I'm observing a few inverse relationships at the moment ... you know, where one variable goes up and the other goes down.

The most telling has been the more the National Party talks about their freshwater package, the less support they get.

The latest I've read is that the target for swimmable rivers, even with the increased tolerance for e.coli (also known as poo in the water), doesn't apply to 90 per cent of New Zealand's rivers and streams. The majority of streams are excluded and Forest & Bird has released a series of maps showing what's included and what isn't.

I don't understand how they've lost their way ... was former Prime Minister John Key really a populist mastermind of public opinion?


Now National is proposing increasing the age for superannuation which, "funnily" enough for me, kicks in for people born after July 1, 1972 - that's me. I also managed to start university the year the government introduced student loans with interest - a double-kick.

Toby Manhire (@toby_etc) combined the two in a tweet: "90% of superannuitants 67+ to be swimmable by 2040".

Actually, I'm not against a conversation around examining superannuation, but would rather see a deeper conversation.

We know Maori and Pasifika die younger than other New Zealanders, and some people working physically-strenuous jobs, especially those on low incomes, are literally worn out by 65 - let alone 67. How would these changes affect those people already hurting?

A couple of others were sharp in their comments on Twitter:
@Mihi_Forbes: "Average bloke has pension 13.3 years unless you're Māori - that'll be just 6 years."
@2TAPU: "Mum's brother: dead at 60. Mum's sisters: dead before 60. Raising the super age works if you're not dead."

Is it time for us to properly examine a UBI - a universal basic income - if we're going to touch the sacred political cow of superannuation, or talk about means-testing super, not
just student allowances?

A UBI conversation could also help us look at those who need to retire before 65 now and address child poverty. Pennies From Heaven, a book recently released by New Zealander Jess Berentson-Shaw, talks about practically addressing child poverty (and all the direct and indirect costs of inequality) through a payment.

Probably not an inverse relationship, but there appears to be a link between me overdoing it and the consumption of chocolate cake. When I get overly busy, the quality of the fuel in the engine declines, and chocolate cake has featured this week.


This month it has been wonderful to be involved with the La Fiesta festival, supporting the Women's Network, even if it's been a little busy.

This week I've hosted two events - the first, a Business With Heart panel discussion with the Chamber of Commerce, featuring four women leaders with a social enterprise twist.

Then to mark International Women's Day, I hosted a screening of She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a documentary on the birth of the women's liberation movement in the United States in the 1960s. Please get in touch if you're interested in learning more about either.

I've also travelled to New Plymouth this week to speak against the Trans-Tasman Resources seabed mining proposal at the Environmental Protection Agency hearings.

I've been so impressed by the cross-section of people speaking out against this application. Many are pushing themselves well outside their comfort zones because they care so deeply about protecting our oceans and black sand coastlines.

These are people who are normally quiet and apolitical (unlike me). They also represent many others for whom speaking at a hearing is either too daunting or too tricky and expensive. It is not easy to overcome nerves in a formal process, especially when there's hours of travel, time off work, juggling childcare or other responsibilities.

I am so proud of those who've taken part - thank you.

Maybe more of us are becoming more politically active and putting this year's International Women's Day theme "be bold for change" into action whether it's for the environment or equality.

*Nicola Patrick is a Horizons regional councillor, a Sustainable Whanganui trustee and works for Te Kaahui o Rauru. A mother of two boys, she has a science degree and is a Green Party member.