Sunday, June 30, 2013

Australia--- what is it about you and politics?!

I have just finished watching the Governor General swearing in the new Australian PM and Cabinet. I cannot help ask a few poignant questions. How can the political polls turn around so quickly; to the point that the Labor Party is possibly back in the race for the upcoming elections. If they pull this off, it will be one of the biggest turn-arounds in Australia's history.
A week ago, Julia Gillard and the Labor Party were basically stuffed; dead ducks in the water, waiting to be swept aside by a resurgent Tony Abbot.
Then, along came Kevin at the behest of his former colleagues and all bets are off. Kevin is back and Julia is gone. What is it about the relationship between the electorate and this feisty Lady? Was she that hated by the bulk of Australians? Did she turn off voters to the extent that few would admit to voting for her? Does her demise say something about Australians and their attitudes to women, especially those in a position of power?
Perhaps the 'toughness' of the Australian psyche came back to haunt her. The rigorous Australian climate and the history of the 'lucky country' may have come together with some other aspects of Australian culture to make it nigh on impossible for Australians to give a female a fair go? No--- then was it the fact that she knifed Kevin Rudd and it is a matter of 'what goes around comes around?' Maybe Australians never forgave the manner in which Julia came to power. I merely pose the questions. I don't say with any certainty what has led to todays political turn-around. I can just say that I am perplexed.
Perhaps we will see the political knives out in the NZ Labour Party soon. I hope not, because our David Shearer deserves a chance. Oh well, Kevin will bring his own brand of action to the Australian scene and Tony Abott will know he is in for a bloody good fight, come election time!

I came, I saw, I conquered. Just a little achievement and one of many to come.

I conquered Mt Everest like any good Kiwi should aspire to. OK, I know that is a bit too much to claim as the mountain was a mere hill, but for a former fat boy, it was quite an achievement. Not only did I accompany my crazy Jack Russell to the summit, along with about a dozen other dogs and their bosses (well they think they are!) I did it without actually being aware of the steady climb because as usual I was motor-mouthing the entire journey---surprize!
It was a beautiful day and on reaching the top, the view was magnificent. To think that about 4 months ago, I would have had to stop about ten times; that’s about once every 15 metres, then I am happy with my little achievement. I know the picture isn’t that good, and if you can’t see it, go to my blog through my website.
Just a little achievement--the top of Big King Reserve.
The pitures big, beacause it needed to be! The old me!

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow...New Zealand can feel a great deal of pride.

A nation can feel proud when both its womens team and the men won gold in  sport near toits heart. New Zealand are double World Cup Sevens champions now, a title to go along with the win in 2011 that  put the men at the pinacle for the 15 aside game.
One can not feel anything other than pride to see the women quickly followed by the men performing their winning haka. It is not often that we achieve such heights on the world stage.
The only thing that I can't understand is why the Russian hosts, who did a wonderful organnizational exercise chose to use such a huge stadium. For the whole tournament, it was almost empty and even the finals looked like a small town sports-meet. The tournamant lacked that special feeling that should go along with an event of this kind. I wonder why Russia won the right to host the event and one can only assume that politics reared its ugly head in making this decission.
I know that moving the event around is meant to 'grow' the sport but anyone watching the games on TV would harldly be entranced at the lack of atmosphere. Think again, 'officials,' when you make those decisisons about where to host the upcoming World Cups! The sporting achievments delivered, especially if you are a Kiwi.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Auckland and auctions

Try to find the price of a house in Auckland when  you look through real estate adverts and you will most likely find the words, 'to be auctioned,' heading the advert. If you have a rough idea of what you wish to spend, it is going to take you a good deal of ringing around and asking before you get any idea of the ball-park figure for the home. If you do turn up to an auction the chances are that you will leave with your head hanging low. This is after all---Auckland, 'city of sails,' and now fialed dreams. If you are young, have a good income and even have a supportive partner, don't get your hopes up. You are not going to be living and owning a home in one of the 'desirable' suburbs because they are way beyond your capability to pay for it. Maybe it's time to take a look elsewhere; either in a more modest suburb or indeed, out of Auckland, if you can get a job. The good old days of Dad working and mum staying at home, yet still having a home that you could look forward to owning in 30 years are part of a myth-like past. The reality now is that most young people will rent or put themselves in charge of a mortgage that makes the eyes water. What sort of 'disposable' income will this generation have? Perhaps working two jobs (for both partners) may bring home the bacon, but more than likley it will be of the budget kind.
Let's get the focus away from Auckland and spread out a bit. Maybe then we wonlt all have to pay for the grandios schemes that will burden a few generations to come, re transport costs and other infrastructure. Do we ever learn?

Australian politics---how 'lucked' up can it get?!

What a terrible choice Australians have at the upcoming elections. They have to choose between two partied who have between them managed to bring tis proud nation to the point where many outside it, quietly have a laugh, but then wonder, what the hell has gone so horribly wrong.
On one side we have a crowing opposition who will probably win the election. They have made huge political capital out of the pains of the Labor Party, and for that we can forgive them. It is their vision; stated and unstated that scares the pants off me. The Coalition has a plan to take Australian workers back to the times when workers’ rights’ were nothing more than a piece of paper. Big business is going to slam dunk unions and any understanding of an Australian based manufacturing base will go down the toilet. Profits for shareholders and parent companies will the yardstick and all the dressing up in meaningless legislation will just be the accompanying symphony of deceit.
Abbot and his cronies will quickly stuff-up the good work done by the incumbent Government (when they weren’t trying to destroy each other!) re the relationship with Indonesia. That understanding that Julia had forged with her Indonesian counterparts is crucial for the region as a whole and any possibility of finding a solution to the ‘boat people’ problem depended on this. Watch this space to see a return to tension and misunderstanding.
Labor has itself to blame for the position it finds itself in. Of course as a party, slightly to the left of centre, they do not have this trait on their own. Look back in history and find the examples in New Zealand, the UK and elsewhere to see the deep divisions of so-called ‘workers parties.’ Labor has been on path to nowhere from the time it got elected in Australia, under Rudd and it is a wonder in itself that any meaningful legislation has been passed. That is what makes me angry. The party has introduced a raft of legalisation that brings about a fairer workplace and sets up the platform to truly engage with the ‘climate change’ issue. That now is all up for a big slide, taking Australia back to the ‘club of nations’ who don’t care one iota for the health of the environment.
Education will also suffer with the return of the Coalition Government. It will play to the ‘friends’ in the private sector and we all know what happens then. The public free education system plays second fiddle and the majority of Aussie kids will feel the cuts and lessening of opportunities.
So where to Australia ----- back to the past and stupid mistakes? Hell, if only the ‘players’ could get the crap together, then Australia will regain its label as the ‘lucky country;’ lucky for the vast majority and not just the few!
But! ---a word of warning for Kiwis. Our own Labour Party has its issue too. John Key, our PM, must be laughing his way to the next elections too. Get a grip, people!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

You will be missed, Julia, by those who really care about Australia!

