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Stateside With Rosalea: All Reads Lead To Home

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

All Reads Lead To Home

A combination of several small but sharply felt earthquakes and showery weather have made me feel like I'm back in Taranaki this week. The clouds in the sky, rain-washed streets, daffodils, fruit tree blossoms and green hills all contributed to the feeling. Which I then remembered is called "Spring"!

Even the things I noticed on the telly and the Internet were reminders of the country I once called home. An ad for a large supermarket chain features the summer fruit of Chile, and as they speak of the perfection of the Chile's growing season and its products, an image of kiwifruit on the vine comes on screen.

Which irrationally made me think that perhaps a good description of a Kiwi is that our exterior is prickly and thin-skinned, while on the inside we're slightly bitter but hard-core. And green to the bone. While on the food theme, a news item about the shortage of salmon here in California this year put me in mind of what a great opportunity that is for fish farmers down south.

Then, searching on the Internet for information about the SF Chronicle reporters who are about to get an award at next week's Northern California Society of Professional Journalists dinner, I found a photo of one of them in a New Zealand Herald polo shirt in the Sky Tower on a visit he made to Auckland.

The story for which the two reporters are winning the James Maidison Award is about the compensation packages paid to administrators where I work. An alarming television interview with the other reporter on Friday night revealed that the story is about to take an ugly turn in the direction of killing any hope any of us lower-paid folks had of getting a retirement income.

Which also put me in mind of things that I miss about the New Zealand way of life. Like not having endless retirement accounts scattered between former employers, on which I'd have to pay fees were I to consolidate them into one Individual Retirement Account. Hurrah! for universal superannuation, paid for through the taxation system.

And not having to fill out endless paperwork and find a new doctor who belongs to the health plan my new job covers me for each time I change employers is another thing I miss. Hurrah! for universal health service, paid for through the taxation system.



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