Brown Towns
We know that when water is 'free', people waste it. But we also know that it's essential for life, as necessary as the air we breathe. Treating it as just another consumption item - like petrol or electricity - seems wrong to many people ... Read more

Rates are Great
Why local rates exceed inflation - and why that's good for ratepayersEvery year, and every time local authorities spend money that someone objects to, the call goes out to keep rate increases below inflation. Lots of people, including some national politicians, seem to think this is a good idea ... Read more

Irrigation irritation - should you pay for it?
Boring or not, questions about who pays and who benefits from new investment in irrigation really matter if you live in inland Otago ... Read more

Raise your hand
If you've every thought you'd like to have a go at local government, now is the time to raise your hand. Elections are in October, and the most successful candidates are usually those who identify early. Now is good ...Read more

Americas Cup
I know almost nothing about sailing.
But I do know a bit about success breading success, and about how - collectively and individually - we make our own good fortune.
I've written columns on this theme for more than twenty years - actually, pretty much the same column - and I haven't changed my mind. more

Shonky science
It doesn't matter whether you live in the smokiest parts of a Central township, or at the far end of a country road, you do need to be careful about how you use your fireplace or wood burner. Smoke is bad, and in the winter-polluted townships, especially bad. No argument with that.But to claim, as our regional council does, that air pollution kills four people every year in Alexandra is just nonsense. As a Canadian specialist on this topic once said: show me the bodies. more

Are you a twit?
Social media are the buzz words of the decade. Whether it's a FaceBook Babe of the Day on the university campus in Dunedin ('sometimes featuring nudity', said the ODT with apparent glee), or a local real estate listing, or the Twitterverse, or pin-ups on Pinterest, or a nearly free family network like WhatsApp (highly recommended, by the way, Google it), or a traveller's accommodation service like Airbnb, the 'social' media seem to be taking over how many of us run our lives.more

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