Labour leader Andrew Little says a number of issues have been building up over the summer which Labour will focus on when Parliament resumes this week, including the funding of the SkyCity Convention Centre and a rise in the unemployment rate.

This was a reference to SkyCity chief Nigel Morrison – before Christmas – saying he wanted the taxpayer to bridge any shortfall in construction costs or the company could walk away from the deal.

But there are other matters on Little’s grouch list:

Mr Little also said the rise in unemployment in last week’s statistics from 5.4 per cent to 5.7 per cent was unexpected.

Two other issues he nominated for focus were the proposed deployment of up to 100 New Zealand Defence personnel to Iraq in a non-combat training role, and tertiary education.

Parliament resumes at 2pm tomorrow.

The Boss then will deliver the Prime Minister’s statement, in which he will outline the Government’s plan for the year.

Alf will be there to applaud often and otherwise ingratiate himself to The Boss in the hope he will be noticed should there be any changes in the Cabinet line-up.

Molly Ivins, by the way, was 62 when she died a few years ago.

She was described in one obituary as an unabashedly liberal columnist and best-selling author whose wicked wit and good ol’ girl-style Texas humor regularly skewered conservative politicians and targeted the pomposities of elected officials regardless of political stripe.

Despite her liberalism Alf imagines he would have  got on splendidly with her.

Six feet tall, with a mane of red hair when she was younger, Ms. Ivins was large even in a place that has known its share of outsize personalities. With an earthy laugh and the husky, drawling voice of a barroom bawd, she was usually the focal point of any gathering of folks who enjoyed telling tales and trading political gossip.

This could well describe Mrs Grumble.

Come to think of it, it comes close to describing Alf too, although he no longer has a mane of hair of any colour, and especially not red.