How could you be so wrong?

Auckland City Harbour News - - News -

I thought you’d never ask. And in fact, you haven’t – but I’ll re­ply just the same to your unan­swered ques­tion about who I would vote for if the big poll was to­mor­row.

Sim­ple re­ally, I’d go for the guy they say hasn’t got enough ex­pe­ri­ence.

You might think that’s strange. But I don’t feel I’ve any rea­son to worry.

And I reckon it’s time for a change. Ab­so­lutely. The other lot have been in power for long enough. It’s a time to be dif­fer­ent. And he is.

For var­i­ous rea­sons. I mean, no one quite like him has been a can­di­date be­fore.

Which has meant he’s been get­ting a bit of stick along the way, par­tic­u­larly from a stroppy woman.

But he’s coped with her style of cam­paign­ing, taken it all in his stride, been mild and good-tem­pered even when she’s been ex­tra shrill and re­ally rather nasty.

He’s sidestepped mud­sling­ing, avoided hissy fits, shrugged off events in the past.

In­stead, he talks about a shared fu­ture, even ad­mits the odd mis­take or two – which is al­most unique in this po­lit­i­cal process. The old rule was – and still is for some – never ad­mit you were wrong.

All of which has got to his ri­val who’s been rather short-tem­pered, even an­gry at times. And dig­ging for dirt. Quite re­veal­ing.

Which sim­ply makes my man’s smile and calm, smooth man­ner all the more at­trac­tive to me. That’s why I’d vote for him to­mor­row.

And be­lieve me, it has noth­ing to do with the fact that he’s black.

What do you mean? Of course he’s black. Or, more pre­cisely, Barack Obama is brown. He’s my man.

Oh! You thought I was talk­ing about our elec­tion?

Now, that’s dif­fer­ent. Sorry, but I’ll never give you an an­swer on where my vote is go­ing here.

But, I’m still puz­zled. Surely you re­alised it was about “over there” when I got into that busi­ness about a shrill woman, a grumpy op­po­nent and the cheap stuff that’s been fly­ing around, claims of in­ex­pe­ri­ence, the need for change and all that.

I can’t imag­ine how you be­came so con­fused!

Talk­ing about our elec­tion and the un­der­stand­able weight put on crime, pub­lic safety, slam­ming cell doors and throw­ing away the keys, etc, here’s my man­i­festo:

With all the cam­paign chat about home de­ten­tion, yes and no, why not sim­ply make the house ar­rest rules tougher?

In­clud­ing my for­mula: When the plea is “I’ll be ex­tra good if you let me serve my time at home”, give the crim the choice. Okay, but what­ever the jail sen­tence is – in­clud­ing those much­crit­i­cised and ridicu­lous early outs for good be­hav­iour – dou­ble the term for the soft op­tion of home de­ten­tion, shared soft beds, etc.

Sam­ple: One year in­side or two years at home. And by two years we mean two years. Sim­ple as that. In the mail­bag: “I am a mort­gage bro­ker of the very or­di­nary kind, who sim­ply helps peo­ple to do debt con­sol­i­da­tion and home ren­o­va­tions. I’m of­ten asked for fi­nan­cial ad­vice and in­vari­ably tell peo­ple to:

“1. Save some money ev­ery week, and put any ex­tra in an in­ter­est bear­ing lo­cal bank ac­count. This is your emer­gency fund.

“2. Do not in­vest in the share­mar­ket, you are not rich enough to lose money.

“3. Do not in­vest in res­i­den­tial in­vest­ment prop­erty un­less you are con­tent to pay out $200 per week for some­one else to live in your rental prop­erty. Cap­i­tal gain is not guar­an­teed and you can­not eat it.

“4. Do not in­vest in prop­erty which still has to be built.

“A young friend, with a very rich fa­ther, wanted to buy a new apart­ment in one of the classy de­vel­op­ments. A sub­stan­tial de­posit was re­quired. I told her to wait un­til it was built and she could ob­tain clear ti­tle. It all turned to cus­tard a few weeks ago, and she is very glad that the voice of rea­son had spo­ken.

“An older cou­ple in­vested all their sav­ings and took out a mort­gage to pur­chase two city apart­ments.

“When the apart­ments were com­pleted, they were so ugly that they de­cided to quit them ASAP. They now have only their own home and a mort­gage.

“I know four fam­i­lies who are des­per­ate to quit res­i­den­tial in­vest­ment prop­er­ties, which they are strug­gling to keep afloat fi­nan­cially, and one cou­ple who have al­ready lost theirs, adding $40,000 to the mort­gage on their own home, when the prop­erty sold at mortgagee sale.

“It is not a pretty pic­ture, and there are many more sto­ries out there.”

– Irena Dahlstrom

This is not new, but it’s worth a re­play in such gloomy times when there’s very lit­tle to smile about:

“The world­wide knock-on from the great bank dis­as­ter goes on.

“In Ja­pan, Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bon­sai Bank plans to cut­back some branches. Ki­mono Bank as­sets are un­der wraps.

“Karaoke Bank is for sale and likely will go for a song. Shares in Kamikaze Bank were sus­pended af­ter they nose­dived.

“Back-of­fice staff at Karate Bank got the chop.

“An­a­lysts re­port some­thing fishy at Sushi Bank, staff fear they may get a raw deal.

“Thou­sands of Toy­ota work­ers could be down the road. Mit­subishi hopes for a zero im­pact.

“The knives are out at Hara-kiri Bank which ex­pects cuts, and Fuji Bank is un­der a moun­tain of debt.”

I also liked, from a Fair­fax news­pa­per se­lec­tion of mar­ket crash gal­lows hu­mour, the char­ac­ter who summed it all up as worse than a di­vorce – he’d lost half of his pos­ses­sions and still had his wife.

To con­tact Pat Booth email: off­pat@snl.co.nz. All replies are open for pub­li­ca­tion un­less marked Not For Pub­li­ca­tion.

Barack Obama

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