2019 Quote of the Year – vote now!

Source: Massey University

Four of this year’s finalists, clockwise from top left: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern; Crown Solicitor Brian Dickey; Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick; and All Black Jack Goodhue.

From heart-breaking responses to the Christchurch mosque shootings to the casual use of an internet meme in Parliament, 2019 has been a year of defining quotes produced by New Zealanders from politics, sport and criminal justice.

The 10 shortlisted finalists in Massey University’s annual Quote of the Year competition have been announced and the public now has one week to vote – please see the voting form below.

Massey University speech-writing specialist and competition organiser Dr Heather Kavan says many of this year’s shortlisted quotes were nominated multiple times.

“This year, the task of judging was relatively easy as several quotes were undeniably powerful and had been nominated by so many people that we knew they had public support,” she says.

“The main challenge was providing variety, as some people like deep and meaningful quotes while others like to scan the list for the one they find the funniest.”

Dr Kavan, one of three judges who selected the shortlist, says the the main theme in the nominations was the Christchurch terror attack, and three quotes were chosen for the final 10.

“Hello Brother”, the words uttered by shooting victim Haji-Daoud Nabi when he came face-to-face with the killer at the entrance of the Al Noor mosque, stood out for its emotional power, she says.

“The two men strike an extraordinary contrast – one vulnerable and kind-hearted, the other armed and about to commit crimes so brutal the Government Censor banned the footage. Mr Nabi welcomed the man, who replied with a volley of bullets. Many people commented on social media that they hope Mr Nabi’s words will be remembered.”

The other two quotes are “We are broken-hearted, but we are not broken”, from Imam Gamal Fouda’s speech at the Hagley Park remembrance and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s “They are us”. 

“The Prime Minister’s is the most well-known quote made in the aftermath of the attack,” Dr Kavan says. “As one of the nominators said, emotions were running high and she encapsulated what many people were feeling with three simple words. The quote became a rallying cry throughout New Zealand and reverberated throughout the world. Although some Muslims felt uncomfortable with the phrase as it seemed to deny their frequent experiences of racism, they acknowledged her good intentions.”

Competition organiser Dr Heather Kavan.

The internet meme in Parliament

The quote that received the most nominations was Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick’s dismissal of 51-year-old National MP Todd Muller’s interruption during her climate change speech in Parliament. Mr Muller is in fact Generation X not from the Baby Boom generation.   

“This year’s wild card is ‘Okay, boomer’,” Dr Kavan says. “On the one hand, the quote could score well as it’s had great publicity, even meriting a spot in Time magazine, and Parliament’s automated caption of ‘Berma’ instead of ‘Boomer’ was funny. On the other hand, people tire quickly of internet memes and some of the comeback lines were wittier than the actual quote.”

She says she has personal favourites but is interested to see how the public votes. 

“Like many others, I’d like to see ‘Hello Brother’ remembered. I’m also drawn by Ian Smith’s excited cricket commentary about going for a super over, mainly because his exuberance is contagious. Another quote I especially like is, ‘You can’t consent to murder’. Although it’s a plain statement of law uttered without the slightest rhetorical flourish, it was moving and thought-provoking, especially for those of us who empathised with Grace Millane and her family.” 

Dr Kavan began the annual Quote of the Year competition nine years ago as a way of celebrating New Zealanders’ best one-liners.  

