Thursday, August 27, 2009


I'd not been to Australia for a couple of years and not Sydney for a little longer and so when the opportunity arose to accept some Corporate dosh to make the trip for a few days I jumped at the chance. A day of work on Tuesday. Would I like to fly over in the morning and return that night? No I bloody well would not. I'll go over on the Monday and come back on the Wednesday and the nights can be spent in one of those hotel thingies. That's OK replied the supplier of the tickets. After work on Monday? No, before.

When all this was planned I had no idea that Bledisloe Cup would be settled in favour of the good guys forty eight hours prior to my arrival and that the Aussies were going to lose the Ashes as I drove to the airport (they were five wickets down as I drove out of the front gate and it was all over Rover by the time I got to the Departure Gate). What a bloody marvellous day to fly in to Australia.

Coming from New Zealand's 'largest city' it is all really put in perspective when you go to a real city. And Sydney is not even a very big model of the species. But four million is closer to the population of our country and not our largest conurbation. They have a proper transport system with real trains that are reasonably cheap (except for the 200% surcharge for having the temerity to get on or off at the Airport), are cleanish and, in my limited experience, run to time. I still can't get my head around their carriages though. Sliding doors admit you to sort of antechamber containing about a dozen seats and you have the choice of more seats upstairs or downstairs. Downstairs in a train? Sydney must be the only place around that runs trains with basements.

Took the chuffer to Circular Key to wander up George Street to have a poke around Gowings. I like Gowings and I always find something in there that I don't need but can't do without. My first proper gamefishing hat came from Gowings. It's the only place I know where you can be sure they will have a pressure paraffin camping stove in stock - none of this Johnny Come Lately canister gas. They have models of Swiss Army knife even the Swiss Army doesn't know about. Good cheap shorts, golf for the use of, all manner of outdoor kit and lot of very odd stuff. Bought a hemp shirt there once - don't tell Nandor. Turned past Martin Place and there was the 1950s sign on the side of the building. Definite spring in the step as my pace quickened and suddenly I was at the Hilton. Hang on I've gone past it. Look back and there is the sign on the side of the building behind me. What is going on? What is going on is that Gowings is bloody gone. The sign is still there but the emporium on the corner is now called Supré wot sells wummins undergarments. This is not good. No one told me let alone asked my permission to shut down the best oddball shop in Central Sydney and replace it with yet another frock shop - well the stuff under frocks if you are going to be picky.

Not happy and I cross the road to wander back down to the Rocks where lies the main object of exercise. And what is this? Sydney now has a proper Apple Store. Three glass fronted floors of all that is wondrous from Cupertino. I go in (naturellement) and pass a pleasant enough half an hour but once you've been to one Apple Store you've been to them all. I didn't need a Genius (yuk) as all my Apple kit is working fine and I don't need to buy anything Apploid. Good to have an Apple Store in town I suppose but it ain't Gowings.

The main reason I wanted the nice company to get me to Sydney a day early, however, resided in Cumberland Street. Well at least one end of it did. I have wanted to do the Bridge Climb for ages and I was not disappointed. Not cheap (AUS$198 plus $20 per the photo you feel obliged to buy once you've got to the top) but every bit as good as I had hoped it would be and very professionally done. The whole thing takes about three and a half hours of which about forty five minutes is spent kitting up. Boiler suits, no watches, no cameras (vide supra) everything tied to you with snap shackles and D rings. And this after you've been breathalysed and walked through a metal detector to ensure you are not a taking any undeclared and unsecured paper clips over the harbour. Usual drama. Clip on and off you go with a three Germans (I made sure they were in front of me so I could keep my eye on them), a handful of Septics and a couple of Aussies.

What's it like? Well the weather was foul with it pissing down with rain and blowing dogs off chains. Perfect. I reckon this is just the weather to do it in. Makes it all a bit more adventurous. If it were a nice balmy summer's afternoon it would just resemble a stroll up a grey hill to admire the view. Having conditions that made it absolutely essential that everything you had with you was actuality tied to you and you were in turn tied to the bridge is definitely the way to go. But I would say that wouldn't I? You all pose for a very naff posed shot as a group at the top which you get for 'free' (having shelled out 200 slides don't forget) and the guide takes assorted individual shots of you with the Opera House looking insignificantly small in the background. No, all in all the Bridge is a good thing. The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb comes second behind the USS Midway as the best outright touristy thing I have done recently.

