Splat – the sound of Sue spitting the dummy

September 25, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

The Green Party’s Sue Bradford took some time to spit the dummy. But – at last – it has been spat.

She has announced her resignation, saying the Greens’ decision not to elect her co-leader was personally disappointing and she is ready for a change.

Alf is delighted. He thought she would be around for much too long after she lost the co-leadership vote.

This discomforting prospect was raised by the an item at the time in the NZ Herald.
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Yep – it looks like City was robbed

September 25, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Here’s a job for analysts with plenty of spare time on their hands: find out if the All Blacks are disadvantaged by referees when it comes to playing extra time away from home.

Alf raises the issue after reading a fascinating piece in The Guardian by Howard Davies – a Manchester City supporter of more than 50 years – who was dismayed in the last minute of last Sunday’s match against Manchester United.

Manchester United scored the winning goal in that period of play.

For the first time for years, the good guys matched the red devils kick for kick – until the last one, five and a half minutes into four minutes of extra time. We was robbed, innit?

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Maori student leaders oppose freedom of association

September 23, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Maori Tertiary students are opposing the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill and urge the National Party Caucus to support the status quo, according to Jacqualene Poutu, a big cheese in the National Māori Tertiary Students Association.

We may suppose this really means that Poutu and a few others will be opposing the Bill. There must be some Maori students out there who don’t give a shit, one way or the other, and some who would enthusiastically support Sir Roger.

Or for some curious reasons unknown to Alf, do all Maori students support the principle of compulsory membership?
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The daffy ambition of turning gold to blue

September 23, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Tinkering with the colour of flowers is high on Alf’s list of useless activities.

He therefore groaned at the news that –
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Let’s salute a male MP who can multi-task

September 22, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Alf is disappointed to hear of a colleague being dobbed in after being caught reading while driving on an Auckland motorway.

Nope. He is not commenting because he disapproves of what the MP has done. Rather, he is expressing his disappointment that the woman who dobbed him in thinks she was doing her public duty by reporting the matter to the NZ Herald.

Why not report it to the Police, if she felt so strongly about the road safety implications? And if she did report it to the Police, why also go to the Herald?

By going to a newspaper, surely, this harpie shows her purpose was not to bring the MP to book but to embarrass him politically.

Alf also notes the absence of any suggestion that the MP was driving erratically, or on the wrong side of the road, or anything untoward.

The version of the story reported in the ODT says –

Hunua MP Paul Hutchison had papers spread across his steering wheel and an astonished motorist who called police said it looked like he was practising a speech, The New Zealand Herald reported today.

Janice Barr from Ohaupo, near Hamilton, said the four-wheel-drive vehicle had Dr Hutchison’s name and National Party colours on it.

Dr Hutchison said today he was sorry.

“It was very unwise, I was doing the wrong thing and I think the lady was absolutely right in dobbing me in,” he said. He had been distracted at the time by a large workload and was not concentrating, he said.

“It is very embarrassing.”

Dunno what the fuss is about. As the ODT’s account points out, there is no specific offence for reading while driving, although Dr Hutchison reckons there is a case for making it an offence because “it was not acceptable.”

He also has come up with his own ideas for punishing himself.

“Perhaps the lady could sentence me to picking up… paper on the road for a few hours, because I do realise this was something that was not good for the community and could have caused harm to other people.”

But Alf reckons the complainant should have been delighted to find a male MP who can multi-task. Betcha she won’t find anyone who can read and drive in Labour’s ranks.

Come to think of it, there’s a fair chance of finding Labour MPs who struggle to read at the best of times.

Good questions about health costs and equality

September 21, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Alf has done a lot of thinking about our health system, while his broken bones mend.

He’s not alone and is delighted to learn from his latest dip into the New York Times that a bloke he admires, N. Gregory Mankiw, has been thinking about it too.

Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard and was an adviser to President George W. Bush.

Mankiw, of course, has focussed on the American health system. It might differ from ours in many fundamental respects, but the underlying principles are the same.

And at the end of the day, health services are expensive.
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Mind-numbing road stats

September 19, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Dunno if Alf has lost his marbles, but he is bemused by a press statement from the Ministry of Transport headed Crash Stats Show Road Safety Issues

An example of the meaningless data included in this statement:
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