Yes, something needs lifting in our liquor laws – but it’s the drinking age, not the price of booze

April 26, 2014

One mob is hollering for the drinking age to be raised. Another is hollering for the price of booze to be raised. Alf unabashedly supports the age lifters.

As he posted a few years ago, when musing on our liquor legislation, he was chuffed to find scientists have discovered a possible reason for hoonish behaviour – it’s that people don’t become true adults until they’re 24.

That suggests the drinking age should be raised to 24. Alf would not be fussed if it went higher.

A new study comes into the picture today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sorry folks, but this is an occasion when we Nats have gone out to discourage slavery

April 17, 2014

Alf is inclined to resurrect Don Brash’s Orewa speech – the one that occasioned lots of angry people to call him racist when he railed against race-based privilege and championed the principle of one law for all.

The speech and the principle he invoked seemed applicable to a bit of brouhaha over the law governing the use of foreign fishing boats and the way their crews are treated.

Some Maori reckon their fishing operations should be exempt from this law, which means they would like to be able to maintain practices described as slavery at sea.

But there are some other Maori – those in trade unions, for example – who seem to think that permitting slavery is a bad idea.

This creates a dilemma for your long-serving member who is acutely sensitive when it comes to issues which affect our indigenous people. Which lot of Maori should he listen to?

Read the rest of this entry »

Louisa Wall strikes again – now we must consider having two mums named on a birth certificate

May 25, 2013

Haven’t had time to check out all the issues yet, but Alf is fascinated by the questions raised by one Rowen Sullivan, a lass who reckons she has two mums. According to a story about her at Stuff today, she wants to have them both recognised as her parents.

But for that to happen she will have to change the law.

Strictly speaking, for this to happen Parliament would have to change the law.

But our Parliament has become astonishingly liberal on these matters in recent years and she will find lots of sympathetic ears.

Actually, she has found one – as we will see further down in this post.

And she is following a process that may well put Alf in the position of having to vote on the matter, which is what prompted him to look at some of the issues.

Read the rest of this entry »

Backing down on drug tests in schools would be good – but let’s hear it officially

March 14, 2013

Are we Nats backing down from opposing the use of sniffer dogs and drug tests on students?

Alf isn’t sure.

This issue hasn’t directly involved him and he hasn’t been chatting about it with his back-bench mates. Maybe he should.

If we are backing down, Alf will be delighted.

He is uncomfortable about going out to bat for policies he disagrees with.

And he can never enthuse at pantywaist policies for dealing with drug-taking brats.

But any suggestion we might be backing down comes from secondary school principals (here) and Family First (here).

Mind you, Mrs Grumble has limited research resources and might have missed more reports from the government or select committee.

The Secondary school principals told Radio NZ yesterday they were convinced the Government would abandon its opposition to the use of sniffer dogs and drug tests on students.

They have made submissions to the Education and Science select committee on the Education Amendment Bill.

Among the bill’s measures, it would prevent schools from using dogs and carrying out drug tests on students.

As Radio NZ explained, the Ministry of Education has said schools should leave drug searches and tests to the police and the proposed changes reflect the Bill of Rights.

The principals aren’t too happy about that.

Principals have told the committee that employing private firms to conduct searches and tests deters students from bringing drugs to school and gives them a good reason to turn down drugs.

Committee chair Cam Calder says he cannot comment because the committee is still considering the bill.

However, the Secondary Principals Association says it has been told the Government will change the clauses.

Its president Patrick Walsh says principals want a clear statement about what they can do to keep schools free of drugs.

Next thing you know, Family First New Zealand is welcoming a Government backdown.

They don’t seem to be waiting to find out if there is one.

“Schools need to be supported in their fight against drug use and dealing by young people – not disempowered. This proposed policy was dangerous because it would have made it far more difficult for schools to detect and prevent drugs being used, carried and distributed in schools, and would have created an unsafe environment for the whole school community,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Hundreds of students are being caught with drugs in high schools each year according to official figures, and principals have said that enhanced detection efforts are the main reason for students being caught with drugs. Why would we take away the ability for schools to create a safe environment?”

“Ministry of Education figures also showed that there are three times more drug incidents than ones involving alcohol at primary and intermediate schools. Once again, principals acknowledge that a zero-tolerance policy is the best response.”