2019 Quote of the Year finalists – vote below!

  • “Hello Brother.” – Shooting victim Haji-Daoud Nabi’s last words to the gunman at the Al Noor mosque entrance.
  •  “We are broken hearted, but we are not broken.” – Imam Gamal Fouda of Al Noor mosque after the Christchurch terrorist attacks. 
  •  “They are us.” – Jacinda Ardern speaking about Muslim victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack, in the aftermath of the killings.
  •  “I think the doves are rising up.” – Actor Lucy Lawless on the School Fight for Climate.
  • “He’s about as welcome as diarrhoea in a wetsuit in that place.” – Greenpeace’s Russell Norman on pro-coal Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attending the forum on climate change at Tuvalu.
  •  “There is scientific evidence that shows it makes me faster. It was done at Harvard, I think.” – All Black Jack Goodhue on why he is keeping his mullet haircut. 
  • “We’re going to a super over! You are kidding me! You are kidding me!” – Ian Smith’s exuberant commentary at the Cricket World Cup final. 
  •  “Just imagine if Colonel Sanders gave up the first time he wanted funding for his recipe. We would not have had that succulent chicken.” – Destiny Church’s Hannah Tamaki when asked how her new political party would raise funds.
  •  “You can’t consent to murder.” – Crown Solicitor Brian Dickey summing up the Grace Millane murder case.
  •  “Okay, boomer.” – Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick dismissing 51-year-old National MP Todd Muller’s interruption during her climate change speech in Parliament. 

Related articles

Simon Bridges’ slip of the tongue wins 2018 Quote of the Year
‘Sex’ beats ‘douche bag’ for year’s top quote
Christchurch head boy wins Quote of the Year
Whale Oil blogger takes out Quote of the Year

More related articles

Fin-Ed Centre organises conference to discuss financial capability

Source: Massey University

Conference organiser Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre director Dr Pushpa Wood.

Leading financial literacy experts will meet in Auckland this week to discuss the latest research and practitioner knowledge for improving the financial capability of communities.

Organised by the Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre, in collaboration with the Alliance of Financial Capability Academics, the ‘Building Financially Capable Communities’ conference includes presentations by academics from around the globe, government agencies, and practitioners within community organisations. 

Centre director Dr Pushpa Wood says the conference aims to explore innovative ways of building financially capable communities.

“It is the communities that will influence our way forward in this area,” she says. “We all want to improve financial capability and wellbeing statistics and this conference will provide us with the opportunity to share research, practice and funding models.

“It will be a platform for national and international academics and practitioners to gather in one spot over three days, network, encourage and motivate each other, share experiences and explore collaboration opportunities.” 

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi (via video message) and Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr will both speak, as well those working at the coalface, including Toa Faneva and Mariameno Kapa-Kingi from Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa and Lacey Filipich from the Money School in Australia.

Keynote presentations will be given by three international academics. Dr Carly Sawatzki from Deakin University in Melbourne will share her research into the design of financial literacy tasks that reveal how young people think, feel and respond to financial problems. She argues it is time to rethink how to support schools and teachers to provide financial literacy education.

Professor Dennis Philip from Durham University in the United Kingdom will give a presentation titled ‘Financial consumer protection in the digital age’. Professor Philip studies financial decision-making and has received international attention for the impact of his research into financial literacy and access to finance.

Dr Dee Warmath from the University of Georgia in the United States will give an overview of her research into the role of hope in financial wellbeing. She says the ability to see pathways to achieving a desired state, and agency to pursue those pathways, is key to individuals achieving financial wellbeing.

Massey University researchers will also be well represented at the conference, with maths education researcher Dr Jodie Hunter, from the Institute of Education, sharing insights from her research with Pasifika primary school students that shows strong links between cultural values and their management of money. 

Dr Michelle Reyers and Dr Adnan Balloch from the School of Economics and Finance will present research findings from their study into the relationship between self-efficacy, or an individual’s belief about their abilities, and economic net worth.

The conference runs from  November 28-30 in central Auckland. For more information, including the full programme, visit www.massey.ac.nz/capable-communities.

Related articles

Report encourages retirees to consider savings options
Massey scholars lead pay and wellbeing research
Measuring wellbeing through shared prosperity

Graduation a family affair for mother of five

Source: Massey University

Analena Siu, pictured with husband John and children Jaqueline, Tupou, Rosalia, Latai and Sika.

Analena Siu calls the journey to recieving her Master of Aviation Management a “crazy, but achievable ride”. The Tongan mother of five certainly had a lot on her plate and she says, in the scheme of things, study was far from her top priority.

“As a mother I didn’t want my study to interfere with my children’s commitments and that was how I managed my study with a family of five,” she says. That meant always being there for school drop-offs and pick-ups and making regular trips to netball, touch rugby and rugby games, as well as ukulele, guitar and karate classes.

