2017 in review and perhaps a bit of a look forward to 2018

As with most blogs and punditry sites, MyThinks didn’t want to leave the office for Christmas without throwing out one final post in an effort to crack a few final clicks before the year’s end. Who are the winners and losers this year? What will happen next year? Who knows? Well… we do. And here are our (my) reckons.

Predictions for 2017: 

MyThinks made no predictions for 2017. So that’s a 100% success rate. In your face every other blog.

Idiot of the Year: 

Trump. As the orange racist currently holding the place in the White House for Mike Pence continues with his racist orangey diatribes against all things female, media and African-American, the big question is this: will he last beyond the end of 2018? Who knows? MyThinks believes the Republican Party could grow some kind of non-jelly based spine following the predicted rout in the 2018 mid-terms. If that happens Trump is a goner and Pence is a shoe in.

Winner of the Year: 

Jacinda Adern. She showed Bill English, David Farrar and the rest of the “pretending to be centrist” brigade that winning an election in a proportional environment involves getting more votes than the other side. As much as National and people who can’t get their heads around proportional representation continue to believe they have the moral mandate to form a government, if you can’t form a government, then you aren’t going to be the government. It’s quite simple maths really. If they want to flick me an email I can explain it, you know, if they want.

Loser of the Year: 

The National Party. See above.

Sports Performance of the Year: 

Black Ferns. They burned England with an amazing come-from-behind performance and got Aotearoa so amped that the bastion of New Zealand man-ness, the NSRFU, are now talking about some kind of professional situation for the country’s female rugby players. Would this have happened anyway? Again, who knows, but the Black Ferns performance in that final was as good as anything the All Blacks could dish out at the moment.

Album of the Year: 

Lorde. She also gets Song of the Year for Green Light. She is astounding. MyThinks tried to watch Lorde’s Coachella performance with his 7-year-old son and there were too many adult-themed words so he had to turn the sound down between songs and during some songs. But I suppose when I was twenty I was letting rip with the odd expletive from time to time, so who can blame her. Lorde rocks.

Loser of the Year: 

The National Party. See above.

Predictions for 2018:

  1. National will continue to freak out about the election result, blame Labour for the spending deficits they themselves created and continue to allege they are the most capable at running a tight ship – despite all financial evidence showing Labour running a tighter ship than they ever did.
  2. National will fall in the polls. When they are about 5 points behind Labour the knives will sharpen and BLinglish will head off for his obligatory overseas post and subsequent knighthood before Judith Collins, Simon Bridges or any of the other shining lights of the far right try to take charge. The implosion will be spectacular (may actually take place in 2019 as freaking out takes hold).
  3. The Trump Administration will also implode. See prediction above.
  4. Someone from New Zealand will do something awesome somewhere in the world which will make us all go, “Yeaaaaah!!” and celebrate their awesomeness for weeks.
  5. None of MyThinks predictions will come true. Except for number 4 – it’s loose enough to apply to any event involving a New Zealander anywhere in the world at any time.

Loser of the Year: 

The National Party. See above.

We here at MyThinks (well… it’s just me really) wish you all a very happy non-denominational holiday period and all the best for 2018.

Boon x

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An ode to democracy

Not long ago and quite close to home
An election was held to decide a new throne.
With many votes cast and results nearly in
National began with their post-ballot din.
“We are the winners!” they announced with much glee.
“We have the most votes! The most votes are with we!”
They began to speak through their surrogate friends
Who dutifully worked to their masters ends.
“The winner is the one who has the most votes.”
“A coalition of losers can’t even row boats!”
(But this time Joyce made subtle corrections
and had the rowers all jogging in different directions)

But as the dust settled and people were thinking
Some of them said, “Hang on. What have you been thinking?”
The rules of democracy quite clearly state
That the winner must have 50% plus one on their plate.
That explanation did not go down well.
No. That explanation was sent back to hell.
All the surrogates continued to painfully whine
As jelly seemed to replace all their spines.
“The winner is the one who has the most votes”
“A coalition of losers can’t even row boats!”
“We are the winners!” went up the plea.
“We have the most votes! The most votes are with we!!”

Then Winston popped up I’m quite happy to say
To tell all the people which way he would sway.
“The people have spoken,” he said with good cheer,
“And I’m now with Jacinda. It is she, do you hear!”
You should have heard the right wing explode.
They now went in to their full attack mode.
“But we are the winners!” they cried out in pain.
“We have the most votes. It’s our turn again!”

But National were done. It just wasn’t their day
They had no more friends who could come out to play.
Labour and Winston with their friends in the Greens
Were now in control – what a sight to be seen.

Of course, you couldn’t shut up the feverish few
Who kept going on because they were blue.
“But we were the winners!” they continued to plea
“We had the most votes. The most votes were with we!”

But all had stopped listening and turned off their screens
And slid them back into their handbags and jeans.
Despite the Blue brains that had all prolapsed
Things were ok and they hadn’t collapsed.
Everyone decided National had been
The losing-est losers they’d ever seen.

National against dumping of National’s Standards 

The Government is irresponsibly and recklessly scrapping National Standards without having a detailed nationwide system of progression to replace it with, leaving parents in the dark about their children’s achievement, National Party Education Spokesperson Nikki Kaye desperately says.

“Education Minister Chris Hipkins’ decision to no longer compel schools to report annually on a randomly arbitrary figure set by the National Party and given to the Ministry of Education to enforce is bad news for parents and could have negative and far-reaching consequences across the education sector,” Ms Kaye says.