Nice Company put me up in the Novotel Olympic Park 'cos the spot of work I was required to do was out that way. I mention this not because it was a Novotel - I mean one chain hotel is the same as any other. If you stayed in one Novotel (or Holiday Inn, Four Seasons, Hilton etc. etc) you've stayed in them all. But Olympic Park. What do you have once the Olympics were nine years ago and Cathy Freeman has taken that ridiculous hood off? You have a zoo full of white elephants. Anyone want a once used archery centre? A hockey centre? How about three or four swimming pools all joined together with enough audience seating for all of Te Awamutu to go at once? There are acres of hardly used top of the line sports facilities up there just gathering proverbial and literal dust. There is also a dedicated extension of the rail system. When I arrived the train was full of Bulldogs supporters going to see the Doggies give the Roosters a right good seeing to. But when I returned in the morning rush hour thirty six hours later the train was full of me.

Glad to be back in the Land of the Long White We don't quite do things Properly. Australia is good to visit when their sporting luck has run out but I'm happy living where I am thank you very much.

Ten days and we're off on a proper trip - UK and Malaysia. Watch this space.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Please, pretty please, let him be real

I chose to get to work very early in the morning. I can get more done in the hour between 0700 and 0800 than I can for the next three hours. My choice. It has the added advantage that I get about twenty minutes of driving at a time of day when you can actually drive as opposed to crawling along in a jam. Pre (or peri as it is becoming) dawn through the late winter countryside at just over the speed limit, hoping for an EnviroWaste semitrailer to overtake before Albany Hill (and there was one this morning) - marvellous. And then there is the choice of in car entertainment. Radio Hauraki? The CD stacker (well the car is nearly ten years old so no really good stuff like an iPod interface)? A news Channel? Nope to all the above. The early morning drive is Radio Sport.

This morning in amongst the nonsense we had live commentary from Berlin of the world athletic championships. Now I am far from athletic in an athletic sort of way. My times for running any length of foot race would be best measured with a sundial. Less than average height, a tad over ideal weight and a day short of my fifty eighth birthday would not gain me a place in the Berlin Olympic Stadium this week. I'd probably even be barred from buying a ticket as a spectator. My interest in athletics over the years has been fleeting (pardon the pun). I used to go to Crystal Palace of a Friday evening in the early '70s to watch the likes of Dave Bedford and saw Wottle run in his golf cap. If I were honest I would have to say that these trips to South London were more fuelled by the available female company than a real interest in the athletic pursuit. However I was absolutely gobsmacked by Mr Bolt's effort this morning.

This guy is a freak and hell I hope beyond hope he is for real and not the product of pharmaceutical manipulation. Earlier in the week he lowered the 100m world record, his own world record of course, by a margin that over the last decade or so has taken years to remove. And he did this looking like he was strolling down to the corner dairy for a yam. This morning he appears to have moved to a new level of absurdity. I have yet to see the race but can't wait - it sounds phenomenal. In the time it took me to drive past Albany Toyota, the Shell station and the Husqvarna dealership he had lowered the world 200m record to 19.19 seconds. The silver medallist ran a close (sic) second at 19.83. That sounds like he was 6 metres behind. In a 200m race.

Addendum: I have now seen the race. It is totally unbelievable, better than the 100m final by miles. Best 19 odd seconds of sport you'll see until his next trick.

Also in these championships there have been calls for a gender test for the winner of the wummin's 800m. We don't need a gender test for the winner of the men's 100 and 200m, we need a species test.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stalking and other sorts of horses

After a thankful hiatus of a month or two I am dragged back to climate change. There has been a recent flurry of news on this front in the last day or two with New Zealand, amongst other countries, announcing its 'emission reduction' targets up to some date. 2020 I think - I really couldn't care less.

Before we carry on let us not waste time on the science. You will recall that there ain't none in the warmist's favour. Not a jot. Nuffink. Diddly sqaut. Zero. Stupid computer modelling that couldn't model its way out of a paper bag aplenty, but a big fat donut in the fact department. You will also recall that the planet hasn't warmed at all in the last seven years. Bloody nuisance, I know, but them's the breaks. We've been down this road so many times I'm bored with it. You either believe me or you don't. And if you don't it is vanishingly unlikely you would be wasting your time reading this anyway.

The National Government disappoints me greatly in its announcement of today that we will be shooting for a 10-15% reduction in something. Carbon? Jelly beans? Sabre tooth tigers? I dunno. Anyway this reduction will 'only' cost every man woman and child in New Zealand $1400 per annum. What a snip. From now until the man with the long beard and scythe turns up at my front door with his clipboard I can throw $1400 down the dunny every year confident I am helping save the planet. 'Cos a government told me I was. Terrific. If you think I am buying into that sort of crap you can think again. Oh, and as well as the dosh we have to reduce the size of our dairy herds 'cos all the cows break wind too often. The farmers are into this like a robber's dog - not. And we have to swap the automotive horsepower for the type with tails. Where am I going to find stabling for 390 horses? Mind numbingly stupid, all of it.

