Sorry folks, I may have taken some grumpy pills before sitting down to write this column but - after reading it - please tell me if I am wrong or not.

It isn't just one thing that has raised my hackles, but a number of items that started me wondering if I am on the same wavelength as everybody else.

It began when I was driving down Papamoa Beach Rd to get to the Classic Flyers airshow the other week.

I left in plenty of time to arrive there with a couple of hours to spare so I could wander around and scout out photos. Well, that didn't happen as I drove right into the middle of a truck parade heading to the Mount Truck Show.


Hmmmm, thought I. Wouldn't they have been better off using the TEL? I mean it was built for them.

I later discovered the Transit Authority chaps didn't want trucks going around the Bayfair roundabout and so ordered 20 vehicles at a time to drive through our biggest suburb, inconveniencing thousands of people.

Now I'm not grumpy over 140 trucks turtling along, what does worry me is the organiser of the convoy was told by a senior policeman that if the trucks did use the highway then she may not be able to hold another show in this city again.

Sounds heavy-handed to me.

Moving on from that I was astounded - and a little angered - by a story that police officers were knocking on the doors of known anti-TPP protesters.

They were asking the activists what they planned to do in protests against the signing of the TPP.

As if they were going to be told? It could have been naivete but, in my view, more likely to be a warning visit. A "we know where you live", sort of thing.

Police commanders need to remember they are there to protect New Zealanders, not stop peaceful protests at someone's behest.

And while we are on the subject of overstepping the mark how about security staff at the Wellington Sevens and Auckland Nines breath-testing fans before they went into the stadia.

Now I'm all for improving the usually boorish behaviour of Kiwi sports fans, but since when was it legal for non-police officers to breath-test people in public?

And that's not all.

During the week there was a story about there being fewer people on benefits in the Western Bay.

Figures show there were 645 fewer Tauranga people on the main benefits than a year before, with 7881 remaining on the Government's pay books and across the Bay of Plenty 23,374 were getting money, down 1197 on the year before.

Local MP Simon Bridges said moving from welfare into work meant a better life for those people and their families.

I would agree, with just one little thought.

Nothing was mentioned about those leaving the benefit actually getting work. All the figures show is that there were 645 fewer folk on benefits in Tauranga.

That could also mean that 645 people have given up on living here and have moved to cheaper areas.

And then there is the much-lauded yarn about a Canadian tourist travelling in the Waioeka Gorge in the Gisborne area when a flock of shorn sheep raced across the road.

The story gushed on about her reaction to a "magic moment".

The woman said: "This is wonderful, this is NZ."

Too bloody right it is, I thought, some nong is walking his sheep across a highway where cars barrel along at high speeds.

It isn't sweet, I thought, it's bloody farmers endangering drivers.

Then, in a story about local musician Tiki Taane's new single, a Tourism Bay of Plenty person said the essence of the marketing campaign for the Bay was "laid-back sophistication".

What! I almost fell off my chair and spilled tea everywhere.

I know we live in a good little part of the globe, but one word I would never use in conjunction with the Western Bay, let alone the eastern part, is sophistication.

A few cafes and decent restaurants does not sophistication make.

We have some okay galleries, yes, but you could fit art lovers in this town into one sitting at Baycourt.

If you are lucky.

Hell, we don't even have a flipping museum.

How can you even begin to be considered sophisticated if people here think they don't need a museum because they can always go to the Auckland War Memorial Museum or Te Papa in Wellington?

Dear God, save me.

See, told you I was on grumpy pills. But, dear readers, am I wrong?


- Richard Moore is an award-winning Western Bay journalist and photographer.