Friday, 18 January 2019

Wheelers Corner 04 19th January 2019...Mayor does a Trump over gift to Toyota mates.





The face of our angry Mayor...better known as his Toyota Look.

"Mayor Grant Smith has finally opened up about the reasons for the grant, which a majority of councillors supported in a behind-closed-doors meeting in 2017.

A week after the Taxpayers' Union revealed its existence, Smith said he and council staff had responded as quickly as they could to share information kept secret until chief executive Heather Shotter released it".

[So does Heather Shotter run the Council and it's democratic processes? I thought we had got rid of  CEO dictatorships with the replacement of one Paul What was his name? again 'Wylie...] 
https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/109982983/toyota-grant-paid-to-secure-23-million-expansion-and-keep-car-giant-in-palmerston-north-says-mayor


" So-called Employment portfolio? Councillor Adrian Broad; said having Toyota based in Palmerston North was a powerful selling point in marketing the city's benefits to other businesses interested in locating here". [Give us an example!!]

This stupid statement and non policy enforcement of present policy, makes one wonder why we have a development policy at all, if we ignore it every time one of the big boys puts a little pressure on: 

As it would appear Toyota did. But the latest would suggest they did not ask! https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/110007067/toyota-did-not-ask-for-palmerston-north-ratepayer-for-handout   

And the Mayor and Councillor Broad obeyed their instructions to the letter...and hoped, and prayed, that the public would remain ignorant...but alas their cunning scheme went astray. and alas once again their faith in their PR team proved a flop.


"In August 2017, city councillors first [secretly] debated the potential grant in the private part of a council meeting under the headline on the agenda: "Toyota Distribution Warehouse Extension – development contributions". Now its true that the PNCC has a development contributions policy, well for some!...but it would seem that if your company is big and powerful enough the council can and will reverse its development rules. 

So the real question is 'Did Toyota demand that the development tax be dropped or they may take their redelevopement to elsewhere. If that was the case, that is in 'legal terms' black-mail or theft
Yet, instead of reporting the threat to the police or other authority, the council staff with Mayoral support obviously recommended acceptance of Toyota's demands... very Trumpish, is that behaviour. one where lies become a key part of a mis-applied decision making process.

A better and more honest review of what took place regarding Toyota...was and is that the council was yet again caught out...thanks to the ACT Party... Here is what Community Activist Fred Hirst said in response to an earlier W/C item on the subject: https://wheelerscornernz.blogspot.com/2019/01/how-they-voted-wheelers-courner-special.html

Fred Hirst said...
What we don't know, is what information were Councillors given (or not given)for them to believe they were making an informed decision to support this grant? Was there a concealed threat or 'chill factor' if the proposal wasn't supported? What was the justification for the public to be excluded from this discussion?

There is much more to this issue than has been revealed so far given the support by Councillors, whom we would least expect to approve this grant, to a corporation for which this amount is 'chump change'. This ratepayer money could have been spent to make a meaningful difference to members of our community in hardship.
   After delaying his response until his PR team could come up with a believable excuse the Mayor proves yet again that his move into the false-news world of Donald Trump is now fully complete. 

Palmerston North deserves better leadership, one that leads by using an ethical standard acceptable across the board. Not one that measures ethics by the size of your wallet. What makes this stuff up more ironic is that the ACT party revealled it... especially considering its history of Corporation Welfare policy Vs Social policy. 

2
Darroch Ball...
Talking about stupid political statements NZ First list MP Darroch Ball...stated 'Lets stop blaming the police', Ball jumping on the band wagon debate about police chase policy...According to Ball National got it all wrong back in 2017...oh dear me...how do you legisilate for bad police behoviour...ie planting evidence in a murder trial...the bullet casing in the Arthur Allen-Thomas case...the cop that planted that evidence got praised not condemned by the later police chief...Darroch Ball has a very selective memory...a sort of a Grant Smith memory...remember the good things but hide the bad...

3.

When School kids play up...teachers attempt to put them on the right track...but it would seem that when Councillors and Mayors play up we are meant to turn a blind eye...and hope that some one else will save us...

A bit of advice to the council...since you record each vote...then at the end of each month...collate those votes by name. Using Title of vote: Name of voter: For: Against: Abstained: not present. And publish a monthly copy via the media and the Council's web page.

This will certainly give individual voters a clear picture of the habits of individual councillors in regard to democratic processes. And after all that was one of the major reasons why electronic or computer based voting was introduced. It was meant to lead to MORE democracy...not less.

 
Wheeler's Corner Mondays 4pm 99AM.

 

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

How they voted. Wheelers Courner special 03 17th January 2019

Toyota a dream come true...


Judging by the heads it would appear that men, mainly elderly ones turned up at the opening of Toyota’s new spare parts division. I wonder how many of those present were rate payers, since the rate payers had parted with up to 400,000 dollars, to see Toyota’s dream come true. For reasons best known only to themselves the PNCC kept secret this act of generosity to the worlds second largest car manufacturing company which made a mare 20 billion dollar [US] profit last year.

Integrity means: Honesty, Soundness, wholeness, so says the dictionary...

Lets apply those definitions to the council behaviour regarding the gift to Toyota.

1. Was it discussed openly?...short answer NO, because it wasn’t discussed in public, in fact it was only discussed in secret when the public had been excluded...

2. Was it done with soundness? No it wasn’t because for reasons unknown, the council kept secret any knowledge that it had that Toyota was in fact in such a bad financial state that without the PNCC grant it couldn’t proceed with its upgrade.

3. Wholeness? well since the above two reasons failed to meet even a lowly rated measurement standard factor it would appear that wholeness was not considered worthy of consideration.

Here is what the Manawatu Standard had to say on the matter [thus far].


I have yet to hear back in regard to my request for information on which Councillors voted for this corporate welfare handout grant: And it would appear that they need a full twenty days to get their story fit for public knowledge.

Just as I wrote the above I recieved an email fron Council stating the following:


Good afternoon Peter
Further to you LGOIMA request please see below voting results from the decision on Toyota Grant
                                                                                                                                                                     
For:
The Mayor (Grant Smith) and Councillors Brent Barrett, Susan Baty, Rachel Bowen, Adrian Broad, Gabrielle Bundy-Cooke, Lew Findlay QSM, Leonie Hapeta, Jim Jefferies, Lorna Johnson, Duncan McCann, Bruno Petrenas and Tangi Utikere.
Against:
Councillor Karen Naylor.
Abstained:
Councillor Aleisha Rutherford.

