30 September 2019

How I Voted in Wellington's Local Body Elections, and Why

Voting in Wellington's local body elections closes on 12 October - and postal votes need to be posted before 8 October to make sure they arrive. I live in Pukehīnau /Lambton Ward and have recently voted in that ward, for Wellington Mayor and for the Wellington Ward of Greater Wellington Regional Council. Below are my thoughts on good people to vote for in those three races.

The main issue I voted on is support for stronger action on climate change - both reducing emissions and preparing Wellington for the effects of sea level rise, more flooding etc. 60% of Wellington's emissions come from transport, which makes your Regional Council vote especially important, as they are responsible for land transport in the Wellington region.

If you want an explanation of how the STV voting system used in Wellington works, read this. You should keep ranking candidates until you get to the point that you can't tell them apart any more.

Wellington Mayor: The 3 best candidates on climate action are Conor Hill, Jenny Condie and Norbert Hausberg. Of the 3 candidates most commentators regard as likely winners, I would rank Justin Lester ahead of Andy Foster, and Diane Calvert last. She is endorsed by the Wellington Party and wants "four lanes to the planes". Don't believe her answers on candidate scorecards - look at her actual policies. Also, the Wellington Party is a National Party front - as the Nats are blocking effective climate action nationwide, I ranked Wellington Party candidates last in all cases.

Justin and Andy have pros and cons on climate action. Justin has got it badly wrong in my view in supporting housing development at Shelly Bay and supporting a Wellington Airport runway extension - both major developments at or just above sea level, and both bad ideas in other ways too.

But as Justin is better on low-carbon transport overall - putting walking, cycling, better public transport and mass transit ahead of building more road capacity - and has generally delivered on other issues important to me, I gave Justin a higher ranking than Andy, who is promoting building more roads.

Pukehīnau /Lambton Ward [3 to be elected]: I gave my top 2 preferences to Green candidate Iona Pannett and Independent candidate Tamatha Paul (who are already working together well - check out their joint campaign video!).

Lee Orchard or Brian Dawson might be worth your 3rd ranking: Brian has been good in candidates' meetings, but I have been less impressed with his performance as a Councillor. Nicola Young was the only Wellington councillor to vote against declaring a Climate & Ecological Emergency - sorry, Nicola, but for that I ranked you last!

Wellington Regional Council [5 to be elected from Wellington Ward]: This top 4 stood out for me: Roger Blakeley, Thomas Nash, Victoria Rhodes-Carlin, and Daran Ponter - the first 3 especially are strong on meaningful climate and environmental action, and Daran deserves credit for fronting on bus issues when other Regional Councillors wouldn't.

Roger has a great deal of experience, is committed to getting light rail for Wellington, and has shown an ability to get good things done. Thomas and Victoria are outstanding new candidates who would bring energy, commitment, knowledge and diversity to a Council that has frequently lacked those qualities.

Jill Ford, David Lee, Yvonne Legarth and John Klaphake are all worth serious consideration for your fifth spot and the preferences that follow that. Jill is great on promoting active modes (cycling and walking), and David Lee, who's stepping down from the City Council at this election, has done good work on strongly opposing the proposed airport runway extension, and other climate action.

01 September 2019

Good Reviews on Goodreads For "Where We Land"

My climate fiction (cli-fi) novella Where We Land has been getting good reviews on Goodreads. Here are some excerpts from those reviews:

On Goodreads:

"This novella set in the near future deals with the human impact of the worsening climate crisis.... Amid societal brutality and xenophobia, there are still a few glimmers of compassion.

"This is a beautifully written novella in the cli-fi genre.... The characters are compelling and the story gripping. Highly recommend it!!"

(Read the full reviews here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46028957-where-we-land)

From Tabatha Wood's review for SpecFicNZ:

"Jones talks in depth about human resilience and the determination to survive. The ability to keep going even when all seems lost. He examines our humanity; how we respond to threats and challenges, but ultimately how we, as a global species, behave to one another. The tension is high, the characters relatable, and Jones deftly manoeuvres you into bearing witness to the unfolding plot. He places you squarely in both Nasimul and Donna’s shoes. What would you do if…? he asks."

Read the full review: https://specfic.nz/2019/08/12/book-review-where-we-land-by-tim-jones/

You can read more of Tabatha's reviews and her writing on her blog.

"Where We Land" is a print novella - but you can also buy an earlier version of this story as "Landfall", an ebook from Amazon.

06 August 2019

Winter Readings 2019 – The Black Album Readings: Paekakariki, Saturday 17 August, 1.30-3.30pm

It's been a while since I did a poetry reading, what with the launch of my novella Where We Land!

