Next Wednesday at app. 1510 it will be time for the barbeque pitch. Given five golden minutes to make my case I will be speaking to the submission which, with the help of 85 of you out there, I am putting to the Select Committee on the Local Government (Auckland) Bill. That should sharpen my mind. Guess I will straight out appeal to clarity and commonsense - why set up a complicated system to elect a council of some 23 seats when we have a perfectly good and comprehensible political framework already in place - twenty General electorates and two Maori. Point two: government only works if it is made by consent from top to bottom and it can only be effective if it is comprehensible. Since 1865 when the capital shifted to Wellington, Auckland has been a powerless entity exiling its best political talents to Mount Albert by the Sea where they promptly forgot where they came from, why they went there and who sent them. This is a rich and once only chance not to have them screw us again.
Hamish Keith has been writing about and working with the arts in New Zealand for almost half a century.
He has published a number of books on cultural and social history and cooking as well as the arts.
He has contributed reviews and comment on the arts and urban and social issues for numerous magazines and newspapers since writing a weekly column of art news and reviews for the Auckland Star from 1962 to 1975.
With Gordon H Brown he wrote the first history of New Zealand art An Introduction to New Zealand Painting, published by William Collins in 1969.
Keith worked at the Auckland City Art Gallery from 1958 to 1970, as Student Assistant (1958-61), Assistant Keeper (1961-64), and Keeper of the Gallery (1965-70), before working as a freelance journalist, writer and art consultant.
He has been chair of the National Gallery and chair of the Arts Council (aka Creative NZ ) and in 1999 headed the survey of the arts infrastructure Heart of the Nation which the grateful government ignored.
He was the original driver of the Te Papa exhibition
Keith has been, at times, a controversial figure in the arts.
Willing to stand up publicly for his opinions, Keith has played a significant role in the artistic life of New Zealand since the late 1950s. Keith has been a consistent critic of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa , referring to it as a "theme park", the "cultural equivalent to a fast-food outlet" and "not even a de facto national gallery"
The Big Picture His recent work includes a 6 part documentary series The Big Picture, which broadcast on TVNZ and is available as a DVD.
The accompanying book, The Big Picture, is published by Godwit, NZ
Native Wit He has also recently published his memoir Native Wit, Random House.
Current project He is currently planning and researching a new documentary series on the Pacific War