Regards

Penny

So there they are...and how they voted...so you decide do these people have any ethical standards at all. It would seem that when the Mayor says jump...the only question asked is "How High"...

Friday, 11 January 2019

Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his own way. Wheelers Corner 02 12th Jan 2019




While NZ has maintained its position as the forth most democratic country in the world, the US has gone backward and now sits at 24th.

So will the world see the US change its shameful lying ways, or will there have to be an Extreme Revolution before the US educates its comic-book leadership that one can not exist on lies, hate and racism alone...which is the real world of Trump...and his strange followers...

I know that you, like thousands of others, are becoming fed up with our bias main stream media forever giving Trump such idiotic and mindless blanket coverage.

But this week Trumps 'nuttiness' simply exploded into a frenzy of stopping people from being paid. 

The worlds greatest climate change denier and liar 'Donald Trump' has become so wrapped up in his now obvious and blatant lies that I believe he truly and actually lacks the mental capacity to recognise his own PR crap and mental health problems.

Sadly for Trump his insanely wealthy Daddy is dead, so he is not around to bail-out over and over again his lying son. His poor old daddy must be rolling in his grave as he follows the crazed behaviour of this pretend President. Here is what Trump had to say about his selected political party:


 Thus far the US media has fact checked his thousands of tweets etc and they suggest that he lies on average around twenty-five times per day.

Using that data as a guide you can see that he is a very practiced liar of the highest order... So when he suggests that terrorists kills more people than American born locals, he is simply bull-shiting. And when he suggests that America is the most democratic country. He is also tossing the crap.

Based on the latest world ranking the US is twenty-fifth. New Zealand remains the world's fourth most democratic country, while the United States remains a "flawed democracy", the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) says. go to the ref below and take a look...

http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2019/01/something-to-be-proud-of.html   

In fact no one kills innocent citizens faster than the US. Seriously Trump wants teachers to carry guns...beat that for stupidity... Americans do... want change, want peace, want democracy. Want honest leadership and fair elections.  

In what US Democrat leadership has called a "temper tantrum", US President Donald Trump has stormed out of a meeting over funding for a wall along the Mexican border and seeking an end to the shutdown of the government.

"Mr Trump's latest meeting with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi came 19 days into the shutdown of the US government.
Mr Trump has demanded $US5.7bn to build a steel barrier, which would deliver on a key campaign pledge, but Democrats - who this month took over the House of Representatives - have refused.
About 800,000 federal workers will go without pay this week for the first time since the shutdown began due to the lack of agreement to fund nine federal agencies. If the shutdown continues into the weekend it will become the longest in US history.

Mr Schumer told reporters the president had abruptly left when Mrs Pelosi said she would not approve any wall funding.
"He [Mr Trump] asked Speaker Pelosi, 'will you agree to my wall?' She said no," the Senate Democratic leader said.
"And he just got up and said, 'then we have nothing to discuss,' and he just walked out.
"Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way."
Mr Trump tweeted after leaving the meeting, saying it had been a "total waste of time".
"I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!," the President wrote.

So there you have it, a grown man [well a man, I think] acting like a spoiled brat...bugger the workers, if you wont give me what I desire I won't pay you...your family can starve, do you remember the fat over-weight Queen of France who said let them eat cake! Well the French population removed her head from her shoulders... Now I'm not suggesting that Trump is a Queen! Yes he may be over-weight but removing his head is not my style. I would suggest a long spell in a mental hospital may do the trick...
2. Money to burn:
So lets move onto more mundane matters like the PNCC donating thousands [around $400 thousand] in a grant to 'Toyota' , now we know the Mayor is a rusty tin soldier but the bribe [grant] to Toyota takes his un-ethical behaviour a step too far. 

Question: "Did Toyota International corporation apply for a grant of 400 thousand...from the PNCC or were they simply given it...as was the NZ Defence Industry Association...does the Mayor Grant Smith drive a Toyota?

Toyota is simply crazy mayoral corporate welfare gone mad, Toyota is the second largest car manufacturer in the world. With a $22 billion profit world wide. Why should Mrs Jones of PN have to pay extra rates to  help fund this corporate monster? Which Councillors signed over 400 thousands dollars...give us their names.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/109777009/council-tops-up-toyota-with-grant-for-expansion

After checking out the MS news item, you decide if the so-called Mayoral 'ethics' actually exists.
Was the full council involved in granting this gift to the poor and needy Toyota company welfare fund. Here are a few remarks from MS readers commenting on the revelations of this latest corperate welfare grant on the issue.

The_4th_estate
While you do have to wonder if it would have been better to build a single social house for instance, the amount is chump change, this deal pales in significance to local and central government handouts to operations like the Americas Cup, Rugby World Cup, Lord of the Rings and Avatar movies. In the meantime we are expected to accept harsh austere economic measures when we need an operation at a public hospital because theres no money... because a wealthy corporation nicked it!

crackiswack
Toyota choose to apply for the grant. That's $391k not available for community groups. Oh well, look out for the next free Toyota sausage sizzle to support the community. I hope you're hungry palmy.

Ardvark
There is no justifiable reason for the council to make this grant. Toyota's infrastructure in Palmerston North is such that it would be totally irrational for the company to walk away because it didn't get the grant. One of Toyota's core values is "We believe in respecting others." If that is true why would a company that makes multi millions in profit make application for or accept from the council $400,000 of rate payers money, knowing many of them struggle to meet their every increasing rate obligations. What would be interesting is how many grants have been made to Toyota when it has expanded previously. If Toyota truly believes in respecting others then the honorable thing to do is to return the $400,000 to the cities hard working rate payers.

Rusty J
Grants do not have a GST component there's more to this then written in the paper

Nann
Just can’t believe this article! Ratepayers put your thinking caps on as we will need to for the next Council elections. Makes me angry when there is no money for roads or footpaths but big companies like Toyota can get pandered to like this!

superheat01
And yet council are unable to rectify the sewerage and stormwater issues in our streets.  When brought to their attention you only get the standard pcbs reply. :( makes it really hard Grant to fork out rates knowing you are giving it away to a very profitable corporation.

