Mud­sling­ing misses point

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.)

‘‘a hos-

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