This one is for all infuriated customers who have survived the call-centre endurance test …

June 30, 2012

Cut the crap? To the contrary, let’s have more of it to cut our power bills instead

June 29, 2012

Take a dump and be empowered.

Great news for Grey Power – and all electricity consumers, come to think of it – on the matter of surging power bills.

By applying the technology developed by Singaporean scientists, they could generate their own energy.

Not enough to heat the house, perhaps. But enough to cook the dinner.

Grey Power has been warning that householders already struggling with their power bills will be shocked by their next one, because a savage price increase coincides with increased winter heating demand.

They have issued a media statement on the matter.

Alf was tempted to toss the statement into the rubbish bin, but Mrs Grumble said we have a few elderly constituents who would like their hard-working member to do something about it on their behalf.

The statement points out that household prices rose dramatically in the May quarter.

Read the rest of this entry »

The ministry website says “whanau ora” – so what is Winston supposed to suspect?

June 28, 2012

Dear old Tariana has been badly blindsided by the rambunctious Winston Peters.

Actually, Paula took the first hit at question time in Parliament yesterday.

She took it when Peters raised a ruckus over a failure – he said – to do background checks before public money was dished out to fund an outfit with an outlandishly long name, Te Roopu Whakaruruhau o Nga Wahine Maori Women’s Refuge.

But his real target was the whanau ora fund, which is Tariana’s baby.

He had good reason to link the money with the whanau ora programme, although Tariana seems adamant the money is not coming from Te Puni Kokiri and – if Alf understands her position – has nothing to do with whanau ora.


Maybe the words “whana ora” are being wrongly bandied around.

Read the rest of this entry »

Let the Luddites choke on this: American medics see no merit in GM food labelling

June 27, 2012

The Greens, agricultural Luddites and fellow opponents of GM foods have suffered a bit of a setback.

In the USA, the American Medical Association has announced it sees no health purpose for labeling genetically modified foods — those made with GMOs (or genetically modified organisms) — as such.

Alf spotted an account of the decision here.

“There is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods, as a class, and that voluntary labeling is without value unless it is accompanied by focused consumer education,” the statement read in part.

But the AMA is not giving cart blanche to food manufacturers.

Read the rest of this entry »

The key to Key’s new targets will be in the presentation – so let’s give gunge a go

June 26, 2012

But it shouldn’t be so much fun for chief executives who fail.

Alf’s idea for cutting the numbers of long-term beneficiaries obviously has not been picked up.

The Government will be doing it the hard way, instead, trimming the numbers bit by bit over a long period.

Its decision is reported in the Herald here today –

The Government wants 23,000 fewer long-term beneficiaries on its books by 2017 and the head of Work and Income could lose a bonus if the target is not achieved.

The welfare target is among 10 specific targets the Government has set for the public sector to achieve over five years in policy relating to welfare, vulnerable children, crime, skills and employment, and digital advances.

These targets look suspiciously like a wish list to the hard-working member for Eketahuna North.

But nah…The Boss has to be believed on these matters, and he says they are not a wish-list – “they are a to-do list”.

Read the rest of this entry »

If boaties opt against wearing their life jackets and drown – it’s the Govt’s fault how, exactly?

June 25, 2012

There’s been lots of huffing and puffing in the aftermath of 3 News delving into the Government decision not to make it compulsory to wear life-jackets on all small water craft.

It seems Transport Minister Steven Joyce backed off the idea just a week before it was to be signed off.

The reversal was made despite official advice saying the change could help prevent 10 deaths a year.

Now one maritime expert says the Government must take some responsibility for unnecessary deaths.

How so?

Read the rest of this entry »

Getting a Tau-hold on the truth: a party-hopper, yes, but can we call Henare a carpetbagger?

June 25, 2012

Once it was there (or so we are led to believe). But now it’s not.

Nope. The word “carpetbagger” couldn’t be found in Wikipedia’s article on Tau Henare (although the search might have been less than thorough).

What’s more, the NZ Herald is reporting here this morning that Alf’s colleague Tau has won an apology from Wikipedia.

It’s all over this carpetbagging malarkey.

Read the rest of this entry »

Paremoremo twosome sent themselves to The Tower – so let them stay there

June 24, 2012

The way to deal with the two Paremoremo Prison inmates who have barricaded themselves in a prison tower is simple: leave them there.

Prison bosses are right to have rejected requests from the two inmates to bring in prisoners’ advocate Peter Williams, QC.

They shouldn’t bother bringing in any negotiators.

As Alf understands it, the inmates in question have no food and the guard tower has no home comforts. It will be cold and miserable up there.


So just leave them there. Preferably until they have served their time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Chris Finlayson should ask if the Wot Wots and their kin really need to suckle on state handouts

June 23, 2012

We can expect to hear much bleating from the film industry, in light of a proposal to tighten access to one of their troughs.

The plan will require movie makers to stump up a bit more of their dosh (or the dosh of a private investor) before they can expect to slurp into public money.

The NZ Herald brings news of what’s afoot this morning –

Government officials are expected to recommend keeping a film fund which helped pay for local movies such as Boy and Under the Mountain, but make it more business-focused and require film makers to raise at least 10 per cent of the funding.

Papers obtained by the Herald show that the officials’ draft recommendations for the Government’s screen sector review include requiring films funded through the Screen Production Incentive Fund to get at least 10 per cent of budgets from private investors, despite the drop off in private investment in film since the global financial crisis hit in 2008.

To the contrary, Alf reckons if private investors aren’t putting in the money, there is probably a bloody good reason, and if there is a bloody good reason, then the public should not be putting money in.

Indeed, Alf would pull the plug on all handouts to film-makers and TV producers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Crusher’s law to curb boy racers shows us the way – cyber bullies’ IT gear should be trashed

June 22, 2012

Go, Crusher, was Alf’s reaction to news that Judith Collins is preparing to get tough with cyberbullies.

But she could get much tougher. For now she is talking only about prosecuting the bullies if their actions result in the suicide of their victims.

Why should victims have to go to that extreme before their tormentors are punished?

But it’s a step in the right direction.

Read the rest of this entry »