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?
The Herald tells us –
Pleurobranchia maculata, or grey side-gilled sea slugs, and the poison they carried, tetrodotoxin (TTX), were linked to the deaths of 13 dogs at Auckland and Coromandel beaches last year and the Auckland Regional Council and other agencies involved in a joint response want the Government to pay for research to find out if the problem is nationwide.
But the Ministry for the Environment is balking at paying for research. It says this is a local problem, and any long-term monitoring should be developed by councils with the Ministry of Health and New Zealand Food Safety Authority.
That’s where we get into a silly row about who should pay.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health has said toxins in the marine environment were a problem for the Environment Ministry and it should be approached for funding.
Meanwhile, the ARC said because of the cost involved, it and others on the response team would continue to seek money from the Government.
Enter the splendid Dr Mapp. He says he will write to Environment Minister Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson and ask them to help secure funding for the research.
That’s how they do things in the Beehive.
Bugger picking up the phone and ringing Nick and Kate, or raising the matter next time you bump into them. You write them a bloody letter.
But here’s the thing that fascinates Alf.
Mapp said the risk of poisoning from sea slugs was low but the risk of harm if you were poisoned by one was high.
“The amount that was fatal [to a person] was as low as half a slug – one teaspoon,” he said.
Great possibilities are immediately opened.
So forget about studying the buggers, Alf says.
Let’s just catch the wee rascals and dish them up to …
Well, to whoever you like. Or rather, dislike
First up on Alf’s list is double murderer Graeme Burton, the bugger with just one leg and a bad attitude, who was described the other day as having an unabated propensity for violence as he was sentenced for a vicious attack on a fellow prison inmate.
That’s why Alf is sharing his ideas with Crusher. He is sure she will love it and is sure to have her own list of nasties to be served slug ‘n’ salad (but not too much of the latter).
Oh, and we certainly must drop these goodies in on Al Qaeda, the Taleban and similar anti-social outfits around the world. The slugs could be packaged in enticing containers with a picture of a handsome fern on the container and the words “product of clean green New Zealand”.
Some bloke in The Mikado warbles a song about his little list of social undesirables.
Alf’s list – by the time he has finished – will be much longer.