Some would say that my wife and l have entered the twilight zone of our lives - at 75 and 77 respectively, the mind is definitely willing but the body is in constant need of repair just to keep us mobile. Our personal maintenance bill is growing faster than our ability to pay for it.
However, a view on whether one accepts that interpretation of our future prospects as fair and reasonable will depend on expectations for the time we have left on this mortal coil.
The kiwi way has always been that the onus for determining what happens next is less dependant on the goodwill of others and more to do with our own ability to make it happen. Although that is how it should be in principle, the following narrative shows how difficult it can be to achieve in a modern society.
Unfortunately, the current welfare system isn’t working. Probably because it was originally designed as a safety net for only those at the bottom of the heap.
These days too many are falling through the cracks and a lot have simply given up. They simply don’t have the will to get up and start again if and when we are dealt a poor hand. Better to leave it to the government and the taxpayer funded experts who should have all the answers.
And we all know what happens when we do that!
The negative statistics of dependency and incarceration just continue to grow with the associated costs that are out of control. We are all in one form or another sucking on the Government tit and we simply can’t afford to be doing that any more.
But it sure does help if those you deal with as business partners or even just as fellow travellers have similar attitudes to personal responsibilities and values that are important for the survival of the world as we know it and for each one of us as individuals when trying to make a contribution towards the cost of our own existence.
Unfortunately, people like us are becoming anachronisms in our own time and it is a constant worry watching the society our forebears fought and died for collapse into a state of cultural elitism where might is right and to hell with those who can’t keep up. We are being left behind amidst a groundswell of self indulgence that will ultimately destroy the cornerstones of a society that once upon a time delivered prosperity for all to share - at least that is a reasonable reflection on our recent New Zealand history.
The current self serving doctrines based on racial revenge and false narratives will only widen the gap between those who can and those who are unable for whatever reason. The genuine search for equality appears to be a thing of the past, of little value in the pursuit of a true egalitarian society.
Those who preach the popular mantra no longer accept responsibility for the destructive forces they have created.
Maybe it is already too late to avert the disaster which definitely will be as a result of mankind’s misuse of the talents we inherited, although ironically, the predictable catastrophe will have little to do with the outcome of the current climate change debate. Tell that to the IPCC!
It is all about the gaining of international political control - survival of the powerful.
Here at home, the rules of engagement that have served us well for centuries are no longer visible in the standards by which we allocate scarce resources. Political expediency is the new sheriff in town.
We no longer function as communities responsible for one another but regard the growing dependency amongst even those who could do better as just a sign of the times. We accept this crap as if it was meant to be. Surely we have lost our way.
Yet in these days of widespread despondency, occasionally we see glimpses of the values system that we imbibed with mothers milk and it is important that we acknowledge these flickers of hope that might be enough to spark the revolution that will be needed in order to overthrow the monster we have become.
Here is an example of what l’m talking about.
Covid 19 has destroyed a major source of our household income - a heritage consultancy that had contributed a considerable amount to the family coffers. It appears unlikely that we will see any of this income return to support us in what looks like being a forced retirement.
I bear no grudges against anyone for this dramatic change in personal circumstances.
We will just have to get on with making our remaining resources work to our advantage. We accept the challenge.
There are many out there who have lost everything by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and it must be devastating for those decent kiwis who will find it difficult to come back from this horrific experience. Unfortunately, in many cases this group includes those with the entrepreneurial spirit that we will need to build back better.
We must do all we can to support them to get back on their feet.
Our personal loss has forced us to redesign our remaining income streams. Our forced restructuring has meant discussions with our traditional business partners that have required them to accept a revised system of payment that is consistent with our sole surviving farming income stream ie.livestock sales that occur only once a year.
We are no longer in a cash flow position to pay monthly and have offered our creditors an alternative system which includes settling deferred 12 months arrears only when stock is sold.
Here is the good news.
All of our business partners have agreed to the new arrangement.
One in particular, who looks after leasehold properties owned by shareholders, has been more than generous in accepting our reduced circumstances. We lease a block of highly productive flat land that is an integral part of our farming operation. We could not survive without it.
We were blown away by the sympathetic hearing we received and the considerable efforts made to accommodate our (hopefully temporary) misfortune. We didn’t see it coming, such is our cynical view of this modern society.
The point l am making about all this is that this example of goodwill is an indication that there still exist the attitudes that l fear are becoming a diminishing part of what used to be a dominant feature of our nation’s psyche.
Maybe these standards are only practiced by a small number in our community but my experience suggests that, while they are recognisable, there is still hope for their restoration as our guiding principles.
It isn’t over till the fat lady sings! All is not lost.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.