In packing for Edinburgh I’m going through lots of old papers. Here are some highlights (in no special order.

PETITION FOR THE RETURN OF TELECOM TO PUBLIC OWNERSHIP by SPOT (Society for Publicly Owned Telecommunications) , 1998. Their reasons:

  1. Telecom rips us all off
  2. Telecom sacks thousands and bashes workers
  3. Telecom abuses its monopoly
  4. Service has deteriorated
  5. Negative social impact – cellphone towers
  6. Political interference

Since 1998 SPOT has been vindicated – only this morning we hear about disgruntled XTRA customers. Shame on you Telecom.

TOBY RUSHBROOK was my person of the year in 1994. I have a clipping of him from the Evening Post’s roundup of that year. He was the seventh former from Burnside High School who challenged Prime Minister Jim Bolger to acknowledge that the poor and hungry are with us in New Zealand. Bolger didn’t appreciate that; I did. Good on him.

EAST TIMOR was big news in the mid-1990s. I wrote to Don McKinnon, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, several times about the issue. In one reply he wrote:

New Zealand is opposed to the acquisition of territory by force. As stated by the Foreign Minister in 1978, however, our judgement is that “the integration of East Timor with Indonesia is irreversible. No useful purpose is served by denying this….”.

We have, and will continue to convey the concerns of New Zealanders to Indonesian authorities at all levels. New Zealand Embassy personnel visit the island regularly and follow the situation closely. Our objective, however, is to achieve results, not generate headlines.