Just listened to an appalling performance by Judith Collins with John Campbell on Checkpoint re Ngapari Nui, a gang member doing wonderful work for Maori prisoners. Unthinking, irrational, blindly bigoted, closed-minded, just plain stupid. With these attitudes Ms Collins is not fit to be Minister of any portfolio requiring forward thinking or social understanding. Least of all Minister of Corrections.
I haven’t been blogging for the past ten days or so because I fractured a bone in my left hand and can’t type. It still hurts like hell but I’ve been drawn out of this enforced temporary retirement by my irritation over the attempts by the Right, led by National Party clown Tau Henare and assorted hangers-on in the blogosphere, to make political capital out of two questions put to Education Minister Hekia Parata by my colleague on The Nation, Rachel Smalley.
I need to start by making one thing perfectly clear: I have not spoken to Smalley about this, nor have I informed TV3 Head of News and Current Affairs, Mark Jennings, or The Nation’s producer, Richard Harman, of my intention to blog about the rights and wrongs of this issue.
I watched the Parata interview in the ‘green room’ at TV3 as it was being recorded and was hugely impressed by the Minister’s performance. When she returned to the green room to collect her belongings I said to her, “That was absolutely brilliant”. She smiled, thanked me and showed absolutely no sign of having been upset by Rachel’s question-line.
I had a similar conversation in the green room today with Judith Collins, who’d also faced some tough questioning from Rachel. “You are,” I said, “the consummate performer.” Read the rest of this entry »
Referring to John Key’s current dissatisfaction with the ‘knuckleheads’ of the Fourth Estate, a prominent journalist, who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, observed to me recently, ‘No Prime Minister who ever attacked the media got re-elected.’ He was evidently out of the country during both Rob Muldoon’s and Helen Clark’s three terms, but his remark was less than flattering to the members of his own profession. Journalists, it seems, will revenge themselves on politicians who criticise them, in the process abandoning their duty to report objectively and dispassionately.
Key’s response to media attacks on his credibility, and to the Press Gallery’s dealings with him during ‘stand-ups’ in the corridors of Parliament, has been to suggest that he’ll either abandon the stand-ups altogether or at least greatly reduce the number of questions he will take.
I would suggest the former. It makes absolutely no sense to throw yourself into a pit of hungry bears who have been practising tag-team mauling while they waited for your arrival. It would be hard to think of a more uncontrolled, uncontrollable or dangerous arena. Read the rest of this entry »
Today’s Herald makes interesting reading for anyone who thinks that, despite his Wall Street millions, John Key’s state house background makes him more sympathetic to those on lower incomes. GST is to rise by up to 2.5%. Such an increase disproportionately penalises those at the bottom of the economic heap – lower income earners and beneficiaries – since a much greater proportion of their income is spent on essential items such as food, power and rent. They are to be compensated by an unspecified decrease in personal taxation and an unspecified increase in benefits and Working for Families.
On last night’s Campbell Live, the Prime Minister gave Campbell a guarantee that lower income earners or beneficiaries would be no worse off after the changes in the budget. ‘No worse off’, but not necessarily ‘any better off’. Middle and higher income earners, on the other hand, will of course be better off as a result of any decrease in income tax, since that is an economic truism. So, in a nutshell, the rich will get richer and the poor stay where they are, which in real terms means ‘go backwards’. Read the rest of this entry »