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So I come to you fresh from 12 days holiday in Japan.
For those of you who are keen but the language difficulties keep you from going, I've got 2 words for you.
Google Translate. The free app that translates anything written in most languages. It's the key to unlocking a different culture.
Japan is the home of high performing public transport. The government decided to put all its effort into trains and subways, letting private enterprise build the motorways. As a result the roads are tolled and expensive. While the trains are plentiful and cheap and so on time. No one is ever late for work.
Meanwhile bicycles and cycle lanes are everywhere because the costs associated with cars are prohibitive. Watching mums cycling around with 2 kids on their mama chariot bikes was eye-opening.
It was my first big trip overseas since 2015 and Japan had only just lifted Covid vaccination controls the week beforehand. I was bracing myself for all the people calling New Zealand a laughing stock because of our overreaction to Covid because that's what so many people had told me they were saying on my talkback sessions.
I met a lot of French and Americans. We weren't a laughing stock. They called New Zealand mature and wise unlike their own childish and tribal politicians.
Which made me laugh as I read about Megan Woods advising New Zealanders to take shorter showers in wake of the cost of living crisis.
The return of nanny state politics which ran Helen Clark out of office back in the day. You would have thought that the first thing Labour politicians learn is not to talk about New Zealander’s showers.
Then little Simeon Brown who believes that New Zealanders are so dumb we can't handle 2 languages on a road sign. For your information Simeon, Japanese road signs are written in both English and Japanese. And no one is confused. Be proud of your casual racism if that's what you are.
Meanwhile people are saying that Labour has nothing new after their Labour Congress apprentice policy announcement. That's true. At the moment they're just extending existing policy or postponing unpopular policy, there sure ain't anything new.
And National just u-turned on their housing policy, the one Nicola Willis, Judith Collins, and Megan Woods spent months working on. That's got to be a slap on the face for Nicola.
But frankly it was a blunt and stupid law change. Auckland in particular had already thrashed the issue out with their Unitary plan.
If National really wants to speed up housing provision perhaps they should get stuck into Resource Management Act reform. Something they've been promising for decades now.
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