Forget about Crusher Collins – let’s persuade her to become Slugger with this tasty idea

February 23, 2010

Alf has an idea for our Corrections Minister, the admirable Crusher Collins. Our Defence Minister, Wayne Mapp, is smart enough to see the possibilities, too.

Alf’s fertile mind was activated by news that Mapp, wearing his Research, Science and Technology hat, is thinking about coughing up good public money to help study toxic sea slugs.

As the NZ Herald reports today, scientists want to know how far the highly poisonous slugs have spread and why they have suddenly become toxic. But the Environment Ministry and other government departments have so far refused to pay.

Toxic snails? How toxic?
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Let’s disable this bloody tribunal before it cripples we hard-working taxpayers

January 9, 2010

Alf is troubled by the namby-pamby Human Rights Review Tribunal and its ruling about parents who care for severely disabled adult offspring.

It has decreed these parents should be eligible to receive payments from the Government.

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Berl, the booze bill and a backdown

July 7, 2009

Because boozing is among his favourite activities (he prefers to call it networking), Alf has been interested in the brouhaha over a study by Berl.

The NBR kicked it off, at least in terms of news media coverage, and Business Roundtable executive director Roger Kerr today gets in on the act in the NZ Herald.
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Rural patients given a shot for travel

March 30, 2009

More good news from Health Minister Tony Ryall on the rural health front: he has announced an increase in the mileage allowance that patients can claim under the National Travel Assistance (NTA) policy. It’s the first increase in 20 years.

He’s on the job, too, looking into rural doctors’ and nurses’ concerns about rural ambulance services.

Dr Carol Horgan, chief executive of Dunstan Hospital near Clyde in Central Otago, was among those who raised the matter at the Rural General Practitioners Network conference in Wellington over the weekend.
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A boost for rural GPs

March 29, 2009

Looks like steps are being taken to help ease the lot of our hard-working rural GPs.

The GPs and the Ministry of Health are to look into frontline support for rural primary care.

Health Minister Tony Ryall told delegates at the NZ Rural General Practitioners’ Network conference in Wellington this weekend the Rural GP Network and the ministry group would look at how to use the different components of rural primary care funding to best support rural general practice.

The announcement is so fresh, it hadn’t been posted on the Beehive web-site at the time Alf posted this item.

But Ryall said:

“A key focus of the joint work programme will be to ensure we are getting maximum benefit from existing funding – given the current financial environment facing the country.”

While the work is being done, rural funding (the rural bonus of $4 million and the rural premium of $11 million) will continue to be allocated using current mechanisms.

An extra $5 million will be shared among general practices active in providing rural after-hours services – funding, fair to say, set aside by the previous government.

Ryall said:

“Rural general practice faces particular challenges from working in more remote areas, and issues of recruitment and retention remain. The new government has announced additional GP training places and the voluntary bonding scheme for midwives, nurses and doctors.”

The news should go down well with the good folks of Eketahuna North, although most constituents are in great nick, from a health point of view. That’s one of the benefits of rural living.


Tararua’s $13m drinking problem

March 26, 2009

Gotta give it to Tararua Mayor Maureen Reynolds for optimism.

She says (according to the Manawatu Standard) it will be impossible to come up with the dosh needed to improve her district’s drinking water – a matter of more than $13 million – without help from the Government.

Doesn’t she know we are lopping public spending, or trying to, because of the widening budget deficit and Standard and Poors putting us on credit watch and all that fiscal stuff?
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A great gush about water

March 23, 2009

Dunno if Alf’s previous posting did the prompting, but Brendon Burns burst into life with another press release early this afternoon.

It was too late for World Water Day, which expired at midnight, but it was all about water and water quality.

Burns told us drinking water standards are being reviewed by the Government and he said one in five New Zealanders are drinking ‘‘at risk” water. This happily excludes Alf, because he stopped drinking the stuff when he observed fish fucking in it.
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Plunket pledge is made good

February 24, 2009

Another promise, another delivery…

And another illustration of Labour’s blundering under a Prime Minister who had no empathy with baby business.

The fast-tracking of funding for PlunketLine was among National’s 100-day commitments.

Lo and behold, with a few days to spare, Health Minister Tony Ryall today announced
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A nicely cooked policy

February 17, 2009

Green MP Sue Kedgley only ever looked good to Alf when she leapt into a sow crate for a photo opportunity some years back (actually, she was reported to have elbowed aside some Green colleagues for the privilege).

So he will quietly busy himself with something – like read his Dominion-Post – when she gets to quiz the Minister of Education at Question Time today.

Her question to Anne Tolley:

Did she seek advice from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, or Sport and Recreation New Zealand on her decision to remove the National Administrative Guideline requiring schools to sell only healthy food; if so, what concerns, if any, were raised?

It’s a huge waste of breath. Alf knows you don’t have to consult with all those people to come up with a good policy.

He wonders real hard about Kedgley and her preoccupations. The Department of Personal Opinions, before the 2008 election, credited her with having

“a commitment and passion for ensuring the food we eat is safe.”

Does anyone not worry about their food being safe?

Alf certainly does. But he doesn’t force his concerns on others or turn them into cumbersome regulations. He simply asks Mrs Grumble (nicely) to please sample his food before he tucks in.