Concern was expressed at the RB decision to drop interest rates to 1% but there was realistic understanding that this is the way the world is trending while we are a very small player. The old assumption that money could go on make money forever is now sorely under threat. There was a demand that we have another U3A course like we had earlier this year (with Prof Lally) on the subject of how people in our modest shoes can best invest what little we have. (We will explore that valid suggestion).
When talk turned to the sad case of Peter Ellis it was generally accepted that things had gone haywire; no matter how many senior judges had looked at the case over these last many years. Another example of the operation being a success but the patient dying perhaps? (In this case - literally).
The sudden promise of $200m funding for cancer drugs from Mr. Bridges drew a wary response. People generally recognise that Pharmac was set up to do a job not unlike that of the Reserve Bank i.e. to make rational policy decisions without populist interventions by MPs. Support for Pharmac was pretty near total.
A semi-facetious question raised was “How many Cathedrals does Christchurch need?” Views varied but the extreme beauty of the Catholic basilica (now set to be demolished) was fully acknowledged. It is one of the few things that George Bernard Shaw heartily approved of and is a part of our national history when don’t have much. The demolition logic is sound but the sense of ‘loss in slow motion’ is still very strong. Logic is never the only determinant. There was strong support for the two major churches getting together and building a single building for both.
Doubts were raised about the gun “buyback” scheme. Is it a very expensive way of getting rid of haystacks to find needles? A single gun can cause mayhem in seconds. The general view though was that we are doing what the Australians did with seemingly great success. Time will tell in both countries and there is no going back.
Land issues in Auckland and the recent logo design ventures by Porirua City were briefly touched on. Both sorts of issue seem to be always on the go somewhere.
A large number of important questions were intelligently addressed and dealt with. It’s more the ride than the destination but the session is always very worthwhile and we learn a lot.