For 13 years Otago farmer Johnny Bell farmed during the day and underwent nine hours dialysis at home every second night. Finally he got his kidney transplant in August last year.

It takes courage to do what he did and he wouldn’t have made it without the support of his wife Tanya. Tanya and their children gave him the courage to overcome the setbacks and the low moments. Courage to master the dialysis machine and his fear of needles.

Johnny made dialysis fit around the family and farm. He was able to lead an almost normal life and watch his children grow up.

Courage is needed by people in all sorts of situations. Courage to speak out against discrimination, no matter what the race or gender, to tell the truth regardless of the repercussions.

Courage is needed by our political leaders now more than ever as New Zealand enters difficult times. For nearly three years there has been virtue signalling by this Government.

Many politicians are more concerned about being seen to do the right thing, rather than doing the right thing.
When there was an incident or perceived problem a “solution” would be announced. Rather than work with people at the heart of the problem, the Government takes a sledgehammer approach.

Tough freshwater regulations, climate change legislation and the firearms laws are good examples.

Recently I read a book, Profiles in Courage, written by John F Kennedy before he became president of the United States. It examined a handful of American politicians who at crucial moments in history chose the good of the country at the expense of their political careers.

One Northern senator went against the wishes of his state and party to support a compromise on slavery. It kept the southern states in the Union for another 10 years by which time the North’s industrial and military might was able to beat the South. It ended the senator’s career and his chance to become president, but he died with a clear conscience and the country was forever indebted to him.

Let’s hope we have politicians after September 19 who, as JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”