Yes, the writing was on the wall and the mice came out to eat the crumbs of what is left of the Labor Party. Kevin Rudd has his revenge for Julia’s early knifing of him. The whole scenario reminds me of ancient Rome, when another Julia, one of many such Roman leaders faced similar if not more ‘eventful’ endings. I suppose one could say that yesterday’s political infightings were a perfect example of ‘What goes around comes around.’
Julia is gone and Kevin will once again pick up the reigns, leading a party over the cliff unless the fickle Australian public, who to be fair must be wondering what sort of political landscape they now inhabit, does a U-turn on the predicted results in the upcoming elections. On one side they have a desperate Tony Abbot and his cohort, who are equally capable of playing Labor’s deadly game, and on the other side a party led by a has-been who cannot claim genuine loyalty from those who voted for him yesterday.
Australia is facing a tough time, both politically and economically and in that sense the events of the last year, re the leadership issue, will impact on New Zealand. Despite China overtaking Australia in bilateral trade figures, Australia is still our most important ‘partner’ in world affairs. We need to have a stable and thriving neighbour, across the ‘ditch’ and one whose leaders have the confidence of the Australian people. Can Rudd achieve this, in the short time before he faces the populace? I doubt it. People may have short memories, but instinct tells me that he too will join Julia in the great cloud in the sky that serves as the resting place for ‘dumped politicians.’ There, he can chat to Julia, all day, taking great delight in watching Tony stuffing up the ‘Lucky Country.’ Pity the luck didn’t spread to the politicians. Even they can’t ‘dig up’ a way out of their dilemma.

Auckland's flash new rail loop to go ahead---yeah right!

The PM (John Key) has announced the Government's great 'turn around' and support for Auckland's much needed inner city rail loop. This magnificent plan will cost a mere NZ$2.6 billion and it may be financed partly through sale of 'yours and my' assets. If that isn't bad enough, he says that it can go ahead in 2020.  This simply is not good enough and I would go as far as saying that his 'offer' is a cynical ploy to win the votes of Aucklanders.
This scheme should have gone ahead many years ago. The need for mass transit in Auckland has been apparent for the last half century. Getting Aucklanders out of their cars is going to take action; not in 6 years time, but right now. If the plan to get Auckland to accept new medium and high density housing that has little space for car parking then we are going to need to change the way we see the use of cars in our city. That mind shift can only happen with money invested now so that we can have a city that caters for this new mind-set.
Yes, we will still love our cars, but for the inner city, that concept will not wash. We need this rail loop and more investment in bus lanes (similar to the very successful model on the North Shore) now. Delaying it is like trying to hold back the tide. It will cost vastly more for each year we delay this development. Future generations will not thank us for procrastinating. Furthermore, Mr Key knows that he will not be around in six years, (in politics, I hasten to add) to see the chaos resulting from not making this decision to go ahead now. Leave the assets alone, Mr Key. They are not yours and even you must have noted the huge opposition to selling our precious assets. Your flip-flop in policy is not genuine! The debt we incur now to finance this 'progress' is well worth the results; but one paid for in a more responsible way; designated taxes on gas for example. Let's find the solution now.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The message from NZ Post is clear and it may not be posted!

NZ Post is trying to keep up with the growing trend for people to use 'othe'r methods to send post. Despite its 'social contract' NZ post is reducing the number of employees by 120, after it closes several mail processing centres. This is an inevitable process as more and more of us use the Nett and other providers to get the services we need. Provision must be made however for those who cannot access the 'modern way.' The corner post office has long gone, but the use of 'self-service' kiosks cannot replace that human touch that the non-computer litterate amongst us still need. As long as this latest exercise is not solely about 'cost saving,' then progress must happen. Once gone, such services are very difficult to bring back. Going ot the post office is clearly a thing of the past---a distant past.

Julia, oh Julia--- whatever made you do that!

One has to wonder at the reasoning behind Julia Gillard’s latest publicity attempt. Who the hell is advising her? Is she taking the piss out of the Australian electorate in a last ditch ‘up ya bum’ swipe before she is decimated in the upcoming elections. For Labor, even the Lazarus-like Rudd is unlikely to stop the Tsunami!
The very image of Julia knitting is so unlike the image we have come to love/hate. It is so wide of the mark for this remarkable and soon to be sadly missed politician. She is tough and apart from the odd tear or two is most definitely not your run-of-the-mill nanny, settling down with the grandkids. What came over her? She looks terrible uncomfortable. I take it she can knit!
Forgotten will be her real contribution to Australia. Down the tubes will be her changes that were starting to make a real difference. The Australian voter is unforgiving of perceived mistakes and in the cold light of day they will put the ticks for a candidate who will bring nothing but industrial strife and tension, both within Australia and with its near neighbour, Indonesia.
Go well, Julia. Perhaps it is those outside of Australia who see between the barbs and other ‘nasties’ of Australian political life.

Labour stumbling its way towards another defeat. Time for change?

The fact that David Shearer is unable to stop the slip in his approval ratings and that his party seems to be stuck in the low 30’s is surely a message that he is simply not going to make it at next year’s elections. Yes, we all know that Helen Clark didn’t manage to do much better in her ratings before she won, but the Labour Party most definitely polled better. Time is running out and Labour needs to take stock, let the ‘blood flow’ and go with a new leader.
Perhaps the obvious choice is in the deputy leader Grant Robertson. This tough nugget can match John Key any time and his determination is clear when we watch him in parliament. I do not know what sort of numbers he can pull together, but now is the time to find out or Labour will languish even further in the polls and find itself in a position very much like ‘Labor’ is facing in Australia.
New Zealand needs a strong opposition and at the moment that is looking to be coming from the Greens. How many times lastly have we seen Norman making the statements, before there is a short add-on from Shearer? When Shearer does speak he is rarely coming across as ‘strong’ or confident. Some say that ‘this is just the way he is---he takes time to make his point.’ In the craziness of today’s politics, such mannerisms simply don’t cut. It is all about perception and the public have the final say. Their perception of David Shearer and the Labour Party is driven by what they see and it ain’t pretty. It won’t be long before we hear the ‘rugby-like’ clarion call of ‘bring back Phil!’
If the Labour Party can unite, take a good hard (but not too long) look at itself and mange not to fractionate, then maybe we will see a possible credible ‘government in waiting,’ not the stumbling replica we see now.

