Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Useless things we don't need

This could well turn out to be the first couple of items in a long running series. I am not referring to chocolate teapots or plate glass bicycle pumps here but things governmental and/or bureaucratic. Two standout candidates today.

The first is a Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction Conference. Now you may well be a little mystified as to what this seemingly random collection of perfectly sound words from the English Language represents. I was and I promise you I am not making it up. This talkfest is being held in China and is focussing on why womens get wasted more when a volcano erupts or a tsunami wafts down the high street. I can't be bothered trying to follow the spurious arguments put forward by the hairy legged ones as to why a couple of cubic kilometres of water are sexist when they drown females wholesale but all is well in the world when a hundred blokes get wasted down the boozer.

People who attend this sort of nonsense junket (sounds more like punishment to me) are obviously completely bonkers. They've had one before and came up with some communiques at the end - you've got to do that to be taken seriously, you see; although I would have thought this lot were pushing it up hill even if they decided that the sun would rise in the East tomorrow. Anyway, last time out they decided this: We should refrain from funding of extractive industries, such as mining, logging and oil and natural gas extractions that exacerbate climate change, poverty and gender inequality.

Got that? No more open cast mines or logging trucks as they cause gender inequality. I bet they also cause a loss of wellness and a lack of self esteem. If I see any wellness or self esteem walking down the street I'm going to set about them with a baseball bat. Bat shit mad bollocks.

Who is paying for this crap? I see the New Zealand representative is that bizarrely named woman Steve Chadwick. I think in the mercifully departed Labour Government she was Minister of Women's Affairs. So as she is an ex-minister I assume (and sincerely hope) that her seat up the front of the plane is not coming out of my taxes. Probably got some more womens paying for her; this sort of person never pays for themselves.

So there's three useless things we don't need right there; wellness, self esteem and sexist bushfires.

Here's a fourth. The Geography Board. These are the clowns who are the final arbiter of the mind numbingly stupid furore as to whether Wanganui should be spelled with an 'h' or not. Who gives a rat's arse? The latest knotty problem that has them stroking their bearded chins (and that's just the women) is the stunning realisation by someone who needs to get out more that the North Island and South Island of New Zealand have never had those appellations officially Gazetted. Now I know that comes a shock and will change the course of your life but I'm afraid there is no way to dress up this truly horrifying truth. It just has to be told like it is. The North Island is the North Island but not officially.

What to do? Bugger all of course as it doesn't matter. But that is not the correct answer as we have a Geography Board to keep in hors d'ouevres and $10 Chardonnay. The Board is made up of prominent academics (oxymoron) and leading Maori (quelle surprise) and they have decided that they will consult widely (talk to a lot of fat people) so as to be fair (right up there with wellness in my hate concept list) and then will probably end up calling the North Island 'The North Island' and the South Island 'The South Island'. People get paid money you can exchange for expensive overpowered motor cars to do this to me.

But they haven't finished. They will consult maori so as we can show our maturity as a society and have alternative indigenous names for our two main land masses. The Chairperson of the Geography Board told me this on the electric wireless. The Chairperson is a real bloke (not just a wummin with a blokes name like the Chadwick android) but in the daft world he inhabits cannot bring himself to call himself a Chairman. These moonbats really think that after they have had their consultations and delivered the new unpronounceable and easily forgettable new names to someone in a flax basket people will actually use them. Dream on.

What's next on their agenda? Will they find that the sea hasn't officially been called 'The Sea'? There's another eighteen months of consultation. That mountain might only be a hill. Shouldn't that cliff really be an escarpment and how dare that stream call itself a river?

I thought I and millions of others voted to get rid of all this crap on the first Saturday of November last year.

Rodney, refill the chainsaw and make sure you have lots of bar oil available because you have some very thick forests to fell - and I don't give a monkeys as to the amount of gender inequality you generate.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The latest good thing

The early hallmark of our new government is that they have (mainly) good ideas and then just get on and do them. The old days of endless rounds of pointless 'consultation' appear to have been quite rightly consigned to the bin. Pragmatism if not in spades at least in hearts.

The latest good idea is taking a chainsaw to the way Auckland is run. The current seven or nine (too many anyway) councils are to be replaced by one and there will be a hatful of local boards with very limited powers. It is being dubbed Auckland Super City. This is nonsense, of course. The population of Auckland is a tad over a million which by global standards hardly makes it a Super Hamlet. London has a population of around ten million and Bonking Boris handles that very nicely, thank you very much.

