Tim Walker’s Heatwave

If one is to believe media broadcasts New Zealand is currently in the grips of a ‘heatwave’.

If one is not an idiot however, one will cease mindlessly believing then (I mean probably, let’s be fair) repeating every hyped-up buzzword pervaded by the media (previous terms of this nature may include ‘housing crisis’, ‘wellbeing deficit’, ‘meth contamination’, ‘weather bomb’, ‘global pandemic’ or suchlike), where one will then pull one’s head in and take a short sharp hit of reality.

One must remember, as New Zealand rests within the southern half of the globe, our country is currently experiencing summer; one is surely aware then that in this part of the world, winter is characterised by cold while summer is more likely to be warm. One must recall furthermore, over years gone by, in New Zealand, summertime temperatures have regularly topped 30 degrees Celsius across January, February, and sometimes even March.

The question one must ask, therefore, is, why is the media making such a big deal of these current temperatures? ‘Heatwave’…? Yes, the temperature is high; no, this is not unusual. Yes, the temperature has been high for a while; no, still not unusual.

By definition, a ‘heatwave’ is a ‘prolonged period of abnormally high temperatures’. It is a fact that New Zealand’s current weather system has been causing uncomfortably warm temperatures, but again, this is not abnormal; for this time of year, in New Zealand, this is not ‘unusual’, it’s not ‘weird’, it’s not ‘strange’ – it’s not ‘freakish’ and it’s not a bloody ‘heatwave’ – it’s just uncomfortably warm outside today, also yesterday, and it probably will be tomorrow too.

I think, and this might just be the heat getting to me, but I think our beloved Jacinda is using these vacuous broadcasts to fill as many of New Zealand’s media timeslots as she can to prevent them broadcasting the news – the reality – that ever since December 2018 when the price of fuel rose to that unprecedented level (in some places almost $2.50 per litre), then after Prime Minister Ardern stepped in and ‘saved the day’ (from her Government’s very own taxation policy) by substantially lowering that figure and promising there would be ‘no more price hikes for at least twelve months’ (implying that instead, the tax will simply be shifted to car licensing fees), the cost of petrol at the pump has been gradually rising, in most places, by at least one cent per week.

Sure, to the cost of fuel there have been no ‘price hikes’ at all; although where a litre of 91 Octane petrol over Christmas cost around $2.00, five weeks on, it now costs $2.06 – I guess not a quick enough rise to be considered a price ‘hike’ but, you know.

Don’t get me started on fuel company price collusion either; in the spirit of fair-trading, of course the aforementioned practice is very much illegal yet, from my perspective it’s obvious these companies are colluding – also being influenced by our very own Jacinda-led Government – because tell me please, over the past twelve months, while the cost of imported crude oil has not significantly shifted – nor has there been any monumental movement in the USD/NZD exchange rate – who the hell has been controlling New Zealand’s wildly fluctuating, yet always ‘competitive’ between companies and with their ‘special deals’ invariably falling on different days, fuel price?

I suppose Jacinda will be feeling New Zealand’s intense summer heat, too; embellishing reality is a rather strenuous task.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Vera Wurm

Photography by M Bill-Ash



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