Dunno if Gerry is losing his grip.
It took him a helluva long time to answer a question from Greenie Eugenie Sage yesterday – as you can see here.
It could be he is not so light on his political feet nowadays, because – well, to be frank, he is a bit portly.
And being a bit portly can create problems, such as hampering a feller’s performance in the sack, for example, even if he is a Minister of the Crown.
But let’s start by seeing how he tried to duck and weave in handling the Green’s question, then was gazzumped by Mr Speaker.
EUGENIE SAGE (Green) to the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery: What advice, if any, has he received on the potential sale of Christchurch City Council assets to help pay for the rebuild of Christchurch?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery): I received advice from Treasury and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority on a range of funding options for the rebuild of Greater Christchurch, to which the Government has committed $5.5 billion to date. Alongside the Christchurch City Council, I support the regeneration of our city, which will be enhanced by the central city development plan released on Monday. I publicly acknowledge the funding challenges for both the Christchurch City Council and the Government. Councillors and I have agreed to discuss, alongside our respective organisations, a sensible and achievable time line and funding programme for the delivery of the blueprint. I approach these discussions in good faith, as the thousands of city residents would expect us to do so.
Lockwood was having one of those niggling days when he wanted primary questions to be answered and he and Gerry engaged in a bit of verbal come-to on the matter. Greenie Russel Norman chimed in, too.
Gerry tried to say he had no ministerial responsibility for the Christchurch City Council and its finances.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Minister is absolutely correct in that matter, and I pointed that out previously. But what the Minister does have responsibility for is any advice he has received, especially advice from officials. In the Minister’s answer he has indicated he has received advice from Treasury. The question asked whether that advice covered the potential sale of Christchurch City Council assets. Now, that is a primary question on notice. If it is not in the public interest to provide the answer to the question, that is absolutely the Minister’s prerogative. The Speaker is not going to second-guess that, but so far I just have not heard an answer to the question. If it is not in the public interest, I absolutely respect that. That is the Minister’s sole judgment, not the Speaker’s. But just to ignore the question—a primary question—is not on. This is Parliament. The House deserves an answer to a clear question—if it is in the public interest for an answer to be provided. The Minister has so far said he has received advice on a range of funding options. The question did not ask that; the question asked whether he had received any advice. It asked what advice, if any, he had received on the potential sale of Christchurch City Council assets to help pay for the rebuild of Christchurch. He may have received some on that; he may not have. But at the moment the House is none the wiser, and that is what is not acceptable in this Parliament.
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Yes.
In the time it took to winkle this acknowledgement out of Gerry, the 1500 metres could have been run and won at the Games.
No, not the Olympics. The paraplegic games.
Lockwood was grateful, however, perhaps recognising that Gerry might be slowing up.
Mr SPEAKER: I thank the Minister.
While all this was going on Alf was not paying close attention, it must be said, because he was absorbing some news (here) about fatties and the effects of obesity on their prowess in bed.
It affects their piddling too, it seems.
Men who have recently let out their belts a few notches should take heed – scientists have found obesity increases the risk of having sexual problems.
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical Center who studied more than 400 men suffering with urinary problems, also found it made trips to the toilet more tricky as well.
The team found three quarters of the overweight men suffered from erectile dysfunction compared to a third of those with trim waists.
Alf likes to study the hard data in these sort of studies.
In this case, he learned that those who had a larger waistline were also more likely to suffer from a disrupted night’s sleep, because 44 per cent had to get up twice to urinate compared to just 16 per cent of their slimmer peers.
The study has been published in the British Journal of Urology International, which has never been high on Alf’s reading list.
But he now knows it is the first time scientists have shown comprehensively that obesity can affect more than a man’s heart and metabolism.
Study author Dr Steven Kaplan, said: ‘The findings demonstrate that obesity in men – part of a growing global epidemic – affects their well-being in profound ways.
‘We have to think of the body in a much more holistic way. What we eat can have devastating consequences on more than just our hearts.
‘Quality of life issues, such as sexual and voiding (urinary) health, can be affected as well in drastic ways.’
The study also suggests that losing weight can help men overcome these issues.
Kaplan said findings conducted since the study was completed showed reducing the stomach’s circumference by just 2.5 inches could improve sexual health.
The original study was set up to see if obesity was linked to lower urinary tract symptoms, such as incontinence and needing to urinate more often.
The participants ranged from 40 to 91 years old.
Around a third had a waist circumference of less than 36 inches, a third had a waist that measured 36-40 inches and the rest had waists greater than 40 inches.
Dr Kaplan said.
‘This adds even more importance to the recommendation that men should maintain a healthy weight for their overall well-being.’
It may well be it could help Gerry with his Parliamentary answering techniques, too.