New Zealand Listener Issue 10 2021

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.

New Zealand
Are Media Pty Limited
52 Issues

in this issue

3 min
right royal pickle

Celebrity is a roller coaster on which it’s easy to wave and smile on the way up. But it can be a lot tougher to maintain the rictus of enjoyment on the downward ride. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, newly relieved of their royal patronages and vowing to “tell all” on global TV, seem destined for a downhill run that will blow back even Prince Harry’s carefully coiffed hair, especially now they’ve presumed to give the Queen a lecture about the nature of public service. The Duke and his wife, Meghan, stepped up three years ago as a force for good, highlighting worthy causes such as grief counselling and mental health. Meghan was warmly welcomed into the Commonwealth family and quickly became beloved of royal fans. As a popular royal of…

2 min
funny you should ask

Dogs are man’s best friend, but do other animals have friends? Interspecies relationships are rare, except in a domestic setting (think of a cat and a dog snuggled together), but some animals do form social bonds – what we call friendship – with other members of the same species. Chimpanzees, like people, choose chimpanzee friends that have similar personalities to their own. Extroverts spend time with extroverts, and shy chimps hang out with other shy chimps. They trust their friends more than they trust strangers. Vampire bats form friendships that can last for decades. They begin by grooming each other, then later, once they trust each other, they will share a meal, with one regurgitating blood to feed the other. Some animals that live in groups spend more time with the same small clique than…

9 min
immigration policy

So, Paul Spoonley (“City limits”, February 6) believes we need immigration because of a below-replacement fertility rate combined with ageing. Has it occurred to him that a shrinking population may be a good thing? Strange that population growth is bad for the Earth but good for us. The economic effects of immigration are debatable. What is not debatable is the fact that immigration does not increase GDP per capita. And, to be frank, First World democracies do not benefit from migration from Third World kleptocracies. There has been no debate about the goals of our immigration policy at any point since Roger Douglas inflicted the basic framework of our current policy in 1987. Debate is long overdue, but I suspect is unlikely to happen given the right wing’s love of cheap labour and the…

1 min
quips & quotes

“Texans have been lining up for clean water or even trying to melt snow. You know that the infrastructure is screwed when your best option for water is to mug a snowman.” – Trevor Noah “Ted Cruz continues to be a trailblazer as he becomes the first Hispanic person to flee from Texas to Mexico because of ICE.” – Wayne Lawson “This is especially tough for Texans because they’re not equipped for snow, they don’t have snow shovels. Their best bet is to grab their AR-15s and shoot each snowflake.” – Trevor Noah “They say love is what separates us from the animals. No, what separates us from the animals is that we don’t use our tongues to clean our genitals.” – Red Dwarf “There was a major lack of oversight – there were…

1 min
10 quick questions

1. Which of these words describes a borrower? ❑ Mortgagee ❑ Mortgagor 2. In European mythology, which of these creatures has two legs and wings? ❑ Will-o’-the-wisp ❑ Dragon ❑ Revenant ❑ Wyvern 3. True or false? It’s possible to walk directly from Cape Town to Bangkok without needing a water craft. ❑ True ❑ False 4. Which film includes the line, “It was beauty killed the beast”? ❑ The Big Sleep ❑ Beauty and the Beast ❑ Touch of Evil ❑ King Kong 5. The 19th-century essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson was a leader in which philosophical movement? ❑ Postmodernism ❑ Stoicism ❑ Transcendentalism ❑ Cynicism 6. The novel Anne of Green Gables is set in the fictional town of Avonlea, in which country? ❑ England ❑ Canada ❑ Scotland ❑ US 7. Which of these is not one of the 12 creatures of the Chinese zodiac? ❑ Panda ❑ Monkey ❑ Dragon ❑ Tiger 8. The “bloody flux” is an…

3 min
pleasant pastures seen

Until a year ago, if I’d been told I was going to be spending the better part of a year indoors, and that most external attractions and distractions would be closed, I’d have given serious thought to how I was going to use the excess time. Learn Italian, do the hard hours on the piano, take up Pilates, study classics and just generally improve myself as a human being – that would have been the plan. But it hasn’t worked out that way. It’s remarkable how quickly one falls into the rhythm of not doing very much. In his latter years, the singer and one-time Rat Pack member Dean Martin stripped his existence down to a point of such minimal activity that his diary entries focused mostly on his bowel movements. Well,…