Can she hear the dogs barking?

Judith Collins
Judith Collins
Dear Uncle Norm

I thought the National Party had finally twigged that leadership wobbles are death to election chances. But we hear rumours that Messrs Bridges and Luxon plot a coup against Judith Collins.

If this happens it would be the FOURTH Nats leader within a year.

It looks like a procession of the doomed. Are they crazy, or do I miss something?

Irate Conservative

What you miss is that until a month ago, Judith Collins’ job as Leader of the Opposition was as desirable as lead pilot in a kamikaze squadron. National’s chances of winning the next election were around zero.

But no more. It’s all turning on its head. 2020’s story was all success and kindness — Jacinda and Ashley’s brilliant, world beating (etc) Covid lockdown.

But the 2021 story threatens to become one of failure. It seems no week passes without another Covid stuff-up. The Great Vaccine Rollout is starting, and the worry is that the Ardern Government and its Health Department simply aren’t up to managing it.

It’s clear the media is tiring of Covid obfuscations. Should the Great Rollout turn into a weekly media groan of silly mistakes, the Government could quickly go beyond life support — even when tended by the Spin Ward’s finest Doctors.

Suddenly Judith Collins’ job has prospects. No surprises then, that the dogs are barking.

Dear Uncle Norm,

An idiot part of me still believes universities are castles where academics seek, and then teach, truths based on facts.

My saner self realises this is no longer so. Woke culture is cancelling truth. Facts are replaced by doctrines that academics write up in pretentious gibberish. Like: “This century’s great struggle is towards the victory of non-binary resistance against colonialist, intersectionalist, heteronormatives.”

It reads like the catechisms of a mad new religion. My own theory is that academia and its language has been invaded by the Ministry for Silly Walks (Speaking Division). Headed, of course by John Cleese.

Heather Hopp, Roslyn

True, the language of Woke Culture does appear to have been lifted from a Monty Python script.

Perhaps we forget that universities are a Middle Ages invention. Their initial job was religious indoctrination, rather than education. And their language then was also gobbledygook to outsiders — being the Latin of the priesthood.

Dear Uncle Norm,

I’ve moved into a house that has a faulty washing machine. When I put my underpants into the washer, it returns them to me turned inside out. My housemates report similar problems.

The contraption is a good Kiwi brand — Fisher and Paykel — manufactured in 2013. I hear you’re a handyman. Is there an easy way to fix this? (The creature also loses my socks).

Charles Tweed

If your machine is a top loader, you are experiencing a North and Southside equator problem. (The Haier company, based up in Quingdao, China, bought out Fisher and Paykel in 2012).

Look at the back of your 2013 model. You will find a large orange knob. Turn this to its “Southern Hemisphere” setting, and you will find your underpants are returned facing the correct way.

I cannot help with your socks. All washing machines lose socks. Particularly if they are heteronormative male socks.

Dear Uncle Norm,

I presume Queenstown will return to its pre-Covid tourism norm when Aussie visitors return. Once again it will be a price-gouging haven for elite, overfed businesses which charge prices ordinary Kiwis can’t afford.

The Government has poured cash mountains into protecting the interests of this crowd. This was a mistake.

We shouldn’t help reinvent a tourism boom that destroys our environment, while enriching a town whose main workforce isn’t Kiwis, but exploited foreigners.

Meredith Snipe

Two months ago I would have binned your letter, because it is nasty, kicks a community that’s on its knees, and ignores a bucketful of realities that would take this entire column to outline.

But it is clear your sentiments are becoming too widespread to ignore.

Queenstown tourism badly needs new infrastructure that can only be publicly funded.

Getting such money eventually needs the New Zealand public’s “social licence”.

We’ve previously assumed it was a given that tourism growth enjoyed that licence.

Destination Queenstown manages the resort’s promotion.

It needs to spend serious money researching the emerging Kiwi hostility towards our tourism capital.

The issue can’t be sanely addressed, until this hostility is both quantified (is it just a noisy minority?) and understood.

Unfortunately, a downside of New Zealand’s egalitarianism is a sometimes Puritan attitude to business.

AND . . .

With the Writers’ Festival almost on us — an impious literary quote. Veteran comedian Barry Humphries, aka Dame Edna, on the hazards of being an older reader: “I feel (the book’s) covers may be too far apart . . . I can, it seems, manage only ‘effortless’ literature.

Soon, perhaps, I’ll need to have my books pureed, the way other seniors have their dinners.”

 - John Lapsley lives in Arrowtown.


Why does Heather Hopp read academic ms? Is 'Aitch herself an academic with a grudge? This language you glibly call 'woke' is for peers, not any bloke from the bush. Anti intellectual. You don't like bright sparks don't read 'em.

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