Red Alert

Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

Happy New Year and here’s to a great 2013

Posted by on January 1st, 2013

It’s not really New Year here in San Franciso where I am visiting my exile kids. That’s tomorrow, but I’ve been seeing your texts, tweets and FB messages and wanted to say
Happy New Year to everyone! And may 2013 be an excellent year for you and yours.

As the fiscal cliff looms in the States with its consequences which go far beyond tax increases, I’m thinking that even with all our faults and problems in little old enzed, at least we don’t have the madness of the US system.

But that doesnt mean that we don’t have a list of a thousand things that need to be better in 2013. I do, but for now I’m grateful to have some time with my family, even f it is in another country.

So see if you can stick to your resolutions, have fun with friends and whanau and a very Happy New Year to everyone.

Filed under: personal
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Assisted dying – the social conversation

Posted by on September 25th, 2012

So much has been said recently about my End-of-Life Choice bill which is sitting in the ballot waiting against the odds to be drawn out.  The conversation has been stimulated again by Evans Mott’s trial (discharged without conviction for helping his wife to prepare for her lonely suicide), and the death of Gretha Appleby (pronounced by the coroner recently to be self-inflicted, which is what she always said she would do when she thought the moment had come for her). Here is Tony Nicklinson’s story, as told by his daughter. Read it and tell me if you don’t understand yet. Then keep talking.

Beer and apology

Posted by on September 29th, 2011

There’s been a bit of media kerfuffle about some facebook comments I made about Sir Peter Leitch on Monday.  Normally this kind of fuss wouldn’t bother me much, but I’ve had another look at what I said and reckon I went too far.

Peter’s a top bloke and he’s done a lot for Kiwi communities, and even though we might disagree on politics these days, I’ve still got a lot of respect for him.

So, Peter, if you are reading this, sorry about the comments.  Oh and we should catch up for a beer sometime – my shout.  Enjoy the game at the weekend.

Filed under: personal

Frost of the Caucus

Posted by on April 12th, 2011

Over the past few days I’ve been feeling rather sad about the announcements of NZPA and TVNZ 7. It has been tough to see that more voices in our media are being lost.

But I cheer up whenever I listen (online) to a community radio show that you probably didn’t even know about.

For a community radio show it has pulled in some pretty big guests like Te Radar, Roger Kerr (of the Business Roundtable), Economists Bernard Hickey and Rod Oram, Political columnists Chris Trotter, Matthew Hooton, Bomber Bradbury and Colin James, Auckland mayors John Banks and Len Brown, New Zealander of the Year Ray Avery, Rocket Man Peter Beck, League Legend Stacey Jones, Former Governor General Dame Cath Tizard and Aotearoa Republican Lewis Holden.

Now you are wondering, with guests that good, why haven’t you heard about it? Well wonder now more. Ladies and gentleman I introduce to you the David Frost of the Labour caucus, David Shearer.

The show is live Thursdays at 9.05am on Thursday or listen online [link has been fixed]


Posted by on February 18th, 2011

One great thing about New Zealand is it is so small that our rellies are never too far removed.

Sometimes it can be surprising, such as when we found out my mother was named after King Te Rata Mahuta – she was Patricia Mary Te Rata Mahuta Kerr – because of close family connections.  There was some kind of family secret that I never really discovered.  But I do know there are Tainui bones in our family.

I remember the korowai under the house at my grandmother’s even although the obvious Irishness on her side dominated.  I come from a family of Irish rebels and my Grandma was always staunch on this. She hated the English.

My paternal grandfather was a Northumberland miner, who came to New Zealand, joined the Labour Party and became an MP in the Peter Fraser government of the war years.

While I celebrate this ancestry today, when I was growing up there was a sense that we weren’t quite good enough.  My mother, when we were growing up in a state house used to tell us that we were lower “middle class”.

My Dad was a socialist post-war, but ended up in a respectable accounting job for the Public Trust.  My Mum was a school secretary and mother of four.

Today, my cousins are all around me.  Tau Henare is one of them, on our Irish side.  I’m bound to have relatives in the Mahuta family, and my partner’s Fenton relatives are everywhere.

Whether recently, or long ago, our families made the journey to Aotearoa seeking a better life.  Politics has played no small part in the changes they would have witnessed.

I suspect today’s debates about poverty, the haves and the have-nots would resonate with them. There is still massive power and wealth in the hands of a few. There is arrogance from the better off and an attitude of blame that says that those we used to give a helping hand to through the welfare state have “made poor choices”.  There’s a narrative that workers should be grateful for a job provided by beneficent employers, and take whatever they are handed out.

Yes, I know there’s no comparison to when my various ancestors made the journey here.

It’s good that my relatives can have different views – on the right or the left, even though we will often disagree. I don’t know about them, but the  stories and struggles of my forebears have shaped my political opinions, and like them, my life experiences have confirmed them.

That’s why I’m Labour.

2011 beckons

Posted by on January 1st, 2011

2010 is over. I’m pretty much an optimist, but haven’t got a lot to say about 2010 that’s positive. Has been a hard year for many people; West Coasters and Christchurch people particularly. More New Zealanders are struggling. More are choosing to leave NZ for better opportunities.

It’s important to focus on the things that are good. I read just before Xmas that more NZers are heading to camping grounds for their holidays. Decisions that may be about affordability. But still, that’s a good Kiwi holiday. I hope you’re all having one of those.

Let’s try to make 2011  a better year.

Back then…..

Posted by on August 12th, 2010

One of our caucus visits in Whangarei this week involved a trip to the Marsden Point refinery. While it was Interesting to get a modern day perspective and to tour the site, for me, it was a trip back in personal history to a time when Marsden Point was not only a job, but a lesson in politics.

It’s not hard to find people who worked on the expansion in the 1980’s, because there were 5,000 workers who built that site, along with the thousands of contractors who came and went.

I reckon around 10,000 New Zealanders were involved in the Marsden Point Refinery Expansion Project, including (apparently) Phil Heatley – and me.

It was one of Muldoon’s Think Big Projects, arising from the oil shocks from the previous decade.  My partner and I were young, with a new baby, looking for a way to make a better living. We moved to the nearby farming village of Maungakaramea and my brother and many other people came to join what was then a very well paid, if often dangerous job.

It was a highly unionised site, with a reputation for militancy. We all thought the strikes were justified, particularly around health and safety. We saw friends die on that worksite. Whenever I heard the emergency whistle blow, which could be heard all over Whangarei, I knew that someone I knew or loved had been hurt or killed.

The workers also wanted to protect New Zealand jobs because we thought New Zealanders should be doing the work, not imported workers. One time, we were on strike for six weeks, which created huge hardship.  We were fed by the collective – who gathered up vegetables and meat and distributed them to families through that time.

But the strikes became highly political too. Muldoon was in power and the Minister of Labour was Jim Bolger. The Nats decided a good election platform was to be tough with the unions, and got the opportunity when eight scaffolders went back to work in defiance of the strikes.

Muldoon brought in the the Refinery Expansion Projects Dispute Act to force striking workers back to work. No worker was allowed back on the site unless they signed a paper saying they were prepared to work with the eight strikebreakers – who were named in the legislation. One of them had been a close friend.

My brother wrote about those events ;

Now when I think about Marsden Point I can hear the sound of boots marching in the fog as a riot squad escorted a van full of scabs towards our picket line, and when I remember I am reminded how a death on a construction site shames us all…”

Those times made a big impression on me. I learned that while workers can have power, governments have even more. I remember saying that if Jim Bolger ever became Prime Minister, I would leave New Zealand.

Well he did  (eventually) – and we left New Zealand and worked overseas after Labour was elected in 1984, and we were all made redundant in 1986. But when we came home just before 1990, the National Party was about to regain power and impose the most unimaginable harm to working families.

That was another lesson in politics.

My first car

Posted by on June 24th, 2010

Talking in the House today on the Motor Vehicle Sales Amendment Bill, a Bill which is so important that it needed to be considered during Urgency, I found myself musing on my first car.

His name was Maurice – pronounced Maureeece (Fr) . He was a 1948 Morris 10, with running boards and those little indicator thingies that flip in and out. He was blue and cost me $125. As you can guess, I loved him. When he eventually died, I sold him again for $125. Not bad I thought. Left him in a paddock.

Interestingly, Mr Speaker, though a bit disapproving about my lapse in concentration of the matter at hand, allowed my musings with a bit of a wry smile.

The following Labour speaker David Shearer was then moved to provide us with details on his first car, which was a 1958 Morris Minor. Called Molly. She was yellow.

