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The Press-News column July 29

Christchurch’s future promise.

One of the greatest game-changers the legacy of the quakes has wrought on Christchurch is the break-up of the city’s nepotistic old powerbase – the clicky and over-blown old boys club. No where better exemplifies that than the Canterbury Young Professionals  ( CYP) , a vibrant organisation, open to all degree graduates for the first 15 years of their career. By no means is this just some elitist clique of the self-entitled in pinstripes. Its membership spans a vast spectrum of workforce, from lawyers, architects and engineers, to military paramedics, entrepreneurs and high-tech specialists. Recently I had the pleasure of being MC for their annual debate, where volley after volley of verbal champagne overflowed about the Canterbury rebuild.  It was equally inspiring and refreshing to be in CYP’s company, where fecund, ambitious and enterprising free-thinking abounds.  This high-energy hothouse of youthful zeal struck me as embodying the future promise of Christchurch.  In addition to the social events,  CYP stages a swag of business learning and development opportunities. Like a junior version of the Chamber of Commerce, I believe CYP should find its voice as an advocacy body on civic affairs, helping to shape tomorrow’s city. Post-quake, the influx of young professionals  to Christchurch continues. So if you’re a fresh arrival, welcome aboard. Join CYP.

Seasonal farce.

In my previous life, as a full-time radio host, there was no greater indignity than having my face plastered on the back of a bus, flashing a saccharine smile to rival a Merivale real estate agent.  The Christchurch Central MP may be implausibly agnostic about the state of Christ Church Cathedral and the Town Hall, but I wonder if  Nicky Wagner has a view about her sudden gender reassignment. On some of her billboards, she’s morphed into a man, with the exhortation to “Vote Nick.” Meanwhile, across town, Ruth Dyson is growing a hipster beard, Megan Woods is bearded and beaded, and John Key is sporting some brutal facial tats. Sure, brand and name recognition are essential components in the political marketplace, but does the onslaught of roadside hoardings actually sway voting deliberations? Has a hoarding ever influenced or mobilised an individual to cast their vote in a certain way, or is this triennial explosion of suburban hoardings a completely pointless, visually polluting yawnathon?  Election day is still seven weeks away, yet the city council allowed the hoardings to go up in June.  3 months is far too long. It is as stupefying as retailers prematurely ejaculating Christmas baubles and tinsel streamers across their stores in October.

Mike Yardley’s weekly current affairs column, first published in The Press newspaper.

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