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A Week Of It: Tangled Ties, Humour And Pomposity

A Week Of It: Tangled Ties, Humour And Pomposity

with Scoop Chief Reporter Kevin List

In This Edition:
Maori Party Lines Up with ACT and National
Is The Reaction To Kelly Comments PC Gone Mad?
Fart Tax Bus Good Times Go Un-rewarded
Tory Internet Diarist Sneers At Tradespeople
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
Vodka Battle And Brad Pitt Exclusive Shows Charter Not Forgotten


Maori Party Lines Up with ACT and National

Maori Party Co-Leader Tariana Turia - has more in common with Act and National than appears at first glance.

This week the Maori Party proved its claim to be a centrist party when it lined up with the ACT and National parties in opposition to the Government's proposal to have a five-metre walking accessway along significant waterways.

"We totally oppose the notion that the public should be allowed to wander onto a private property to get to the river. No-one that lives in an urban setting would allow that - why should we operate a different standard for our rural communities?" explained Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia in a press statement.

"We would like to work with Federated Farmers on this issue, as we believe they will have the support of Maori in protecting private property rights."

Ms Turia could probably pop down in the lift and discuss her concerns with Federated Farmers member and the ACT Party rural affairs spokesperson, Gerry Eckhoff. Mr Eckhoff has called the plan to allow recreational walkers access to waterways a "land grab".

If Ms Turia is worried Mr Eckhoff may not be around too long she would also find National Party leader Don Brash sympathetic to her concerns. Mr Brash has given farmers an absolute assurance that a National Government will preserve their right to determine who has access to their land and under what circumstances.

Prior to lining up with the ACT and National Party’s regarding rural land access, Ms Turia has voted for some legislation concerning Maori, employment relations and health matters. Ms Turia has however voted more often than not against legislation put forward by her former Government colleagues, as well as voting for National Party MP Clem Simich for the position of Speaker of the House.

For his part Dr Brash, on TVNZ's Agenda program last week, again failed to rule out working with the Maori Party. Dr Brash however told Agenda interviewer Simon Dallow, "I find it very hard indeed to believe that the Maori Party and the National Party could ever be in coalition, why, because we have quite fundamentally different views about the future of New Zealand."

Thankfully for any potential centre-right coalitions, the protection of private property rights looks to be one area where ACT, National and the Maori Party all share a common goal. And A Week of It understands not all Labour MPs are turning cartwheels over the access proposal either.

Federated Farmers today confirmed that Ms Turia had indeed been in touch and that she was encouraging Iwi to go to Parliament and make their opposition plain to the Government next Thursday 23 June. Federated Farmers will be presenting a petition to the Government opposing the land access proposal on Parliament’s steps at 1:00pm that day.


Is The Reaction To Kelly Comments PC Gone Mad?

42below Vodka's "Story Of NZ" (Click to view) – not dissimilar to Graham Kelly's sccount

NZ First leapt to the defence of yet another old-age pensioner this week following former Labour MP Graham Kelly's gaffe-ridden speech to a Canadian Senate Committee. Mr Kelly, in his capacity as New Zealand's High Commissioner to Canada, peppered a speech relating to fisheries and ocean management with a potted history of New Zealand likely to cause offence to most ethnic groups residing here.

Thankfully the good people of Ashburton were given a break from a week of PC hand-wringing over Mr Kelly's verbal faux pax when NZ First Leader Winston Peters rolled into town. Mr Peters explained to his audience that the reaction to Graham Kelly's comments was PC gone mad and one more sign that some New Zealanders simply can't handle the truth. For his part Mr Kelly apologised unreservedly for his allegedly truthful (according to Mr Peters) comments.

The ACT, National and Maori parties all called for Mr Kelly to be sacked. The Green Party took a slightly more conciliatory tone, requesting Mr Kelly return to New Zealand and apologise to all the communities offended. No further details relating to how Mr Kelly's tour of shame could be logistically handled were forthcoming from the Green Party.

The harshest criticism of Mr Kelly came from his former Labour colleague Tariana Turia. The Maori Party's website devoted its entire front page to chastising Mr Kelly. Ms Turia told National Radio that people in Mr Kelly's former electorate of Mana were "disgusted" that they had worked for a man who, "beneath the surface was incredibly racist". Ms Turia also had a darn good crack at her former leader. "The Prime Minister as usual is staying silent. When things go radically wrong she always calls on someone else to front and make the excuses on her and the Government's behalf."

Ms Turia must have forgotten the time she herself got into a spot of hot water by using the word "holocaust" in a speech to the Psychological Society in 2000. At the time the Prime Minister's response to something going radically wrong was this, "I know the [Waitangi] tribunal used it [holocaust] with respect to Taranaki. I do not agree with that and I do not want to see ministers using the term and causing offence again."


