Drive for the season, year-round

One of the grimmer aspects of the holiday season is the prominent focus given to the holiday road toll. Although it will be small comfort to the friends and relatives of those who died on the roads this summer, 2009’s holiday road toll of 13 was a substantial improvement on the 25 who died in 2008. After adjusting for the number of vehicles on the road, 2009 would be the third lowest holiday road-toll since records began in 1958.

Cutting out the middle man

Some people see enrolling with an employment agency as a good way of boosting their chances of getting back into work. And in a developed society, experts and intermediaries play an important role in many facets of everyday life. Real estate agents have wider networks and greater marketing skills to help sell your house. Mortgage brokers know the ins and outs of the banking sector and can potentially get you discounted interest rates. And given that it’s the job of investment advisers and money managers to monitor financial markets, they should have the expertise to provide good financial advice – at least, that’s the theory!

C’mon John, think of the children

The festive season is a time for family and reflection. After a few drinks on Christmas Day, this combination got some of my family musing about future generations. First we started talking about New Zealand’s flaccid emissions trading scheme, the lack of progress at Copenhagen, and finally about living in a world of more than 2 degree temperature rises. The impacts on New Zealand may be manageable, but how might we deal with the global fallout, possibly including refugees from a drought stricken Australia?