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The Press – News column May 7

A Question of Honour.

The two big local issues to billow of late, both boil down to a question of honour. Or in the case of Aaron Gilmore MP – the gaping lack of it. First up, the Volunteer Army Foundation ( VAF) is under fire for planning to “name and shame” hundreds of students who have broken their pledge to participate in a voluntary project, in exchange for tickets to The Concert.  VAF has given these 600 deal-breaking students 6 months to honour their word, repeatedly alerting them to a spooling reel of projects. And despite all the publicity, only 15 students turned up to Sunday’s last-chance project in Burwood. Volunteer Canterbury has slammed the outing tactics as “contrary to the spirit of volunteering.” What a prissy load of bollocks. A deal’s a deal. These defaulters are free-loading fiddlers, who were warned of the consequences and should take the hit.

A cut above.

“Don’t you know who I am?” Six killer words in an egalitarian society, which reek of puffed up self-importance and a deluded, even abusive, sense of privilege. Yes, Aaron Gilmore has made a complete clot of himself. Although the Neville Nobody of the National Party list, has achieved the ironic status of becoming a Stupid Somebody, via his boorish, bullying buffoonery. But what’s really sealed his political death sentence, was the ham-fisted mismanagement of the media storm. He turned a barbeque into a bushfire. A full, frank, unreserved, unabashed apology was the requisite damage control maxim. Gilmore should have called Reese Witherspoon for first-hand advice on gushing mea culpas.  In my dealings with Gilmore, he’s always struck me as an affable, likeable character. But I cannot think of any stand-out contributions he’s made in public office, beyond the parliamentary rugby team. Gilmore’s family members have posted on the internet that he left his $350,000 private sector job to return to parliament, scotching accusations that he’s a gravy-train rider. Well, the private sector is calling again. It’s not a question of if he will resign, but when.

Island Revolt.

Traffic flow on the Normans/ Papanui Road intersection has been spectacularly mangled. A traffic island has recently been plonked at the end of Normans Rd in such a way, that what used to be two lanes for left and right hand turners, has now become an unseemly single lane of piled up traffic. You’ll often see Merivale Tractors mount the footpath to turn left, such is the exasperation.  The island, designed to help pedestrians cross Normans Rd, should be swiftly relocated further down the road.

( Yardley’s weekly local current affairs column, as published, every Tuesday in The Press.

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