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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Israel Isn't The Bad Guy

I’ve now reached the point where I get personally angry when I see anti-Israeli remarks, and they seem so crude and hurtful.

Their number one argument is simply not enough Israelis have died compared to those living in Gaza. That is it; if there were more Israeli blood shed everyone would be happy. But that is ungodly of us, to call for the death of one race to justify another.

More Israelis haven’t been killed because they installed the Iron Dome defence shield which aims to destroy rockets before they hit Israeli infrastructure. Israel has rocket sirens that give their people 10 – 15 seconds to take cover, shelter on the side of the road or run to one of the many rocket shelters set up across the country.

Israel has invested wisely in protecting their people as best they can.

Hamas, on the other hand, don’t care about the people living around them. They use them as political toys to look like the targeted one.

When Israel sends warning to the people of Gaza to evacuate before the Israeli Defence Force takes out their target, Hamas gets everyone to stay and brings children nearer to the attack sight. There is no justification in any of the actions Hamas make.

If the leading forces in Gaza wanted to protect their citizens then why haven’t they built rocket shelters? Why don’t they have warning systems in place? Why aren’t they stopping the terrorist amongst them from firing rockets upon their neighbours?

It is because the leaders amongst them don’t care about their people, they just care about destroying Israel. Any deaths on their side are mere sacrifices in their eyes, Allah would be proud, I guess.

Because Hamas won’t look after the people they live around, Israel has too. It is Israel who is ensuring supplies are still in the region; it is Israel who has set up medical facilities to treat those who need help; and it is Israel who is warning the Gaza people before conflict strikes. Not Hamas.

I just don’t understand how Israel can default to being the bad guy here. They just seem to do a better job defending their people than their neighbours.

All Israel wants is peace, and they’ve been willing to relinquish control of land before for peace, but the Palestinian leaders didn’t accept their offer in 2000 and responded by sending suicide bombers into Israel to cause destruction.

Israel has given up control of land before; they returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt when they agreed for peace in the 1970s. Israel is a country of their word.

Oh, and when it comes to humanitarian response is it Hamas officials aiding in Japan after the tsunami? Was it Hamas soldiers in Haiti helping after their earthquake? Did Hamas soldiers also go to Christchurch, NZ and Chile it assist in their earthquake recovery need? No. It was specified Israel Defence Force officials who came to assist.

Israel is always one of the first to send foreign aid to any disaster. They sent water purification units with doctor to Japan; they set up hospitals in Haiti; and sent trauma experts to Boston after the marathon bombings.

Israel has got the worlds back, even though the world doesn’t have Israel’s.

Israeli Defence Force officials have set out to try and end the 9 year building conflict from Hamas. They are going to cripple their weapon storage facilities and lock off their underground network of tunnels to prevent them getting to Israel.

Israel is doing their job as a nation, they’re protecting their people and, in the long run, they’re protecting those who live in Gaza. The international community may have been blinded from the thousands of rocket that have been launched at Israel, and have only noticed the ones Israel as accurately pin pointed to take out Hamas rocket and weapon storing sights. But Israel will keep defending herself, and will continue to help the people of Gaza where their leaders can’t.

All of this conflict can end with a peace agreement. Cease fires have been made, but they have been broken, because Hamas wants Israel to be dead and that is what is stopping peace in the Middle East.

Israel have been the first to lay down their guns before, they have reached out their hand to offer peace. But quickly have the guns been pointed back at Israel just as they’ve put theirs down to try and destroy them in a window of vulnerability.

This is a battle between one side wanting peace, and the other wants the other side dead.


Israel isn’t the bad guy.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Everyone Wants A Two State Solution

Is a two state solution really going to happen?

The raging in the Middle East is all about land ownership that stretches back many millenniums. Peace deals have been made, sacrifices have been put on the table, but no agreement has ever been found.

During the 80s and 90s Israel made ultimate sacrifice offers to Palestine, they were meeting nearly all the demands made by Palestinian leaders but were turned down because there was still going to be a Jewish State.

Hamas, Palestinian and neighbouring leaders are all willing to let their people suffer because they hold grudges that stretch well beyond anyone's life time.

Because pain and suffering has been the preferred option over any peace settlement, one nation is going to fall.

I hope I'm wrong, the city of Jerusalem shows us that Muslims, Jews and Christians alike can live next to one another in peace. But many tall poppies in the Middle East can't stand knowing that their kind are mixing with others.