And then we had David Clendon from the Greens. His was a 1948 Vauxhall 12. Not sure what gender, as it had no name. But it was green and had a spare tyre mould on the back.

You could see the Government members really wanted to share their stories too. But they held back, fearful of disapproval I guess. Pity.

I reckon we’ve all got great first car stories. Why don’t you share. Keep it clean though. We don’t want to know what you did in your first car!

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Filed under: humour, personal

End of an era: The Brook

Posted by on June 20th, 2010

May June 2010 259

Last night the final test was played at Carisbrook in Dunedin.

Set in the heart of South Dunedin, Carisbrook; “the mighty Brook”, more recently known as the “House of Pain”, has been an iconic rugby venue in New Zealand. The first  international rugby match played at Carisbrook was Otago vs NSW, on September 11 1886.

The first rugby test match was played in 1908, where the All Blacks beat the Anglo-Welsh 32 to 5 in front of 23,000 people. The last test, All Blacks vs Wales was played last night in front of 30,000. The All Blacks won resoundingly 42 to 9.

Carisbrook got its name from a stream that flowed through the Dunedin property of the first superintendent of Otago, James Macandrew, who honeymooned at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.

From 1874, the ground was first used by the Carisbrook Cricket Club, but in 1886 started sharing the ground with Pirates Rugby Club. Pirates still exists.

Carisbrook is being replaced with a new stadium situated on the other side of the city.

Its future is uncertain but there’s currently a community consultation process in place. When I stood for parliament I said it was essential that the people of South Dunedin and Caversham had a say in what happened to their iconic ground.

Last night was pretty emotional. After the match, the Terraces stayed full for ages as people couldn’t bear to leave the ground. You could feel the sadness and the pride and the history.

Today, a taxi driver told me that the players are going to really miss the Brook because of the amazing connection they felt with the people on the Terraces. It’s truly the end of an era, said Cuddy.

I got to stand on the hallowed turf last night. I felt proud to be South D.

Taranaki Tour Survivor 8/23

Posted by on June 7th, 2010

Today was the third and last day of the tour. A slightly shortened (83k) race. Weather much better. Rain lighter, winds well below gale force.

Sort of deja vu again for me. I can keep up on the flat, make a bit up going downhill (extra weight gravitational impact) but struggle up the hills.

As with yesterday got dropped on the first King of the Mountains hill, worked pretty hard with another guy to catch the bunch and then was dumped on the next hill. No chance of catching the bunch again.

Must be having Mt Taranaki in their backyard but these locals don’t really understand what undulating means. For me it means being able to get enough momentum going down a hill to be able to peddle up the next uphill in the big ring without too much effort. Not up there.

Anyway it meant that I spent about 40k with one guy, him pulling me up the hills until the Methanex plant and me doing just about my share on the flat. He totally ran out of petrol on that hill and despite going pretty quietly for a while I ended up riding away from him.

Started the day 10th of the 23  – think we lost a couple including one crash and might have picked up a place. Finished a minute or so ahead of a bunch – it would have been so much easier to ride with them instead of trying to stay with the (D grade) guns.

Thanks to Rachael Cottam and the team from the New Plymouth Cycling Club who orgainsed the tour. A big undertaking – dozens of marshalls on the road trying to stop us getting lost and stopping traffic where necessary. Lots of other officials with technical names that I really just associate with the Tour of France or the Soviet military.

Felt ok at the end but had obviously slightly unco as I dropped the clean boxers in the (very wet) gutter while doing the under the towel change – much to the amusement of my companions.

Guilt free KFC, rum and coke as I blog and the spa bath is ready.

Me righteous?

Filed under: personal, sport

Taranaki Day Two – Conditions from hell

Posted by on June 6th, 2010

Two rides today conditions as bad as I have ever ridden in. Heavy rain overnight and continued on and off through the day. Winds got right up several times and the combination in my face meant that I was riding with one eye shut and the other only a wee bit open. Just too much water to wear glasses without wipers. Sometimes even going up hills the road was like a river with a couple of inches of water.

Being in Taranaki has special challenges. Us “D” graders weren’t held up by cows (Cs were) but there was plenty of evidence of their presence on the road. When the road is wet it gets a bit diluted before being sprayed up by the rear wheel of the cyclist in front or my own front wheel. But the taste is unmistakable.

