Tom O'Connor's opinion columns have been previously published by Stuff in the Waikato Times

Maori Wards must be decided by ratepayers, not councils alone

12 April 2021
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While Hamilton City Council and the Taranaki Regional Council appear to be approaching the thorny issue of Maori Wards for local bodies from completely different positions, they are in fact both taking exactly the right course. The Taranaki Regional Council recently resolved to establish a Maori ward in time for the 2022 local body elections.…

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Feed and Build Community before Debates and Travel Bubbles

6 April 2021
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In a time of unprecedented uncertainty about our protection from a deadly disease and the future of the planet it can often be helpful to look back at how our parents and grandparents managed in the face of adversity. They fed and clothed often quite large families through the very tough times of the major economic depression of the 1930s and the dreadful uncertainties of two world wars. In addition, they helped others less fortunate than themselves in an age when that was a traditional responsibility.

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Cool it

29 March 2021
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Investors and speculators in real estate are equal contributors to a ridiculously overheated housing market and they should have seen these changes, or something similar, coming at them like a freight train at least five years ago. There have been warnings enough that the booming house market would not be allowed to continue without Government intervention. If anything, that intervention has taken too long.

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Water and local body woes

15 March 2021
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Projected large scale changes in the near future to the way potable water is supplied to homes throughout the country should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Last week the Waipa District Council announced the possibility of spending millions of dollars on water system upgrades, then being forced to hand them over to…

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A virus is not deterred by bishops or anybody else

8 March 2021
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It has been a long and difficult year since the first nationwide lockdown to take Covid-19 out of the community and keep the deadly virus confined to managed isolation facilities.The economic cost for many has been enormous, the social cost for others has been devastating, a few have lost family members but many have had…

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Unwritten social rules evade Bridges

1 March 2021
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The many laws, rules and regulations which govern our lives can be seen as a measure of our uncertainty. In effect, if we are certain about what we should or should not do, we do not need laws to direct us. It is only when we are unsure that we need laws to direct us. It is only the dishonest or the stupid who defy certainty or the law.

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Citizenship Ructions and a Rabbit

21 February 2021
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In a world of angry and sometimes fearful people shouting past each other over all manner of real and imagined problems it is refreshing to get a glimpse of the softer, friendlier, side of humanity. Lately we have been awash with news about the disorganised and tragic international response to one of the deadliest pandemics…

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When traditions prevent common sense

15 February 2021
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A couple of weeks ago, following an unseemly bout of infantile intolerance over the use of te reo Maori at a Grey Power meeting, I asked in this column if we had become a little too sensitive about the differences between Maori and non-Maori social and cultural norms. It had been suggested, in a Grey…

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Climate change affects Farmers more than most.

6 February 2021
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These tough times will include the most dramatic changes in farming systems since we put the last of the working horses out to pasture and began using electricity to replace steam engines. There will be fewer and smaller dairy and beef cattle herds, improved breeding technology for cattle and sheep. There will also no doubt be a requirement for a much-reduced reliance on artificial fertilisers.

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