The so-called trans-Tasman relationship, which we will commemorate next Sunday on Anzac Day, has never been more abused than it is now. While the somewhat idealistic brotherhood in arms tradition was established by a previous generation on the bloody slopes of Gallipoli more than a century ago, there is now a new conflict festering beneath the surface which is raising temperatures and tempers on both side of the Tasman.

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The appeal by the man convicted of the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacre against his jail conditions and terrorist status was not surprising. He probably has little else to do and his action follows the pattern of many long-term prison inmates who have used their time to engage in ongoing litigation, often at taxpayer expense.

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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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In spite of some recent inaccurate rhetoric from both sides of the political debate racism has always been here, as it has in most other nations and communities. It is as difficult to define as it will be to eradicate and screaming racism at everything we don’t like or understand doesn’t help. But, if anyone can succeed we can and we will be the first nation in the world to do so.

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Many past generations of parents have watched in helpless distress as their children changed from healthy, ambitious youngsters to unemployable zombies, visited them in jail or buried them as a result of illegal drug use. Too many young people today don’t even have parents who worry about them at all due to their own drug habits.

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We are being asked to approve something which is potentially harmful to at least some vulnerable people so that others can get high. Given that there are so many other ways for people to enjoy themselves, legalising cannabis is probably not a good idea.

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In the first week of each new year, for the past three or four decades, I have looked back through the scribbled pages of my now filled diary and wonder how we survived it all. Then I look at the pristine unmarked pages of the new diary and wonder what issues and events will fill…

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In spite of the claims by several groups there is no reliable, peer reviewed, science, so far, to show that cannabis, in any form cures anything. There is good evidence however to show that, properly administered, it is an effective sedative and pain inhibitor without many of the nasty side effects of conventional medications. Two bills before Parliament last week had potential to provide the correct access to the people who need it and those who do not. It’s a shame that politics and ignorance got in the way.

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Does New Zealand need a formal constitution of rights for it’s citizens? Some politicians suggest it would be a hinderance to government. Others say it would be impossible to include the rights of The Treaty of Waitangi (image courtesy of Archives New Zealand). 

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