The Jewish people were given a helping hand after millenniums of being pushed around and being used. They were given land which they have made the most of. They have turned it into a land of growth and innovation. And they have protected those who live their.

Many want Israel to return to its original border which is a small strip of land at the bottom of a hill that sides with the sea. Completely indefensible, it would be the beginning of the end for a Jewish State.

A nation is going to fall. The world has already taken sides.

If the Jewish State is relinquished then the world would lose access to a site that many hold to be sacred to our beginning.

Humanity will stand still.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Two Weeks In Australia - What Have I learnt?

Food tends to cost more.

I've been living on the rough and have been relying on Supermarkets to piece together most of my meals, and my first observation is that food isn't cheaper in Australia. It seems more expensive, if not the same.

First observation, coleslaw is costly here! I wanted to make sandwiches with deli meat and coleslaw. I could get 100 grams of chicken luncheon for $3 - that seemed reasonable. Then, at Coles, for a small container of
coleslaw was $4! That seemed a lot especially since they sell it for about 89 cents per 100 grams at Countdown.

And their fresh cheese buns were around $4 for four - these home made sandwiches are getting costly.

Then, for the rest of my shop I felt the dollar figure on the items were about the same. Tim Tam's, two for $5 was the same; and fruit seemed about the same. But, I would have thought that it would have been cheaper than in New Zealand, especially with their dollar being stronger (even though not by much at the moment ...)

But if you take food out of the equation, so much else is cheaper!

The ferry's in and out of Sydney are cheaper than in Auckland - and they're always full.

New car prices are lower! The new Renault Clio is priced around AU$20,000 instead of NZ$26,990 across the ditch.

Living in Sydney seemed more affordable than living in Auckland.

The train to Canberra was affordable and relatively nice (not as good as the NYC to Washington DC first class service), it made a lot of noises that made me think I was on a pig farm at times. But you can't find that service in NZ simply because it isn't viable back home in improve our rail ways to speed up our trains.

Petrol - less than $1.50 per litre. I know that when I get back home I'm going to see petrol around $2.20 per litre because of a new 3 cent tax. We have a lot of our taxes built into our pump price that Aussie doens't, but were Aussie price rate makers more lenient at lowering the price of petrol when the oil price plummeted and the dollar strengthened?

This trip has made me realise that I could live in Sydney, I would love to live in Canberra. There are more entry points into my career path than in New Zealand. But that one thing that Aussie doesn't have is New Zealand - paradise.

Every country has it's own beauty, they're scenic in their own ways. But you can't beat paradise, New Zealand has it all!

I doesn't matter where I live and work, New Zealand will always be home.

Update:

I forgot to say that Canberra has the worlds BEST memorials!

And, most importantly, I met some of the greatest people! A retired news reader kept me company on the four hour train ride to Sydney; a local DJ interviewed me in class; I got the chance to work with an up and coming actress (who will definitely be a star soon!); had strong encouragement from peers, teachers, politicians and business people alike; and had the great privilege to work with the greatest little group as we all start to commence out media careers!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why Would You Want To Buy Your First Home?

Housing affordability is going to play a big part in this year’s election.

What seems to be an absolute crisis are foreign buyers. Foreign buyers are outbidding New Zealanders which is raising house prices and making it hard for first home buyers to purchase their first home.

In this country you are allowed to own your own home, and you are allowed to sell your property to whoever you want for as much if you want. If you over price your property you could be waiting for a buyer for a long, long time. But if you get a number of offers you have all the rights to accept the highest offer, no matter whom or where the person and their money are from.

The current parties in opposition (Labour, Greens, NZ First and Mana) don’t believe that you have the right to own your own property, which they think they should have the last say on who you sell your land too.

The figures that are known, which aren't exact numbers, show that there isn't a foreign buyers housing epidemic in New Zealand. The economy is just doing alright, there is a demand for houses, especially in Auckland City, and that just drives the value of those properties up. That doesn’t mean that foreigners buying into New Zealand property are making first home buyer’s task even more difficult. Property prices aren’t surging around the rest of the country as they are in the larger cities.

Owning a home is becoming less attractable.

Everyone aspires to own their home. There is that want for independence, ownership. But that doesn’t mean that path will be easy.

