New Zealand Listener Issue 25 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
bridge to nowhere

The Government will quickly rue its announcement of an Auckland harbour crossing for cyclists and walkers as being highly socially divisive – without moving the dial on emissions. Within hours of its announcement, New Zealanders the length of the country were calculating the disproportionate privilege conferred on a few thousand Aucklanders from our wealthiest suburbs, at the expense of hundreds of thousands of less privileged commuters elsewhere whose transport upgrades were scrapped or deferred in favour of the $785 million crossing. This project is not only risibly far from being a transport priority, but is likely to be seen as a cynical political move to shore up votes in privileged Auckland electorates. In fact, given official calculations that making cycle and walking access available on the existing harbour bridge would benefit only…

9 min
a bridge too far

The proposal (Editorial, June 12) to spend $785 million on a second Auckland harbour bridge, solely for cyclists and walkers, is an astonishingly single-minded waste of money, especially when the final cost is likely to be in the order of a billion dollars, given the usual cost overruns that accompany such grandiose projects. I write this as a regular, recreational, non-Lycra-wearing cyclist and an occasional, if reluctant, visitor to Auckland and crosser of the harbour bridge. This an awful lot of money to appease a few thousand cyclists and walkers. I suspect most users will be recreational, so it will bring little relief to congestion on the current bridge and fail to address Auckland’s wider traffic problems. If this kind of money is to be spent, a much more holistic approach is needed.…

1 min
winning caption

FINALISTS Boris Johnson: “I know the job advert mentioned ‘ability to make sweeping cuts …’” – Sam Gardner Johnson: “No, no, no, chaps, I said trim local-body laws, not lawns.” – Robbie Blair, Snells Beach Johnson: “Oh my god! No wonder the British Army needs more funding!” – Rhona Stewart Johnson: “No, I can’t make synchronised weed whacking an Olympic event!” – Mike Hamblyn, Dunedin Johnson thinking: “When I asked for an honour guard at my wedding, this was not what I had in mind.” – Vic Evans, Nelson Johnson: OMG! When I mentioned weed eating, I was thinking pot brownies.” – Deborah White, Gisborne Caption: MI5 on guard at Honeymoon Cottage. – Bronwen Gunn, Levin Johnson: “All together now – ‘Two men went to mow.’” – Kate Gore, Pyes Pā Johnson: “Damn it! I said I need help…

1 min

“It’s strange how I meet many people who fell in with the wrong crowd but never any member of the wrong crowd itself.”– Theodore Dalrymple“A change of nuisance is as good as a vacation.”– David Lloyd George“Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”– attributed to Pericles“The WHO has decided not to call Covid variants after the place they first crop up to avoid stigma. So the Kent, South African and Indian ones are instead going to be named after letters of the Greek alphabet. We’re quite happy to dump on the Greeks!”– BBC Radio 4 comedy“America’s billionaires are like unicorns – rarely seen, mostly white, horny and don’t pay taxes.”– Stephen Colbert“America prioritised wealthy, more-educated Asian immigrants, then turned…

2 min
10 quick questions

1. Which US city was the main setting for the TV crime drama Breaking Bad? ❑ Phoenix❑ Los Angeles❑ Flagstaff❑ Albuquerque 2. Which renowned artwork is also known as La Gioconda? ❑ Lady with an Ermin❑ Mona Lisa❑ The Thinker❑ Vitruvian Man 3. True or false? Onions can make potatoes spoil more quickly if they are stored together. ❑ True❑ False 4. True or false? All elevators have an escape hatch at the top that is designed for the occupants to open in an emergency. ❑ True❑ False 5. Which of these is not fought by the hero in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf? ❑ A green man❑ Grendel❑ A dragon❑ Grendel’s mother 6. Who won New Zealand’s only gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games? ❑ Barbara Kendall❑ Danyon Loader❑ Rob Waddell❑ Mark Todd 7. Which of these hit songs was…

1 min
happy tidings

I met a neighbour in the park. ‘Celebratethe best news in the world,’ she said.‘It’s high time something happy happened.’ Then she rushed away without another word,so I shouted after her, ‘I hope you dentthe ceiling with a fusillade of corks.’ Later, I listened to the radio, scoured the newson my computer, then switched on the TV,but there was not one single hint of anything remarkable. I gave up, poureda drink – then laughed. I had a neighbourin a million. A total lack of headlines was a providential glory to be treasured.I put my feet up, chose a book, and baskedin blankness, non-events and peaceful pleasure.…