Monday, June 24, 2013

I found a book review for Roskill on Goodreads.

Finally and I think that the writer of the review was a little kind, given the mistakes and issues. I am happy to report that these 'issues' will not be presnet in the new format that will appear soon, through Amazon Kindle and hard copy. Thanks for whoever did the review. I need more---of the new product, along with my other books when they are redone.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Left-over food is good, but----

Yes, with my new 'me' I can't eat much so there is still an issue re the left-overs in my house. It is hard making small meals and even medium-sized ones, often means that I have to either store them or feed them to the dog. Of course there is always the possibility of 'recycling' them. Take yesterday's big breakfast (for me that is).
I cut up roast potatoes, kumara and brussell sprouts and layered them in a dish. On that I threw in a few left-over mushroom and some freshly fried streaky bacon. Then I mixed up some eggs and milk with salt, pepper and stock, poured the mixture over the veggies and put a cut tomato over the top along with a sprinkling of real Parmagano cheese. I baked it for about 20 minutes then had enough to feed about 6 people. You know what I had for lunch but having it again tomorrow is strecthing things a bit too much. Yummy, but enough's eneough.  So---left-overs is well and good, plus it's cheap but when you have a tummy the size of my new post-bariatric one, well, things can get boring. At this rate I will only have to cook about three times a week!

RT (Russian TV). An interesting alternative.

From time to time, I switch my TV to RT (Russian TV) if only to get a slightly different point of view from my usual new source channels. Sometimes I find it quite refreshing and it is good to get away from the predictable offering re other sources, like BBC, New Zealand options, Aljazeera, CNN, and Australian news sources. Notice I did not include Fox, because I have long given up on that option because of the slant they seem to have.
Sometimes I have lauded the presentation of news on RT and I enjoy many of their documentaries. However the other night I saw an item about how many countries have treated ‘demonstrators’ when they pour onto the streets. Take the many examples lately; including Turkey, Brazil, The USA, Britain, and France; just to name a few. RT pointed out the similarity re the use of tear gas and sometimes, water cannons.
They neglected to report the same use of such devices re their own citizens during such acts of public defiance. Maybe I missed the reports of what they showed of the State or city official response to crowds of people expressing their grievances. One is reminded not to get too carried away when praising the reporting of ‘news,’ as there are usually vested interests behind all such reports.
I shall carry on watching my news from as many sources as I can, in the belief that more is better and that somehow I can find the balance and truth behind the presentations. I guess it is not possible to have an unbiased source to rely on and even then I have to accept that my perception is not necessarily shared by all! Your ‘homework’ is to analyse the reporting behind that latest ‘whistle blower’s attempt to retain his freedom. The USA is most definitely out to ‘get him.’

Sky TV's monopoly is under threat.

For a long time now, I have been unhappy about having to buy Sky TV as a 'package,' one that I cannot just choose what I would like to watch. One always needs to take Sky's offerings and that may well include having to take stuff that is just that---'stuff,' meaningless unwanted crap. If anyone tries to ask for a more targeted package the usual reply is less than helpful.
Now that there appears to be other options on the horizon re sports, perhaps this giant in the New Zealand Television industry will see the light and actually deliver what many customers want and do so willingly, because of they don’t they can expect many subscribers to vote with their feet. It doesn’t help their cause when they deliver adverts during a prime time sporting fixture either.
As for me---I just want to choose a package, entirely to my liking and receive it at a competitive price. I did look at Igloo, but of one wants to add on films the price becomes untenable, so Sky---if you are listening, get then balance right and you will retain your very loyal customers. If you don’t, then maybe you better put 'dinosaur' after your name.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Auckland house prices are a ticking time bomb.

When a couple go to an auction knowing that they can spend about $600,000 only to see their 'dream home' selling for $150,000 above that figure, two things are possibly happening. The price was either exorbitant (for a range of reasons) or they were playing a game that was unrealistic to begin with. Let's take a closer look at that statement.
Auckland (and other cites) house prices are going through the roof. The last time I can remember this happening was in 2007/2008 when I bought my last home. Luckily I was already on the crazy treadmill which tended to neutralise the affect of rocketing process. If I had waited a few months (because I had sold my previous house and was temporarily renting) I could have made a better deal as prices first stabilised then dropped. Oh for 'if what I know now,'----you get the picture. Instead I listened to the pundits who claimed that one had to get back on then wagon as quickly as possible.
Such pressures are operating now, at an even more frenzied pace and there are reports of 'deals' going on that push agents into signing off on sales that include some pretty unusual caveats.
Some blame immigration for the increased pressure and no amount of rationality will point these people away from labelling various groups for 'causing this.' The fact is that Auckland simply does not have enough houses for sale and in the market economy, 'less means more' in  what we have to pay. Forget politicians who use the former 'fact' to suck in more voters so that they can continue to drink from Welle-trough.'
One could also wonder at the relatively recent phenomenon that says---'I have a right to live where I wish and I should be able to afford it.' By that they mean that they only want to buy in the leafy inner-city suburbs so that they can live a life that they perceive to be their right. They tend to forget that many people started in more 'average' or indeed poorer suburbs and gradually worked themselves up. Not all of the inner-city inhabitants had help from mummy and daddy! Starting with a two bedroom unit in a southern suburb, paying it off and  moving 'up' seems to be a pathway that is shunned by todays' young couples (or not so young).
There is another growing group however, who would be happy to settle into any suburb if it meant that they had a stake in the housing market. This group may be on an 'average' New Zealand income and often even with both members of the 'unit' working, the dream of owning a modest home, well away from the city centre will remain but a dream. That is because they would have to raise a mortgage well above $500,000 and as for the remainder of the populace, who fall well below average earnings, well the dream does not even exist.
It is these two groups who are becoming increasingly marginalised in Auckland. What hope do they have? Hearing politicians going on about affordability in so-called new suburbs is just a further reminder that they are not part of this brave new Auckland. When does this frustration transfer into actions that threaten the peace of those who have 'made it,' albeit with their huge debts? The truth of the matter is that the point has already been reached.
Many live their lives in abject poverty as rents continue to spiral and the dream recedes even further. Crime figures may be down in some areas, but the time bomb is building in strength, waiting to burst. Politicians who don't recognise this and who continue to describe false dreams are living in 'lula land.'
Playing around the edges of the problem represents sitting around while the gap between those who 'own and those who can never,' gradually increases. Have we learnt nothing from history? Must we repeat the experiences that we see every night on our screens? Will a Greek-like New Zealand or a Brazilian dawn be already upon us?
Gone are the good old days when New Zealanders could borrow from the State at 3% interest rates and own a modest house in the suburbs. Is there a message here or will Governments keep selling a lie?

