UF support at a price

05/12/2011

National has a supply and confidence agreement with United Future:

Under the deal, Mr Dunne will remain Minister of Revenue and associate Minister of Health, as well as picking up the portfolio of associate Minister of Conservation.

Mr Dunne has also won new gains including investigating a free, annual health check-up for over 65s, no sale of any part of Kiwibank or Radio New Zealand.

He has also secured the retention of the Families Commission.

The question of this deal was never a matter of if but when and at what cost.

Even though Dunne won only his seat, I suppose he had to get something to show for his vote.

The Families Commission might be small beer in the context of overall government spending but given Bill English says we’re facing spending constraints for the foreseeable future the its retention is an expensive and unproductive luxury.

“Balancing the books and returning to  surplus is one of the most important things the Government can do to  build a stronger and more competitive economy,” Mr English says. . .

But getting back to surplus won’t be easy. In many ways, restraint in the public sector has only just started.

“The Government is committed to meeting this challenge. We’ve taken steps to control spending and get on top of debt, while putting in place  policies that build a more competitive economy and more real jobs.

When the need for restraint is so great, it’s a pity that axing the commission, which is an obvious way of cutting costs with little or no impact on anyone but those who work for it ,is no longer an option.

I wonder what the cost-benefit analysis of it would show and how all concessions made to minor parties since MMP was introduced would fare under similar scrutiny?

The confidence and supply agreement is here.


Peter, Paul but no more Mary

18/09/2009

The woman who was the Mary in Peter, Paul and Mary, has died.

Mary Travers was 72. I don’t think I ever saw her in a photo or on television, but I grew up with her voice and sang along to If I had a Hammer, Blown’ in the Wind and Puff the Magic Dragon.

I missed the politics in their songs – blame that on my youth at the time. And for years I thought Puff had a friend called Frolicin the Ottomus – blame that on my ears . I’m not sure when I worked out that they were singing Frolicked in the Autumn Mists.

I’d misheard the words. Other people thought there was a hidden meaning in the song, but the group put the record right on that in this version:


But I thought it was . . .

18/10/2008

The mispronunciation of anemone as an enemy several times in a TV programme has inspired John Ansell to compile a list of the most mispronounced words in the English language.

 

I entered the conversation with a little hesitancy because there are a few words I mispronounced for years.

 

I was well into adulthood before I discovered halcyon was not haleycon (which I’d somehow associated with Haley Mills starring in a movie as a woman called Summer).

 

It was only while doing a radio book review that I realised it was badinage and not as I’d always read it bandiage (because I associated it with bandying words).

 

I could perhaps blame those two on the fact I’d seen them written but hadn’t heard them spoken. But that doesn’t explain why I thought the prayer my brothers & I recited every night was asking God to pity mice implicitly and not pity my simplicity.

 

Nor does it explain why I thought Puff the Magic dragon had a friend called Frolicin the Ottumis until someone pointed out to me that Peter, Paul and Mary had been singing frolicked in the autumn mists . . .  


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