Disloyalty and snitching in Labour’s ranks – and yes, that’s a kriss in Goff’s back

July 31, 2010

As unattractive to Chris Carter as Phil Goff's leadership.

Alf is struggling not to feel sorry for Phil Goff, after the kerfuffle in the Labour Party that resulted in Chris Carter being tossed out of their caucus for being a sneaky bastard and a disloyal one who sent an unsigned letter to media representatives in an attempt to undermine Goff’s leadership.

Why Carter went to the bother is beyond understanding, because Goff has been doing such a splendid job of being an election-losing leader that nobody really needed to be told this was so in an unsigned letter, although – come to think of it – the news media are not all that bright, and perhaps needed a nudge from Carter to see the obvious.

The bit of the Stuff report that Alf especially savours relates to Carter’s stress levels, which seem to be remarkably high, and to his love of overseas travel, which he seems to have been doing at the expense of Chinese taxpayers now that embarrassing publicity has caused him to be reined in from travelling too much at the expense of Kiwi taxpayers..

Alf notes with delight that…

he went on an unsanctioned trip to China and Tibet during a parliamentary recess, which Mr Goff and senior Labour members are citing as Mr Carter’s latest rule-breaking behaviour which they suggest has put the MP under stress.

Mr Carter said the Chinese government paid for the trip so he could attend a conference, and he is accusing his former colleagues of using the issue to deflect attention from his message that Labour can’t win the next election with Mr Goff as leader.

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McCully is munificent – but it’s easy to treat guests to posh wine and oysters with public money

July 30, 2010

Alf is bound to observe (at the risk of offending colleagues) he has always been bothered by the Government’s curious urge to have a Rugby World Cup Minister, a portfolio he regards as thoroughly unnecessary and surplus to requirements at the best of times, let alone when we are tightening the old budgetary belt.

If the Government was plush with the spending stuff, of course, and if someone really has to be the Rugby World Cup Minister, then that someone really should be Alf.

An element of self-interest, accordingly, might taint what follows.

What follows happens to be a spluttering of profound outrage on learning from the Herald that Murray McCully …

has snatched the dubious record for the most expensive wine bought at the taxpayers’ expense with not one but four bottles of $185pinot noir while hosting a dinner for the International Rugby Board this year.

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A mayoress with a fondness for muffins raises good questions about mean-spirited critics

July 29, 2010

Let’s hear it for the Mayoress of Christchurch, Jo Nicholls-Parker, who is insisting it is “perfectly legit to take some perks” such as coffee and muffins because she works fulltime for the city for free.

Mind you, Alf wonders how much coffee and how many muffins have been consumed by Jo then put on the mayoral tab.

His curiosity is all in the interests of accountability, which he zealously champions, and to satisfy his deep interest in the cost of living.

Jo has responded to criticism of her role after the nosy news media published stuff about her sitting in on breakfast meetings with her husband, Mayor Bob Parker, and spending ratepayer money on muffins and coffees.

According to Stuff:

The couple later paid back more than $600.

This leaves Alf curious about the number of muffins and cups of coffee one can consume for that money.

But he agrees with Jo when she says some people have shown “mean-spiritness”, although she had generally been well-treated as mayoress.

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Judge Fred is the bloke to punish BP over the creation of an unwanted Black Sea

July 28, 2010

Alf won’t bother doing the maths – his mind is sharp but he does not want to blunt it by boggling over the profusion of zeros that is likely to come into the calculation.

Accordingly he will merely muse in a rhetorical way on what would happen if the penalty imposed by a court in Auckland was extended – on a per litre basis – to punish BP for lubricating the Gulf of Mexico.

And for creating another Black Sea (although the TV pix suggests maybe it is another Red Sea).

Alf’s musings were triggered by a report in the Herald saying:

Three companies found guilty of spilling 10,000 litres of petrol have been ordered to pay the heaviest fine imposed in a regional council case in Auckland.

Petrol Alley Services (GAS), URS New Zealand and Brown Bros (NZ) were found guilty in the Auckland District Court over a fuel leak from a petrol station in Line Rd, Glen Innes.

The companies have been ordered to pay a fine of $160,000, as well as court costs of $80,000.

The court has also demanded an investigation of the fuel which remained in the ground, and the companies could be forced to pay a further $200,000 for a clean-up.

But whereas this case involved thousands of litres, US Government estimates tell us more than five million barrels of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since BP’s undersea leak began in late April, and Alf reckons there are more than a few litres in each of those barrels.

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Road ragers who denounce Cabinet booze thinking should press for a ban on all motoring

July 27, 2010

Alf is perplexed by the volume of wailing whipped up by the wowsers in the aftermath of the Cabinet decision on the drink driving thing.

What looks like an eminently sensible decision is being denounced as some sort of failure of leadership.

Some Radio NZ harpie interviewing our splendid Minister of Transport on the matter on Checkpoint last night could not disguise her view that the blood-alcohol limit should be lowered, which makes her a wowser as well as a harpie, and therefore a person with whom marriage would be a disagreeable arrangement.

She was banging on about a lack of leadership.

She is not alone.

Stuff reports today:

The Government’s failure to lower the blood-alcohol limit ignores widespread research that it would save lives, a medical expert says.

Christchurch-based National Addiction Centre director Doug Sellman said yesterday that the failure to drop the limit from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 50mg was “scandalous”.

“I think the most important thing has been missed. [The Government] is saying that people are allowed to drink to over the level of intoxication and then drive. It’s scandalous when you look at the international evidence,” he said.

Although the Government had said it would spend another two years looking into whether to lower the limit, Sellman said, researchers agreed doing it now would save lives.

This Sellman feller is banging on about studies that support the reduction.

He also talks of a Ministry of Transport estimate that reducing the blood-alcohol limit to 50mg could save between 15 and 33 lives, prevent up to 680 injuries and save between $111 million and $238m every year.

But Alf observes that lots of kids get run over in driveways.

Do we hear this Sellman feller calling for a reduction in the length of driveways – or a total ban on them?

Nah. He is fixated with booze.

The smart way to avoid road deaths would be to ban all motoring.

But the public wouldn’t stand for it.

Well, most wouldn’t. Dunno how it would go down with the Checkpoint harpie.


Superman with a limp wrist? Nah, it’s too dreadful to contemplate

July 26, 2010

Good grief – Superman a poof?

Nah. Alf won’t believe it.

Not yet.

For now it’s nothing more than a monstrous allegation.

The critical word in the Herald’s report today is that a new book “claims” Christopher Reeve, the Superman star, had a passionate affair with gay porn star Cal Culver.

But it will be hard to verify the claim because:

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Zapped for DIC – but the Soper case was curiously moved from the Wellington courthouse to Porirua

July 25, 2010

Well, well, well.

The bugger whose neglect of Alf was catalystic in the establishment of this blog has been in a bit of strife with the law.

Yep. Alf is talking about Barry Soper, who scrubs up well on a good day as can be seen by this pic of him.

Mind you, Soper wears bow ties on many occasions other than black tie ones, which makes him look like a bit of tosser, which he probably is. Moreover he was bearded, last time Alf saw him, and beards can be camouflage for a myriad of flaws.

But Alf digresses from the day’s news:

Newstalk ZB political editor and veteran broadcast journalist Barry Soper has been fined and disqualified from driving after being arrested for drink-driving last month.

Soper appeared in Porirua District Court on Friday, pleading guilty to driving in central Wellington with 99 milligrams of alcohol for every 100ml of blood – the legal limit is 80.

Normally you would expect Soper to be delighted to win himself a bit of publicity. He likes to be admired, a trait he shares with Alf.

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