Sorry, I didn’t get the memo

By: Daniel Hutchinson

Daniel Hutchinson
From The Hutch

My confidence has been eroded this week.

It all started on Sunday when Civil Defence sent out its mobile emergency alert to everyone in the country – except me.

What’s that all about? I mean, I know I’m probably not going to make the cut for the Doomsday Ark or anything like that, but to be the only one not to be told of a life threatening event, is disappointing.

It appears I am actually in the three per cent of people who “should have” received an alert but didn’t. Yeah, right! This is clearly some Government version of Santa’s Naughty List.

Which got me thinking that I’m undervalued, I don’t promote myself enough, hide my shiny light under a bushel so to speak. Which is plausible. I am quite possibly the most humble person I have ever met, when you take into account the vast array of skills and attributes I don’t brag about.

Anyway, to thwart the Government, I’m going to get the Mrs to buy a phone under her name and I’ll keep that on me. You won’t get rid of me that easily!

The smarts

The second thing that bummed me out this week was that Clive James died.

While I’m a big fan of Clive and have already missed his wry sense of humour over the last few years it was the way he was described in the Sydney Morning Herald that got me down – as a “journalist and an intellectual”. These are obviously two quite distinctly different things but they didn’t have to spell it out.

When everyone else is celebrating after avoiding the apocalypse (because they got the memo!), how will they remember me?

Anyway, that’s enough naval gazing, it’s time to look at other people’s attempts to do the right thing.

What about the trees?

And we’ll start with the Tauranga City Council’s upgrade of the Monmouth Redoubt Reserve. This area was and no doubt still is, very important to Maori. It was the site of a settlement called Taumatakahawai. The 43rd Monmouthshire Light Infantry Regiment then built its redoubt on the same site in 1864 so it could block supplies being sent to the Maori King forces in the Waikato.

Not much has been done to the place since then, by the look of it. Despite the stunning views of the harbour bridge, and the lovely gardens next door, it still has a kind of Halloween vibe about it.

What I like about it is if you go up there and eat a sandwich on the park bench, you kind of feel like you are the last person on Earth, the only one who got the text alert. It’s like one of those post-apocalyptic scenes where the trees are old and creepy and everything is turning to ruin.

Some of the trees will actually be removed. But that’s okay, because the council will plant four large trees at Wharepai Domain to compensate for it.

It took me a while to get my head around that concept and then I realised that’s just absurd. I mean, if I enjoyed the trees at Monmouth Redoubt, and now they are gone, why would I give a monkey’s if there are trees somewhere else? Everyone knows of other places they can go to see trees.

Going gang busters

I was hoping to take a crack at the latest government policies, however they are still in the planning stage of everything so there goes that idea.

Fortunately the opposition party has come up with a cracker of a new idea and it even has an awesome name – Strike Force Raptor. Faaar out, I bet you they are going to drive the latest Ford Rangers – black with all the cool extras.

The idea of this task force is to charge gang members for any crimes that they commit. That doesn’t seem like a very radical concept, but apparently this is actually a form of harassment.

Harassing everyday people on the street is bad. Harassing your workmates is bad. Harassing gang members is good.

This intensive harassment of gangs has either been a spectacular success in Australia or an unmitigated failure, depending on who you talk to.

Apparently there has been an increase of 1400 gang members since the Labour/Greens/NZ First Government stumbled onto us.

Just how the National Party came up with that figure is intriguing. I certainly don’t recall seeing that question on the census: Which gang do you affiliate with most closely?

I’m pretty sure gangs are not like the Tauranga Citizens Club, where you pay an annual fee and get all the benefits, like discounted stolen weapons and good deals on balaclavas and drugs.

But, all the best with that one and I’ll be careful who I talk to. The last thing I need is a speeding ticket for going 101km/h in 100km/h zone.

I seriously hope these gang members aren’t on the list to receive Civil Defence Alerts either.