So I'm very happy to be taking part in the Winter Readings 2019, themed around Metallica's Black Album! Happily, my latest chapbook Big Hair Was Everywhere: Music Poems has a poem about Metallica - even though it refers to an earlier Metallica album, ... And Justice for All, their first album after Cliff Burton's tragic death.

I'll bring along copies of Big Hair Was Everywhere, New Sea Land and Where We Land for sale, and other authors will have their books for sale too. It will be a cash-only, nostalgic time!

You are warmly invited to a poetry reading:

Winter Readings 2019 – The Black Album Readings

This year’s Winter Readings will
be held in August in Paekakariki,
continuing a popular event at the City Gallery
and other venues in Wellington
2003-2008. Each event featured a tribute to an
album or group. This year’s readings form
a tribute to the hard rock group Metallica.

Saturday, 17 August 2019
Poets:  Michael O’Leary (Paekakariki), Alex Jeune,
Margaret Jeune, Mark Pirie, Mary Campbell and
Tim Jones (Wellington) and Jeremy Roberts (Hawke’s Bay).
MC: Rob Hack

Venue: St Peter’s Hall, Beach Rd, Paekakariki.
Time: 1.30-3.30pm.

Admission to the reading is by koha. Books for
sale from 1.15pm.

Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop (ESAW) will publish
an anthology of poems (free with koha) by the
readers featured to celebrate the event.

Winter Readings are presented by:

HeadworX Publishers

Paekakariki Community Trust

Poetry Archive Trust

Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop

Metallica, still going strong in the rain in 2019

22 July 2019

Where We Launch and Where We Land

"Where We Land" on display

It's been almost a week since the launch of my novella "Where We Land", No. 1 in The Cuba Press Novella Series, at VicBooks Pipitea Campus - and now the book is out there in bookshops, making its own way in the world. Here's news of how to buy a copy, a Radio New Zealand interview, and the launch itself.

How to buy a copy of Where We Land

You can:

- buy it from a local independent bookstore that stocks it - in Wellington, I know that VicBooks and Unity are stocking the book
- order it through your local NZ bookstore. If you need the ISBN, it's 9781988595023
- or if you don't have a local NZ bookstore, order the book here: https://thecubapress.nz/shop/where-we-land/.

Radio New Zealand interview with Jesse Mulligan

I talked with Jesse Mulligan of Radio New Zealand Afternoons on Monday 22 July. We discussed what cli-fi (climate change fiction is), the climate emergency we face, the need for climate change fiction to work as fiction rather than polemic, and The Cuba Press Novella Series. Listen here:


Launch Photos

Photos by Mary McCallum for The Cuba Press:

Some of the audience for the launch

Janis Freegard launches "Where We Land"

Tim Jones reads an excerpt from the novella - as seen in Tom Cardy's Facebook video.

Photos by Constance Talbot: 

Paul, Adam, Bev, Mel, Ellen

Craig, Ryn

?, Leonie

Mark B, Mary, Harvey, Latika, Mark P, Clare

?, Dileepa, Kate, Constance

Tim, Peter, Kate

The name attributions are by me - if your name is missing or mis-spelled, please let me know and I will correct it!

I was very happy with the launch - thanks to the diligent efforts of VicBooks, The Cuba Press, and Janis Freegard who gave an excellent launch speech, plus everyone who came along! Thanks to Constance Talbot and The Cuba Press for taking launch photos.

"Mark B" in the third photo from bottom is Mark Blackham, whose climate fiction novella "A Sea of Wretched Shells" will be published as No. 2 in The Cuba Press Novella Series in December 2019. Mark read an excerpt from his new novella at the launch. I'm looking forwards to reading it.

18 June 2019

Invitation: "Where We Land" Book Launch, Tues 16 July, 5.30pm, Wellington

You are warmly invited to the launch of my novella "Where We Land". Here are the launch details:

Date: Tuesday 16 July
Time: 5.30pm
Venue: VicBooks, Pipitea Campus, Ground Floor, Rutherford House, 27 Lambton Quay, Wellington

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/596641077527865/

Can't make it? No worries - "Where We Land" is now available for pre-order from The Cuba Press: https://thecubapress.nz/shop/where-we-land/. Order now and beat the rush :-)

What's it about? Check out the blurb:

"A New Zealand Navy frigate torpedoes a boat full of refugees fleeing a drowning country and Nasimul Rahman is one of the few survivors. First he has to reach the shore alive and then he has to avoid the trigger-happy Shore Patrol, on alert to stop climate change refugees entering the country.