McCroskie said parents and schools were trying to give children a zero-tolerance message on drug use.

Alf agrees with him that their efforts should be reinforced, not undermined and weakened, by government social policy and laws.

“We need to focus on the effects on health of using drugs, links with mental illness, high use by school pupils, driving under the influence of cannabis, and the progression from lesser drugs to more dangerous drugs like P,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Taking away a key prevention tool used by schools was a dopey approach.”

It is.

But let’s wait to see what the select committee has decided…

No definition of tikanga is completely right or wrong – but please don’t mention Alice in Wonderland

March 17, 2011

When we legislators are writing new laws, it’s a helluva good idea to use language we all understand.

If an MP is unsure what a word means, consequently, that member is just doing his or her job by questioning its use.

Mind you, if an MP who is not Maori raises questions or expresses concerns about a Maori word – well, feathers will be ruffled and all hell will break loose.

Take the word tikanga, for example.

It pops up in the foreshore and seabed legislation.

But what is it and how will its application affect what happens when ownership claims are tackled?

Read the rest of this entry »

Yeah, you could get to Wellington much faster by plane but then it wouldn’t be a hikoi

March 16, 2011

It's hard on the footwear but great for publicity.

How much money does it take to organise a hikoi and where does the money come from?

That’s a question Alf was mulling over with his mates on learning of another bloody hikoi being despatched from the Far North.

The buggers are headed for Wellington, but wandering down the North Island on a protest march is not the fastest way to get there. Chartering a plane would get them there in a matter of hours and may well be much cheaper because making the journey on foot calls for several days of daily living expenses to be met for pies, burgers, fish and chips and other nourishing kai.

Read the rest of this entry »

Welfare reforms hit a snag – but only a woofter would want blokes to be treated the same as sheilas

March 25, 2010

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is showing she can match it with Crusher Collins, when it comes to the size of her ministerial balls.

She has admitted part of her welfare reforms breach the Bill of Rights Act. Then she has given the champions of human rights the fingers, upwards thrust, saying it would not bother most people.

“I think that is a discrimination that most New Zealanders will see as being fair and reasonable.”

Alf is not quite so convinced by Attorney-General Chris Finlayson, who denies he deliberately withheld a report advising that part of the Government’s welfare plans breach the Bill of Rights Act.

He puts the delay in its presentation to Parliament as an “administrative error”.

As he was telling us this, did Alf see something porcine flying over Parliament Buildings?
Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s more law on liquor and construction

March 11, 2009

The new legislation keeps coming. Liquor and building bills came into play yesterday.

Justice Minister Simon Power introduced The Sale and Supply of Liquor and Liquor Enforcement Bill, which received its first reading in Parliament last night.

It has been necessitated by the drunken antics of louts and drunks in communities other than Eketahuna, but our good people will feel its embrace anyway. There will be rumblings of discontent.

Among the provisions, grocery stores will continue to be restricted to selling beer, wine, cider and mead.

Mead? What wanker goes to his grocer for a bottle of mead, let alone consumes the stuff?
Read the rest of this entry »

A complication with simplification

March 5, 2009

Dunno why she felt the need to say so, but the Maori Party’s Rahui Katene kicked off her remarks on the Unit Titles Bill in Parliament today in a manner which left poor old Alf …

Well, lost and bewildered.

“It is entirely appropriate to stand here, as a Maori woman, to talk to this Unit Titles Bill,” she said.

Actually, it is entirely appropriate for anyone elected to our House of Representatives to talk to a Bill.

But she went on:

“Our whakatauaki, our tribal traditions, have always made explicit the connection between wahine – our women; and whenua – our land.
Read the rest of this entry »

Streamlining the apartment business

March 5, 2009

The big-wigs among Eketahuna’s apartment developers, builders and dwellers will be toasting Housing Minister Phil Heatley down at the club tonight.

Legislation he introduced to modernise the way apartment blocks are built and managed received its first reading in Parliament today.

The Unit Titles Bill will make it easier to set up unit title developments and more flexible as well as streamline and simplify the way multi-unit developments are managed.

It was referred to the Social Services Select Committee and the public will soon have the opportunity to make submissions on the proposed changes.

Read the rest of this entry »