On Monday, 4 February 2013, members of the Labour Caucus will take a confidence vote on the leadership of the parliamentary party. This happens in the middle year of each electoral cycle, and generally passes without note. Not so on this occasion. November’s Labour Party Conference put the cat among the pigeons by deciding that this confidence vote would be held under unique conditions.
In past electoral cycles Labour Party rules required the leader to gain a simple majority of the mid-term vote to retain the leadership. That will also be the rule in future. However, this year is a one-off: the leader needs 60% of the vote plus one. That means David Shearer needs 22 of the Caucus of to vote for him on Monday. Should 13 or more of his colleagues vote against him, it will trigger a leadership contest.
Monday’s vote is a secret ballot. There will be independent scrutineers, usually senior members of the Labour Party such as the General Secretary and the President.
Previously the Caucus alone voted on the leadership, but the party wrested that absolute power out of its hands at the last conference. From now on a Labour Party leadership contest will be decided not by Caucus alone, but by an electoral college which includes the party members and its affiliates. Read the rest of this entry »
I don’t look forward to Christmas. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I dread it, but it looms on the horizon like a small malevolence – somewhere between weeding the garden and root canal.
I can’t remember when this antipathy started, but it seems to go back to childhood. I suppose reactions are tempered by early experience – and whether your Christmas presents tended towards new bikes or new knickers.
My British Nana insisted that we ate Christmas lunch dressed in our stiff and formal Sunday best, facing an array of roasts, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, dried fruit, nuts and mince pies – in Hawke’s Bay heat that could melt the asphalt on the roads. After lunch the men would rush to discard their suits for shorts and singlets and do mysterious things under car bonnets – headless bodies apparently being devoured by engines. The women, having spent the morning preparing lunch, spent a good part of the afternoon washing up and then preparing the leftovers for dinner.
Christmas was about the only time our family ever took a drink. Needless to say, a glass-and-a-half was all it took for euphoria to set in, quickly followed by the revival of decades-old feuds and resentments.
So when I joined the NZBC’s announcing staff in my late teens and discovered that the young and unattached were expected to cover Christmas Day shifts and release the married and encumbered into the bosoms of their families, colleagues got trampled in my rush to volunteer. Read the rest of this entry »
Tonight there is a film premiere, so all of us at TVNZ and TV3 got very excited and decided to dress up in inappropriate newsreading gear and get on a plane to Wellington. Except for Simon who got left behind in the studio, LOL.
We’re interviewing everyone we recognise and a whole lot of people we don’t, asking them important questions like how they’re feeling.
We’re shouting the rest of the news over a highly relevant background of screaming movie fans. Here it is: some teachers didn’t get paid today.
Oh – and something happened in Syria.
And now over to Mark/John for another half hour of the same sort of thing…
Q: What do you call public service television that almost no-one watches, because almost no-one knows about it?
Q: Why aren’t the programmes advertised?
A: Because they might attract viewers from the commercial channels run by TVNZ.
It appeared to be an inspired plan, to get our state broadcaster to run the two commercial-free channels TVNZ6 and TVNZ7. TVNZ had the infrastructure, the studios, the staff and the know-how. It also had millions of dollars, kindly donated by the Government, to run the channels.
It was in fact an invitation for TVNZ to shoot itself in the foot.
Our state broadcaster operates with one hand tied behind its back at the best of times. The mixed model that requires it to be mindful of public broadcasting requirements and programming and at the same time be commercially successful and return a healthy profit to the government, is as daft as claiming someone’s a little bit pregnant. You can be a successful public broadcaster; you can be a successful commercial broadcaster. You can’t do both successfully because their aims and objectives are antipathetic.
Every viewer who switches to TVNZ7 is a viewer who isn’t watching TVOne or TV2. Why on earth would TVNZ encourage people to switch to it? That would be commercially irresponsible. It’s also a dilemma the network faces every time it puts a public service programme to air, which is why most of them are broadcast in the dead of night or on Sunday mornings. The programmes that make up good public service broadcasting are in the main programmes that networks believe would spell death to the ratings. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s the tape that’s caused all the fuss. Fairfax has confirmed that it’s the real thing.
After listening to it, you might well decide that it is truly a storm in a teacup. But – it got Winston Peters and his motley crew into Parliament, so the PM may now be wishing he’d released it on the spot!
Today the Herald published a story lamenting the extra cost of local, free-range and organic foods, the very foods we’re being encouraged to buy and eat. They estimate that the clean, green Kiwi options cost us on average 25% more. For people on a limited budget, that isn’t an option at all.
The Taranaki Daily News got closer to the heart of the problem with a story headlined ‘Free food draws poor kids to class’. It quotes principals from Taranaki schools who say that some of their students rely on their school to provide breakfast and even lunch, just to survive.
Poverty in New Zealand is a problem we often conveniently ignore, preferring to see our country as a land of milk and honey. Unfortunately, milk and honey are off the menu for hundreds of thousands of Kiwis. More than 200,000 of our kids are living below the poverty line; over 48,000 of them go to school without breakfast.
This is a disgrace. No child in this country should go hungry. No New Zealand child should be cold or ill-clothed or living in an unhealthy or overcrowded house. No child should be denied an education just because learning is too hard when you arrive at school cold, wet and hungry – if you get there at all. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m going out with a snarl.
TV3 has a line-up of excellent regular newsreaders, both male and female. They present the news clearly and cleanly, and manage to avoid the contrived and cringe-making wordplay that litters TVOne’s bulletins.
However, the final bulletin for the year had the female newsreader labelling Diane Foreman an ‘entreprenyure’ – rhymes with ‘manure’ – and her male counterpart telling us about ‘nucyular’ capacity and Russell Brand’s ‘sex addition’. Tonight’s presenters are both familiar faces, but the channel didn’t give us their names. Wisely, perhaps.
Accurate pronunciation should be a prerequisite for those who make their living presenting television and radio bulletins, as should the ability to read short pieces aloud without making a complete twit of oneself, and just because we’re in the silly season doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect English-as-a-first-language from the network’s stand-in presenters.
Take two aspirin and wait for Caroline, Hillary, Mike and Simon to return…
With our myriad children and grandchildren scattered to the winds we tend to hold our ‘traditional’ Christmas (presents and excessive over-eating and drinking) on Boxing Day, when we’ve a better chance of collecting some of them from the airport.
The main event of our Christmas Day is usually elevenses with Mimosas and muffins for all and sundry (followed by a nice lie down for much of the afternoon). Many of our friends find a couple of glasses of bubbles help to soothe the way through nerve-wracking family events, and stagger off to greet Auntie Sue with less stomach-churning dread than sobriety could offer. Others just like the idea of being mildly pissed before lunchtime. It’s noisy and fun and we never know if we’ll be catering for a dozen or fifty.
This year we volunteered to be Santa’s Helpers at the City Mission Christmas Dinner.
New Zealand’s Biggest Family Christmas Dinner has now grown to proportions that are either a) heartwarming or b) an indictment on our society. Being Christmas Day I’m not going to go into full flight about NZ’s poverty problem. I’ll save that for New Year – be warned! Read the rest of this entry »