Some other new year resolutions

OK, you’ve now begun to break those resolutions you made last Thursday midnight. Some you’ve forgotten. Some you wish you’d never made. Some you will make again 361 days hence.

That’s the good thing about New Year’s Eve: it comes round once a year. You get another go.

Here are 13 other resolutions that might have been made on Thursday — or might not.

Resolution one: Bill English’s Infrastructure Advisory Board might have resolved to urge him quickly to build hundreds of passing lanes on main roads, a cheap way to lower frustration and reduce the attraction of dangerous overtaking.

Resolution two: The Australian government might have resolved to respect science and the free trade agreement and New Zealand and let its citizens eat our apples.

Resolution three: Business and life coaches might have resolved to notice that people cannot live beyond their capacity — “if you can dream it, you can do it” makes me an All Black — and that for most simplistic homilies there is an opposite: a black spot on a white sheet of paper does indeed attract the eye (a consulting whizz’s metaphor for pessimism) but so, too, does a white spot on a black sheet attract the eye (so are we optimists, after all?).

Resolution four: Tax lawyers might have resolved there is a more worthy life than helping big banks and the smart set diddle other folk who pay their fair share.

Resolution five: Grandees in the commentariat might have resolved to apply the “never say never” lesson I was taught after telling a meeting 25 years ago I thought Jim Bolger would not become Prime Minister.

Christian Kerr in the Australian Spectator on August 1 last year: “Why Tony Abbott will never lead the Liberals.” Martin Wolf in the Financial Times on June 26, 2007, weeks before the financial wizards’ magic potions went toxic: the possibility of huge calamities generated by world financial markets “looks remote”. Anatole Kaletsky in The Times on January 14, 2008, days before the United States Federal Reserve Board started panicky interest rate cuts: “The global credit crisis is now almost over… There will be no United States recession.” (To be fair, he did eat sort-of-humble pie at the end of 2008.)

Resolution six: Rescuers of the planet might have resolved to like people as much as plants and animals and to turn “do” into a bigger word than “don’t”.

Resolution seven: The Meteorological Service might have resolved to stop the sun doing odd things. On December 2 its time for Wellington’s sunrise was two minutes later than on December 1 even though the earliest morning was still a week or so away. This made Wellingtonians’ longest day two to three minutes shorter than in 2008. That’s climate change, brought to you by the temperature readings authority. The service’s explanation: the sunrise and sunset times come from a World Clock and is calculated on latitude and longitude. So, did the World Clock suddenly go backwards and/or did longitude or latitude suddenly shift?

Resolution eight: The Transport Agency might have resolved to withdraw the rule which it appears, to judge by motorists’ behaviour, to have surreptitiously issued requiring drivers to speed up when they see an orange light at an intersection and drive on even if the light goes red. Meantime don’t fuss: the police don’t rigorously enforce the rule. You can still slow down and even stop on an orange light with little fear of a ticket.

Resolution nine: Business lobbies and organisations might have resolved to castigate bad businesses and directors who dupe or steal from decent investors. Capitalism is the worst economic system except for all the other economic systems but its practitioners might valuably defend it from its enemies within. The Stock Exchange might have resolved to lead the charge.

Resolution ten: Architecture schools might have resolved to discontinue the compulsory unit Ugliness 101 or at least to withdraw the optional units at levels 2, 3 and 4. There can be too much of a fine tradition. (Don’t mention leaky buildings.)

Resolution eleven: Restaurants might have resolved to relate their bring-your-own “corkage” sums to the labour involved and might also have resolved to call it “screwage”. Corks? There still are some: Te Whau’s fine Waiheke reds are a case in point (for aficionados, the double-pun is accidental).

Resolution twelve: Pollsters might have resolved to ask people what is going right for them instead of what “concerns” them.

Resolution thirteen: This country’s 4.33 million citizens and residents might have resolved to think ourselves luckier than almost every other nation, with our teeming water, abundant food supplies and producing capacity, abundant energy and resources, space, beauty and distance from tyranny and great country brand — and general tolerance and goodwill. Then we might have resolved to make the most of that luck and talk up our potential.

But those last two will have given a clue as to how to resolve to read this column.