Mudslinging misses point
Want a white hot prediction over the election? Well, here’s mine. I predict that the current storm of mudslinging:
Won’t put one more breakfast and/or lunch into the hands and stomachs of neglected hungry children.
Won’t save them from beatings by drug crazy parents – or from their mother’s current boyfriend.
Won’t make one more hospital bed for sick or injured patients of any age.
Won’t give worthwhile funding to essential services in a suburb near you.
Won’t get money to those who are struggling because corporates that have helped with cash in the past are looking for other targets which will give them more bangs for their bucks, because ‘‘times are hard for us’’.
Won’t sort out the present illogical mess in which drugs are safe and illegal or dangerous and legal.
Won’t move to upgrade more kilometres of national roads that locals know are dangerous and are not getting any safer.
Won’t grubstake more training and opportunities for the jobless.
Won’t put more police into violent suburbs.
Won’t somehow shorten the unforgivable waiting time for cases to be heard in our courts – and for coroners to rule. (Some families are waiting two years or more to find completion.)
Won’t stop the shouting and start listening to what voters are saying and what they hope for.
In a week where revelations have involved depressing disclosures about hacking (‘‘you did’’... ‘‘we didn’t’’), bad language and questionable backroom practices, wonderful examples were revealed of what other New Zealanders do in a crisis:
Twenty-one courageous people at an investiture – aptly held in the Cardboard Cathedral – received medals they deserved for bravery and help in the Christchurch earthquakes.
In particular, the doctors, nurses, police and public who became theatre staff in the ruins while a double amputation cost one man his legs – but gave him back his life.
But why did it take years for their bravery to be recognised?
In the same week, a New Zealand nurse and a health worker chose to fly into Africa to help fight the deadly Ebola outbreak.
They know what risks they are taking – despite the warnings for world diplomats and corporate staff to leave affected areas immediately. How long will they wait for recognition?
What are the powers-that-be thinking about with that bizarre plan for an apparent state house at the end of Queens Wharf, including a giant (4.5 tonne) Venetian chandelier, total cost $1.5 million?
There have been suggestions that tourists on cruise liners will be enthralled to see the chandelier through a glass section in the roof.
Surprised maybe, but unlikely to mislay their luggage or miss the excursion bus because they can’t tear themselves away from that surreal glimpse.
They are more likely to accost a passing citizen to ask an obvious question: ‘‘ What on earth is it all about?’’
Count me in with that query too.
One interesting flashback on the wharf controversy are the references to Starship and the opinion-shaper Sir Bob Harvey who suggested that label.
I remember asking Sir Bob where his brainstorm flew in from.
‘‘It was,’’ he said, ‘‘because a number of Pacific Island children came from environments where they didn’t use the word hospital.’’
Intrigued, I rang a Pacific Islands spokesman to ask what they called a hospital.
I got the puzzled reply, pital’’.
When I put this to Bob, he gave me a winning smile and said: ‘‘We’ll see, won’t we?’’
We have – and he can reasonably say he was right. He is, of course, now chairman of Waterfront Auckland, the body in charge of the wharf.
But I don’t think that supporters of the wharf state house will think they were right a decade or so from now. (Even earlier – like a week after it’s finished.)