Relationships are interesting, ever-evolving things that live or die upon the value each participant places on them.

It is a delicate balancing act at times - in our professional and personal lives - to maintain the state where you are giving and accommodating, but are not a doormat to be stepped on.

I have seen it too often over the decades where one party gives too much and the other takes advantage of it.

It's a bit like that in politics where it seems that no matter what is done, Prime Minister John Key remains astoundingly popular among the voting masses.


The result is, in my opinion, he thinks he can do anything he wants with little regard for opposing voices.

However, during the past fortnight we have seen a shift in the balance of power sparked by the controversial SkyCity casino project.

It was sold to taxpayers as being a boon for the economy as SkyCity would build a $400 million convention centre at no cost to you or me in exchange for several hundred more money-absorbing poker machines.

Whatever your views on extra machines, the free aspect of them certainly made the unofficial deal more palatable.

Then, a few weeks back, Key said that SkyCity might need a $130 million boost from our pockets for the centre to go ahead.

That was about 130 million kilometres from what we were expecting and public reaction - from all sides of politics - was loud and to the negative.

Key tried to do a bit of a dance bringing up the issue of not wanting an eyesore if tax dollars didn't go to SkyCity.

That was like pouring oil on to flames and, in the face of incandescent opposition, the Government has slunk back to its original (but still unpopular) position and SkyCity is now saying it will save money by building a 10 per cent smaller convention centre.


As far as I see it, SkyCity should build the convention centre it originally agreed to and the Government should hold them to it. If the private enterprise thinks it can threaten to build an "eyesore" unless it can pillage the public purse then it should be quickly disabused of that stance.

And the Government may have learned that public patience is not everlasting.

I HAVE always liked Papamoa East. It's a long way down the beach and while you have to add at least 10 minutes travel time to any journey heading out of the place, it has a wonderful feel to it.

It's its own little suburb within a suburb, helped by the fact that it is an older area and that almost everyone knows one another - courtesy of Papamoa Primary School and that all our kids went there.

And so when tragedy strikes a family within this extended network it has a ripple effect within our community.

So it was gut-wrenching to hear that young Sam Fitness broke his neck after a fall from a tree. He fell some six to eight metres straight on to his head and broke his C5 vertebrae - leaving him a tetraplegic. That is unable to use any of his limbs.


Sam was sporty and about to head off to uni to study geophysics.

He was in the year between my kids and my partner's children at Papamoa Primary but, in what was a small school, everyone knew everyone.

I helped coach him at Papamoa Football Club with my mate, John Krauts, and we remember him as a handy goalscorer for our mob.

He was well liked and the news of his accident was truly awful and our thoughts go out to his family. However, we know that Sam's always positive attitude will see him through this adversity and that he will make the most of every opportunity he gets.

Next pay day we will be donating to a fund that has been set up for Sam and his family to help in his recovery and prepare him for the future.

As of Sunday it was about $35,000.


You can reach it at

All the best Sam, Papamoa East's thoughts are with you and your family.

I HAVE been meaning to use this little snippet for ages, but something else always seems to pop up so here it goes.

I read this in a 100th birthday article in this great paper. It was about Mrs Ruth Mander who, among other things, was an ardent photographer. Her son, Graeme, said trees, shrubs, clock towers and hills did not stand a chance against his mother's love for pictures.

He added: "The principle seemed to be if it stood still, it was to be photographed and if it moved, she would insist it stood still to be photographed."

I love it.


Well done Ruth, I feel we could be kindred spirits.

Richard Moore is an award-winning Western Bay journalist and photographer.