29 April, 2009

It's just the 'flu

Some people are really getting their knickers in a twist about this.

It is just a new strain of flu - that is all.

If you are healthy the flu doesn't kill. The deaths are caused by secondary infections like Pneumonia.

The media seems to be having a real beat up over this. I guess they desperately needed something new to obsess about.

The credit crunch is getting pretty boring after several months in the spotlight.

17 April, 2009

Who stole our voice


Worth reading.

I particularly like this bit:

"That is a region of 1.4 million people controlled by 20 councillors and a mayor. Explain that in democratic terms? We can’t.

Mr Key and Mr Hide might as well have set fire to the money the commission cost, though that appears not to matter since neither man can say what cost savings their proposal will bring.

Mr Hide claims to have consulted the region’s mayors. He has not. Auckland’s mayor John Banks does not represent the region – yet.

North Shore’s Andrew Williams even goes so far as to accuse him of misleading the people of Auckland.
Mayors are asking to be told what is going on, which seems far from unreasonable.

Manukau’s Len Brown, rightly, has called the government’s proposal a travesty for local democracy because it strips away the local voice.

The commission produced an 800-page report with 100 recommendations. If its work was irrelevant, as seems evident, the process must be open to question.

The government’s proposal is an insult to Auckland, an insult to North Shore, an insult to Manukau, Waitakere, Rodney, Papakura and Franklin – and worse, it is an insult to democracy.

There is no doubt Auckland can benefit from a new model – just not this one."

There was a nice little bit in the Herald saying that, "Putting Rodney Hide in charge was a kin to putting a shark in charge of a snapper going down the gurgler." The quote, purportedly from Shane Jones, Labour's spokesman for Local government, appears to have been removed now.

What concerns me about this super city idea.

What concerns me the most about this super city idea is that we could well end up with more representation at central government level than we have a local government level. Count the number of electorates within the super city boundaries (14) and add in the list MPs based here as well and you will see what I mean. Remember we are to get only 20 councilors.

Then there is the levels of bureaucracy.

Sure by amalgamating the 8 councils you may be able to reduce the number of e.g. town planners down to say, 5, but then you have to put someone in charge to co-ordinate them. Same goes for billing departments. Yes there will be fewer Indians needed but the sheer combined numbers of those left mean there will be more Chiefs needed. The irony is that some of this duplication has only come about because the government insisted on the ratepayers being billed separately for regional rates rather than continue with the levy incorporated in the local rate bill.
I honestly don't see how there will be any cost savings at all - quite the opposite is more likely as this juggernaut will become self propelling with no limitations on how much it can suck up in the way of rates.

The situation will likely be worse than at present.

As for removing duplication - many services are already shared across current council boundaries.
E.g. dog control is covered by one body and one pound for Rodney and North Shore combined. Recycled rubbish collection occurs in Waitakere one week and North Shore the next, both cities use the same rules, same bins and the same collection company on the same contract.

Yes, the Auckland region seems to have an over supply of small to medium council owned venues and not much in the way of really large ones.

Is this really a problem?

Just how many cars to we want traveling long distances on roads limited by geography?
Just how far is reasonable to expect people to travel to venues? 10km, 20km, 50km?
I haven't mentioned public transport because covering many of these distances would require people to change buses or trains.
That is a major drawback. Plus many of these already existing venues don't have good links to public transport. Nor are they all council owned for that matter.

Now there is a no-brainier than needs fixing - but we don't need a super city to do so?

I think not.

Funny how this sort of thing always comes back to transport - that is Auckland's major problem. It has little to do with our local council structure and a lot to do with the central government and the currently toothless (courtesy of central government) ARC.

08 April, 2009

How to move to Auckland

Shift to a home somewhere between Wellsford and Mercer and wait.

Seriously this is how my secretary has wound up living in two cities in the last twenty years without moving house. Now it looks like we will be changing cities again without moving house.

Any word on that big hack saw, concrete cutter and back hoe I would like to borrow?

Letter to Camping Kid

8 Apr. 09
Dear Camping Kid,

I have been haranguing your Mum and Dad... alright, I have been howling at anyone who will listen, to write this down to send to you.

Firstly I would like to state that I have most definitely not been pining away on your bed awaiting your return. If you thought I was going to you are sorely mistaken besides, the pile of clothing on top of it make such actions a little risky.

I had a disturbing encounter with a cat that shall remain nameless on the weekend. It had the nerve to chase me inside through the cat door at speed. I am refusing to discuss the matter further. My ears aren’t that much worse for wear.

Mystery has learnt a new trick. Three days running now, when it is time for her to go back to her hutch she has put herself in the yellow carrier without the need for any chasing or picking up. Your Dad just goes out on to the deck and she hops over to the carrier and in she goes. Smart Bunny.

Inky however is not that happy at the moment. It seems that Mr Biscuit was getting a bit rambunctious and had to be put in a separate carrier to visit Mainly Music. That was all well and good but he refused to poke his head out for the first group so Inky got thoroughly petted. Inky found this a little scary so when your Mum put them back in the quiet room she hauled Mr B out and put him back in the orange carrier with Inky.

You know about Biscuit’s one track mind don’t you.

Now take a guess what the naughty little boy was up to when the door of the room was opened to give another small child a peek? Yup, he was on top and going at it like a Black and Decker drill. Like I said, Inky is not amused. Just as well he has been fixed.
He did redeem himself by being very cute and letting the second group of small children pet him and they aren’t quite as gentle as the first group even it they are quieter. Inky was much happier with the second group.

Cinnamon is being her usual refined self, she has been sleeping with her head in the den and her bottom sticking out so maybe she is sulking. Either that or she wants the wind up her bum and not her ears.

Dory has declined to be my dinner and is now doing that fish mouth thing at me from the main tank with Patch. Who said goldfish are thick? I am sure those two know I can’t get to them so delight in pulling faces at me.

Dusty bird is still heckling me from on high and Flossy just cheaps as I go passed. Neither will discuss lunch – my lunch that is. They’ll keep.

Well I guess that is all unless you want me give you my opinion on how we are moving to Auckland without moving house or having any say in the matter...mmm...better not get me started.

Bbbbrrrrreeeewwww for now,

01 April, 2009

H-bomb dropped at Petre

The eighth letter of the alphabet is causing all sorts of strife down there.

The local yokels of the Pakeha variety are adamant, they want no H in their town, sorry, city.

The Maori however want the H that was stolen before 1854 returned.

The council says NO!

The Geographic Board says YES!

The businesses say NO it will cost us lots of money!

The Health Board quietly changed to using an H some years ago.

There is some serious frothing at the mouth going on.

What is the big deal? Put the dratted H in next time the stationery gets ordered and in 10 years you will wonder what the fuss was about.

Surly the good folk of Whanganui (Wanganui) should be worrying about other things like river pollution, gangs and that other troublesome letter, P.