The morning race was 61k and fairly hilly which was my downfall.  There were two pretty substantial hills and I went seriously backwards on both of them. Pretty disheartening but not unexpected. Chased hard and managed to catch what was effectively the third bunch in the grade and hit halfway in 13th place. We worked well as a group and picked up a couple of riders who had been dumped after us. Felt like I was doing my share of the work and we were doing over 50k on a slight downhill with the wind behind us (at last) when suddenly I punctured. Haven’t done it at speed on a carbon bike, or in that sort of wet, before. Talk about unstable. All over the road. Fellow riders did a great job avoiding me and I was very pleased that I never hit the asphalt.

Amazing service from the service wagon. I reckon they changed my wheel in under 30 seconds and then helped me with a time trial type start because I was still in top gears. Spend about 6k chasing the 9third) bunch down and proud but stuffed when I did. They were kind enough to carry me back to the finish, though one of them dropped. We decided to finish in a line which was the right thing to do given the even effort that had gone into the last part of the race.

This afternoon was pretty weird. Very gentle early. Sometimes very very slow. I accidentally hit the lead and no one would take it off me. Was doing about 20k going to either side of the road and still no one would go past. Then we hit the first King of the Mountains points hill climb about two thirds of the way into the course. I had no speedo or odometer because I was still using a borrowed wheel. They went and by half way down the downhill afterwards I was about 300m off the lead. Worked well with one guy and strong young woman to catch the bunch about 5k later, but the effort stuffed me and when we hit the last hill it felt like my bike had a reverse gear. It was about 8k out and it will be interesting to see how much they took out of me as I rode gently back to Stratford.(Update 2.59) Not sure who was ahead or who was behind me from the classifications so while I went a long way backwards on time I’m not sure how many places I dropped.

Now I’m not a Minister I can say how great the first mouthful of Radler bier tastes. And there is good food in Stratford especially at the sports centre restaurant.

It is pouring again. Roads closed in the area. Heavy rain warning for Taranaki tomorrow. And the longest leg. Feel a bit mad. And feel like hitting the sack before eight for the first time for a long time.

Filed under: personal, sport

No Lance Armstrong

Posted by on June 5th, 2010

This morning I did my first time trial.

Warmed up before a ride for the first time ever. Lots of cyclists had wind trainers and avoided the road for warm ups – and warm downs. Admired bikes especially the flash specialist time trial bikes and sets of wheels that cost as much as many kiwis cars are worth.

Glanced at the “D” grade opposition. Older than average but younger than me. Look more like cyclists than I do.

Had biked measured – one ahead of me failed the test – no sure why but he had to borrow one to ride.

Help upright to start. Big trust thing when clipped into pedals. Countdown from 30secs.

Went like a mad thing for 400 metres. Overtook a car. Slight wind behind me hit 52kph. Heart rate 165 (which for a 55year old is theoretical maximum.) Eased off a bit and discovered that notwithstanding the elevation on the map the course had hills. Not long but hills that slowed me to under 20kph at one point.

The thing with wind and cycling is that if you are doing 40kph and the wind is 20kph behind you, then you don’t notice. It still feels like a headwind. But if you are doing 25kph into a 20kph wind it feels like a 45kph wind.

That what happened to me this morning. Heart rate shot  up I went much slower and was caught by one rider. Suffered, kept going but with a bit of care remembering that there were four more races over the next three days.

But there is nowhere to hide in a time trial.

I ended up midfield. 1.01 down on the leader. Took 13.55 was my time. A lot to lose in 7k.

In the afternoon was the first of the road rides. Advertised as 61k undulating it had three or four decent hills. There are points for two hill climbs and one sprint as well as the finish.

Managed to stay with the bunch which wasn’t too hard. Accidently made a break which lasted for about 3k when I rolled away from the front going down a hill.  Extra weight helped. I decided to keep pedalling for a while and then when no one came to help me sat up and waited for the bunch.

There are some pretty experienced cyclists, (three of whom told me how hard tomorrow is, not sure if they were being friendly or warning me to slow down today) and a few of us who don’t know what we are doing.

Finished mid bunch, almost certainly lost about 15 seconds on the leader but probably held place. Will find out in the morning of the day of reckoning.