Fart Tax Bus Good Times Go Un-rewarded

Despite Richard Prebble and Deborah Coddington standing down this election, the ACT Party’s rural affairs spokesperson Gerry Eckhoff hasn't been able to improve his list ranking. The tweed encrusted crusader for rural people's property rights remains at number eight on the ACT Party's list. Mr Eckhoff's tireless stints in the brightly-coloured fart tax bus look like they may have been all in vain.

Still, considering Kenneth Wang's brilliant performances in the House and huge media profile it would seem churlish to deny him his placing ahead of Mr Eckhoff.


Tory Internet Diarist Sneers At Tradespeople

Aaron Bhatnagar prefers Chateau D'Yquem

Auckland internet diarist and fervent National Party supporter, Aaron Bhatnagar this week showed a somewhat condescending attitude to those New Zealanders ready to get stuck in and learn a trade.

Commenting on the impending name change of the Progressive Party to Jim Anderton's Progressive Party, Mr Bhatnagar explained that the name change was at least more strategic than, "announcing the candidacy of a apprentice welder to the thin ranks of the Progressives."

Perhaps an online quiz Mr Bhatnagar answered could explain his condescension to those involved in manual labour. Unfortunately the words by which Mr Bhatnagar lived his life weren't much help - especially the ones in Latin, "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" ("Use the tradesman's entrance scum"?*).

Thankfully Mr Bhatnagar's answer to what was his greatest extravagance was in English (sort of): "Fine wine - Stonyridge LaRose and Chateau D'Yquem," wrote this prolific and humble political pundit.

* actual translation: "I fear theses Danaoans [greeks] and their tricks" - the minority opinion in Troy on seeing a big horse.


The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

Recently the subject of taxpayer funding of political party's has poked its nose above the parapet. Much concern has been expressed at taxpayer's hard earned dollars going into political party's especially those of a center leftward lean. Still, on the flip-side, at least one knows where the dosh has come from. Due to New Zealand's pathetic rules surrounding campaign donations, politically-motivated largesse to grease the wheels of democracy is hard to trace in godzone.

Here's a list of the top three parties and their (privately-funded) election expense returns. A Week of It finds it interesting that the more dosh that goes into the National Party, the less there is for their friends at ACT Party headquarters.


  • ACT Party $1.6 million dollars
  • New Zealand National Party $1.4 million dollars
  • New Zealand Labour Party $800,000
  • 1999

  • New Zealand National Party $2.1 million dollars
  • New Zealand Labour Party $1.0 million dollars
  • ACT Party $650,000 dollars
  • 2002

  • ACT Party $1.6 million dollars
  • New Zealand Labour Party $1.4 million dollars
  • NZ National Party $1.0 million dollars
  • ****************

    Vodka Battle And Brad Pitt Exclusive Shows Charter Not Forgotten

    Most weeks on Radio New Zealand's Mediawatch Tom Frewen has something slightly grumpy to say about Television New Zealand and how it is consistently failing to meet the charter (in his opinion).

    One of Mr Frewen's bugbears is current affairs and in particular the Sunday programme. Last year Mr Frewen had this to say about Television New Zealand's flagship current affairs programme

    "The fact that TVNZ's Sunday programme is more closely related to the Sunday News in content in style, is not first-class journalism and is not current affairs illustrates that, after one year of the charter and two years with Ian Fraser at the helm, TVNZ's marketing and self-promotion remains as divorced from reality as it ever was."

    Surely after last week's Sunday program even Mr Frewen must be regretting ever uttering such rash words.

    Last week leading the Sunday program was a brilliant item about a New Zealand vodka company's war of words with a gay New York bar owner. In this investigative piece the investigative journalist had to investigate a number of swanky New York bars. No doubt realising that the New Zealand audience couldn't handle any more of "their" stories on "their" current affairs hour, Sunday's producers wisely then rolled into a 40 minute exclusive from NBC/ABC/Yank TV on Brad Pitt.

    Perhaps its time Mediawatch left Television New Zealand alone and instead gave us a report on - say Radio New Zealand's Human Resources review from 2003. This report, compiled by Deloitte Touche Tomatsu, found that:

    There is a high level of frustration within News. There is a lack of leadership, communication and good management practices employed within the News group. There is also the widespread belief that the Wellington and Auckland newsrooms are at breaking point and "implode" is a word used frequently by staff.

    Mind you last time A Week of It saw a Radio New Zealand journalist they didn't look like they were about to implode so maybe everything got fixed with the arrival of Aussie Peter Cavanagh.


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