I have just got off Skype with my son and grandson calling from the other side of the world.

Who would have thought when he was born 35 years ago that one day we'd communicate in this fashion? The speed of technology never ceases to amaze me — although I am a skype veteran these days.

I am working away on my brand-new computer and am finding the limitations of ignorance I always find when running on a new device.

Doesn't matter if it is a phone, a photocopier or new computer or a new car, I just wish that the new one could be like the old one, so my prior knowledge is not entirely without value.


Having been on the receiving end of another birthday this week, I am already feeling my age without the need for the new digital electronics intimidating me. Sheesh! — not even a pensioner and I am feeling outdated.

But not all is shiny and new in the world, and technology hasn't lifted the IQ of some.
Looking across at the United States, we see a huge leap back to days of Nazism where children escaping violence in their homeland are being separated from their parents for want of the right paperwork. Where huge continents run up against each other with vastly disparate economies, wealth, lifestyles and prospects, there will always be a flow of one-way traffic at the borders, legal and illegal.

But the removal of children and holding them behind secured wire fences, in cages under tinfoil blankets ... the reflection of politicians and cartoonists that these actions are reminiscent of Hitler's Germany is so true.

There is no excuse when you are the richest country in the world, with all the ability to run First World lifestyles for the population.

Being so reliant on an immigrant workforce to work on the frontline of primary production harvests; in factories doing the most menial of tasks; and cleaning up the clutter and grime behind the most disposable society on the planet, the US should show more compassion.

The children of those refugees had no part in making the decision to cross the border, and to claim asylum is part of international law — a country with such arrogance needs reminding from time to time that there is value in friendship, and nobody is a real friend to a bully.

US president Donald Trump's use of this issue — the despicable way he has treated families to show how tough he is to gain currency with parts of the electorate — shows his true colours.

Chester Borrows
Chester Borrows

Eventually the persuasive powers of world leaders, opposition and government politicians, his wife and the wives of former Republican presidents got through the thick orange exterior, and Trump has climbed down from his high horse to order that separation of families does not occur while they await the outcome of the court process deciding immigration status.


I have not heard what actions New Zealand has taken in respect to this matter, but I'd like to think that some message has been passed through the US ambassador here that we don't like our "…very, very, very, good friends" treating children and parents in this way.
Let's face it, if you can't rely on your friends to tell you when you are making a Joe Hunt of yourself, who can you rely on?

I think I'll send a card to his excellency Mr Ambassador and let him know.

It seems all the technology in the world cannot reinforce the old maxims such as that which says: "The true test of a civilisation is how it treats its most vulnerable." Or, to quote the words of the God the president likes to align himself with on a regular basis, "As much as ye do it not to the least of these, you do it not to me."

Chester Borrows served as Whanganui MP for 12 years and as a minister in the National Government.