Let’s start with a sobriety test in the Emergency Department – those who flunk must pick up the tab

September 12, 2014


Alf’s party colleague Tony Ryall is retiring from politics at this election, to take up employment in the private sector he said at the time he made his announcement.

His retirement opens the way for a new Minister of Health to be appointed and – ahem – this post is intended to remind The Boss of the talents of the Member for Eketahuna North.

Ryall said he was proud of his work as Health Minister, especially in the areas of elective surgery, faster cancer treatment, and preventive health care.

Fair enough. But Alf is focused on the emergency wards of our hospitals and their workloads.

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Herald tells of a drunken Air NZ crew unfit to fly – but the story is based on unnamed sources

August 2, 2014


Readers of the Weekend Herald website would have been dismayed on learning:

Air NZ Crew too drunk for flight

But the story beneath the headline suggests the headline is bollocks.

There is no mention of the crew being “drunk”.

They had been drinking.

But even if aviators just sniff a bit of booze they are considered unfit to fly for several hours afterwards.

As Alf understand it, pilots legally must not drink less than eight hours before flying.

Many employers impose a more stringent limit of 12 hours.

Aviation industry people talk about 12 hours from bottle to throttle.

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No, we shouldn’t be following the bloody wowsers – let’s take our cues on leadership from Churchill

August 1, 2014
Here's where prohibition takes you.

Here’s where prohibition takes you.

Alf was alarmed to learn The Boss has confessed to guests at a fundraising event that he has been on the wagon since his return from a Hawaii holiday last month.

According to this report at Stuff:

Key revealed his abstinence at a fundraising event at Wellington’s Dockside restaurant on Wednesday night. He noted the irony about delivering a speech while standing in the bar.

A spokeswoman said “He is just taking good care of himself for the campaign.” Key is known to favour pinor noir and English-brewed Bath Ales.

Obviously The Boss did not consult Alf before taking what looks like a drastic as well as highly unnecessary course of action.

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The lesson from Pakistan is that prohibition does not work (and even your pilot might be pissed)

June 3, 2014


Alf never imagined he would be agreeing with a Sallie on the matter of booze.

But today he does just that – up to a point.

The Sallie in question has just come back to this country after heading the Salvation Army in Pakistan, a country which takes a very dim view of booze and boozing.

His experience there tells him prohibition never works – an opinion that won’t be challenged by the member for Eketahuna North.

He goes on to contend that restrictions can reduce the harm from drugs and alcohol. On this score, Alf reckons it rather depends on the nature of the restrictions.

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Oh dear, it looks like a pedestrian has become the first road victim of the new year

January 1, 2012

Alf takes no pleasure in recalling the warning he sounded just two days under the heading New Year booze warning: the first steps you take in 2012 could be your last

He was reiterating a warning being sounded in the US about January 1 being the deadliest day of the year for pedestrians.

And he cited a post reporting on work by an American economist, Steve Levitt, who compared the risk of drunk walking with drunk driving and found that the former can potentially pose a greater risk.

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Study lends credence to the idea that Labour and Green MPs came into the world as unplanned babies

November 26, 2010

Alf is fascinated at finding 40 per cent of the babies born in Auckland and the Waikato in the past year were “accidents”.

As the Herald tells us –

The taxpayer-funded 21-year study, which will follow 7000 babies until they reach adulthood, has pinned down the proportion of unplanned babies more accurately than any other long-term study because it started questioning mothers and fathers about three months before their babies were born.

Alf is not so sure it’s worth investing $5 million a year into the study that established how many pregnancies are unplanned.

But wait – maybe there’s more to it.

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When the health-enhancing properties of booze are accepted, it will be worth batting for cheaper food

September 9, 2010

And having bought your medicinal tipple here, you can move on to the health food shop.

Alf applauds the Public Health Association and Agencies for Nutrition Action for pressing the government to take concrete steps to reduce the cost of nutritious food – particularly the basics like bread, milk, fruit and vegetables.

He will support them, provided they include whisky (above all) on their list of healthy foods along with other alcoholic beverages with health-enhancing properties.

He enthusiastically goes out to promote whisky, which by the way happens to be one of his favourite tipples, although this is neither here nor there when it comes to the serious business of legislating in the public interest to improve the nation’s health and nutrition.

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If you can spell neuropsychopharmacologist, you are sober enough not to have to listen to one

August 2, 2010

A fancy job description is one sure way of having the bloody news media savour and publish anything you say.

Alf accordingly expects them to regurgitate the stuff on booze preached by one David Nutt when he comes here, blissfully ignoring the caution that should be sounded by his surname.

They will give time and space to him because he is a psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist.

What was that again?

Oh, yeah. He’s one of them neuropsychopharmacologists.

If the news media were doing their job and had their wits about them (whatever few wits they might be able to muster on a good day), they would break down that nomenclature and take special note of the psycho bit, as the assiduous Alf has done because he regards it as the critical part of the whole word.

Further warning bells should clang when the media buggers spot that this Nutt bloke has been fired by the British Government for shooting his mouth off.

Indeed, all the warning bells were sounded (and ignored) within the first two sentences of a report in the Press today:

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Unmasking Nelson’s tipsy teens

October 18, 2009

So what are we to make of the Masked Parade in Nelson?

The heading atop a PR handout says Nelson Masked Parade A Triumph Of Creativity

But the spin-doctors have seen things with a Nelsonian eye, it seems. According to the heading on an NZPA account of the boozy goings-on in the city, Drunk teens mar Nelson mask parade.

The PR version of events is brought to us by the Nelson Media Agency.

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Taxing the beer essentials

July 1, 2009

The Herald strikes the right tone, for Alf, when it reports that the prospect of increased booze prices, is “adding to the gloom of winter and a recession…”

The increases are likely to be triggered when the Government increases the excise tax on alcohol by 2.8 per cent from today.

The tax, which is adjusted to reflect the rate of inflation, rose by around 3.5 per cent last year.
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