Home' The Wellingtonian : June 14th 2012 Contents 11
THE WELLINGTONIAN, JUNE 14, 2012
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Playing politics on the nuclear issue
Several major news stories
arose last week.
Leading the way was the
backdown by Education Minister
Hekia Parata over the plan to
increase class sizes, preceded by
Social Development Minister
Paula Bennett s attempt to take
the media heat off Parata by
talking vaguely about restricting
the rights of the criminal
underclass to reproduce.
There was also the Queen s dia-
mond jubilee celebrations and the
related honours list, which con-
tained the usual surprises about
who had chosen to accept the
baubles of royalty.
This year, the knighthood of Sir
Michael Cullen raised a few
eyebrows -- including perhaps
those of his wife, who reportedly
has no desire to be referred to as
Almost lost in the traffic was a
milestone in New Zealand s his-
tory: the 25th anniversary of our
Nuclear Non-Proliferation legis-
Judging by an informal news-
paper poll on the subject, a
majority of respondents still
believe our non-nuclear stance is a
significant part of who we are as a
New Zealand s national identity
is very much based on our sense of
If only people were more like us.
If only the world was as willing as
we are to say No to nuclear
Unfortunately, it s more fantasy
The reason we got away with
saying No to nuclear weapons
was not because we were a fear-
less example of moral virtue.
It was because we are remote
and virtually irrelevant to global
conflicts and because the Ameri-
cans felt that our continued
willingness to provide them with
secret intelligence -- via the
Waihopai base and our readiness
to spy on our Pacific neighbours --
was more important than the pub-
lic spat over ship visits.
A couple of years ago, Prime
Minister John Key repeated (to a
Washington conference on nuclear
non-proliferation) the theme of
New Zealand being an example to
the rest of the world on nuclear
Why, on balance, is this some-
thing of a fantasy?
Well, it is a matter of public
record that both the United States
and New Zealand have either
voted against or abstained from
international moves to make the
Middle East a nuclear-free zone --
with us blaming poor process
and a lack of consultation and
other diplomatic weasel words for
The underlying reason is that
such moves have been seen as a
tactic to highlight the fact that
Israel has a large nuclear arsenal.
In other words, New Zealand has
been as willing as anyone else to
play politics with the issues of
nuclear proliferation and dis-
The reality is that the West
routinely picks and chooses the
countries at whom it will wave the
non-proliferation stick. (It quietly
tolerates a nuclear Pakistan and a
One can only applaud the steps
by the Obama administration in
pursuing reductions in the size of
the American and Russian
nuclear arsenals, even if techno-
logical advances probably render
a smaller arsenal no less potent.
The riskier prospect is that the
noble cause of non-proliferation
could soon be invoked to justify
military action against Iran.
If so, the biggest threat to global
security may not be nuclear ter-
rorism, but rather the selective
morality of the non-proliferation
It is a club for which New Zea-
land appears more than willing to
be a happy cheerleader.
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I read with interest John Brown s
letter. The museum has asked me
to comment in support of its
activities and to correct his many
errors of fact .
The only error I can find is the
reference to the photo collection
going to the Venturer Museum
when, in fact, the collection went
to the Voyager Museum. The
collection has still gone.
Given that John s letter was an
opinion piece, he captures very
well the frustration and dismay
that the loss of maritime focus at
the museum has had on the
It also reflects the gradual loss
of our maritime heritage, a
significant part of Wellington s
history and cultural development.
I heartily endorse John s
Since the museum s change
from the Maritime Museum to the
Museum of Wellington City &
Sea, its management has
consistently left off the City & Sea
part of its name in its promotions.
Its recently published Five Year
Plan formalises the change.
We are currently the Maritime
Friends of the Museum of
Wellington City & Sea. It seems
entirely appropriate that we
follow the museum s lead and, in
future, refer to ourselves as the
Maritime Friends of Wellington.
Maritime Friends of Wellington
In Food review (June 7), Joseph
Romanos states that the Thai
Country Cafe in Tawa occupied
the site of a former butchery.
In fact, the butcher shop only
occupied the northern end of the
building, facing Oxford St.
The rest of the building,
fronting Tawa s Main Rd, was
divided into two shops, one being
the Tawa Flat Post Office and the
other a fancy goods/drapery shop
owned by my parents, Jack and
Roma Henden, from 1945 to 1978.
After the post office moved
away in the 1950s (I think), my
parents had the dividing wall
knocked out to expand their shop.
Following the closure of
Hendens, Wayne Auckram, a
printer, set up shop there. This
was followed by a cake-decorating
business. Then a Scandinavian
restaurant was established,
further expanding into the now-
closed butcher shop. This was the
last occupant before the Thai
Country Cafe moved in.
to take care
Every year many groups,
organisations and individuals go
cap-in-hand, seeking grants and
handouts from the city council.
Some are successful, a number are
Recently it was announced that
the council would be issuing funds
to assist those seeking money to
help strengthen their buildings.
While many would applaud
such a move, especially with
regard to heritage buildings,
perhaps the council should fully
investigate each case.
Many such buildings are owned
by owner-operators who lack the
funds to fix them.
Others, however, are owned by
trusts, which salt away their
funds, and are often run by
corporate bodies whose one goal is
to make substantial profits for
Surely these should not profit
from ratepayer subsidies when
they have large cash reserves
Capricious greed should not be
rewarded by council ineptitude.
In Christchurch, the ratepayers
have given large amounts to the
maintenance and upkeep of
Now, as it wallows in disrepair,
the diocese is saying to the people
who have invested millions that it
is none of their affair.
Similarly in Wellington, if such
a calamity were to happen, would
those folk who have had their
hands out for ratepayers money
be willing and gracious enough to
hand back any such payments?
The Wellingtonian told us (May
31) about the current effects of
National s 2009 Budget cuts on
Adult Community Education.
In 2012 the few schools that are
offering adult classes are costing
their day pupils huge amounts
because of an impossibly rigid
funding mechanism for the few
courses that remain.
That saving for the Government
was similar to recent attacks on
child newspaper deliverers
Recently New Zealand has
experienced Hekia Parata falling
on the sword held by John Key
and Bill English after the 2012
Ms Parata s U-turn I can
understand. Parents and the
community joined teachers,
principals and boards of trustees
in responding to bad 2012 Budget
In 2009-10, teachers and
schools spoke out about the cuts to
night classes. Parents and
communities, the losers, did not in
In 2012, parents and
communities joined the
conversation about the 2012
National education Budget cuts
that would remove technology
(formerly called cooking,
metalwork, sewing and
woodwork, but now much more)
from the year 7 and 8 learning
Recent experience shows that
children, parents, communities,
teachers, principals and their
boards acting together can win.
The adult night classes lost in
2009-10 will not be so easily
Thanks to National, and
communities not realising what
they were losing, community high
school night classes for most
adults are gone forever.
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