Donna is new to the Patrol. When word comes through that the Navy has sunk a ship full of infiltrators and survivors might be making their way ashore, it sounds like she might get to see some action.

A tale of desperation and betrayal on a shrinking shore in the not too distant future."

This is the first standalone print edition of this novella, which was first published, titled "Landfall", by Paper Road Press in 2015 as an ebook.

I hope you'll be able to make it! Please share this invitation with your friends and contacts.

03 June 2019

"Where We Land": Coming this July from The Cuba Press

Coming this July from The Cuba Press - my novella "Where We Land"! More details soon, but here's the cover.

This is a reprint of my 2015 novella Landfall, published by Paper Road Press as an ebook.

This new print edition is available for preorder here: https://thecubapress.nz/shop/where-we-land/

And here's the blurb!

A New Zealand Navy frigate torpedoes a boat full of refugees fleeing a drowning country and Nasimul Rahman is one of the few survivors. First he has to reach the shore alive and then avoid the trigger-happy Shore Patrol, set up to stop climate change refugees entering the country.

Donna is new to the Patrol. When word comes through that the Navy has sunk a ship full of infiltrators, and survivors might be making their way ashore, it sounds like she might get to see some action. A tale of desperation and betrayal on a shrinking shore in the not too distant future.

28 April 2019

Big Hair Will Be Everywhere On Friday 3 May

My hair follicles don't really let me do big hair anymore. But all the same, I've got a new poetry chapbook, Big Hair Was Everywhere: Music Poems.

It will be making its public debut in Wellington on Friday 3 May from 6.30-7.30pm, when I'm reading as part of the Pegasus Poetry Series 2019 with Sam Duckor-Jones, Chris Price, and Chris Tse: distinguished company to read in!

I'll have copies of the chapbook available for $5 - just come and see me before or after the reading. You'll need to pay cash, and I'll have change available.

Big Hair Was Everywhere is No. 34 in the ESAW Mini Series. Here's the cover photo, an alarmingly chirpy picture of me.

And here's the poem from which the title is taken:

The Home Of Country Music

We spent the first day of the Gold Guitar Awards
thrashing …And Justice for All in Andrew’s flat,
taking turns to lift and flip the vinyl.

We mourned Cliff Burton, killed in a bus crash in Sweden,
and pondered the mystery of new kid Jason’s missing bass.
Metallica’s producer knew shit about separation.

We walked down Main Street to the pie cart. Town
thrummed with the energy of competition, musicians
toting pedal steels down Mersey Street.

Big hair was everywhere, bouffants teased
and primped towards infinity. ‘Simple country girls’
and honky-tonk angels vied for the next available chair

as the hairdressers made their annual killing. Men
rechristened Tex for the occasion swaggered in Stetsons,
ordering Jack Daniels instead of their usual DB Draught.

It meant nothing to us, this frenzy of false eyelashes
and fake tans. We returned to Andrew’s upstairs flat,
dropped the needle on “Blackened” again. Jane,

finishing her pie, rested her head on Andrew’s shoulder.
I was too busy with rapidly cooling mince to be jealous.
I fucking hate this town, I said.

Credit note: "The Home of Country Music" was first published, in a slightly different form, in takahē 89 (April 2017).

24 March 2019

Poem of the Month for March - "On The One", from my new chapbook of music poems, "Big Hair Was Everywhere"

If not for that ship I’d have been Rod Temperton.
If not for emigration I’d have remained
In Cleethorpes, where I was born,
Worked in Grimsby for Ross Frozen Foods,
Played in dance bands in my spare time.

Learned to write songs. Joined Heatwave,
A funk band formed by a Vietnam War vet.
Written “Boogie Nights”, that impossibly
Inescapable hit of 1976. Watch that vid
And you’d see me off in the corner,
Playing keyboards and adding harmonies,
Immortalised in a scoop-neck ‘70s vest, singing
“Got to keep on dancing, keep on dancing…”

Been recruited by Quincy Jones, a man
With good ears, to write songs for Michael Jackson.
“Rock with You”, some other hits, and then
The big one: “Thriller”. Everything: words, music,
Even that cheesy spoken-word bit that Vincent Price
Perfected on just his second take.

I’d have coasted along after that,
Staying cheerfully obscure, the unknown
Local boy made good in Hollywood
Till the cosmic actuary’s dice came up snake eyes.

I could have been you, Rod, if we hadn’t left,
If I’d had the slightest glimmering of musical ability.
Could have worked in that fish factory till it went bust,
ironed my funky vests, played in a covers band
And waited for that big break to come:
A ghost Tim, strutting the streets of Grimsby,
Suit sharp, still funky, always on the one.

