Vandervis embraced home and family

Dunedin City councillor Lee Vandervis (right) at a council meeting this year. PHOTO: PETER...
Dunedin City councillor Lee Vandervis (right) at a council meeting this year. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The Otago Daily Times asks prominent southerners how they have been getting through a year dominated by Covid-19. Reporter Emma Perry found Dunedin City councillor Lee Vandervis kept himself active.

When I reflect on 2020 ... I think that it has been a year of extremes in which we have all been bombarded by ever more emotional media sensationalism about Isis, climate disasters, beheadings, Trump and the endless Covid-19 pandemic.

For our family, lockdown was an opportunity to work better together, improve our cooking skills and work on the house and gardens, especially our family visiting from France who were unable to return for our winter.

Our relationships benefited, as did the garden.


I survived by ... staying active, working on home maintenance, adding another eight solar panels and by remaining engaged, especially on social media, which has become more abrasive and emotional than ever, but which also has allowed many people to have a voice and an outlet to vent their frustrations.

Surviving for many others was much harder, especially those losing jobs or living alone, some of whom gave me insightful stories of their fears and of "cabin fever" experiences.


I discovered that I really liked ... having stuck to my guns and refusing to be shut down by the party politics and personal "tone attacks" that rebounded when I complained of people at the Dunedin City Council not doing their jobs.

I enjoyed working manually around home that gave me time to think about my New Year’s resolution "to be all of myself all of the time".

With more free time, I discovered a wealth of internet information, including all the world’s classic books as free e-books.

The internet has become the ultimate library.

As the wise Roman Cicero said "a man who has a library and a garden has everything he needs".

I liked the witty and insightful comments so many people make on Facebook, but I mostly ignored the snide stuff.

Home-grown tamarillos have become my breakfast treat.

My new favourite desert is now Kapiti triple chocolate ice cream topped with frozen berries and then smothered in cream, enjoyed slowly one berry at a time.


I discovered I didn’t like ... being told what to do by Government edict over Covid, even though much of it made some sense.

I didn’t like the very different manipulating claims from different experts about how serious Covid was, and that "Sweden" had become a derided term for some commentators.


I think 2021 will be ... a more rational year where the realities of contracting economies, unemployment, lower productivity, higher debt and compliance costs pushing housing costs even higher will make us more mindful.

I think New Zealanders will come together more as we learn more of each other exploring our own country.

The disruptions in overseas supplies will make us increasingly independent and encourage further local production, and our increased isolation will strengthen our positive Kiwi culture.

Comments

Quote: "I think New Zealanders will come together more as we learn more of each other exploring our own country.
The disruptions in overseas supplies will make us increasingly independent and encourage further local production, and our increased isolation will strengthen our positive Kiwi culture."

Well said, we indeed have a unique opportunity to build on our culture, our natural assests, our inventive and determined ability to think and produce outside the square. Happy New Year to you all.

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