Wednesday, March 29, 2006


A shining example of the rearranging the deckchairs nature of the so-called 'war on terrorism' is the latest controversy over an attempt by so-called Islamic courts in Afghanistan to sentence someone to death for changing their religion. Fortunately the court released the man, but it goes to show how our faith has been surrendered to blind dogma without anyone asking whether it was conceiveable that our Prophet would force anyone to become or remain a Muslim when we follow a creed which enshrines religious freedom in its holy book. The following article should clear it up, but of course it won't for those who value traditions as more important than clearly stated verses in the source of law which God has promised to protect.

NZ in the Commonwealth Games

There's no doubt that the games performance as a whole was disappointing. Questions need to be asked about the ability of some "stars" to perform under pressure - performing beyond one's ability used to be a hallmark of NZ athletes - no longer. It is concerning in comparison with Australians who seem to come from nowhere in just about every event.

One thing that doesn't wash is the tired old "we're great for our population size" argument. First up, according to population, NZ should have walked away with around 17 gold medals if we were performing at the same level as the Australians. Secondly, we may only have 4 million people, but we have a far higher per capita GDP than most Commonwealth nations. The reality is we probably spend more on sport than many countries can afford to spend on healthcare. To compare NZ with Bangladesh or Botswana and say we're wonderful on a per head of population basis is ludicrous.

There were welcome exceptions to the weak performances though, importantly the outstanding performance of Nick Willis, the Rugby 7s and the Silver Ferns. Willis would have won that race even if Mottram had kept his footing, despite what the Australian commentators say - he has a much better PB and would have outkicked Mottram in what was a slow-paced race. Watching Willis cross the line was a revelation to those who grew up in the 70's and endured the lean years of the 80's and 90's. With someone of the calibre of Peter Snell suggesting that Olympic success is a possibility, it's an exciting time for NZ athletics.

The other thing which was redeeming was our performance in the team sports. Frankly, I would rather beat the Australians in our two biggest sports - Rugby for men and Netball for women that pick up some obscure success in rhythmic gymnastics for instance! The basketballers also performed to or beyond their ability, and the tall blacks silver in particular was an effort they can be proud of.