Saturday, December 31, 2016

Here They Come Again!

I expect 2017 to be a watershed year for NZ's politics. Time will tell if the ripple effect of Brexit in Europe and Trump in the USA will reach New Zealand. Will the Forgotten People and (in Hilary Clinton's words) the Deplorables get out and vote and move the country towards the Populist Right. It is also an election year without the master of opinion poll surfing -  ex centrist conservative Prime Minister John Key. Perhaps he could see what is coming.

For those unfamiliar with NZ politics. The Greens leaders are flying the ballon. Conservatives in blue, semi socialist in pink, national populist black and white, neoliberal yellow tie and Maori with green stone war club (Taiaha) - and oddball Peter Dunn (top right) who goes wherever the wind blows and has done very little apart from propping up conservative policies..

Another Neoliberal Trickle Down Year Has Passed By


Sunday, December 25, 2016

One Way To Spend Boxing Day

For those not in NZ. Our Version electronic retail card payment is known as EFTPOS.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

And The War Drags On

I have been posting this cartoon of mine annually for years and years - and still the crazy Middle Eastern wars are blazing on - destroying the Holy Lands and the lives of millions. Being an optimistic fella, I am hopeful that one day the criminal actions of Western leaders and religious nutters will come to their senses and let saner minds with more compassionate hearts take back control. We deserve better and it will come - I pray it will be soon. Even tho' I think I am an atheist, I value the presence of spiritual people who make the World a more peaceful and loving place. May you all take your misguided fellow believers aside and quell their mindless violence and hatred.

Peace and goodwill to you all!

Christmas Is Here Once Again

Saturday, December 17, 2016

P.M. Bill English Digs His Own Grave

Well, Bill English has since had second thoughts about this issue I believe. He will be more careful in the future about letting his innermost thinking do the talking - for awhile at least. Aspiring Labour PM David Cunliffe tripped up on this one and so will any other NZ politician silly enough to upset a huge proportion of Baby Boomers.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Paula Backs Bill English

Rather predictably, Bill English has taken over the role of New Zealand's Prime Minister after John Key jumped ship. Now the National Party has chosen Paula Bennett as his deputy. Paula prides herself as a "Westie" - from the rougher side of Auckland and will bring a sparkle to the election later this year. Whether this odd couple will charm their way back into power remains to be seen. With John Key gone the polling scores between Labour and National are very likely to be much more even. But the real winner will be NZ First's Winston Peters, in my opinion, as excessive immigration, inequality, housing and low wages are making NZ a harder place to earn a living.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Key Resigns When Job Grinds Him Down

Whooopeee! The big question is why John Key has quit as New Zealand's Prime Minister. I suspect that the ex-money trader knows that political and economic cold winds will be blowing next year and will soon expose how damaging his tenure as Prime Minister has been. So he is cashing in his chips while he can. I will not miss him, however I know many others will be sad to see him go. Time will tell if is something more personal. Perhaps his strange children need his full attention, if they do, then I wish them well.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Shootin' His Mouth Off

Trump is at it again. From what I heard on Radio NZ, he has let his tongue get away on him once more and this time inviting the NRA (National Rifle Association) to stop Hillary Clinton amending the constitutional right of citizens in the USA to bear arms. Saying with a wink that this action would be horrible, shows that probably he knew that what he said might be seen as an invitation for a possible assassination. American politics is getting weirder and weirder.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Right On

I have given my new Asics shoes a walkabout and they feel really good. Plenty of space for my toes and wonderfully cushioned - making walking an extra pleasure. This is my third pair of Asics and the last pair have lasted over 6 years - which is truly remarkable. They have not finished their service even now (but near to it) and when my daughter gave me a new pair for my birthday, I had fears that buying such a personal thing over the Internet without a test driving was a tad risky. These fears got worse when they got left behind in the USA by accident and they made an extra unintended journey .
All is ok I am glad to say and I will prolong their life like I did for their predecessors, with regular applications of Dubbin for the leather and 'Armor All' for the synthetic parts.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Up and Out