Bauden Barrett delivers the coup de grace to the French in the Naki!

Local boy Bauden Barrett set Taranaki hearts aflutter when he scored the final try to give the All Blacks a flattering win by 24 points to 9 over the heard working French rugby team. The All Blacks won the series 3 to zip, but the French were no push-overs.
That Taranaki won the right to host the French was unusual in itself but apparently they outbid other provincial cities and the effort paid off. If ratepayers were upset by that decision then they should look to the gains that Taranaki and New Plymouth achieved. The tills of the bars, restaurants and accommodation businesses would have benefited hugely. Hopefully some of the visitors stayed on and enjoyed the range of attractions that this famous rugby mad province is famous for, not the least the magnificent mountain that stands out so proudly from the rich farmlands that contribute so much to the wealth of the region. Well done the 'Naki.'

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Of course I still love my food!

Just because I had bariatric surgery a few months ago and have dropped about 32Kgs, doesn’t mean that I lost my love of things gastronomic. Nothing has changed except the intake. I still love to cook and dream up recipes and I still enjoy watching anything to do with food or wine on TV.
What has changed is the quantity and type of food that I eat. Even when I cook for friends and family I take great pleasure. Maybe they gain from the experience knowing that what I cook is probably healthier for them, but it would take an expert eye to note the difference.
It looks like the weekend is going to be one where the weather dominates. It is after all, winter in New Zealand the polar blast sweeping the country is not only causing damage and it is also keeping people inside. Even in the north, as in Auckland, we are moaning about the wind and cold rain. So, I need to raise the spirits of those around me. I shall cook an old-fashioned roast chicken but add a twist of flavour.
I am going to roast a corn-fed chicken and stuff it with rosemary, garlic, pepper and butter (under the skin) along with roast parsnips, kumara (sweet potatoes), carrots and potatoes. I shall serve that with brussell sprouts cooked with streaky bacon and pine nuts. Yum---I won’t eat more than I should. That’s easy for me now.
To finish off we will have coffee and the Quinoa cookies I make. (See previous blogs for the recipe)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kim.Com saga has many victims now.

The news that backup files, millions of them, have been 'dumped' deleted, call it what you will, is terrible, not just for Kim.Com, but for those who used his services. Apparently he had been asking for time, while his case is still going, but the Dutch 'parent companies' of the servers have decided to dump those files.
I have not been a fan of the 'man' but I am coming to the conclusion that despite some of the 'reportedly' shady aspects to him, he may have done us a favour, something like the other whistle-blowers in the industry who have drawn attention from Governments around the world. Yes, there is a line between some of the possibly illegal  activities and the rights of the rest of us not to be spied on and the need for transparent government actions, but one is left with a distinctly bad taste in the mouth re the actions of heavy handed Government agencies and big business interests. Is a modern day Robin Hood or something else? Time will tell, but who is going to get hurt on the meantime?

Road rage-----nasty!

Road rage comes in all forms and sometimes one is involved whether one likes it or not. I was travelling to work today in a brand new Hyundai Accent (It’s a bit like an I.30). I had asked for a humble older Gezt like the one on which I was having a new cambelt fitted but when I asked for such a car I said that last time I took a courtesy car they gave me one that I ended up buying (a similar model, that is) so please don’t tempt me again! She smiled and before I knew it, there I was travelling in what for me is total luxury. Hell, it even has a TV that I can look at when I am reversing, something much needed by me now. IT has all the ‘bells and whistles’ and I know for sure that I don’t want to give it back---damn! I shall resist the urge because it’s way out of my ball park. They are really naughty at Hyundai, Greenlane, but I am not complaining. They have looked after me for years and always done really good work on my two trusty Hyundai cars.
You can imagine my horror when I pulled up at some lights behind a car and the four female occupants jumped out (the lights were green by now) and started swearing and screaming using all the old favourites, consisting of the MFs and Fs and various other gangster language backed up with the dumb-ass signs they use. I thought---‘OMG----what have I done? I stayed calm and started to worry about the possible damage they might inflict on my beautiful borrowed car. They walked right past me and began haranguing the people behind me. I kept my eyes to the front (yes I am a coward) as things heated up around me.
In the meantime other people started to blast their horns because they were being held up. The lovely well-brought up ‘ladies’ got back in their car and pulled to the side of the road. I watched in my TV screen in the mirror as they threw rubbish at the car following me. Then an occupant of that car leaned out the window, almost falling out and yelled insults at the car by the road, which then started to follow them.
Luckily for me, both cars turned off down a side street to continue their crazy behaviour. I saw a cop car heading in their direction. I hope the cops waste heaps of the time of these crazy road-raged-besotted twits. What a start to the day. I shall enjoy the journey home---oops back to the Hyundai-Greenlane shop to reluctantly give back my beautiful dream car. Oh well, back to reality when I pick up my well-looked after Gezt. It will be good for another 100,000 kls. I am so glad ‘Geztsy’ wasn’t a witness to that sad behaviour.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My beautiful 'fecked' pergola!

