Home' The Tribune : January 18th 2012 Contents 10 THE TRIBUNE, JANUARY 18, 2012
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New family takes edge off the past
By MICHELLE GREY Avery special Christmas feelingaslinks open up
So, here we are nearly three weeks
into 2012. It ll be Christmas before
you know it!
Christmas is a time for many of
us to spend with family and this
year was no exception for us,
although our numbers have been
getting smaller in the past few
years as loved ones have either
died or moved away.
However, this turned out to be a
very special Christmas for my fam-
ily, particularly my mother.
A few days before Christmas
Mum received a call from my sister
Kerrin in Germany.
It was to say that her friend
Anne, an amateur genealogist, had
tracked down records of Mum s
father, showing he lived in Glas-
gow for the rest of his life, dying in
1991 at the ripe old age of 95.
Mum s parents separated when
she was a toddler in the early
1930s and Mum doesn t remember
seeing her father again, except
very briefly when he came back to
New Zealand to finalise the divorce
But the really exciting news was
that Anne had discovered a brother
and sister Mum had no idea she
had, still alive and kicking in
Glasgow. And, of course, this
means uncles and aunts and
cousins for my siblings and I,
which we ve never had before.
Our father came from Coventry
and while he had a half-brother
there, we never had any contact
Mum was an only child (or so we
thought) so we grew up without
any extended family. In a way our
experience as children was a little
like that of many immigrant famil-
ies who come here and don t have
any extended family.
I remember as a young person
hearing friends talk about their
uncles and aunts and cousins and
wishing I had some to talk about.
Are you wondering what my
mother s reaction to this news was?
At 82 she is very excited and has
had wonderful conversations with
her brother Norman and sister
Sandra, both of whom live just out-
side of Glasgow. Mum commented
to me that she d felt alone growing
up and how wonderful it is to know
she has not only siblings, but
nephews and nieces.
Now there s an interesting spiri-
tual side to this story but when I
asked Mum if she was OK with me
writing about the experience, she
said Yes, but only so long as you
don t put any of that stuff in it!
and, of course, I m respecting her
So, I hope you re well rested and
looking forward to the year ahead.
I know I am. In particular, I m
looking forward to meeting this
whole new part of my family. I feel
a trip to Glasgow coming on.
the vote as a refer-
endum on asset
people looking at the policies rather than just the
personalities, we implored the voting public to vote
for parties whose policies reflected their own views
on state asset sales.
Given that, it could be read that New Zealand
voted for asset sales when it elected a National-led
Certainly the word mandate has been thrown
around quite a lot since election day. National
gained 48 per cent of the vote, it has formed a
government and has the confidence of Parliament.
Surely that constitutes a mandate to sell off our
Not exactly. The referendum on asset sales threw
up an interesting result: 60 MPs clearly in favour of
selling assets, 60 MPs clearly opposed to selling
them and one MP, Peter Dunne, whose position on
asset sales seems to depend on the direction of the
prevailing wind at the time he is asked where he
For now, Peter Dunne says he will support the
Government s programme to sell off the
Government s top performing assets. Those that
produce the greatest rate of return for taxpayers are
the first on the block.
So just how enthusiastic are New Zealanders
about asset sales?
Unsurprisingly, not very. Polls regularly show
about 75 per cent of us are in favour of holding on
to our power companies and majority share of Air
Here in Palmerston North, we overwhelmingly
displayed our desire to keep our assets -- in Novem-
ber, 53.5 per cent of us voted for parties that favour
retention and just 45.2 per cent voted for parties
that favour selling them off.
So should we resign ourselves to the National-led
Government inevitably acting against our wishes?
Not on your life! Democracy doesn t just happen
once every three years.
Expressing our views and being listened to by our
government is more than just a right.
It is a privilege that we must make the most of at
Opposition politicians, and those who supported
us, must accept election results and allow the gov-
ernment to govern while stating our opposition
where we disagree and building the case for our
However, where it is obvious the government is
not only working against the best interests of the
nation but also the will of the people, we all must
fight with every resource and every ounce of energy
we can muster.
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