Twitter attack!

Canadian country singer Shania Twain revealed if she had been eligible to vote in the United States 2016 elections she would have voted for Trump.  She likes his honesty. Quote:


Her quote went viral on social media, and hours later, “Shania Twain” was trending worldwide on Twitter. Given that lots of people were not pleased by her comments, the hashtag #ShaniaTwainCancelled had hundreds of tweets.

Twain, the highest-selling solo female artist in country music history, apologized Sunday night after the backlash intensified. She called her answer to the Guardian “awkward” and said that she wished she had given it more context. Twain also emphasized that she does not endorse Trump. End of quote.

Using Twitter, Trump haters pressured Shania Twain into publicly retracting her personal opinion.

Does this sound familiar? Folau to his credit did not back down when pressured, instead saying he would walk away from rugby if he was made to choose.

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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

What are these two up to?

They aren’t talking knitting patterns for babies booties or how to keep the home fires burning while they’re off doing the really important stuff.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: AFP

But one thing they do have in common is that they were both recently elected by the skin of their teeth.

Ardern is a newbie unexpectedly thrust into a leadership role she wasn’t actively pursuing, and Merkel is a four-term political veteran dangling over a cliff but still managing to hang on by her fingernails.

We can thank Germany for the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system we’ve been lumbered with and which is responsible for their privileged positions.

Germany adopted MMP in 1949 but over 70 years later German voters still struggle to understand how it works.  We probably never will either, but we’ve just had a crash course in how voters have absolutely no say in what happens after the election when our political parties made whatever deals took their fancy behind closed doors.

Goodbye voters, you’ve had your say, now we will do just what we want whether you like it or not and we will do it without taking any responsibility for our actions.  The promised coalition agreement document won’t see the light of day because of its broken pre-election promises.   Is this slide into mediocrity what New Zealand is all about?

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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

Who’s to say this earthquake damage is not recent?

Fast as lightning, lawyers for homeowners are blaming shoddy workmanship for the cracks still appearing in Christchurch homes following EQC repairs carried out since 2011.

This government are quick to agree with them. Well, they would wouldn’t they?

House in Avonside collapses in the largest earthquake Christchurch has ever experienced. – Stock Image

The obvious question is, why did the National government bother to rebuild Christchurch at all?

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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

Ardern is a wimp in international politics

Ardern, when told of the United States air strike in Syria had this to say:

It is understandable and we accept why the United States and others have taken the military action that they have, our view is though now is the time to return to the table, to the United Nations to resolve these issues. End of quote.

But Ardern is not alone in being a wimp on the international stage. Most international politicians, including Trump’s cardboard-cutout predecessor Obama, do exactly what Ardern does by expecting the United Nations to deal with war criminals like Assad. They do not like to get their hands dirty.

A rescue worker carries a child following an alleged chemical weapons attack in the rebel-held town of Douma. Picture: AP Source:AP

The French and United States presidents together with the British prime minister agreed to take action to curtail Assad’s chemical weapons attacks against Syrian citizens. They want to do the right thing and as the great parliamentarian Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

The United Nations can criticise Assad’s atrocious behaviour all they like, but because they have no stick to hit him with he has never listened.

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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

The winter of our discontent

Winter is upon us along with much discontent and stormy weather like the monster that ripped up the country this week removing roofs, upending trees and cutting power to a quarter of Auckland’s homes.  In the aftermath complaints were made that civil defence had failed to warn us of the destructive power of the impending super storm.

In similar fashion, this storm brews its own ugly dark clouds and we got no advance warning of its destructive power either. The fierce winds shriek and buffet us as we cower in our seats, knuckles white and eyes wide in disbelief.  We are all trapped on the bus run by the current coalition government. 

This bus is lurching steadily off-course and inevitably we know we will end up in the ditch.  


Credit Pixabay

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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

Bring back free speech and tolerance

Israel Folau fell straight into a trap when he answered the question asking him what he thought was God’s plan for homosexuals. Taking the bible literally is neither fashionable nor socially acceptable, but that is exactly what Folau did. Good on him – he’s a brave man.Quote.

Australian rugby superstar Israel Folau could be prevented from entering New Zealand for his “bigotry against homosexuals”, a former immigration minister says.

The 29-year-old Wallabies fullback is facing intense criticism for a homophobic comment he made on social media platform Instagram.

