New Zealand Listener Issue 20 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
complacency kills

When it comes to progress with the coronavirus pandemic, the old normal has never seemed so distant. India’s deadly second wave of Covid-19, and disturbing new insights into the severity of post-Covid syndrome, means this country must face up to some difficult human-rights trade-offs reaching well into the future. The dismissal of nine border workers last week for refusing vaccinations suggests there’s still a lot of public education needed. Although no one wants a worker to lose a job, the refuse-niks appear to have put their own sense of agency above the safety of others. They may feel pressed to make an unconscionable self-sacrifice, but the principle at work here is anything but novel at its most basic level. No one is allowed to drive without passing time-consuming and demanding licensing.…

11 min
countering cancel culture

That the Featherston Book-town cancelled a Harry Potter quiz because of JK Rowling’s supposed transphobia is the height of both stupidity and ignorance (“Off the guest list”, May 1). Shame on the organisers for not having examined for themselves what Rowling’s “transphobia” consisted of. Step 1 was her commenting on how ridiculous it is to refer to “people who menstruate” rather than saying “women”. The next sin was to respond to the vitriol that step 1 brought her by pointing out that her life has been shaped by being female, that biological sex matters, that the rights of women and girls to body autonomy, privacy and dignity should be upheld just as much as the rights of trans people. For this, she has been declared a bigot, a transphobe and scum, including,…

1 min
winning caption

FINALISTS Caption: PM holds sway.– Alan Bernacchi, ŌrewaPM Scott Morrison: “I’m always happiest leaning to the right.”– Warren Shaw, MartonMorrison: “This is how we wave goodbye to Chinese trade.”– Viv Donovan, RotoruaMan at the rear: “Pfizer’s jabberwonky side effect strikes again.”– Alan Belcher, ChristchurchMorrison: “How did we get stuck in an audition for The Rite of Spring?”– Ann Love, NelsonCaption: Australia’s answer to the Folies Bergère.– Tommy Wilson, PapamoaAndrew Forrest: “Geez, Scott, can’t you let your left hand know what the right is doing even here?”– Juliet LeighForrest: “C’mon, ScoMo, get a grip!”– PM Lynch, Upper HuttForrest: “When I said compulsory company physical jerks, I didn’t mean all jerks have to join in.”– Kathryn Ennis-Carter, ŌtakiCaption: Three wise men rehearse for nativity play.– Margaret Cannon, Palmerston North…

1 min
quips & quotes

“It actually doesn’t take much to be considered a difficult woman. That’s why there are so many of us.”– Jane Goodall“Why are Trump’s losers always ‘stone cold’? Do they have to be kept at a certain temperature like the vaccine or something?”– Seth Myers“If your main concern is that Bill Gates could microchip you to track you, that’s what your frigging phone is.” – John Oliver“Take care of our children. Take care of what they hear, take care of what they see, take care of what they feel.” – Dame Whina Cooper“Don’t get so tolerant that you tolerate intolerance.”– Bill Maher“Privilege looks in the mirror and sees nobility.”– Scott Galloway, quoted in the New Statesman“Every speaker has a mouth; an arrangement rather neat. Sometimes it’s filled with wisdom. Sometimes it’s…

1 min
10 quick questions

1. Which of these countries has the larger economy? ❑ Italy ❑ Russia 2. True or false? The pronouns thou, thee and thine are still used in everyday language in parts of England. ❑ True ❑ False 3. Which of these best defines the word “antediluvian”? ❑ Principled ❑ Picturesque ❑ Primordial ❑ Personable 4. By what name did the Romans refer to Ireland during their occupation of Britain? ❑ Hibernia ❑ Cambria ❑ Albion ❑ Helvetia 5. Which of these was developed by New Zealand engineer Sir William “Bill” Hamilton in the 1950s? ❑ Photocopier ❑ Modern jetboat ❑ Electric car ❑ Microwave oven 6. Which country attempted to introduce decimal time (10-hour days) from 1793 to 1795? ❑ France ❑ China ❑ United States ❑ Australia 7. Who experienced a famous annus mirabilis (marvellous year) in 1905? ❑ Mahatma Gandhi ❑ Marie Curie ❑ Thomas Edison ❑ Albert Einstein 8. Which film includes the memorable line: “I just…

1 min
how to shame a family properly, we vestigial europeans

‘So what’s it like?’ my mokopuna asks me,‘to be like, like really old?’ So I say,‘Well, a bit like this, like going for a walkwhen you probably should be somewhere elseand saying, “I don’t mind telling this over again”’,and start listing this and that he can’t comprehend–the Eiff el Tower for one or the wobbly pillarsrather fancied in St Peter’s, or a tiny beachon Naxos where an old statue still lies that laynot so much dog-tired as without the ordinaryluck ever to stand, as we do; or the grave (thisthe harder one to explain to a child), the graveof a darling man in Dublin who so loved Harry,Dick and Tom, just that the rest, the lot,he couldn’t abide. ‘Heavy stuff,’ the boy’s mothersays, a touch put out, ‘for a simple question.’She’d…