This summer the Chronicle is bringing you another look at some of the best content of 2019. This story originally ran on January 10, 2019

January 10 already. Despite all the festive season mayhem — Boxing Day sales craziness and such — it still at least felt like a bit of a break from the hard-out, seemingly never-ending "issues".

Even the media seem to have had a headful of them by year's end, and are happy to ease off for, well, about three blessed weeks in all.

Sure, there's still plenty of stories happening over the holiday period, but they're not the usual "issues" type stories. It's mainly about car crashes, drownings, washed out campers ... that sort of thing. All good Festive Season fodder, if you ignore the actual casualties.
But as from about next week we notice an inevitable swing back to the "issues". More political, supposedly more weightier stories that should be concerning us all.


Read more: Frank Greenall: Sad demise of cricket therapy
Frank Greenall: Googling the meaning of life
Frank Greenall: Cooking our own colonial goose ...

For the rest of the year these issues plague us like locusts swarming on budding crops.

For every issue we manage to dodge, a dozen of its cousins are close behind, careering down the tunnel on the wrong side of the road, seemingly gagging for a head-on muck-fest.

But here's the thing. There always has been and always will be a gazillion "issues" happening at any given moment.

To the country cottager, the fact that Brown's cows got through the fence and chowed all the cabbages is probably of much bigger moment than what's happening in some wartorn block of rock and rubble on the other side of the planet, even if it does involve depleted uranium cluster bombs.

So really, the issue with the "issues" is one of prioritisation.

Which of these gazillion issues happening at any one moment are to be given priority?
Is it going to be the aberrations of the current man-brat US president, the machinations of Britain's Brexit contortions, the Indonesian tsunami, Jami-Lee Ross, the Armed Offenders

' call-out in Takanini, tree roots bobbling the Avenue footpaths — or all of the above?
Same for the nation at large.


So many issues, but given finite resources, so hard the prioritisation.

The present Government has made a solid start in at least identifying the truckload of major issues that accreted over the last decade or so.

For a start, they've acknowledged the idiocy — as perpetuated by the previous administration — that it's a winning formula to heat the house by burning the furniture.
Trashing our key environmental assets in the name of economic "growth" is truly oxymoronic, as is claiming that speculation-fuelled skyrocketing property prices is also "growth". Try telling that to the coming generation.

Commendably, incorporating "well-being" criteria into the metrics that measure true growth has also been prioritised.

Reliance on such crude — and false — gauges as GDP to chart progress is way past its use-by date.

Who on Earth still believes, as GDP would have it, that catastrophic disasters and environmental degradation are an economic plus?


Then, of course, the Coalition Government — albeit with a few grumbles from NZ First — is also making promising noises in the direction of the Big Kahuna — climate change. Or should that be climate collapse?

Unbelievably, some Neanderthals in Parliament still haven't grasped the notion that planetary collapse might actually adversely affect business as usual, not to mention life in general.

And not forgetting the other biggie issues — homelessness, mental health services, domestic violence, youth suicide, crime and incarceration rates, home ownership rates et al ... Oh boy, that's an awfully big bag of issues and prioritisation.

I often wonder how a nation with so many natural resources going for it allowed so many toxic issues to develop in the first place.

We seemed to have a lost a sense of common moral compass that allowed spivs and greed merchants to take the high ground.

Talk about Paradise Lost!


Oh well, at least Milton had a sequel — Paradise Regained.

Maybe there's hope yet.