One Lord Mayor (or whatever he is to be called) with the power to do things off his own bat is just the ticket. Need a new road? Have a look in the cocoa tin. There is enough folding varieties for a new road so I'll build it. Sod consulting anyone. Road goes through a stand of native trees? Tough; out with the Husqvarna. Road goes through Mount Albert? Well that was the idea in the first place. Road goes through some blokes business premises? Give him some dosh, tell him to move and then shut the fuck up. I love it.

Of course coteries of people who have spent their life sucking on the public tit under the old way of doing things are 'outraged'. There will not be enough consultation. Well that's the idea, dickhead. Things will get done and not just talked about. The jokers on the 'Boards', those with limited power, will soon found out what 'limited power' means. They can talk all they like and not get in the way of the real people actually doing things. There will no specific Maori seats. Well that's the idea, dickhead. By the by, there will be no specific Chinese, Somali or Croation seats either in this multi and not bicultural city. The Union for Council workers or somesuch says there is anxiety that jobs will be lost. Well that's the idea, dickhead. You should only have anxiety over things that are uncertain. That people who have useless and mainly duplicated jobs across the city are going to lose them is not uncertain at all. It is bloody definite. That is the idea, dickhead. There is no point trimming down a humongous and unnecessary bureaucracy and keeping all the jobs, is there.

I just hope they have the balls to do it properly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Although there are still marlin around my season has now finished. I really had better go back to work. I'll have a ferret around the garage and see if I can't find my golf clubs as the Obald Official Golf Season starts the weekend after next. I like to start in mid April so I can have a good excuse for turning down my invitation to play in the Masters. Daylight saving has stopped and it is now dark far too early. The solar heating can only get the pool to a 'bracing' 22ยบ even after a full day of watery autumn sunshine. I've had to heat the spa back up again for the refreshment after an afternoon toiling with the chain saw. The last day of the last Test of the summer finished this arvo with New Zealand's star batsmen Cold Front coming in to see out the Indian attack until stumps for a well crafted 0 not out.

Yup, as far I'm concerned summer has finished. That means this blog will turn its back on fishing and get back into the real world.

Helen Clark has been given the bum's rush to New York to be something at the UN. I was going to write 'to be something jolly important at the UN' but nothing at that useless outfit is important so I can't. One is led to believe that this posting is what her whole life has been working towards. How bloody sad. Good riddance to bad, no very bad, rubbish. I never want to see or, more particularly, hear her ever again. John Key has done the country a great service by supporting her application and getting the worthless harridan out of the country.

Whilst he was on a roll Key neutered History Boy today. Made him Deputy Chairman of NZ Post. Now this is perfect in many ways. One; it gets him and his arrogant, swarmy and unctuous manner out of mainstream anything. We no longer have to put up with his Smart Aleck shenanigans in Parliament. We no longer have to put up with 'the sharpest wit in the house' - barrrrff. Two; this now means he has to walk around ringing a bell and shouting 'Unclean' when in the presence of his former Labour colleagues as he has effectively sold his soul for 30 postage stamps. He now works for 'the Rich Prick'. Beautiful. Three; JK has also made him Deputy Chairman of the SOE and not the full Monty. Really rubbing his hideous nose in it. No, the Prime Minister has done very well in disposing of the Wicked Witch and her odious Henchman - oops sorry, Henchperson.

But the story that really caught my attention when touching back down on the planet was the sheep dog stuff. Someone told me that Silver Fern Farms was considering getting rid of sheep dogs. Eh? Although I live in the country I do not pretend a farmer to be. I own a few agricultural implements that do their bit to keep my carbon footprint as big as possible but I don't pretend to be a farmer. But even I know that farmers have dogs. It goes with the bit of straw between the teeth, the blue coveralls and the Red Bands. I checked the date and April Fools Day was a week ago. What is going on?

It all appears to have Tesco at the bottom of it so I repaired to The Daily Telegraph website for the good oil. Tesco reckons that a shepherd's canine companion stresses the sheep. This can be alleviated if the dog is replaced by a stick. I don't really believe I am typing this bollocks even if it is coming from someone else's brain. Let's get this straight. These 'ere sheep are off on their last journey. There ain't no coming back from the abbatoir under your own steam. You, Mr Sheep, are going to come out of Affco as a lamb chop and not as next year's Merino sweater. If I was in one of those double decker lorries with the slots down the side and the bad smell and the sign on the front said 'Horotiu', some Huntaway barking at me would be the least of my worries. My stress levels would not fall one jot if a shepherd came up to me with a stick either. If my next appointment was with the chain and not the shearer little else would have any significance to me at all. As Oscar Wilde said 'The thought that you are to be hanged in the morning concentrates the mind wonderfully' Now, although I doubt many sheep are avid scholars of literature, I'm equally sure they soon get the idea that things in their ovine world are not all they could be when they are herded up the loading race in bulk numbers by whatever method Tesco sees fit and at that time they couldn't give a rat's arse how many dogs (or sticks) are in attendance.

