – Graeme Bulling, Auckland Warren: “Moderator, he’s being inappropriate again!” – Peter McDonald, Whangārei Warren: “Mr Chairman, Bernie’s had a serious senior moment. Can I move away, please?” – Brian Gore, Rotorua Sanders: “I know about glass ceilings, but who put this glass wall here?” – Robert Morey, Dunedin Warren: “I pledge $5 to remake Weekend at Bernie’s.” – Paul Kelly, Palmerston North…

1 min.

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag, quoted in the Week“So we can conclude that millions of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ items sold in the last 20 years made f---all difference.”– Brit Gareth Bellamy on Twitter“A luxury liner is just a bad play surrounded by water.”– Clive James, quoted in Forbes“Warren was incredibly competent, pragmatic, intelligent and well-spoken – in other words, she never had a chance.”– US comedian Seth Meyers“When ideas fail, words come in very handy.”– Goethe, quoted in Forbes“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”– Gloria Steinem“Bad decisions make good stories.” – US author Ellis Vidler“It feels good to read that you’re supposed to stay home and avoid people. I’ve been doing that since I…

1 min.
10 quick questions

1. Which Soviet or Russian leader was found drunkenly wandering the streets of Washington in his underwear and searching for a pizza while on a state visit? ❑ Nikita Khrushchev❑ Boris Yeltsin❑ Vladimir Lenin❑ Mikhail Gorbachev 2. Which Britpop band’s hit song begins: “Street’s like a jungle/So call the police/Following the herd/Down to Greece.”? ❑ Oasis❑ Suede❑ Blur❑ Pulp 3. Harold T Stone was a lead character in which long-running TV sitcom? ❑ Perfect Strangers❑ Night Court ❑ Cheers ❑ Frasier 4. True or false – only female bees and wasps can sting? ❑ True❑ False 5. Which comic-strip character has alter egos called Tracer Bullet, Stupendous Man and Spaceman Spiff? ❑ Dick Tracy❑ Snoopy❑ Flash Gordon❑ Calvin 6. Which of these words can refer to a type of horse-drawn carriage? ❑ Cabriolet ❑ Saloon❑ Hatchback❑ Sedan 7. Which of these words…

2 min.
jeanette fitzsimons 1945-2020

Former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons was not just a pioneer environmentalist, but an influential exemplar of our modern consensus politics. For all that she scrupulously eschewed personality politics, it was her personality that helped the Greens transcend the roller coaster of popularity contests. Her calm, reasoned leadership was a huge factor in the party’s continued electability. She never shied away from advocating politically unpalatable reforms. But while steely and clear-headed about the facts, she was never confrontational, seeking to persuade New Zealanders to the Green cause rather than to browbeat them. She helped grow the movement from its Values Party origins in the 1970s, both through her university teaching and by nurturing networks, rather than the more traditional political route of making oneself a figurehead. Yet figurehead she became, as both…