Filed under: personal, sport

Solidarity Forever

Posted by on April 27th, 2010

This post is the first in a series (I hope) of updates on the progress of my horse, the aptly named “Solidarity,” who first entered Labour Party folklore when he won a race during the Mt Albert by-election campaign.

At the time, we were all stuck in Parliament on a Saturday debating the super city legislation under urgency. For a bit of light relief I convinced a number of my colleagues to put $5 each into a group bet on Solidarity. The proceeds from our well-timed winning bet were donated to the Labour campiagn in Mt Albert and David Shearer subsequently bolted in.

I put it all down to the the great “karma” Solidarity generated when he “bolted in” that day at Te Rapa.

Anyway, Soli kicked off his 2010 Melbourne Cup campaign (he didn’t make it in 08 or 09 but this could be his BIG year) at Tauranga on Saturday and he nearly won!

He came in second and was beaten by a short neck (that’s the margin, not the name of the horse).

But here’s the exciting bit – this race was all wrong for him.  It was run on a hard track over 1400m. To date, he’s been at his best on a soft track over 2100m.

Did I mention what a great name he has?

On the road again – Brunner

Posted by on April 18th, 2010

Did the 130k Lake Brunner cycle yesterday, first road race for nearly three months and am suffering a bit for that today.

About 1,200 people involved between the relay, elite race and the individual (fun?) ride. 800 from off the coast most of whom would have stayed two nights and given the economy a nice wee boost. Damien O’Connor did the 69k relay leg with the local breaskfast radio host rather than beat me as he always does in these events. Great publicity for him and it was amazing to see how well he is liked down there. I think lots of people are regreting voting for the current local MP who despite the fact that it was a major event with hundreds of local volunteers was not to be seen.

Not a hard course, relatively flat but with a bit more undulation later than I expected.  Goes south from Greymouth, turns inland to Jackson’s pub, left round to Brunner and then through to the Grey valley and back to Greymouth.

Had technical issues during the week, minor crack meant my back wheel was knackered but a great guy from work loaned me one of his. But still a bit different.

Did 3.36.49 – this page indicates I did ok for someone of my age group.  Always doubts about whether I could have done better. the fun run winning bunch did 3.24 and the elites 3.01 (taking 14min off course record so conditions great).

The bunch i was in was mixed. Very big but seemed incapable of being organsed. A couple of tandems which are great going downhill and when wound up on the flat. Being 15k+ heavier than most cyclists I gain momentum going down hills and use it going up when there are undulations, but found myself braking lightly going up hills which is a major waste of energy. So I know i could have done better but the idea of starting with the front (fun) bunch seems a bit out of my league.  Something to think about if I get a bit fitter and get a new bike though.

Wonderful after the finish -whitebait patties and monteiths.

Back in Picton now, wonderful scenery  through Buller gorge – but can see that rain is needed over this side or the drought will really knock the economy around.

The chat around the campfire

Posted by on April 7th, 2010




Over Easter I went tramping. Just a short sojourn as I didn’t have a lot of time (and was a bit worried about some under-used bodyparts).

Nelson Lakes National Park. My first time. Have done a lot in the Nelson region, but never the Lakes.

Unprovoked discussion in the huts at night about mining. Widespread dismay about the government plans to mine in our conservation estate. Even the overseas tourists had heard about it. Lots of shaking of heads.

Of course you’d expect that people who go tramping would not approve of mining our national parks. But lots of people go tramping. Lots of people are related to people who go tramping.

And lots of tourists go tramping. And they go home and talk about their experiences. It’s that old watercooler thing…

The government should beware. As I imagine it already is.

PS: Not happy about the silent beech forests. Where are those birds? And also not happy about the wasps. Other than that it was magic. And my bodyparts seemed to cope.

PPS: Note That I was in the bush as a proud supporter of South Dunedin (and the whole of the Dunedin Sth electorate). And had the t-shirt to prove it!

Stars in your eyes

Posted by on January 11th, 2010

Xmas 09 075

If you are ever visiting Lake Tekapo in the Mackenzie basin, ensure you visit nearby Mt John at night for what is said to be the best star-gazing on this planet.

We had two nights there while looking at rather more earth-bound issues – factory farming – and unfortunately both nights were cloudy.

But the wonderful couple who ran our excellent lodgings – Graeme and Carolyn Murray – insisted on taking us up on top of Mt John for a look.

