THE WEEKEND PRESS COLUMN, JAN 5,2013.
Few things in life trigger such instant blood-boiling infuriation than discovering your property has been vandalised by taggers, under their cowardly canvas of darkness. Spare a thought for those residents returning home from the holiday season, to find their fence, garage or house has been mindlessly defaced. My surrounding suburbs, unaccustomed to being in the firing line of spray paint, have been freshly carpet bombed by taggers and their liquefied bile. The hand-wringers and apologists will claim it’s the by-product of boredom and a sense of abandonment. Paging common sense! Boredom is a self-imposed state of mind – and a complete cop-out. Why don’t they deface their own place? I suppose boredom and abandonment also explains the gratuitous mass-slaughter of our wildlife, whether it be last week’s 50 black-billed gull chicks or the massacre of several dozen fur seals. The fact that the fur-seal butcher scored a Home Detention sentence, for carving up 23 protected species is beyond indecent. One of the most satisfying moments of my life, was the day I caught a tagger and tagged him with his own spray paint. He never terrorised our neighbourhood again. But it’s the courts that must step up, and stop the rot of inconsequential sentencing. A stint in the slammer for recidivist vandals should be the norm – not the exception.
Bravo to the Community Pharmacy in Linwood, for reasserting their status as the trail-blazer of the low cost pharmacy model. Anne and Joe Tiller have decided to take the financial hit, to insulate customers from the new $5 prescription item ceiling. All power to consumer choice. Some political parties have gone hell for leather about the pharmacy fee hike, however the new $5 ceiling is a far cry from the standard prescription charge of $16 in Britain or up to $45 in Australia. Low-income earners pay $7.45, across the Tasman. And of course, in New Zealand, after a family has ordered 20 prescription items in a year, there are no further fees. But the biggest misnomer is that pharmacies pocket the extra $2, under the new ceiling, which isn’t true. It’s the District Health Board that will benefit from the increased fee revenue.
Apparently, by the end of January, most New Year’s resolutions have crashed and burned in the fire pit of failure. Last year, I resolved to smile and say hello to passers-by on the footpath every day – until I fast realised the world thought I was a complete weirdo. Epic fail. So for 2013, I’m resolving to spend more time with friends in person, than friends on-line. And despite the cobweb of city road works, I’m also aiming to get everywhere five minutes early. Fool-hardy, but well-meaning.