Ooh, that sounds like a great scheme, Mrs Grumble gurgled this morning on hearing that the Government is giving away money to help people grow their own vegetables.
Fair to say, Alf didn’t think it such a good idea unless Mrs Grumble was willing to do all the digging, the hoeing, the weeding and so on.
Let’s face it: you can get vegetables a helluva lot quicker by driving down to the supermarket than by growing them at home.
But Mrs Grumble was on a roll. Her argument: you don’t know where those supermarket vegetables have been grown or to what extent they have been drenched in bloody herbicides and pesticides? And that being so, then how are we to know when eating that stuff might be tantamount to suicide?
Frankly, Alf thought this was somewhat over-stating the situation. Our family has been noshing on supermarket vegies for years. The same goes for our neighbours.
If supermarket vegies were killing us, the good people at the Food Safety Authority would be on the case, surely.
But if Mrs Grumble was determined to pursue the prospect of a government handout to help her grow “healthy” crops – well, so be it.
Alf checked things out.
Finding the disappointing truth didn’t take long. He had to report that there will be no public money – alas – for the Grumble household to grow its tucker out back.
The news item which excited Mrs Grumble had been broadcast on the Maori bit of Morning Report.
An East Coast Maori organic farmer is welcoming a $500,000 boost to a scheme that pays marae to install vegetable gardens.
Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says more funding will be given to the Mara Kai scheme, from the baseline budget of Te Puni Kokiri.
Waatea News reports more than 200 marae have received $2000 grants to buy tools and plants since October.
Rob Thompson says the idea is taking off and people are re-learning how to grow healthy kai for the home as well as the marae.
Alf had to explain to Mrs Grumble that people who live on marae are “special” and accordingly are entitled to be pampered by we taxpayers.
The “special” thing was reinforced in the indigenous rights thing our Government sneakily signed at the United Nations a few weeks ago, although we have been treating our Maori people as special for some time and giving them lots of things the rest of us can’t get.
Alf suggested to Mrs Grumble we consider taking up film-making.
There’s good money in that, as we learned recently from Stuff.
Taxpayers have paid out almost $200 million in cash grants to makers of big-budget films in New Zealand in recent years, from Avatar, which has grossed US$2.7 billion world-wide, to Peter Jackson-directed King Kong.
The government’s Large Budget Screen Production Grant offers a 15 per cent rebate on production spending in New Zealand above $15m. The Government grant scheme was set up in 2003, and since then movie and television makers have received grants of $199.4m from the Government, after spending about $1.49b, latest figures show.
So far as Alf can determine, Peter Jackson is not an indigenous person. This obviously means you don’t have to be “special” (ethnically) to get your hands on the money.
Eketahunawood has a nice ring to it.
Now, let’s find out what a bloke has to do to have one of those blockbusters made right here in Alf’s home town, so we can lay claim to the dosh and get them cameras rolling.
Maybe you could do the proverbial. Like killing more than one bird. Proclaim your patch of dirt a marae, get the free tools and make a gummint sponsored film of the bare dirt being tilled and the veges growing. All on the gummint dollar. Much like weekend tellie with all those gardening programs.
Mind you, you’d have to watch out you did not kill off the bird doing all that weeding and hoeing. Mrs Grumble might have something to say about that…
Nice thinking. I think Mrs Grumble would willingly do what needs to be done in the tilling department if she knew it would result in her becoming a screen star, and she has learned to say “kia ora” real good. Alf sees himself more as a director.