Aotearower's Blog - Speaking Up for Small Voices
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Policies,Personalities or Perception?
The Jacinda Jeneration
Winners and Losers
Protecting Our Lifestyle
Sophisticate or Snob?

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Policies,Personalities or Perception?

Every political party invests considerable resources defining its position on the political spectrum. Much like any business the manifesto of policies is the product that they have to sell.
However like businesses, that product generally remains a mystery to the average member of the public. It is the window dressing - the brand, the advertising, the endorsements - that determines whether that product succeeds or fails.
In this year's elections a number of events transpired to change the public perception as to what product was being offered for sale.

The Jacinda Jeneration

The excitement of the past weeks upheavals in New Zealands political landscape feels much like 1984 when the baby boomers of Lange, Douglas and Prebble took over the reins from the old guard of Muldoon and Talboys.
In all instances the incumbents have not had any previous ministerial experience and question marks over their abilities to lead were, and have been, raised.
Some might argue that the crash of 1987 was exascerbated by the rapid transition from interventionist to market lead economic theories, that New Zealand was underprepared for the consequences of change, and use this as reasons not to repeat the experience in a move to "Jacindamania".

Winners and Losers

For many years now our educators have been dismissive of the notion that society is an amalgam of winners and losers. 
In sport children (and their parents) have been encouraged to applaud the virtues of participating in the game rather than focus on the result of the competition that sporting occasions demand.
Undoubtedly this has broadened the appeal to a far greater number of people and unearthed talent that might otherwise have remained dormant, so the argument for diminishing the emphasis on competitive outcomes has substantial merit.

Protecting Our Lifestyle

In a recent TED Talk Simon Anholt argued that the traditional left/right divide was no longer the relevant spectrum to gauge the political divide. With a world shrunk by communication technologies and air travel he argued that the new political debate was between those who wished to promote global citizenship and those who preferred xenophobic nationalism.

He therefore argued that the only relevaant questions to ask those seeking political office was to clarify which of these two views of the world they were promoting.

Sophisticate or Snob?

When travellers meet they inevitably converse about their experiences in the countries that they have visited.
There is also a high chance that their recall of events will be assisted by alcoholic refreshments.
There is an equally high likelihood that the choice of drinks will reflect the tone of  conversation.
Recently I attended a meeting of beer drinking men from around the globe - those from the Southern Hemisphere,  Europeans and British (who must now be distinguished!).
Whilst lager drinkers  may be distinguished from  craft beer drinkers there seemed little likelihood that this group would raise anything contentious.

Resolving ISIS

I recently caught up with a few old golfing buddies and expected our conversation to be about the Rugby World Cup, or the retirement of Richie MacCaw or the untimely death of Jonah Lomu.
I was somewhat surprised then when I was asked as to how "we" were to "resolve ISIS".
Without the recent atrocities in Paris I couldn't imagine that question being asked by a few non political geriatrics in the peaceful New Zealand countryside.
The ISIS marketing team would be delighted about the success of their global publicity strategies!

The Best Teacher

A few weeks ago friends invited me to dinner. Their daughter and grandchildren were staying for the weekend.
The younger generation were attended to by the women in the family room at one end of the house whilst I was instructed to stay in the living room at the other end. I was somewhat disappointed - without my own grandchildren I enjoy any chance to be involved with other people's. My suggestion that we all dine together was promptly dismissed on the basis that the living room would be quieter.

Is there a Value in Trust?

The hospitality industry is a very difficult industry to manage. The three products in which it operates, food, alcohol and cash, are plentiful and easily accessible to staff, customers and suppliers. The temptation is always there for people to abuse the responsibilities given to them.
For the owners of these businesses there is a dilemma about the level of security that should be provided. Noone wants to work,or frequent a premise that is regulated to the extent of Fort Knox but the absence of any form of control would inevitably be financial suicide.

Owl's Opinions

We all have ways of encapsulating our life experiences.

Here are a few of mine:

Life isn't a challenge, the challenge is to create a life.

Life isn't gauged by what you create but by the extent of your creations. 

"Life is your best opportunity - embrace it".

"Success is a personal experience".

"We are what we think - not who we think we are".

"People are best described by what they do and not by what they say".

"Trust those who do as they say".

Bitter Sweet Fads

It is hard to argue with Nigel Latta's evidence that sugar has played a significant part in the rise of diabetes in our society. No surprise then that his solution was to raise a sugar tax to pay for the health consequences and to deter consumption - the same remedies that are applied to other evils such as smoking and alcohol.
That solution however just seems to perpetuate the problem and if one is to believe that it mainly affects the poorer echelons of society it hardly seems to be a fair approach.
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