Using dogs to round up sheep is hardly a Johnny come lately idea now is it? It's been going on for centuries - and a good many of them. No one in the last three hundred years or so has said 'Hell, this rack of lamb tastes awful. It's those bloody sheepdogs stressing the sheep again'. You don't get Egon Ronay giving an extra star for 'Dog free Lamb' do you? All means nothing to bloody Tesco though. They are demanding that dogs go by, wait for it, next week. They want sheep to be herded with the aforementioned sticks or flags. Flags. Flags of all nations? Red ones? Union Jacks in the UK and the Tricolor in France? Jolly big flags if the sheep won't pay attention like the shouting in Monty Python's Wuthering Heights in semaphore?

Even though I have laid my non farming credentials out for all to see, I will admit to a limited experience at moving sheep. I have not tried flags but my wife and I move between and forty and sixty (depending on the timing of the next bus to to Horotiu) around three or four paddocks every six weeks or so. We favour the 'stick, waving arms, saying 'Through the gate you daft bugger and not across the lawn', getting sweaty and swearing a lot' method. It has always struck me that it would be an awful lot easier for both the sheep and shepherd (be it amateur Michael Mouse variety or the real thing) if a dog were involved. I'm not about to get one 'cos I don't much care for dogs and ten minutes of chaos every six weeks or so is no big deal. If, however, I was organising lamb chops for Tesco by the cubic kilometre I would get dogs (multiple) and make sure they worked damned hard whilst I sat around somewhere with one of those funny whistles directing traffic. Bugger the sheep's stress levels, mine would plummet.

Even the hand wringers of the world think all this is nuts. The RSPCA 'had concerns about the anxiety suffered by sheep as they are circled and pursued by dogs' - well they would, wouldn't they, because they're daft - but even they don't want the dogs banned. Tesco reply to the thinking man's opinion that their ideas are looney by saying that they 'don't have a problem with sheepdogs'. Sounds to me like they have a huge problem with sheep dogs. But 'we need to make sure they move the sheep in a considerate manner'. Give me strength. If anyone can write down how you would do that I will happily supply the postage stamp and builder's pencil with which to do it.

If I still lived in the UK I would avoid all Tesco stores like the plague as they are obviously run by mad people and you would catch some nasty 'orrible contagious mental illness by merely crossing the threshold.


Thursday, April 2, 2009


If my last trip on Tagit in January was an unexpected bonus of an unpleasant illness this one was well planned. Those who may think we plotted six days away to catch marlin are severely mistaken. We were after mahi mahi. All the big flash rods (and Boulder's little flash rods) were just a front. Marlin are not where it's at. Mahi mahi are the go. It is even better if you catch the biggest one first and they get progressively smaller as the week unfolds. Preferably you will need a hand lens to see the ones you catch on day five.

Dave Tagit had assembled a finely tuned team of Mahimen for the trip. Him himself in the big comfy seat upstairs, Boulder to supply all manner of unheard of and eye wateringly expensive tackle from Japan, The booze peddler, Paul, to net skippies and knock up roast meals and yours truly to drink cups of Lady Grey and pretend he was really practiced at pitch baiting - not.

Left Westhaven on time at 0900 on Friday with plans to put the anchor down in Whangaroa that night. Despite oily calm seas this destination changed to the back of Roberton and eventually Whangamumu as the day wore on. Had a couple of 12 Pipers on the corners and a Unicorn (I can't remember where we ran that) as we steamed at 16 knots past the Mokes. Somewhere at the back of the Knights the Unicorn produced a couple of our main quarry. The biggest one for Paul and the tiddler for me. Paul's is lying quietly on the deck because it is dead and mine is going mental because it is not dead and that's what they do. We later had one tailwalking in the bait tank - good trick.

Next day dawns and the 'quick catch a few livies session' not all that flash so we decide to troll four hooked lures (and the Unicorn in the position that escapes me) until we can get a few skippies and revert to the real plan. 24kg sets on the corners and 15kg on the riggers. All drags tested? Sure they are. Well four of the five are. Big hit on SR and then nuffink. Line snapped. This is not a good look. The drag setting had escaped the eagle eye of the bloke setting the lures (me) and tested at far too much. I don't do things like this. I am fussy. Well not bloody fussy enough in my fussyness obviously. Never mind. Worse things happen at sea. Oh, we are at sea......

