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A Week of It: Iraq And The Return Of The Brethren

A Week of It: Iraq And The Return Of The Brethren

NZ Foreign Correspondent Interviews Robert Fisk
Just Why Do The Exclusive Brethren Want A Non-Christian To Be Prime Minister?
Richard Prebble Forgets Mr Peters' And Mr Hide's Relationship In His Coalition Musings
Why On Earth Did They Say That Prior To The Election?
Taxathon Pamphlet And The Wananga


NZ Foreign Correspondent Interviews Robert Fisk

Mr Jon Stephenson in Baghdad with Robert Fisk and TV3's Mike McRoberts


Jon Stephenson IV With Robert Fisk Part 1.

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Jon Stephenson IV With Robert Fisk Part 2.

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Background: New Zealand freelance journalist Jon Stephenson interviewed acclaimed Middle Eastern correspondent Robert Fisk last week in Sydney. Mr Stephenson has been to Iraq seven times in the last few years and spent 100 days criss-crossing Iraq during 2004 and sending stories back for the Sunday-Star-Times newspaper. More recently Mr Stephenson's coverage of Iraq and the Middle East has apeared in Metro magazine. Sadly, for patriotic fans of foreign affairs reporting Metro's new editor Lauren Quaintance has intimated Metro will be an Iraq (and foreign correspondent) free magazine.

Mr Fisk has been writing about the Middle East for nearly thirty years, most recently for the Independent newspaper in the UK. Mr Stephenson and Mr Fisk met in Baghdad earlier this year, at the time Mr Stephenson was working with TV3.

Mr Fisk has just completed a book in which he recounts among other tales his meeting with Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s. One of Mr Fisk's most famous books was about the conflict in Lebanon entitled Pity the Nation and is very much recommended by A Week of It.

In the audio interview Mr Fisk and Mr Stephenson discuss both the perils of reporting from Iraq and the perils (for the public) of reading reports from Iraq when the vast majority are written from behind steel bomb proof hotel enclosures.


Just Why Do the Exclusive Brethren Want A Non-Christian To Be Prime Minister?

Dr Don Brash


Just prior to the election one of the Exclusive Brethren behind an anti-Green and anti-Labour pamphlet campaign, Mr Timothy Lough, explained to Scoop that he had met Dr Brash twice - once a couple of weeks beforehand and once a year before that (September 2004).

Today, the Dominion Post revealed that the moralistic sect that spent in excess of half a million dollars to get rid of the current Labour Government, are once again in the political fray lobbying MPs in order to achieve the unlikely outcome of a Dr Brash led National Government.

A Week of It contacted Mr Lough today in an attempt to ascertain just what it was Mr Lough discussed with Dr Brash in late 2004. Mr Lough was friendly, yet firm, in his insistence on not taking any questions about just why he and his Exclusive Brethren colleagues are so in favour of a Government led by a self professed non–believer and one time supporter of the Civil Union Bill.

In Dr Brash's favour, no doubt, is the fact that his initial support for the Civil Union Bill changed during the latter part of 2004. It is possible that the arguments put forward by Mr Lough and his colleagues Andy Smith, Neville Simmons and Greg Mason may have had something to do with why the majority of National Party MPs decided to vote against the controversial legislation.

After checking the Justice and Electoral Select Committee's notes it would appear Mr Lough and his three colleagues (all of whom fronted to the media regarding their pamphlet campaign) took the time to travel to Parliament and vocally express their opposition to the Civil Union Bill, in early September 2004.


Richard Prebble Forgets Mr Peters And Mr Hide's Relationship In His Co-alition Musings

Rodney Hide – quite possibly not a friend of Winston Peters


Retired ACT Party leader Richard Prebble keeps popping up in the media throwing in his two cents on possible coalition arrangements. Recently in the Herald on Sunday Mr Prebble talked up the possibility of a National led Government. One small problem with this potential centre-right Government may be the relationship between Mr Prebble's replacement as ACT Party leader, Rodney Hide and Winston Peters.

Earlier this year Mr Peters launched a full frontal assault on Jim Peron, a man Mr Hide had once described as a 'good friend'. Under the protection of parliamentary privilege Mr Peters made a number of damaging accusations concerning Mr Peron. After these accusations were made Mr Hide accused Mr Peters, whilst still in the House, of being 'homophobic'.

Following Mr Peters attack on Mr Peron, Mr Hide and Mr Peters clashed often in the media. Just prior to the election Mr Hide actively campaigned against Mr Peters, even taking time out from his campaign to win Epsom, to travel to Tauranga and urge ACT party supporters to vote for the National candidate.

Mr Hide also championed 'Stop Peters' dinner evenings in Auckland. On his famous internet diary rodneyhide.co.nz , Mr Hide waxed lyrically about being anti-Peters.

Had a great function last night in Auckland. Over 400 attended our Stop Peters dinner. The food was good, the speeches great, and the entertainment grand. Kenneth Wang has big support amongst new migrants. The resentment against Peters is huge. Everyone has a story of Peters'-inspired abuse against them and their family. These are hard-working law-abiding New Zealanders. But what does Winston care? He doesn't care for people or New Zealand. Just his poll rating.


Why On Earth Did They Say that Prior To The Election?

Is Tariana Turia hurtling towards the welcoming arms of Dr Brash?


After every election promises are broken like china in a bull infested china shop. At present much heat is being put onto the New Zealand First leader Winston Peters over his promises to remain outside a formal coalition agreement.

Given the chatting going on between Tariana Turia and Don Brash A Week of It has discovered another pre-election promise that's worth another look. In a press release dated 30 August 2005 Tariana Turia had this to say about Dr Brash and his party

“We will do our utmost to ensure that the National Party does not make it to the Government benches”.


“We ask all ethnic peoples to support the call of tangata whenua to retain our unique status in this land, and to withdraw any support for the National Party”.


Taxathon Pamphlet and the Wananga

Yesterday Dr Brash was given a friendly reception at the rally in support of the besieged Te Wananga O Aotearoa. Presumably none of the people giving Dr Brash a friendly reception had received the National Party's taxathon pamphlet (delivered to over a million homes prior to the election). Virtually every single cent spent on the Wananga was classified as wastage according to the taxathon pamphlet.


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