If a National MP wants to avoid abuse maybe it’s better to live far away from greenies

May 8, 2015

The occasional tossers – probably lefties and greenies – makes derogatory and always-unjustified comments about Alf on this blog.

Now and again tart remarks are made about him in the Parliamentary debating chamber (and much more obviously lefties and greenies are his verbal assailants).

But that’s to be expected. We are politicking in the chamber on those occasions and only now and again do differences spill over into a bit of physical argy-bargy.

But Alf has not experienced the threats and abuse that apparently have troubled other MPs out in the community

No doubt that’s because of his avuncular charm.

Perhaps if other MPs were similarly charming they would avoid some of the difficulties they and their families experience.

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If Metiria were PM (perish the thought) she would have told Gillard to get pedalling

February 16, 2011

The Government's VIP fleet in the highly improbable event of our having a Green Party Prime Minister.

The Greens didn’t take long to get back on top of Alf’s grumble list.

The buggers were up there two days ago, for their antics over Julia Gillard’s address to Parliament (which Alf has attended).

And they are there again today for kicking up a fuss over the Government’s ordering of a fleet of brand new BMWs.

Green Grinch co-leader Metiria Turei says this shows the Government is divorced from the needs of the public.

Radio NZ (and others) are reporting the details in a way that is bound to arouse public hostility.

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Salinger’s sacking not a ministerial matter

April 29, 2009

Jeanette Fitzsimons is on the wrong tack, trying to embroil Wayne Mapp in the fuss over Jim Salinger’s sacking.

In Parliament yesterday she asked Mapp, our Minister of Research, Science and Technology, if he stood by his statement in the Dominion Post last Saturday that the dismissal of internationally renowned scientist Dr Jim Salinger from his position at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research is “an employment dispute, which must be handled by the chief executive and the board”?

Mapp stuck to his guns: “Yes, I do.”
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Hope their food fads aren’t part of the deal

April 9, 2009

It’s taken Alf a while to recover from learning the party has struck a working relationship with the Greens. If the House hadn’t been sitting, he would have found himself taking to drink and oysters down at Dockside to absorb the shock.

Indeed, he figured that’s exactly what BB was up to when she broke the news – surely her scoop was the product of a lass whose imagination had been warped by a very early start with the grog.
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Here’s hoping Kedgley saw the joke

April 2, 2009

What a bloody miserable lifestyle was in store for us – it seemed – if ever mass dementia took hold and we elected a Green Government.

A strong whiff of a Green future was wafted from a post in Frogblog, portending that when the tree-huggers take over, we will have to throw away many (if not all) of our electric gadgets. Our electric kettles, heaters, blankets, toothbrushes and what-have-you.

The appliances that make life comfortable and shopping such fun.
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Clark honours system going, going – gong

March 8, 2009

A great move by The Boss – he’s announced the titles of Dames and Knights are to be restored to the New Zealand honours system.

One of the first daft moves by the Clark Government back in 2000 was to drop titles from the top levels of the honours system – Knight and Dame Grand Companion (GNZM) and Knight and Dame Companion (KNZM/DNZM).

Alf was among those who suspected the decision was part of an insidious socialist plot to edge us towards republicanism, reinforced by the subsequent dumping of the Privy Council (it cost Kiwi taxpayers nothing to tap into the best legal brains in the Commonwealth) to set up a Supreme Court here (which costs us heaps).

He is chuffed to see BustedBlonde, at Roarprawn. supports the move back to Sirs and Dames. Could be something to chat about if ever she drops into the Eketahuna Club – he’ll nominate her for a top gong if she’ll nominate him.
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Bioethics Council offers scant savings

March 6, 2009

When Green Party leader Jeanette Fitzsimons doesn’t get too excited about the prospect of the Bioethics Council being disbanded, it’s a fair bet it won’t be too greatly missed.

But there we are. Fitzsimons told Morning Report this morning the council’s creation in 2002 was something easy the Clark Government could do to implement recommendations from the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification. Some of the tougher recommendations were skipped.

The council hasn’t cost much to run and the savings will be trivial.

Toi te Taiao: the Bioethics Council is a ministerial advisory committee providing independent advice to Government on biotechnological issues, and promoting public dialogue and participation on the cultural, ethical and spiritual aspects of new biotechnologies.

Its purpose is to

• Enhance New Zealand’s understanding of the cultural, ethical and spiritual aspects of biotechnology.

• Ensure that the use of biotechnology has regard for New Zealanders’ values.

Council members have to be conversant

with a range of relevant skills, including knowledge of science particularly biotechnology, ecology, social science, tikanga Māori, Māori development, ethics, cultural and spiritual values of New Zealanders.

Among its achievements, according to the council’s media statements, it produced (in 2005) The Bioethics Report on Xenotransplantation. This concluded that, in principle, animal-to-human transplantation is acceptable to New Zealanders and recommends that it be allowed with appropriate regulations.

In 2006 is launched a booklet aimed at encouraging discussion on whether human embryos should be used for research in New Zealand, and if so, where might these embryos come from and what might be the result of such research.

Nothing among the media statements on the council website gives Alf much idea of what resulted from this work.

Last year it produced a report entitled Who Gets Born? which contains recommendations to Government on the cultural, spiritual and ethical issues associated with pre-birth testing, in light of public opinion and the implications of rapidly changing technology.

The council members who will be given their marching orders are unlikely to finish up in the dole queue. They are –

Assoc Prof Martin Wilkinson (chairman), expert in Community Health and Philosophy at the Auckland School of Medicine.

Dr Huia Tomlins-Jahnke, (Kahungunu, Ngai Tahu, Ngati Toa Rangatira and Ngati Hine), associate professor of Maori education at Massey University, a member of the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology, and a member of the Social & Human Sciences Sub Commission of the NZ National Commission for UNESCO.

Brett Stephenson, (Te Kapotai and Ngati Wai), Senior Lecturer in Environment Science at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in Whakatane.

Dr Marie Bismark, lawyer who specialises in health law and patients’ rights.

Dr Mark Fisher, Hastings, scientist with extensive experience in farm animal reproduction and animal welfare.

Dr Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop, inaugural director of Va’aomanu Pasifika at Victoria University of Wellington. She was a UNESCO Social and Human Services Adviser involved with the Pacific project on bioethics in 2004-05.

Assoc Prof Rosemary Du Plessis, sociologist at the University of Canterbury and Social and Human Sciences specialist for the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

Tahu Potik
i, (Kaati Moki, Kaai Te Ruahikihiki), Dunedin, former Chief Executive of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. His qualifications for this job? He is “a fluent speaker of Te Reo Maori and has published widely in both English and Maori.”

Alf is fascinated to see Tomlins-Jahnke was awarded her PhD in 2007 after investigating the cultural and spiritual issues around DNA testing for Maori with a genetic predisposition to cancer.

Probably he needs more instruction in this “Maori world view” stuff to understand what’s going on here – as he see it, DNA testing simply requires someone to take a bit of blood, spit or whatever, then let the scientists go to work on it.

All going well, the scientists will learn things that help lift Maori health standards, which everyone is banging on about because they are lower than non-Maori health standards.

Is there a problem here?

If someone doesn’t want their DNA taken to help the scientists to help them, so be it. Some people with strong religious beliefs similarly would prefer to die than have a blood transfusion.

We are all entitled to live by our strongly held beliefs. And to die by them.