A fistful of dollars by Trevor Plumbly

Flashing it

It seems to me that money and discretion don’t accompany each other so much of late. Maybe Mother was right when she said, ‘A fool and his money are soon parted.’ But these days it seems some manage to hang on to the stuff and rub our noses in it at the same time. Do you know there’s a few squillionaires willing to pay 60 odd million dollars each for the dubious pleasure of floating round in space for a couple of days? What on earth’s wrong with these people? (scuse the pun). Are they so bereft of social values that they can justify spending in excess of what most working families could hope to earn in several lifetimes, to spend a few hours gazing godlike at a world they and a great many of their counterparts treat as a personal ATM facility? Perhaps we should rephrase Mother’s thought and advise that, ‘A fool and his money, should be parted.’

Floating in it

I’ve never been much of an America’s Cup fan, like polo its scarcely an inclusive sport, but when the guy announced that ‘the America’s Cup is now New Zealand’s Cup, like most I felt great about little old us beating the big guys. But like Ma also said, ‘All good things come to an end’ especially when a few quid creep in. Such must surely be the case when it comes to ‘our boys in the boat’. Having screwed the government and Auckland ratepayers for millions on two occasions, our sailor boys have decided to defend the cup (you remember, the one that was ‘ours’) in Spain, for ‘financial’ reasons. Talk about gratitude, loyalty and Kiwi pride! They stuck the boot in with an appeal for national support; I can’t help feeling that, given the same circumstances, the Aussies would have told their team to stick the cup and the spin-offs where the sun don’t shine. But never mind! It’s sport and we love it, so, yo ho ho lads and a bottle of Moet!

Wasting it

The public purse is one of life’s enduring mysteries: as soon as they tell us it’s empty, an official conjuror reaches in and comes up with fistfuls of the necessary. Since its not strictly ‘theirs’, they’re divorced from personal caution and splash it around pretty much where they want. A prime example of this was the recently mooted Auckland Harbour pedestrian/cyclist bridge crossing. The powers-that-be allocated nearly a million dollars on a ‘feasibility’ study of the project before rejecting it altogether; oddly enough there was no great outcry over the pointless expenditure. Maybe they hired consultants to minimise the impact of the cost incurred by consulting the original consultants.

As inflation threatens food and transport costs, it struck me that it might be a good time to look at the more farcical use of public resources, like the costs inflicted on us by the raggle-taggle mob who occupied parliament grounds recently. They came, camped, littered and defecated on the public space and, to ensure their message of freedom was appreciated, they set fire to a children’s slide. The clean-up costs alone aren’t known yet, but these guys aren’t happy at leaving it there, now it’s ‘look, that nasty policeman pushed me!’ Why is it I wonder that such folk can break the law with impunity, yet demand maternal handling from the police when the stuff hits the fan? At the time of writing the loopy libertarians have lodged almost two thousand complaints with the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA), who now require an extra three and a half million to appease the silly sods’ sensitivities. It’s not a huge amount in the scheme of things, except of course if you’re running a City Mission.

Inflicting it

The latest in the ‘I can do what I like’ mob are the personal helicopter boys; those things practically invented noise pollution and for emergency services and some farmers there’s no doubt of their usefulness, but using them in and around residential areas for commuting is both arrogant and inconsiderate. We’re all being urged to reduce pollution at all levels, yet these human houseflies continue to seek permission to plonk their nesting pads close to their neighbours, either in the city or the quiet spot they go to in order to ‘get away from it all’. It’s weird stuff this money, largely controlled by politicians, bankers and, of course, those who’ve got pots of it, those guys can really doll it up! Whether it’s inflation or recession, one or all of the holy trinity is bound to be icing the cake. Hang on to the fistful folks, one or all of the buggers might swap the cash into bitcoin and call it ‘disposable income’.

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