I think we have two paths ahead of us. Either we (by which I mean the government) shake ourselves out of the odd hypnotic apathy of recent years and remember that we are global citizens who like to feel like we are doing our bit (remember all the warm glowy feelings we got from international peace-keeping in the 1990s?) or we follow Australia.
We should separate refugee policies from asylum policies. I agree that Australia's treatment of people seeking asylum is inhumane and awful, but Australia has an annual quota of 20,000 refugees to NZ's 750. That means Australia takes 1 refugee for every 1,150 people, compared to NZ's 1 per 5,960. I'd rather we followed Australia's refugee policy, but differed in our treatment of anyone arrives here, unlikely as it is to be by boat.
Ubuntu. A great word that will become better known now Obama has spoken it. Not the operating system, nor the health clinic in Khayelitsha, a huge township of Cape Town.
I’m worried for New Zealander’s access to affordable medicines through Pharmac.
And beyond that, the availability of generic pharmaceuticals is a global issue. If the TPP is agreed in the form that is feared, it could have implications for access to affordable medicines all over the world, particularly if its provisions become a new global standard. New rules under the TPP could stop the flow of affordable generics, extending monopoly protection, reducing competition, and therefore keeping prices high. Proposed provisions prolong patent protection, including by extending (by 20 years) patents for modifications to existing drugs such as changes in formulations and dosages – even if the changes do not alter efficacy for patients. It is also proposed to make diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical methods patentable.
I’m working in South Africa at present for Medecins Sans Frontieres, and we can only do what we’re doing because the drugs given to our patients cost around US$140 a year, rather than the US$10,000 it would’ve cost a decade ago. MSF wrote an open letter to TPP countries to express its concern, because generic competetion saves lives.
I spent the day working (discussions about how to beat the HIV epidemic...), but did reflect on the fact that it was Waitangi Day just before falling asleep (Honey, it was Waitangi Day today, well you know, up until 12 hours ago | Oh, yeah, happy Waitangi Day | Cheers, to you too, nigh night).
Living in South Africa certainly provides a different perspective on race and ethnicity - felt very disturbed to be told during the day that there was an Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging enclave on the outskirts of the town where we live in KwaZulu Natal. I have yet to verify this for myself, but suffice to say there is still some very crazy politics going down here. Which doesn't diminish at all the challenges of ethnicity and politics in Aotearoa NZ, but the conversation is certainly a different one.
The last Waitangi Day I had out of the country I was in Moscow, in 2006. That year we went to the NZ Embassy for canapes and music by Moana Maniapoto - if ever you have chance it's nice to see inside our territory in foreign lands. I seem to remember someone from the Russian foreign ministry (if not the foreign minister), saying something along the lines of Obama and Kerry's message. I didn't take the opportunity then to pipe up and say it was a bit soon for congrats, but it's exactly what I thought.
The poor ducks looked a bit confused though - what is this inedible crap you're throwing in our river?!?.
I spent 12.51 at my son's primary school. The kids all stood in 'The Big Field' in the class rows, surrounded by a large circle of parents, for two minutes of silence. It had a good feeling - the school community was there to remember people's loss and be there together to support our kids. The kids quietly sang a waiata, released balloons, and went down to the Heathcote to throw flowers and petals in the river.
it seems odd to be commemorating the anniversary of something that's still happening
I'd agree with that - how can we honour the memory of something that is still disrupting our lives and giving us grief?
But then I think of those that died or were injured, and perhaps a year is the time to mark some kind of moving on or bringing to remembrance.
I know there has been planning to deal with a greater level of psychological aftermath following the anniversary. I live in hope that that might mean people are continuing on a recovery process, not one that is finishing, but at least one that is moving along rather than being supressed.
The NY Times says "half the nation’s rivers and lakes are unfit for human contact"
And "Cadmium poisoning has been a persistent problem, especially among those working at battery plants or living near them."
Food Bank? Perhaps too many insensitive connotations. But it will also be about the politics of food - food security/insecurity included. But not so good when discussing the latest truffle-flavoured oil...
Bring a Plate. A little more up to date than Ladies...