But don’t mistake this for a lack of commitment to her study.

“It was up to me to find the time to study and I found there was plenty of time,” Analena says. “While the children were at school, I used the free bus service to go to and from Massey. I was able to drop off the kids at school and hop on the bus and, after four to five hours, I would hop on the bus to get back home to pick up the kids from school.

“I am thankful for the library’s late closing times. Because I didn’t have a laptop, often after dinner I would return to campus to use the computer in the library until closing time at 11:30pm.”

Setting simple goals

She says she set herself simple goals – to find time to read, to meet regularly with her supervisor, to keep writing and working, and to enjoy the journey.

“Although there were times when I thought the work was too much, I just kept typing and just kept working. When it was hard to find time to read, I would go to the campus library and read in the quiet zone there. I often joked that going to the library was like having a quick holiday because I found I was more relaxed away from the busyness of home.”

Analena says she’s “pure Massey through and through”, having also completed her undergraduate study at the University. She says, among the things she loves about Massey, is the support it offers Pasifika students and families.

“I met a lot of Pasifika students on campus and they have become good friends. Fale Pasifika is always open for students and there is a genuine care for diverse communities at Massey,” she says.

“And when my two primary school children had teacher-only days, I would take them with me to campus. They would run around the concourse and meet new friends and one time I had no choice but to take them with me to my meeting with my supervisor.”

Analena says she is thankful to her husband, John, for his “unlimited support”, her children for stepping up and doing so many chores around the house and her mother for advising her to pursue a master’s degree a decade ago.

A family celebration

She says graduation will definitely be a family affair.

“I think my children are anticipating graduation day more than I am. They have been asking, ‘When is graduation? What should I wear? Who is coming?’. I am thrilled that my children will be there to witness it.”

Report encourages retirees to consider savings options

Source: Massey University

The Retirement Expenditure Guidelines are designed to help with retirement planning.

New Zealanders planning for retirement need to consider their savings options in a low interest rate environment, according to the latest Retirement Expenditure Guidelines produced by the Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre.

The 2019 report confirms most retirees supplement their New Zealand Superannuation payments with other savings or income.

The guidelines, which are produced annually, calculate what retirees currently spend to maintain either a ‘no frills’ retirement, or a more fulfilling ‘choices’ lifestyle that includes some luxuries. Costs are calculated for one and two-person households in both metropolitan (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) and provincial areas.  

The 2019 guidelines calculate a two-person household living in the city would need to have saved $787,000 to fund a ‘choices’ lifestyle, while a couple living in the provinces would need to have saved $493,000. The lump sums required for a ‘choices lifestyle’ for a one-person household are $764,000 and $411,000 for metropolitan and provincial areas respectively.

New Zealand Superannuation had increased by 2.56 per cent but fell short of covering all of the expenses for most retirees. 

Only two-person provincial households living a ‘no frills’ lifestyle come close to being funded by New Zealand Superannuation. A metropolitan two-person household with a ‘no frills’ lifestyle would still require savings of $261,000 at retirement to supplement their superannuation.

Report author Dr Claire Matthews.

Consider your retirement options

Report author, Dr Claire Matthews from the Massey Business School, says it is important for people to carefully consider their retirement options.

“While the lump sum required to fund the difference in spending over New Zealand Superannuation can seem daunting, it can be reduced by continuing to work either full or part-time, or by delaying retirement for a couple of years,” she says.

“If you delayed your retirement for two years, continued working and saved all your NZ Superannuation payments, it would make a significant impact to your retirement nest egg.”

The report also highlights the challenges of a low interest environment for retirees and the need to carefully plan the decumulation period of retirement. Westpac NZ general manager of consumer banking and wealth, Simon Power, says the historically low interest rates present challenges and opportunities.

Savers are facing lower returns as term deposit rates fall. However, decreasing home loan rates are helping more Kiwis pay off their mortgage as they approach retirement age, giving them greater financial security and peace of mind, he says.

“It’s never too early or too late to start planning for retirement, and we encourage all New Zealanders to regularly consider their savings goals and think about how they’ll fund the retirement they want.”

