Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

HARD NEWS 30/11/01 - Make It Stop

Approved: Kiwifruit
Subject: HARD NEWS 30/11/01 - Make It Stop

HARD NEWS is first broadcast in Auckland on 95bFM around 9.30am on Fridays and replayed around 5.15pm Friday and 10am Sunday on The Culture Bunker. You can listen to 95bFM live on the Internet. Point your web browser to http://www.95bfm.co.nz. You will need an MP3 player. Currently New Zealand is 13 hours ahead of GMT.

HARD NEWS is also available in MP3 form from http://www.mp3.net.nz and in text form at http://www.scoop.co.nz. You can subscribe to the 95bFM Hard News mailing list at http://www.95bfm.com/hardnews.php

GOOD DAY MEDIAPHILES ... make it stop. Please. Not the Alliance infighting. Not Bathgate-gate. Not even the war. Just the year. It's been nice, 2001, but can't it just be Christmas already?

Such sentiments seized me and briefly disabled my Trojan work ethic this week. Happens every year, just as things are getting really busy. The socialising doesn't help. I couldn't bail on Hard News two weeks in a row, but you'll have to forgive some brevity.

Anyway, the Alliance. What a shambles. Yet for all that I know that Jim Anderton is dictatorial and conservative - the one time I ever interviewed him I felt like Simon Walker talking to Muldoon - I can't help but think that until such time as any other Alliance candidate has a show of winning an electorate seat, everyone else might just have to put up with it.

The fact is, the Alliance did only grab seven per cent of the vote last time round and in that light its influence has been spectacular. It's not just twelve weeks' paid parental leave and the Kiwi Bank, or even Anderton's successful regional development strategy. It's credibility in government.

Anderton loves his job as Deputy Prime Minister; he is good at it. Sandra Lee has developed into a minister of real stature. Laila Harre has shown that someone with really quite left-wing views can be effective and credible as a minister.

You don't get any of that with seven per cent of the vote - you get it by being part of the government and realising you can't always get what you want. If you want to be on the side of the angels all the time, every time, you choose the comfort of life outside government.

On the other hand, it's hard not to sympathise with Matt McCarten and the faction who would, in the words of those emails that so enraged the leader, "reclaim the party for the left". That's the brand the public perceives in the Alliance. Unfortunately, it's not the reality.

Forty per cent of the Alliance membership is the Democrats - or, as they used to be, Social Credit - who last week voted no confidence in McCarten; earning from him an invitation to piss off.

The problem there is that the Democrats have always been the party's fund-raising engine: bingo nights, typewriter ribbon recycling, you name it. In most political parties raising dosh is the party president's job, but in the Alliance it seems it's the other way around - MPs tithe part of their income to support him. Or not, since Jim changed the accounts.

As useful as the Democrats are, the fact remains that their party is founded on a ludicrous economic philosophy that no one else in the world - or even in the Alliance - takes seriously. At least they have the decency to shut up about it.

Anyway, Bathgate-gate. Susan Bathgate has resigned from her gig on the Employment Relations Authority - a judicial warrant, rather than a job, it should be noted - after months of pressure from Rodney Hide - and the day after the government got a legal opinion on her holding of part-time jobs on the Complaints Review Tribunal and Social Security Appeal Authority, in addition to her full-time job with the ERA.

This is neither as bad as Rodney Hide would have you believe, or as good as Margaret Wilson cracks on. As was the case with the ministerial living allowances shemozzle, the rules aren't entirely clear. And Bathgate was good enough to be repeatedly hired in similar roles by former national governments. But in judicial areas, judgement is everything, and she looks to have lacked it, not least publicly understating the number of days' leave she'd taken monnlight.

Margaret Wilson overrode her officials to get Bathgate on the ERA and the current mess reflects poorly on the minister. Wilson also overrode her officials when they warned her that her amendment to the Electoral Act - which brings back criminal libel in a ham-fisted attempt to protect political candidates from smears at election time - probably breached the Bill of Rights. Worse, she tried to slip it in *after* the rest of the legislation had been to select committee. It has been softened on the insistence of the Greens, but it's hard to see why it was there in the first place.

The impression persists of Margaret Wilson as a woman with a bloody great big sledgehammer walking around looking for nuts to crack.

Speaking of which, the war. And, as the Americans deign to come down from the skies, finally, an American military casualty. How ironic that it was a CIA operative. Meanwhile, the Northern Alliance commits acts that from anyone else would be war crimes - with the explicit approval of the US Secretary of Defence. Don't take this is moral certainty on my part, however. I've given up on trying to achieve that over this.

Anyway, a word on Metro's shock-horror ecstasy cover story; the one with the made-up model helpfully demonstrating to readers what a comatose girl on the pavement looks like. Learn to spell, people. E-C-S-T-A-S-Y. There was a good story in there - greedy party promoters, bad rooms, bad drugs - but this sure wasn't it.

And finally, farewell to the justifiably legendary 95bFM station manager Suzanne Wilson and hello to the no doubt soon-to-be-legendary Aaron Carson. The b rolls on - G'bye!

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: Predictable Monstrosities: Priti Patel Approves Assange’s Extradition
The only shock about the UK Home Secretary’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was “duty-bound” to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the US Espionage Act of 1917... More>>

Digitl: Are we happy living in Handy's Age of Unreason?
In 1989 Charles Handy wrote The Age of Unreason. It's a book that looked forward to a time where telecommuting would be an everyday reality. We live in that world today, although we use the term working from home. The book contains other predictions that were on the money... More>>


Reactionary Succession: Peter Dutton, Australia’s New Opposition Leader
The devastation wrought on Australia’s Coalition government on May 21 by the electorate had a stunning, cleansing effect. Previously inconceivable scenarios were played out in safe, Liberal-held seats that had, for decades, seen few, if any challenges, from an alternative political force. But the survival of one figure would have proved troubling, not only to the new Labor government, but to many Liberal colleagues lamenting the ruins. The pugilists and head knockers, however, would have felt some relief. Amidst the bloodletting, hope... More>>


Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>




The Conversation: Cheaper food comes with other costs – why cutting GST isn't the answer

As New Zealand considers the removal of the goods and services tax (GST) from food to reduce costs for low income households, advocates need to consider the impact cheap food has on the environment and whether there are better options to help struggling families... More>>