social commentary


living wage

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The following is part of an article in The New Zealand Herald.


A couple of years ago I had the privilege of visiting the very inspiring Justin & his beautiful Ngatiawa community. It was a significant moment for me.

Bishop challenges high-income earners

Wellington’s Anglican bishop says he may cut his own salary to help fund a “living wage” for cleaners, caregivers and other low-paid workers in Anglican churches and social agencies.

Bishop Justin Duckworth, a dreadlocked, Jandal-wearing priest who was an upset choice as bishop last year, is also challenging other high-income earners to take less to fund higher wages for the 39 per cent of Kiwi workers who now earn less than the living wage, defined by union and church groups as $18.40 an hour.

His current salary is about $63,000, or $30 an hour, plus a house.

My personal response is in the future I have to look at what I am earning and say, what is appropriate for me to earn given that many people in our society don’t even have enough to participate meaningfully in our society


“I would ask that everyone else should be engaged in the moral conversation of when is too much too much.”

The bishop, who has lived his entire married life sharing his family home with people in need such as lost teenagers and ex-prisoners, said he and his wife, Jenny, were also considering how to make best use of the bishop’s official home across the road from Parliament when they move there later this year from the community for recovering addicts and others where they have lived for the past 10 years.

“We have always lived with people. We will do that again,” he said.

One of the things we don’t tell the next generation is that you can’t have it all. You have to choose which story you are going to fit


“If you want to choose the story of upward mobility, 2.3 kids, a white picket fence, a mortgage, a university education, a good career and superannuation, you can’t have that and come to this conference and expect to work for justice. You can’t do everything.

We have to tell our young people clearly that Jesus is not an app that we load onto our smartphones. He is the core operating system. If he is the core operating system, that influences everything in our lives


“We have to tell them how to live simply and to be happy with what you’ve got, realising that everyone else in society is screaming, ‘Have more, have more, have more!”‘

His comments came as an Auckland Council committee decided yesterday to keep investigating ways to pay the living wage to the 1623 council staff who now earn below $18.40 an hour. Officials said this would cost $3.75 million a year.

They also backed an amendment by councillor Cameron Brewer to find the cost within the existing $693 million wage bill, which includes 1500 people earning over $100,000 a year.


the full article from Simon Collins can be found here  

You can read more about Justin here




quotes, Uncategorized

he said a naughty word!

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I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.

– Tony Campolo


adventures, Uncategorized

Nike & Mike, say it ain’t over




I started playing basketball when I was 11, I’d just started a new school, the 1st one I’d attended that had a basketball court. Even better it was outdoors, so I could play all the time.

Two weeks is the record. I once wore through the sole of a cheap pair of bball shoes in two weeks (I must have been pivoting more than Hakeem), I can remember the skin on my foot pinching between the ever-widening hole in my shoe & the court as I ran around. They were the shoes that broke mum & dad, shortly there after I received my first pair of Nikes.

During that winter, with the weather not so endearing to outside hoops I found myself watching the ’92 Olympics, in particular the Dream Team. Magic Johnson may have been the first player I’d ever heard of, but Michael was the first I fell in love with. I remember the exact moment it happened, first game against Angola… long outlet pass, over-the-head lob…

smitten 🙂


11 years later I was making my second trip to the U.S, my first to see Jordan play…


So yeah, I’m a Jordan fan… I have the college jersey, the Olympic jersey, the rookie jersey, the shoes, clothes, posters, books, cards, dvds, games… when I was 12 I forked over $100 of my hard-earned paper round money for this game, Michael Jordan in Flight, then another $100 to upgrade the RAM on our computer from 1mb to 2mb so I could play it (yes you read that right $100 for 1 megabyte). Check it out in all its glory 🙂

So for me my relationship with Basketball, Nike & Jordan began at the same time. It’s been a 20yr love affair.



Sweatshop. I have some vague recollection of that word being associated with Nike, but never really thought about it.

So what brought Nike to the forefront of my mind?

Introducing the Jordan 11’s.

First released in ’96, the retro release was in 2000. They were the first Jordans I purchased,  1 weeks paycheck.

They were released again 23, Dec, 2011. If you didn’t hear there were some pretty crazy stories… pepper spray, fights, shots fired, a mother arrested for leaving her young kids locked in the car… some of it has to be seen to be believed.

Unsettling. Getting a pair of shoes is more important than helping someone off the ground. What do we value?

How much of this lays with Nike? “The marketing campaign for these shoes is essentially akin to yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theater” – Jemele Hill, ESPN.


Then there is this incredible story. If you take nothing else way from this post, watch this.



I’d also discovered Oxfam had been working for the rights of Nike factory workers for some time, which brought me to this dilemma… I donate money to Oxfam, I buy Nike products. Isn’t that a bit like starving my dog & donating to SPCA or beating my wife & giving to Womens Refuge? Do I care enough about the nameless, faceless in another country to change?

Or are my donations just “Conscience Tax”, like that yearly charitable Christmas donation to appease your conscience while you enjoy the season of gluttony & greed, when really the thing that offends you the most about the poor is not the poverty…  but that you can see them.


What happens when something you love comes in conflict with your values  beliefs?

Why, you try and justify it. So I went searching, I really wanted to like Nike, I found lots of reason to do so… Nike raised the minimum age of factory workers to 16 & more recently by signing an agreement to allow workers to form unions… and the Environment!  This nice Nike commercial sums it up.


Nikes gone green, green is trendy. And while its awesome Nike have made some changes I find I can’t get past this.

Agreeing to pay your workers the minimum wage is great, but if that minimum wage is not something you can live on & maintain your humanity, how do you justify that? Especially if your in a position of power & influence and your company turned 20 Billion in revenue with a 2 Billion profit.


What do I do, do I stop purchasing Nike & Adidas products? (I haven’t talked about Adidas, but for all intents & purposes they’re the same as Nike when it comes to human rights.) 95% of all my basketball gear is Nike or Adidas, I want to get a new Bulls Jordan jersey & saw some real sweet Nike kicks yesterday, not to mention that I’ve played basketball in Adidas or Nike for the last 6 years… and doesn’t everyone do it? Reebok was brought out by Adidas, Converse by Nike… of which Nike says two-thirds of its factories don’t meet Nike standards… so they’re worse?!


Often problems seem bigger than us… it’s because they are.


So you do what you can do. For me, I’ve decide to end that 20yr love affair, I’ve decided not to purchase any Nike or Adidas products. As for my current stock, well I have some creative ideas, stay tuned 🙂

I’m stoked Nike has shown it can change…

I look forward to the day I can once again slip on some new Jordans…

I look forward to the day treating people as human becomes trendy.