$1400 a year for every man, woman and child eh? How are the kids going to find their $1400? Sausage sizzles? BarBQs to save the planet from evil CO₂. Brilliant. Where will the OAPs get their $1400? The full time career beneficiaries (and we aren't sort of them) aren't going to have a spare $1400 at the end of the year after they've bought their beer and Sky subscriptions are they? I'll tell you who is going to pay for the kids, oldies and idle. It'll be you and me, the compliant taxpayer. I reckon today's estimate of $1400 per head will be looking more like four or five grand a pop for those of us who actually earn our crust.

What is becoming apparent to even the terminally stupid, however, is the blindingly obvious truth that all this global warming bollocks has less to do with science and everything to do with politics and nasty left wing politics at that.

I said earlier on that Nick Smith and the Nats have disappointed royally over all this but they may have been more cunning than I give them credit for. We are only in the gun for this economically stupid reduction of bullshit stuff that matters not a toss if the rest of the world signs up for it at a meeting in Copenhagen or somewhere equally not very warm later in the year. If those well known anthropogenic global warming disciples China and India don't sign up we can walk away and say 'Love to help, but the dog ate me homework'. Well India have already said that they are as interested in all this crap as they are in getting rid of all their cows so there ain't going to be a big bit of paper with subcontinent signatures on it in Denmark in November.

So we might yet be alright.

But that's just us. There are an increasing number of theories circulating that the damned IPCC is just a front for much more evil fings at the UN. Tuvalu disappearing (which it isn't) is just a stalking horse for the real thing. World governance (read government) and redistribution of wealth on a global scale. Helen Clark is the third most powerful in the UN to hand out blankets in the Congo? I don't think so. She got the job in New York because John Key wrote a nice note to the Korean bloke? Or she got it because it was the sort of thing her and her international socialist mates had been working towards for the best part of thirty years? Would they be interested in undeveloping the developed countries to make every person on the earth equal? You bet they would.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist but there has to be a good reason why all this climate non science has grown such legs. As the evidence accumulates that the warmists predictions are a load of crap the obfuscation by the Al Gores of the world are getting louder and more unbalanced. Even in the face of a rising tide of fact the warmists as a group are still winning as they have captured the mainstream media. Surely their tide will start going out soon.

Oh, and who else is winning? The fat slug himself. When Al Gore left proper politics he was worth US$2 million. He is now worth $US120 million. I'd lie through my teeth for half that.

More disgraceful stuff

MPs are rorting the general public. Well there's a surprise. There has been a lot of this in the last ten days or so. The wheezes some of them come up with are nothing if not enterprising. Have a house in Wellington, sell it to a trust, rent it out, move to Wellington (that you are already there can be glossed over) and move into another house in Wellington which the taxpayers pays for. Good trick. I'm sure the bits that the taxpayer isn't paying is tax deductible or something. I'm hopeless with money - Mrs O's department. I open my wallet and if there is a bit of dosh in there all good; if there is not I don't have a cup of coffee. Pretty simple.

All this housing rorting is one thing but the travel is on a different level of deviousness. There ain't none. They just front up at a taxi rank, airport or flash hotel and spend our money like drunken sailors. The numbers these jokers run up are staggering. Cabinet approved trips by ministers that run into six figures in half a year. People like the foreign minister have to travel a bit, you know to foreign type places and the like, but Chris Carter (and we'll be seeing more of him in a minute) managed $200,000 in six months as education minister. Justification for this? He was encouraging foreign students to fill their boots at New Zealand's halls of learning. If I were a spotty youth sitting in Kuala Lumpur wondering where to spend the next three years or so and Chris Carter hove into view I'd be off to Canada like a shot.

Now it would appear that bloody Carter has failed to notice that his mob lost the last General Election and that he is no longer a Minister of the Crown. Isn't it reassuring that the last Minister of Education is such a slow learner. So our Chris and his bloke type wife (and I'm sorry to report that has nothing to do with all this) has been swanning around the globe to the tune of $57,000 in the first six months of this year. That is $313.19 a day. Every day. $313.19 a day if he is working (sic) in Wellington or Te Atatu. $313.19 a day if he is baled up in bed with swine flu - a very appropriate ailment for one whose nose is buried so deeply in the public trough. $313.19 a day if he is digging the garden. $313.19 a day if he is picking his nose. $313.19 a day if he is reading the newspaper. $313.19 a day whatever the damned man is doing. I defy any one to spend $313.19 a day every day for six months. It would be easy enough for a week or two but you'd start running out of ideas pretty sharpish. I mean how many elephant foot umbrella stands do you need?

