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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Let the community decide

September 18, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

The boss of Local Government NZ is blessed with the sort of common sense Alf hopes to see shown by Lands Minister Maurice Williamson, when he decides how Wanganui should be spelled.

He issued a statement today headed Let the Wanganui people choose
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Chronicle is sticking to Wanganui – for now

September 18, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Dunno who they think they are trying to fool at the Wanganui Chronicle.

Its editor is telling the world his newspaper has proudly served Wanganui and the wider region for exactly 153 years.

Editor Kim Gillespie says despite the New Zealand Geographic Board’s recommendation today that the name of the city be changed, there are no current plans to change the name of the newspaper.

But that’s not a permanent position.

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Auckland a world-class city? Fat chance

September 18, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Gotta say Alf’s colleague Wayne Mapp deserves some brownie points for enthusiasm.

In a press release from his office today, he is banging on about the passage yesterday of the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill.

Fully implemented, it will help deliver on National’s commitment to making Auckland a world-class city. We will get better value for our rates, and community control of what matters in our neighbourhoods.


Alf reckons it’s fair enough for Mapp to anticipate better value for rates.

But he’s highly sceptical that anything could turn Auckland into a world-class city, including a miracle.
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Will dropping the “h” be a hanging offence?

September 17, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

It was inevitable, of course, that the Wanganui District Council would consider appealing the New Zealand Geographic Boards’ decision today to insert the letter H in Wanganui.

True, as the Herald reports,

any name change has yet to be approved by Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson, who may confirm, modify or reject it.

But Alf isn’t putting his money on his mate Maurice having the balls to over-ride the board.
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Bugger the benefits – what about Alf’s pay?

September 16, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

They are an unconscionable pack of buggers in the Maori Party.

They were opposed to an emissions trading scheme not too long ago…but now they want to force the Government into increasing benefit payments as part of a deal to support an ETS.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples yesterday revealed hiking benefits to ease price increases caused by the scheme was part of its negotiations with National.
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Let’s not forget the real victim

September 16, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

Alf is a bit scratchy about the headline writers at the NZ Herald today.

He takes issue with Victims have say at Weatherston sentencing atop the rag’s account of the sentencing of Sophie Elliott’s killer, Clayton Weatherston, who will be banged up at least for 18 years.

After a month-long murder trial in which Weatherston, 33, spent hours bragging about his achievements and attacking the character of his dead victim, he was silenced in the same Christchurch courtroom yesterday while Sophie Elliott’s family had their say.

Ms Elliott’s father Gil stood only a couple of metres away as he told Weatherston he was the “epitome of evil”.

Weatherston glanced upward only briefly, unwilling to hold the gaze of the man he had robbed of a daughter.

But it was Sophie who was the victim in this tragic case.

And she had no say in what happens to the crazy bugger who killed her.