Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Upton On Line - Blowing His Own Picollo

upton-on-line hesitates to blow his own piccolo, let alone a trumpet, but he can't help the fact (to his complete surprise) that the Geneva based World Economic Forum, in its latest edition of World Link magazine, has selected him for its "dream cabinet" for 1999 as Environment Minister. (The incredulous among you can visit www.worldlink.co.uk for verification, although the latest edition of Worldlink is yet to be posted there).

The ‘dream cabinet’ is an annual announcement. This year they gave the top job to Dutch Prime Minister, Wim Kok. Top Foreign Minister was Germany’s Joschka Fischer, with Mexico’s Finance Minister Gurria, holding the purse strings.

Flattered as upton-on-line is by the promotion, he envisages it would be a little difficult to get to Cabinet meetings.

As this edition goes on line, upton-on-the-bus has just deputised for Jenny Shipley at the Mainland Cheese factory where disconcertingly large globs of colby cheese were being cut and packed for the Australian market. Upton-on-line inspected the plant in white gear, looking like a cross between Ena Sharples and a polar bear.

Riding high on international acclaim though he was, upton-at-Dunedin was brought swiftly down to earth by the assembled crowd’s evident disappointment that he wasn’t Mrs Shipley (and hasn’t a hope of matching the hunky good looks of Burton Shipley).

The cutters and packers wanted to know about health care, the Employment Contracts Act, a lower drinking age and the demise of life-time licenses as well as genetically modified food. Good solid mainland issues at Mainland.

Previously, upton-on-line had braved a hideous cross-wind landing at Dunedin airport to rendezvous with "Lipstick 1" on the campaign trail.

Shattered nerves were soothed early this morning by the Prime Minister's velvet smooth breakfast address to the Dunedin faithful.

The Prime Minister spied a clear choice emerging this election in the disputed field of education. Broadly speaking, to paraphrase Mrs Shipley, it lies between the National party which values parent, pupil and community control and the left which has an undying attachment to the Wellington bureaucracy aided (or hindered) by deeply entrenched teacher unions.

She drew attention to the little appreciated Labour commitment to abolish the Education Review Office (ERO). As a first time parent, upton-on-line's household has found ERO reports an invaluable antidote to the self-serving spiel that would otherwise be the only means of assessing prospective schools.

He has been amazed by the tenacity with which fellow parents seek out this material. How on earth does Labour think it will win hearts and minds by putting anxious parents back in the dark? Perhaps the number of teacher unionists standing on Labour's list has something to do with it.

Student loans:

Mrs Shipley noted that it would not have been possible to come to Dunedin without wading into student loans. Indeed, she informed the breakfast audience, she had waded into a pod of students (upton-on-line is unsure of the collective noun here) the previous evening and met one agitator who has been studying for eleven years. Upton-on-line understands this does not embrace a double doctorate. Mrs Shipley offered to debate student loans if he was prepared to say who'd been supporting him all these years. Apparently, the pod evaporated at this point.

The PM pointed out that the average level of student indebtedness is just $11,600 at the conclusion of study. As she said, "if young New Zealanders aren't prepared to back themselves to this extent, there's not much hope for our future".

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>

ALSO:

Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>

ALSO:

Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>

ALSO:

Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>

ALSO:

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

ALSO:

Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels