Brian Edwards Media

Archive for March, 2010

The Ignoble Sport of Boxing


Photo: One News

Photo: One News

‘I’m willing to die for what’s about to take place.’  So said David Tua about his heavyweight boxing fight tonight with Nigerian Friday Ahunanya.

I wondered what it was that Tua was ‘willing to die for’ – money, fame, glory? Or the many further opportunities to be ‘willing to die’ which the pathway to the heavyweight championship of the world and, if he reaches that goal, the ongoing defence of that title, will offer him.

There can be nobility in being willing to die for a cause – the protection of one’s family, friends, country, of liberty or democracy. But there seems to be little nobility, or indeed sense, in deliberately putting oneself in harm’s way, in being ‘willing to die’ for money, fame, glory or the victor’s belt.  Read the rest of this entry »


Big Time Wrestling with Duncan and Gerry


WWE WrestleMania

WWE WrestleMania











Watched the second episode of The Nation. Two fairly simple conclusions: Stephen Parker can’t  chair; Duncan Garner can’t interview.

Parker was completely unable to rein in Radio Live’s  Mitch Harris, who seemed to think that the best form of interview is where the interviewee  is not allowed  to answer the question.

Garner’s interview with Gerry Brownlee exemplified the scattergun approach to cross-examination where you fire at random in the hope that one of your projectiles will hit the mark.

Duncan’s interview philosophy appears to have three  aims: to demonstrate that he is a fearsome interrogator; to show that he is a mate and the equal of the person he is interviewing;  and to score a few headlines in tomorrow’s papers. Read the rest of this entry »


Short Post




                            AND TRAITOR TO HER PAST


Arrival of “The Nation”













One should welcome the arrival of a second real current affairs show, and I do. It is probably kinder not to review the first episode of any new programme, but TV3’s The Nation made a proficient start on Saturday. Host Stephen Parker was understandably nervous and can be expected to relax into his role in coming weeks.

I have grown to respect Duncan Garner’s down-to-earth, no-nonsense analysis of politics, but his interview with Steven Joyce suggested he was more interested in prospecting for headlines than in cross-examining his guest in any detail. He had too many topics and too few supplementary questions, so that the effect was of someone saying, “Try this on for size then!” in the hope of scoring a newsworthy answer. There were none, and when Garner did persist, he ended up flogging several dead horses. It was clear, for example,  that Joyce was not going to say whether Jim Bolger was going to be sacked from his job as Chairman of KiwiRail, and there was very little point in returning to the question again and again. Joyce is not merely unflappable, he appears to have graduated from the Winston Peters School of Advanced Non-Answering.  Read the rest of this entry »


Parents Nil, Media Nil, MP 8 out of 10










A man on an Air New Zealand flight turns to his partner and says, ‘I wish those children would shut up’. His remark that night features on both major TV networks’ national news bulletins, both ‘current affairs’ programmes and prominently the next day in every metropolitan newspaper in the country. The Timaru Herald even devotes its leader to the story.

Since people on planes regularly express the wish that noisy or badly behaved children would ‘shut up’ – often in much stronger terms than that – and since those episodes attract no attention whatsoever in the media, we have to assume that there was something else to justify such extensive coverage. There was. The complainant was a Member of Parliament and he was gay. (I’ll come to the ‘gay’ bit in a moment.)  Read the rest of this entry »


Satan Takes Rap for Paedophile Priests



 I was moved to write this post by two things: an article in The Times, reproduced in last week’s Sunday Star Times and headed ‘Satan to blame for church’s sex woes’, and a video clip, sent to me by my friend Ivan Strahan, of Stephen Fry taking part in a 2009 debate in the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, London.

The motion was that, ‘The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world.’ Fry and Christopher Hitchens spoke against the motion. Conservative  MP Ann Widdecombe and a Nigerian archbishop spoke in favour. The debate was originally broadcast on BBC4 and you can see the whole thing at

The vote at the end of the debate was 268 for and  1876 against.

Fry’s contribution is one of the most passionate and brilliant addresses I have ever seen. Regardless of your views of the Catholic Church, it is simply a delight to watch.  This post begins now.  Read the rest of this entry »


The Art of the Makeover – New and Improved Advice for Mayoral Hopefuls



Photo: NZ Herald/Richard Robinson
Photo: NZ Herald/Richard Robinson







 I see that John Banks has taken his media trainers’ advice and begun to appear wearing an open necked shirt. According to a recent story in the Sunday Star Times, the candidate for the ‘Super Mayoralty’ was also counselled to be ‘more chatty’ when he talks and to ‘speak up’ about  his difficult childhood.

Political makeovers are tricky at the best of times. To be effective they need to be both gradual and subtle, their effect on the electorate’s consciousness almost subliminal. Obvious makeovers  make the public suspicious and resentful. They suspect that someone is trying to pull the wool over their eyes and are offended by the idea that they can be swayed by mere cosmetic change.  Read the rest of this entry »


The Prince Charles Syndrome


I assume Phil Goff would like to be Prime Minister of New Zealand. He has every reason to think he deserves the job. He’s served a lengthy apprenticeship, having come into Parliament in 1981, the same year as Helen Clark. And he’s had a distinguished career as an MP and Cabinet Minister. He’s highly intelligent and well-informed on a whole range of portfolios from Justice to Foreign Affairs. And he comes from good Labour stock.

Goff and his party are languishing in the polls at the moment, but their figures are actually better than Helen Clark’s and Labour’s were in early-mid 1996. Both the party and its leader then looked like dog-tucker. In my book, Helen, Portrait of a Prime Minister, she takes up the story:  Read the rest of this entry »


Unconscionable Journalism from the New Zealand Herald

Bath tragedy: Mother’s fight to save baby This was the Herald’s front page headline yesterday. The subhead read: Twin dies after being left for ‘just minutes’.