How can you justify this profligate spending of my money? Well, of course, you can't. But the Speaker, of all people, has a go. A job as an MP is a wrecker of family life as poor MP has to be away from the family home so often. Well so does the travelling salesman of vacuum cleaners. Does Harvey Norman fund trips away for the wife of the man in in the car coat and Hush Puppies? Does Air New Zealand make sure wifey is always sitting in First Class as Capt. Bloggs flies to Burkina Faso for the fourth time this month? Of course not. No private company would stand for such nonsense. Back to Chris carter - if we must. If no one in their right mind would want to meet him when he was a Minister what possible reason can any one have now? Who overseas would want to meet a member of the opposition from a tiny country barely visible in the South Pacific? I'll help you out. Nobody.

Carter's own justification for all this? Well he doesn't have one but bleats that people are picking on him because he is gay. Bollocks. I couldn't give rat's arse if you have a strong affection for root vegetables. People are getting on your back because you are a greedy pig who thinks nothing of nicking my money in bulk quantities so you and your wife can ponce your way around the world.

Two things. You will stop doing it forthwith and you will pay back any money that is judged to have been unnecessary spending over the last, say, ten years. We'll have some one reasonable to make calls on this. Me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

An utter disgrace

Bribery and corruption. Not a good look is it? Nor yet conspiring to pervert the course of justice. That Field was guilty was as plain as the nose on your face. The man is no more than a common crook and presumably will be treated as such in October when he is sentenced. A time in the big house looks inevitable and it couldn't happen to a nicer bloke.

A couple of things have been exercising me over the last day. One is that it has taken nearly four years to get to here. September '05 was when rumours and allegations first surfaced that when Philip Field was talking about tiling he wasn't recalling what a jolly good time he had just had at Bunnings. Our court and justice system seems to move at the speed of the continental drift and is one reason for this delay.

The other reason is inexorably involved with the second thing that bothers me more over all this. A corrupt Minister of the Crown is nowhere near as bad as the cover that was run for him by bloody Clark (in particular), Cullen and all the other nightmare people who used to run our lives. All her politicking slowed down even the start of a Police investigation. The break-in in at Watergate was bad, the cover up was way worse. Let us just hope that Richard M Nixon is a role model for Helen E Clark. We can only hope.

She was (is - who cares) an utter disgrace over this as in most things she touched. Her dealing with Field was a good rehearsal for lying and obfuscating over Winston Raymond Peters last year. Mendacious witch. She set up the Ingram enquiry with terms of reference so narrow and so irrelevant that it couldn't have established that the sun rose in the east. When this meaningless piece of horse manure suggested that there was a lot more that he (Ingram) was not allowed to comment on Clark just ignored it and said that the enquiry showed that there was 'Nothing to see here. Move along' Ingram was forced to keep his counsel and has had to wait a couple of years to get the vindication he richly deserves.

It is disgraceful that anyone can be so economical with the truth just for her own political ends. Clark needed Field's vote and was happy to use it even when he was suspended. Field was allowed to stand at the 2005 general election after all this had come to be widely known and was only kicked out of the Labour Party much later. Reason for ejection from Labour? Bribery? Corruption? No, sir. He was evicted for threatening to vote against Labour.

With Clark in New York you would think that the rump of her ghastly regime would now come clean and admit that Labour's defence of Field was just wrong. They are not even within a bull's roar of saying anything like it. Field's conviction is, according to Alfred E Neuman, disappointing. What a load of bollocks. Is that the best you can do, Goof? Well it is and that is why you are a political dead man walking. Is the tune for this still being called from a office in a tail building overlooking Central Park? You wouldn't bet against it. They seem to be hell bent on rewriting history rather than admit they were wrong. Presumbaly that is why that useless ginger headed Labour spokesman was saying nothing today; they haven't made it up yet.

The politicking that has been run around protecting a common criminal for hideous aims is an utter disgrace. My biggest hope from here is that before Field gets sent off to chokey he squeals like pig and takes a few more of the ratbags (and the more prominent the better, please) with him.

And is the first Minister of the Crown in New Zealand ever to be found guilty of such serious criminal offending the most news worthy thing to have happend in the Land of the Long White Cloud in the past day? You would have thought so wouldn't you? Not according to Granny Herald who filled the front page with a story about penguins dying on Auckland's beaches.

A plague of frogs on all of them.