Inappropriate text language appropriate to subject matter

Iain Lees-Galloway
Iain Lees-Galloway
Inappropriate. That's the only way to describe my text message.

There was no indecency or unsolicited pornographic pics involved. (Nobody has sent me any such pics either — fortunate all round, because on my bargain $29 phone they would be so small they would be unrecognisable. Another plus for the dumb phone.)

But there was language my father, who considered damn and hell as swear words, would call unladylike in the extreme.

Angry text messages can be like that.

There was much inappropriateness I could have been texting the First Born about — the hapless Hamish Walker, who is still on the payroll despite his decision to pass on private patient information from Aunty Michelle, buffoon Andrew Falloon and his awful communications, Iain Lees-Galloway's pending early exit from politics over an affair with a staff member.

Was Iain hard done by? Was Jacinda Ardern caught up in some senseless ‘‘My big girl-pants are bigger than yours, Judith'' contest when she moved so quickly against him? We are told the affair was consensual and that it has ended.

Hamish Walker
Hamish Walker
Andrew Falloon
Andrew Falloon

Yes, it was not a good look, but shouldn't she have established whether there was any resulting improper advantage or disadvantage before she dismissed him? If it turned out there was none, perhaps she could have given him a bit of a talking to and shuffled him sideways.

I fell in love with and married someone I worked with. We were both footloose and fancy free, so we did not have the extramarital issue hanging over our relationship but, looking back, I realise there was a power imbalance.

I was a reporter and he was a subeditor with the misfortune, at times, to have to deal with my messy copy in the days when stories were compiled by typewriter on many pieces of what looked like jotter pad. While he wasn't the chief subeditor at the time of our courtship, I am pretty sure after our marriage before I left for child rearing, he was made the deputy. I cannot remember if he was often required to edit my copy, but I would not have expected him to go lightly on any mistakes. Quite the opposite.

When I told this story recently, saying I would have been surprised if there was any favouritism, the person being ear-bashed said ‘‘But you don't know what your fellow workers thought. They may have seen it in a different light.''

Oh hell. Another thing to unleash my lapsed-Catholic guilt on. Are these questions ever quite as black and white as we would like them to be?

But, back to my angry text. It referred to what I have dubbed The Last Quango in Tarras — the news that Christchurch Airport has spent $45million buying up land in that area for a future airport. (I apologise for that pun — I couldn't resist it even if it might be a stretch to consider Christchurch Airport as a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation.)

There has been understandable unease in the community about the cloak-and-dagger way these purchases seem to have been organised and there is considerable clamour over the possible future impact on the Wanaka and Queenstown airports.

But these issues pale into irrelevance when we look at the folly of promoting more air travel anywhere in the country. If an emission-belching Tarras International Airport is the answer to anything in our future, what the heck was the question?

Has everyone suddenly forgotten the Covid-19 and the climate crises, both global events we have not been vaccinated against? What kind of madness is it to consider tourism will and should continue the way it was?

The pre-Covid report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton, investigating the impact of tourism on the environment, made it clear that even if we opted for more domestic tourism in future, we would still need to minimise or reverse environmental degradation.

I was one of those who hoped Covid-19 would force us into boldly rethinking the way we do almost everything. I am increasingly despairing about that, a state not helped by some of the media's hysterical emphasis on the election as a battle between nice Jacinda and nasty Judith.

One hopeful sign last week, however, was the news of carpet manufacturer Cavalier's plans to use all wool and natural fibres. I may be biased, as an unofficial wool ambassador on account of my mountain of knitting wool, but Cavalier's back-to-the-future thinking makes much more sense than the oxymoronic idea that one of the world's ‘‘most sustainable airports’’ should ever be built at Tarras.

The First Born's pithy text response to my airport rant, which agreed with my view, was also inappropriate and unladylike. He's had a poor role model, obviously.

- Elspeth McLean is a Dunedin writer.



That's all very well. In 1992, this paper put my name and those of my just redundant colleagues on the Front Page.

We didn't even live here, Hildy.


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