Feel, Speak, Think – uh oh


One of the – many – reasons I’d never consider a career in politics is that I have a tendancy to feel then speak and only later do I think.

Of course that means that sometimes what I think is uh-oh as no doubt Melissa Lee did after saying the new motorway might keep criminals from South Auckland away from Mount Albert.

It was a stupid thing to say and she has acknowledged that and unreservedly apologised for saying it.

Of course Labour made a meal of it and is determined to keep dishing it up again. I’m not questioning that because that’s what happens in politics.

The media has made a meal of it too and while I’m not questioning them reporting it I do have some questions about the prominence it was given and the fact it’s still getting it.

I accept that a statement made at a public meeting during a by-election was fair game. But usually in cases like this if an MP admits a mistake and apologises the oxygen goes out of the issue.

Why then was this silly story still leading radio news bulletins all afternoon and why has it just been previewed as the major item for the late TV news, long after the apology was made?

Is this really the most important thing happening in the world today?

High Court backs property rights for pastoral lesees


The High Court has ruled in favour of pastoral lessees’ right to exclusive use of  their land.

In his judgement, Justice France said pastoral leases were consistent with a land leasing arrangement. The land leasing arrangement conferred exclusive possession to the farmer.

“The obligations the lessee undertakes would make it surprising if he or she were obtaining only a licence to occupy.”

. . . The Crown maintained control over the land to preserve it environmentally, and any proposed use other than pasturage required Crown consent.

But a clear indication of the relationship between lessor and lessee was that a recreation permit granted by the Crown to a third party required the consent of the lessee of the land.

“The need to obtain a lessee’s consent is, in my view, a very clear indication of the nature of the lessees’ possession.”

This ruling establishes the property rights of lessees and confirms their right to undisturbed occupation .

Fish & Game took the case to the court, contending that because the Crown owned the land it could give other people access to it.  

Farmers were furious about the case and the grapevine suggests that the new Minister of Land Information New Zealand was not impressed either. His department administers pastoral leases and was a defendant in the case, which in effect meant  it was a statutory body taking a government department to court.

Fish & Game used to be well thought of by farmers  for its work augmenting fisheries but that relationship has been strained in recent years as F&G has fought landowners on access issues and shown an unfortunate tendency to challenge property rights.

The expense to farmers of defending the case, which the ODT puts at more than $200,00, will have done nothing to improve matters. If F&G wants to rebuild postive relationships with farmers they should stay out of the courts and put their energies back into improving fisheries.

Raining moose and deer


The phrase is usually raining cats and dogs, but it was a moose which fell from the sky in the USA  .

Running into animals on the road is not uncommon in the country and it’s not unknown to have them fall or leap from above.

A friend driving on the Napier-Taupo road at night had a horse land on his bonnet and a North Otago family had a bull leap from a bank on to their car.

My farmer and a friend had a similar encounter with a deer.

They were driving up the Kilmog hill north of Dunedin late at night when the animal leapt from bank above the road, hit the car’s bonnet, came antlers first through the windscreen then bounced back on to the road.

The stag died, the car was written off but my farmer and his mate were not only unhurt, they were left with sufficient wits to examine the stag and conclude it was wild, not farmed.

Ghost of Budget’s past


Oh, no – not again, TVNZ reports that:

Finance Minsiter Michael Cullen will deliver the 2009 Budget on May 28.

Hat Tip: Big News

In praise of WordPress


When I started blogging, I chose WordPress because I noticed a link saying blog at WordPress at the bottom of  Poneke which was one of my regular reads.

Starting was easy and any problems I’ve had since have almost always been due to operator-error, not WordPress.

Then on Monday, I came home from a few hours away visiting whanau to find the sidebar had disappeared from the homepage.

I exhausted my meagre techinical toolkit pretty quickly and went to bed hoping it might heal itself overnight.

It didn’t so I sent a message to WordPress support. The lovely people there sorted it out and sent an email with  a link to help me sort it out myself should it happen again.

Three cheers for WordPress.

Fred Dagg – Gumboot Song


Day 14 of the tune a day challenge for New Zealand Music Month and we’re going rural with John Clarke, aka Fred Dagg, and the Gumboot Song.

Fred, or John, adapted the Welly Boot Song which Billy Connolly made by adapting The Work of the Weavers.

They don’t make gumboots like they used to, but they don’t wear them like they used to either.

A rural principal organising a gathering for city colleagues included a tour of a cow shed and took the precaution of advising the visitors bring their gumboots.

A few had to buy some specially, one had never even owned a pair – and showed it by not tucking her trousers inside the boots when they got to the mucky bits.

If city kids don’t own gumboots any more what do they wear when they’re playing in the mud, or don’t they do that anymore either?

Back to music and catching up on yesterday’s post from round the blogosphere:

Keeping Stock had the Bro’ Town crew with Morningside 4 Life – the Musical

Over at Rob’s the Warratahs are singing St Peter’s Rendevous

And Inquiring Mind took us to the Ancient Briton, a delightful pub in Naseby, where Phil Garland sings Up On Yorkies Run

And RightoChaps thinks NZ music month is stupid.

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