The day-time view is just about as spectacular – you can see all the Mackenzie basin, including several lakes including turquoise -blue Tekapo below (only glacial fed lakes have this colour.) On a good day, Mt Aoraki/Cook is a bonus.

Graeme was instrumental in convincing the University of Canterbury, which previously had the only access and telescopes on Mt John since the US satellite trackers left in the mid-80s, to allow the public to come up. He’s helped start a cafe with great coffee and a good place to warm the bones on cold nights when the stars are at their best. He also helped get Japan’s Nagoya University to establish a dome and powerful telescope on the mount. Its huge telescope has apparently discovered dozens of new planets as part of its effort to see if there is another Earth out there in the cosmos. There are also American, British, Aussie, Germans and other astronomers/astro-physicists s who come, simply to get the best view possible of the night sky.

Graeme’s behind efforts to get the Mackenzie Basin declared a UNESCO World Heritage Park – a ‘starlight reserve’ – with support from former Chch MP Margaret Austin and others. The project is one of Canterbury’s V5 projects, driven by university Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr, and assessed as capable of generating $100m of revenue over five years.

We will be returning before too long to take in the view , before too many people get stars in their eyes.

Filed under: personal

Yes I did get up that early, but it was August!

Posted by on December 27th, 2009

Sunrise at New Brighton Pier

I have had feedback from recipients of my Christmas card this year inquiring whether I had taken the photograph myself – yes I did.  It is Sunrise at New Brighton Pier on August 2, 2009.  I have decided to share it on Red Alert, so you can all enjoy the beauty of the electorate I have the privilege to represent .    And for those who have asked about whether I have had any training, well a certain Minister would call it a ‘hobby class’, but I did attend an Adult Education class at Papanui High School a few years ago and it has excited a passion for photography that far exceeds my natural talent!  I will try and share some of my holiday snaps with you.  Seasons Greetings!

Dr Dr receives honorary law doctorate

Posted by on December 17th, 2009


Yesterday I snuck off down to Dunedin to watch the Hon Dr Michael Cullen receive an honorary doctorate in law from Otago University. Which makes him a Dr Dr.

In his acceptance speech, the good Dr Dr told the audience he was probably the first person to have received an honorary law doctorate AFTER being the Attorney General and chief law officer for New Zealand.

I was privileged to have been there and miss him lots. Michael is pictured with his wife Anne, and me of course.

Update: here’s what Dr Dr Cullen said in his speech

About Lynne

Posted by on December 3rd, 2009

Our friend and colleague, Labour MP Lynne Pillay, announced today that she won’t be standing for Labour in 2011.  She’s decided that she wants to spend more time with her partner, children and grandchildren and no-one can argue with that (even although I wanted to).

It’s her call, but we will miss her.

Lynne is the best of Labour – she’s fearless, she’s great company and no-one will ever die wondering what she believes in.  And she hasn’t forgotten where she came from.

The consolation is that we will get to spend another two years working with her in Parliament and in Labour.

But I just wanted to pay an early tribute to a staunch Labour woman and a fantastic MP.

Ode to the cheese roll

Posted by on October 14th, 2009


It’s come to my attention that a number of my colleagues don’t know what a cheese roll is. They think they do, but they don’t.

Why does this matter? Well, if you live in my part of the country, the South, then the cheese roll is, well, it’s an institution. It’s used for school fundraisers, it’s sold with pride in cafes (coffee shops) with lashings of butter on the outside. And the further south you get, the bigger they get, and the more lashings of butter.

I grew up with cheese rolls. I expect everyone to know what they are. But they don’t. MPs north of Dunedin don’t have a clue, unless they grew up in the South, except for Jacinda Ardern, who has already had the experience, and Grant Robertson, who grew up in Dunedin (and apparently once wrote a review of cheese rolls).

Clayton Cosgrove experienced his first cheese roll with me in Invercargill a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t the best specimen, but he got the picture! In fact, he was anticipating The Big Cheese Roll as we drove into Invercargill. Just like Gore has The Big Trout! Maybe that’s an idea for Tim Shadbolt to think about.

Ok, I’ll stop there. I guess I was inspired by Ode on a Grecian Urn, by Keats, that I learnt at school. Not quite the same thing. But hey, it’s the South!