Your first step is saving enough to make that 20% deposit on your first home. The challenge after that is keeping up, if not exceeding, the repayments.

And then you have all those extra cost that the landlord of your rental property used to take care of. And the biggest bill that could set you back are the rates.

Rates are what is setting back first home buyer.

They’re doing really well, they’re keeping up with their repayments then BANG, every three months they receive a rates bill, probably in excess of $500. Over the year they have a couple of grand they need to find to pay the council instead of paying off their loan.

Rates are necessary for councils, but all we ever hear about are rate rises. To keep up with debt repayments, or building unwanted infrastructure we don’t need, they feel they have to raise our rates. They’re becoming unbearable for many New Zealand property owners, and all they can see is an ever increasing hole of debt they’re leaving the next generation of property owners to repay.

On top of council rates, most of us then have regional council rates to keep up with too. Now they’re never as much as local council rates, but they’re still growing and taking more of our money with no real return.

Why would you want to be a first time home buyer when you just get penalised for owning property? You get slapped with new, high priced bills. And then when you want to sell and move on, a good portion of Parliament think they should have the last say about your sale.


What a turn off.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lets Talk Taxes

Taxing is this wonderful process that funds the government.

Mmm … well, wonderful is not the right word. Let’s try again.

Taxing is a mandatory process where an elected body of officials decide how much of your income to take away to fund the government and all the expenses they think are necessary for the state to continue progressing onwards.

There are many forms of taxes; there are sales taxes, levies, targeted taxes and income tax. Income tax is the one that hits us all. And depending on how well you do with your earnings depend on how much money the government wants to take away from you.

A flat tax is a bad word. It has become, more or less, universally accepted by the majority of politicians that if you earn more money you need to be taxed more than those who earn less. If you lower rates on the rich, you’re helping the rich make more money and putting more pressure on the not so rich. Well, at least that is how it’s widely assumed. And if you do otherwise, it could lose you support at election time.

I don’t think there is any doubt that the wealthier people in the community are the job creators. They employ people, they own businesses, they contract others and they spend money. Their money is distributed around the community so that everyone can benefit from the wealthy being wealthy.

The ACT Party has worked out, using publically available figures from Treasury, that personal income tax can be reduced from 33% to 24% and the company tax rate can be reduced from 28% to 20%. Their plan has eliminated $4 billion from corporate and middle class welfare, ie. The people who don’t really need support, and with these lower tax rates, will double New Zealand’s growth rate of 2.5% to 5%. The numbers show that in 15 years our incomes would have doubled.

Tax cuts to the wealthy among as are hated because they think that there is less money entering the system. But they get to spend more money, they pay wages and when they buy things they pay GST. There is no doubt that they pay their fair share. And people will bring more money to New Zealand because they see that they will get to keep more of their money, and that is a good thing.

All in all, it is their money. The money they make after tax isn’t a gift from the government; they worked and earned that money.

Jamie White said earlier this week that “Of course, the government could tax all the money you earn. But it does not follow that your post-tax income is a gift from the government. You might as well argue that your TV is a gift from your local burglar because he has chosen not to steal it.”

We have to stop looking as the extra money that we get to keep from a tax cut as a gift from the government. It’s our money and the government takes it from us.

The thinking of our nations is growing strongly towards one who expects a democratic country to provide excessive amounts of welfare, and for politicians to give them something if they want their vote. If we keep this up we’re just going to keep digging ourselves a hole.

We could have an economy that is growing faster, but we want paid parental leave for longer; we could keep more of our money, but we want to subsides higher education; we could double our wages, but we can’t stand seeing the wealthy given a tax cut.

We need to come to grips as a country as to what our priorities are. Do we want to work together to see our country grow and become that shining beacon of light for the rest of the world? Or do we want to sit back, hold the growth back and see what the government is going to dish out on their shiny gold plate for us next?


I choose growth.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What Have They Done To The Cruze?!

This week Holden have released new photos of what GM have done to the appearance of the innocent Holden Cruze.

Holden Cruze

This new Cruze will official be launched at the 2014 New York motor show.

The original Holden Cruze was innocent. It was never going to be the pinnacle of automotive craftsmanship, but it was innocent. It didn't look angry and as though there were too many hood ornaments littering its bonnet. GM seem to like large grills, and have used that as an excuse to add more air intakes to the front of this little car. They've over sold a little car.

