TV3, Tuhoe and a teasing item about Treaty negotiations – but why weren’t they keeping tabs on Pita?

April 20, 2010

It’s a bloody good thing Alf started his round-up of the blogs this morning by checking out what the Busted Blonde had to say at Roarprawn. He had been limbering up to take a whack at Chris Finlayson, our Minister of Treaty Negotiations, after being incensed by a TV3 news item last night.

According to TV3 –

The Government is on the verge of offering the Tuhoe tribe a treaty settlement that could be as groundbreaking as it is controversial.

Tuhoe is hoping it will mean total control of the Urewera National Park, and start the tribe on the way to self-rule and becoming a separate nation.

Well, bugger me, Alf thundered.

A treaty settlement with Tuhoe? Didn’t Tuhoe take great pride in refusing to sign the bloody document?

And what’s all this bollocks about self-rule?

Before we know it, we will be needing a bloody passport to get into the national park, and probably we will have to pay hefty fees to drive on the roads, walks on the tracks and swim in the lakes.
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A judge, a QC and an IOU – they spell trouble when it comes to public perceptions of our courts

April 19, 2010

Some of the goings-on in the Bill Wilson affair are fortifying Alf’s view that we should have stuck with the Privy Council as our top appeal court. It is British, among its great attributes.

Setting up our own Supreme Court bothered him (and still does) because Alf was not confident we had enough judges supreme enough to sit on it.

His jaundiced view is further jaundiced by a Stuff report today on the Crown’s two top lawyers and their failure to correct a submission to the Supreme Court.

Oops. Probably Alf should refer to their alleged failure to correct the submission (bearing in mind this is legal stuff and lawyers are apt to become uppity about the absence of the word “alleged”).
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Science and the race barrier: GM research is deemed okay, but AgResearch must not use Maori genes

April 18, 2010

Alf was disappointed to learn that AgResearch must not use Maori genes, under the approval it has been given to continue genetic engineering research on goats, sheep and cattle. All other human genes are up for grabs.

But according to reports of what’s doing, the Environmental Risk Management Authority believes allowing scientists to put human genes into sheep, cows and goats offers huge potential health benefits for humans.

Health benefits, it should be noted.

And the way Alf reads the stats, Maori don’t do as well in the good-health department as the rest of us.

Eschewing the science that can improve their health might be part of the explanation.
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Maori-blood defence is patent nonsense: lawyer fails again to trump the IRD by playing the race card

April 17, 2010

Alf is bemused by the case of the patent lawyer who pulled the race card to avoid a hefty tax bill.

He told the High Court at Auckland his Maori descent meant he was not obliged to pay $10.3 million in unpaid taxes.

He presented no evidence of his whakapapa.

But proof was immaterial. The Maori-blood defence should fail, even for citizens who can furnish proof of their Maori blood.
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Polytech post for Crusher’s hubby is a good sign that we Nats want to keep things in the family

April 16, 2010

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.
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A new anthem for woofter Wallabies to warble – “In joyful strains then let us sing of Aussies full of fear”

April 15, 2010

Whoa there. Alf has been tempted on occasions – usually after the sad-sack Black Caps’ latest thrashing by the Aussies – to endorse the idea we become another state of Australia.

Without having to sober up, he has had that nonsense shaken out of his mind-set.

He now can see that Aussies are fast becoming a nation of woofters, and we have enough woofters of our own without having to join a nation of the buggers.

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Wow – does a promise to lend money to the IMF mean our debt worries are over?

April 14, 2010

Alf is pleasantly surprised to learn that New Zealand has agreed to lend the International Monetary Fund (IMF) up to US$1 billion (NZ$1.34b) if the shit hits the financial fan again.

News to that effect was announced by Finance Minister Bill English.

Alf thought it more likely we would be having to go to the IMF for help in such a crisis, rather than the other way around.

But no.

New Zealand has agreed to lend the International Monetary Fund (IMF) up to US$1 billion (NZ$1.34b) if the world faces another economic crisis like the 2008/09 global meltdown, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“New Zealand’s commitment is a part of the US$550 billion expansion of the IMF’s financial resources to make the IMF better able to support the international financial system during times of significant crisis,” Mr English says.

It seems the commitment will only be called upon if needed and only if the IMF has exhausted all other options.