Chief executive of the Financial Services Council Richard Klipin says planning for retirement could mean the difference between a comfortable retirement or not. “There is plenty of good advice out there to help and it’s easy to start saving what you can through schemes like KiwiSaver.”

About the Retirement Expenditure Guidelines

The Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre, or Financial Education and Research Centre, is a joint initiative by Westpac and Massey University that aims to improve the financial wellbeing of New Zealanders. The Financial Services Council provides financial support to produce the Retirement Expenditure Guidelines, which are based on figures from Statistics New Zealand’s triennial Household Economic Survey, adjusted for the effect of inflation. It is important to note the guidelines do not represent recommended levels of expenditure, but reflect actual levels of expenditure by retired households.

Read the full report.

Related articles

Massey KiwiSaver expert to advise government
Proposed KiwiSaver changes good, but don’t go far enough
Five budgeting tips for retirement planning

Politicians need to regain control of local government

Source: Massey University

Is it time for election reform?

By Dr Andy Asquith, Dr Andrew Cardow and Dr Karen Webster

The chief executive of Hamilton City Council Richard Briggs is calling for reform of local government elections. This echoes a call we have been making for some time. Given the somewhat half-hearted voter turnout figures in this year’s local elections, it is time for a review of the local electoral system in New Zealand.

What is disturbing about the Briggs statement is that it comes from a chief executive, and not a local government politician. Recent legislation has empowered chief executives – as opposed to councils or the Electoral Commission – with the role of promoting elections and local democracy. 

This disconnect between local government politicians and the promotion of participation in local government elections is an emerging pattern. Increasingly, we see unelected council officers actively engaged in making fundamental decisions about local elections with, at best, minimal input from local politicians or citizens.

Given politicians have the biggest stake in the electoral game, shouldn’t they be at the forefront of this discussion? Instead, we have heard repeatedly, off the record from local government politicians, that low turnout reflects voter satisfaction. This ‘head in the sand’ approach mistakes apathy for satisfaction and is akin to playing the violin while the town hall burns.

What we see instead is the gradual removal of politicians from the debate around local elections. This can be illustrated by some recent examples. In 2015 two of us were invited to join an Auckland Council Election Planning Reference Group to prepare for the 2016 local elections. The two primary tasks of the group were to increase the number of candidates standing who were not male, pale and stale and to increase voter engagement and turnout.

We know that in terms of the latter, the group failed. What was most striking about the membership of the group was the absence of any elected member. Apart from a former Auckland councillor, no one familiar with the pressures of standing for election and serving as a current politician was included. The agenda was formulated and dominated by a few senior officers.

Who is promoting online voting?

Prior to this latest round of elections, much noise was made about the possible use of online voting. Given that elections are political events, you might expect this discussion to be led by Local Government New Zealand, the collective voice of our local body politicians. But this was not the case.

After Local Government NZ abandoned the idea on cost grounds, the Online Voting Working Group was established. This group, under the auspices of the Society of Local Government Managers, was essentially driven by a senior officer from Auckland and sought to galvanise eight other councils into pursuing online voting in 2019. While Local Government NZ was represented on the working group, it was the officers who dominated proceedings – dangling a panacea to deal with the issue of low voter turnout.

During the election campaign this year, three distinct voices called for a move to online voting in 2022: the leaders of the two private companies running the majority of our local elections and the General Manager of Democracy Services at Auckland Council. Once again, in a space of fundamental importance in a democracy – the conduct of elections – the politicians have been completely silent, as was Local Government NZ.

Politicians need to put themselves front and centre

If we are to address the issue of why voters do not engage in our local elections, we need our local body politicians front and centre. Public Administration 101 states clearly that our local government managers work under the direction of our elected politicians. What we are increasingly seeing is local government managers setting the tone, direction and style of engagement and debate within our local councils.

It is time for our local politicians to step up to the mantle and seize control of the agenda. It is, supposedly, after all, their agenda – or have our mayors and councillors essentially abdicated all responsibility to appointed chief executives and managers? If the latter is the case, then why not simply abolish democratically elected local government and have a Wellington-appointed official determining what’s best for the people from Invercargill to the Far North?

