Posted by BE on May 31st, 2009
Last night’s TV1 News began with one of the most disgraceful and irresponsible pieces of journalism I have seen in some years.
With no supporting evidence of any sort, Lisa Owen reported a series of ‘serious allegations’ against ‘Lion Man’ Craig Busch, including animal cruelty and putting the lives of Zion Wildlife Gardens workers at risk. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on May 25th, 2009
I can’t be sure whether James Louis Mason punched his 4-year-old son in the face. I wasn’t there. But people who were there and who gave evidence at Mason’s trial were convinced that he had assaulted the boy and, more importantly, so was the jury.
Mason has had a fair trial and that ought to be the end of the matter. It won’t be. Mason is likely to become the poster boy for the pro-smacking lobby. If his performance last night on Sunday is anything to go by, he fits the bill perfectly. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on May 22nd, 2009
The New Zealand Herald published this letter from me today:
‘How tragic that the Auckland University student body can think of no better way to express disagreement than to boo, shout down and abuse a speaker. If Melissa Lee’s comments about South Auckland were stupid and offensive, they were outdone by the Hitler moustache and the word ‘racist’ scrawled across her photograph. As it happens, Ms Lee made no reference in her earlier remarks to any race, so the presumption that the ‘criminals’ she was referring to must be Maori or Pacific Islanders comes entirely from them. I would have thought that makes them the true racists. If I lived in Mt Albert, I would, needless to say, be voting for David Shearer. But I think Melissa Lee deserves points for fronting up to this mindless rabble. You are, ladies and gentlemen, a disgrace to your university.’ Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by JC on May 19th, 2009
I blame it on Shortland Street! Once we learned to regard New Zild as an acceptable way of speaking, there was no stopping us. Our accent has become stronger and more differentiated by the year.
As a student of linguistics I’m fascinated by the changes in our natural accent; as a voice coach I’m less enthusiastic. It’s not the accent that bothers me, it’s what we’re doing to it.
New Zealand voices, particular those of young women, are becoming increasingly and unpleasantly nasal. This annoying nasal twang is epidemic in young female news reporters on television; Fran Dresler from The Nanny is positively mellifluent in comparison. Even one or two of our female newsreaders sound as though they have terminal sinusitis. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on May 18th, 2009
A year or so back I discovered that my co-panellist that day on Jim Mora’s Afternoons programme on Radio New Zealand was to be Christine Rankin. I don’t think I’d met her before. It’s true that I had some pre-conceived and not very flattering ideas about her. But my opinion of her had not always been negative.
I remember watching television news coverage of the case she took to the Employment Court in 2001 for unfair termination of her contract as CEO of WINZ by the State Services Commission. Much of the argument revolved around whether this effective sacking was politically motivated, but what captured my and the general public’s attention most were the extraordinary revelations about a conversation she had had with the Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mark Prebble. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on May 11th, 2009
TV One’s Q&A not only continues to provide discursive and intelligent coverage of New Zealand politics but is making much of the political news itself. Check out the metropolitan press any Monday and you’ll find two or three stories credited to the previous morning’s programme. Journalistically Q&A is putting the papers to shame.
Yesterday’s programme featured Paul Holmes interviewing Wanganui MP Chester Burrows and Wanganui mayor Michael Laws on the legislation brokered by Burrows to ban the wearing of gang patches in the city’s CBD and public areas. Both are articulate and persuasive advocates of the new law, but the really interesting thing about the debate was that it revealed an entirely different Michael Laws to the frequently irrational, often hysterical and occasionally crazed columnist in the Sunday Star Times. This Michael Laws was both temperate and rational in his opinions and much the better for it.
What this may demonstrate is a point I make in an earlier blog that balanced opinion is the last thing newspaper editors want from their columnists. Getting up the noses of the hoi polloi sufficiently to provoke them into penning irate letters to the editor is the order of the day. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on May 3rd, 2009
The powers-that-be this afternoon selected David Shearer as Labour’s candidate in the Mt Albert by-election. I’m told that Meg Bates was the outstanding speaker on every occasion when the nominees for selection faced an audience. Those, I guess, are the breaks in party politics. I wish Mr Shearer well. There seems little doubt that he will be a good candidate. But keep your eye on Meg. At 24 she already has the makings of a future Labour Prime Minister. Trust me, having worked closely with Helen Clark for 12 years, I know a winner when I see one. And Meg will be a winner.
Posted by BE on May 2nd, 2009
Duck shooting season begins today. I can understand the necessary killing of animals for food, but I’m damned if I can understand anyone taking pleasure in shooting a beautiful creature out of the sky. They call this a sport, but it’s a kind of uneven contest – a human being with a sophisticated modern weapon that can fire projectiles hundreds of metres into the air against… a bird. The only evenness in this contest may be their intellects.
To make things fairer, we need to equip ducks with small heat-seeking missiles, triggered by the sound of shotgun fire, and programmed to zero in on the occupants of maimai across the land. With any luck the project will be underway in time for next year’s ‘Bag a Duckshooter Season’.
Meanwhile here’s a foretaste, drawn to my attention by Q. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R8prS1jsvI
Posted by BE on May 1st, 2009
Eleanor Black wanted to go to the Simon and Garfunkel concert at the Vector Arena in Auckland. According to the Ticketmaster ads, tickets would be on sale on line and on the phone from 9am on Friday, April 17. So Eleanor got onto her computer dead on nine only to discover that by 9.01 tickets for the seats she wanted were already sold out. She then tried for cheaper seats. Sold out! Undaunted, she decided to try the phone, but couldn’t get through at all. After 20 minutes she gave up.
But there was a mystery here. There was seating for 10,000 people at the Simon and Garfunkel concert in the Vector Arena, so how could the seats have sold out so quickly. Eleanor took her story to Fair Go. Read the rest of this entry »