The Jones boy is acting mighty peculiar with his reform ideas and should surrender his knighthood

February 28, 2010

Alf observes that Bob Jones is named – alongside Peta Mathias, CK Stead and Rob Hamill – among prominent New Zealanders who have come out in support of Green MP Keith Locke’s bill for a referendum on the monarchy.

Bringing his name into the argument does us a favour. It reminds us of the sorts of people who may well finish up as our President if we lose our marbles and scrap the monarchy.

We are a country increasingly hungry for news about the antics of celebrities rather than about the deeds and ideas that affect us as citizens. If it was put to the vote, accordingly, Her Majesty would be displaced by somebody like Jones, Paul Henry or Paul Holmes’ headline-hogging step-daughter.

President Jones doesn’t have the same ring, for Alf, as Queen Elizabeth.
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Court staff should be pilloried – not the holidaying judge – after unfortunate aborting of a rape trial

February 27, 2010

Don’t believe everything the newspapers tell you in their increasingly desperate efforts to lure you into reading a story.

A good example pops up in the Weekend Herald: Holiday for judge aborts rape trial.

Bugger me, Alf thought. Have the wheels of justice ground to a halt in a rape case because the judge flitted off for a vacation?

Alf’s sense that the judge had caused some sort of judicial mayhem was heightened by the Herald’s introductory paragraph:

A rape complainant will be forced to give evidence twice after the trial of her alleged attacker was aborted because the judge went on an overseas holiday.

Good grief. Not only will the unfortunate complainant have to go through the ordeal of testifying and being cross-examined all over again.

Taxpayers will have to pay for a second trial.

The bloody judge should have stalled her holiday plans, surely.
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Auckland – where the sad locals are astounded by a pedaller enjoying a ride on their motoways

February 26, 2010

Alf delighted in reading the Herald’s story headed Giggling cyclist hits motorway.

It’s about a bloke in a bright orange high-visibility vest and crash helmet who threw Auckland motorists into a tizz by joining motorway traffic on Auckland’s Newmarket Viaduct yesterday.

Sad bastards, your Aucklanders, when they can get so excited about someone on a bicycle sharing their road space.

Or are they surprised by someone actually enjoying being on one of their bloody motorways, so much so that he got a giggle out of the experience?
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Coup leader is threatening to pull Fiji out of the Commonwealth – so let’s joyfully watch him do it

February 25, 2010

Wonder where Barmy Banana learned the art of diplomacy. His practice of it verges on the preposterous.

Alf had a laughing fit this morning on learning that Fiji’s coup leader is threatening to pull out of the Commonwealth, which he says continues to meddle in attempts to move Fiji forward.

That’s somewhat akin to members of the Mongrel Mob threatening to move to another neighbourhood.
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Some fishy business around customary rights – do we need kaitiaki to keep an eye on the kaitiaki?

February 24, 2010

So who guards the guardians?

Alf is prompted to pose this question on learning that –

A senior Maori guardian of a Hawke’s Bay customary food gathering area is facing charges after allegedly misleading fisheries officers.

Rangi Spooner, 53, of Napier, is the kaitiaki, or guardian, for the area between Napier and Waikare River.

The prosecution of a kaitiaki doesn’t only resurrect the hoary old question of who guards the guardians. It also raises fascinating questions about some of the bollocks we are fed about Maori and their traditional upholding of strong environmental values.

You know the story. Maori protected the environment. Then the bloody Pakeha came along and the devastation began.

One wailing wahine on this topic is Jessica Hutchings. Alf believes she is a lecturer in Maori environmental management at Victoria University and part of Nga Wahine Tiaki o Te Ao Marama (Maori women guardians of the world of light).

A Maori woman guardian of the world of light?

That’s got to be a joke, huh?

Nah. They take this stuff real seriously.

Anyway, Hutchings gives us a good idea of how some Maori see themselves and their conservationist values.

It is impossible to separate Maori values from environmental values. They are one and the same. Pre-colonisation, Maori were entirely dependent on the environment, which in turn shaped and reaffirmed cultural ways of being, beliefs and cosmologies.

Maori relationships with the environment varied from tribe to tribe according to tribal histories, herstories, protocols and geographic tribal boundaries. However, guardianship of the land and resources for secular and non-secular use was pre-dominant. Our kaitiakitanga (guardianship) role sustained and nurtured both tribal nations and our environments.

This relationship creates a dynamic holism within the social, political, cultural and ethical environments, it comes with an inherited inter-generational responsibility to protect.

Today there is still an urgency and deep commitment to maintain this dynamic holistic balance and to protect Maori lands from the cultural pollution of genetic modification which multi-nationals are trying to force onto us.

Wonder what Jessica will make of the case of Rangi Spooner, when she gets around to writing a herstory – ha! – of fisheries guardianship.

