Good sense shows in talk about upholding hotel owners’ right to ensure against unmarried coupling

June 21, 2014
Give a dog a bad name and....

Give a dog a bad name and….

The Brits have shown us the way – or at least, one Brit has – in recent days.

No, not the England soccer team obviously.

The lesson in this case comes from a judge able to admit she was wrong (or may have been wrong) when she condemned a Christian couple for turning away gay guests from their hotel.

More important, this judge has invited an audience of legal luminaries in Ireland to have another think about matters of conscience and the protection of our rights in an awfully PC modern world.


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Paying Wanganui councillors on a per-meeting basis seems sensible, but not if MPs must follow suit

January 31, 2012

Your hard-working member’s first instinct was to denounce the Wanganui district councillors who want to stick to being paid a fixed sum of money, no matter how often they turn up for meetings to earn their keep.

In accord with that instinct, Alf would have lauded councillor Rob Vinsen for recommending councillors’ salaries be linked to meeting attendance.

And he would have excoriated anyone who rejected the proposal as a trough-swiller. Or an oinker.

The self-serving antics of the city’s councillors are apparent in the NZ Herald’s account of what happened:

At yesterday’s full council meeting, councillors voted to keep their pay by salary only, rather than a split between a salary and a meeting allowance.

According to the Herald, Wanganui councillors with no extra responsibilities receive $25,581 a year.

Councillors were given the option of considering whether to retain a smaller salary along with an allowance for every meeting attended.


This Vinsen feller obviously believes in ratepayers getting value for money.

Councillor Rob Vinsen moved a recommendation that the council switch to a split salary-allowance model.

“Being a councillor comes with responsibilities, and the first one is that you should attend as many meetings as possible.

“It’s a basic responsibility to the ratepayer,” Mr Vinsen said.

You don’t do much in Wanganui local body politics without bumping into Michael Laws, of course.

And sure enough, Laws comes into this story.

Councillor Hamish McDouall disagreed with Vinsen

..saying he was concerned the issue had become personal, referring to Councillor Michael Laws’ poor attendance at meetings.

A poor attendance from Laws?

Surely not.

Uh, oh.

Maybe Laws has been a tad lax in the attendance department.

In the first year of this electoral term, Mr Laws attended 10 of a total 36 meetings. He did not attend yesterday’s meeting.

But what other reasons could there be for voting against Vinsen’s proposal?

Hmm. Here’s another chunk of McDouall”s rationale –

“There are many reasons why people have difficulty attending all meetings. I was late today because I had child care issues. Councillor [Clive] Solomon has a busy job as a surgeon. Councillor [Allan] Anderson was away for some time because he was ill. Are we going to penalise these people?” Mr McDouall said.

But wait. There’s more.

Councillor Nicki Higgie said council needed to ensure it was as easy as possible for employed people to stand for council, and an attendance-based pay structure might dissuade them from doing so. She also noted that more than half her council work took place away from the council table.

In the upshot, Vinsen’s recommendation was put to the vote and only Vinsen and Councillor Ray Stevens voted for it.

Shame on the others.

Or so Alf was going to argue until Mrs Grumble brought the small matter of his own pay to his attention.

If it’s good enough for city councillors to be paid according to their meeting attendance, she wondered, isn’t it good enough for members of Parliament to be similarly recompensed?

Damn. Maybe she’s got a point.

And maybe someone will seize on it real fast.

Hence your long-serving member has decided not to write about what happened in Wanganui.

He is looking for something else to rail against this morning and if he can’t find an issue to kick around he will wander down to the Eketahuna Club to learn what his mates are talking about today.

Let’s not take BBC bloke so bloody seriously – but this isn’t Paradise for tourists, either

January 13, 2012

Why would a Yorkshireman want to come here...

...when he can admire this scenery every day?

Just because a bloke is a radio host does not mean he should be taken seriously.

To the contrary, anything and everything your typical radio host says should be dismissed as grist for the mill of entertaining and amusing an audience of people who can’t afford television sets.

Hence Alf is astonished to find how much excitement has been generated by a BBC radio host by name of Toby Foster.

As things turn out, this feller tells us he was “just having a bit of a laugh” when he slagged Kiwis as “crazy” and “boring” and said that New Zealand had “sod all” except for earthquakes on his breakfast radio programme on Monday.

BBC Radio Sheffield’s Toby Foster had a rant after wrongly reporting that an Australian woman, who survived a plunge into Africa’s crocodile-infested Zambezi River when her bungy cord snapped, was Kiwi.

