The year in perspective

Claire Trevett has a look back at the political year in PM’s jokes no slippery soap in funny old year.

She puts some perspective on how big the issues were in New Zealand, comparatively.

So ends a year in which New Zealand can feel quite smug about itself. We had our moments. We won the Rugby World Cup, almost won the Cricket World Cup, a multitude of sporting greats retired.

There were some other great sporting achievements too, especially Lydia Ko’s rise to the top in women’s golf (and Danny Lee performed very creditably in men’s golf as well).

There were deportees, the implosion of the Conservative Party, the TPP, the reincarnation of Judith Collins.

And a lot more as well, but how memorable are they? An MP being appointed back into Cabinet at a rank of 13 is big news – amongst a small number of people who are interested.

But it was international events that dominated. Islamic State, Syrian refugees, the terrorist attacks in Paris. All of them touched us…

And a lot more crappy things happening that affected many millions of people.

…but let us be thankful the only phenomenon that vaguely resembles Trump in New Zealand was Dunne’s quiff, the closest we came to a terrorist attack was the ringbarking of a kauri tree, and our other worries were so few people had the time to get riled up about the propriety of the PM’s jokes.

We get up in arms (up in fingers online) about some fairly trivial stuff, comparatively.

For me the biggest issue still in New Zealand is the widespread and insidious effects of violence, which is often closely related to the use of alcohol and other drugs.

Violence impacts on relationships, on families, on children (leaving lifelong impressions that often repeat the cycle), on education, on ‘poverty’, on crime, on imprisonment rates, on health – the tentacles of violence reach far and wide, and destructively.

What can we do to care about this enough to find serious ways of limiting it?

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1 Comment

  1. “We get up in arms (up in fingers online) about some fairly trivial stuff, comparatively”

    We don’t know how lucky we are, Trevor, and we should be both thankful and feel quite guilty about it?

    I love the comparative stuff. I’m right into comparative. Let’s not have our own, independent, nationhood-style standards, let’s measure everything comparatively against the “poorest” or lowest common denominator available? That way, we won’t have to really significantly, impactfully address issues like poverty and violence.

    I don’t know who Claire Trevett is but to describe it as a “funny old year” and some of its more horrendous occurrences – many the ongoing symptoms of advancing horrendous chronic societal illness – as “crappy” seems a bit twee to me?

    She names the biggest issue as “violence” and then proceeds to describe a matrix of interdependent socio-political-economic issues which I’d describe as pretty serious symptoms of progressive, chronic, societal illness right here at home, “comparatively” speaking.

    The world is reflected here at home. We, the wealthy nations on earth won’t give more aid or assistance to developing and poor nations – we’re simply not going to redress chronic imbalances – just as we, the ‘prosperous’ (in every way) here at home don’t want to spend any more money or expend any more ‘public energy’ on our ‘matrix illness’? I concur with her implication, we don’t “care about this enough”?

    Merry Xmas one and all!
    Oh, and what do these words mean? I keep hearing them on the radio –

    “Let them know it’s Christmas-time and … FEED THE WORLD”?

    I don’t understand?


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