Chester Borrows’ Q&A farce was embarrassing enough but he won’t boot bums, either

Our Chester … he is grammatically challenged, alas, and disinclined to kick bums.

Alf is contemplating his suitability for another ministerial job this morning, as one of his colleagues – sad to say – shows signs of struggling.

He speaks, of course, of Chester Borrows.

Splendid fellow, don’t let there be any mistaking.

But it’s a measure of someone’s lack of confidence – Alf strongly suspects – that Ches did not engage in any debate with Liane Dalziel on Q&A at the weekend.

This has enabled our political foes to bray (here) that –

National’s childish refusal to debate alcohol reform created a pantomime version of musical chairs on Q&A, when they should have discussed the important issues, says Labour’s Associate Justice spokesperson Lianne Dalziel.

“I was stunned to learn that the Prime Minister’s office had stepped in to prevent Chester Borrows from debating me on Q&A this morning. Apparently we weren’t allowed to be seen on screen together and he had to be interviewed after me.

“This created an extraordinary chair swap, while the camera was on Paul Holmes. I had to stand up and disappear quickly while Chester snuck in and took my place. It looked comical on TV and it was even more ridiculous off camera.

“It was like playing musical chairs as a child. Certainly National is behaving in a childish fashion.

Dalziel went on to hoot that Chester Borrows and the Prime Minister’s office should welcome debate on alcohol reform aimed at reducing the terrible toll it is exacting on our health system and criminal justice system, let alone families and communities.

She put the heat on The Boss, saying –

“The Prime Minister fails all New Zealanders when he fails to understand this essential principle.”

The shambles resulted in Paul Holmes (see here) kicking off:

We’d hoped to have Labour and National debating the issue, but, as I say, this government doesn’t debate other parties, apparently. I would have thought that was a part of full democratic process full stop. Which means I have to explain this to you while Lianne Dalziel leaves her chair, which she has done so effectively and carefully without injury, and the Associate Justice Minister, Chester Borrows, sneaks in.

Bugger. We Nats were losing brownie points fast.

It didn’t help when Chester fielded his very first question –

PAUL HOLMES

…National says the bill is the first serious attempt by a government to constrain drinking. But the critics say it does nothing on price and advertising. It is useless, Minister, effectively is what she [Lianne Dalziel] is saying.

CHESTER BORROWS – Associate Justice Minister

Well, it doesn’t do nothing on price and advertising, for a start. But what we have to remember is that 85% of New Zealanders-

Alf’s well-educated constituents will have spotted the double negative, which is apt to generate confusion.

If the bill does not do nothing on price and advertising, then obviously it does do something.

So what is that something?

But there you go.

We can’t all enjoy the privilege of being given a solid grounding in the basics of grammar at a splendid school like the one we have here in Eketahuna.

But a Minister does not need a solid grounding in the basics of good grammar to be able to kick the bums of slack bureaucrats.

Alas, Chester clearly has not kicked any bums and hence has failed to take care of the grievances of a Timaru bloke, Charles Simmons.

Stuff (here) tells us –

After waiting for eight years for his son Jeremy to get court-ordered reparation of $140 after his car was stolen in 2004, he began his own battle against bureaucracy to get answers.

The court has slowly been collecting the money and has $79.16, but is waiting for the sum to be fully recovered before it pays out to the son who now lives in Australia.

Last Wednesday, Mr Simmons received an identically worded letter from the minister to one he received on August 29, telling him staff were looking into the reparation owed to his son.

This week he decided to send back a strongly worded letter of his own.

He also mocked the Minister by giving him the sort of award no self-respecting Minister should ever want to receive.

“All we ever get from your department is that your staff are looking into the matter. I ask you again minister, how long does it take one clerk to enter the file number on a computer, receive the details and advise the victim? Even if this government has laid off half the staff in the public service, surely you could find one clerk for 10 minutes to give you this information.

“All sorts of excuses have been made for the incompetence of your department and so I felt you minister deserve the attached award.

“It is the round-tuit award and is only awarded to a person or persons who have shown they are determined to some day get around to it, whatever it is they are supposed to have done.”

Alf not only has drawn these matters to the attention of his constituents with this post.

He has also emailed The Boss on the matter, drawing his attention to these matters and offering his services in the event of The Boss feeling maybe it’s time for a change.

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