I have survived. Nearly a year after my first indication of lung cancer, I am nearly recovered from months of brutal chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

The chemotherapy nearly killed me, reduced me to a state of baby-like helplessness that kept me abed for a week, left me barely able walk the few metres between my bed and the toilet - and unable to eat.

Serious shortness of breath held me captive and I spent the next several weeks in my easy chair. My wife had to help me to walk, shower and shave; her ministrations helped to save my life.

I developed an aversion to most foods. I survived by drinking an energy drink and still use that product daily to supplement my reduced food consumption.


I give thanks daily for the help I have received from the nurses of the Rotorua Community Hospice and my local GP, who has prescribed medicines for everything from breathlessness to itchy rashes.

It is a great comfort to know that the wonderful hospice team is just a phone call away, and the Cancer Society keeps in touch by phone from time to time.

Then, at the beginning of June, my wife and I went to Hamilton where I received 10 zaps of radiation over two weeks from a space-age machine that rotated, hummed and crackled while it atom bombed one of the three cancer nodes in my right lung. That knocked back my condition and I am still coming right from its effects - mainly a chronic tiredness that sleep doesn't seem to alleviate. I can sleep for eight or nine hours and wake up still feeling tired.

However, I have been told that no further treatment is needed at this stage and I'm getting better as the days go by to such an extent that I am able to take an interest in things other than myself. I can even take a daily walk - for eight minutes.

Being an avid newspaper reader I have, of course, kept abreast of the daily news, particularly the circus which passes for pre-electioneering in this MMP election year.

And circus it is; a descent into triviality and personal bickering that makes a nonsense of what is, in fact, the most important event in any democracy - a general election.

The machinations of the minor parties, particularly Hone Harawira's Mana-Dotcom Party, is absolute madness. That this man, who left the Maori Party because it lined up with National, should hitch his wagon to a foreign capitalist millionaire of doubtful probity verges on insanity.

And what is worse, it is probably the most blatant manipulation of the deeply flawed MMP system that we have seen so far.

The antics in Epsom and Ohariu pale into insignificance alongside this.

It is only to be hoped that the majority of Maori in Te Tai Tokerau electorate up north wake up to this unprincipled betrayal of what Mana stands for and toss Mr Harawira out on his backside. They would do the nation a great favour, but don't hold your breath.

Mr Harawira would have served his people and his nation much better had he remained with the Maori Party, of which he would now be leader.

Colin Craig and his Conservatives are a lost cause, fortunately. He may pick up a few votes from misguided Christians - not many if the history of such parties is any indication - because the fact remains that religion and politics just do not mix.

Then there's NZ First and the Greens. But they'll have to wait until next week.