David Osborne
I think that your Massey expert needs to remember that the Council needs to Act according the LGA02. The Principles of that act say it must conduct its business in an, ‘open, transparent, and democratically accountable manner’. Furthermore it is required to follow its own policies including it’s Development Contributions Policy 2015 and the Whistleblower policy, which I understand requires an investigation when a staff alleges serious wrong doing such as this. Even if this turns out to be legal as a political decision it is in the public interest that it is made in public, especially if turns out that pressure was brought to make it, as mentioned to me by the CFO. One could speculate that apart from Corporate welfare it is also unfair competition with other car makers. How more undesirable a process could you imagine. I am happy it is now public and not secret.

So that's it for this week, thank God...2019 looks like being a strange year...local elections are set to take place and you will have to decide between a TIN soldier and Toyota fan in the shape of Grant Smith and or anyone else willing to step up ethically.

Yes this years local body elections may well lead us back in the direction of ethical behaviour...what a welcome change that could be. So will the Mayor invite the public to share in the debate about ethics involved in running our city before and during the agreed workshop on the issue. 

Who voted YES?

Which of our Councillors said YES to the 400 thousand dollar gift to Toyota. Was it, Lew Findlay, Duncan McCann, Susan Baty, Rachel Bowen, Adrian Broad, Vaughan Dennison, Brent Barrett, Gabrielle Bundy-Cooke, Lorna Johnson, Jim Jifferies, Karen Naylor, Aleisha Rutherford, Tangi Utikere, Leonie Hapeta or Bruno Petrenas.

Of course we will never know unless some one tells us...but will they...so I'm requesting that each of those councillors named send me a email telling me how they voted...and I will publish your reply.
Wheelers Corner MPR 4pm each Monday.






    

Friday, 4 January 2019

Toy Tin soldier makes for a poor Mayor. Wheelers Corner 01 5th Jan 019



The Manawatu Standard this week published an item on what could be called a “cover-up” when the Waiouru Camp training base came under a bit of ‘investigative’ journalism about negative military behaviour.That sent NZ First SAS wanna-be Defence Minister Ron Mark into a spin...for like our PN Mayor he too is a tin soldier...

You can read the item at: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/109467875/army-recruit-cut-out-of-tv-series-amid-allegations-of-bullying-and-assault

Now I’m raising this issue because of the strange behaviour of our local Mayor ‘Grant Smith’ a well known heroic lover of all things military. Who welcomed with wide open arms... the 2018 yearly arms sale forum which has cost the city over twenty thousand plus dollars and the tax payers of NZ a further one hundred plus thousand dollars in protection costs for a bunch of money hungry lovers of tin soldiers and the actual real blood and guts of innocent humans blasted apart by the worlds most expensive military technology.
But killing civilians in Afghanistan, the supply of arms to the Saudi and UAE forces to blast Yemeni women and children into submission. These lovers of tin soldiers and Donald Trump... he who grew extra bones [now don't laugh] in his feet...and then suddenly lost those bones once he was excused from military service...via a family friendly so-called Doctor...Oh the things money can buy.

Now, it would seem that our ‘toy, soldier boy’ Mayor has now gone one step further...after conceding his [I hope honest] acceptance that we should revisit the weird ethical commitment made to the NZ Defence INDUSTRY Association. by reviewing the ethics involved in giving them what ever they want...this closed workshop is to be held some time in April or March 2019. Which seems a little odd when one considers that he has already told them [NZDIA] that they are booked in for 2019. Does that mean he is bull-shiting about having an open mind...we shall see...Is it possible for our tin soldier style mayor to have an open mind...a blank one maybe...who knows?

While the Waiouru story was old news, it showed clearly the exent that Defence will go to keep negative comments from the public. Of course this is nothing new: The military give medals to those who will hide the truth: Check out this brilliant cartoon: And we should never forget that we have some civic leaders who use our in built pride in what our forefathers did...this simply proves the length to which some childish political leadership will go to appear to be patriotic.

Even our young people these days accept that the sacrificial behaviour at battles like Gallipolli and most other 1st World War battles.
Palmerston North’s pro-defence mayor, one Grant Smith a lover of all things military...who displayed his absolute and obviously in-built stupidity to it’s full its extent, when by his complete lack of moral and ethical courage. he permitted without councillors consent, Palmerston North to accept the bull shit put out by the NZ Defence Industry Association international wing.

Which took our city from the path of world peace and on to a pathway of arms sales and climate destruction... Wellington and Auckland and thousands of other cities around the world have realised the stupidity of forever manufacturing weapon of war.

Could this be SAS wanna-be Ron Mark?

Even the mad US under the strangest President ever, is waking up to the stupidity or war!
“Veteran NBC Reporter Rips Pro-War Posture of Corporate Media in Scathing Resignation Letter "That a network insider has blown the whistle on how all this works, and how MSNBC and NBC have become Ground Zero for these political pathologies of militarism and servitude to security state agencies, while not surprising, is nonetheless momentous."

Noting in his 2,228-word memo that "the world and the state of journalism [are] in tandem crisis," Arkin delivers a scathing critique of how NBC has responded to the foreign policy of President Donald Trump—whom he calls "an ignorant and incompetent impostor"—asserting that "in many ways NBC just began emulating the national security state itself—busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play."

However, Arkin also delivers a broader condemnation of the network's coverage of the so-called War on Terror in the nearly 18 years since 9/11, and how it has helped produce a scenario in which "perpetual war has become accepted as a given in our lives." He writes:
“Seeking refuge in its political horse race roots, NBC (and others) meanwhile report the story of war as one of Rumsfeld vs. the Generals, as Wolfowitz vs. Shinseki, as the CIA vs. Cheney, as the bad torturers vs. the more refined, about numbers of troops and number of deaths, and even then Obama vs. the Congress, poor Obama who couldn't close Guantanamo or reduce nuclear weapons or stand up to Putin because it was just so difficult. We have contributed to turning the world national security into this sort of political story. I find it disheartening that we do not report the failures of the generals and national security leaders. I find it shocking that we essentially condone continued American bumbling in the Middle East and now Africa through our ho-hum reporting”.Report ends.
lastly:
Can you imagine a country so nutty...that it cancels the wages of its workers...because it can't raise the money to build a bloody wall... Surely you can't order people to work but NOT pay them. Can people be forced to work for nothing these days, and is that progress?