An obvious solution would be to make the Electoral Commission responsible for the organisation and promotion of local government elections. This would allow councillors to set policy, reconnect with their communities and promote the importance of local democracy. Then managers and officers can go about implementing the policy decisions of our democratically elected councils.

Dr Andy Asquith and Dr Andrew Cardow are public management specialists at the Massey Business School and Dr Karen Webster is a public management specialist at AUT.

Related articles

An unofficial guide to voting in this year’s local elections
Opinion: How democratic are local elections, really?

Nominations open for 2019 Quote of the Year

Source: Massey University

Quote of the Year nominations already in include cricket commentator Ian Smith; leader of the new Vision New Zealand party Hannah Tamaki; Christchurch terror attack survivor Farid Ahmed; and actor Lucy Lawless.

The quest is on for Massey University’s 2019 Quote of the Year, and we are asking for your help to find it.

Send in your favourite one-liner said by a New Zealander this year – the line can be from any public source, including movies, stand-up comedy, advertisements, television, social media and news reports.

Speech writing senior lecturer Dr Heather Kavan, who has run the competition for the past nine years, says she has already received several nominations but is keen to hear from a broad range of New Zealanders.

Suggestions so far include the moving words of Farid Ahmed, whose wife was killed in the Christchurch terror attack, saying he has forgiven the shooter and loves him; and cricket commentator Ian Smith’s exuberant narration of the Cricket World Cup final. 

“Essentially, we’re looking for words that give people ‘yes’ moments – ‘yes, that moves me deeply,’ or ‘yes, that’s so true,’ or ‘yes, that’s so funny’,” Dr Heather Kavan says.

“The words can be rousing, tragic, beautiful, controversial, hilarious, unexpected or even embarrassing. The only thing winning quotes have in common is that New Zealanders want to hear them again.”

How to nominate

First, check that the quote was said or written by a New Zealander or New Zealand resident this year.

Then send the suggested quote to Heather Kavan at H.Kavan@massey.ac.nz. Include the quote, the speaker’s name, a brief explanation of the context, and – if possible – a link to the source. You may want to mention why you like the quote, but that is optional.

Nominations close at 5pm on November 30. After this, Massey University’s judging panel will choose 10 finalists, which then be made available for public voting, with the winner be announced on December 12.

Recalling the best quotes

To get into the mood of remembering this year’s shining words, Dr Kavan recommends these thoughts from writer and comedian Stephen Fry on the power of language.

“Above all, let there be pleasure. Let there be textural delight, let there be silken words and flinty words and sodden speeches and soaking speeches and crackling utterance and utterance that quivers and wobbles like rennet. Let there be rapid firecracker phrases and language that oozes like a lake of lava.” (What makes us human? BBC broadcast, 2019).

Related articles

Simon Bridges’ slip of the tongue wins 2018 Quote of the Year
Shortland Street cliff-hanger voted 2017’s best quote
‘Sex’ beats ‘douche bag’ for year’s top quote
Christchurch head boy wins Quote of the Year

More related articles

Whale Oil blogger takes out Quote of the Year
‘Gay rainbow’ speech wins Quote of the Year
‘Zip it, sweetie’ voted best quote of 2012
‘Legend’ anti drink-drive line is quote of the year

Pureed food company takes out Supreme Award

Source: Massey University

2019 Supreme Award winners, The Pure Food Co: Co-founder Maia Royal, Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas, and co-founder Sam Bridgewater.

A company that produces texture-modified products to enhance the quality of life for people with eating difficulties has been named the Massey University Supreme Award winner at this year’s New Zealand Food Awards.

The Pure Food Co also won the James & Wells Business Innovation Award, with judges saying the company showed an impressive level of collaboration with target customers to understand consumer needs and realise the benefits of intellectual property to build a trusted brand.

