Prudence or panic?

April 12, 2019

Anzac Day services have been cancelled in Auckland and the Queenstown parade has been cancelled though other events in the south will go ahead.

The RSA in Christchurch is determined that services will continue as normal.

The cancellations have come on police advice although there don’t appear to be any specific threats.

The attack on the Christchurch mosques showed us that New Zealand is no more safe from terror attacks than anywhere else, but are the decisions to cancel some Anzac Day services and a parade prudence or panic?

I was in London in 1982 when IRA bombs in Hyde and Regents Park  killed eight people and injured many more.

Life went on as normal afterwards just as it had after all the other IRA bombing campaigns.

If there are known threats in the wake of the March 15 atrocities we should be told, if there are not we ought to carry on as we would normally do.

. . . If the only reason the police are still carrying highly visible firearms at public events, and curtailing Anzac Day observances, is to provide “reassurance” for the community, it might be time for them to think again. Terrorism succeeds when a community is afraid to go about its normal life. There is no sign of that sort of fear among the general public and no reason there would be. One man stands accused of the murders in Christchurch and police are confident he acted alone. . . .

Life will never be the same for those directly affected by the mosque attacks.

It will never be quite the same for the rest of us either but if there are no known threats, the terrorist wins if we live in fear.


Oh Valiant Hearts

April 25, 2018

Mr Scott, the music teacher at Oamaru Intermediate School was a returned service man.

We might not have appreciated the stories he told of World War II but we took his preparations for Anzac Day seriously and approached the service with the solemnity it was due.

Among the songs he taught us was Oh Valiant Hearts, words written by John Arkwright and Charles Harris, music by Edward Hopkins, and sung here at Menim Gate by Emma Brown.


Lest we forget

April 25, 2018

Anzac Day is not for celebrating war but for commemorating those who served that we might have peace.

Anzac Day is not for judging the actions of yesterday by today’s standards and knowledge, but for learning from mistakes.

Anzac Day is not for resurrecting old enmities but for repairing relationships.

Anzac Day is not for forgetting but for forgiving.

Anzac Day is not for hate but for healing.

Anzac Day is not for glorifying war but for glorying in peace.

 

 


The other side

April 25, 2016

Last year we went to Germany in search of the farm my farmer’s great-grandfather left in the 1800s.

He and his brother left to avoid conscription during the Prussian warand never returned.

We found the farm and in the village close by we came across a war memorial on which there were the names of those who had died in World Wars I and II.

Among the names was the German version of Ludemann.

He could have been fighting Ludemanns from New Zealand and Australia who were related to him.

It brought home to me the arbitrary nature of life and death and the tragedy of war which pits ordinary people against other ordinary people who are on one side or the other because of where they happened to be at a time and place.

Today, on Anzac Day, we rightly remember and honour those who served with the allies at home and abroad and especially those wounded or killed.

But at this distance from the awfulness of those wars and in the hope of peace, it’s not inappropriate to also remember that there were people like us on the other side.


8/10

April 25, 2015

8/10 in NZ History’s Anzac Day quiz.


Anzac Day

April 25, 2014

Photo: #anzac

 

Photo: We will remember them. #PoppyDay

Hat tip: NZ Young Nats.


One earns the other spends

July 27, 2012

The contrast between National and Labour could hardly have been greater this week.

Speeches by ministers at the National Party conference outlined policies for economic growth and emphasised the need to spend public funds carefully.

Then Labour promotes Private Members’ Bills to extend Paid Parental Leave, increase the minimum wage and Mondayise holidays for Waitangi and Anzac Days should they fall on the weekend.

National’s policies acknowledge the difficult international economic climate and that we have to earn before we can spend.

Labour’s show its priority is spending and it has no idea about earning.

The Mondayising of Waitangi and Anzac Days is the least expensive of the measures Labour is promoting. It would be needed only once every seven years and businesses cope with the holidays every other year.

I don’t have strong feelings about whether or not Waitangi Day is Mondayised, but I do agree with the RSA on Anzac Day:

The RSA policy has always been to preserve the special nature of Anzac Day. The National Executive Committee of the RSA has given this issue very serious consideration and we do not support this legislative change,” says National President Don McIver.

“We would always want to see Anzac Day commemorations fall on 25 April and not on the nearest week day and we understand the proposed bill will preserve that arrangement.”

“However, we are seriously concerned that to allow a holiday long weekend when Anzac Day falls within a weekend will take the focus away from our most solemn day of commemoration in memory of the sacrifice of New Zealanders for their nation and, instead, turn attention towards the holiday itself.”

“We are concerned that this will trivialise the true intent of this very special day of national commemoration.”

Anzac Day isn’t a celebration but a commemoration. If it falls on a week day people have had a day off to remember the sacrifices of the people who fought for peace, it’s not supposed to be just another holiday.

No-one disputes the demands new babies place on families and the importance of parent-child bonding. But I have yet to see a good argument why paid parental leave should be publicly funded, especially when not only isn’t it means tested but it also pays more to wealthy earners than poorer ones.

As for increasing the minimum wage – that’s just another example of Planet Labour’s distance from the real world where, as National knows, the best way to increase all wages is through economic growth.

On Planet Labour it’s all about spending, in the real world National knows only when we’re earning our way can we have choices about spending.


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