From the story we learned that ‘a desperate young mother frantically tried to revive her baby daughter after finding the infant floating face down in the bath next to her twin sister.’

But the mother’s efforts were unsuccessful and the baby later died in Starship Hospital. The story continued:

‘Police are investigating the death but say it’s too early to know if charges will be laid…. It is understood the mother briefly left her daughters in the bath while she went to get something ready for them.

‘”It was just a matter of minutes,” Detective Michelle Shepherd, of the Waitakere child abuse team, said. “She immediately scooped her out of the bath. She phoned the ambulance who talked her through doing CPR.”‘

The remainder of the story highlighted the dangers of leaving small children unattended in the bath.

The story was back on the front page again this morning:

Mother of bath tragedy child on CYF list

Read the rest of this entry »


Second Chance Dad

Reuben Strahan - 18 hours old

Reuben Strahan - 18 hours old

 A few days ago I had  an email from my oldest friend, Ivan Strahan.  ‘Oldest’ in both senses of the word – Ivan and I were at school and university together in Belfast. Now semi-retired, he lives in the lovely little seaside town of Donaghadee with his gorgeous wife Claire. You may have heard of Donaghadee,  perhaps as the chorus of The Old Orange Flute: ‘Toora loo, toora lay, Oh, it’s six miles from Bangor to Donaghadee.’ [I know, it doesn’t rhyme!]

Ivan and I are in regular email correspondence. Regular from him at least; I’m a hopeless correspondent. But this email was special. It was to announce the arrival of Ivan and Claire’s first grandchild:

‘The new arrival made an appearance yesterday, 1st March.  A baby boy, 8lb. 5oz., fair hair, no complications, mother and baby exceptionally well. Attached photos taken at 18 hours old.’

The new baby’s name is Reuben, a name I happen to be particularly fond of since one of my own grandchildren, and my first male grandchild, is also called Reuben.

Ivan has been a little bit anxious about being a grandfather, so I sought to reassure him by sending him the script of ‘Second Chance Dad’, which I wrote for National Radio’s Top of the Morning programme in 1998. Curiously enough, it was broadcast on the occasion of my own grandson Reuben’s fourth birthday.


Grandchildren are special. Talk to any doting grandparent – and ‘doting’  grandparents are the sole variety – and they will inform you, with absolute assurance, that their grandchild is the most intelligent, the most beautiful, the most talented creature that ever breathed air. Where their children’s children are concerned, grandparents are devoid of modesty, without shame, incapable of rational assessment. The child may be the ugliest thing that nature spawned, it may have the manners of a tomcat, the intelligence of a flea, the personality of a rock, and all the charm of masticated chewing-gum, but to its grandparents it will remain the apotheosis of every human virtue, a thing of beauty, whose loveliness increases and is a joy for ever – to paraphrase Mr Keats. Read the rest of this entry »


Last Word/s on Bishop Tamaki



Mine: He just doesn’t get it.

The ever-brilliant Tapu Misa’s column in this morning’s Herald.


Brian Tamaki – Mad, Bad, Neither or Both (Revisited)

Pic: Glenn Jeffrey/NZ Herald

Pic: Glenn Jeffrey/NZ Herald








In October last year, I wrote a post about Brian Tamaki and the Destiny Church.  Over the last few days it has become apparent that sections of  of the church’s membership are waking up to the true character of their ‘Bishop’, his wife and his lieutenants. Among those lieutenants, Richard Lewis, who has appeared twice on Campbell Live, once to answer questions about the church  and, a couple of nights ago, to refuse to answer questions about the church,  presents a particularly daunting, almost menacing image. It is as hard to reconcile that image with the practice of what one might call ‘true Christianity’ as it is to reconcile the Tamakis’ lifestyle with the teachings of Christ. That disconnect, as former church member Matthew Coleman told John Campbell last night, is essentially what the disaffected members of the church’s Brisbane congregation are no longer able to accept.

It is possible that the rigorous discipline practised within Destiny Church has been instrumental in turning around the lives of men who might otherwise have ended up in the prison system, but no amount of good works can disguise the fact that it is Tamaki and his wife Hannah who have benefited most from the organisation which they founded.

Whether  the events in Brisbane mark the beginning of the end of Destiny Church remains to be seen. The history of cults suggests otherwise. Cults survive through mind-manipulation, bullying and fear. They are invariably easier to join than they are to leave. But the signs are at least encouraging that the members of Destiny Church are finally getting wise to the real ambition, the real motivation of their homophobic, misogynistic, deluded leader.

Read the original post.


The Shame of the Solitary Diner (A Diversion)







Twice during the week I had occasion to grab a bite of lunch by myself in a local café. The proprietor of this establishment has had the good sense to furnish his patrons with a pile of magazines to read. Not the sort of stuff you find in doctors’ and dentists’ waiting rooms – tattered copies of the Woman’s Weekly and Readers Digest, dated July 1995, and back-copies to 1943 of the National Geographic with articles on the long-lost Fakawi tribe of the upper Amazon.

(I don’t wish to mock the National Geographic. It was the only magazine in which a frustrated Belfast adolescent could find pictures of half-naked women. Admittedly they were pigmy women, and some had plates in their lips, but Irish beggars can’t be choosers. As they said during the potato famine, ‘Be grateful for small Murphies.’)

No, these were top-class magazines obtained by the café from the shop across the road – GQ, Arena, Vanity Fair, that sort of thing.

Now the real reason why these magazines are there is not that the café’s patrons are bored out of their trees and desperate for something to read. The real reason why the magazines are there is to hide the embarrassment, to cover the shame of that most tragic and guilt-laden of creatures – the solitary diner.  Read the rest of this entry »