The Auckland-based company was co-founded by Sam Bridgewater and Maia Royal in 2014 after a family member of Mr Bridgewater’s became so ill he could no longer eat solid foods. Products are supplied both nationally and internationally to hospitals and rest homes as well as direct to consumers. The nutritional benefits and quality of the food is achieved through collaboration with chefs, dietitians and food technologists.

“We’re honoured to get this award. It’s something we had hoped to win in the past, so getting it tonight is unreal,” Mr Bridgewater said.

“Every day we try and put our feet in our consumers’ shoes, our elderly customers. We try to think about what makes a better meal for them and how we can improve their nutrition.”

The company previously won two New Zealand Food Awards categories – the Massey University Health and Wellness Award in 2015 and the Ministry for Primary Industries Food Safety Culture Award in 2017.

The judging panel said The Pure Food Co met all of the criteria for selection of a Supreme Award winner, judged against the three themes of innovation, excellence and sustainability.

“The judges agreed that this company demonstrated best practice in terms of its growth and strategic direction, market development and product development processes, and nutritional and health impacts.”

Judges stated that the products were innovative and of extremely high quality. “From a social sustainability perspective, The Pure Food Co proactively engages in upskilling health care professionals as well as their own staff, and from an environmental sustainability perspective, they seek to manage the environmental impacts of their processes.”

The Griffins Food Company was winner of the Product Lifetime Achievement Award for its Gingernuts. The award was presented to marketing and innovation manager Tracey Seager, pictured with the Griffins bakery team.

New award for lifetime achievement

The New Zealand Food Awards have celebrated New Zealand manufactured products, focusing on innovation and excellence, since 1987. Sponsored by Massey University, they are open to small and large food and beverage manufacturers, primary food producers, food service providers and ingredient supply companies.

This year, for the first time, a Product Lifetime Achievement Award celebrating New Zealand products that have withstood the test of time, was presented. The inaugural winner was The Griffins Food Company for its iconic Gingernuts biscuits. Finalists were Goodman Fielder for pantry staple Edmonds Baking Powder and Kraft Heinz for Watties Tomato Sauce.

The judges said the fact the finalists’ products were still on the shelves was proof of the impact of the initial innovation and the ongoing quality control that made them trusted brands. The winner was both innovative in its day and strong enough to hold off challengers over the years.

Tracey Seagar, marketing and innovation manager at Griffins, said it was “amazing” to be the first winner of the award.

“What we love is that everyone has a story about Gingernuts and when you work at Griffins you hear them all, so we definitely have a place in Kiwis’ hearts,” she said.

Massey Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas, who presented the Supreme Award, congratulated all the finalists and award category winners. “Each year we see a lift in quality and innovation that makes the job of our judges so much harder – and that is exactly what we want for success of the New Zealand food industry,” Professor Thomas said.

The New Zealand Food Awards expert judging panel includes celebrity judges Bite magazine’s Ray McVinnie, chef Geoff Scott and World Kitchen television host and chef Nici Wickes, along with some of New Zealand’s best technical and packaging judges

Apart from Massey University, as principal sponsor and event organiser, the awards are made possible with the support of New Zealand Food Safety, Countdown, Cuisine Magazine, James & Wells, The Intermedia Group New Zealand, Eagle Protect, Palmerston North City Council, FoodHQ, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, The FoodBowl, Z Energy, Villa Maria and The FoodPilot.

Winning products earn the New Zealand Food Award’s quality mark to highlight the superiority of their products to both shoppers and industry.

For more information, visit www.foodawards.co.nz

2019 New Zealand Food Awards winners 

Massey University Supreme Award: The Pure Food Co

Product Lifetime Achievement Award: The Griffins Food Company – Gingernuts

The Shout Alcoholic Beverages Award: The White Sheep Co – Sheep Milk & Honey Gin

Cuisine Artisan Award – winner: Poaka New Zealand Ltd – Poaka Coppa 60g Platter Pack

Cuisine Artisan Award – runner up: Bellefield Ltd – Cultured Butter Miso Flavour

 James & Wells Business Innovation Award: The Pure Food Co

 Chilled/Short Shelf Life Award, in association with Eagle Protect: The TATUA Co-operative Dairy Company Limited – Tatua Cooking Cream

