Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Right-Lite is our Orwellian Nightmare. ACC defended.

So 3 years must have passed.

Because every 3 years the airwaves burst out in debate about the Accident Compensation Corporation being opened up to private business.

Nick Smith and National are having another crack.

Poor old Owen Woodhouse. In 1967 after years of deep thinking he recommended a no fault scheme for injuries.  By 1974 it was in place.  The rest of the world, lost in a mire of litigation and fault, were instantly jealous.

Now old, Owen must sigh at the Johnny-come-latelys who after a moments contemplation think they can re-invent a world leader.

They are what I like to call the Right-Lite.

The most politically correct people in the world; they follow mantras and don’t consider the detail. They have simple slogans that demean their opponents.

Nanny state. PC gone mad. State owned is bad.  4 legs good, 2 legs bad.  Orwell had it wrong.  Right-Lite think they are in charge of the Animal Farm.

ACC is not perfect.  But a country that hasn’t experienced the nightmare of litigation from private accident insurance in nearly 40 years should not abandon a scheme that has enabled New Zealanders to be New Zealanders.

ACC has allowed us to kayak and bungee jump and ski and zorb without calling a lawyer first to make sure he/she is on call.

So really, the only beneficiary of this are insurance companies and I think they donate more to National than any other party. And compare Western Pacific to the EQC.  And consider the money that already flows out to the Australian banks and then consider who will own the insurance companies that will benefit from this change.

Respect Owen Woodhouse in his final years.  He did good.

And fear Right-Lite.  Because in a country like ours.  So isolated and yet open to the buffets of international finance the mantra has to be pragmatism.  And sometimes state owned can be the best option.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What is the future for the 29 Pike River men and their families?

So there’s a recovery plan.

There wasn’t one until 6pm last night.

There’s never been one and that’s because it’s going to be hideously expensive.

The receivers don’t have any money and we all know that the government doesn’t either.

So what’s going to happen in the future?

On Monday they’ll start working their way down to the rockfall.

This, apparently, is going to take 3 months. If all goes well.

So now it’s the end of August.

Then there’s going to be a feasibility study on how to dig a 180 metre tunnel into the heart of the mine.

This is also going to take, say, 3 months.

So now it’s the end of November before the real arguments start about who’s going to pay for the push into the depths.

It’s now after the election. The next Government will probably have bigger fish to fry.

And by then the bodies will have been underground for 12 months and maybe the parent's resolve to retrieve will have weakened.

Now I’m not saying that this is what has been planned.  I’m just sayin’.


Do you ever get the feeling you’ve been put on hold?

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Last Blog Ever

The World is ending.

According to Harold Camping it’s pretty much all over on Saturday

At 6pm all God’s followers will ascend into heaven, leaving all non-believers behind to dwell in turmoil before the end of the world. There's going to be earthquakes and volcanoes and even the dead will rise and wander around as long as their legs haven't rotted off completely.

According to 89-year-old Harold Camping, a retired civil engineer and California-based Christian radio broadcaster, Jesus Christ will return to Earth because it's exactly 7000 years since Noah's flood.

It's called "The Rapture".

And so obviously it’s time for MY LAST BLOG EVER. Because I'll either have ascended or else wandering around in an apocalypse with no internet.

So, It’s been a good life.  Some regrets.

I regret that my Dad died 16 years ago.

That’s him on the left.  That’s me in the middle.  That’s me in the spotlight . Sharing my parents.  It’s 1965.

My biggest regret about my Dad dying 16 years ago is that my eldest son was born 15 years ago. 

He would have been the world’s best Grandpa.

And you know what, that’s it. 

Really. That’s my only regret.

I’m regretting the world ending, of course, but putting all my little regrets up against that one, Dad is the only who makes the cut.

So how ‘bout blessings.

I have been blessed with a beautiful homeland. 

Faced with the end of the world it’s the unspeakable sadness that the glistening snow and grandeur of the top of Mt Ruapehu will be soon gone.

Gone will be the thundering surf of Whananaki,  as a flash of the orange bill of an oystercatcher catches the corner of your eye and you see it’s flying with it’s mate.  And a million silica stars twinkle in the sand.

The so very green green of the Waikato.  The burnt brown of Hawkes Bay and the Port Hills. I will regret never seeing those blessings again.

I have been blessed with a bunch of boys who have been good mates since childhood.  And while we don’t see each other nearly enough, when we do the separation melts away.  11 boys, give or take.  No divorces. 1 death.  40 years.  Pretty blessed.

I have been blessed with Catherine and Pat.  Mums. Nuff said.

But on reflection.  With only hours of life left.  I need to tell the doomed world this.

My one true blessing is Helen, Jack and Ben.  

Isn’t that funny.  Billions of people. Millions of miles of life and landscape.  The whole Universe that has ever been.  Nothing matters but those 3 people. 3 tiny lumps of carbon and water. Oh and Saffi, the labradoodle

And one of them’s only 12 years old.  Yet he beats anything you could throw at me.

