On the road to backflips

Northland is stuck in a roading rut, enough to make Chris Biddles grumpy.

In Home Block5 Minutes

Northland is stuck in a roading rut, enough to make Chris Biddles grumpy.

I AM WELL KNOWN AS A GRUMPY OLD bugger; indeed, my self-chosen Grandfather name is “Grumps”. I do believe however that I am a positive person. Certainly, it has been positivity that has got me through the last two and a half years since my accident.

So, beginning this article in a negative manner is not easy so I will keep it short.

My grump is the backflips the Government does on election promises and yet the media hardly mentions them. In Northland there is the four-laning of State Highway 1 between Whangarei and Ruakaka.

This is a death trap road and was earmarked for four-laning by the previous National Government. The Labour coalition scrapped that soon after they were elected in 2017 with very little media criticism.

In 2020 they announced this road would be fourlaned.

Much publicity for this announcement. Come 2021 the Labour Government announced they would not continue with what was promised pre-election. Minimal publicity for this announcement.

I live on a 66km no exit road. A third of this road is unsealed and has about 100 forestry trucks daily during the winter. Pre-election the Government announced they would seal the 20km of metal road right to Pouto Point. In May the good old Labour Government announced only 10km would be sealed. How much publicity for yet another broken promise, bugger all. Yes, grumpy it does make me and my apologies for the negativity, which stops now.

‘I congratulate the people that made the Olympics happen. To give these elite athletes a chance to see their dreams fulfilled is fantastic.’

As I write this in the second week of August there is much to be positive about. Calving is in full swing  and to date going well. We have good covers for the cows and calves although very tight for our bulls as we prepare for our sale on September 1.

I have had a pretty good report from my latest orthopaedic appointment. But most of all, the Olympics. I congratulate the people that made the Olympics happen. To give these elite athletes a chance to see their dreams fulfilled is fantastic. Karren and I have kept the TV going nearly all day and made a point of needing a cuppa during some of the events. (I am quite saturated with coffee and tea!)

A record 20 medals. Someone has got it right. Is it the NSOs? is it Sport NZ? Is it the Government?

I was never sure if Sport NZ did the right thing in separating High Performance Sport to their own entity. I am still not sure if it was the right call but certainly high performing NZ athletes have performed.

It is interesting that a Governance and Organisational review is underway across Sport NZ and High-Performance Sport New Zealand.

Sport NZ has been well-led for the past decade or so. Peter McSkimming retired as CEO in December last year. I enjoyed my association with Peter when I was involved with Sport Northland. He served Sport NZ extremely well.

Peter’s successor, Raelene Castle is a proven CEO within several sports. She is an excellent choice.

A brief update on my recovery from my accident two and half years ago. In April I had surgery number nine to remove most of the steel from my ankle. In mid-June I went away to Rotoiti for a week fishing and while there finished my five-month course of antibiotics. I had been on IV and oral antibiotics since getting an infection in January.

Within a week of finishing the antibiotics I was back in hospital with the infection rising. I had surgery number 10 which removed the last of the steel and cleaned out rotten flesh. This was a 16-day hospital stay as they got the antibiotics correct.

I left once again on a 24-hour IV drip that ran to my heart. I have been walking for three weeks, with crutches and special shoes and a moon boot on the farm. I am getting stronger and using the crutches less but unfortunately remain on antibiotics but next week they will reduce to low dosage. To be walking after nine months is very satisfying, if somewhat painful.

It is positive progress.