So you just bought a new pergola and you are looking forward to using it during the rain, sort of like an all-weather BBQ space, where you can relax in the shade on a hot summers day, or hide form the rain while entertaining your friends with you BBQ cooking away in the background. It has nice hardy canvas topping and a brushed steel framework. Wonderful----it should last for years, right. Hey---al the main stores sell them and you can pay way over $500 for them. I bought mine and paid someone $100 to put it up. He did a great job and before you say, 'why didn't you do it yourself?' think again. You obviously don't know me. I did not earn the nickname re DIY projects, as 'rip shit and bust' for nothing. I have no skills or interest in pursuing such projects and why not give someone else the job. I am doing society a favour by creating employment and saving myself and others from severe mental health issues by diverting my anger and frustration.
The pergola was wonderful, although it did tend to look a bit like a tent in an urban oasis. I used it for the intended purposes and then some, like drying washing along with the usual social servicing centre aspects.
Everything was fine for a few weeks  until I noticed a tiny rip up at the top along the rim of the framework. I just stuck 'duck tape' on both sides and it seemed to work. But---- the  weather in Auckland is not always like the long hot summer we have just had. The wind finally blew and after a few storms---well, let the picture tell the story. The moral of my sad blog----'''don't get sucked into buying one of these in the belief that they will last.''' Shops like Mitre Ten or Bunning's do not tell you that they should be taken down regularly. I mean---you try and get that top off every time you smell a storm or high winds! You just ain't gonna do it unless you have paid household servants.
I should have spend a bit more and got something way more permanent and of solid construction. Hopefully the new one that my friendly neighbour is going to put up for me will last a great deal longer and look one hell of a lot better. OH, try and take your ripped up fecked pergola back to the place of purchase--- I doubt they will want to give you another one--the same damn thing will happen!
Oh dear, I don't think that was meant to happen! The bloody tops gone!

Australians are buying up houses in New Zealand, big time.

We can take several different slants on the latest report that it is Australians buying up New Zealand houses and not Asian people. This must get under Mr Peter’s skin (Leader of New First) because it will take the wind out of his sails and make it harder for him to target that group, come election time. We now know that Australians are snapping up what they believe to be bargain prices, forcing up the prices of course for NZers. So, we cannot blame anyone else other than our cousins from across the ‘ditch.’
With Mr Peters now looking for other targets to help him reach the magic 5% threshold needed for next year’s election, we should take a closer look at the reasons behind this latest piece of information. Is there some sinister plot on the part of Aussies to ‘take over’ NZ simply by making it untenable for ordinary NZers to own houses in their own country.
Maybe they love us so much that they want us all to move on over there so that they can force the price of labour down, thereby having a willing and compliant labour force to do the things they don’t want to do.
Perhaps the Aussies have seen the writing on the wall. They see economic breakdown occurring in their ‘lucky country’ and need a bolt hole to hide in when the proverbial finally hits the fan. Or, is it the prospect of millions of ‘boat people’ descending on the northern and eastern coasts of Australia that is frightening Australians to the extent that are seeking more distant pastures in which to play their Aussie Rules. Trouble is, Kiwis just don’t get it, so imagine the rivalry that will occur on that front!
No, forget economics, xenophobia, sporting nightmares or even climatic disasters! It’s the fear on the part of Julia Gillard supporters that they are going to live under a very different regime after the next Australian Federal elections. The prospect that the Labor (Aussie spelling again, sorry) Party is about to be cast aside to wander in the never land regions of Australian politics for several election cycles is one that Labor voters and politicians cannot stomach. Knowing that the Greens are probably going to be their bigger brother in Parliament and possibly the Senate, it just too much to stomach.
So the great diaspora of Australians has begun. They are setting up nest in New Zealand and no doubt some New Zealanders will seek drier pastures in Australian in the mistaken belief that life will be better for them. The ebb and flow of Trans-Tasman people flow will continue and sheep jokes will only slightly diminish as new New Zealand citizens take offence at the former bastion of humour attempts.
Has anything really changed by these momentous events? Nah, yeah Nah! To those people who are offended by my ‘observations, I sincerely apologise---yeah right!

Monday, June 17, 2013

What a rotten employer. Is this the future?

It is fair to say that a movement is occurring whereby employees are slowly having their rights eroded. Just take the Private Members Bill in parliament that has the capability of reversing many of the gains workers have fought so hard for over the years. One could almost say that this move is tantamount to stripping workers of the right to collective bargaining. Let’s face it, there is no difference between workers putting up the price of their labour and that of a ‘producer’ raising prices for goods and services. Getting the balance fair and right is the main thrust in worker-employer relationship. What is worrying is the trend towards loss of workers’ conditions of employment.
When one sees the headlines in the NZ Herald today about a boss who made his employee ‘beg for gas’ in order to complete a bread run, one is left wondering how low some bosses can go. That the ERA ordered full and fair compensation is an indication that at least in some quarters there is recognition of fairness and reasonable treatment of workers. Yes, it is on the extreme edge for examples of what can go wrong, but dig deep and I am sure you would find many more examples, especially for those lowly paid workers being exploited by unscrupulous bosses in the restaurant industry.
Let us not throw away the gains made by past generations to improve the lot of workers. We do not want to see a return to times when a worker was seen as merely a means of increasing the wealth of a tiny minority, leaving a vast faceless and subjugated body of workers at the bottom of the heap. Have I just described the ever increasing gap between the rich and poor? Is that feared scenario actually upon us, camouflaged by a drip-down of a weakening welfare state?
Maybe history has come back to bite us in our rear ends. It seems that an uncaring Government is already embarking on a journey that will be very difficult for us to turn away from. At least we have read about a tiny victory. Is the time coming when we will not see such reports? Perhaps they will be buried under countless anti-worker pieces of legislation about to be thrust upon us by an increasingly isolated Government.

We can assume that we are all being spied on!

Given the claims arising from the USA about how the CIA, FBI and God knows what other organisations are spying on the citizens of the USA, then I think it is a taken fact that the rest of us are probably being caught up in the vast net that is now part of everyday life, simply because of the wide use of social media. It is not just governmental organisations that are doing this. Haven’t we known for many years that information is gathered on us each time we hit on particular sites and then that information is used to target us for future ‘sales’ and approaches from businesses wanting our money?
Why would we therefore be surprised that the Governments of most countries are increasingly looking at other aspects of our lives, all in the name of ‘security’ in this modern brave new world? Most of us accept a degree of ‘intrusion,’ just to keep us safe, but it is the inevitability that the State will use this information in ways that we did not predict. Our freedoms will be curtailed and we already know that ‘bad things happen’ to individuals who raise their voices against ‘Governments’ worldwide. The USA is no worse than most other Governments; it is merely better at what it does, because of the vast resources it can bring to the table. I would hate to think what Government secret services are doing in China and many other states, where freedom is but a word bandied around as a precursor for other activities to keep the ordinary citizens meek, mild and non-expressive of ideals that challenge the nation state. The world of computers and social media has unleashed a monster to say the least. OH, for good old fashioned pen, paper and secret phone calls. Has anything really changed? Yes it has, because technology has refurbished the tools Governments need to ‘SPY ON US!’