New Zealand Food Safety Primary Sector Products Award: Kiwi Quinoa Limited – Retail Pouch of Wholegrain Quinoa

Frozen Award, in association with Palmerston North City Council: Waitoa – Premium Chicken Fillet Burgers Ancient Grains

Countdown Grocery Award: Proper Crisps – Proper Crisps Purple & Gold Potatoes with Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt 

Massey University Health and Wellbeing Award: Kim’s Kitchen – Gluten Free Chicken & Coriander Dumplings

Non-Alcoholic Beverages Award: WNS Group – WDOM 5.0% Fat Longlife Creamy Whole Milk

Novel Food or Beverage Award, in association with Z Energy and The FoodBowl: The White Sheep Co – Sheep Milk & Honey Gin

Trump’s troop withdrawal causes chaos

Source: Massey University

United States President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

By Dr Chris Galloway

“Never take anything for granted” – even though, according to Aldous Huxley, most humans have “an almost infinite capacity for doing so”.

Until just days ago, one could be excused for thinking that the map of the Middle East was roughly as stable as this region gets. Not any more, courtesy of a leader with “great, unmatched wisdom” – yes, he really did say that – who cannot have foreseen the scale of the tragedy his decision to withdraw United States troops from northern Syria would unleash. If he did, the most charitable interpretation is that his priorities were elsewhere.

The poor Kurds, of whom about 11,000 have died in fighting ISIS, certainly might have taken for granted that there would be a quid for their pro quo: reciprocal loyalty for their faithfulness. However, that’s not how things appear from the hothouse of a beleaguered ovoid office. Should we care, given that betrayal seems to be stock-in-trade for the political class wherever its conniving reaches?

Yet, we should care, very much. Put aside the idea of an ally being a friend you stick with, even if it costs. Put aside principle to think about the assumptions, now shattered, in the explosions, literal and metaphorical, of what the Middle East might have become without an ISIS stranglehold on hard-done-by civilian populations. Imagine what the world would look like without a resurgent “death cult”, to use Tony Abbott’s tidy trope.

Dr Chris Galloway.

War with bloodshed

ISIS (and I’ve studied and written about them) was never defeated: the multilateral effort to destroy them can never be called “Mission Accomplished”. Of course, they lost most of their physical territory, at tremendous cost to themselves and to those who attacked them.

Yet to a group that believes that its role is to help bring about an apocalyptic end to what we westerners think of as civilisation, a group that sees 200 million Shia Muslims as worthy of death (and many Sunnis, too), abandoning a physical “state” does not mean ceding spiritual ground. When God is on your side, losing a town or a region is a setback, not a full stop.

That’s why, whatever the bluster from Washington suggests, what is unfolding in northern Syria is a disaster, and not only for those suffering right now. The Syrian regime’s forces are assuming control of areas from which they were displaced years ago at heavy cost. America’s standing in the Middle East – often equivocal because of a perceived “Israel at any price” policy – is shredded for a long time to come. And Russia might well rejoice at its expanded opportunities for influence as chaos compounds, even as Turkey – about to be punished with sanctions – pushes deeper into the fog of war.

Former Chinese leader Mao Zedong once noted that “politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed”. What we’re seeing is “politics with bloodshed”, at the behest of strongmen who see themselves as playing their own game, for their own advantage, and the interests alone of the nations they lead. That, at least, we can take for granted.

Dr Chris Galloway is a senior lecturer with Massey University’s School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing. One of his research areas is how ISIS uses social media.

Technology’s double-bind for working women

Source: Massey University

Dr Debaline Dutta.

Smartphones and other mobile devices amplify the patriarchal values that are part of our culture, according to new research by a Massey University expert in organisational communication and gender.

Senior lecturer Dr Debalina Dutta says while we might all understand the freedoms mobile devices bring to our lives, it would be a mistake to think the devices are gender-neutral in their impacts.

“Our mobile devices are full of really cool features, but these things are not neutral,” Dr Dutta says. “They actually amplify the patriarchal values that are part of our culture. This ability to contact someone at all times means women are expected to be constantly available in their homes and in their work spaces.”

