Keep an eye out for the next batch of Government appointments to important jobs. Or to the not-so-important ones, come to think of it.
So long as a minister does the appointing and a few bucks are dished out to the appointees for their work, Alf is interested.
He has been quietly promoting the name of Mrs Grumble among his mates in the Cabinet, urging them to give her a go on one of the boards whose memberships they control.
Sure, you can call it nepotism or jobs for the boys (and gals). But hey – what’s the point of being an MP if you can’t push your missus’s barrow and try to land a bit of extra dosh for the family.
Alf is confident the close family relationship won’t be an issue, politically, in the case of Mrs Grumble becoming chairman of whatever might come our way. It certainly hasn’t been an issue for the polytechnic council appointments just announced. They include Police Minister Judith Collins’ husband, David Wong-Tung.
Oh, and former National Party Cabinet minister Roger Sowry has landed one of the jobs, too. Well done, Roger.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce made a number of appointments to polytechnic councils this week after a restructuring of the sector last year which shrinks the size of the councils from a maximum of 20 to just eight.
Mr Wong-Tung has been appointed to the Manukau Institute of Technology council and Mr Sowry to the Whitereia Community Polytechnic and Wellington Institute of Technology.
The biographical notes provided with the announcement do not mention that Mr Wong-Tung is the husband of Ms Collins. A former police officer, he is now a barrister and director of finance company Golden Trust Finance. He was also a director of the Savoy Group property development company.
Since National came to power, Mr Sowry has also been appointed to the Electricity Commission.
Alf doesn’t imagine that the biographical notes will mention Mrs Grumble’s relationship to the member for Eketahuna North, if and when she lands a job. Probably the notes won’t mention much, because Mrs Grumble hasn’t done much outside of the Grumble household, although she has won a few prizes for her scones down at the CWI.
Alf is chuffed about Roger’s appointment to one of those polytech jobs, by the way. He was born in Palmerston North, but attended Tararua College in Pahiatua – just up the road from here in Eketahuna – where he was head boy. We are proud of him.
He went on to become a shoe salesman, giving him a firm footing for running the country as a cabinet minister.
Inevitably, there is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the polytech appointments.
These grizzles are coming from opponents of the changes the Government has made to the polytechnic sector. They are wailing about it meaning community and student representatives are left out.
Labour spokeswoman Maryan Street said the appointments were heavily weighted with business experience which left out genuine community representatives.
The downsizing of councils had removed the requirement for student, staff and local community representatives and she said this did not bode well for proper representation.
But Alf likes the way we Nats are doing things, so we run the bloody country, not the elected representatives of communities, who are much too apt to want to do what their communities want done. Bugger that.
Hence we are turning Auckland into a super city with a governance system that enables us to pull the strings in Wellington.
The sacking of the Canterbury Regional Council and hiring of Maggie Bazley and a bunch of commissioners to run a big chunk of the South Island was an even greater triumph.
Under the new polytechnic structure, the minister chooses four council members and the remainder are elected by the council itself.
As for Mrs Grumble, Alf fancies a job for her on the Alcohol Advisory Council. He hopes she will curb some of its zeal for turning New Zealand into a more sober country.
She might have to wait a bit. Health Minister Tony Ryall made a batch of appointments a few months ago.
Health Minister Tony Ryall has announced that Mr Rea Wikaira is the new chair of the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC), and there are two new board members.
This Wikaira bloke is chair of the Auckland Primary Health Organisation and Executive Trustee of the Central Region Emergency Services Trust
This means he wasn’t desperately in need of another job, whereas Mrs Grumble has no similar competing claims on her time. She could devote all her energies to ALAC business, when she is not cooking Alf’s dinner, ironing his shirts, keeping his liquor cabinet well supplied, and so on.
Also joining the board at that time was Dr Ian Miller, a registered psychologist who has worked for both the Justice Department and the New Zealand Police, and Mrs Barbara Docherty, who has 25 years primary health care nursing experience at clinical, educational, policy, and research levels.
She is the Director of Training and Development Services for the Brief Interventions for Harmful Behaviours Unit at the University of Auckland, which sounds like a load of old bollocks to Alf. It’s by no means an indication that she knows much about liquor consumption and how to find one’s way home after spending an evening in the Eketahuna Club with one’s mates.
This Miller bloke has clinical expertise in the area of alcohol misuse and its harms, “and understanding human motivations,” according to Ryall’s announcement. He is also a member of the New Zealand Psychologists Board.
But none of that gives ALAC the experience of living with a genuine boozer that Mrs Grumble could offer.
Maybe next time her time will come.
Otherwise maybe she would be the ideal person to sit on whatever ministerially appointed job goes with brain surgery.
Nah, she knows nothing about brain surgery. But brain surgeons don’t know anything about politics – do they? – yet we allow the buggers to vote.