Heartless housing nabobs say nah to Nga – now Spiky must go by the end of the day

May 31, 2012

Alf will be going out to bat for Nga Behekite and Spiky today.

He hopes she and her canine companion get support from other politicians, too, as she fights heartless Housing NZ bureaucrats.

Nga Behekite – according to a report at Stuff (here) – has lived in the same Housing NZ home for 15 years.

But she may be evicted if she does not find a new home for Spiky, her dog, by the end of the day.

This will be happening – it seems – even though a neighbouring shopkeeper happens to think Spiky has been doing a grand job in the crime-fighting department by deterring thieves.

Naturally, this is not doing much for Nga’s stress levels.

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There should be no question of the outcome: pistol-packin’ student should be expelled

May 30, 2012

Alf was bemused by the opening paragraph of a report on a would-be hoodlum in the NZ Herald today.

It said a boy who used an air pistol on a student and a teacher could be excluded from his school when he appears before its board of trustees.

Could be excluded?

Does the board have a majority of namby-pampy tossers?

Alf can’t understand why the brat is even being given an opportunity to appear before the board.

He should have been expelled already.

The boy, alas, cannot be named for silly legal reasons.

He should be named. And shamed. And severely punished.

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It’s the stuff of controversy in Maori politics – a Pakeha MP is helping folk of all races

May 29, 2012

Rino Tirikatene, the bloke who represents the Maori electorate of Te Tai Tonga, is in the news this morning, at least on the Maori news segment of Radio NZ’s Morning Report.

It transpires he is such a busy fellow – not surprisingly, given the size of his patch – that some of his work is being done by Labour Party colleague Leanne Dalziel.

And this is newsworthy – why?

No, not because he is having a sheila help him out.

It’s because he is having a Pakeha help him out.

Yep. Maori in Christchurch are being helped by a Pakeha.

This, of course, is precisely what would happen in any general constituency. We MPs represent all our constituents, not just some of a favoured ethnicity.

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A nasty surprise for Tariana – non-smoking is bad for the health of the Govt’s finances

May 28, 2012

The sooner they start smoking, the less likely it is they will become superannuitants.

It’s as Alf has long suspected. Smokers are doing the taxpayer a favour. They are helping to get the books back into surplus, too.

The more the merrier – for the health of the financial statements, anyway.

Discouraging them from smoking, accordingly, is to do the taxpayer a disfavour.

The grandmotherly Tariana Turia, fair to say, has her heart in the right place.

But someone has to tell her (a) she is becoming something of a harpie, as she rails against smoking and the tobacco industry; and (b) she is championing a cause that is increasing the tax burden on Alf’s (and other MPs’) hard-working constituents.

Alf’s thinking on this, which did not go down well with Tariana when he had a natter on the matter, is fortified today by a Treasury report that has been flushed into the clean open air. It acknowledges that smoking actually saves the Government money in the long run.

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Do the sums: paper boys don’t vote and 600 or so lost elderly votes won’t be crippling

May 27, 2012

The 500 or so folk who attended the National Party’s northern regional convention in Auckland yesterday were addressed by Bill English, who would have cheered them up hugely by telling them National will romp home for a third term at the next election.

He reeled off a few vital points in our favour, such as maintaining public trust by continuing to deliver on the party’s promises and not bringing in unexpected large-scale changes.

Alf would like to heave heard this himself, after sitting through the session that enacted legislation putting into effect tax changes set out in the Budget.

It was the Taxation (Budget Measures) Bill, which scrapped a few tax credits of no great consequence.

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Waikato Regional Council succumbs to the view that Maori need electoral mollycoddling

May 26, 2012

Oh, jolly good. The Waikato Regional Council has got into the spirit of things and is making special electoral arrangements for its special citizens.

The democratically elected council thus is doing something akin to what happened on Animal Farm, where the seven original laws made way for just one: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.

And so the council will favour its Maori citizens (who already have the right to stand for office and to vote) by establishing two Maori seats (where strictly ethnic eligibility criteria will apply and Maori citizens may elect Maori candidates).

General constituency boundaries are being changed, too.

Actually, Alf does not much approve of this debasing of our democracy.

But trying to tell the council this will be a big waste of time.

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Bigger is better (Alf was arguing) but the Budget provides an exemption for Maori immersion schools

May 25, 2012

Quality should come before quantity.

Alf is pleased to report the Budget recognises Maori as “special”.

Or rather, it acknowledges that Maori hold a special status as tangata whenua.

It is exempting Maori immersion schools from increases in class size announced yesterday.

For good measure, the admirable Pita Sharples announced that the Government would spend $76.4 million over four years to improve Maori students’ results.

The plan to increase class sizes – when it was announced recently – triggered the usual hollering of protest from teacher and parent groups.

They didn’t take on board the emphasis your admirable National-led government would be heaping on lifting the quality of the teaching.

What’s better for your kid – being taught by a bloody good teacher in a class of 30 or by a bloody awful teacher in a class of 15?

So – quality versus volume.

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Dotcom: the Crown is becoming a tad tarnished in dealings with a country that rejected it

May 24, 2012

The Government’s lawyers will be wishing they had never bumped into Kim Dotcom and the curious copyright case in which he has become embroiled.

Dotcom (if you need reminding) founded a file-sharing site, Megaupload, which happens to be a business enterprise doing things far beyond Alf’s technical comprehension.

He is accused of breaching copyright laws, so costing owners more than US$500 million ($665 million), which US authorities have called the mega conspiracy.

He is now on bail awaiting an extradition hearing in August.

But Alf has been mortified to learn the Crown seems to have made a botch of things, one way and another, and this botching has been exposed to the public in the courts.

This time Crown lawyers have been ordered to explain how the FBI left the country with evidence that was meant to be kept in “secure custody” by New Zealand police.

Alf keenly looks forward to hearing the answer.

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You need lots of hide and bravado – but not much brain power – to play the branding game

May 23, 2012

And after we’ve done the cattle we can brand each other…

A new game is being played in the Wairarapa.

Dunno how many people are playing, but Alf has no burning urge to give it a go.

Stuff introduces us to the game this morning in an item about a young farming student who has spent five days in hospital after he and two fellow students played.

Page Gilmour, 17, went to Masterton Hospital after a large burn on his arm became infected after the incident at a Wairarapa wool shed this month.

It’s described as a “branding game”.

And, at first blush, the rules aren’t too complicated.

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Workman and McVicar welcome prison policy – but who honestly believes the Beehive numbers?

May 22, 2012

Dunno what to make of the first sentence of a media release yesterday from Corrections Minister Anne Tolley and Associate Corrections Minister Dr Pita Sharples.

The statement was headed Budget 2012: Reducing reoffending, victims of crime

Alf is all in favour of reducing reoffending so was keen to find out what’s doing.

The statement kicks off –

Budget 2012 will contribute to a 25 per cent reduction in reoffending by 2017, and 18,500 fewer victims of crime every year from 2017, Corrections Minister Anne Tolley and Associate Corrections Minister Dr Pita Sharples say.

The moves are part of the Prime Minister’s expectations for a more efficient and results-driven public service.

This looks awfully like a promise of the sort we Nats can’t keep and accordingly it should have been couched in the bullshit language that our highly paid spin doctors are good at employing on these occasions, to give us an “out”.

But no. We have said re-offending will have been reduced by 25 per cent by 2017.

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