Finance Minister Bill English argued in Parliament yesterday there is no evidence of increasing inequality in NZ. This was in response to the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand, which show the top 10 percent of New Zealanders now own 60 percent of all wealth, up from 55 percent five years ago.
English said, responding to RNZ News about a family working three jobs and 80 hours a week, "It doesn't mean their life is easy but it does mean there's pretty moderate but consistent progress in lifting our lowest incomes.
There is something about this article, by Chris Trotter on The Daily Blog, that paints Omar Mateen, who killed and injured over a hundred people at Orlando nightclub Pulse last week, as a victim of his homophobic religion and potentially closeted identity. And maybe he was.
Photo / www.zerocensorship.com
Today I learnt that composer Gareth Farr has used one of my poems, 'During these Days', in his commission for Wellington's Glamaphones choir. He also used a poem from Brent Coutts, "Naming Ourselves".
Gareth has even chosen to name his piece "During these Days" — how chuffed am I? I'm told the choir has been rehearsing it and it is sounding wonderful.
Trigger warning: this post contains challenging references to rape and sexual violence.
I was moved by Madeleine Holden's piece in The Spinoff today, about Brock Turner, the 19- (now 20-) year-old Stanford student athlete sentenced to six months imprisonment after, in January last year, he raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. It's a passionate bit of writing, angry actually and, rightfully so, Holden asks the question, "What culture raised Turner to become a rapist?"
Sorry for being quiet on the blogging front lately. It's been a weird time, lurching from busyness to idleness in three or four day cycles.
Image: Len Jingco via Metservice
According to History.com:
Image | kidskonnect.com
"The Great Depression (1929-39) was the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world. In the United States, the Great Depression began soon after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors. Over the next several years, consumer spending and investment dropped, causing steep declines in industrial output and rising levels of unemployment as failing companies laid off workers. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its [lowest point], some 13 to 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half of the country’s banks had failed. Though the relief and reform measures put into place by President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped lessen the worst effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the economy would not fully turn around until after 1939, when World War II kicked American industry into high gear.
I was disappointed but not surprised that a diversity debate at the Auckland Writers Festival yesterday turned out to be an ethnicity debate, with a little parlance about binary gender thrown in for good measure.
Image | Auckland Writers Festival
When I asked at the end why in 2016 a diversity debate's scope would be so narrow (apart from author Victor Rodger mentioning a fa'afafine character in one of his novels), after a resounding applause from the audience, I was met with varying levels of defensiveness, including:
Yesterday I presented at the 7th Multidisciplinary Sexual Dysfunction Conference, somewhat misnamed due to history — as organiser Nic Beets explained, it's become a lot less medicalised over the years. Now it attracts GPs, physiotherapists, counsellors, psychotherapists, sex therapists, sexual health promoters among others. This post summarises my sessions and includes points I neglected to cover.
By chance (or perhaps design on the part of the organisers) I spoke after listening to a presentation by Dr Russell Shuttleworth, Senior Lecturer at Deakin University, followed by a Q&A with Dr George Taleporos, Researcher, also at Deakin University, with whom I've been acquainted for nearly two decades. Their topic was Facilitated Sex for Adults with Disabilities. I pointed out the irony that George and I had been having this conversation for those 15-20 years and, from their presentation, it seems not much has changed.
In Christopher Reive's recent Taranaki Daily News article, Stephen Hills to represent New Zealand at the Paralympic Games, he writes:
"Hills, who suffers right-side paralysis and seizures..."
Last Thursday I attended the Health Promotion Agency's video preview session for its refresh of The National Depression Initiative (depression.org.nz). The National Depression Initiative (NDI) "aims to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety on the lives of New Zealanders by aiding early recognition, appropriate treatment, and recovery."
I was there as one of 15 New Zealanders who have shared their stories of living with depression and anxiety. For me, it was living with aggressive and abusive neighbours over two years (2011 and 2012) that created acute anxiety and prompted me to offer to share my story. But, in the course of doing so, I've come to realise that I've experienced both depression and anxiety many times over my lifetime.