Auckland's Unitary Plan has been released and includes recommendations to allow more high rise houses in "Leafy Suburbs" and more rural land to be zoned residential. One of the aims has been to reduce the huge increases in house prices and improve house availability - and yet nothing has been done to stop foreign buyers distorting the NZ house market. Apparently there are now large numbers of empty houses in NZ now that are being bought as purely tax dodges and part of a very dangerous gambling game that risks our entire economy. Go figure!!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Clinton Gets The Bird

Hillary Clinton seems to think she will be the only Democratic  candidate in the next U.S. presidential election now that she has sufficient pledged delegates to take to the Democratic Convention in July. However, rumours continue to circulate around the Internet that the Bernie Sanders campaign is not quite over. He is still attracting thousands of supporters to his meetings who are showing their support for a "New Deal" in American political and economic directions to restore the damage done by 30 years of neo-liberals wrecking the U.S. economy. If Hillary Clinton wants the job really sown up then surely she knows that she must take Bernie with her in some way or other to guaranty her to be the next U.S. President.

Will Clinton have the courage to bite the hand that feeds her campaign funds and take Bernie Sanders and the ideals he stands for onboard as part of her campaign? I hope so, if she does not and tries to campaign under the banner "business as usual - plus a few tweeks", then the economically dispossessed might well vote for..............God forbid.... DONALD TRUMP!

PS The really observant might notice an acknowledgement to one of my illustrating heros, Peter De Séve. When I saw his illustration of a bird perching itself on a baseball player's bat, I immediately thought of the little bird that perched on Bernie Sander's podium while he was delivering a speech at a packed out stadium - and so this cartoon idea was born.

Brexit: The Silenced Majority Makes A Choice

Some people are bound to ask "What is he on about with this one?" I think it is obvious if you have been following the news, so have another look if you cannot see its meaning at first. I thought about labeling the options, but sometimes it is best to just let the drawing say it.

If is still a mystery, then I will say that it seems that a majority of disaffected (older and working class) British voters have decided to exit the European Union when they were given the rare chance to do so by referendum. They appeared to be fed up with the unrestricted flow of European workers into Britain - plus all the thousands of other nationalities who are arriving there every day. Also, ever since Britain entered the E.E.C many Brits were irritated by the unelected Brussel's  Bureaucracy telling them what to do - or more likely, what not to do.

Here in NZ our economy took a severe hit when Britain joined the E.E.C.. I wonder if Britain will now be once more open again for all our exports in the future? Time will tell after a year or two I think. In the meantime, there will no doubt be a backlash and perhaps even another referendum coming up when Scotland tries once again to leave the United Kingdom. We live in interesting times. I never thought this would happen, perhaps the rest of Europe needs to re-evaluate who they want to rule them and more importantly - how.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Going Bananas

  “Did you know”, she said, staring at me with rising intensity, “That bananas are the most sprayed and fumigated fruit you can buy?” I looked at the banana in my hand, which looked innocently delicious, as I peeled back the yellow skin. “What’s more”, she continued, “the average life expectancy of a worker in a plantation is around 40 years due to their massive exposure to insecticides.”
   How could she do his to me! There I was, about to enjoy one of my favourite foods and now I felt my appetite fading when I thought of all the deceased plantation labourers who had sacrificed their lives to make my banana appear so perfect.
   Like many kiwis, I enjoy eating bananas and if what I was being told was true, then I might be heading to an early grave after being poisoned by eating one banana too many. I hope not. I want to reach old age in good condition and so I looked around for an alternative source of supply.
   Luckily, I discovered bananas do grow well locally in Northland. A couple I know, told me they had a magnificent group of bananas growing in their backyard which produced much more fruit than they could eat. They commissioned me to design and make a Christmas card for them and we decided to trade it for a bunch of home grown bananas.
   The card did not take that long to do and I thought I did rather well out of the deal as lifted the huge bunch of bananas onto my shoulders and walked into our living room singing a West Indian folk tune - “Day O, day O, come mister Tallyman, tally me banana. Daylight come an’ I wanna go home.”  I proudly laid them down onto our living room table expecting applause and delighted appreciation.
   I got neither. After a period of stunned silence I was told they were too spotty and nowhere as good as the ones in the shops. “And besides that Dad”, I was told emphatically, how can we tell our friends that you work for bananas – it’s so embarrassing.” Undeterred, I hung them in my studio and enjoyed several weeks of delicious fruit as they gradually ripened.
   I am surprised that there are so few banana growers in Northland. Some varieties do really well here and apparently, existing growers have a waiting list for their produce. I have read that New Zealand eats more bananas per head than any other country on earth and 99% of them are imported so there is surely scope there to knock back New Zealand’s persistent balance of payments problem.
   Then again, in other ways we are already on the road to become a Banana Republic as the Government experiments with new flag proposals and turning a blind eye to tax evasion. I have a better suggestion; give rabid Neo-liberal politicians some land 'Up North', supply them with sub-tropical fruit trees to plant, impose home detention and let them go bananas in their own backyard.

