Great – a gong for the wind, but those lesser awards for policy wonks leave a sour taste

December 31, 2009

Mrs Grumble is keeping out of Alf’s way today, as she usually does when the new year and birthday honours lists are published.

She knows full well that Alf will be grouchy for a day or two because he has been overlooked yet again for a title.

He will be especially grouchy this time, because one of the big gongs has gone to Helen Clark.

Alf bitterly recalls that knighthoods and damehoods – some of the plums for being part of the glorious British Commonwealth of Nations – were scrapped under her leadership.

Now she has been awarded the country’s highest honour, membership of the Order of New Zealand, in the New Year Honours announced this morning.

The former prime minister becomes the 17th member of an order that can have no more than 20 living New Zealanders as members at any time.

Yesterday, taking a break from her schedule as administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, she looked every bit a former Labour Party leader, dressed in a red jacket at the Waihi Beach home of her parents, Margaret and George.

She said the award came as a surprise. “I really didn’t expect it. But the reality is that, generally, people from previous administrations have been recognised, so I guess the same traditions apply. Perhaps it was the timing of it.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We Nats have spent the past decade trying to tip her and her gaggle of leftie social engineers out of office, complaining all the while about how they are botching things and making New Zealand a place that is encouraging emigration.

Now we reward her.

And get this…

The honour’s citation simply says, “For services to New Zealand”.

For what?

That’s a bit like Alf having to pay his builder “for services rendered,” even though the clumsy bugger punctured a water pipe and the plumber had to be hired to put things right.

Then there are those lesser gongs that have been doled out to buggers who – so far as Alf can see – have done nothing much more than their jobs as public servants.

There’s nothing personal in the examples Alf cites here. It’s just that they are blokes who have been quietly getting on their work as bureaucrats.

Example number one: Timothy Charles Robert Horner, Otaki, for services to the New Zealand Customs Service.

Horner – Alf understands – is or was the Customs Service Group Manager Policy. A policy wonk, in other words.

He has managed Customs’ policy work since his appointment in 1998, leading a gang of wonks who provide advice to the Government and the Minister of Customs on border management issues, including international trade and international relations.

In effect, he has been rewarded for a decade of wonking.

And before that?

He joined Customs from the Department of Internal Affairs where he served for 20 years, initially as a manager in the Local Government division, and later as the Department’s Policy Manager for Gaming, Citizenship and Heritage issues.

Betcha his pants have a real shiny patch around the bum.

Then there’s an award to one Alan Bryan Kerr, of Wellington, for services to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

He’s another policy wonk.

Alf recalls a written question being put to Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton in 2007, back in the days when our capital city was Helengrad.

The question was put by our David Carter – a bloke who is worthy of an honour – who wanted to know who were the members of the Primary Industries Summit Steering Group.

The list of names supplied in reply included that of Alan Kerr (Director, International Policy, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry)…

On the other hand, Alf applauds the knighthood awarded to Arthur Douglas Myers, CBE, of London, for services to business and the community.

Myers was a beer baron, the boss of Lion Nathan.

His firm makes Steinlager, which makes Alf merry, if consumed in sufficient quantities. It also makes him burp.

Hence Myers can be said to have been honoured for his contribution to Alf’s belching – a gong for the wind.


Icecream has melted from today’s news from Cathedral Cove – so has the grumblers’ credibility

December 30, 2009

Alf is pleased to bring you this follow-up to his post yesterday about the march of progress into Cathedral Cove.

Despite angering some locals, young entrepreneur Shanan Laird says he has had good feedback from tourists visiting his gazebo at Cathedral Cove.

He’s come under fire from angry locals for buggering up the scenery, but he tells us tourists are relieved to see him at the end of a long, hot walk, and that he is leaving the white-sand beach cleaner than he finds it each day.

Shanan Laird, 31, said he had had nothing but positive feedback from visitors – and only two negative comments from locals – since he began selling drinks and sandwiches at the untouched spot, 30 minutes’ walk from the road.

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Anger in Paradise – or the delicious humbug of an icecream stall raising the heat in Hahei

December 29, 2009

Alf is delighted this morning to find humbug alive and thriving in the Coromandel.

It was a gorgeous place, once, until the holiday-makers and property developers moved in and many of the most beautiful beaches quickly were converted into something resembling Auckland suburbia.

Now – the NZ Herald is telling us today – the buggers who live in the houses that have spoiled the Coromandel are complaining about a bloody icecream stall.

The hypocrisy is delicious.

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Slow down with that electricity shake-up, Gerry – the hacks at The Press need time to catch up

December 28, 2009

A scribbler by name of Paul Gorman seems to be a bit slow on the uptake when it comes to electricity matters.

He is gushing to his Press readers today about the Government’s review of the electricity sector jeopardising the green reputation of one of its biggest money-spinners.

Giant state-owned South Island generator and retailer Meridian Energy’s multimillion-dollar carbon-neutral generating status will be threatened if the recommendations of a review – requested by Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee – are adopted.

Brownlee’s review proposes stripping two key power stations from Meridian’s Waitaki River hydro scheme and giving them to North Island state-owned enterprise Genesis Energy.

Meridian would then be given the Government’s emergency diesel-powered generator at Whirinaki in Hawke’s Bay.

Meridian’s generation is hydro or wind-powered, although it sells thermally generated electricity when lakes are low.

The threat to Meridian’s green reputation was obvious – of course – to anyone who was paying attention about a fortnight ago.

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It’s a shame Mrs Meads isn’t with us to give her side of the story about a homicide in Matamata

December 27, 2009

The Sunday Star-Times has dished up a sickening pot of pap today after tracking down the horse-breeder accused of shooting dead his missus at their Matamata home.

It’s a very one-sided story, because she is not around to give her account of what happened.

The scribe at the SST has allowed the bugger to make the most of Mrs Meads’ inability to put a different spin on things – he is quoted as saying he is “not a killer” and that he “never wanted to see her dead”.

Alf would like the SST to have written a very different story by asking the authorities why the bugger is out on bail.

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It would be news if it told us why Paris Hilton no longer believes in Santa Claus

December 25, 2009

There’s an extraordinary package of pap masquerading as news on Stuff this morning.

We are told Paris Hilton believed in Santa Claus until she was 16.

The important bit of the story is missing. Why did she stop believing at age 16?

The socialite thought the festive character was real until she was in her mid-teens and still makes her mother Kathy Hilton put out a stocking full of presents on Christmas Day so she can pretend he has paid her a visit.

She said: “We usually open our presents first thing in the morning. I’m like a kid at this time of year and I just can’t wait. I literally believed in Santa Claus until I was around 16!

“My mum still puts a stocking out for me so I can still pretend.”

What does she mean pretend?

Alf still believes in Santa Claus at the age of …

Well, let’s say he is of mature years.

And let me tell you, dear readers, that Santa dropped by over night as he always does at Christmas. Alf awoke this morning to find a splendid bottle of single malt in his Christmas stocking along with a new tie (it’s got a neat picture of Her Majesty the Queen waving to her admirers on it) and a pair of sox.


A terrible toss-up between siding with tax-trimming bankers or with brain-taxing wankers

December 24, 2009

Alf has never been a champion of the banks and the bankers who run them. He has been especially sour about the buggers since they pulled out of Eketahuna.

But the sadsack socialists at The Standard are more loathesome than bankers.

Today a bloke called Eddie is banging on about the big bucks owed to the IRD.

The banks, who tried to rip us off to the tune of $2.6 billion, have agreed to pay us $2.2 billion.

I don’t get it. We’ve spent tens of millions so far on court cases to get our money. We’ve won every case.

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