Things might be looking up.
Todays announcement that Auckland will move to the Traffic Light System and be at level 3 Red means that we will once agin be able to meet face to face for meetings. Indoor venues with up to 100 participants will require that everyone attending is vaccinated. 
The Management Committee will be doing the work needed to determine a venue and all of the practical arrangements and as soon as possible members will be advised. 
I am sure members are looking forward to the increased freedoms we will have, come the beginning of December.
Hard to remember that the first person to get the Pfizer Covid -19 vaccine was a 90 year old UK Grandmother on the 8th of December 2020. This was a major event.  Dubbing the day "V-day", Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was "a tribute to scientific endeavour and human ingenuity and to the hard work of so many people."Today marks the start of the fightback against our common enemy, the coronavirus," he said. At that stage around 60,000 people had already died in the UK from Covid. 
A month of Giving
Dec 01, 2021 - Dec 31, 2021
Rotary Disease Prevention and Treatment Month
Dec 01, 2021 - Dec 31, 2021
Christmas Day
Dec 25, 2021
Boxing Day
Dec 26, 2021
New Year's Day
Jan 01, 2022
Day after New Years Day
Jan 02, 2022
View entire list
New Member Neil
At out last Zoom meeting Neil was both the inductee and guest speaker. Members were treated to a very interesting presentation on a fascinating career in the auto manufacturing industry. From a trainee position at the Ford plant in Wellington, to hi-tech alloy wheel production at the Ford plant in Auckland through to senior positions in Belarus and China, Neils career was as he described it,  "learning by doing."
A  move, to manage the establishment of a joint venture  Ford/ Belarus vehicle manufacturing in Minsk formed the main part of Neil's presentation.
This career move starting in June 1996  and ending in August 1999 to a place most people would find difficult to locate accurately on a map, combined a distant  location, Chernobyl just 400km's away, sub zero winter temperatures, establishing a new manufacturing plant in what had been the Belarus Tractor Company factory,  and a set of political challenges unlike anything else he had dealt with.
Dealing with the President to sort out a currency exchange issue or assisting the Deputy PM sort out the Deputies daughters  refused USA visa are not the tasks company managers normally undertake. 

Neil spoke about  President Alexander Lukashenko, elected in 1994 and still in power after a series of very much questioned elections. After Lukashenko came to power it became clear that he would take actions to ensure he retained a very tight hold on power and that he would increase his control over parliament and institutions of government. While "Rule by Decree" made it simple in terms of establishment of the JV in Belarus it led to increasing instability in the economy and a rapid decline in relationships with the west. 
Having referred to himself as "Europe's  last Dictator", President Lukashenko is still very much in the news, and continues to have ramifications beyond the borders of Belarus.  
Inflation had already taken off by the time Neil started working in Belarus. In 1999 inflation in Belarus was running at 293%. Lukashenko blamed Russia and its central bank for most of these problems when Russia refused to trade the Belarussian rouble. Inflation skyrocketed under Lukashenko's policies and while 1 USD bought 12500 roubles in mid 1996 by 1999 one USD bought more than a million Belarussian Roubles.While the the business received revenue in Belarussian roubles all its imports were in hard currencies which was a huge problem.
10% of Neil's salary was paid in roubles and the pile on the desk is for one month. Belarussian tax was paid on that. He was thankful that the remainder was paid outside the country and not in Roubles. 
Neils career also included a period in China bust as time precluded any detail on that,  the club will look forward to a second instalment.  
Rotary Trust
Letting members know that I have asked Kelvin Davies to join our Trust and that Kelvin has accepted. Being on the Trust is not an onerous position and is one that all members should at some time consider taking a turn at. 
Some more great news
Faced with the risk of having me as President for a second year and after an extensive search by a dedicated team, we now have a President Elect, Mike Collins. As a long term and active member it is great that Mike has decided to accept the challenge [and not inconsiderable honour] of presidency. 
In all seriousness,  ensuring that we have a flow of members willing to pick up leadership roles in the club is important to our on-going ability to offer a high quality service to the community. All members have a part to play even if for some years it's simply to provide the positive support and encouragement that really encourages those people who are doing that bit extra.
News Items.
The club AGM will be held on Monday the 6th of December. 
We are planning, Covid and Traffic Lights permitting, to hold a Rotary Christmas Function on the December the 13th. While we cant give any definite about the form it will take we do know it will be different to our normal Howick Club lunch and that it will be a lot of fun. 
The Fundraising Committee are working hard to get the Rotary River Carnival and the Golf Tournament ready to go. In the interim we are going to run a couple of smaller fundraising events.
Christmas Puddings.
These are $20 per pudding. They can be bought for you at home or you might like to order some to give to customers or perhaps buy a pudding or two to donate to a food bank. Penelope is coordinating this and can be contacted on . Order close off at the end of the month so if you are keen you need to get orders in now. 
Meat Raffle.
A reprise on the raffle we ran when we held face to face meetings will involve members buying a ticket on-line through Treasurer Kim. When we have 30 tickets sold each ticket/name will get a randomly generated number and the raffle will be drawn. 
As soon as I have the final payment details sorted a further email will be sent out. 
Covid Vaccination Status
An issue that the Board and Club Management have been looking at is covid vaccination status.
This is potentially a divisive issue but is never the less one that we will need to address. 
While we are under any Covid restrictions many potential venues for meetings and visits will require proof of vaccination. 
As a club we can help by assisting those members who need some technical support on setting up and downloading the vaccination passport.
However we will need to know the vaccination status of all members and a survey will be sent out shortly.
Every care will be taken to ensure that this is handled sensitively and with due regard to members privacy. 
Lockdown has given me the opportunity to read and view a wide range of media and publications. 
Some of those sources are based on great journalism and commentary where debate is measured, researched and lucid.   Those publications generally offer equally well written alternative views on the same issues. The reader is left to weigh up the arguments and arrive at a conclusion. 
Then there is the other. Those publications where arguments are cloaked in sophistry, inchoate accusations are made, inappropriate imagery is used and vitriol abounds.  And thats the publications. Once the readers and viewers are given a voice in the comments sections or on social media it actually gets worse. 
When the views,  on a vaccine for example, of a cousin who failed S.C Science are believed to be more authoritative than those of people who have actually studied viruses and vaccines as part of their life work then I think we do have a problem.
Social media and the echo chambers that, that encourages is of course not helping and the ability to attack and diminish anonymously most definitely exacerbates the potential for wild and dangerous ideas to be disseminated. 
"Discourse that was once self- attenuating has become self reinforcing".