PS my dog patrolled the garden at night to keep it possum free.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Helping To Stop Kiwi Rail Line Closures

I designed this Facebook banner yesterday for "Grow Kiwi Rail". Check out their Facebook page - it is worth a look. This one was mainly my own effort, but it was based on designs that I did with my daughter Monique for a series of protest street posters. Monique is a graphic designer in Wellington and I just happened to be visiting her when I got the call to help out.

In NZ, the Government runs the railways ( Kiwi Rail) - albeit reluctantly. They have let the rolling stock and branch lines become so run down that they are becoming more and more uneconomic. Consequently the roads are clogging up with commercial freight that is breaking up the road surface. Where I live in Northland this means logging trucks are a everyday road hazard. These trucks are moving huge volumes of unprocessed logs to North Port (near Whangarei) - heading for China. It then gets manufactured into stuff that gets re-exported back here as unemployment and NZ manufacturing factories closing down. If that sounds illogical, it is. But it makes plenty of short term dollars for the powerful trading elite, loggers and truckies who slave over 60 hours a week to pay their bills.

I am happy to help out anyone who fights against this. The campaign will be a long haul! Good luck to them. More cartoons about this to come.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

If The Hat Fits....

I once thought that New Zealand governments were relatively free of corruption, but no longer. Our country now seems to be a "Land Of The Long Murky White Cloud" where our Prime Minister, John Key, is being put under pressure to reveal what he knows about  New Zealand being called a tax haven and his possible connection to unethical practices.

This is because thousands of hacked files, from the Panama company Mossack Fonseca, are exposing shady rich listers and even some international leaders as corrupt tax avoiders and identifying where their millions of dollars are hiding. I heard John Key today denying any involvement in such a thing and I have decided to take him at his word. However, he did not seem as certain about his blind trust funds and where they were invested. On the surface this appears quite reasonable because blind trusts are supposed to make sure his role as Prime Minister is not compromised by any financial investments he might have.

In my opinion, just because they are legal, it does not make blind trusts morally ok. I think we should be able to see all the businesses and investments owned by Members of Parliament to make sure they are financially squeaky 'clean' when making decisions that affect us all - hence another John  Key Cartoon from my pen (which is a modified version of a recently posted cartoon). As I looked at Key's body language and heard his voice when he was being interviewed, I suspected that he knows a lot more than he says he does. Time will tell.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Drop In The Bucket

Guess what the minimum wage is going up fifty cents! Our Prime Minister John Key has had a pay increase in the meantime to over the annual income for many welfare beneficiaries income for a whole year. Time for a living wage instead of $15.25 to over $18 per hour. That would create unemployment I can hear neo-liberal  ideologs say. Not so; in my opinion it would grow the economy because poor people would spend it all on survival and motivate employers to be more efficient and automate. Automation spurs growth by providing more high tech business opportunities and in a small country like NZ we need technological advancement to drive a growing economy less reliant on low skilled labour doing unpopular and unhealthy menial work.

