Outrage: if the spoils of victory are going to our opponents, we might as well make Goff our leader

March 23, 2010

Alf has been hugely comforted by the certainty that a cosy job would be found for him, should he quit parliamentary politics. His ministerial mates would stick him on the board of an SOE, a quango or one of umpteen other types of publicly funded organisation.

Their structures provide for oodles of political appointments, and they enable our ministers to dispense favours and patronage.

Alf is comforted no longer. We are giving these plums – the spoils of victory – to our bloody opponents.

The idea used to be that the jobs were dished out to long-serving, and maybe not-so-long-serving, members of the party in Government.

That was the point of winning an election. You got to run the bloody country – dig up the conservation estate, run down the public service, turn Auckland into a Super City then govern it from Wellington, think about taking travel privileges off the oldies but back off when they squawk loudly, and so on.
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Pylons, property rights and a protracted process appropriated from the processors of good cheese

February 18, 2010

Alf has a great deal of sympathy with the farmers who look determined to block Transpower from their properties in South Canterbury.

It’s all about the bloody great pylons Transpower must plant and maintain on private properties so we can all get our electricity, plug in our PCs, read this blog, and so on.

Underpinning the stand-off, it seems, is a point of principle: Transpower wants to pay a one-off lump sum by way of compension for its use of private property. The farmers want an annual rental.

But the parties seem to be taking a helluva long time to reach an agreement.
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Power play in the Waikato – Steve Meier is not the only farmer Transpower must settle with

January 27, 2010

Alf sympathises with farmers in the Waikato who are warning that an $824 million pylon project due to start next month may lead to standoffs between farmers and Transpower.

He’s not so sure about Matangi farmer Steve Meier, who single-handedly seems to have kept thousands of people without power the other day because of his run-in with Transpower.

As the Herald reports today –

A fire in a shelterbelt of about 50 of Mr Meier’s pines on Monday, believed to have started when lines above them arced, cut power to more than 50,000 homes from Waikato to Cape Reinga.

When Alf first saw him on the TV news the other night, Meier looked decidedly bellicose – rabid, even.

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Our Gerry-built power future

February 24, 2009

Gerry Brownlee – splendid fellow – is earning his keep as Energy and Resources Minister by thinking long and hard about his portfolio, and about our increasingly tatty electricity network.

He is resisting the urge to draw hasty conclusions, but he’s smart enough to be thinking about finding someone else to help him think.

And so – says a media statement today – he’s considering a Ministerial Working Party to reshape the regulatory functions of the electricity industry.

About time. Personally, Alf wouldn’t have buggered around and would have pulled the plug on the Electricity Commission by now.

But back to Brownlee, who made his announcement in a speech to the national power conference in Auckland.

Fair to say, the power stayed on for long enough for him to read the speech from start to finish. Read the rest of this entry »