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New Voice for National

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Well we were spared the icy Amy Adams, and the feisty Paula Bennett remains as Deputy Leader of the National Party. So there is some good news for those of us who believe that it’s at least preferable that our leaders present a tolerably pleasing impression to the rest of the world.

I’m on shaky ground here, I know. New Zealanders have the admirable quality of placing greater weight on substance than appearance or mellifluous voices in choosing their political leaders. Think Savage, Kirk, Rowling, Key, Clark… But their tolerance for idiosyncrasy is not without limit. Bob Jones effectively put an end to Rowling’s career by dubbing him ‘the mouse’ on account of his very light voice.

I have reason to remember this particularly well. In a previous incarnation I hosted a late night TV show called Edwards On Saturday. We had Bill and Glen Rowling on one night as the main guests. Glen played the piano and Bill talked to me. The programme was broadcast live.

About half way through, as I was interviewing Bill, there was a minor commotion. Bob Jones walked in through the studio door accompanied by a human-sized mouse on a leash, squeaking. Inside the mouse costume was broadcaster Jim Healey. Bob had told security that he and Healey (sans mouse costume) were late guests on the programme and been allowed in.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this guest appearance of ‘Mouse Rowling’ was a factor in ending a very decent politician’s career.

You may not like it but, in politics, image really matters.

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On the Death of Pat Booth

Pat Booth

I got to know Pat well when we were both teaching in the journalism course at AUT. Like me, Pat hated meetings and did his very best to disrupt them with humorous asides. Usually with considerable success. My favourite example is of a debate on the future of semiotics in the curriculum. Pat’s contribution was to the effect that they should be sent back to wherever they’d come from. I wholeheartedly agreed. But behind the humour there was a highly principled journalist and an honest man, devoted to his calling and the truth. His role in the Arthur Allan Thomas case is itself testament to that. I am privileged to have known you, Pat. I doubt you will be resting in peace – far too much unfinished business: truths to be told, wrongs to be righted. Cheers mate!

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Exhibition or extortion?

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imageWe went to the Banksy exhibition. I really like the political commentary in his work, and I wanted to see some of it en masse. Mainly prints, often duplicated several times in different colors. A couple of large works. Good information on the walls and a very good short doco. Not a bad small exhibition.

BUT – the entry price was $38 for everyone over 10. I don’t think I’ve ever paid that for a small exhibition, even in Europe. No concessions for students, seniors, school children.

I may be able to afford it, but what about students, particularly art students? See some Banksy, don’t eat for a couple of days…

Up the road at the Art Gallery you can see the Corsini exhibition for $19 – or $15 for students and seniors. Kids under 12 free.

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