Posted by BE on November 29th, 2009
Someone recently accused me of being judgmental and cruel in comments I had made about some of the leading lights in the recent ‘march for democracy’. I took the criticism to heart. I abhor cruelty to anyone or anything. If I make an exception it is to be strident in my criticism of those whom I see as advocating or practising cruelty themselves. I can appreciate that there’s a contradiction in that, but I’ve not yet reached that Christian or Buddhist state of consciousness where I can readily extend compassion to those lacking in compassion.
I’m about to criticise Paul Henry whom I defended in the very first blog which I published on this site. My thesis was that, despite his occasional gratuitous, offensive and personally hurtful comments about other people, his exceptional talents as a broadcaster justified his continued employment by Television New Zealand. That is no longer my view. Henry is a bully who is abusing his position as a public broadcaster. He should be sacked. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on November 27th, 2009
There’s general agreement that Lockwood Smith has been an excellent Speaker. His quiet, natural authority has allowed him to control the House without getting to his feet every few seconds to call for order. He has refused to allow Ministers to get away with non-answers to questions. If any party is unhappy with him, it is considerably more likely to be the National Party than anyone in opposition, perhaps the ultimate tribute to his impartiality.
But yesterday the Speaker seemed to lose the plot when he warned the media that their coverage of MPs’ expenses bordered on lobbying and that, if it continued, he would treat them as lobbyists. The media, he said, should ‘stop parroting a view’.
He then issues this threat:
‘If the newspapers do want to have a view and want to lobby on it, I’m very happy to issue them with a lobbyist card and relieve them of their [Press Gallery] offices here, and if they want to be lobbyists – fine.’ Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on November 22nd, 2009
Bob McCoskrie: comfortable with the wooden spoon
Kenny Rodger - NZ Herald
Larry Baldock: even smacks his grandchildren
Photo: Mike Knott
Garth McVicar: tent prisons and chain gangs
Now here’s my take on Western democracy. Once every three, four or five years, according to where you live, you get to vote for the political party you’d like to run the country. Unless you’re a closed-minded bigot, it’s likely that you won’t approve of absolutely everything the party you voted for believes or intends to do, but you’ve got the good sense to understand that it’s a package you’re buying and not everything in it is going to please you. So you live with it and if, after those three, four or five years, you feel they’ve let you down, you vote for the other lot.
Meanwhile, a significant proportion of the voting public is lumbered with a government they didn’t want at all. But they live with that too and start working to get their lot back in three, four or five years time. They don’t go around bitching that it wasn’t fair and if somebody doesn’t hold another election right away they’re going to hold their breath till they turn blue. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by JC on November 18th, 2009
Journalists almost never tell you the questions they’re going to ask before you do an interview. They certainly won’t supply you with a written list of questions.
They may possibly do so if the information they want is strictly non-contentious and informational. If, for example, a reporter is writing a feature on your new processing plant, and the purpose of the feature is simply to provide the audience with interesting facts and figures, she might well give a list of all the things she wanted to know and was going to ask.
But if there is widespread antagonism to the siting of your new plant, which is going to be a blot on the local landscape and probably pollute a nearby stream, the reporter would certainly not tell you her questions in advance. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on November 16th, 2009
The success of the All Whites in making it to next year’s soccer world cup finals reminded me of my love for ‘the beautiful game’ and my absolute failure to understand the appeal of rugby.
This is probably an indication that you can live in a country for almost half a century, become a citizen of that country, regard it as home, brook no criticism of it from strangers and yet never fully understand or share the mindset of those who were born and bred there. If I were a Kiwi, I might feel quite differently about the national game.
Then again, I might not. My dislike for rugby can not be fully explained by my being a stranger in a strange land. I’m quite capable of nationalistic pride when it comes to cricket or netball. And, like most born-again Kiwis, there’s nothing that pleases me more than when the Black Caps or the Silver Ferns humble the Aussies.
No, my distaste for the oval ball has more to do with the game itself. It is terminally boring to watch. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on November 12th, 2009
Lee Shelton - TVNZ
If you want to know how not to handle a complaint to Fair Go, you could scarcely do better than check out the extraordinary story of Lee Shelton’s attempts to get Air New Zealand to make a minor change to his flight arrangements for a return trip to China.
Lee had booked a domestic Air New Zealand flight from Wellington to Auckland where he would join an international Air New Zealand flight to Beijing. But some time after booking the flights he changed his job and moved to Auckland. So he phoned Air New Zealand to cancel the Wellington-Auckland leg and tell them he would be checking in for the international flight at Auckland. Very reasonable.
Air New Zealand didn’t think so. Lee would have to pay a penalty for making the change to his travel arrangements. He was then offered three options:
1. He could cancel and rebook the entire journey for a fee of $500
2. He could buy a new one-way ticket to Wellington and catch the original flight back to Auckland. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on November 9th, 2009
[Photo: NZ Book Month]
From the SST’s Sunday magazine, November 8, inside back page:
Steve Braunias celebrates the best of 2009
Brian Edwards. Highlights in 2009 included his open contempt for the pro-smacking lobby, and his open contempt for Nigel Latta (although they buried the hatchet online and agreed to meet for coffee.) Edwards, the maestro, speaketh – and replyeth, to everyone who posts a comment – with the charm, wit and intelligence that he brought to New Zealand broadcasting for approximately 673 years.
Posted by BE on November 9th, 2009
Rodney Hide, leader of ACT, the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers, has apologised for bilking the very people his party purports to represent – taxpayers.
Photo: Mark Mitchell
Hone Harawira has reportedly sent an email to the Maori Party apologising ‘unreservedly’ for any harm he had done to it in his ‘choice of words’ to former Waitangi Tribunal director Buddy Mikaere. The ‘choice of words’ included ‘white man bullshit’ and ‘white motherfuckers’.
I was reminded by these events of my Northern Irish Protestant mother’s uncharitable interpretation of confession in the Roman Catholic church - that you could sin on Monday, confess on Tuesday, commit the same sin on Wednesday and so ad infinitum.
Confession of that sort would be worthless since it would not be motivated by genuine remorse or real intention to change one’s ways, but would simply be a device to get oneself off the hook.
Hide and Harawira’s ‘apologies’ strike me as equally worthless. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on November 4th, 2009
I read that Sean Plunket has lost his ERA case against Radio New Zealand. The Authority appears to have based its decision around the potential for a perception of conflict of interest, were Plunket to write a political column for Metro. This, as I indicated in an earlier post, was the only proper decision the Authority could come to.