How to improve NZ’s political reportage: assign Soper and his mates for Teleban target practice

June 30, 2010

Alf’s spirits lifted enormously, when he spotted a headline at Scoop this morning: NZ journalists under fire in Afghanistan.

The story beneath did not quite meet Alf’s expectations – or (he confesses) deliver on his hopes.

All that happened was this:

A TVNZ journalist and cameraman were travelling with the NZ Army bomb disposal patrol that came under fire in Eastern Afghanistan late yesterday afternoon.

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Don’t pull the plug on this Maori trough – let’s see if it can be adapted for Scandinavian export growth

June 29, 2010

Alf has jacked up a meeting with Pansy Wong, our Minister of Ethnic Affairs, despite his serious reservations about the need for such a portfolio.

An impulse to win a few electoral brownie points in the Tararua region has taken precedence over principle in the matter he wishes to raise with her.

He reckons the Government should put aside a bucket of money for Scandinavians (who were among the first non-Maori to move into his neck of the woods, giving rise to the naming of towns like Dannevirke and Norsewood). The objective would be to help the Scandinavians to export stuff.

Don’t ask what sort of stuff, because it seems to Alf it doesn’t matter a fat rat if it turns out they export nothing. The point essentially is to properly appropriate the money and have it targeted to help any exporter who can claim to be a Scandinavian exporter.

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More koha please, folks – the costs of this bloody boat shed are starting to climb

June 28, 2010

And if you take out the waka, we can get more party-goers in...

Alf has a sneaking admiration, of sorts, for the gall of the Wellington City Council and its great capacity for screwing its ratepayers despite their howls of protest.

A few weeks ago it was announcing proposals to extend the liquor ban it has imposed in public places in the inner city.

But on the other hand, it is planning to use public money for Rugby World Cup festivities in a posh Maori boat shed that it is helping to build.

Liquor-free festivities? Yeah, right.

The festivities might be so huge, according to one caustic account at Scoop, that the bloody waka might have to be moved out.

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A roast that went awry: Fane’s fun folly lands him in hot fat with Jews and AIDS sufferers

June 27, 2010

This apologising thing is becoming an epidemic.

Alf hears from Radio NZ about some TV and radio performer who reportedly is apologising for making deprecatory remarks about Jews and AIDS of the sort that are apt to get a deprecator into deep trouble among Jews and AIDS sufferers and especially among Jews who happen to be afflicted with AIDS.

But it’s fair to say the impulse to say sorry has not gripped the deprecator’s employers at the The Radio Network and TV3. Last night they were ducking for cover and refusing to apologise, according to the HoS.

In its account of what happened, the HoS refers to the deprecator as a top TV star, although Alf had never actually heard of him, which either reflects badly on Alf’s understanding of who is a star (and how stars differ from celebrities), or of the HoS’s inclination to make celebrities of any old Joe Blow.

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Chris Carter is on the come-back trail but only because Phil Goff puts up with prats

June 26, 2010

It took much too long thinking about it and being advised how to handle it. But sad-sack Chris Carter has said sorry to over-stretched taxpayers for overdoing things with his urge to travel with a companion at their expense.

The gay gallivanter – stripped last week of his foreign affairs job on the Labour front bench – has fessed up to say he travelled “excessively” as a minister and shouldn’t have taken his partner with him as often as he did.

Alas, after spending the past week working in his Te Atatu electorate after his position within the party was thrown into doubt following his demotion, he also told media he would be returning to Parliament next Tuesday

Pity. Alf was hoping the bugger would quit or – if he didn’t – be thrown out of the party for behaving like a prat, although if behaving like a prat was cause for excommunication from Labour Party ranks then a lot of excommunicating would be going on because Labour happens to attract members who are prone to behaving like prats.

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Ngai Tahu puts out a tax net and – whee! Then it pulls in some of its eeling competitors’ profits

June 25, 2010

Just look on it as a down payment on environmental protection.

Alf sounds a warning today: bit by bit, New Zealand is in danger of having its economy shifted into the control of iwi.

He sounds this warning on reading of a perturbing precedent being set by an “iwi tax”, or a conservation levy.

It’s for environmental protection, according to
the Dom-Post report at Stuff. Ha!

This (Alf would contend) entitles us to view it as as a protection racket.

This snide thought is reinforced by the discovery that – first up – the levy is being slapped on Ngai Tahu business competitors, presumably to try to ensure they do not remain competitors for too long, and if they do, they will be struggling competitors.

This would ensure the protection of one bit of Ngai Tahu’s business empire as well as the environment.

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If Mallard disagrees with Cullen’s adviser on compulsion, then let’s listen to the adviser

June 24, 2010

Mallard reckons you'll thank us for this when you retire.

Alf is always attracted to a proposition with which Trevor Mallard disagrees.

Obviously, such a proposition must have a lot going for it, and furthermore there are many such propositions that have a lot going for them, because this Mallard bloke happens to be a disagreeing sort of character. Disagreeable, too.

This explains why Alf tapped eagerly on to an item posted by Mallard on Red Alert this morning, to find out with what he is disagreeing today and then going out to promote it as an idea with the Mallard seal of disapproval, which naturally makes it highly attractive to right-thinking citizens.

Lo and behold, today it relates to savings and whether they should be compulsory.

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It’s hard to believe aggression can be linked with anyone who sticks rigidly to a proper Green diet

June 23, 2010

Alf must confess to some bemusement at accusations being levelled at the Greens’ co-leader, Russel Norman.

Some National and Act MPs are saying Norman was the aggressor in his bust-up with Chinese security guards accompanying Vice-President Xi Jinping to Parliament last week.

Alf has been observing this Norman bloke in Parliament ever since he came in on the Green list, and must say he does not look capable of aggression.

Come to think of it, he doesn’t look capable of much beyond carping and whinging, especially about matters that are vital to this country’s economic well-being, such as dairy farming.

He most certainly does not look capable of carrying, let alone waving, a Tibetan flag in protest, unless it was a very small flag.

But looks can deceive, and – a grudging acknowledement here – Norman does have a doctorate, which is something Alf does not have.

Moreover, Norman is giving more than a modicum of credence to the proposition that maybe he can build up an aggressive head of steam.

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Fair go, Hone – didn’t news of the All Whites reach you, up there in Northland?

June 23, 2010

The All Whites are being lauded up and down the land, and politicians – most, but not necessarily all – are keen to bask in their reflected glory at the World Cup.

Political leaders kicked off the day in Parliament yesterday by paying tribute to a team that quite rightly is being lionised not for winning, but simply for drawing its matches with teams of the calibre of Italy, the world champions.

Alf does not rate this quite the same as Sir Ed’s conquest of Everest, nor does he regard it as our greatest sporting moment. That’s rush-of-blood-to-the-head stuff.

But he does reckon it’s a bloody great performance and he is chuffed.

He is inclined to support Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, who is gurgling about a ticker-tape street parade to welcome the team home.

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It seems Finlayson means 2000 km of seabed and foreshore when he says “not much”

June 22, 2010

It’s become bloody hard to work out exactly what the bloody Attorney-General knows about the amount of foreshore and seabed destined to end up in Maori customary title, under the Government’s deal with the Maori Prty, its economic potential subject to a Maori veto.

He either has a feeble grasp of what he is doing – in which case The Boss should sack the bugger real fast – or he isn’t being as candid as Alf would like him to be.

If he is playing fast and fancy free with the truth, as Alf strongly suspects, The Boss should sack him for that too.

Alf (and the public) were given the firm impression by the NBR and other media a week ago that …

The Government expects very little of the foreshore and seabed will end up under Maori customary title through the claims process in the legislation that will replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

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