UN resolution a thorny problem
Thanks to the fantastic contributions of Kiwis, the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is proud to have completed its 23rd year in New Zealand. With over 42,386 gifts collected nationally, Kmart and its charity partner The Salvation Army are humbled by the amazing generosity of New Zealanders who placed gifts under the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal in December.
Kmart Porirua collected 1922 gifts in total, five per cent of the national gift total the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal was able to pass onto New Zealand families in need at Christmas time. Your contributions have meant that struggling families can also experience that giving feeling in what can be a stressful financial time for those living paycheck to paycheck.
On behalf of the entire Kmart team and our friends at The Salvation Army, I would like to thank each and every person and business who donated to the appeal and particularly the incredibly generous people of Wellington and experiencing the gift of giving this festive season.
Kmart Porirua store manager
As a not-too-distantly past resident of Porirua, I was intrigued by the front page story in the Dominion Post (Jan 11) regarding the developer’s initial description of future townhouses on the Aotea block as being in Wellington with a view of Wellington Harbour. Is that toffeenosed or what?
I recall, when Aotea was in the early stages of development and the houses were not many, a lady going to a hairdresser and insisting that her address was Aotea, Wellington.
I thought that kind of nonsense had long since disappeared. not so, apparently.
Just as an after-thought, in the days when Carrus first took over the Aotea block, it was my understanding that a certain number of ‘‘affordable’’ houses were to be built on part of the land. My memory, of course, could be ageing, like me, but I don’t think it is that bad. And all I see in Aotea are mansions, mansions, and now - townhouses! Whoopdidooo!
Kilian de Lacy
There has been some news recently that the Main Line Electrification is to be dismantled, and that all the trains are to be diesel-hauled. One wonders what is behind the thinking of the proponents of this scheme.
Would it not be better, cheaper, more effective and efficient to have the track electrified from Waikanae to Palmerston North, and from Hamilton to Auckland, so that the whole North Island system is operating on power?
We produce our own electricity, rather than pay for the diesel to be imported from overseas.
We can make our own electric locomotives, which run far more quietly than the roaring diesels – and produce no greenhouse gasses!
The end of year dance show of the Deborah Hale School of Dance had me captured from curtain up to closure. The dancing was superb and right up to the minute with video and special effects.
Having watched the development of dance for 20 years, I was impressed by the dancers’ use of drama interpretations, high level of skills involving song as well as aerobatic strength.
This performance was highly professional and I can only wonder at the possible development of the students involved.
We have great talent right here in Porirua City.
Otaki Coverage of New Zealand’s role in the recent UN resolution on the Middle East has been somewhat obscured by the seasonal distractions and the focus on the holiday road toll.
Too bad. Arguably, our work on the UN resolution censuring Israeli settlements and Palestinian violence has been New Zealand’s most high-profile achievement on the world stage for many years.
True, the UN resolution is a largely symbolic gesture - no sanctions will be imposed on Israel for non-compliance, and a freeze on settlements would be merely the first step in talks towards the highly theoretical ‘two state’ solution that Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has never wanted, or been able (given the extremist nature of his governing coalition) to pursue, even if he had desired it.
To all intents, the ‘two state’ solution has been a dead duck for years – but it does get hauled out and propped up again whenever the UN periodically concerns itself with the equally fabled ‘peace process.’
So why did New Zealand feel it was worth getting involved in the wording and promotion of this UN statement? The simple answer is trade.
For any small nation, trade opportunities tend to be at the forefront of its diplomacy.
In this case, our role was driven by the economic opportunities in Iran, the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia that a critical public stance on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories might put within our grasp.
Evidently, these opportunities were seen as outweighing (a) the fury of the Israelis, and (b) the risk of ending up on the enemies list of the incoming Trump administration.
The symbolism of being seen to support the Palestinians – even if such gestures change little on the ground – is an important regional theme.
Appearing to be onside with the suffering Palestinians is a badge of credibility for the regimes concerned even when – in the case of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan – this involves ongoing co-operation with Israel.
Ever since New Zealand temporarily joined the Security Council two years ago, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully had been seeking a UN initiative on Syria, and a resolution on the Israel/Palestine question.
Wordings were constantly changed on the settlements resolution to ensure the Obama administration would not feel politically impelled to veto it.
Reportedly, when McCully and Netanyahu met in Israel late in 2016, New Zealand had been promoting a milder version of the
‘‘For any small nation, trade opportunities tend to be at the forefront of its diplomacy.’’
McCully will remain Foreign Minister until the end of April.
Replacing him on the eve of the UN vote would have been liable to be misread, overseas.
Ultimately, McCully might even achieve the Free Trade Agreement with Saudi Arabia that would vindicate him personally over the Saudi sheep fiasco, and bring down the curtain on his political career in triumph.
Sometimes….doing what’s good for trade can co-incide with Doing What’s Right, even if that latter bit is always in the eye of the beholder.
The Trans Pacific Partnership, for example, was a US diplomatic manoeuvre (against China) disguised as a trade pact.
For New Zealand, the UN resolution was the exact reverse - a trade gambit disguised as a diplomatic manoeuvre.