The Veteran and Mrs Veteran have just returned from two weeks 'down south' including time on the West Coast where we attended a Vietnam veterans reunion.
Had the pleasure of meeting Tony Kokshoorn (Mayor of the Grey District) and a face well known to many of you through his leadership following the Pike River disaster. The simple message from 'real' coasters is that the West Coast is coal and coal is the West Coast and can we please get out and mine our heritage for the good of New Zealand. Sage words.
We were promised 100k of whitebait for the 100+ at the reunion and the organisers delivered. Don't want to see another whitebait or venison until the next time but can attest that both go down a treat with a good single malt. Mrs Veteran declined to eat her share of the whitebait because it hadn't been gutted and filleted.
At the reunion I was able to announce the establishment of the Michael Wickman Memorial Bursary part of the EVSA (Neville Wallace Memorial) Children's & Grandchildren's Trust which I am privileged to Chair. You can view the work of the Trust at http://www.evsayouthtrust.org.nz/ Michael was one of my Company killed in action in Vietnam and the contact in which he lost his life featured in the documentary 'Baptism by Fire' which screened on MTV on ANZAC Day. Prime Minister John Key generously donated and signed a bottle of parliamentary whisky to be auctioned off at the reunion with the proceeds going to the Bursary. It went for $850.
The coast drive from Greymouth to Westport is touted (in the Lonely Planet) as one of the best 10 coastal drives in the world. I can see why and could have probably seen more if it wasn't for the bloody sandflys. The West Coast is unique and we intend returning there again .... that old saying about not leaving town until you have seen the country has a lot going for it.
This morning I sat down in front of the TV to watch Q & A and the debate between Hone H and Kelvin Davis. The disconnect exhibited by so called political commentators never fails to disappoint. There was Willie Jackson and Professor Johansen both spruking the line that Hone deserved to win and that Maoridom was wise enough to figure out that with Hone and Kelvin both in the House they had two passionate advocates for progress.
Horseshit. Kelvin maybe but Hone no way, never. To borrow Helen Clark's words said about another, he is a hater and a wrecker. He articulates a future where Maori is perpetually stuck in grievance mode and where the way forward is to tear people down to his level. Hone represents all that is bad and wrong with Maoridom. He insults Maoridom with the name of his Party (assuming he gets it registered). There is no Mana in his Party. There is no Mana in Hone. If he were to be run over by a truck tomorrow New Zealand would be a better place.
2 hours ago