What a week in the news. There's scandal, accusations, admissions, sadness and drama.

Metiria’s fallen on the sword. Jacinda’s riding high in the saddle. Glenn Campbell’s fallen from his.

Winston must be enjoying the sideshow and meanwhile, there are still a few actually getting on with running the country.

While the Green circus has been performing, Todd Muller has been on Parliament TV speaking about the massive investment the National government is making in the Bay’s education infrastructure. There’s some great news buried there, overshadowed by the antics on the Jacinda & Metiria Show. So just to remind us of what really matters: there’s a new school for Pyes Pa, a new school for Papamoa and new classrooms for several other Bay schools.


Many commentators are concerned that Jacinda Ardern may be distracted from her role as leader of the Labour Party and other potentially influential positions by possible family commitments, including speculation that she could become a mother and that could interfere with whatever role she lands in parliament.

The news in recent weeks has been dominated by suggestions that family may impact her political career or even render her unsuitable in a role as leader of the opposition or Prime Minister.

But child-bearing may not be the real distraction to her career. Why single out mothering as a potential obstacle? What if there was another supposed ‘handicap’ to her ability?

Many MPs have still functioned while being rampant alcoholics. I’d rather see a doting mother running the country than some of the whiskey-sozzled old goons we’ve had in the past. There are worse things to distract our politicians from their task.

Addictive thirst

What if Jacinda became obsessed with stamp collecting?

I've seen some very committed people succumb to the addictive thirst for postage stamps that has driven them to the brink. Normally responsible and reliable folk are rendered incapable of coherent behaviour unless it involves a Full Face Queen Victoria Perforated.

My wife points out that Jacinda may not be excusing herself from the chamber to change a diaper or apply a sprog to her bosom; but sneaking away from crucial government deliberations to lick the back of the Queen's head.

That could be a lot more disruptive than contemplating motherhood and contributing to the left wing gene pool.

Let's milk this for all it's worth

What if Jacinda's weakness was not breastfeeding or stamp collecting?

Consider the furore if a potential future Prime Minister was addicted to Tamagotchi…. You know, those hand-held digital pets that were all the rage 20 years ago.

We could feasibly see our PM furtively feeding the thing while ignoring instructions from the Speaker of the House.

But here's the real worry. What if Jacinda was a stamp-collecting, new mother and closet Tamagotchi parent all at once? While pretending to be running the country or leading the opposition?

The message here is: Does it matter about anyone’s commitments or leanings or elected pastimes? Surely the measure of a person is their suitability and performance in office. Nothing more, nothing less.

We really don't care if they save stamps or whales or Pokemon.

If a person can perform a public duty, it doesn't matter that they pray to wolves, believe the earth is flat, breed the occasional Kiwi or insist the moon landings were faked.

The measure of a person is how good they are at their job and we are about to find out.


Water tax

Meanwhile, the most absurd concept I’ve ever heard is a water tax.

What next? Air penalties? Oxygen demerits? Tax on sunlight?

Water falls out of the sky in quantities that we can’t even handle. This week being a prime example. The regional council tells us this is one of the wettest winters in a decade.

Chris Ingle, Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s general manager, integrated catchments said that while there was little council could do about the wet, having the data was helpful for council and for the wider community to help planning.

“Most of us feel like there has been much more rain than usual this year and the data backs us up on that. It has been an incredibly wet winter. The groundwater experts in council are telling me that the groundwater aquifers are fully charged, to the point that new springs are popping up in completely new locations or in places that we haven’t seen for decades.”

In fact, New Zealand has so much water, there’s now a new sport emerging, underwater rugby. It’s an actual thing in Glen Innes. It’s taking off among underwater hockey players, spear fishers and other people who like holding their breath. Next thing there will be an underwater tax. You won’t be allowed up till you’ve paid. Jacinda will be waiting on top with a cork in your snork.

Here at RR we reckon the clean-up of waterways is essential, but a tax is a stupid way to hope to achieve it. We can keep working on cleaning up rivers and lakes and our harbours without slamming the primary industries that are the lifeblood of our community and economy. The Taxpayers’ Union reckons a cent per litre charge on irrigators equates to a $56 increase per week for households in the cost of food.

“The policy will hit low-income families struggling to afford fruit and vegetables the most.”  “You can’t on the one hand say you want to help the poor, while at the same time piling on a tax that will be felt by every family at the checkout.” Water tax is a joke. Here are some more jokes; with as much credibility as that nonsense.

More jokes

Two men meet on opposite sides of a river. One shouts to the other "I need you to help me get to the other side!"

The other guy replies "You are on the other side."

A guy walks into a bar and orders a fruit punch. The bartender says "Pal, if you want a punch you'll have to stand in line." The guy looks around, but there is no punch line.

Brian Rogers
Rogers Rabbits