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Get those busses in Auckland running right!

It is in the interest of us all that our bus services are on time and get us to work on time. Reports in the NZ Herald this morning that commuters in Lynnfield were late to work because of ‘no shows’ must be taken seriously. WE are told to use busses and other forms of public transport because our roads are overcrowded and because such use is environmentally’ kind’ Excuses were put forward by the administrators but they do not hold water. If we do not have enough busses or the services don’t make enough money, then we need to increase the subsidies the companies are paid. It is essential that we increase and maintain services if we want a modern and viable city. Get off your butts, administrators and make things work. It is in the interests of us all!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wondering when the weight loss will stop!

Mind you. I'm not complaining and it has settled down to less than a kilo a week now.  My aim is to get to 80 kilos by Xmas---that means another 7 to go. I think it is going to be hard, hence the next weapon in my arsenal. Hell, I hope I spelt that right----could have put an entirely different slant on things eh. The new weapon? Why, Pilates of course. My good friend, Lisa is helping me out. I went to her apartment yesterday and she showed me a few tricks. I didn't know I had those muscles. I am told they will be hurting this time tomorrow. It's not all about pounding and impact; it's more about using technique to stretch and bring back some tone to this aging body. My biggest surprise was finding out that I could sit cross-legged again on the floor. Remarkable feeling.
So, do I have nay regrets? NO---- I don't miss pigging out on food that was killing me, I don't miss the lack of energy, I don't miss taking all those pills, I don't miss calling my CPAC Machine (for sleep apnoea) 'Elle, because she has gone! I don't miss the big food bills and I can quite happily say that it is quite fun shopping for new clothes. Last night I even got a bit tiddly on one glass of wine. That was quite fun and inexpensive.
I am not saying that my solution for ridding myself of my former hugeness is for everyone. But for me, well--- I am most thankful for my chance to experience a new lease on life---a much longer one. Please feel free to comment, ask questions and contact me directly, through my website, if you wish.

Turkey's woes---we have seen it all before.

Turkey has a 'democratically' elected government, albeit one that has increasingly spurned some of the ideals that go along with such a government. The present leader is no doubt popular, particularly with those holding a more conservative and religious outlook. In the many rural areas his hold is almost total. Now that he has been in power for ten years and the country has a higher profile, he is beginning to go down a path that so many 'long term leaders' travel. He is becoming arrogant and possesses a sense that 'he is right' and that any opposition is based on groups who want to wreck the economy or image of the country.
Actually, he is doing a pretty good job of achieving that himself. Recent reports that journalists who oppose his autocratic rule are losing their jobs and ending up in prison are most disturbing. RT (Russian TV) has reported that his regime is targeting doctors and other medics who have been assisting those injured in the protests. This smells significantly like the events we witnesses from the despotic regime in Bahrain where torture and other inhumane acts were perpetrated on those opposing that regime. The question must be asked -----is Turkey about to return to a non-democratic past, all in the name of a leader who wishes to retain power? One hopes that the people of Turkey hold a very different view!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Roskill is going digital!

Yes I am preparing the much edited and formatted ROSKILL for e-booking on Kindle. I employed a really god editor (Stephen Stratford) and asked him to format, proofread and edit the book so that it is more reader-friendly. No one wants to see countless mistakes and bad formatting.
I was most pleased with the result and after spending many hours going through the result, I feel that I shall be able to feel more confident about the product. I shall let you know when it is available on line. Let’s face it—paying the tiny amount required when viewing a book on Kindle, is the way to go. I shall still sell hard copy of course.
Talk To Me will follow and then I shall return to working on Sons Of Orpheus, a trilogy set during the New Zealand Land Wars. Watch this space.

You are a tough pack of buggers, Australia!

It never suprprises me when I read of some of the antics various Australians get up to , especially near an election. We have all seen the polls that predict a huge defeat for Labour at the upcoming elections. That many Ausies have lost sight of the fact that the Labour (OK lest use the Aussie way---Labor) has made a real difference to many 'working' people. Education has been made more accessible to more people at the lower end and there have been gains re health for those at the bottom. Yes, it's true that Julia has gone back on her word on a few issues, something dictated by events way beyond her control. We have heard the posturings of that 'would be leader,' Tony and note that he seeks every opportunity to belitlle Julia's policies. I am not saying that this is a move that differs in any way from what we expect from opposition leaders, but I am syaing that his negativity around many issues, including the 'boat people' problem do little to offer Australia a way forward. Some of his 'backers' have reached incredibly low levels in their manouvering to garner favour, for when he comes into Government. Take the rediculous spectacle of that dopey radio reporter asking Julia to consider the fact that 'all hairdressers (and thereofor her partner) are gay. Then look at that twit who degraded Julia with his stupid 'menu.' It is not good enough to say that it was all just fun----these commentaries stick with the public and those who make such protestations do influence the popular psyche. Tony and his friends do not necessarilly agree with these moves, but they should go out of their way to promulgate good values that represent what Austrlaia surley is--- a diverse country with wonderful people; but sometimes prone to a brashness that does not do it credit.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Out with the big old stuff and in with the new---less is more!

I have a new rule. If I buy any new clothing, I must chuck out, or give away at least one item in my wardrobe. If I don't I shall rapidly reach a 'wardrobe version of obesity.' Then I would have to operate and discard until I could see the railings again, something akin to being unable to see my feet before my bariatric journey began.
I am enjoying seeking out new clothing and now I have decided that I must also attempt to garner a bit of 'colour,' replacing the dark and dour examples I have been sporting of late. Black's fine, but it needs the addition of something 'contrasting.'  So, where to begin. I hit upon two outlets, (yeah I still check out the nearby Warehouse) Postie+ and the online shop, Ezibuy. The former is a bit cheaper, while the latter has some quite good offerings, including the Next range. I haven't received my first order form Ezibuy and I hope that I have got the sizing correct. Time will tell.
I happen to be watching an item on Fair Go about online shopping, so I think I have a lot to learn, especially about returning 'unsuitable'  goods.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Get your slow cookers and crock pots out!