Frankly he even beats God.  Who is obviously a dickhead for choosing to end the world on Saturday.

OK, so probably it's Harold Camping who is the dickhead.

Or maybe he too is a blessing.

Because today I counted my regrets and my blessings and my blessings won. If the world doesn’t end this weekend I’m going to do this every week

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Photo Is Everything That's Wrong With Our Prime Minister

This photo is everything that’s wrong with our Prime Minister.

Last week John Key paid a visit to “Mike West in the Morning” of Manawatu’s More FM.

I knew he was going to be on because Mike Facebooked it, saying that he had a surprise in store for the Prime Minister.

Of course, if he said that in other countries we’d be asking which Caribbean island he was being water boarded in right now.  But this is New Zealand and no alarm bells rang.

Instead the leader of this country walked into a regional radio station where he was presented with a comb over wig to wear.

I don’t know if this was some savage commentary on Donald Trump’s failed presidential dalliance. But somehow I don’t think so.

I assume that is was “wacky Radio 101”, where a stunt is concocted to make an interview more memorable.  Though, much and all as I love your work Mike, a visit to the $2 dollar shop for a wig is not exactly comedy gold.  I mean, a visual joke…on the radio?

Anyhow, the point is, THE PRIME MINISTER PUT IT ON!!!

And then allowed a photograph to be taken wearing his goofy grin, which then spread around the globe on the web!

And this is because this Prime Minister has a pathological need to be liked.

And because he needs to be liked, his government did not repeal the Labour spend up from the previous term that aided the middle class more than the poor.

And because he needs to be liked, his government continued with his promised tax cuts that aided the rich instead of the poor.

And because he needs to be liked, the reforms to be announced on Thursday will not come into force until after the election so he can claim that we like them and therefore we like him.

And now here we are with more debt than ever before and an economic policy that doesn't know if it's Arthur or Martha.

I’ve just been reading about the 2010 budget that raised the GST and cut the tax.  Everyone said it would only work with growth.  Well what happened?  2 Earthquakes, some floods, some big bills to bolster failed finance and insurance companies and unfortunately not enough growth.

While many have said what this country needed was a true centrist, John Key’s management of the economy has been as goofy as that grin he’s wearing in the photo.

But at least he’s likeable.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It’s time to put a line in the sand and save this country.

For some time I have been concerned about my home.

These Shaky Isles are the size of Great Britain with a population of Sydney at the end of the world.  No-one is farther from any market than us.

But we all expect to run a first world country in a massive country with a miniscule population.

And yet philosophically our majority believes in small government, low taxes and an open economy.

We can’t afford it.

I see New Zealand like my mum’s house.

She lives in a big house in Remuera.  But all she has is the pension.  A pauper in a gilded cage.

So we stand at a crossroads if we wish to keep our cage. 

Misguided “philanthropists” cost the country 1.7 billion dollars and yet his supporters fail to see his greater disservice to the country.

2 colossal Earthquakes take a city out and yet many in other cities think it’s business as usual. 

An insurance company fails and the government that asks less from it’s people borrows more to save it. 

We live during the most damaging financial slowdown in living history and a lifestyle built on debt. Debt based on the sands that are our houses and yet tax cuts are gratefully received.

It’s time to get real.

I believe in capitalism.  I believe in competition.  I believe in personal responsibility. I also believe in collective responsibility and community.

It is time to be personally responsible to save our capitalism, competition and lifestyle.  It’s also time to collectively band together to save our people and our weak.

It’s time for a real third way.  But all we have is the language of polar opposites.  So here’s a start.

If the government were to come to me today and ask for more of my income to see us through I would say, “Yes!”.

I would say yes if the government promises to shelve idealogy and house the homeless, fix the cities and clear the debt.

Deal to student debt, deal to regional debt, deal to national debt.  

And then having fixed our fundamental systematic mistakes over the past 30 years find a more realistic way of existing.

And the people have to take off their “Am I better off?” blinkers and ask themselves, “Are we better off?”.

Right now the Government and the People have to work together. The People have to take off the default “government hate” mode and the Government has to become something we can trust with our futures.

I have not heard anyone come up with a model that suits our unique circumstances in my entire adult life. 

All I’ve heard is hollow men chant shallow mantras from the left and the right.

I’ve been saying to all that listen that 2011 is the time for a real leader to come.  I just ain’t seeing one yet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lawyers, Campervans and Wakas

Your talkback topic of the day.
The government t is giving an Auckland based hapu nearly 2 million dollars to build a plastic waka for the Rugby World Cup.
Not the best time to be giving governement money away when people are moving into a campervan village in Christchurch and being asked to pay 337 dollars a week for the privelege. 
By the way, the 150 camper vans have become a new suburb.  Campertown?  Christcamp? Or maybe Camperbury
Or should that money go to getting Pike River involved in it's own inquiry.
It may be uncharted territory but this is the company's responsibility.  It is their processes that are being investigated and so this cost is part of running a mining company.
The receivers have decided it's better to repay the shareholders than get to the bottom of the tragedy to make sure we never have 29 dead again.
Meanwhile Judge Pankhurst opened the inquiry with a minute's silence
He said his job is to find out what happened and why for the future
He also said no-one is on trial, there are no sides and no-one will win or lose at the end of the process.
But looking at the room and thinking about the receivers decision you know there will be a winner.
The lawyers.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You know you're in Christchurch when.....

