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The diaTribe blog is our occasional take on life, the universe and everything. Observations on current affairs, the environment, politics, humour and music/gig reviews. Travel diary and extreme sports stories, along with the usual rants/raves are also chucked in for good measure.

April 2011
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Rant:History Repeating

Politician Polling

Last night I had a dream.

More of a nightmare really; I dreamed that I answered my front door, only to find a bloke wearing a fake tan, a blue rosette and a plastic surgery smile that wouldn’t look out of place on an American home shopping ad, standing on my front porch.

Being the suave urbane sophisticate that I am, I should have asked the canvasser if he liked sex and travel (“then f*ck off!”). But the subconscious being what it is, I was forced to endure a 10-minute national party infomercial, starring John Key, along with an assorted supporting cast of the usual players, Muppets one and all.

Normally after such mental duress, I would suddenly snap awake, sweating noticeably, with a pressing need to visit the bathroom and a firm resolve not to eat cheese after 10pm. But this time, some part of me (probably the same bit that the cheese upset) was determined to retort.

It’s increasingly hard to ignore the fact that New Zealand seems to be turning into one big garage sale (as if we don’t already get enough of that on the TV). We sell the high-quality coal mined in Huntly to China, and then buy back their cheaper, clinker-laden alternatives. We export unmilled logs all over the world, then buy back the milled timber at a premium. Our railways get sold off for peanuts to American outfits who squeeze every last drop of value out of the assets before flogging them back to the government for a song. Our dairy products are sold in supermarkets at export prices, despite the fact that we produce nearly 25% of the world’s milk, butter and cheese.

In the last few days, the government has railroaded through the Marine and Coastal Area Bill, effectively removing New Zealand coastlines from crown ownership. This potentially hands control of large sections of our coastlines (along with all mineral rights) to any of the various Iwi who care to lodge a claim. They no longer even need to prove historical claim or title, as the burden of proof is largely lifted off the claimant.

And what has been gained in return? Maori party support for the National party coalition at the next election.

In between this and the well-publicised limousine fiasco the government has laid off 100s of public sector workers, while simultaneously appointing a new head of the new Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Agency (CERA) at a half-a-million dollar annual salary.

While outlining spending cuts and asset sales, the government is also planning to spend NZ$1.8million on a huge plastic waka (canoe) as a supposed showpiece for the 2011 Rugby world cup. Already dubbed “Tupperwaka” by the press, it seems to be just another cash bung to the local Iwi, who are only stumping up a token NZ$100,000 in exchange for ownership of the project.

Nice work if you can get it. rolleyes

The latest attempt to further disenfranchise the ordinaries is the Holidays Amendment Bill. Among it’s more potty proposals is that employers can demand a doctors’ note for even a single day of sickness. A provision that is for all practical purposes likely to cause more problems than it fixes; anyone coming down with a bug is simply going to continue working, rather than go through the hassle and cost of a doctors’ appointment. Infection rates will likely skyrocket and the net result is likely to be an exponentially larger cost in terms of lost man-hours.

In short, it’s legislation straight out of the pointy haired boss guide to management.

By now the smile had faded from the face of my dreamtime tormentor, who not only got the message that it would be a cold day in hell before any vote for the National party would be forthcoming from me, but also had to continue his canvassing with a noticeable limp after I closed the door on his foot rather sharply.

…I wonder is this is a premonition? wink

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