Monday, October 31, 2011

Live Aid .When harvey met Bob

Last evening I watched and enjoyed the film Live Aid – When Harvey Met Bob. The same footage that moved Bob moved me. I was hosting friends to dinner that night and with the food that I had prepared and was in the process of cooking suddenly became obscene because of the misery we were seeing on TV about the Horn of Africa. We talked about it over dinner and I was challenged to think of something we could we do.

I was a ship steward and I came up with the idea to get a ship with an unpaid volunteer crew to take emergency aid and development products to Africa. The maritime unions backed my proposal. Through Sonja Davis I met Mary Sinclair who was working with Corso. We connected with Chris Laidlaw who was working as African advisor for David Lange. Together we took the union proposal to Lange who gave us government support. A national steering committee was formed and Ian Johnstone from TV NZ became the front man. We formed Operation Hope using the Union Company freighter MV Ngahere. People throughout New Zealand were inspired to support us. Operation Hope raised millions of dollars and Corso raised a couple of million too.
The bankers association through Max Bradford made all their branches available for donations and promoted the project children gave their pocket money and pensioners gave too.

Last night friends rang me to let me know that Live Aid – When Harvey Met Bob was on TV. This morning my then girlfriend rang and she recalled all the nightmares and challenges that we had to in organizing that voyage and mission. We had one month to get it going. This was before fax machines and few people had credit cards.

I tell you this so that a Chapter in New Zealand history can be remembered here as it is on the Horn of Africa. In New Zealand the Live Aid Concert and Operation Hope were quickly forgotten because of the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior. Incidentally shortly after Jackson Browne, Neil Young and others came to Auckland and at Mt Smart stadium held a benefit concert for Greenpeace. People do do selfless and wonderful things.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Heaps more could have been about the Rena disaster

Published in an abridged form in the Weekend Herald 15 October ,2011
Maritime New Zealand’s management of this event has been appalling. Part of the issue is that they are now money managers as opposed to maritime experts. The paltry fines and penalty for wrong doing are a disgrace as is the failure to take up Mr Winstone’s offer of two barges which may have prevented beaches and fisheries being polluted and the awful deaths of sea animals and birds.
They could have arranged for Wellington’s floating crane, the Hikitia to get to Tauranga which is capable of lifting the empty containers off.
Instead they waited days before making any move to contain the imminent disaster or to communicate with the public .
For the Prime-minster to say it has been handled well, is just wrong.He should have declared a state of emergency and Minster Joyce should have flown to Tauronga and called a public meeting. A committee including mayors , iwi, unions, churches, business leaders and others to coordinate the response could have been formed. He could have found out what resources and marine know how were available locally and things would have turned out better. At least Nero fiddled while Rome burnt.Our Government leadership did nothing

The public are in wonderment about why the tax payers should pick up the tab for any of the cost.
Fishermen are concerned about when they will make a living again as are tourist operators. Some will go broke losing a lifetimes investment .Locals have no idea when they will swim or enjoy their beaches. Exporters whose product is now lost many of them will be worried about their markets and some of them may lose contracts and have penalties imposed .
Perhaps they the hapless crew is guilty of negligence . Are not the shipping company and owners also guilty?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rugby World Cup Quater Finals Auckland New Zealand

Saturday night quarter rugby finals provided some stunning rugby for spectators everywhere.

The Irish /Wales game provided the best possible crowd behaviour and respect for this great game.

When a penalty of a conversion was being attempted by the goal kickers you could have heard a pin drop .

The booing and jeering when goal kickers are attempting to kick in the Anzac nation is a disgrace. Sadly the English supporters at Eden park last night also caught a dose of this Anzac disease. May it not become something that plagues the Anglo-Saxon world.

One way to curb this behaviour would be for the IRB to advise the referees to blow a the whistle when the bad behaviour starts and they stand the goal kicker down until the spectators refrain from their shocking behaviour.

If the IRB can fine a player and fine $ 10,000 for wearing a non regulation mouth guard then surely they must be able to end this appalling and disrespectful behaviour. New Zealanders are passionate about rugby and it would be better if the New Zealand Rugby Union took hold of this issue and sorted it out once and for all.