Burger back­lash just silly

Wanganui Midweek - - NEWS -

I re­ally don’t care what Air NZ serves up dis­guised as food.

Whether it’s fo­liage pre­tend­ing to be meat or syn­thet­ics try­ing hard to look ed­i­ble, the only ex­pe­ri­ences I’ve had with the air­line’s menu have been frus­trat­ing, de­mean­ing and dignity de­stroy­ing.

Un­less you’re bean-pole thin (but not tall) and not sit­ting next to some­one so big your al­lo­cated seat num­ber is merely there to re­ceive their phys­i­cal over­flow, chances are your ef­forts to ma­nip­u­late plas­tic cut­lery around a plas­tic con­tainer and con­vey the con­tents to your face are less than suc­cess­ful and fre­quently messy.

The sus­te­nance rarely reaches its des­ti­na­tion.

I’m not com­plain­ing (much), that’s just what I get for be­ing too poor to af­ford busi­ness class. My fault en­tirely; sorry I spoke up.

But this back­lash be­cause Air NZ dared to put a veg­e­tar­ian dish on the menu has gone too far.

Re­ally, one sim­ple — but well-pub­li­cised — ad­di­tion to an air­line menu is not go­ing to de­stroy the New Zealand meat in­dus­try.

It’s just not that frag­ile. It’s not as if the air­line has sud­denly banned meat prod­ucts from its planes and has started preach­ing bor­na­gain ve­gan cat­e­chisms. It’s sim­ply a menu ad­just­ment. An­other choice for the pay­ing pas­sen­ger.

To con­tem­plate the demise of pas­toral farm­ing be­cause of that is to give too much cre­dence to so­cial me­dia and the in­tel­li­gence of the life forms that in­habit it.

The fuss is down to the menu ad­di­tion of a meat-free burger, and it has got a lot of peo­ple out­raged and of­fended. It’s been a handy plat­form for the odd MP to rage and froth at the mouth at how the air­line is sin­gle-hand­edly plot­ting the down­fall of the meat-eater and cav­ing in to the po­lit­i­cal machi­na­tions of ve­gan ac­tivists. Pop­py­cock!

It’s a burger for peo­ple who don’t want to eat meat but still want some­thing that looks and tastes like it.

Their rea­sons for do­ing so are their own but just be­cause they ac­cept the new menu choice does not mean a Ma­sonic con­spir­acy or the rise of the Il­lu­mi­nati.

For those out­raged cit­i­zens to condemn the air­line for not sup­port­ing New Zealand in­dus­try is to ig­nore that New Zealand in­dus­try also pro­duces meat-free food, dairy-free milk and wool-free cloth­ing and car­pet.

Granted, Air NZ has part­nered with Im­pos­si­ble Foods, a Cal­i­for­nian fac­tory that pro­duces the burg­ers, but to sug­gest that the gi­ant Kiwi beef in­dus­try could be in strife be­cause of it is just silly.

One could also ar­gue that the “na­tional car­rier” should also only use air­craft man­u­fac­tured in New Zealand and only em­ploy staff who can pro­duce a New Zealand pass­port and pass a Kiwi Rugby Quiz.

Of course, nei­ther of those things is go­ing to hap­pen.

To then fo­cus on a sin­gle menu item as a sym­bol of the col­lapse of all that is good, sa­cred and Kiwi is to take out­rage too far. The pub­lic of­fence reeks of over­act­ing and a bad melo­dra­matic script.

How many of us got the warm fuzzies when we heard politi­cians — first, last term’s Na­tional MPs, now the cur­rent coali­tion crop — talk lov­ingly about “af­ford­able” hous­ing?

Now, of course, we know they didn’t mean “af­ford­able” at all. To even con­sider that $650,000 in Auck­land and $500,000 in the rest of the coun­try con­sti­tutes “af­ford­able” is to live in a fan­tasy world fi­nanced by dreams. Dreams only for the well-to-do.

There is no hous­ing hope for those on mod­er­ate or low in­comes, and yet, weren’t they the peo­ple the Gov­ern­ment was sup­posed to tar­get and im­bue with op­ti­mism?

All the MPs have done is reaf­firm what we knew all along — their salaries and ben­e­fits have placed them in ivory tow­ers and ad­justed the out­comes of their orig­i­nal plans. To sug­gest that $500,000 is an af­ford­able home is a joke, but we’re hav­ing trou­ble get­ting the punch­line.

The price of homes in Whanganui is al­ready ris­ing as peo­ple from wealth­ier parts of the coun­try cross our pas­toral bor­ders to take ad­van­tage of lower prices and health­ier lifestyle. This, of course, in direct con­trast to an in­sult­ing piece re­cently shown on tele­vi­sion.

Nat­u­rally, there are those who come here merely as land­lords, buy­ing prop­erty as in­vest­ment. Per­haps they don’t come here at all, but send an agent in­stead, in­creas­ing their prop­erty port­fo­lio from the plate glass safety of an Auck­land high-rise.

Ei­ther way, that com­bined with the new con­cept of “af­ford­able” is push­ing our house prices up and pre­vent­ing many peo­ple from be­ing able to buy a home to live in.

But fear not! Good cit­i­zens of New Zealand can, if they earn more than twice the av­er­age wage, that is, qual­ify to buy an “af­ford­able” home, thanks to a Gov­ern­ment run by a party that has for­got­ten its roots and why it was formed in the first place.

Un­der the new def­i­ni­tion of “af­ford­able”, and its sub­se­quent re-eval­u­a­tion of the poverty line, a large chunk of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion is for­ever locked out of the hous­ing mar­ket and forced to rely on the good­will of those with the money and the houses.

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