Dr Dutta’s qualitative study consisted of in-depth interviews with women working in the male-dominated science, technology, engineering and mathematics sectors (known as STEM), but she says women everywere will recognise the experiences of her research participants.

She found mobile phones’ interactive features can overwhelm women with home and workplace demands, while simultaneously excluding them from informal decision-making channels at work.

The double bind of technology

“It really is a double-bind for women,” she says. “Interactive devices give them the flexibility on one hand to continue working with children. However, it also means their role as family caregiver does not stop when they are at work, and they can still be contacted about work matters at home. These are gendered expectations that do not affect men to the same degree.”

Dr Dutta also found messaging apps provided an informal communication channel in many workplaces and, in organisations where management roles are dominated by men, this can remove women from important conversations.

“Women can be completely excluded from informal chat groups, which can have implications for their careers,” she says. “And sometimes, if they do join the chat group, they can feel isolated by the content of conversations, for example if the men in the group exchange messages and jokes they perceive as inappropriate and/or sexist.”

While messaging apps can isolate women, they can also be a communication channel that creates additional burdens.

“I think a lot of women feel they can’t win. Their friends and family expect them to be active members of chat groups, constantly uploading photos of the kids and responding to questions. Men don’t seem to have the same expectations made of them so, when at work, it’s fine for them to be fully focused on work.”

Awareness and micropractices

She says it is important for women to be aware of these pressures, but to also identify the ways in which technology allows them to connect with others for support.

“I recommend everyday micropractices, being aware and resisting the expectations where you can; but it’s not easy, the growth of new technologies can be challenging.”

Dr Dutta’s paper, ‘Mobile phone as interactive technologies mediating gendered work-life conflict: A qualitative study on women in STEM’, was published recently in the academic journal Sex Roles.

Related articles

Suits: Co-leadership and gender in the workplace

Massey opens new state-of-the-art aviation centre

Source: Massey University

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-GallowayMassey Vice Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas; Transport Minister Phil Tyford; School of Aviation chief executive Ashok Poduval; Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith; and Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie.

Massey University’s new state-of-the-art aviation centre was officially opened by Transport Minister Phil Twyford today. The 2200 square-metre purpose-built facility brings School of Aviation students and staff together under one roof for the first time.

“The Massey University Aviation Centre sits in the centre of Palmerston North Airport’s 20-hetare Ruapehu Business Park,” school chief executive Ashok Poduval says.

“The project is the result of many stakeholders working together to develop a strong cluster of aviation businesses around the airport to deliver economic benefit for the region. Others will now be able to leverage off our reputation as New Zealand’s leading provider of aviation research, education and training.”

The new centre replaces the school’s Milson Flight System’s Centre, which has been the home of the school’s flight training programme since 1994.

Students outside the new Massey University Aviation Centre at Palmerston North Airport.

Paving the way for growth

“This new facility paves the way for growth in student numbers,” Mr Poduval says. “In recent years, our growth has been impeded by a lack of supporting infrastructure and the separation of our flight training staff from our academic and administrative staff.”

As well as the school’s fleet of technically-enhanced Diamond DA40 and DA42 aircraft, the new centre houses its ground-based training facilities, including a new-generation Diamond DA-42 flight simulator, worth nearly $700,000.

The school’s academic programmes, from undergraduate to PhD-level degrees, along with its remotely-piloted aircraft systems courses, will now be delivered from the one location.

“We intend our new centre to become a nucleus for the development and delivery of research-led education and training in aviation,” Mr Poduval says. “It is a major milestone for the school and shows how far we have come since the Massey Aviation Institute was established in 1987 with just 28 students.”

Aviation student Kate de Latour in the school’s Diamond DA42 flight simulator.

A global demand for aviators

He says the school is now well-placed to meet the global demand for pilot and aviation management training.

“Aviation is critical to New Zealand’s tourism, transport and export sectors and there is a shortage of pilots and aviation managers globally. Our new aviation centre will be central to our ability to promote our capabilities to an international audience.”