Thursday, September 29, 2011

A load of rubbish

The news that the Auditor General is not too happy with the way Regional Councils are carrying out their anti-pollution duties doesn’t surprise me.
But adding Government representatives and a whole lot more bureaucracy isn’t the answer. Just do away with the Regional Councils. And the District Councils. And all the regulatory bodies that we have to put in place to keep them on some sort of common track. The whole system is an out of date hangover from the mid-19th century when communication was a little more difficult than it is today.
Let the national government manage water and sewage and pollution and all those things that affect everyone wherever they live in the country. Clean water is clean water, and sewage is sewage: there isn’t one version for Northland another for Wellington. Well, actually sometimes there is, but my point is there shouldn’t be - a national administration would be more consistent.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

To Dunedin again

In a month crammed with trips away from home we fitted in another week in Dunedin.

Of course it was great to be there for the 70th birthday of our friend Shirley. But the timing of this visit was around another show by the passionate Really Authentic Gilbert and Sullivan Performance Trust. Year by year they are working through the complete suite of G&S operas and this year is Utopia Limited.

We didn’t know much about this one, but we knew it would be well done As Gilbert’s sharp satire introduced controversial issues of the 1880s through the medium of Sullivan’s great music, we laughed and hummed along. But Gilbert’s swipes at big business, insolvency, the legal system and so on had an all too familiar ring about them.

My own particular interest was that one of his “Flowers of Progress” that were eventually found to be wanting was the introduction of County Councils - I couldn’t agree more! And the way that party politics can frustrate progress of every kind is a subtle 1880s joke that is illustrated daily in our nation’s life.

The opera was born of an uneasy relationship between Gilbert and Sullivan after the “carpet affair”. But its presentation last week demonstrated excellent cooperation between all involved. The Southern Sinfonia was rounded and robust but beautifully restrained when required by the totally competent and wonderfully costumed characters on stage. The result was a satisfying, amusing and thoughtful evening.

Thanks, everyone.