When it comes to relevance, Peters does for politics what pigeons do for the post

July 31, 2011

After the secrets have been
delivered, you can eat the messenger - but what can be done with Peters?

Alf is confident that none of his party colleagues would ever suspect him of leaking party polling data to Winston Peters.

But just in case – the answer is no, he has not been leaking data and he steers well clear of Peters.

Moreover, he advises his constituents not to bother looking at other Nats for the culprit. Maybe there isn’t one.

He draws attention to Peters’ track record in the credibility department.

More particularly, he draws attention to a post at Kiwiblog which effectively deals with Peters’ pledge that his party will follow the rules on disclosing political donations.

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Okay – maybe the waka is not a $2m white elephant but if anyone profits who will it be?

July 31, 2011

Alf is ready to say he was wrong about saying he was wrong.

He refers to the item posted here yesterday about the waka that (according to the Weekend Herald) nobody wants.

A tribal big-wig reckons that’s bollocks.

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One of Pita’s pet projects – it’s a $2 million waka that nobody wants to keep after the Rugby World Cup

July 30, 2011

Dunno if it’s offensive to white elephants, but Alf is tempted to regard “white elephant” as an apt description for a waka designed to promote Maori culture during the Rugby World Cup.

The Weekend Herald today is saying the $2 million waka could be sent to the scrapheap soon after it stars as a Government-backed tourist attraction during the tournament.

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When it comes to ideas, the minority carries lots of clout – it needs just 10% support to hold sway

July 29, 2011

Researchers in the US have found that when just 10% of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.

Not only that – but one of the researchers reckons that once the number of supporters grows above 10%, “the idea spreads like flame.”

This research into the shaping of conventional wisdom is fascinating for Alf, who is sure he can use it to his advantage. It simply remains to come up with the right idea.

The research was undertaken by a bunch of boffins at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center and was published in the journal Physical Review E.

It tackles some important questions for we politicians: What does it take for an idea to spread from one to many? And for a minority opinion to become the majority belief?

The answer – according to the study – is just 10%.

In other words, once 10% of a population is committed to an idea, it’s inevitable that it will eventually become the prevailing opinion of the entire group. The key is to remain committed.

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It sounds like bollocks, but a research paper links GDP growth to the length of our willies

July 28, 2011

Alf has come across a bit of economic research with deeply perturbing implications.

The paper – he kids you not – is entitled Male Organ and Economic Growth: Does Size Matter?

The author is a Tatu Westling, from the University of Helsinki.

Here’s the abstract of the discussion paper:

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Yes, a capital gains tax could be beneficial – by helping to reduce the number of Labour MPs

July 27, 2011

Campaigning for the paw vote.

Another poll, another lift to Alf’s mood (without having to reach for the Scotch).

He blogged on this just the other day and does not intend repeating himself.

Enough to say – as Stuff says today – that time is running out for Labour and Phil Goff 17 weeks out from the election as a new Fairfax Media-Research International Poll shows the party staring down the barrel at its worst result in 15 years.

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Missing sheila will be easily recognisable, so long as you look for what’s on her sleeves

July 26, 2011

Anyone lost?

Women in burqas are at risk of being rounded up – whether or not they are lost – in the search for a young Saudi Arabian woman who speaks little English

It seems she has been missing in Auckland since yesterday, although Alf would not be surprised if she merely had the huge good sense to decide she does not much like the place and would rather be someone else.

Anywhere else, come to think of it, which would make Tel Aviv attractive, comparatively.

The official line is that she was trying to catch a bus from Britomart to the North Shore, and her family says she wouldn’t have been able to ask for directions.

Trying to catch a bus in Auckland can be a bit challenging.

If you are a Saudi sheila in full drag, you can never be sure the driver will let you on board.

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Psst – want a good election tip? Put your dosh on Goff being put out to pasture soon after the race

July 24, 2011

A better bet than the prospect of a Goff-led coalition.

Care to spare a thought for how Phil Goff might be feeling this morning?

On second thoughts, forget about it. Let’s get used to the idea that in a few months he will be political dog tucker.

Alf confidently asserts this on the strength of news that the National government is trouncing Labour, according to the latest Horizon poll.

National has 10.2% more support than Phil Goff’s Labour, and is continuing to widen the gap, with its support up 2.2% since May against a 0.9% rise for Labour.

The only surprise there is that Labour was able to lift its support at all after dishing up that capital gains tax pap.

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Law and order riddle: how can you be shot in a pub in July after getting three months jail in June?

July 23, 2011

Alf can’t wait for the screening of the Native Affairs programme in which members of the Ratahi family “share their story”. He expects they will do a great deal of bitching about what everybody should have done for the late Anthony Ratahi without much acknowledging their own shortcomings.

The late Anthony Ratahi, of course, is the bloke who was shot by the coppers after he took his former partner Marcelle Beer hostage at gunpoint in an Opunake hotel last weekend.

According to an early account of the hostage incident –

On Friday night, armed with a gun, Ratahi walked into the Headlands Hotel where he ordered staff and patrons out before he barricaded himself and Ms Beer inside. She works there as a waitress. Twelve hours later he emerged with a knife before going back into the foyer where he was killed by a single police gunshot.

Holding a female hostage is a dastardly way to behave, of course.

Ordering patrons out of a pub is more than a tad uncivilized, too, and should be an offence in its own right.

But hold on.

Shouldn’t he still have been in the slammer?

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So when did Rebekah Brooks last wake up and not have a bad hair day?

July 23, 2011

Rebekah gives evidence to the select committee.

Alf places great importance in the way people look and behave, when they appear before the select committees on which he sits. You learn a lot from the way they dress and their grooming.

In the case of Rebekeh Brooks, giving evidence to the select committee in the UK on the phone-hacking thing that has got them all in a tizz, his first impressions were unfavourable.

But then he charitably thought, well, what with the cops giving her a hard time a day or earlier by arresting her, and charging her with corruption, and what with the nature of the questioning by the British select committee, she was simply having a bad hair day.

Alf had one of these back in…

Oooh. Too far back to remember.

Anyway, he went looking for a picture of Rebekeh before her committee appearance, to find how she presents herself on a good day.

Alas, he is is left wondering if the poor girl ever has anything but a bad hair day.

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