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New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener Issue 41 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.
tell us the terms

New Zealanders are weathering with a great deal of patience the protracted uncertainties of a pandemic – but they shouldn’t have to endure uncertainty from political candidates. Being in uncharted territory with Covid-19 doesn’t excuse our politicians from being vague or evasive about their intentions. It’s true that every election is a sort of sale of stolen goods. We’re never certain policy can be delivered. But it has never been more so than now as promises are made with money we simply don’t have. Opinion polls currently point emphatically to Labour leader Jacinda Ardern being returned for a second term as prime minister. The same polls, which former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton may advise people not to rely upon since elections can produce surprises, indicate New Zealand First will be gone. If…

4 min.
the spring of our reconnect

It has been the winter of our disconnect. We have watched people fighting to own toilet rolls and populist leaders prescribing bizarre remedies to outwit a virus. Covid-19 was never a simple choice between cake or death; it was about the political and proportional servings of the two ingredients. The ballot box will ultimately determine just how nations feel about their leaders’ management of the pandemic. I look forward to the Listener’s coverage. Welcome back! Paul Kelly(Palmerston North) UP FOR IT New Zealand and most of the world live in a state of eternal fragility and unpredictable events. A single brutal beating of a human, caught on a phone camera, can now spark national and global unrest and shut down cities. A virus has spread its tentacles in nine months to almost every town on Earth,…

1 min.
quips & quotes

“Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy afternoon.”– English novelist Susan Ertz“The National Rifle Association has again endorsed Donald Trump for president. I guess that reaffirms its commitment to absolutely zero background checks.”– US comic Seth Myers“The new definition of working class is not being able to work from home.”– Maurice Glasman, quoted in the New Statesman“Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”– Anonymous“Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?”– US writer Peg Bracken“Toleration is the greatest gift of mind. It requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.”– Helen Keller“I…

1 min.
10 quick questions

1. Which movie includes the famous line: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this any more!”? ❑ 12 Angry Men ❑ Anger Management ❑ Network ❑ Angry Birds 2. Which island is the setting for Gerald Durrell’s autobiographical work My Family and Other Animals? ❑ Tahiti ❑ Madagascar ❑ Corfu ❑ Isle of Man 3. If you dug a hole from Wellington through the centre of the Earth in a straight line to the other side, where would you emerge? ❑ Spain ❑ Egypt ❑ Russia ❑ Norway 4. Which TV sitcom follows employees of a fictional paper company called Wernham Hogg? ❑ The Office ❑ The IT Crowd ❑ Gliding On ❑ The Thick of It 5. The Line of Actual Control forms a disputed boundary between China and which other country? ❑ India ❑ North Korea ❑ Russia ❑ Vietnam 6. Where would you find the Curry Mile,…

5 min.
and now, the end is near …

A decades-old institution with a history of self-sabotage, self-pity, bombast and toxic effusions at the taxpayers’ expense has been given a reprieve. In this, Tiwai Point has been rather luckier than the comparable institution that is Winston Peters. The aluminium smelter successfully made its case for another three years’ continuance, which boils down to: getting shot of us would be more trouble than it’s worth. Peters’ case seems to most voters to be that he’s more trouble than he’s worth. His New Zealand First Party has lately failed to attract more than 3% of voters, and news that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has laid charges in relation to its funding trust will probably thin that support further. The charges aren’t against him, his MPs or his staff, but voters have seen this…

5 min.
for whom the polls toll

I’m slightly bewildered by the plethora of minor parties running in this election campaign. Who are the New Conservatives? What happened to the Old Conservatives? What is Advance NZ and is it implying we are going backwards? There is the Opportunities Party, which is apparently about opportunities, and there is also the Outdoors Party, which advocates for, er, the outdoors. There are dozens of tiddler parties. I saw a billboard for Social Credit recently, a sight that immediately sent my mind back to the 1960s and the name Vernon Cracknell. He was a Social Credit MP for a term, but his party appeared to evaporate overnight before being artificially resuscitated in the 1970s by Bruce Beetham and then, again, dying in the 1980s. The standing of political parties can be ephemeral. Weirdly,…