This week the New Zealand national election kicked off in fine style with the Leader's Debate.
The difficulty that Phil Goff and Labour have is significant.
Goff leads a party that ruled for over nine years.
The voters became tired of them.
Furthermore the National Government, under John Key, has been saved from any serious competition and scrutiny by a number of calamities.
NOW the Rugby World Cup final is over, we can start to review the good, the bad and the ugly.
The ugly was we just never seem to be able to dominate and win without moaning about something. There is no love for the French, whether it be their testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific or carrying out an act of war by bombing the Rainbow Warrior.
This said, the way in which our press vilified the French players before the game, calling them dirty and picking out specific historic moments when French players eye-gouged, grabbed scrotums and other misdeeds wasn't good.
The intensity of the final lived up to an outstanding contest between two teams who were playing for everything great about their countries.
Keith Quinn started the attack on the French within hours of the final whistle. If you were to slowly work through the match replay, you would have seen All Blacks as good professional footballers having to win a game on their own soil, where losing was not an option.
JOHN TAMIHERE COLUMN
THE week before last, my opinion piece was directed to us, as a nation, having the very necessary conversation about who we are, what we are, what we stand for and how we might represent part of that conversation with a new flag.
I have since received a large amount of uninvited advice and such was the volume I will reaffirm that our present flag does not represent our reality nor does it reflect our shared future.
If any of us has been able to visit and honour the graves of New Zealand servicemen interred in foreign lands, from the Pacific to the sands of North Africa, to the hilltops of Italy around Monte Casino, or to the killing fields of the First World War in northern France, he or she will note one powerful emblem that sets aside our Kiwi dead. Each gravestone is emblazoned with the Silver Fern.
If you look at your New Zealand passport, it is black emblazoned with the Silver Fern. If you recall the great moments that make us proud of who we are and what we are, recall the grainy black-and-white pictures of Lovelock and Snell dressed in black and dominating world athletics. If you look at our netball, rugby and league codes, black, white and the Silver Fern resonate.
Whether you want to believe it or not, go outside today as the All Blacks play the French and you will see the French with their flag, the tri colour – red, white and blue. Cast your eyes around the stadium where they will play, look at the cars as they drive by and you will see the black flag with the silver fern.
JOHN TAMIHERE COLUMN
Acts of God are difficult for man to prepare for or defend against. The real test is how man sets about to repair acts of God or unforseen calamity.
A government cannot cure everything. But in a small democracy with a small economy, the size of government relevant to the private sector is huge.
As a consequence, the NZ Government, by default or by design, is usually the first and last bastion in remedying the adverse impacts of acts of God and man.
In the history of our nation, never has a government presided over by one Prime Minister been visited with so much catastrophe. These difficult circumstances allow for significant goodwill and the country will give politicians a lot of leeway in these trying circumstances.
But this government has finally run out of that leeway with its management of the economy, and more tellingly, over their lack of intervention over the grounding of the Rena.
JOHN TAMIHERE COLUMN
As we head into the quarter-finals of this Rugby World Cup, I have noticed a lift in Kiwi patriotism as the mighty All Blacks appear, at least in their performance in their group, 30 points better than most teams.
Another observation is that while we are all New Zealanders, we can always back another team.
I backed Ireland against Australia.
The Tongan, Samoan, Irish, Scots and English Kiwis fly their country of origin colours proudly.
Does this mean they are not true Kiwis/New Zealanders?
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