You Natheing In The Life

Diary of the last 22 hours

6.05 pm yesterday

We’re at a book launch, in Ponsonby, in The Women's Bookshop. We’re among nice people. Barbara Sumner has a new book. You may have heard her talking about in the media; it’s really hit home. 

Tree of Strangers — Barbara Sumner

We were born on the very same day in May in 1960. We discovered this some years ago when we happened to be at a media thing in Wellington on our birthday.

I went home from the hospital with a mother and a father, she left with strangers. Her book tells what followed and what was missing. The more she has written about it, in the years since that birthday, the more I've felt her anguish. I know I’m going to feel it acutely reading this. The first few pages already have me. 

Carol Beu is our host, she's behind the counter talking about how the customers have been coming in since the end of Level 4 and devouring the books and praise be, it’s a beautiful thing, because books are and always will be our friends.


That damn virus won’t quit. Of course it won’t. We are vicariously retracing steps, with an infected family to Taupo, and if you're not flinching when you hear about a gathering of 80 people, you’re either not doing this right or you’re Billy the Grifter.

Listening to Shaun Hendy, listening to Prof Sir David Skeggs. They are delivering verity, or, as Google Docs is trying to tell me I mean to say: variety. Jesus, Google docs, this is no time for 1970s light entertainment in a sweater.

Back to Prof Sir David Skeggs:

This is just a reminder that elimination is a process, not a destination.


This will keep happening and it's essential we can keep on top of the cases


We shouldn't think that we've beaten this thing, we haven't, it's raging around the world and it's going to keep cropping up in New Zealand from time to time.

The fundamental truth of this year is: you get relaxed, you try to take a shortcut, the virus will guffaw and say, here have another surge then; just how big a boy are ya?

Prof Sir David Skeggs is also talking about a civic duty to isolate and test if you get unwell and damn straight, hear hear.

Right-thinking people don't want to hear any more of that they were going to die anyway shit. It’s just obnoxious. Also, it woefully misapprehends just how substantial a proportion of us has some condition that could put us in jeopardy.

Right-thinking people don't want to hear any more of that not all that many deaths shit. The lasting harm of this to many of the surviving patients grows more apparent each day. The potential profound harm, unchecked, could be huge.

And right-thinking people don't want to hear any more of that let's just get up to herd immunity level shit. Our hospitals would run out of capacity long before we got there.  And clinicians would suffer grievously.


Sitting, drinking coffee with Karren, talking about the idea of everyone buying books and how for some of us the discomfort has been relatively small so far, and for some it has been catastrophic. Please refer to yesterday's newsletter and the bit about people who won’t be spending 10 billion in overseas travel this year being the ones who might be in a position to push that spending in the direction of people and businesses who could really use it.

The extent to which the more comfortable can help those who are hurting and whose livelihoods have been turned upside down may determine how well or otherwise this all goes.

We cross now to Matt Mccarten reporting on his experiences at the coalface: Workers Fired Because They Asked For Fairness: Boss Pockets Money – Coward Goes into Hiding

Civic duty can come in the form of getting tested, it can come in the form of staying home, it can come in the form of wearing a mask, it can come in the form of not treating your fellow New Zealanders like shit. 


We’re on the morning's second coffee and I report to Karren that Clint Smith has found another inconsequential miscounting in National Party calculations. They haven’t allowed for less tax coming in from the super fund in later years - if you decide to drop contributions to them - which means they’re another billion or two out.

There’s a theme emerging here, class, and can anyone tell me what it is? Yes, that’s right! If you are under 40 you really shouldn't vote National.

The thing about the future is: The National party likes to talk about it, and think about it, but it really doesn't care to set aside actual money for it. 

That's how we found ourselves without the superannuation scheme of 1974 that would have been worth more than 300 billion today. That's how our kids stand to end up with roads instead of transformative investments. Those investments will still have to be made to deal with the climate crisis. But a vote for National means they’ll also be having to pay back a whole stack of inconsequential billions for stupid roads.

The flip of that is what the PM was talking about the other night: investment that creates opportunities for people upended by the pandemic and which also tackles the climate crisis.

That’s the beauty of the term she used the other night, says Karren, double duty. Captures the whole thing very well.

Or as I like to call it, Double Judy, I say. 

Yes, she says, so you've fucked that.


Open my Facebook and hello what's this message from some random I must have clicked yes to, like some dumb social media hutch rabbit?

Something tells me I’m no longer the person Hassan once admired. 

I love that line though. My memoir project - assuming that's still happening, haven’t heard from the publisher in a while -  definitely has a new title: You Natheing In The Life.


Spinning a new album.

We’re all a highly creative little bunch down here at the planet’s last bus stop: writing books; memoirs; music; winning grants that get up the noses of the tragic incels at the Taxpayers Union. 

Put your hands together please, and then hit the keyboard for a copy of the new album from the nation’s best bluesman, Mr Darren Watson, because he’s subsidised by no-one and he’s worth it. Also, if you're a media person I unreservedly recommend him for getting on for a chat and a song. He rules.


A reader writes to advise:

if you're going to start charging for this you'll have to do a whole lot better with the proofreading. 

Fair point, I’m kind of hoping that by making some money off this thing I can allow a bit more time for it. I do in fact cringe every time I discover an error has gone out with this thing. My plan is the same as the nation’s: elimination.

However: natheing will stop me from using the wrong word in today’s header.

He goes on to advise:

Also I can think of a great many reasons and scenarios why any kind of bike, e or otherwise will be of no use to a great many Aucklanders. If a second harbour crossing just for bikes is built I would expect it to be tolled so the rest of us don't have to pay for it. 

Well, on this we’re going to have to agree to disagree. A rider who is on a bike, in a tunnel, is one less person clogging up the roads, and surely we can agree that there is almost nothing that matters more to an Aucklander in his car than a clogged road.


State of it. LOL you clowns who thought Boris wasn’t full of it. 


Biggest news of the week. It is now too warm for jeans. Have changed into SHORTS.

We’re through the worst of it Aotearoa!

Let us all count our blessings and, with soaring spirits do, wherever and whenever possible, our civic duty. Natheing can stop us now.