There is no excuse for complaining about expensive shopping if you own a slow cooker or crock pot. If you don't have one, then get on down to the local op shop and I am sure they will almost give you one.
Next, go to the bulk bins and buy split peas and lentils or if you feel really lazy, one of the 'soup mixes.' All you need then is some bacon bones from the Mad Butcher or Aussie Butcher (your own butcher or supermarkets too) and chuck everything into the cooker with boiling water. Feel free to add garlic, onions and any left over veggies. If you are the adventurous type, then add a few cloths and pepper. Let it all cook and swerve it up with toast or scones (also cheap and easy to make). All this is good for your pocket and your health, so stop sitting on your butts and get to it! Yes, I'm talking to you! What I have just outlined is one hell of a lot cheaper than KFC or other takeaways.

Hello Barbados! Great to see you.

When I looked at the countries who have been reading my blogs and I saw Barbados, I was wrapped. That means I was most pleased for those not used to my Kiwi terminology. Keep reading my blogs and no doubt you will get used to my strange use of words. On a day like today, sitting in my lounge, watching the rain fall along with the temperature and I can visualise the beautiful white-sanded (I think!) beaches of lovely Barbados and transport myself there to sip a long drink before slipping into the warm waters of the Caribbean. A dream maybe, but a bloody nice one! Keep reading, my new Barbados friend(s).

Friday, June 7, 2013

Gluten free, healthy cookie recipe.

I do not need to eat gluten free food, but I make different recipes up because a family member does need to follow that regime. I enjoy making up various recipes and since my bariatric surgery, my interest has not changed; I just eat a lot less of the product. Here's one that has good amounts of protein and is relatively OK, calorie wise.
The quantities don't seem to matter a hell of a lot.
What shall I call this?  OK, ginger quinoa cookies with added gogi berries or anything else your imagination allows.
Place in a bowl a couple of tablespoons of melted butter (bugger using damned crappy margarine!)
Chuck in some sugar (maybe about half as cup) then biff in some desiccated coconut (about a cup). Add about half a cup of quinoa flour (or cornflour), about a cup of Quinoa flakes  and heaps of dried ginger (I used  about one large tablespoon of ginger) If you love ginger add more! Then add cinnamon. It just doesn't seem to matter what you use in the way of spices.
Now the fun part. Get your hands into the mixture and scrunch it up and add a little mils if you want. Water is fine too, but the main thing is to have a nice stiff mixture that you can roll out into small balls on a tray lined with baking paper. Press them flat and shove into an oven heated to about 160C and bake for about 10 minutes. Then, turn the oven off and after ten more minutes open the oven to let them cool. They go nice and hard which makes them a yummy dunking companion with your favourite hot drink. Great in the kids lunches too.
If you manage to stuff up this recipe, go and buy your cookies from the shops!

Why are our teenage children fighting---with trajic results?

I do not think for a moment that the tragic death of a young Kelston boy was a premeditated killing; the two boys involved in the fight against the young boy did not go to kill----but they did (two of them) possibly go for a fight. Unfortunately this scenario is enacted in our school grounds and on our sports fields on a regular basis. What is behind such mindless 'not give a stuff'' about the consequences. behaviours? It is very worrying that young people fight at the drop of the hat, for no reason other than gang or friendship affiliations, revenge for imagined slights and egged on by social media formats. Fighting for young people has always been a fact of life, but the difference now is that too many people know about what is about to occur and then bring along associates who have no feeling for anything other than to have fun at someone else's' cost.
Lets face it; the examples some of their senior 'heroes' portray are less than honourable. When we see household 'names' behaving badly and violently, why would we expect teenagers to hold back. The idea of serious consequences for a fight seem beyond the understanding of young people. The simple fact is that if a heavy fist or boot comes into contact with a young head or other body regions, the results are very different to those that are shown on films and TV. Once hit hard (and some adults encourage their children to hit hard so that the 'opponent' does not get up!) the medical conclusion is quite different from that which suggests the 'fallen' simply gets up and 'has another go. 'School yards and sports fields are becoming dangerous places, not just for those fighting, but for those who stand and watch. We need to take a long and hard look at the values we are instilling in our kids. Such ideas of unfettered violence do not exist in a vacuum!

'Dig it out of the hole in the ground, just doesn't cut it for Australia's economic woes at the present!

In the last few decades much of Australia's dramatic rise in living standard and subsequently a beacon for many NZers, has been due to the capacity of the 'lucky country' to be able to dig their wealth from huge holes in the ground. It is no secret that China's economic boom has been closely related to this phenomenon. Dig it out in the form of iron ore and other metals and send it to China, then bring it back as consumer goods for the ever hungry Australian market, whilst making a handy profit with a degree of trickle down for the workers of Australia. NZ, too has seen some benefit, because if Australia is doing well, so are we to a certain extent. That China has surpassed Australia as our largest trading partner is also significant. All three nations are inextricably tied re combined economic futures.
What now, that Australia is receiving less for its mineral exports? Will the economy become unstuck? Will Julia Gillard's Government be the next victim of this downturn? Would the upcoming beating be as huge if the economy had not been affected by this lessening of export prices? Will New Zealanders considering a 'jump over the ditch,' reconsider their plans? Will those their who do not collect any benefits that NZ offers to the Australians living in NZ need to look over their shoulders and return to NZ?
A new phase in Trans Tasman economic and social ties is about to play out for NZ in Australia and perhaps the flow will reverse, if recent figures continue to grow re the outflow of NZers to Australia. History does repeat and  we often do not learn from it. Hopefully, we will see a reinvigoration of our economy, with the return of our compatriots and the NZ economy will rise---before the worm turns again!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I hit all the 8's today!

I hit all the 8’s today, in a good way of course and it will be transitory to say the least. Yes, weighing 88.8kgs, down from nearly 120 is a good feeling. I still have a positive feeling and there are no negatives. Not being able to eat heaps of ice-cream is hardly something to moan about. Not having huge steaks can only benefit my ‘pocket,’ so on that front---I just spend the money saved on clothes. I can’t remember the last time I rose in the morning and actually thought about what I should wear. The only thing I have to extend is the range of colours. I know NZ prides itself on the mighty ‘All Blacks’ (our world champion rugby team) but black can be a bit boring. One thing it is good for is that you can put almost any colour with it. I can hear the incredulous reactions to my fashion statements, but who cares; it’s got to be way better than the ‘get up in the morning and see what fits me’ feeling.
Where to from here? I am told that the weight loss will slow down now. I set my new goal as being somewhere around 85Kgs in the next two months. Time and my efforts will tell. Next weekend a friend is running me through the basics of Pilates. That will be a hoot.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Charter Schools will be fantastic! Can't wait!