On Friday morning a quiet but powerful demonstration took place...there were no lines of Police shouting...’MOVE...Move!! have a read...The young people who assisted with this demonstration are clearly light years ahead of some of our old mainly male political leaders. https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/109716145/melting-blocks-of-ice-signifies-climate-change-in-manawat?cid=app-iPhone

 




Friday, 28 December 2018

Janice Meets Alice WC weekend read...

Janice Meets Alice.

Every now and then, we need a hand, to see us over a difficult time, some one who understands what's required, to get us back on track. This short story shows that help from any quarter is valued...Angels are rare...as are Demons...Alice is an Angel...Janice was and still is a hard working Mom. [Now grand-mom]  

Hi, I’m Janice,

The trip from Palmerston North to Whanganui takes about an hour, all going well that is…not a long trip you might think, but twice a day five or six days a week now that’s a different story. I’d done this trip for about a month and let me assure you it was getting to me. I’m a mother of two, with a husband and a dog oh and not forgetting a couple of cats. My husband and two children both of who are in their late teens can do most things. Other than cook, poached eggs on toast or baked beans or even canned soup, yea they can manage that level of culinary fare but healthy three vegetables and meat plus roast spuds with a pudding once in a while seems, like if you’ll excuse the pun ‘pie in the sky’.

No doubt you’ve seen those American television sit-coms where all the family shares in the preparation of meals? Well ours is not like that. Yet we’ve got all the mod-com aids like microwave oven, slow cooker, even an oven with a fan, recipe books to burn including an early edition of the Edmonds cook book. But alas the skill of cooking was deeply lacking amongst the neat team who resided at my address.

2
My daily plan of action was simple; well it wasn’t so much of a plan more like a routine really. Up at the crack of dawn, visit the small room and straight into the kitchen after washing my hands of course, and prepare the evening meal. Peel some spuds, dice some carrots, peel or is it strip a couple of onions, parsnips. Remove some pork chops from the freezer and put them in the fridge to thaw, boil the jug for a coffee using the rest of the water to make a quick jelly into which I place a few quartered peaches. I depart the kitchen just as the others arrive including the dog, oh he is so sweet, and the two cats. The rest of the family feed them along with themselves.

I then head back to the bathroom put the dirty washing in the basket and replace the lid. Then I head for the dresser and powder my nose and other things. Slip into something suitable for the day ahead and head back to the dining room where all my love ones are deep into various breakfast variations. I check my diary for up-dates on the days-organised activities, like dancing lessons, soccer practice times, dog or cat to vets, dry cleaning and urgent requirements from the supermarket. A quick kiss for and from all and it’s off and running to the car.

As you can understand this routine keeps one slim and trim but sometimes can leave one totally exhausted.

One morning I was just so worn out that I said to myself, ‘Damn dinner’ I’m going to stay in bed for another hour. And I did just that. Then I arose and hogged the bathroom and took a slow shower spending lots of time on my neglected spots. Then I spent double my normal time on my hair. I grabbed a slice of toast off my husbands plate and said to all those gathered in the kitchen, ‘dinners your worry’ tossed them all a goodbye kiss, including the cats and the dog and departed the scene. They, human and animal looked in total shock as I departed that domestic environment. Of course after about five or six miles guilt hit me, just as it did, my cell phone buzzed. I switched the car adapter on and answered, ‘It’s me’
‘Are you all right’ I recognised my husband’s voice
‘Sure am’
‘And tonight’s dinner’
‘Your worry’ I said fighting the guilt.
‘But tonight’s football practice’
‘That’s right’
‘Fish and chips is that OK’
‘No way” You know the rules, only on a Friday’.
‘Drive carefully honey’
‘You too, I said and pushed the off button.

3
Apprehension bugged me all the way home, what would I find when I got home. A meal fit for a queen. Roast Pork, spuds, parsnips all baked to perfection, silver-beet followed by steamed pudding with golden syrup and a blob of whipped cream. As I pulled into the drive, locked the car and headed toward the back door the aroma of roasting meat hit me. No it’s no possible, but that smell that delightful bouquet so powerful and aromatic what the hell can it be. My imagination must be going nutty and I must be dreaming. Then I realised Michael that’s my husband and Bob, he’s our oldest would be at soccer practice and our youngest Jenny would be at her dance lesson, she gets picked by Michael and Bob on their way home around six thirty. So with great trepidation I unlocked the door only to be greeted by two hungry looking cats and an ever-growing aroma of cooking and I might add appetizing food.

Only the pork and roast vegetables were actually cooking hence the wonderful aroma, the silver-beet was in the steamer and had even had a little sugar added rather than salt and as I lifted the lid on the stainless steel pot there was a steam pudding wrapped in muslin. I staggered to a kitchen chair and sat, no I never fainted but it was a near thing. Then I guessed Michael, dear sweet Michael must have done all this before heading off to soccer…he would even have had to come home early to achieve all this…but a steam pudding in muslin…no he must have got someone in to help him his Mother maybe?

Regaining some composure I slipped into jeans and a baggy Tee shirt came back to the kitchen and selected a bottle of white wine and popped it into the fridge. I switch the hot plate under the steam pudding to high, put my finger into the silver-beet and then licked the sugar from my finger thinking; ‘Now this is the life’. I went into the living room and switched on the TV in time for the six o’clock news.

Hi, said Michael, what’s that super smell?
Gee Mom you did cook dinner, Dad said we could be having fish and chips, said Jenny.
Bob, after tossing his soccer boots down in his bedroom came in and said, ‘See I told you Dad that Mom would get tea as usual’.
‘But, I started to say…
‘Don’t you say anything said Michael, you’ve done enough already, I think that sleep in this morning has done you a world of good, he added.
‘And Mom, we’ll do the dishes without a fight tonight, said Jenny.

The meal was wonderful; it was perfection and worthy of the finest chef. We were all sated. While Michael and the kids did the dishes I went outside and sat at patio table with a glass of the chilled white wine and tried to work out what had actually had happened. Who had prepared the meal? Why? I must have been sitting there for what seemed like an hour or so, Michael had switched on the garden lights and given me a soft kiss on the back of my neck and said he was going to work on the computer for an hour or so. The kids were in their rooms deep into their homework. I felt so contented, happy and relaxed. The dog sat at my feet and rubbed his ears against my ankles while one of the cats had curled into a ball of fur and purred on my lap. I dozed off.