Coming to us – Alf suggests – would be real desperation stuff.

New Zealand is one of about 40 countries contributing to the IMF in this way.

The contribution is in line with our economic size and similar to New Zealand’s other contingent liabilities to the IMF, which total US$1.4 billion.

Included in those liabilities is US$265 million lent to the IMF as part of a range of measures to help it support countries facing balance of payments problems caused by the global economic crisis.

Having a balance of payments problem was something Alf thought New Zealand could claim.

The resultant debt problems explain why the Treasury last September was banging on about the mischief done by too much public debt (which accounts for just a small portion of the total overseas debt).

Using debt to finance increased government expenditure…means that future taxpayers will be paying for the government services enjoyed today.

With net debt projected to increase so sharply, debt financing costs increase over time, using a larger and larger share of future government income. In 2050, debt servicing would be around $110 billion (13% of GDP) annually.

The fact that New Zealand typically has higher interest rates than many other developed economies means that our financing costs are higher for a given level of debt. Furthermore, because net debt continues to increase indefinitely in the historic trends scenario, financing costs also increase exponentially.

In addition to the increased financing costs, funding the deficits through increased debt means future generations are burdened by greater debt than we currently have; it will impair New Zealand’s national debt position and our access to capital at a reasonable cost; and it leaves a smaller buffer against further economic and fiscal shocks – which are almost certain to occur over a 40-year period.

Does our agreement to help the IMF mean we have overcome those problems and concerns?


The complications of modern-day dam building – money must be put aside for measuring the mauri

April 13, 2010

Deep and meaningful negotiations are under way on the inevitable cultural impacts.

Just because it’s legal does not make it right.

Alf was never happy about legalising prostitution in this country, for example. Or permitting civil unions. Or letting teenagers into pubs.

Hence he is not impressed by the defence being advanced by the iwi that was given money by Meridian Energy, apparently to reverse its opposition to a West Coast hydro dam.

The iwi is saying the payment was a “legitimate” part of the resource consent process.

Of course it is. Perfectly legal.

It raises lots of questions in Alf’s mind, nevertheless.

The story is told at Stuff today –

Meridian last week revealed it had paid an unspecified sum to Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae for work it had done to assess the cultural impact of the company’s proposed Mokihinui River hydro project.
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Advice to an upset widower: get a grip, Mike, and raise a storm about those bloody answering machines

April 12, 2010

Alf is a tad bemused that a Christchurch bloke has been upset by Inland Revenue sending a letter to his dead wife, advising she could be eligible for superannuation.

If she had died recently, Alf could understand the upset.

But Mike O’Brien’s wife, Rosalie, died in 1995.

Let’s see. That’s 15 years ago.

Is he still genuinely grieving and prone to being upset by the receipt of a letter addressed to her?

Or is he just a grumpy old fart looking for a bit of attention?
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Let’s build a statue – a wee one like this would do the trick – in honour of the North Shore’s Mayor

April 11, 2010

Enough, these assaults on Andrew Williams, beleaguered Mayor of the North Shore.

Alf has enormous sympathy for the poor bugger, who is accused by Whale Oil today of “now suf­fer­ing from delu­sions as well as fre­quent vis­its from the piss fairy.”

He has writ­ten to the Domin­ion Post about their edi­to­r­ial about him.

He is now accus­ing one of the most pop­u­lar dailies and the Fair­fax Group for stalk­ing him for months.

Alf would much rather the Mayor of North Shore be honoured for his work for his city, rather than vilified.

A statue would be appropriate.

It could be modelled on the statue pictured below, the Manneken Pis (Dutch for little man urinating) in Brussels.

It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain’s basin. It was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy and put in place in 1618 or 1619.

According to Wikipedia, there are several legends behind the statue. The most famous is the one about Duke Godfrey III of Leuven.

In 1142, the troops of this two-year-old lord were battling against the troops of the Berthouts, the lords of Grimbergen, in Ransbeke (now Neder-over-Heembeek). The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung the basket in a tree to encourage them. From there, the boy urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle.

Alf is confident he can come up with a similar legend for the North Shore statue.

Something to do with the Wee Hero who Pissed Off a Whale.

Just prop me up near a tree outside the town hall.