Tea kettle with boiling water

[As published in May/June BayBuzz magazine.]

My computer password is HelpM3Please. 

OK, I know I shouldn’t publish such things, but I promise to change it before this goes to print. IT support selected that password, in reference to my tech woes, but somehow it seems more broadly appropriate. 

The last few years have been traumatic with Covid, Gabrielle, inflation, an increasingly poor mainstream media, and deteriorating law & order, social cohesion, levels of educational attainment. 

I’m stressed, angry, disillusioned and not sleeping again. It might help to get these frustrations off my chest.


As I write the Iranians are stupidly attacking Israel in retaliation to Israel stupidly blowing up one of their embassies, partly in response to Iran stupidly funding Hamas, who stupidly murdered some Israelis in response to Israel’s stupid oppression of Palestinians. I can only conclude that anyone who strongly supports one side or the other, is declaring an overly nuanced opinion on their relative stupidity. I don’t know what the solution to any of this is, but I’m pretty sure no one’s listening to Winston’s call for a ceasefire. My watching the endless tragedy isn’t helping anyone so I will stop.


Interest rates take about 18 months to really bite, but they’re now taking brutal effect. Inflation is the growth in money and credit and on this count governments the world over, have gone mad. Once you start money printing, history would suggest that it’s almost impossible to stop. 

Chief amongst governmental culprits is the USA. It took them 200 years to reach a trillion dollars of debt – now they add that amount every three months. Italy is a much smaller country but has even higher debt levels, as do many across southern Europe. We’re still trading on the remnants of the Bretton Woods monetary system, established after WWII, but the international financial order will need a reboot one day soon. I don’t know how that will play out, but economic strife and war are inseparable in such times. Keep working on that vege garden.


How can the US serve up Biden v Trump II, when both candidates are so manifestly unfit for office? Is democracy also going to fall apart? When it seems it isn’t working, people look for a strongman leader. There is no female equivalent for Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump. 

Our government in NZ is in better shape, but Luxon doesn’t realise who a Prime Minister needs to be. 

We don’t want a senior manager with a penchant for KPI’s. We want a leader we believe in, someone that makes us feel positive about the world. In the old days, great leaders went into battle with their armies and risked their lives along with ordinary men. That’s something people could believe in. 

It makes it a little easier for each of us to go into battle each day if we hear someone on the morning news that we admire. That’s why Labour’s poll numbers improved overnight when they swapped Andrew Little for Jacinda Adern. There were the attractions of youth and femininity, but also kindness, compassion and a path to a better world. The only advantage Luxon has over Ardern is that what you see is what you get. 


Why is everyone so obsessed with one minority group or other? What I see every day is a society that doesn’t care about your race, religion, sexuality, etc. The media seem to want an identity politics war, but who’s really interested?

Having said that, what’s with rainbow pedestrian crossings? I thought these were road safety features. Next thing they’ll want to change the traffic lights to pink, apricot and teal. Do councils really think a rainbow crossing will make us think favourably about the rainbow community? More likely most will just roll their eyes at the wokesters who thought it up. 

Institutions don’t have credible moral positions and it’s insincere for them to suggest they do. They ignore other, less fashionable minority groups, who should be grateful. Councils are tone deaf. If they wanted to support sufferers of scoliosis they put a curve in the crossing; in support of the Chinese community, they’d put a slope on it.

I prefer councils that get the basics right. In the last decade we’ve had the Havelock North gastro crisis and the grim civil defence failure during Gabrielle. I’m reminded of the gastro crisis every time I drive past the Hastings council’s fancy water tank and water education centre. Sure they’ve done a stunning job, but to me it’s a monument to those that couldn’t keep the sheep shit out of the well heads. If they’d got that right I’d still be blissfully drinking unadulterated aquifer water and council would have a bucket of money to deal with Gabrielle.

More than a year on from the cyclone, I’m baffled by council telling Pākōwhai residents they can’t live in certain locations due to the risk to human life. Cyclones aren’t earthquakes – you can see them coming. While living in Pākōwhai might create insurance issues, there should be no risk to human life. Residents will be well gone before civil defence comes a knocking. The flood risk has also been lessened by giving the river debris a good flush out and the removal of a few bridges. Pākōwhai residents are currently being told crazy things, like ‘you can’t live in your garage, but you could live in a caravan’. Is that because they float? 


I don’t like it when people infer I’m guilty of colonialism, even if I am. One half of my family are Irish and other half are Celtic Britons from Cornwall. Both ended up here because they were fleeing colonialism, by the bloody Anglo-Saxon. Don’t blame me for them; I’m a mad Celt overrun by Anglos for generations. 

Hate speech 

Too many governments, including the previous Labour administration, have looked at passing hate speech laws. They are nonsense. What we have now is perfect in saying you can’t incite violence. Stupid people will say stupid, offensive things. I absolutely love the fact we live in a country that tolerates their deficiencies and my own. In the great marketplace of ideas, the stupid ones rarely prevail and shutting them down is what happened in the worst of societies.


I can’t stomach these people that complain all the time. With all their infuriating failures, liberal western democracies like ours are the best societies that have ever existed. It’s for this reason that so many people want to live in NZ, Britain, USA, Australia, Canada, etc. People want to join our squabbling, dysfunctional, bankrupt countries, so it can’t be too bad.

Except that I seem to have become a whinger too. But it’s out of my system for now. What I’m mostly frustrated by is an absence of leadership. Leadership implies that the rest of us are followers and I sure don’t want to be one of those. Each of us can be leaders to our families, our friends and workmates. If we’re prepared to set the example, then collectively we’ll be much more powerful than all those fancy people at the top. 

Tomorrow will bring a new dawn and I will stop complaining. 

Paul Paynter is our resident iconoclast and cider maker. Weather permitting, he grows stuff at Yummyfruit.


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1 Comment

  1. Yes: ” … the Hastings council’s fancy water tank and water education centre. Sure they’ve done a stunning job, but to me it’s a monument to those that couldn’t keep the sheep shit out of the well heads. If they’d got that right I’d still be blissfully drinking unadulterated aquifer water and council would have a bucket of money to deal with Gabrielle.”
    Let’s get our priorities right. Potholes before pretty.

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