Presbyterian approach of Billonomics wins approval

June 17, 2009

In the July issue of North & South Guyon Espiner takes a look at the two top men in the government, those on the way up and those who may be at risk.

On Finance Minsiter Bill English he says:

. . . it’s a good bet the cautious approach will prove the right one and that highly indebted and far-flung New Zealand was poorly palced to spend its way out of poverty. To have unemployment well below rates in the US, Britain and Australia without indulging in their huge spending programmes is evidence at thsi stage Billonomics is working.

English is Catholic but his apporach to the economy has been Presbyterian: getting on to of debt and getting in control of spending without repating the slash-and-burn tactics we was in the early and late 1990s. . .

Without the luxury of surpluses to play with a Presbyterian approach is driven at least as much by necessity as philosophy but it seems to be working.

We may not be out of the woods yet but at least we’ve got a map and directions to help us on the way without saddling our children and grandchilren with debt which will put a rein on economic growth when the world recovery eventually rebounds.


Self-defeating self-help titles

January 9, 2009

North & South challenged readers to come up with titles for self-help books that are superfluous or self-defeating.

A Bluffers Guide to Honesty got a mention but the winning titles came from J and K Thoughton for:  Cry Yourself Happy, A Lehman’s Guide to Making Your first Billion, Finding Me Time; A Guide for Narcissists, The Wit and Wisdom of Peter Dunne (abridged) and Starting for Beginners.

It’s too late for the challenge but I suggest: Read Less Do More.


Thou shalt . . .

November 20, 2008

North & South asked readers to invent some new Commandments for the modern age.

They liked Neither wear your jeans too tight nor too baggy but the prize went to W. Johns for several suggestions which included:

Thou shalt not worship thy plasma flatscreen nor covert thy neighbour’s iPhone.

Thou shalt not propagate chain emails (even forsooth the most heartrending ones).

Thou shalt not dominate dinner-party conversations with endless debate over which school to send your children to.

I can see the merits in these and I’ve come up with some more:

Thou shalt RSVP by the due date (thanks for reminding me ex-expat).

Thou shalt return the books you borrow.

Thou shalt not let your cell phone take prescedence over the person you’re with.

Thou shalt not shout in to your cell phone in a public place.

Thou shalt delete addresses on emails before forwarding and blind copy if sending to any more than a few people who know each other well.

Thou shalt accept that politics is a difference of opinion not a war.

Thou shalt accept that being different isn’t necessarily being wrong.

Thou shalt disagree with issues without getting personal.

Though shalt not honk thy horn when approaching a mob of sheep on the road nor shalt thou stop in the middle of it to take photos.

Thou shalt give your name and number clearly at the start and end of a message left on an answerphone.

Thou shalt not speed up when thou gets to a passing lane after travelling below the speed limit before it.

Thou shalt not inflict thy bad mood on innocent bystanders.

Thou shalt offer to let the person behind you at the checkout go first if s/he has just a couple of items and thous hast a trolley load.

Thou shalt remember – and use – your manners.


Meetings you’d want to miss

July 26, 2008

North & South challenged readers to suggest a speaker and topic guaranteed to attract a smaller crowd than the 36 people who attended one of Michael Cullen’s public pre-Budget briefings.

The magazine appreciated Jill Sinden’s offering: Helen Clark Presents Eight Countries, 15 Days, One Trouser Suit – How to Dress Up and Down with Style and Panache.

But the prize went to Megan McPherson with a Winter Lecture Series: Painting for Charity – an interactive workshop with the Rt Hon Helen Clark; Macro-economic Trends in Western Migration with Mary Anne Thompson; and Tagging – Legitimate Post-Modern Form of Self-Expression by Artistically repressed Urban Youth… Cindy Kiro Explains.

To these I’d add: Food You Should Fear from Sue Kedgley; Disciplined Discipline – a joint presentation by Sue Bradford and David Benson-Pope; and The Fourth Estate – Their Part in my Downfall by Winston Peters.


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