He said yesterday: “It was quarter to nine on a Monday morning, I was just having a bit of a laugh.”

So how does Toby Foster get his laughs?

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Talking about fat – isn’t that a fitting word to describe Michael Laws’ mouth?

October 10, 2010

Alf shares David Farrar’s disapproval of Radio host Michael Laws for calling Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand a “large, fat man” who has “never left” the buffet table.

The absurdity of the remark is obvious to a clear-thinking bloke like Alf: most New Zealanders have seen photos of Sir Anand at functions, such as investiture ceremonies, where he is nowhere near a buffet table.

He has to leave the buffet table to do the paper work that turns bills into laws.

And while Alf has not actually seen the GG in bed, he imagines he does sleep in one, and not on a buffet tble.

And so on…

In short, Laws has been lean on facts and obese on fatuousness.

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Whuck it all, wy not just rename the place and call it Wankernui

December 19, 2009

Alf is all for renaming the city at the mouth of the Whanganui River. He would call it Wankernui, after its infamous loud-mouthed mayor.

His thinking is influenced by the carry-on of Mayor Michael Laws after TVNZ decided it would go with the “H”.

Laws condemned a TV One News editorial decision – announced during its primetime bulletin – that it would spell Wanganui as ”Whanganui” and pronounce it as “Faa-ganui” – as “anti-democratic, PC garbage”.

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Will dropping the “h” be a hanging offence?

September 17, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

It was inevitable, of course, that the Wanganui District Council would consider appealing the New Zealand Geographic Boards’ decision today to insert the letter H in Wanganui.

True, as the Herald reports,

any name change has yet to be approved by Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson, who may confirm, modify or reject it.

But Alf isn’t putting his money on his mate Maurice having the balls to over-ride the board.
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Now let’s wait for the majority to be gazzumped

May 22, 2009

It should come as no surprise that the great majority of Wanganui people have voted to continue living in Wanganui.

Wanganui residents have rejected the proposed inclusion of an ‘h’ in their city’s name.

Results of a Wanganui District Council referendum released this afternoon show 77.3 per cent of respondents wanted the city’s name to remain spelt ‘Wanganui’ while 22.3 per cent wanted it changed to ‘Whanganui’.

Around 60 per cent of eligible voters – 18,636 residents – voted in the referendum.

We ought to be able to live where we want to live, and in this case, that means Wanganui. Not Whanganui.

If a whopping majority of townsfolk wanted their city to be called Bugger Me Sideways, then so be it. It’s their city.

But not in this bloody country can they call it what they want.

There’s a huffy bunch in Wellington called the New Zealand Geographic Board, and it will be calling the shots. Right now it is considering the possible name change for Wanganui, to stick in an “h”, and it is currently asking for public submissions.

Wanganui mayor Michael Laws – who has campaigned strongly against including the ‘h’ – has said Wanganui residents should have the final say.

“The results are decisive and overwhelming,” Mr Laws said today.

“They express unequivocal choices that no individual or organisation can possibly ignore.”

Wanna bet on it, Mr Mayor?

So how many other bastard cities are there?

March 30, 2009

It’s Whanganui with an “h”, says the Geographic Board.

But the icing on the cake for local Maori and their gaggle of PC-besotted supporters is that Wanganui doesn’t exist. Not legitimately.

It’s a bastard city, you could say.

Given the board’s dubious composition and its running orders, of course, the great majority of the people of the city never stood a chance.
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To h or not to h

March 30, 2009

Alf is keeping an eye out for news from the New Zealand Geographic Board, a curiously composed outfit that will decide today whether Wanganui should have the letter “h” added to its name.

More important, he is keen to learn whether fewer than 10 people can over-rule the preference (no “h”) of the vast majority of the people of the city.

By the end of the day, there’s a fair chance we will be hearing one of those wonderful bursts of utter outrage from Mayor Laws. Maybe a tantrum, too.
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Discounting the majority viewpoint

February 25, 2009

Forget about a good old-fashioned democratic vote by the citizens. A board that seems to have a strong weighting of Maori (at least on a population basis), and whose members are nominated by mountaineers, geographers, politicians and Ngai Tahu, will decide if Wanganui remains Wanganui or becomes Whanganui.

Local Maori are pushing for the change.

But a 2006 referendum found more than 80 per cent of residents preferred no change

Mayor Michael Laws is siding with the vast majority of his citizens.
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