Catching skippies. You don't want pictures of this do you? We all know how to catch skippies. A policeman could do it. If you have Boulder on the boat then you are in for a serious rethink of how you catch skippies. Forget bungies, planing boards and Smith's jigs. No, what you need is $1500 worth of kit. You start with one of those as yet unheard of and eye wateringly expensive Japanese reels loaded with that pretty multi coloured braid and you mount this on a red acid wrapped bent butt (yes, campers, bent butt) rod with leopard skin print grips from Karikari to a purple jet head run behind a trolling weight. This is the flashest looking Skippie rig in the Southern hemisphere. But believe me it is bloody effective. I reckon he of the 'orrible 'at wouldn't have dropped more than two skippies all week. That is one of the great things about fishing with the Large Stone he does things properly. No bits of string and bent pins for this tackle meister.

OK we are ready to start catching bycatch now. Tuna tubes loaded and a few livies in the bait tank. The 15kg sets are bought in and the hooks are taken out of the lures. One 15kg rod and my new 10kg set are armed with circle hooks and put ready in the arms of the chair. The now hookless lures are run out of the riggers from reels clamped to the rail on the aft end of the flybridge. Here fishy, fishy.

Well let us settle down for a minute, please. I was just letting the SR teaser out (Lumo Sprocket) and there is a marlin right behind it. The damned lure has hardly got wet. Tagit plays tug of war with the fish from the flybridge and I race downstairs and rig a livie but big fishy has lost interest in the Sprocket we can't see it any more. No idea where to pitch anything let alone a bait so we don't. Fishy gives the Unicorn (fish just won't stop playing with this) a nudgette and he's gone. Rumblings from someone that had we had hooks in the lure we would have caught Mr Marlin. But that really is not the point.

That was it on the marloon front for us. Spent the next two nights anchored in different bays of Whangaroa Harbour - hell it really is a neat place - and Paul's dive failed to garner any scollies despite two or three attempts. Went to the Garden Patch for a day in some really quite snotty weather as we heard tell of some decent fish and a yellow fin (remember them) being caught there. That was the Sunday I think.

Weather reports started to get quite insistent that it was going to blow 35 knots SE on Wednesday and that is not the wind you want for a trip back down the coast. We consequently placed ourselves back in Tutukaka Marina for Monday night that we might motor back to Auckland on Tuesday (a day earlier than planned) when all this windy unpleasantness was slated to start. Nothing wrong with Toots Marina (or any other marina come to that) but give me waking up in a secluded bay every time.

We sent Diver Paul (as opposed to Driver Paul) to blow bubbles and fail to find scollops or crays just out from Toots harbour before trolling until the weather went tits up and we had to steam into the snot. Never happened. Oily calm all day. Trolled towards the prospect of some good looking water on the Bream Knolls if the Weasel was to be believed. Well of course he is to be believed and the water was cracker. Contained no marlin but that doesn't matter as we are after mahi mahi, aren't we? What we need is a FAD and what is that over there in 173m of water? Half a dozen empty plastic containers are not tied together in the middle in the middle of nowhere for no reason. Mahi mahi and rat (no, mouse) kings for Africa.

Boulder is most insistent that I post this picture so I will.

No big deal I say; I repeated the feat just few minutes later.

At the Bream Knolls a hapuka catching contest had been organised by them downstairs whilst I was drinking Lady Grey and driving. I was to fish smelly baits and the rest were to do wiggly whack. Of all the new and deviant paths Boulder has led me along recently, dropping a pound of lead off a 50w all harnessed up like you were going real fishing is not something I will be queuing up to do again. I would have had more fun spending an hour sticking pins in my eyes. If you are even remotely interested in the result of the hapuka contest, it was a no score draw.

Heaps of wind has still not arrived but it will on Wednesday (honest) and so we decide on getting back to Auckland on Tuesday night. Steam through the Mokes and then a most pleasant night passage from about Cape Rodney into Westhaven. Using the 'runway' into the harbour at night is really quite fun.

Great trip. Company, as usual, is the key and Tagit can certainly put a compatible crew together. If you are baled up on a 43 foot boat with three other blokes for five days something has to be right if you are not to come to blows and never a cross word was uttered. This to me gives much more enjoyment than catching a shedful of fish with a bunch of grumpy buggers for company. Great boat, great company, mostly great weather and five days off one of the best coastlines around; bliss

Oh, and watch out for the coming of The Stoat...........