Spooner’s Government-appointed position allows him to issue customary fishing permits.

The Dominion Post reported that the Fisheries Ministry said Spooner issued a permit to David Rotarangi, 45, and Jason Brown, 29, allowing them to fish on November 6 and 7.

However, fisheries officers discovered the men on November 8 at Clifton, south of Napier, allegedly with extra seafood – much of it undersized – and the permit altered to include the extra day.

The men told the officers they had called Spooner that morning and had altered the permit with his verbal permission.

It was alleged Spooner told the officers he had taken the call and given the men permission to alter the permit.

However, phone records showed no such call was made.

Fisheries officers said Rotarangi and Brown were found with 59 rock lobster, 51 of which were undersized, and 384 kina.

Customary permits allow holders to exceed the usual daily catch limits, and to catch undersized fish, but because the permit was considered void, the usual catch and size limits applied.

So what are we to make of this affirmation there is one law for one race and another law for others in this country?

Recreational fishers are allowed to take up to 50 kina and six rock lobster per day.

Fair to say, there may well be a good explanation for all this and the accused trio will be found not guilty.

They have been jointly charged with obstructing a fisheries officer while in the execution of his duty and for making a false or misleading statement to fisheries officers.

Rotarangi and Brown also face charges of taking excess and undersize rock lobster and excess kina.

They appeared in Hastings District Court last week and were remanded without plea until next month.

One thing that strikes Alf is that the fisheries officials have built their case around phone calls that were or were not made.

This could well result in the three accused being freed. Telecom has been going through such a rough patch, you wouldn’t want to put too much faith in the credibility of any phone records it might provide.

Forget about Crusher Collins – let’s persuade her to become Slugger with this tasty idea

February 23, 2010

Alf has an idea for our Corrections Minister, the admirable Crusher Collins. Our Defence Minister, Wayne Mapp, is smart enough to see the possibilities, too.

Alf’s fertile mind was activated by news that Mapp, wearing his Research, Science and Technology hat, is thinking about coughing up good public money to help study toxic sea slugs.

As the NZ Herald reports today, scientists want to know how far the highly poisonous slugs have spread and why they have suddenly become toxic. But the Environment Ministry and other government departments have so far refused to pay.

Toxic snails? How toxic?
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The quick and the dead: a tragic but avoidable demise for tearaway lunatics

February 22, 2010

So you are hooning down the road, erratically or at high speed or both, when a police siren tells you the game is up. You’ve been lumbered.

What’s the smart thing to do?

Yep. Pull over.

Only if you get your kicks from games like Russian roulette or sky-diving without a parachute do you put your foot down to shake off the cops.

And if you opt to take the thrill-seeking option, what do you reckon the cops will do?

Oh, yes. They will give chase. That’s when the fun kicks in.

And when you finish up dead after losing control of your vehicle – or worse, if you wipe out innocent law- abiding third parties – who should cop the responsibility?
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Explanations, please, on who made a killing from the promotion – then demotion – of Allied Farmers

February 21, 2010

Alf is hoping our Commerce Minister, the splendid Simon Power, will whistle Mark Weldon across to the Beehive this week for a “please explain”.

Weldon, of course, is the Chief Executive of the NZX and was a member of the Capital Market Development Taskforce. The task force came up with a bundle of ideas for improving that bit of our financial system.

Last week, Power was saying the Government shared the taskforce’s view that capital markets are key to improving the financial wellbeing of all New Zealanders and a vital source of finance for business.
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There’s one reason (maybe) to get Bethune off the Shonan Maru – but would it stop the headlines?

February 20, 2010

The missus of buccaneering Pete Bethune, the barmy bloke who boarded the Shonan Maru 2 in the early hours of Sunday morning, has made a great case for leaving him where he is, which probably is locked up in the brig.

It’s that he is nothing but an attention-seeker and headline-grabler.

At least one Labour MP wants the Government to step in and get him off the boat which he voluntarily climbed aboard to make an impossible if not preposterous citizen’s arrest.

“Pete Bethune is a great New Zealander and deserves more support than he’s currently getting from the Government,” said Labour MP Darien Fenton on the blog Red Alert.

But why?

To give him more publicity, which seems to be his oxygen?
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Auckland – where they demolish pubs, shove the church aside and venerate their sewage pipes

February 19, 2010

Alf’s jaundiced opinion of Auckland is given magnificent reinforcement this morning by news of a bloody sewage pipe being given something akin to heritage status.

The pipe in Hobson Bay has been pumping sewage and water to treatment plants in Auckland for 98 years.

Now, Watercare Services plans to keep part of it as a monument to the structure’s vital role in the city’s history.

The bit that will be kept is described by the the NZ Herald as an eyesore and a blot on the landscape.

That description covers the Blues rugby team, come to think of it.

Aucklanders obviously get their buzz from venerating such structures, including Mayor Banks.
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