A Barbados posting would be a bit rum, but it sounds more attractive than Nigeria or Colombia

October 6, 2013

Mrs Grumble has become disconcertingly fascinated with the Caribbean.

This has happened since The Boss announced the Government’s intention of opening a diplomatic post in Barbados.

She fancies Alf’s chances of being rewarded for his years of service to the National Party by being landed with the job of High Commissioner.

She has phoned Mrs Key – with whom she has more than a nodding acquaintance – to ask for the right words to be whispered into The Boss’s ear.

Alf is not so sure it’s a good idea. He isn’t quite ready to take the next step towards being put out to pasture, as Lockwood Smith was when he landed the London post earlier this year.

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Throwing up Trevor Mallard as a candidate means David Carter is a shoo-in to become Mr Speaker

January 31, 2013

Well, that’s gotta be a thoroughly untempting proposition.

The Labour Party has said it will nominate Trevor Mallard to be Speaker of the House.

They know the bid will fail.

The chances of failure became that much greater when Mallard became their choice.

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Balancing the Clerk’s Office budget: let’s spend more on broadcasting and less on jetsetting

July 5, 2012

Alas,Lockwood’s prize bull had to stay behind.


Alf was puzzled by a report about the costs of broadcasting the proceedings of Parliament.

It was calling for “some tradeoffs” (of the budgetary sort, presumably) and it was telling us about financial pressures in the Clerk’s Office.

It was not a good time to be drawing attention to these financial pressures, because news media had just been telling us about a bunch of parliamentarians jaunting around the world with Mr Speaker and his missus.

The cost of the jaunt won’t be quite enough to raise all the readies needed to meet the broadcasting shortfall. But every little bit helps, eh?

And the big thing about money being spent on broadcasts is that the public are the beneficiaries. They get to watch the likes of the Member for Eketahuna North asking questions, making speeches, raising a laugh with witty interjections, and what-have-you.

The public gets no benefit from MPs’ jetsetting, no matter what rationale is applied to justifying it.

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Equality arguments in the Mojo matter are worthy of a hearing – from all sides

February 15, 2012

Did Alf hear correctly?

An important point here is that some people have difficulties in the hearing department, and Alf senses he might have to include himself as one of these as he gets older.

What he heard while munching on his toast – he thinks – was an ardent lobbyist blatting on Morning Report about extra funding being needed for a deaf MP to be accorded equitable treatment. Or equal treatment. Of something like that.

He is fascinated by the logic.

We are all equal – right?

But some people need more money for extra help than others require to do the same job. Public money, let it be noted.

This is a variant of that thing in Animal Farm about all animals being equal but some are more equal than others.

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The Monarchical Mr Speaker has muted media freedoms – but which hack complained to him?

October 7, 2011

Alf normally turns to No Right Turn in the expectation he will find something highly disagreeable and, more often than not, seriously disputatious. But then, what should we expect from an Idiot Savant?

Now and again, however, even an idiot savant can have a good day, and today the bugger has hit a rich vein in discussing the latest antics of “our monarchical Speaker”.

He recalls that on Wednesday, a bloke sitting in the gallery of Parliament – a seriously unhinged bloke, in Alf’s humble opinion – tried to throw himself over the railing and on to the floor of the chamber.

The Herald’s Audrey Young, sitting in the Press Gallery nearby, snapped a photo on her phone of the ensuing struggle as security guards and members of the public attempted to stop the man from going over the edge (although he had gone over the edge by going over the edge, if that makes sense, which it does to Alf).

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We don’t demand haute couture in the House but wearing Highlanders’ discarded kit was a blue

June 8, 2011

It's a nice shade of blue ... but what would happen if Alf wore this in the House?

Alf took serious offence at a Labour politician, Clare Curran. desporting herself in National colours yesterday.

Accordingly he approved of the Speaker giving her a red card and kicking her off the Parliamentary pitch.

As it turned out, she was thrown out of the House for wearing a Highlanders’ rugby shirt.

Today she is reported to have bleated about an “over reaction” from Speaker Lockwood Smith.

The Dunedin South MP had appeared at Parliamentary questions wearing the southern team’s old blue, gold and maroon kit in protest at the new lime green colour.

Speaker Lockwood Smith declared the shirt violated Parliament’s strict dress codes and ordered Curran to leave.

Parliament’s dress code dictates male members must wear a tie or jacket buttoned up to the neck. Women must wear ”normal business attire” however there is no specific detail on what is allowed.

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It’s a monstrous case of media discrimination – the cameras follow Carter but again give Alf a miss

December 23, 2010

Bugger - who let the TV3 cameras in on my Christmas?

So why haven’t the buggers in the Speaker’s Office alerted the news media to Alf’s holiday travel plans?

He would jump at the chance to be pictured climbing into his modest Mazda Atenza – a 2004 job – before driving to Taihape for a modest Christmas dinner with other members of the modest Grumble family.

Indeed, he offered TV3 a few hundred bucks if they would take such pictures and screen them on their news programme, but they somewhat impolitely turned down the offer.

The problem, probably, is that he is happily married to Mrs Grumble and they have three children and several grandchildren (Alf has lost count of how many exactly). This makes him remarkably ordinary, despite his accomplishments on behalf of his electorate.

Hence Alf is throughly pissed off to learn that Chris Carter, the bald-pated poof who happens to be an MP on the other side of the parliamentary divide, is saying the media have ruined his summer holiday after the itinerary for his taxpayer-subsidised trip to Sri Lanka was leaked.

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What’s that strong pong of hypocrisy? Ah, it’s coming from Goff’s housing arrangements

December 17, 2010

The taxpayers keep filling this one for me, so why should I feed from my own trough?

Alf can’t say it better than Whaleoil, when it comes to discussing the rank hypocrisy of Labour’s Phil Goff. Constituents should read his post on the subject today.

Essentially, Whaleoil reminds us how Labour has persistently been putting the boot into our Bill English over the double dipping thing, perfectly legal though it happened to be.

But – as we learned last night – Goff is up to much the same sort of lark.

Alf will only add to Whaleoil’s account that he was thoroughly pissed off in the House this week when Amy Adams was doing a splendid job of extracting important stuff from English about the economy at Question Time.

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Pansy comes up smelling (almost) like roses but there’s a whiff of something curious around Sammy

December 4, 2010

So did Sammy hook or slice to finish up in the rough?

Bugger. The report into former cabinet minister Pansy Wong’s use of her travel perks is bad news for Alf’s ministerial ambitions.

It has raised Pansy’s hopes of returning to Cabinet, and hence has generated a bit more competition for ministerial jobs.

“While it is my hope to return to Cabinet, I understand that it has to be earned, and my energy and focus now will be used to serve the people of Botany and promoting the interests of ethnic communities across our country. I am looking forward to returning to Parliament.”

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It’s tempting to blame Pansy for our perks being busted, but they have been under pressure for a while

November 18, 2010

The perk got the Grumbles to Disneyland - guess which one is Alf.

Mrs Grumble is a bit upset this morning.

She fears that our overseas holiday plans have been done a mischief by the decision to strip MPs of their international travel perk.

It will be replaced by a new scheme designed to stop taxpayer-funded jaunts, according to the report at Stuff.

Speaker Lockwood Smith announced the change late last night after meeting MPs on the Parliamentary Service Commission.

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