4
Hello…Hi, said a voice unknown to me.
I rubbed my eyes with the back of my hands and saw an elderly lady, easily in her seventies or eighties…’Sorry but I never heard you arrive’.
‘No you wouldn’t, I’m always very quiet’
‘Who are you?’
‘I’m Alice Bowmont-Harris’
I’m…
“Oh, I know who you are”
‘You do.’
‘Oh, yes, we’re flat-mates so to speak, flat mates, isn’t that what they call people who live in the same house these days, they used to call them boarders when I was young’.
‘And when was that? I asked.
‘Dear me, it was a long time ago’.

I rubbed my eyes again and Alice was still there. The cat slid off my lap and climbed on Alice’s broad lap, the dog gave a yawn and settled down again. They seemed use to Alice being around.

‘Did you enjoy the meal? She asked.
‘So it was you who cooked dinner tonight?
‘Of course and it felt really good to prepare a meal again after all these years’.
‘Who are you and where are you from?
‘I live here’.
‘No we live here’
‘That’s true but so do I’

I stood up and was about to walk away thinking it must have been the wine when Alice said quietly but with a persuading edge, ’Please sit down and let me explain the circumstances that you and I find ourselves in’.
I sat and the dog nestled once more against my ankle and our second cat took up residence on a spare patio chair, her ears upright and eager to hear Alice’s story, as was I.

Alice leaned slightly forward and began her story. “A long time ago I lived right here where your house is built. This whole area was a farm in those days. But our farmhouse was right where your house stands today. I was newly wed and Richard, my husband had brought the land from the local Iwi and had with his Father developed the farm. It was a good life, the small but growing township of Palmerston North was not far away and we had good markets for both our milk and produce. But these good times couldn’t last and we were hit by huge floods in 1902 we lost everything our stock and sadly I lost Richard…Tears appeared on the cheeks of Alice…I reached out and touched her hand. Alice went on, we searched for days for Richard’s body and both I and his Father continued for months after that. His Father died a few years later and since I had no children there was only me remaining. I continued my search but years had now past. Then one day I was walking down by the Awapuni Lagoon, I would go down there to buy an eel from the Maori families who fished the Lagoon, when I met the daughter of the family who had sold Richard the farm land. She recognised me and we sat on a rough sawn log seat. I told her my story and she listened with great empathy. She said she thought she knew someone who could help and she would get her great aunt to visit me within the week. I thought she was just being nice because of my circumstances, but she was true to her word and four or five days later she and her Aunt arrived at my door. Her Aunt added by a stout walking stick was led at her request to objects that Richard had touched, used or built. Alice paused for a long moment…

‘Please go on I asked, eager to learn more. Even the dog had sat up and was looking at Alice; both cats had stopped purring and were all attention. I felt sure they understood every word Alice had spoken.

Alice then gently continued. The Aunt after touching various objects, a chair on which Richard had sat when smoking his pipe, our bed in which we had first made love and the plow who’s blades he had forged. She then asked me to lie on the earth, which I had prepared for a future garden. This I did, she bent down and touched my forehead and softly recited a short Maori chant, ‘E mohiotia ana a waho kei roto he aha’ ‘One can not know from the outside what is contained within’ and she repeated this three times. Standing both she and her niece helped me to my feet. The Aunt reached into her apron pocket and passed me a handful of dark brown seeds. ‘Plant these seeds in the indentation made by your body, not outside of it but all within, she instructed. When the seedlings appear keep the strongest two and remove the others. If you have not found your husband’s resting place before you are about to die, take a twig from each tree and have them placed in your coffin this will ensure that your spirit remains earth bound until your husband is found and put to rest. I was told that I must remain near the trees and was given the power to appear if the trees were put in danger, for should the trees be felled the spell would be broken. Hence my boarding with you so as to protect those two tall trees in your back yard. Taking a small white-laced handkerchief she wiped her eyes that were over flowing. ‘

I was stunned and confused, lost for words; I accepted the reality of Alice Angel or Demon I knew not which.

‘Your trees are safe with us; we brought this house mainly because of the trees and the garden below’.
‘I know, said Alice, I scared off a couple of other buyers before you came along, she added as a soft and barely perceptible smile crossed her lips.
‘I too smiled, as I asked, why then the meal?’
‘I don’t really know but it’s just that I feel Richards’s discovery is close. It’s nothing more than a feeling and besides that I want you and your family to remain. So I just thought I might help you out during this busy time of your life…simply an old woman’s desire to be useful and active…as a spirit I don’t get any older but nor do I get any younger’.

Well we made a deal, I would protect the trees and she would cook the evening meals. All I had to do was to make sure all the ingredients were available and taught her how to manage the microwave. Alice in turn explained to me that I could communicate by ‘think-talk’ and that she would keep out of sight of the rest of the family. Oh other than the cats and our dog, they had been communicating for a year or so. Alice didn’t realise it but this was every working mother’s dream come true.

5
Some many months later…

After a great deal of protest the Palmerston North City Council agreed to sell the block of land known as the ‘Railway Land’ to the Warehouse a huge retail business that has taken over the marketing of mainly cheap slave labour goods imported in to New Zealand. It is based on the American Wal-Mart model. That uses cheap labour, low paid staff that allows the clear undercutting of local businesses.

While the contractors were excavating the foundation area in preparation for erecting the massive shell like structure, human bones were found. Building came to a halt and experts were called in. According to the Manawatu Standard it was first thought that the bones were Maori but later were proven to be European and male around thirty years of age. The bones themselves appeared to be between ninety and one hundred years old. A solid silver chain with a small cross-attached was found with the skeleton with the letters R.BH. The remains are to be buried at the Cemetery in James Line and the local Lions Club is providing a plaque with the letters R.BH and the date.