When a user asked him: “What was gods (sic) plan for gay people”, Folau responded: “HELL… unless they repent of their sins and turn to god”.

Former immigration minister Tuariki Delamere, who now works as an immigration lawyer, said under New Zealand law border control officers should refuse Folau entry. End of quote.

Sporting legends Israel Folau and Maria Tutaia pre-wedding photo credit Sporting News

Delamere slams Folau with the accusation of bigotry and suggests NZ Immigration should refuse Folau entry into NZ.

What is Delamere afraid of? Does he think Folau’s beliefs, like mumps, are contagious? Does he think homosexuals will be offended? Does he believe Folau’s comment places homosexuals under attack and that they are incapable of defending themselves? What caused such a strong reaction?

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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

What do we want from education?

If you had to choose a single outcome for education what would that outcome be?

For parents its a no-brainer, we want school leavers to go straight into full time employment or into training for full time employment. There are many steps before arriving at this destination, but focusing on a single goal avoids these steps becoming an end in themselves.

The Ministry of Education may agree, but its goals are not quite so succinct. The 2016-2020 Four Year Plan has the following nebulous long term outcomes. Quote.

  1. The education system is relevant and reaches all children and students;
  2. Every child and student achieves educational success; and
  3. New Zealanders have skills and knowledge for work and life. End of quote.

So, did the ministry achieve these outcomes its first year of implementation?  No, they failed on all points.

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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

Abbas is pissed, meaning more violence in Gaza

Our media coverage of events in Gaza falls so short of being factual it’s actually laughable. Al Jazeera reports on the latest round of violence in Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority has declared Saturday a day of national mourning after 17 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces as thousands marched near Gaza’s border with Israel in a major demonstration marking the 42nd anniversary of Land Day.

“Schools, universities, as well as all government institutions, across the country will be off on Saturday, as per President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to declare a day of national mourning for the souls of the martyrs,” a statement issued on Friday said.

Organisers of Friday’s march, dubbed “the Great Return March”, said the main message of the demonstration was to call for the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Some 70 percent of Gaza’s two million population are descendants of Palestinians who were driven from their homes in the territories taken over by Israel during the 1948 war, known to Arabs as the Nakba.

Gaza peaceful protest image Times of Israel

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli soldiers near the border fence east of Gaza City on December 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED

That old chestnut keeps getting rolled out that Israelis forced Palestinians to flee.  It is arguable most left when warned by the invading five Arab nations to flee from Israel or be crushed in their attempt to annihilate Israel 70 years ago.  Rather than blame their own forbears they expect Israel to take the blame, again!

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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

Losers: the downward slide in international netball

The Australian cricket team lost to the Proteas last weekend despite a dirty little trick of roughing up the ball. Being caught cheating cost three Australian players a temporary ban and maybe more, but you have to admire their commitment to winning at any cost. I’m envious for a smidgen of that attitude to boost the Silver Ferns performance going into the Commonwealth Games, without the cheating of course.

The Silver Ferns are on a downhill slide having lost just over half their games in the last two years.

2016 Silver Ferns Image Maori Television

We can place some blame on the mindset of the players. Having worked their way from school netball up to international play they’ve been ruined by Tall Poppy syndrome. Attempts to excel in sport at primary level are met with a collective bid to keep everyone happy, meaning standards drop to the level of the status quo. Winners certificates have been replaced by participation certificates. Kids are taught that ‘doing their best’ is good enough when in sport there are only winners and losers.  The ‘I did my best’ group does not exist. We should be cultivating the killer instinct in our junior athletes otherwise what’s the point of playing?

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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

Legal bullying

Results from a recent survey of practitioners at the criminal bar are, on the face of it, quite shocking. 88% of the 300 respondents said they had experienced or witnessed bullying and harassment, including sexual, over the last four years.

Image from Pixabay

The survey was voluntary and two-thirds of the respondents were women.

The nation’s chief justice has issued a rare rebuke to her own judiciary, warning judges to show respect and courtesy to witnesses, litigants and lawyers. Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias said she expected all judges to deal with litigants, witnesses and counsel with respect and courtesy.

The survey was conducted by the Criminal Bar Association of New Zealand. Questions were asked about mocking, raising the voice, shouting and professionally related bullying or harassment.

The absence of information on sexual harassment is telling. Don’t they want to know the extent of the problem or does the old boys’ network not care to address it? Harassment and bullying are not acceptable in any profession, but just how bad is it?

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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.