 I just threw up. I only wrote that to get your attention. Perdy, my Jack Russell will clean up the mess, don't worry. Hell, this blog is going south fast. OK, I am going to point out some very salient points about the efficacy of CS. They must have some good points because NZ has stood by and let the Government pass legalisation to let these schools come into our towns and  cities; probably most of them in disused, earthquake damaged or Government restructured schools. What a magnificent use of these 'community-centred once thriving  schools. The wackos will be -----damn, I meant 'spiritually dignified' sectors of society, hell-bent on promulgating their particular beliefs, whilst at the same time lining their pockets with the largess directed their way by a benevolent Government.
Many schools in New Zealand already run 'alternative' programmes (Teen parenting units for example) and they face cuts, I wonder where the money will come from to pay for the CHs. Don't worry; The salaries paid to the teachers to 'teach' in the CS will have that 'sinking lid policy applied soon after the kafuffle over their establishment has receded, along with any real knowledge of what they are actually doing. It's OK, don't worry; the CS are not subject to any rule that says the public has scrutiny over them.
CS will take those failing in the State system and 'turn them around.' CS will cow about their successes, for the first few years, before reality sets in. The kids who have been failed by State schools will quickly fall into the same trap. Unless the 'community' of the school, child and family, along with support from well funded Government and private agencies comes to the table, that is.
Look on the bright side. We can all benefit from the 'trickle down' effect of the Government's generous realigning of resources, all in the direction of the 'friends of National and ACT. Who are we, the people to object such lofty ideals. I continue my spewing! No doubt I shall attract comments from deeply informed readers like: 'We won you lost,' or 'get over it.' To that I say: Must we waste resources on the off-chance that a few kids will no doubt benefit> For goodness, let's fix and develop what we already have---A SYSTEM THAT WAS AND COULD STILL BE THE ENVY OF THE WORLD!

Turkey is at a 'make or break time' in its history.

Many of us watching the events unfolding on the streets of Turkey's cities are wondering just where this proud nation is heading. The choices are pretty stark. Does Turkey join the ranks of other Middle Eastern countries and head towards being a Islamist state, where individual freedom and lifestyle choice become a pipe dream? Apparently thousands are ready to make a stand to prevent this, but they are in danger from their government as they make their point on the streets. They need not look far to see the questionable results of the 'Arab Spring' to know that once in power, the 'clerics'  begin a process of locking out any opposition to their rule and the lives of the citizens take a very prescribed path. The mainly young demonstrators are far more than scurrilous anti-government groups, out to bring disorder to Turkey. They are making a stand 'for' Turkey to join the ranks of those countries where freedom of the press and the right to live lives that do not hold solely to the tenants of a particular faith. For many years Turkey managed to walk the tightrope between the 'clerics' and a more Western orientated outlook, but the incumbent popular Prime Minister seeks to step away from that stance. There is little doubt that he was elected with a great deal of goodwill from the people of Turkey, if for no reason other than the fact that his opposition  is weak and divided. His latest actions may galvanize opposition to his increasingly authoritarian rule, a movement he is clearly most uncomfortable with.
Turkey has aspired to have strong relationship within the EU and in NATO. That position would come under threat if he starts to align himself and his country with the less democratic Middle-Eastern countries. Perhaps he sees himself as a clone-like copy of the leaders in Iran. The next few months will throw some light on his aspirations to stand for yet another term as PM, something that is denied to him under present law. One only has to look to Russia to see how the rules can change.
In the meantime, huge numbers of brave Turkish people will make their feelings known. Hopefully, the police will not overreact and Turkey can come through this difficult time, as a nation state that values diversity and true democracy. Take care my Turkish friends.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sarin used in Syria? Who to belive in this 'quagmire.'

I watched an item on RT (Russian TV) which clamed that the UN is in possession of evidence that the 'rebels' have been apprehended in Turkey with about 2KGs of the deadly material, Sarin. There have been accusations that the Syrian Government is also using this terrible weapon. Now add to this deadly cocktail the fact that the West is supplying weapons to the rebels and the Russians are sending missiles to the Syrian Government and we are left with the same old story that has been repeated in so many countries in the past. Neither the USA (and its allies) or the Russians, Chinese and any exporter of weapons is innocent of pouring fuel on to the 'fires' raging in numerous undeclared wars, world-wide. Nothing has changed.
What we are witnessing in Syria is the destruction of a nation, where no side will be the winner and the people suffer terribly. We will see millions of refugees, seeking safety---almost anywhere, complicating an already terrible world wide problem. There will be more 'boat-people' seeking to land in far off places, like Australia and the world will watch silently as recipient countries close their borders.
Syria represents the total failure of the UN and the nations on the Security Council to bring an end to this conflagration. Instead the likes of the USA, the EU, China and Russia play politics; trying to score points or win favour with various groups within Syria, for no other purpose than their own geo-political aspirations in this volatile region.
What makes me sad is that the disparate groups within Syria, fed by their outside supporters are destroying a nation. It has descended to a war of 'revenge' rather than any nation-forming process. Does history teach us nothing?

Maurice Williamson--let's end this media enhanced talk of him being a 'gay icon.'

So Maurice is the darling of the gay community because he made a funny, quite shallow speech in the New Zealand Parliament a few weeks ago. What a load of crap! That he said a few words that resonated with social media, world wide does not make him a functionary of social change or in any way a spokesperson for the gay community in NZ or anywhere else for that matter. He does not have a track record in NZ for being a champion for social change. If he is to be remembered for any one act it would probably be for jokes made about him driving a Skoda, back in the days when the rear-engine cars were seen as something to be avoided (unlike the modern up-market version). He also fell out of tune with the National Party he represents for a while and generally he has been an 'also ran' member of parliament.
So Maurice, next time you drive down the Pakuranga Highway under the 'big gay rainbow,' think about your wonderful work with the gay community, (yeah right!) take stock of your career and dream of your chance to almost have taken a tilt at the Auckland mayoralty, thinking that the large gay sector would have voted for you because of your words of wisdom and solidarity; think again and wake up. It was most definitely a dream verging on a nightmare---for Auckland!