The days when I have to travel to Wellington are always the longest ones. I have to get up well before dawn and get myself to the airport, while my family are still asleep in their beds. The taxi driver I usually use knows my routine, and we often don't even exchange a word. But this morning I had a new driver. He asked me where I was headed. The question threw me, but a bit of quick thinking and I had my answer. "We'll stay right here, thanks," I said. "I'm not prepared to just throw government money at this problem in the hope that we'll make it to the airport."
Missed my flight and turned up late to my scheduled meeting with John. John was a bit perturbed, and he started grilling me about the Novopay situation as soon as I walked in. "It's hurting us politically" he said. "We need to sort it out urgently."
I told John I had already met with Talent2, the people behind the Novopay system, and that we were working through a number of scenarios. I assured John that no option had been taken off the table during the meeting. I didn't tell John that the table had been a very small one. Why worry the man unnecessarily? He might fall over again.
Just gave a speech to a group of exporters about how the manufacturing sector is in good shape. They were in fine form, too, which is a change from the usually subdued audiences I speak to.
They must have enjoyed the few little wisecracks I weaved into my speech, because they laughed the whole way through. They almost fell over in hysterics when I said the effects of the high dollar were being exaggerated and that good economic times were just around the corner, which I didn't think was all that humorous. But maybe it was the tone I used.
Anyway, a great success!
And now I'm off to see our vibrant farm sector in action. Farmers are the backbone of this nation, and they always will be. I'm not against a strong tech sector, but you can't throw a circuit-board on the barbie, cook it till it's seared on both sides and beautifully pink in the middle, and serve it with a fresh salad and a nice glass of Pinot Noir, can you?
My driver asked me for the address of the farm we're off to visit, so I told him to just follow the car in front of us, a grey Nissan sedan. I explained the importance of being a fast follower, rather than leading the pack. He gave me an odd look and asked whether I even knew where the Nissan was going or who was driving it.
I told him I was sick and tired of people like him trying to block progress. "Just follow the car," I said.
The Nissan just pulled over on a suburban street in Lower Hutt, so I have told my driver to park us up behind it. The Nissan driver has just gone into her house, so we could be here for a while.
I fell asleep in the back seat to the sound of The Breeze. Luckily my assistant told the driver where we were meant to be, and we ended up only a couple of hours late for the farm visit. We're off to see a herd of cows, but the land is pretty rugged and the only way in is by horse. God I love being in the country. The country air! The grass! And you just can't beat the smell of horse shit.
Things were going well until we tried to cross a stream. I was halfway across when my horse just fell over. I got a bit wet, but the stream was only a foot deep, so I climbed back onto the horse, even though it was pretty obvious that the poor thing was dead.
This water sure is starting to get cold. Still, dawn is only about seven hours away.