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Be a good sport: stop Kiwi-bashing
THERE'S a story New Zealand's former governor-general Dame Cath Tizard tells about the time she visited a local school.
After being introduced to a class, she bent down and asked a seven-year-old boy what he'd like to do when he grew up.
"Would you like to be governor-general?" she prompted sweetly.
"Oh God, no," he replied.
Shocked, she asked why ever not.
He cleared his throat. "Because I'm a boy!" he said in disgust.
While this week it's become fashionable to join in the orgy of Kiwi-bashing, we have to admit there's an awful lot we could learn from their example.
With International Women's Day looming on Wednesday - and, after all, they were the first country to give women the vote - just look around Australia and see how many women we have in top jobs.
It won't take long. Then look at New Zealand. Australasia's first female prime minister was National Party leader Jenny Shipley. A governor-general and a female president and vice-president of the Labour Party.
And, of course, the PM title-holder, Helen Clark, who's presumably now enjoying being back on her America's Cup celebratory turf after a trying few days visiting us.
That's not even to mention the most stark contrast between our two nations.We watched, with horror and shame, Prime Minister John Howard this week brazenly backtrack on his pledge to achieve Aboriginal reconciliation by the end of this year.
On the other side of the Tasman, Maoris and Pakehas signed their Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, with the aim of fairness in all transactions. Now they're working to activate all land claims and guess what?: New Zealanders show no sign of giving way at all, leaving the entire nation to crash and burn.
We may beat their asses in cricket and rugby, but let's get a balance here. What's more important: ball games, or the game of real life played with balls? Mr Howard seems in little doubt.
In announcing on Thursday that he'd review the way we fund about half the pension and unemployment pay-outs to New Zealanders in our country, he set off another round of daft whingeing about Kiwis screwing us silly. What nonsense!
Sure, we have a great influx of New Zealanders coming here, but we also have a record outflux of Australians going overseas, which last year tallied up to 17,300 people.
So isn't it good that we receive fresh people to replace the ones we lose? And what people they tend to be! Firmly kicking into touch the stereotype of beach bums lounging on the sand, shifting themselves only to pick up their dole cheque, Kiwis in Australia tend to be an enormously go-getting lot, with the kind of IT skills, entrepreneurial flair and determination we sorely need.
If we insist that the New Zealand Government refund us half of the dole cheques we pay out to them, wouldn't they be in the perfect situation to demand we refund them the tax we receive from their Kiwi high-flyers? If we think there's a problem with our dole system, then it's up to us to fix it - not whine that others are taking advantage of the loopholes.
For New Zealand is a valued friendly neighbour and should be treated as such. When we need help in East Timor, they're there as part of the Anzac tradition.
When we need back-up against protectionist trade moves harming this part of the world, they're right behind us.
And we really shouldn't forget that the jokes we make about funny accents and sex with sheep, the rest of the world makes about us. And actually believes them.
For Americans New Zealand is the place the America's Cup for Ocean Yacht Sailing was lost to. To Australians New Zealand is the place that produced most successful business people who bought us, especially since the mid 1980s. In my region the timber industry is just about fully NZ owned. They play hard and for keeps. They just bought the Adelaide casino. Good on 'em too I reckon. Pity about their ordinary cricket team though...
Posted as awareness article conversation piece.
Regards from Down Under
-- Pieter (email@example.com), March 04, 2000
Pieter, I must humbly agree. New Zealand hasn't had a good cricket team since the days when Lance Cairns and his willow tree "Excalibur" hit 30 in a single over against australia. However its super 12 season now, and just watch the Highlanders kick some butt once again.
Australia and New Zealand do have a special relationship with each other that is a sort of love-hate relationship. In any competitive arena there is nothing a Kiwi hates more than to be beaten by an Aussie, but if Australia do win, then every kiwi will back them against anyone else.
There are a couple of things that NZ can do to improve its relationship with Australia though, but with our current woman prime minister its unlikely that they will happen. First, we must replace our aging A4K Skyhawks (most of which are second hand from Australia) with the fleet of F16s that USA have offerred. This will allow the Kiwis to participate more fully in ANZAC obligations. And second, is to combine New Zealand with Australia into one country. After all, we already export 35000 Kiwis to Australia each month.
-- Malcolm Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 04, 2000.
From the article: "We may beat their asses in cricket and rugby, but let's get a balance here. What's more important: ball games, or the game of real life played with balls?"
Pieter- I always get a kick out of how "blunt" and to the point the Aussie media is. The above quote would never have made it into the "oh so politically correct" media here in the states. Same holds true for their radio broadcasts down under. When on the computer, I usually listen via RealAudio to a station out of Adelaide (Triple M?). I am constantly surprised by the off the wall comments thrown out there by the announcers. Like I said, I get a real kick out of it.
By the way, what exactly are "donks"? LOL
-- CD (email@example.com), March 04, 2000.
I saw the Lance Cairns 30 in that single over on TV. I must say that one innings stands out as a most memorable one in all the years of following the cricket form. This summer's cricket broadcasting was brought to you by the Yankee colonel from Kentucky who is now bungee jumping - bloody waste of talent that ought to be exported back to the Americans at the first opportunity - along with the red-n-white striped hen-houses for fried chook dotting the urban landscapes.
'donks' is OZ speak for a long time, as in donkey years.
Would that be Triple J audio? They don't mince the vernacular enough!!! Those sheilas posing as raconteurs wouldn't last ten minutes in a decent OZ-NZ cricket match spectator show stand-off. Unless you bring a few Poms to watch. Then the Aussie bluntness gets clutched into overdrive..hehehe...Pommy bashing is THE sport.
Also, CD, I think you will find the 'politically correct' scene is 'on the nose' in OZ. This place is about to get really volatile and nothing will be left unsaid. It's about the hip pocket nerve. People aren't going to take much more from the politically correct BS and our litigation freaks don't get far...unless it's was unsporting and unfair - tall poppies are fair game though, it's a mark of esteem.
Regards from Down Under
-- Pieter (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 04, 2000.
LOL Pieter. I "think" I uderstood all that.
By the way, here's the station I listen to... http://126.96.36.199/index2.html
-- CD (email@example.com), March 04, 2000.
ATTENTION, ALL OZ & NZ LURKERS/POSTERS:
Hey, we Yanks will make a deal wid yuz guys: we'll stop exporting all our ugly KFC franchises Down Under --- IF ---- ya'll learn how to pronounce American properly, and eliminate those funny sounds that are supposed to mean words.
As far as those sheep jokes go, in Wyoming the key clue to them was not vaseline, but boots. Aren't they used down there?
Anyway, it'll be donks before we ever have a lady president, so we're nowhere near as bad off as ya'll. (Oops, what it is I just saw on TeeVee? ---- Hillary will replace Al on the Democratic ticket? Heavens to Betsy!)
Enjoying my witchity grubs,
-- William J. Schenker, MD (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 05, 2000.