“While Mr Hipkins is saying parents will still get reports, there is no clarity about what exactly will be required of teachers to report on. He’s even said that parents will be able to celebrate the progress of their children. This is an outrage.

“If teachers don’t report against National’s Standards, what are they going to report on? How their students get on with other children? How they manage themselves? How well they collaborate with others? How awesome they are at Art or P.E. or Science or Technology?

“Without this information there will also be huge difficulty targeting funding to schools that the minister likes.

“Mr Hipkins did not need to do this – he should have waited until he had figured out a replacement system. Instead, just as schools are breaking up for the year he has given them every reason to celebrate.

“National has previously supported a shift to progression but only when coupled with the use of data to play school off against school and teacher off against teacher. It’s important for our friends in the media to get every possible chance they can to rank schools using National’s Standards because that’s obviously the best way to improve learning outcomes for children. 

“This Minister is consistently displaying a rash and ideological approach to our education system, which is something we never ever did never ever ever.”

Don Brash: “I’m no racist, but….”

If you don’t already know this, Dr Don Brash, former leader and never Prime Minister of two far right parties, was on Saturday Morning this week proving to New Zealand how he’s not racist by being completely racist for thirty minutes.

If you haven’t already heard the piece, it’s here:

https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/remote-player?id=2018623927

If you get angry or frustrated when your slightly racist elderly relatives start their unsolicited comments about the “mayorees (sic)” during Christmas dinner, then do not listen.

If you haven’t yet read The Spinoff’s listing of all Kim Hill’s sickest burns against Dr Brash, then do that first. It makes listening to this old racist white man much easier because you know when the zingers are coming.

As Kim pointed out, Brash seems to be all for there being no separation of Māori from the rest of the population in Aotearoa – except when it comes to the first half a minute or so after the theme music to his morning news station.

Kim didn’t suggest this, but I will. If he wants to listen to a Te Reo free zone, then I suggest he cracks into a bit of Hosking in the morning. I can guarantee, without having ever listened to his morning breakfast show, that the only Te Reo coming through his microphone will be proper nouns. Hosking seems to be the only TVNZ host who regularly gets away with not pronouncing even the word Māori correctly.

ZB aside (as it should be), Brash pointed out, quite racistly, during the front half of the interview that, “…most Māori can’t even speak English properly” which was utterly, and appallingly, racist.

If Brash is saying, “No, no… I’m not racist. I keep telling you.” I’m going to point him, quite helpfully, in the direction of the definition of racism:

From the Oxford English Dictionary (so as not to offend Dr Brash’s delicate sensibilities)

Brash is racist because he is being deliberately antagonistic towards Māori who he sees, as also made clear during some of his more racist comments, were “in the stone age” before Europeans turned up. That’s the sort of thing you hear on late night talkback from insomniacs with nothing better to do. Basically, I’m no racist, but everything I say on race issues is racist.

Near the end of the interview he starts rambling about the Te Tiriti and learning languages and how Te Reo has no value. This is the economist’s view of the world – nothing is valuable unless you can quantify it in terms of the dollar or GDP growth (I’m sure someone has done the research into the impact Māori and Te Reo have had on the New Zealand economy and I look forward to being pointed in the direction of the results).

Brash also lamented how Te Reo was “almost compulsory” at his grandchild’s preschool. In between this and Guyon Espiner’s 20 second journey into the pits of hell just before the news every morning, Brash’s life at the moment must be terrible.

His ultimate thesis was, to put it bluntly, if I don’t want to learn it, then nobody else should. “Why should it be thrust down my throat?” he pleaded.

I’ll tell you why. Māori signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi with Queen Victoria who promised them certain rights as Tangata Whenua. Following this, The Crown then spend the next 140 years literally beating Te Reo out of our indigenous population. After nearly a century and a half of cultural abuse, it is now surely up to The Crown to be equally forceful (but in a positive way) to ensure Te Reo Māori is restored to it’s natural place as the most spoken language in the country. Radio New Zealand’s role in this protection of this national taonga.

At the end of the day, I don’t want some rich old white guy telling me whether or not I should be listening to an official language of Aotearoa. If you don’t like it, don’t listen. Better still, move to Queensland where racists are warmly welcomed and elected to the Australian Senate.

Regards,

Boon

Old white man speaks out against another language

It is with some concern and, indeed, much trepidatory nervousness that I express my complete worry at the amount of Mayoree language being spoken in New Zealand. I hear it all over the radio and television day after day after day.

I’m no racist, but when Guyon or whoever starts their morning hello with six or seven words from a language I don’t understand, I’m going to say something. If you are going to welcome me to your radio show and try to get me to listen then you should say stuff in a language I understand. If I don’t understand, then I can’t engage. If I can’t engage, then I need to get my press people to issue blatantly racist press releases in the hopes people will talk to me and listen to my old white man ideas.

Sure Mayoree have been in New Zealand for hundreds of years and their language was pretty much the national language until James Cook turned up with all his amazing technology, disease and colonial suppression. They’ve done so well since then.

Look. I am old and I am white. I’m threatened by anything that’s not old and white. All this use of Te Reyo is new and fresh sounding. All the kids are using it. It threatens my white man-ness. I mean… I can’t really speak Te Reyo but I sometimes like to use it. I use the word farnow all the time. It works just so much better than family. It means so much more. So I use farnow all the time. But I don’t want other people using any of the other words. It’s too confusing to both my manhood and my whitehood.

Right… if you’ll excuse me I’m off to my house in Orakei to enjoy a Wairarapa chardonnay with some roasted kumara while we look out on the beautiful Rangitoto in the Hauraki Gulf.

Kind regards,

Donald Brash (doctor)