Here is the current Holden Cruze, it is innocent, not head turning, rather basic, not over sold, but appropriate; ballanced:


The spacing on this car is perfect, they're not over selling power of this car by having so many in-crested hood lines. This is a good, 2 litre run around car, it is not an angry 'don't know if we will get you there', crap American car. It's appropriate.

I've enjoyed driving the Holden Cruze, it is fun, but it is not a long cruising car with those hard and unforgiving seats. But that doesn't mean they've needed to ruin its face too.

Maybe, just maybe it is the horrific Chevy logo, that brown cross doesn't do any justice to the front of any car. So maybe once they replace that cross with a proper Holden lion it may bring back some dignity to the appearance of this little puppy.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

How The Commoners Are Treated When The Royals Roll Into Town

When the Royal's come to town, in this case Prince William and Duchess Kate visiting Cambridge, the common people can't help themselves but to welcome them like no others.
Seats reserved and waiting

Commoners rallied from all across the country to gather in Cambridge this morning to get that glimpse, and hopefully a little more, of the Royal couple. Commoners started lining the streets more than three hours before the Royal's arrival, before Will and Kate had even landed in the area; and I was one of those commoners who were patiently awaiting their arrival.

While many commoners were patiently holding their ground next to the fence that separates the common blooded from the privileged, I roamed the streets and forfeited my position to get a personal confrontation with the couple.

Cambridge had strived to the stars to welcome Will and Kate, Union Jakes were posted everywhere, Will and Kate masked commoners roamed the streets. And what I couldn't get over was that all the people who rallied to view the Royal were all pretty people. Apparently I missed the memo that the scummy commoners weren't allowed to show, I was surprised I wasn't escorted away.

Anti-Royalist
While everyone was happy and eagerly awaiting the moment of their arrival, not even the heavy shower dampened anyone's day. Everyone huddled together and shared their brollies until the clouds parted and the sun shined again.

And you can never have a Royal gathering without a few anti royalist showing up. Whilst they weren't causing any harm, they were a blemish on the loving image presented to the Royal's. They made a few sly remarks in response to others comments, and when Australia's Channel 7 leaned in to ask them a few questions, the crowd did 'boo'.

As the time to their arrival grew closer, the crowds kept growing. The countdown over the loud speaker was everyone's guide to their arrival. The loud speaker was also the warning signal: '30 minutes until road closures are enforced', 'all road closures are enforces', '30 minutes until pedestrian access is closed', 'pedestrian access is close'. At that point we were all locked on the block or park which fence contained us.

We were locked in a concentration camp. But instead of being put to work and make to live in horrible conditions, we were limited to five port-a-loo's and outlandishly over priced food. To pass the time, photographers went to the trees to gain those perfect, uninterrupted pictures.

And then the tip was upon us. The lead police car arrives and everyone cheers, not realising that there was still a few minutes wait until the rest of the convoy catches up.

Then the time arrived, the convoy rounded the round about then everyone took a few moments to realise they were in the silver BMW, yes the one with the crown flag flying.


Everyone were snapping those once in a life time photos of these over glamorised people, I was snapping my photos as well. And for those who didn't have camera responsibilities, they were waving and getting to really enjoy seeing the Royal's in real life.
My best photo of Kate - THAT'S HER HAND!

What was greatly amusing were the comments by overly excited spectators. 'William looked straight into my camera!' 'He smiled at me!' 'Kate looked at me!' When, in hindsight, they are only going to remember a few faces from today's events tomorrow, and in a week, this memory will all be a struggle for the attractive couple.

Then they disappeared for a moment and everyone rallied to a spot where they may get to talk to the couple, but those spots were well and truly taken. And others reposition to the big screen and found another spot along the fence to get those last snaps of the couple as they drive off with no return date in known sight.

The best photo I got - Prince Willian - Look! He smiled at me!
Once they were gone, that was it. The hype was over, now it was a rush to vacate this little town and get back to reality. The rush was on, break the barricades, our life in a concentration camp came to an end as everyone made their way back to their cars, which were all parked miles away to allow enough open road for the Royal's drive around the streets and allow maximum viewing points to see the attractive couple.

I don't know what the Royal's do to the minds of people who think they don't care, but they've drawn us in. They've made us love them, and they've convinced us to welcome them back again, hopefully some time really soon.