Rough Traveling In Northland

Huge amounts of unprocessed timber is heading for China and being being trucked out on congested roads in Northland NZ and yet the railway system is being run down and closed. Crazy

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentines Day

Laptop Lover finds a way - an old animation of mine that I have refreshed and added to. If you cannot play this file, then go to You Tube -

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Starting Over

There are times lately when I tire from looking at a glittering screen. That is when I pick up my pencil, prepare my dip pen and unscrew the cap on the India Ink bottle. After a scratchy patch of drawing and inking, I can now open up my new acquisition - a Plano Tackle Box. It holds most of my watercolour gear and I bought it recently to ease the clutter on my drawing desk.

This purchase look some time while I wrestled with what brand to buy. My selfish instincts yelled out "Hey, go get a Chinese one from the Warehouse for $15!" (The Warehouse is the NZ equivalent of Walmart). Then my altruistic side said "Come on, buy an American made one ($40) from a small hunting and fishing shop in Whangarei - they need the money and NZ needs American manufacturers to prosper so that they, and their workers in the USA, can buy our products and bankroll their Government who helps keep us out of the clutches of foreign invaders. Remember also, they keep the Internet open etc as well."

For a change, my better side won and I bought a tackle box made by Plano that was manufactured in the USA. I wonder how long they will keep doing so as the USA continues de-industrialize and send almost all their manufacturing industries overseas? Don't Americans know that without a manufacturing base a country eventually becomes an indebted and a militarily toothless shadow of its former self?

If any of you reading this are living in the USA - please vote for a President, Congress and Senate that is determined to rebuild your country to the primacy it once possessed. Overlook your selfish side and spend your money buying manufactured goods made in your homeland. Tell your politicians to shape up and stop being ripped off by greedy businesses who freeload by paying hardly any tax in the USA and exploit mistreated workers abroad who are enslaved by ruthless elites and manipulating governments that pile up huge reserves of your money by unfair trading - and spend it on building up their own military power and American assets.

That is enough proselytizing for now, time to go fishing in my Plano tackle box for ink, paint and pencils - and get away from this screen!

Happy New Year!!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Followers Of Fashion

The political policies of 2016 look likely to be much of the same as usual from our politicians in NZ. I expect the mousey Andrew Little to do little to raise his poll ratings and Key, despite his appetite for gross personal indiscretions, will probably muddle on and appear at all the right places and persuade most people that he is the best bet to guide us thru' the year. ............................................Sighhh!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Dickensian Conversion

Those who know me well are very aware why I find Christmas a  difficult time each year.  I usually feel the need to be alone and this year I decided to do it again. However, something very odd happened when I was in the Hospice Op Shop just before it closed for the festive season. While I was passing the classic book section I noticed a title on top of the pile that I knew - "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. I bought it!

For those few who do not know this book, it tells a tale about an old penny pinching miser named Scrooge who lived in Victorian England and on Christmas Eve is visited by the ghost of his long dead  business partner and the Spirit of Christmas. He becomes a changed man when he wakes up to just how unnecessarily sad he was making himself and those around him. He begs for a second chance and this is granted. Much to the surprise of his relatives, Scrooge becomes a nicer and more generous man. Happiness returns to his sad life and after I read the book down I decided to do the same. 

Life is too short folks to be miserable and no matter what stupid things we do sometimes, no one deserves to sentence themselves and others to unhappiness because of the past. This will be the last Christmas and New Year etc that I will spend alone. Roll on  Christmas 2016!

Gospel On The Mount

On Christmas Eve I went for a walk up The Ross Track to the summit of Mount Parahaki in Whangarei. The track follows a valley covered in native bush and alongside a chortling creek. I had intended to make it a quiet time of contemplation in a natural setting but when I reached the summit I met a chap I knew and he ranted away about gospel truths and various conspiracies that he was campaigning against. Oddly enough, friends of his turned up of a similar ilk and being vastly out numbered, I resisted the urge to have rave about their naivety - instead I praised Christianity for its gift of compassion and joy of ethical renewal and made a retreat. It was Christmas after all.
As I began to walk away I was asked for my cell phone number. I politely refused and the last I heard from him was something like "No problem, I will track you down and return you to the fold!"

Fortunately there is not much chance of that. I prefer to live in a wonderfully changing World where truth unfolds like a never ending book - constantly tested by scientific analysis and altered in the light of  intuitive discovery and objective investigation.