Credit note: "On the One" appears in my new poetry chapbook Big Hair Was Everywhere: music poems, Number 34 in the ESAW mini series, published by Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop (Paekarariki, 2019), ISBN 978-1-86942-163-0. It is previously unpublished, and was written for inclusion in the chapbook. Tim says: Music was important to my parents, and it's important to me - many different genres of music, despite the fact I can't play a note other than Middle C. My new chapbook Big Hair Was Everywhere brings together my recent poems about music into one neat little A6 package - available from me for $5! Chase me up for a copy at forthcoming poetry readings.

26 February 2019

Poem of the Month for February: "Fire", by Tim Jones

It's time to restart "Poem of the Month" for 2019. I've chosen a newish one of my own to start with. I've just had a chapbook published that has some of my happier, chirpier poems of recent times - and I'll tell you more about that soon.

But this isn't one of those poems. I didn't know about Extinction Rebellion when I wrote it, but now that I do, I'm dedicating it to them and their work.


Fire crawls a sigil up the flagpoles of the world,
erupts in updraft and swirl. Cars torch
like eucalypts, like houses. We seek out
the lowlands, retreat to floodplains, but fire

snaps at the edges, each hectare of letterbox
and ornamental shrub an open invitation. Go
lower, go deeper: crawl to the level of worms,
cowering from the circling threats above.

Every season now is fire season, prodigies
of heat extending tendrils into winter’s
vanishing comfort and hurt, sacrificing
spring’s new growth at blackened birth.

Our infrastructure flakes off like dead skin,
like burning cladding so carelessly applied
when the air was kinder, built to standards
designed for a more forgiving world.

Money still has meaning. There are enclaves,
protections available only to the super-rich,
illusions of safety and permanence. With
enough cash in hand you can relocate

to sheltered valleys, islands buffered
by the slower-warming sea, the greening remnants
of the worlds of ice – twin Goldilocks zones,
two thin rings of life receding polewards.

Or depart the surface world entirely, descend
to the cool of caves and abandoned tunnels
for a life of hydroponic food, recollected pleasures,
imitation picture windows set against blank rock,

gaze averted from the fire that burns above. Flame
swirls the sky, converting atmosphere from oxygen
to soot. The long spiral of lightning and accident
that sped us from campfires to mastery,

our history of combustion, now rains ashes
on our heads. This was always our endpoint,
foreshadowed when some hominid, transfixed,
reached out to grasp the embers of a forest fire.

30 January 2019

The Pegasus Poetry Series 2019, Starting Friday 8 February: What A Lineup!

Therese Lloyd and Pegasus Books have organised a wonderful series of poetry readings in Wellington, spanning the whole year.

The readings are on Friday nights at Pegasus Books in the Left Bank off Cuba Mall, starting at 6.30pm.

Just look at the lineup below!

Here are the contact details for Pegasus Books, from their website which includes a map:

Pegasus Books
Shop 204 Left Bank Cuba Mall
PO Box 27335 Marion Square
Te Aro
Wellington 6011
New Zealand
Email: pegasusbooksnz [at] gmail.com
Telephone: (+64) 04-384-4733

I'm very pleased that Therese has included me in the third reading in this series, on May the 3rd, with Sam Duckor-Jones, Chris Price, and Chris Tse. I'll be reading from my latest collection, New Sea Land (Mākaro Press, 2016), and all being well, I'll also have a new chapbook at the reading, Big Hair Was Everywhere.

The Pegasus Poetry Series 2019

Feb 8 Airini Beautrais Maria McMillan, essa ranapiri, Harry Ricketts

March 22 Janis Freegard, Harvey Molloy, Claire Orchard, Magnolia Wilson

May 3 Sam Duckor-Jones, Tim Jones, Chris Price, Chris Tse

June 14 Jo Emeney, Siobhan Harvey, Tracey Slaughter, Ashleigh Young

July 26 Anahera Gildea, Helen Lehndorf, Frankie Samuel, Michael Steven

Optional National Poetry Day Reading (August 23) tbc

Sep 6 Jenny Bornholdt, Lynn Jenner, Anne Kennedy, Greg O’Brien

Oct 18 AJ Anderson-O'Connor, Jane Arthur, Carolyn DeCarlo, Mary McCallum

Nov 29 Amy Brown, Helen Heath, Hannah Mettner, Jackson Nieuwland

In other news, in addition to my Twitter, I now have the beginnings of a presence on Instagram:

And, saving the best till last, this may finally be the year I move off Blogger! Though, in that regard, I haven't moved much further than lento to adagio.