New Zealand Listener Issue 13 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
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52 Issues

in this issue

3 min
burning issue

Not since 2006 has this country imported more coal than in the past year. This dismaying fact shows yet again the dangers of government-by-virtue-signalling as our climate-mitigation efforts fall prey to unintended consequences. Buying dirty coal is the last thing any New Zealander wants, but a perfect storm of adverse climatic conditions and gas scarcity has created a generation shortage. The Government’s ban on oil and gas exploration has, inadvertently, left us in the embarrassing and preposterous position of needing to binge on imported coal to meet our energy demands. Critics’ warnings that the ban was too stringent were right: insisting on not using our own resources, even temporarily, is nose-to-spite-face territory politically. Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton has recently joined the critics, saying the ban wasn’t based on strong…

12 min
productivity improvements

That we “can’t have our cake and eat it, too” is what Professor Tim Hazledine might have usefully included when explaining New Zealanders’ preference for lifestyle over productivity (“Reckoning time”, February 27). We can’t have the same standards of living and health and the education and social systems that the world’s more advanced economies enjoy, and that we expect, if we don’t have their productivity. Mesmerised by our myths of exceptionalism and the warm glow of our rising house prices, few appear to realise the degree of our demise. We have had decades of stagnating productivity growth. Our recent massive immigration has further worsened our predicament, as the small productivity gains that have been achieved must be now shared among a proportionately greater number of people. Our poor productivity is not a…

1 min
caption competition

WINNING CAPTION PM Lynch, Upper Hutt FINALISTS Caption: Liberté, égalité, briberé! – Paul Kelly, Palmerston North Caption: Simultaneously saluted and handcuffed; an arresting spectacle. – Ann Love, Nelson Guard saluting thinks: “I hope his head meets the same fate as my right thumb!” – David Scott, Gisborne Saluting officer: “I salute not the man, but the hair styling!” – Warren Shaw Caption: The three masketeers. A fall for one and one for a fall. – John Edgar, Christchurch Saluting officer: “’Allo, ’allo!” – Rex McGregor, Auckland Caption: No, not the Three Mask-eteers! – Warren Shaw, Marton Nicolas Sarkozy: “Equality and fraternity have never interested me, but my liberty does.” – John Stribling Caption: Dial M for Merde. – Simone Stansfield, Wellington Sarkozy: “My sauvignon blanc must be chilled and the foie gras at room temperature.” – Ann Love Sarkozy: “How does Putin get…

1 min
quips & quotes

“Suddenly, they’re against baring their own arms.” – Jimmy Kimmel on the anti-vaxxers “First, it was going to be eight weeks, then Easter, then Memorial Day, then July – it was worse than waiting for the cable guy! The Centers for Disease Control should have just issued a statement that said: ‘Your pandemic will end shortly. Please be home between 8am and three years from now.’” – Stephen Colbert “Some people think being working class is a negative thing, but I think there’s loads of benefits. I’ve claimed them all.” – Kelly Convey “British people are like coconuts. Hard on the outside, but sweet once you crack us – also, often full of alcohol and holding an umbrella.” – Milo McCabe “In his job, my dad’s never lost a case. That makes him Gatwick’s…

1 min
10 quick questions

1. Who said: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”? ❑ Winston Churchill ❑ Kate Sheppard ❑ Nelson Mandela ❑ Eleanor Roosevelt 2. Which New Zealand TV drama was set in the fictional town of Cobham? ❑ Nothing Trivial ❑ Mercy Peak ❑ Shark in the Park ❑ Mortimer’s Patch 3. In the film Risky Business, which song does Tom Cruise’s character dance and lip sync to? ❑ You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling ❑ Twist and Shout ❑ Rock and Roll All Nite ❑ Old Time Rock and Roll 4. Which bird’s status was changed from “extinct” to “data deficient” after an accepted sighting in 2007? ❑ Huia ❑ South Island kōkako ❑ Laughing owl ❑ Adzebill 5. Who was Pink Floyd’s 1975 composition Shine on You Crazy Diamond written about? ❑ Janis Joplin ❑ David…

1 min
ode to autumn

This day’s officially the first of autumnbut it seems not to know.The sun’s all over everything and the seaflinches and glitters.We’ve shared our plums with thrush and blackbirdbut the rules are beyond themand they’re destroying the grapes.Still I won’t use the nets–too much trouble, too many casualties.‘Altruism’ – that’s the word Antonia madethe last thought of her character who diessaving the life of a bird.Today’s flowers are blue–lasiandra, agapanthusand the violet morning gloryvivid on a bank above mangroves.I watch the tidebreathe in over the mud-flats.A high-stepping heron stops a momentthen flaps off languidly on elegant wings.‘We are so lucky’ someone reflectsdown at the Bay – and so we are.I live a life of quiet medicationlonging for foreign shores, adventure and death.…