The pivotal moments

By: Daniel Hutchinson

Daniel Hutchinson
From The Hutch

When it comes to things that take a long time, it’s important to look out for the defining moments along the way.

Defining moments are often trumpeted as a great success – a good news story in a seemingly never-ending sea of drudgery and tedium.

That is the case with the Bayfair underpass which is now open, allowing egress for pedestrians and people who ride all manner of contraptions.

A person can now walk, run or ride their gyro-stabilised electric unicycle right through the rising steel and concrete overpass – a key part of the $262 million Baypark to Bayfair Link.

It’s something of an industrial safari but it signals progress on a project that has been part of many people’s lives for six-and-a-half years so far.

Given that a replacement underpass was not originally in the plans for this project, it also serves as an example of the power of public opinion and wonderful, noisy, passionate protest.

Without that, the underpass would not have been built.

The big guns

The war in Ukraine has captured the hearts and minds of many people around the world as the “little guy” continues to land punches against their giant invader.

When it comes to little guys it doesn’t get much bigger than Ed Sheeran, who has teamed up with Ukrainian band Antytila to produce a charity single – a remix of Sheeran’s hit song ‘2Step’.

The members of Antytila have had a change of career recently – they are all soldiers for now – so their artistic expression needs all the help it can get.

If Ukraine prevails against Putin it will be because enough people showed enough passion for the cause – and the ginger ninja from Suffolk knows how to keep things centre stage.

Red alert

Simon Bridges has left the building and the National Party has named his replacement candidate for the Tauranga by-election set down for June 18 – Sam Uffindell.

In a clear attempt to broaden their diversity the party has selected someone with hair – ginger no less – which will no doubt claw back some of the red voters from Labour.

Voters also have the choice of Labour’s Jan Tinetti, Act’s Cameron Luxton, New Nation Party’s Andrew Hollis, the NZ Outdoors and Freedom Party’s Sue Grey, New Conservative Party’s Helen Houghton, and the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party’s Christopher Coker.

One wild card that could yet be played is that held by the wily old silver fox Winston Peters and NZ First.

Peters stood successfully in the Tauranga electorate from 1984 to 2005 with National and then New Zealand First.He refused to be drawn on the subject during an interview on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme this week, which means precisely nothing.

Nominations don’t close until May 17, so I’m guessing we will need to wait until the last minute to find out the answer to that question.

Stay away

Parliament’s speaker Trevor Mallard gave Peters some airtime this week by trespassing him from Parliament’s grounds, along with 150 others.

His crime was to speak to protestors camped out on Parliament’s lawns during the well-publicised occupation earlier this year.

The protestors were there illegally by that stage and had already been trespassed so there is an argument for the latest tresspass orders, but seriously, Mallard really needs to read the room a bit better.

After some sage words of advice from other MPs Peters’ trespass notice was withdrawn. But, like the torture tactics of sprinklers and loud music directed at the protestors at the time by Mallard, does he actually seek feedback on these ideas before doing them?

Space race

I’ve become a bit of a space junkie lately, now that New Zealand has joined the race into the great unknown.

Rocket Lab launched its latest rocket from its base in Hawkes Bay this week – and I’d have to say I enjoyed it way more than Putin’s most recent demonstration.

The Kiwi-US space company has the distinct advantage of being able to fire rockets out over the ocean towards the Antarctic, but even so it was only a matter of 20 minutes before it was a few hundred kilometers above the Atlantic.

The high-tech event was then rounded off with a bit of Kiwi ingenuity as Rocket Lab caught the spent rocket booster in mid-air with a helicopter.

Now, that’s a wild ride.

daniel@thesun.co.nz