  • Geonet/Christchurch Earthquake is your homepage
  • People all over the country offer you a place to stay
  • “Munted” and “buggered” are official technical terms
  • You go 'pfffff' when Wellington has a 4.5 earthquake that's 40km deep
  • You see a nice park in another city and think it would make a good evacuation point
  • You sleep in one suburb, shower in another, collect water from yet another and work elsewhere.
  • You drive on the right side of the road and no one thinks it's wrong
  • You are happy two Policemen came for a visit
  • Your bike becomes your best friend
  • You think it's fine for a soldier to be stationed at the end of your street
  • You see armoured vehicles driving down the road
  • A portaloo is a status symbol
  • It’s normal to greet people with “do you need a shower?”
  • A bucket of shit is no longer that old car you drive
  • Every house is a crack house
  • Instead of rushing to the clothes line to get clothes in when it rains, you put dirty washing on the line in the hope that it will rain enough to clean them
  • Going to Wellington to escape earthquakes makes sense
  • Your doctor recommends having a few stiff drinks before bed to help you sleep
  • You know how to start and refuel a generator
  • You have tied the pantry, liquor cabinet and all the cupboard doors closed and it's not to keep kids out
  • You prefer to sit under the table instead of at it
  • You think electronics that have "shock proof" labels should say to which earthquake magnitude
  • You know and actually understand the terms and conditions of your House and Contents insurance policies
  • You can see irony in claims about houses made of “permanent materials”
  • Your en-suite has a vege garden, dog kennel and grass
  • You and the cat fight over digging a hole in the garden!
  • Your teenagers are only too happy to sleep in the same room as their parents
  • You stop using the term “built like a brick shit house”
  • Dressing up to "head into town" means putting on a hi-viz vest, hard hat and boots
  • Discussing toilet habits with total strangers is an everyday norm
  • Wee boys don't get excited when they see (another) digger or a dozer - but all the adults in the street cheer wildly
  • Voluntarily staying in Timaru for five days seems like a good idea
  • You know what that extra gear lever on your 4X4 is for
  • Metservice includes a graph for dust
  • You have dust mask tan lines
  • You can use the term "liquefaction" in everyday casual conversation, even your 3-year old can understand.
  • A massive group of students appears in your street, you feel overwhelmed with gratitude instead of calling the Police. What’s more, the students leave the street in better condition than when they arrived
  • The answer to where anything is ... it’s on the floor
  • You smile at strangers and greet people like you’re one big family

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Auckland. The slum that's been given a makeover


So here I am on my trusty couch watching Yanina Wickmayer play tennis at the ASB Classic 2011.

Why does Wickmayer say WHOOPEE everytime she hits the ball?

Apparently it helps with the timing of the shot but as things stand it looks as though Yanina will meet Grunting Maria Sharapova in the final.


Holy Cow.  The birds in the domain won’t know what’s hit them.

But this is one of my pleasures of  summer.  I’ve been going to Stanley Street or watching it on the TV for as long as I can remember.

Back in the day it was the Benson and Hedges Open.  Tobacco paying for players to puff for our entertainment.  On grass! Onny Parun with a piece of string in his mouth to keep his body from falling apart and his chin taking out the eyes of the front row. And that Hat!!!

Brian Fairlie.  There was an athlete’s body.

One lunged Kelly Evernden.  How come his chest was symmetrical when it was missing half it’s innards?

And brave Brett Steven battling late in the night to be the bridesmaid but how we cheered.

Yes my arse bears the scars from the concrete of the Yock Stand.  Possibly the worst grandstand in professional sport today.

But this year we see that Stanley Street has been zjuzzed with a new permanent clubhouse and stand on the southern end and I’m proud to say as an Aucklander that it looks like a dog’s breakfast. Oh eventually it's going to look flash they say

But today, Centre Court now has stands on all 4 sides.  And none of them relate to the other at all.  It’s ad-hoc mayhem.  It’s a mess. But that’s what we do.

Eden Park.  4 different designs. 2 different coloured seats.

Mt Smart.  3 different stands and nothing on the north side.  U2 had to bring their own for that side.

North Harbour.  Well we only got halfway through that one.

Comparing our kit with the Cake Tin, re-developed Lancaster Park and Dunedin’s new indoor wonder should never be done as we will only start self-harming.

Idiosyncratic, higgledy-piggledy, cheap.  Like a slum that’s been given a makeover. That’s the Auckland we all love.