Somewhere on the way to modern life we acquired the notion that we no longer needed to be restricted by space or time. Our lives were very different when they were subject to what the Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey first called the tyranny of distance.

By that he meant the consequences for those early colonists to Australia and New Zealand who made lives half a world and months of travel away from all they had known before.

Aeroplane travel undermined the tyranny of distance, making it possible to cover in a day distances that previously took months. Telecommunications obliterated it entirely, making it possible to communicate in real time with people on the other side of the world.

And to shop. Our consumption is no longer restricted to items available near where we live. We can buy from retailers anywhere at any time, thanks to the internet.


Thus we have got used to being the masters of space and time — a goal that not so long ago was the stuff of fantasy. When anything happens anywhere we expect to watch it as it occurs — whether it's the Boston Marathon bombing or the Rugby World Cup.

Nowhere is this sovereignty more important to us than when it comes to watching the footie. It's an activity we regard as a right, which is why it struck deep with many when games ceased to be screened live on free-to-air television.

This year's Rugby World Cup is being held in England, which means games will take place in the pre-dawn hours, when the pubs will be shut. And we have to be able to watch World Cup matches live in pubs because, well, that's what makes New Zealand great or something.

Not so long ago we were more than happy to follow a match on the other side of the world by sitting around a radio in our dressing gowns and nursing a cup of tea while we strained to hear a crackling commentary.

A Government whose default speed is foot dragging will rustle up a law to throw open the pub doors and enable us to congregate and watch those games with a beer at any time.

It was David Seymour's idea. Missing out on selection for the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup team has failed to dim his love of the national game, yet he was unable to get his bill enabling the change over the line.

But this Government has always been in favour of anything that gets people drinking more alcohol — from resisting lowering the blood-alcohol limit to doing nothing proactive to stop the proliferation of venues where it can be sold. All in the name of promoting responsible drinking. The one thing that has been missing until now has been the opportunity to enjoy that most sophisticated of libations, the Breakfast Beer.

Idon't know all the details so I'm not qualified to comment on the brouhaha surrounding the case of the couple who bought their child Japanese takeaways to eat at a Portuguese chicken joint.


My practice is to follow the rule that patronising a business means restricting yourself to what is on offer there. For this reason, I've always preferred to eat sushi in Japanese restaurants that are constructed for the purpose.

I have been to Nando's establishments and while there confined myself to enjoying the barbecued chicken for which they are known. I realise there are people to whom the normal rules don't apply but, unfortunately, I'm not one of them.

The last time I tried to take a Domino's pizza into Antoine's there ensued a scene that doesn't bear recounting.