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Gosh, we live in an amazing country.
There’s been plenty of talk this year about how we’ve lost our mojo and the country has lost its way with the cost of living, the state of our health and education systems - and they’re all appropriate conversations to have. But if you get the chance to step away from your day to day concerns and get out into the wild, you’re quickly reminded there’s so much to love about this beautiful country of ours.
It was a real treat to have a weekend off last week - and even better to have discovered my new favourite place in New Zealand.
I hadn’t been to Te Anau, and now I can’t wait to get back.
The reason for the trip was to fastpack the Kepler Track. One of the most stunning tracks in the country. I’m fortunate to be part of an eclectic fastpacking crew of crazy, strong and gorgeous women who gather once a year to walk/run one of our many impressive tracks over two days. It means at least one day big day - like the 44km we did on the second day of our Kepler adventure. Which is nuts, right? But I still had plenty of time to take in the mind blowing views, chat to some keas, laugh, swim in Lake Manopouri and enjoy being off grid.
But then it was time to re-connect - and learn we’ve got a couple of Deputy Prime Ministers this term, watch the new Prime Minister reel off his 49 action points of cancel repeal and start, and see the party games begin.
As many of you have noted, it feels good to see some decisiveness. It’s good to see the Government take action on the issues it campaigned on. I don’t care that the Prime Minister ignored the behaviour of his new Deputy and just got on with what’s important.
All I can ask though is that as changes are made it’s done pragmatically. For example, the plan to change all Government departments and other public agencies back to their English language names is fine. It makes things less confusing for some, and as Simon Wilson pointed out, just giving an organisation a Māori name doesn’t mean it is genuinely bi-cultural or operates on co-governance principals. It can be misleading.
But what I do object to is the projected millions it will cost to change the branding for organisations who primarily use Te Reo Māori names. According to marketing experts, it could cost millions to change every website, letterhead, business card, sign etc.
If we had dual lingual branding in the first place –with English and Māori names on everything - this wouldn't have been an issue.
My request of this new coalition - as you address some of the pet projects you campaigned on, please make thoughtful, smart decisions which won’t require unnecessary, expensive fixes in the future.
As the political hurly burly heats up after the hiatus, my advice for the rest of us is that if it starts to get depressing there’s a great solution - go for a walk.
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