Living in a divided land

Jackie Bristow

We live in a divided country; it’s sad to see and I don’t know what can be done to solve the problem.

I’m not talking about Covid here. Enough about that. We’re not divided about Covid, except in a few extremists’ minds who insist on telling us “the country is so divided” over and over.

Ninetyfive per cent of the population is vaccinated – that’s not being divided – and the fact that a tiny minority want to set fire to a children’s playground on the Parliamentary lawn doesn’t mean we’re divided.

Even the fact that we argue about traffic light levels doesn’t make us divided, it means that people quite reasonably disagree over a schedule, and even then pretty much only over differences of mere weeks. In the great scheme of things, this is not a country divided.

No, what I’m talking about is Daylight Saving time. It’s been a couple of weeks now and the matter is going off the boil again, but no one seems able to agree about its benefit. Or harm.

It gets lighter in the morning and darker at night and then later in the year, it does the opposite. Some say it helps farmers and children going to school, some disagree; and it keeps being tinkered with.

Most recently it keeps being extended. The current hour-long change was introduced in 1975 and from 1985 onwards has been regularly lengthened, most recently in 2007, switching to the full 50/50: we observe Daylight Saving from the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April; it just finished.

Half and half

And this is the issue that so divides the country. Either, you’re for it or against it; and never the twain shall meet. As I write this, there is a poll on the SunLive website: ‘Do you think NZ should stop putting the clocks back each April?’ And since it went up the results haven’t budged once: 50 per cent answer: ‘Yes’ and 50 per cent say: ‘No’.

Now in all honesty I don’t actually care about Daylight Saving. Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it; there are more important things to worry about. Yet many are highly exercised by this: “Keep it all year” some say; “lose it completely” others opine; “compromise and go for half an hour difference” yet more add.

And that last one, as it happens, is where this whole conundrum started: in 1868 New Zealand officially set New Zealand Mean Time at 11 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. There it stayed for 59 years. This sounds eminently sensible. I gave strong thought to writing to Parliament urging a return to the model. But then I remembered…I don’t actually care.


The organisers of the Port of Tauranga National Jazz Festival obviously do. When your event is taking place at Easter (autumn), and a worldwide pandemic forces you to move it to the end of June (winter), there are ramifications. Especially if a large part is outside.

But head honcho Marc Anderson is well under control and says he is: “excited about the possibilities the new dates bring” and I must say I am too. Next week I’ll be getting into all the plans for the new look Matariki Jazz Festival – but as a heads-up, tickets go on sale this week for the eight Baycourt shows, which are themed around the concept of Jazz Greats, so keep your eyes out!

And I just wanted to wrap up with a plug for a show at the end of this month at the Jam Factory by American-based mainstream country/pop singer Jackie Bristow. Well, she was based in America pre-Covid…

Jackie’s sixth album, ‘Outsider’, recorded in Nashville and sounding expensive and very impressive was released at the start of March and she’s been on a nationwide tour since the beginning of this month. There are a number of YouTube clips you can watch if you want to check out Jackie’s music, particularly the first two singles from ‘Outsider’, which are ‘Without You’ and ‘Livin’ For Love’.  

Jackie Bristow plays the Jam Factory 7pm, April 30. Tickets are $30 from or on the door.

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