As you can see from the slide, the subjects covered included Jacinda Ardern and her resignation, German tanks on their way to Ukraine, China’s increasing presence in Latin America and Holocaust Memorial Day.
We discussed how Ardern has changed the nature of political discourse and leadership, and the challenges facing her in leading New Zealand through Covid, as well as the challenges in finding the right time to leave the political stage ( a trick very few manage successfully).
On European and US tanks to Ukraine, we discussed the fact that US Abram tanks, German Leopards, French Leclerc tanks and UK Challenger tanks all had different operating systems, weapons, maintenance requirements and operational capabilities. And even if the agreement has been made, it will be months before they can be deployed, and it may well be that they will be too late to prevent an early spring offensive from Russia.
On Covid, we discussed how the long consequences are still with us – mental health issues, increased suicide rates, and increased levels of domestic violence to name but three – all of which we identified in Coronavirus Campfire #2 in March 2020. We are now seeing reports of children coming to school who are not ready for the experience, being not toilet trained, unable to dress or feed themselves, and lacking the social skills that would allow them to fit into a classroom environment. These are all consequences of the impacts of Covid that have not been engaged with over the last three years, and are still not being discussed in meaningful ways. As one of the participants said, we are still only half the way through Covid – and these impacts will be felt as this generation of children moves through junior education, high school and university and then into the workplace.
On the Holocaust Memorial day commemorating the six million Jews and other persecuted communities that died in the Second World War, we discussed he fact that young people today are either not aware of the Holocaust, or do not believe it. But, as was pointed out – that was seventy five years ago. It was like us in the 1970’s discussing something that happened in 1895. Should we expect the children of today to understand the significance of something that happened before their parents were born?