Friday, March 26, 2010

Richard John Seddon, Prime Minister of New Zea...Image via Wikipedia
Will Australai and New Zealand amalgamate, is it inevitable...

Australia and NZ merger 'inevitable'? Perhaps, but such a discussion would not be an isolated one; it would be be part of a wider discussion on republicanism.

Part One:  Polls and opinion

Some 40 per cent of Kiwis supported a debate about New Zealand becoming a state of Australia. Photo / Steven McNicholFormer Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon believes a merger with Australia is inevitable.

A recent poll has found 40 per cent of New Zealanders support a debate about becoming a state of Australia.

The UMR Research poll surveyed a thousand people on both sides of the Tasman.

Approximately a quarter of Kiwis favoured the country becoming part of the Australia with 71% opposed to the idea.

37% of Australian respondents supported the merger, compared 52% against it.

Sir Don - who is also a former Foreign Affairs Minister and chair of the Trans-Tasman Business Circle - told TVNZ's Q&A programme that it was just a matter of time before a formal agreement is reached with Australia.

"We've got nearly half a million New Zealanders living in Australia anyway," he said.

"By the time the next generation comes around, technology and the movement of people everywhere, New Zealanders won't want to be in the situation of paying taxes in both countries and all the time going through immigration and Customs.

They'll want to try to eliminate all those things."

Sir Don believes the shift will be people-driven, rather then politically motivated.

"It's a debate that's going to go on, but no political leader in New Zealand is going to win an election advocating this issue."

But Labour party leader Phil Goff said there was no reason for a union with Australia.

He said although Australia had nothing to lose from it, joining with a much larger country would mean giving up our national identity.

"New Zealanders are proud of their culture, they are proud of their history, they are proud of their sense of identity."

He said working towards a single economic market between the countries could be achieved without a merger.

"When we can get the benefits of a closer economic relationship and a single economic market, what are the additional benefits of simply being the seventh state?

"It's about making decisions in New Zealand for New Zealanders by New Zealanders that really matter. We can have a closer relationship, we can get the best of both worlds. Submerging ourselves into Australia is not required to achieve that."

Former Prime Minister Mike Moore said New Zealand simply had to "toughen up".

"We will not solve our economic problems by becoming a state or two states of Australia."

Part Two:  The Kiwi Riverman's opinion:

The above report is an interesting one. But as I said from the commencement of this post, such a discussion would be part of a wider discussion on the merits of republicanism. Australia will drive this discussion, and New Zealand would have to consider whether it could continue on on its own. When, not if,  New Zealand as a society decides its future, the discussion will move to one of a merger with Australia.

 It wouldn't be a simple merger as another state of Australia, but how New Zealand would fit in with a future expanding Australia. There could well be two states, or even three when considering Auckland's role. Auckland is becoming a "city state" with a quarter of New Zealand's population. The South Island is slowly becoming a different entity to the North Island. And its true that over a half a million New Zealanders already reside in Australia.

We should consider the origination of the Commonwealth of Australia: It was originally conceived as a "Commonwealth of Australasia", but the then Premier of New Zealand, Richard Seddon, pulled NZ out of the colony  amalgamation discussions and our country went on to become a dominion on its own. Australia became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, and New Zealand  became a dominion a few years later. But of course neither country really becoame fully self-governing for a few years after that.

And the matter of a republic? There will be a bit more water flowing under the bridge yet; New Zealand is actually in the process of discussing the merits of a new flag, but this is actually premature when considering the possibility of an amalgamation of the two countries, and of course the republic matter itself.

 New Zealand would have to consider the future of a number of pacific islands first: the Cooks Islands are  technically part of New Zealand, Niue and  Tokelau are territories and Samoa is getting closer to NZ every year as more and more Samoans become  resident in the country. So there is more to consider than a straight amalgamation with Australia. There could well be a consideration for an Oceanic republic.

Acknowledgements:  Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald, Peter Petterson.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Panorama of central WellingtonImage via Wikipedia
New Zealand starvation case raises ethicacy issues - your opinion readers.

Phillipa Malpas, Auck Univ, says care home staff face ethical dilemma with Margaret Page's decision to starve herself to death

The actions of medical staff at Wellington's St John of God Hospital in allowing a woman to starve herself to death, are raising questions of medical ethicacy.

Margaret Page is disabled and terminally ill after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage 20 years ago. She has been living at the St John of God care home since 2006 and has not eaten for 11 days and has drunk only a small amount of water, because she no longer wants to live. Her separated husband has urged staff to force feed her, but the care home says it is her right to decide her fate. Three psychiatric assessments have found the 60-year-old is capable of making her own decisions.

Dr Malpas says it is a difficult situation.

"One of the principles that would come to mind would be the principle of do no harm and I guess you could ask the question, well, is it harmful in this situation to force her to eat? Is it harmful to allow her to do this?"

However, Dr Malpas says the law is very clear.

"Nobody who is competent can be forced to eat and drink or accept any medical treatment that they don't want even if that will end up hastening their death."

Dr Malpas says a competent person who forces another to eat or drink could be prosecuted for criminal assault, however an argument could be made that failing to force feed Mrs Page is assisting her suicide.

Ms Malpas says the ethical dilemma for staff in such situations is secondary to their obligations to the patient's will.

But aren't health professionals bound to take all care to ensure she is kept in the best of health? Do doctors till swear a hippocratical oath to do EVERYTHING in their power to ensure the woman's health?


© 2010 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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Facebook, Inc.Image via Wikipedia
Is this how the Brits treat their staff - by a Facebook message...

A 16-year-old UK girl who lost $21 while on an errand found out she lost her job when her manager posted a message on her Facebook page.

Chelsea Taylor was sacked from her Saturday job at a cafe via a heavily misspelt Facebook message, the Daily Mail reported.

Chelsea had been given $21 to go out and buy biscuits for the staff of Cookies, a cafe in Leigh in northern England.

When she lost the money she was notified of her dismissal with a Facebook message from manager Elaine Sutton.

"I had to tell the owner bout u losin that tenner coz obviously the till was down at the end of the day," the message read.

"she wasn't very pleased at all and despite me trying to persuade her otherwise she said I have to let u go."

Chelsea's mother Nicola said the Facebook dismissal was "appalling and heartless".

"I just can't believe they didn't even have the decency to tell her over the phone, let alone in person," she said.

"And to have the message all misspelt with capital letters and apostrophes missing is simply disrespectful and sets no example to other employees."

When Ms Taylor told Ms Sutton she lost the money she offered to replace it but the offer was declined.

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