Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Life's a gas

I was back to work today, despite all the burping and farting.

I wasn't feeling well after work on Monday so didn't go to the autism group afterwards. That was a shame because one of the topics of discussion was relationships, something I'm almost totally clueless about.

A news story last week made me think a bit. In 2009 there was a huge fire in a rural area outside Nelson, destroying a home and a forest. A couple have recently been found responsible for the fire: the High Court ruled that their dumping of hot ashes started the blaze. They have been ordered to pay over $1 million (money that they haven't got) in compensation. They weren't insured. I've seen a fair bit of comment on the couple's plight. OK, you can say it was irresponsible not to take out insurance and to dispose of ashes like that, but it was also extremely unlucky that the fire spread like it did. I certainly felt sympathy when the couple were interviewed on TV. The woman made what I thought was an interesting comment (I'm paraphrasing here): "We've been left without hopes, dreams or goals; nobody deserves to live like that." It got me thinking: are hopes, dreams and goals basic human rights, like food, water and shelter? If so, I've spent some long periods of time without those basic rights; if not completely hopeless I've definitely been dreamless and goalless.

Talking of insurance, Campbell Live have done a series of programmes looking into the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes, and rightly so. As I see it, thousands of Christchurch residents have been left totally hopeless, dreamless and goalless by EQC, the insurance companies and the government (who really need to be putting a rocket up the insurers' arses). It's really not good, but having worked in the insurance industry (albeit in a different line of insurance) for several years, it isn't that surprising. By and large, the people I work with who speak to customers on the phone all day do a pretty good job. When I hear their calls, either they care about their customers or are doing a good job of pretending they care. However, none of those people make any of the big decisions that steer the company either one way or the other, and I've got a horrible feeling that the real decision-makers are too detached from their customers to really give a monkey's about them.

The earthquake goings-on (or lack of them) made me wonder why parliament was sitting "under urgency" last Saturday to approve fuel tax rises and make it illegal to protest at sea. Haven't they got more "urgent" things to be dealing with?

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