Statecraft and sending troops to Iraq

Let’s be clear: constitutionally, the Executive decides where and how troops are deployed. John Key did not need Parliament’s approval to go to war.
And let’s be clear: Key is going to war. Iraq is at war. Training its troops is joining its war.
But Key’s denial of a parliamentary vote is a mite regal in the 2010s. We are a modern […]

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End-of-life decisions

Paul SmithSummer cosseted us with its warmth this Saturday afternoon, though inside the conference room we were hearing about something much chillier.
It was so warm the doors were left open and if you listened, you could hear an unfamiliar rustle outside: the eddies of dry leaves gathering pace in the carpark. […]

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Along the Silk Rd – Urumqi – Part 21

Kate Frost1Revitalised by our rest we decided to walk back to our hotel. On the way we stopped to look at a construction site and a very large hole in the ground with parts of what looked like a bricked over sewerage tunnel exposed by the excavation. Men were digging holes […]

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This month in History – March

*  Skippers Bridge opened
*  Maungatautari Whare Uta (Maori bank) created
*  Barry Crump’s novel A good keen man published
*  Legendary sheep rustler James Mackenzie caught
*  Outbreak of the Girl’s War at Kororareka
*  1842 First official execution in NZ
*  First ‘talkie’ draws huge crowds in Wellington
*  Death of Opo the friendly dolphin
*  The fall of Kororareka
*  Arthur’s Pass ‘discovered’
*  NZ’s first […]

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Whingeing Aussies and their beer belly

Once we put up with whingeing Poms. Now it’s whingeing Aussies. They are far richer than us, so what’s the beef? And why should we bother?
The problem is China — or, rather, China plus Australians’ punchy self-importance. In security matters that self-belief took it into Iraq in 2003 and is taking it there now (with a John Key coda, about […]

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An A-Z of New Zealand traditions & Folklore by Gordon Ell
(Published by New Holland)

Opo the Dolphin
 (It was the kind of summer we’re having now when Opo swam into our lives and here’s a record from Kiwiosities, of those happy days.)
During the summer of 1955-56, a bottle-nosed dolphin made friends with the people of Opononi on the southern shores of […]

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Real love over 50 shades…

CashDunedin’s ‘The Evening Star’ newspaper has long gone and I’m now old and cynical. But, there’s one moment I’ll never forget from my halcyon days as a cub reporter there – seeing Johnny Cash declare his love for his wife, June Carter Cash, on the stage at the Town Hall.
When I got the […]

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A protest – in Wanaka…

Depression is too strong a word to describe what drove me to start marching around Wanaka with a sign. It was more a sense of futility that after more than two decades of Labour saying this and National saying that, the low-paid, the poor, have been abandoned and nothing is changing.
So I wondered what I could do besides writing about […]

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