President’s Ramble – June 2020

It is election year so I am going to put in my disclaimer right now; this is not intended as electioneering for any particular party or parties, but it does contain some political thoughts and views. Those views are mine and they are that as a whole, we New Zealanders can be pretty proud with the way that our politicians handled, or at least so far have handled, the Corona Virus – Covid 19 issue.  I think that the Labour led government got it more or less correct, using a current catch phrase they ‘chose a route where all lives mattered’. Now that he is gone it has only an element of relevancy, but the opposition led by Simon Bridges did the right thing and supported the government and during what were the critical days at the beginning of the pandemic “sung from the same hymn book.”  At the same time Bridges and National set up a committee that was more or less a watchdog on what the government was doing, giving their advice and criticising and offering appropriate ideas on how to improve conditions for some things.

As the Lockdown progressed I saw sensible decisions made and businesses and occupations given more leeway. I am not a golfer or a bowler but I thought the ability to allow green keepers back to work in isolation to maintain the condition of those sporting clubs was a particularly good one, the costs to bring some of those facilities back to normal would have sent some clubs into oblivion had it not been allowed.

As it became clear that as a nation we were winning the battle, the restrictions eased and so did the support for the government, and this I think is rightly so.  The Lockdown has hurt many in our society, both financially and mentally, and the effects will be with us as a society for some time.  David Seymour with ACT behind him has been very vocal at advocating for business, which means he is doing his job right as business people make up a significant number of his party’s supporters. National came out and became more critical. Winston Peters and New Zealand First recognised the hurt and became more vocal about getting us through the levels and the time to shift to Level 1.  In my opinion it is their voices that probably led to the almost instantaneous shift from Level 2 to Level 1. To be honest I feel guilty about not mentioning the Greens but I didn’t hear a word from them, perhaps because they were 100% behind Labour and often only the preacher and the detractors get the media attention, not the quiet staunch supporters behind.

I know she is the darling of the international media and here too and has had more than enough attention from media sources, but I would like to acknowledge Jacinda. I enjoyed that she put in some very empathetic touches, telling us as a nation to be kind, acknowledging that the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are essential services.  It is touches such as these that makes New Zealand and our people special.  I proudly stood at the end of my driveway at Dawn on Anzac Day as did a select few of my neighbours – though it was a little bit of a strange sensation having two buglers in earshot somewhere in my neighbourhood, especially as they and their echoes were out of time with each other!

It is also what I hope makes us as a club special. I enjoyed that I got to speak to a couple of you for the first time during lockdown to confirm whether you had email addresses or not for our special email edition of Peugeotex – as it turned out three of you didn’t so they got special limited edition black and white copies printed on A4 copies of the magazine off my home printer. I spoke to others in the course of club business; spoke to Ray Williams – one of our patrons – for the first time and kept in contact with some others through Facebook and there will be many others of you that have kept in contact with each other. Let us not forget each other and if you haven’t already, give another member a call, just say hello – how you doing?

I think our Labour led government did pretty well. It was good to see the Opposition do their thing, I think with a finely and generally well balanced mix of support and criticism.  Eventually we saw some dissension from New Zealand First within the government and that is exactly how MMP is supposed to work. Yes there are a number of things they could have done better, but look at the bigger picture – most of us have never experienced anything remotely like this before. It is beyond the scope of knowledge of almost everyone including our politicians, health officials and scientists whom the government relies on for guidance. So far at least we have beaten it. We have lost 22 citizens to the disease and a few more that won’t be reported to related mental health issues (and these will continue among those that have lost jobs, housing and hope), but overall we have done a good job and many other countries will wish they had acted like ours.  It is a good time to be a New Zealander.

As a result of the Lockdown levels the committee hasn’t met, though we are about to. It has been difficult to plan without knowing what we can or can’t do.  Citroen have a Bastille Day with a difference planned for us this year; please consider coming to it and catching up with both ours and their members. Let’s make it a social occasion to celebrate – it’s been a while hasn’t it?

On the subject of politics we have our own politics to consider. We are going through the final stages of confirmation, pretty much as I write this. This year, our AGM will be held at the Auckland Vintage Car Club Rooms in Penrose – 30 August 2020.  This is your chance to become President and lead the club into the future, I know there are things I could have done better and maybe a new face is required; mine has been here for a while now, longer than any of my predecessors.  If President isn’t your cup of coffee, it is also your chance to step up and join the committee – it is not an onerous job, but new faces and ideas are always desirable.

Thanks for reading my thoughts, it is not everyday I write about politics and pandemics, but it has been on my mind, and let’s face it, there hasn’t been much I can write about as far as the motoring world and club events go!

Arohanui to you all,

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President’s Ramble – May 2020