6
‘I have to leave now’, said Alice. She sat under the two large trees in an old rocking chair that was covered in a coat of green and white moss.
I stood, back resting against one of the broad tree trunks; the sun was beaming down creating defused waves of mystic yellow and orange images on the leaf-strewn lawn. I didn’t know what to say in response to Alice’s words.
‘Say goodbye to Michael, Bob and Jenny for me, although we never met, they have become a part of my family I did so enjoy cooking for you all’. She wept softly. The dog trotted toward Alice and rested at her feet nudging her ankles. Both cats strolled proudly out of a shady patch and with that wonderful dexterity only possessed by felines leapt onto her ample lap. ‘Oh I shall miss you three as well’ she uttered as she stroked the cats gently behind their ears.

A breeze drifted in and rustled the dry leave bed at our feet, I was crying, I went over and stood behind Alice and wrapped my arms around her resting my head on her shoulder. The breeze was growing stronger and I sensed that time was short. “Thank you for your meals, your company, but mostly for being here go and be with your Richard, your darling Richard.’ I held her hand. She smiled that smile that told of life and pain that had lasted a hundred years. Then Alice disappeared into an ever-expanding vertex of wind and leaf. I stood and looked toward the sky as did our dog and two cats…it was over.

7
‘Mom” What’s for dinner’, shouted Jenny…
‘What say we just have fish and chips”…
‘But, Mom its Wednesday not Friday’ answered Jenny.
“Oh, who cares”.

The following day the need to travel back and forth to Whanganui ended and I was now to be located predominately in Palmerston North.

I never believed in ghosts or spirits until I met Alice. Now I’m not so sure. Maori have a saying, E kimi ana I ngā kāwai I toro ki tawhiti, translated it means: ‘He seeks the branches that stretch far and wide’ said of anyone seeking to claim distant or lost relationships.





Feedback would be highly valued: wheeler@inspire.net.nz

Friday, 21 December 2018

I Accuse a short story. Wheelers Corner Holiday read.

Being male I have no idea what it means to be a solo mum and never having been on the DPB I don’t understand that situation either but I feel for people in that predicament. The Nats have a real thing about the DPB and benefits, which is odd when you consider some of their backgrounds. Of course the biggest problem for many single parents are public attitudes of condemnation. Not all religions condemn solo mums and fully understand that it takes two to create a baby and are not interested in allocating blame. This story is fiction based on fact. And happened some where near where you live.

Peter Wheeler 2011



I Accuse:

A Short Story

Peter J Wheeler



"When you wish upon a star,

Makes no difference who you are.

When you wish upon a star,

Your dreams, come...True"


The phone call was the last straw, The sand had slowly spilled from the top of the hourglass to the bottom, run its course, reached its bloody target. I was legitimately fed up.

A solo mum, a leech on society, an exhaustion of the national economy. No mean accomplishment being a solo mum. Just a habit some would say.

The allowances pruned so what money there is perpetually drifts away, slowly without prudence, a cent here a cent there. Still as the Minister of Social Welfare, better known as the Minister of diminishing allowances, says "Too many handouts are harmful and lead to too many children and an easy life. A certain French queen of a similar build and ilk once said "No bread, eat cake" so the people removed her brainless head from her well sustained shoulders. Conceivably that destiny awaits the minister, here's anticipating.



Ever had a baby out of wedlock, charming word don't you think, wedlock, guess who is locked in, wedlock what a word. The pains are matching you know, still hurts like hell. The water still bursts forth, blood still flows. When you take that insignificant innocent hunk of flesh into your arms, and love and hate it at the same time. Hate the suffering, love the harvest.

Naturally you never confess the hate and forcefully profess the love after all that's what your pressured to do.



Becoming a solo mum is the same as becoming an espoused mum. Well in most respects, it’s later that the actual fun starts. Sometimes you’re called a sex machine, like an over used bank deposit box. The born 'agains' of course see you as the rancor of their weird revengeful God, the arch enemy of the straight laced bible married nice Christian girl who in private, consumes gin and prays her husband drops dead soon. Or the born again warlord preacher who preaches no sex but blows his wastewater once a week in a motel room. The pro-life male protesters who are so vocal and judgmental when a women selects any other course of action. Holy, Righteous, Holy whatever.



Of course you can be the sort of solo mum who deceives, you know, husband away at sea, in the military and overseas. But sooner or later they find out and write notes or ring you up. Men are as bad as women too, will you marry me oh, you've got a baby, lets just have sex...A ready made family brings out the best in men, like hell. Who invented marriage anyway must have been a man. Come to think of it, it was a man.



Still my child gave me life, a cause for living, not particularly because I love children, but because of the entire bunch of dick heads who said I'd never manage. Fat lot they knew.

"I accuse," the caller had said, I bloody well accuse! Really it's a load of crap, but it got to me. It really did. "I accuse" he just kept repeating it, over and over again. I didn't recognise the voice but it was male. But I failed to recognise the voice. It truly got to me ate into my very guts. For hours I could think of nothing but that voice. I tried to analyze it, put it into an age category, by race, creed even but I floundered in my effort.



An hour or two later the phone rang again, as it happened I was standing by the front window which offers a clear view of the local telephone box. I saw this little short guy enter the box, then heard my phone ring. This time the call was more than "I accuse" for it developed into that sick stuff, you know, God would get me paraphernalia...hell and all that... As I listened I extended the cord as far as I could. By half kneeling down and looking under the blind I could see he was still on the phone.

I told him to stuff off, to stick the phone in a certain tight and dark place, and watched his reaction. He held the phone away from his ear. I banged the phone down after calling him a specific name associated with solo mums children. As I watched he left the phone booth, it confirmed my assumption, this guy was a nut case, a real nut case, and no doubt confirmed his mis-guided view that solo mums are foul mouthed.



The flat was small, well not even a flat actually, more like a bed-sit in size and shape. It was all I could afford; you don't get a great deal on the DPB. David that's my baby needed feeding so that's what I did. It would have been about an hour later when the phone rang again... I picked up the receiver it was him again. I thought quickly, I told him I'd be back in a minute or two because I had to tuck the baby in. I ran to the back door and picked up the brick, zipped out the back gate, around the corner in a flash.



There he was in the phone box; I rushed up and threw the brick! I saw it crash through the glass and connect about head height.

Got him, three cheers. Take that for solo mums' the world over. Try this for size you nut case. Shove this up your rear end!

I swiveled around and dashed inside, this time via the front, slamming the door.I walked slowly and proudly toward the phone to replace the dangling receiver.Then I heard the voice, "Are you there, I accuse, I accuse,

Oh! No wrong again.



