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Tea party for Wairarapa tree crop 40th anniversary

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Eric Cairns inspecting a carob tree.

by Eric Cairns and Neil Douglas
The Wairarapa Tree Crop Association will be 40 years old on Saturday November 24. To celebrate we are having an afternoon tea party with fruit and nut cakes and some competitions. We will be remembering our past members, our achievements and our experiences. We will be letting the ‘sap flow’ and encouraging budding new members to join and secure our association’s next 40 years. Read more »

Why prisoners should have the right to vote

by Christine McCarthy
During the recent royal visit to Wellington, Meghan Markle applauded New Zealand for giving women the right to vote 125 years ago. It was a moment we were all rightly proud of, her words fitting recognition of a country that was also an original signatory to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its commitment to “universal and equal suffrage.” Despite this, not all New Zealanders have the right to vote. We deny this universal human right to people in prison, and we have been doing this, in different ways, for more than 125 years. Read more »

A less than great journey

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by Lindsay Shelton
We took one of KiwiRail’s Great Journeys at the weekend – the much-promoted Northern Explorer which runs three times a week from Auckland to Wellington. The experience was okay, but it fell a bit short of the promised greatness. Read more »

Maximising the gains from the Avatar sequels

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by Gordon Campbell
By now, I’m sure we’ve all noted in our diaries the release dates (and alleged working titles) for all the Avatar sequels. But just in case…… Avatar 2: The Way of Water is due in theatres on December 18, 2020 followed by Avatar 3: The Seed Bearer on 17 December, 2021. After a three year gap, if things go according to plan, Avatar 4: The Tulkun Rider will emerge on 20 December, 2024, with Avatar 5: The Quest For Eywa due on 19 December 2025. Be still our beating hearts. Read more »

Questions from behind the razor wire

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by Michael Barnett
In my work as a budget advisor to low-income workers and beneficiaries in Wellington, I’ve been helping a middle aged, single man who I’ll call Happy (name changed to protect his privacy). Happy came to me in February for help to get his benefit sorted. He felt Work & Income were giving him the run around. Read more »

$1.5b plan for 2000 new KiwiBuild homes, and 2900 renewed state houses, in Porirua

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The Eastern Porirua regeneration will transform the suburbs of Ranui, Cannons Creek, Waitangirua and Ascot Park. The partnership with Ngāti Toa in the west will renew public housing in Titihi Bay, Mana and Tawa. Click on image for larger version.

News from NZ Government
Thousands of families will enjoy new state homes, affordable KiwiBuild and market homes under a plan to revitalise eastern Porirua as the Government continues to tackle the housing crisis. Read more »

The unhelpfulness of help desks

by Michael Barnett
I experienced more than my fair share of angst last week. Not that my day to day living is causing me grief – life on the home front is fine, daughter Amy is doing great things, my daily exercise routine at the Freyberg Pool followed by coffee and a chat with the staff at Bernie’s Café all help to keep me on an even keel. No, what got me in a tiz was frustration with the world of corporates, bureaucracies and their infernal online help desks. Read more »

Smart transport – Melbourne shows us how it should be done

by Ian Apperley
I’ve been watching the hundreds of thousands of words and scores of articles chronicling the disaster that is Wellington transport. I’m an analyst by trade, so it’s fascinating to watch. It’s also incredibly frustrating to see the same issues play out again and again. Read more »

Home insurance through the roof

by Lindsay Shelton
Till two years ago, we’d never paid more than $2000 for insuring our Brooklyn house and its contents. Last year, the cost went up to $3000, which didn’t seem too surprising after the 2016 earthquakes. But when the bill arrived this year, the increase was beyond belief. Read more »

Promises, promises … a Trustpower deal that went wrong

by Michael Barnett
A year ago a young man, iPad in hand, walked past the window of my Wellington home. He noticed I was in and came to the door, knocked and I invited him in. He said he was from Trustpower and he invited me sign up to a bundled package of power, phone and internet services. The rates and discount being offered for power supply were better than that of my then supplier. Read more »