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The Press – Yardley column April 23.

Warrior Queen not without obstacles.

Threesomes are rarely tidy affairs and the Christchurch mayoral race could be steering down the barrel of becoming quite the tryst. Growing speculation that Lianne Dalziel will tip her hat in the ring, along with Tim Carter, transforms the election  into a three-headed battle of heavyweights. Oh – and how dare I forget that the ugly face of white supremacy, Kyle Chapman, is a declared , albeit, deluded starter. But what about the threesome?  For the incumbent, a three-way split is probably Bob Parker’s best case survival scenario, potentially fracturing and neutering the “anyone but Bob” brigade. For Dalziel, such a seasoned political amazon, three big perception problems pose as obstacles. First, the National Party apparatchiks have done a blistering job casting her as the Queen of the Carpers and Moaners. Fair or unfair, the deeply stitched tag of negativity sticks like mud.  As a keen observer of Dalziel for nearly two decades, she has been a dogged and resolute champion for the constituents of struggle street. Her work ethic is extraordinary, working beyond the point of exhaustion. But is this head and heart politician too tribal, to transcend the political divide? She is widely perceived as  a warrior queen of the Left, manifest in her embrace of David Cunliffe’s leadership ambitions over the more centrist David Shearer, which has consequently seen her banished to the backbench. Which brings me to the third perception pitfall.  With echoes of the Jim Anderton experience,  Lianne Dalziel risks being accused of sizing up the Christchurch Mayoralty as if it’s a glorified resthome for expired parliamentarians.  It’s interesting that The Press  highlighted Dalziel’s hopes of being able to install Sam Johnson on her ticket, as next deputy mayor. That may well have helped soften some of the sharp edges off her perception problems, but that’s academic now, with Johnson declining the offer. What won’t embolden Parker though, is Sam Johnson’s belief that Christchurch needs a new Mayor.

No-Shows.

You’ve organised a dinner party and one of your invitees, despite confirming they’re coming, fails to show with no apology forthcoming.  It’s the Everest of rudeness, right?  Some restaurants have taken the extreme liberty of naming and shaming no-show customers, on Facebook, as retribution. I love it! But what about Christchurch Hospital? Recently a friend attending an outpatients appointment was left gobsmacked by the volume of no-shows. So just how prolific is the problem? The CDHB’s Planning and Funding Team Leader, Dr. Greg Hamilton says every effort is made to ensure patients attend appointments, including phone and text reconfirmations. Yet, on average, 2300 patients still fail to front. 2300 precious outpatients appointment times are scandalously trashed, every month. But there are no reprisals for destroying $300 per hour of outpatients time. No back-of-the-queue payback.  Not even a snottily written letter telling the individual what a wasteful sod they’ve been. But there should be.

 

Yardley’s weekly local current affairs column, as published in The Press, April 23.7031646

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