Friday, 14 December 2018

A Weekend in the life of 625993 a short story...



When under Roger Douglas New Zealand took an enormous swing to the right, life changed. Everything was now measured by money; buildings were brought in the morning and sold that same afternoon with a gain of hundreds of thousands if not millions to the wheeler-dealers.

The government opened the doors and cheap goods flooded in resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. Even the All Blacks were caught up in this Americianisation of our nation.

The story below is based in the future but not the far distant future. In fact it could be happening tomorrow or the day after. But it is happening...enjoy...
 
A weekend in the life 625993


A Short Story.

A number attached to a name would normally indicate military service if you were male and of military age. It could also be associated with older Jewish people who had suffered under Nazi rule. But of late numbers attached to names indicate those who can not acquire employment or have been made unemployed. The nation has moved from an empathetic society to an individualistic dog eat dog cutthroat society. When society as directed by those in power is allowed to run down for the benefit of a few against the many, then action is required. If the democratic processes no longer exist then other forces are required...

She looked impatiently ahead to each Sunday; they had become her unique days. Each Sunday morning she would wait at the street corner for her father, for it was on that day that he would stagger home from his six day week interminable drudge labouring on the expressways being forged from Foxton to Wellington.
Her Father had been jobless for numerous years, at least he was up until three or four months ago when he had been shoved aside off the dole and into the expanding work encampments along with thousands of others just like him.
Now he laboured for the dole, funny how you can WORK for the unemployment benefit, this is what the people wanted according to the present government, no money for gratis and yet have the freedom! to work for the dole. A whole two hundred and twenty-three dollars in vouchers, after downward assessment [latest 'in' word for tax deductions] for a sixty hour week was his take home pay.
As usual she counted the few cars as they drove passed her short street, she calculated the number plates sometimes just to pass the time, her father had said that this was a good way to learn your numbers.

She remembered when they also had once possessed a small motor car, that was before the government brought in the policy that you couldn't get the dole and possess a motor car at the same time. She observed her father weep that day when they took the car to the dealer who had won the tender for purchasing unemployed peoples cars.
She remembered how her father had carried her aloft on his shoulders part of the way home on that showery Monday afternoon in June. He was so strong she thought at the time not realising how light she actually was. She adored her father, his open and sincere answers to her questions. He divulged to her that she only knew the words, how, what, why and when. At the time she had not fully understood but she did now that she was a little older.
She waited as she always waited for him. He would be coming soon, please come soon, she begged her maker.
Seated in the big yellow Toyota workers bus, he was wearing his regular mustard shade of jeans and glaring yellow shirt with the words UNEMPLOYED stamped across the back in scarlet letters. On the front of his shirt were the numbers 625993 which was not his telephone number [unemployed were not allowed telephones] but his unemployment number.

He sat remembering how the shirt had been issued to him just after the Minister of Labour had commanded that wages should be cut back because these poor quality shirts made in Thailand had been bulk brought for them. The Thai's were delighted of course, but another three hundred Kiwi workers lost their jobs.

The Minister of Social Welfare and Social Order had also reduced the dole payments because they got fed two meals a day by the private company set up to run the roadside camps. "Unemployed Enterprises Ltd." was a company veneer for one of the immense private Japanese owned construction companies, which had brought out the Ministry of Works two years before. It was part of the nation wide rationalisation process. [Words used for selling off state assets] He realised too; that this weekend he was scheduled to report to the unemployment doctor at the private clinic set up in part by the very same Construction Company. It was titled the Sunshine Medical Center Ltd. and was partly owned by the identical Japanese construction company and a private New Zealand Insurance Company [owned in France], which had brought out the local public hospital.

All Government financed operations and even departments had been rationalised and downsized, [new word for staff lay off]. Many had been brought out by Fletch-Jones Ltd., who now owned half of the Social Welfare Department, and loaned back the staff still remaining [about 20%] to the government at a greater cost than before, but since the sixty hour week [for the same number of vouchers] had been introduced under the new Progressive Industrial Relations Act that allowed freedom of choice! Where the employer replaced the union, this was now OK.

There was one Government Department unaffected by all this change and that was Parliament itself. The "Evaluation of Performance Act"[EPA] naturally never applied to them. [Nor did GST apply their services]. This EPA allowed employers to set a target performance level, if workers failed to achieve this level their wages were reduced accordingly by a set agreed [by employers] percentage.
He remembered too that he had his Health Insurance taken out of his dole voucher, so he would only have to pay fifty percent at the Unemployed and poor people’s medical clinic. He recalled the days of free medical care, well, it was never really free but it was very cheap.

Damn! Since he was going to the clinic he would miss seeing the All Blacks playing France in the test match, and they had just tendered for players too, so there would be new players to view. The last team was put up for auction because it had lost two games in a row to the United States! The National Rugby Union Limited team was now if he remembered correctly, owned by Fiji Sugar Ltd., and Physical Viewing Enterprises Ltd. who owned Television North. He thought how wonderful it must be to be brought by tender and be an All Black and be employed.

The big yellow bus halted at his street corner and the part time bus driver, who wore a blue shirt with a large PT, stamped front and back clicked his plastic travel voucher. This was vital because it recorded the fact he had arrived at his street and not gone to a pub or drinking den, these were off limits for the unemployed. The number of clicks he issued paid the driver and not by the hours he worked. This had been decided at a closed shop meeting of his employers last year. It lowered his wages but what could he do, you had to be Part Time before you could become Full Time. At least Part Timers collected half their wages in AUTHENTIC money.

His Daughter waited at the corner, she was wearing her best "T" shirt top, her mother had brought it second hand after the last election, it bore the inscription "National, We Care" printed across the front, she never knew what it meant, because that was the first election that the great mass of the people couldn't vote, they had stopped unemployed people from voting because they in fact paid no taxes. Still it was a neat "T" shirt because it was baggy and almost covered her green shorts that were very worn. She had some especially satisfying news to tell her dad, she knew he would be really pleased and would without doubt kiss and hug her even more than usual, for she had been accepted for school at the highest level possible for the daughter of an unemployed.

The Minister of Educational Services had last year introduced the "School Commencement Act" which was enacted to introduce a new freedom concerning the starting date for school beginners, instead of starting school at five years of age as was usual, you could now delay starting till nine. Since the introduction of user pays in schools most unemployed could not afford the fees, and since they couldn't pay the fees, their children couldn't attend school. This reduced the need for thousands of teachers, hence the costs, so the organisation that had contracted teaching in New Zealand, "Education Services Foundation Ltd." was almost at the stage of making a profit. The other important determinant was that she had scored very well on her IQ test and this could mean that if she did well at school over the next five years or so she may be allowed to get a real job without having to spend four or five years on the "Youth Work Training Programme" a new scheme which gave employers young staff without pay. Organisations like, McDonalds, KFC and the big supermarket chains made great use of this give away labour, before they used to drop them when they reached eighteen. The suggestion had initially come from the Round Table group and was taken up enthusiastically by the Minister of Labour.

She watched as her father exited the yellow bus, he was so thin now, his eyes seemed to take up half of his face. She felt the tears rise in her eyes and gently she cried, soft tears, of pain and emotion, love even for her father. She wiped her face with the back of her left hand.
He hugged her, lifting her feet off the ground, he maybe thin but he is still strong.

They walked hand in hand, his rough and hard through hard work with pick and spade, hers still soft as in youth. They looked alike she had his profound dark large mahogany eyes, when she smiled you noticed her lips curve slightly upward as did his. She had lighter hair, as did her Mother.
His wife waited, she knew that this meeting ritual was necessary because it kept him rational. She had observed over the years as his position had changed from accountant to labourer, from John to 625993, from man to robot. She was even known as F625993 [b] and their daughter F625993 [c]. She had not told John about tomorrow or the blueprint that had been conceived, she couldn't tell him for she had assented with her cell group leadership that men would not be included until the very final possible moment.

They consumed their meal of sausage meat, spuds and tinned peas. For sweets she had saved some vouchers and got some dated tin pears from the Salvation Army food bank. After they had done the dishes they sat outside and talked, by sitting outside they saved power.
Later in bed she felt just how gaunt he had become, she was dejected but she said nothing. She held him and caressed him, they made love with great care, having children was a no go for those unemployed.
When he awoke in the morning he found Lisa gone, there was a note on the bedside table. He read the note....

Part Two

It originated at seven AM; the first groups of woman arrived in Wellington and started to assemble outside of Parliament buildings better known as the beehive. Within two hours over twenty thousand had assembled. Twenty minutes later they had crashed through the doors and stormed into the chamber. Moving through the Ministers Offices they smashed everything in sight. The Security Officers stood back and watched, the 2IC of the building security was a woman and she had issued specific orders to stay clear and not to react.

At the same time all over the country Government and Police buildings were over-run by women. The Prime Minister was caught in bed at government house by a group of women, his secretary had climbed from his bed to open the door for them. Leading this group of women was his wife and two daughters.

Four female Senior Officers pulled the General in charge of the military from his bed.
Groups of ex nursing staff stormed into the Private Hospitals and took over the clinics.
The local television stations and radio stations too were taken over.
The Labour Minister was attending a church service when the young woman priest informed him that there was a cell out the back waiting to receive him.

Federated Farmers Women’s Division members backed up by Dairy Factory female staff and workers took over the dairy factories, like-wise Female Airline staff took control at the Airports.
The local knitting clubs turned out to be cells designed to keep vital services functioning.

Within twenty-four hours a Government of Seventy-five Women had been installed. The Governor General resigned, and Ms Viv Thompson the then Mayor of Wellington was sworn in. Selected Members of Parliament were allowed to remain.
By Monday at 4pm the banking system would be under control and all outward transactions would cease. The Finance Minister along with the Prime Minister, Social Welfare and Order Minister, Defence Minister were replaced by order in Council.

The new Prime Minister addressed the nation over national Television and Radio. "At seven AM this morning, the non democratic Government was replaced by a coalition of the women of New Zealand, this act was brought on because of the total incompetence of the past Government, the fact that there were only two women in Government simply proves the point. The Governor General has resigned, and the Mayor of Wellington has accepted this position for a short period until after general elections are held.
We decided on this course of action when we saw that the past government simply forgot people in its so called drive for level playing fields, what ever that meant.
For over one hundred years men have run this nation, and while there had been short periods of equality, for the most part the men whom governed where in the main totally incompetent. Over the past year women have gathered together quietly and effectively to bring about this much needed change.

Our policy is plain, People come first, and within the next few weeks we will reorganize the work structure, the health care system, the banking system and financial structure. The towering difference between us and the past government will be that we will develop together the ways and means to put our nation back on the path of real democratic progress, with your help the aged will be respected once again, the young cared for and educated, what ever skills you have we need.

Tax will be fair and the rich will be taxed according to their means. The Round Table can leave for overseas at any time it wishes, but its money can not. We have seen too many male dictators in this world, too many world wars started and led by men, the time has come for women and men of good will to band together and to introduce social justice for human beings."

John listened and watched the TV as the new Prime Minister spoke, he heard the back door open and there stood his wife, she looked worn out. He and his daughter walked toward her, they hugged and kissed each other, and tears flowed freely. 625993's weekend was over.

The note his wife had left he now understood.
"Just ducking out to change the world, back soon."
Love L.

Epilogue.
The world is in crisis, racialism, anti-feminism, rightwing economics has generated a blowout in unemployment as greed has overtaken logic. People count for less. And user pays is the direction being followed as millions of people are tossed on the trash heap. Climate change is ignored and the earth as we understand it is at great risk.
Domestic violence has grown at alarming rates in various centers and social workers caseloads are over-powering. Humans younger and younger are committing crimes of a horrific nature, police are responding in kind with violence themselves.
Through out these times one thing stands out and that is the behaviour of women. Women are the motivating forces behind radical and real change; the anti-war movement is clearly based on their energy. The Women’s movement is bringing back an era of reason within crisis. It is men who must change, be cured, and of this constant desire to win at all costs.

The labour government elected in 1990 has still not replaced the slashing of benefits carried out by Jenny Shipley. Cheap imports still flood the nation and the clothing and footwear industry is on its knees. Student debt has now reached ten billion dollars. Stating that a three to six hour a week job is employment has rigged unemployment figures. And while all this has been introduced City Councils have been raising their charges well above the rate of inflation.

If you would like to publish this story please do but please inform the author of both the date and the publication by contacting him at wheeler@inspire.net.nz