Posts Tagged ‘NZ Herald’

What’s to apologise for?

July 21, 2008

Memo to Editor of NZ Herald: You can’t say “gotcha” when you haven’t. Winston Peters is slippery as a mud-wrestling weasel, and seems cleverer than you right now. Stop digging until you’ve actually got the bastard.

It was bad enough that the Herald’s Friday report on Owen Glenn’s donation to cover Winston Peters’ legal expenses was so concerned with “we wuz right” gloating that it glossed over crucial facts. Now we have a self-serving Herald editorial that calls on Peters to “stop digging” and apologise, especially to the Herald.

But, once again, the Herald glosses over the important details (just as it ignored its own culpability in the disclosure of inmates’ personal details in another report on Saturday).



How do you humiliate a murderer?

July 20, 2008

It was inevitable, I suppose. News today that the inmates named in a Corrections Dept file left in a public place plan to sue for damages for “distress and humiliation” suffered when their personal details were made known.

I have to say that when I first heard about this episode I began to wonder whether it wasn’t a dirty trick designed to further undermine the Government. It followed a string of similar lapses by officials in the UK that are seen as damaging the Labour Government there.


Herald: not all the news that’s fit to print

July 17, 2008

Progblog notes that Audrey Young’s brother has been selected as the National candidate in New Plymouth.

What’s that you say, the National Party have only just selected a candidate in New Plymouth?

Well, if like me you live in Auckland and depend primarily on that great upholder of free speech and transparency, the New Zealand Herald, you might very well be surprised. As Prog Blog puts it:

“You would be doing well to find in the Herald the scandal of the National Party candidate given the flick – and the reasons and maneuvering behind it.

“And yet – she must have known the whole lot. Amazing. Must be that pernicious electoral finance act that stopped Audrey from reporting.”

Hmm. I’m not interested in why the candidate that National selected after “a public and hard-fought battle” felt compelled to return to the Bella Ladies’ Fashions and Accessories shop — although the Taranaki Daily News frantically signalled that something was up. He’s not the candidate anymore.

But I am interested in knowing whether the Herald was busy censoring itself, whilst lambasting a majority of parliamentarians for supposedly limiting free speech.

Let’s ALL vote yes in the smacking referendum

July 2, 2008

A couple of weeks ago Brian Rudman started writing in the Herald on national issues, in addition to his consistently solid pieces on the local scene. This was excellent news. Today he suggests to Helen Clark, “a simple way of finessing the slap-happy Christians campaigning for the right to beat children.”

I’m not sure whether this description does justice to all of the signatories of the petition, but probably sums up the organisers quite well.

Rudman notes the incredibly loose wording proposed for the referendum. It fits quite comfortably into the current legislation:

“Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

“Should the Government give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse in New Zealand?”

Rudman’s right. I could quite happily vote for both these propositions, although my definition of a smack isn’t the same as some of the would-be whackers’. The police have the discretion to decide what is not in the public interest to prosecute, and I’m sure that my definition falls well within their operating parameters. And I’m all in favour of more research into the social problems listed.

When I saw the first question the other day it did occur to me that it was so wide as to be pointless. Who dreams up these dopey questions (q.v. the harsher penalties referendum of a few years ago)?

As Rudman notes, “without the oxygen of an all-out battle, the new Christian Party which the referendum organisers are trying desperately to promote will die from lack of publicity and public interest.”

So, let’s all get behind the referendum!

The wrong message

May 29, 2008

Audrey Young blogs on the Housing NZ’s executive conference today, making some good points.

First, she had the same response that I did on hearing National MPs speaking up for the poor and the homeless. Incredulity.

As she notes, Heatley and Collins weren’t there when the Nats were bleeding the poor and making them homeless, all in the name of Bolger’s “Decent Society”. But hands up anyone who thinks that the Nats will give two figs for the poor should they win the election? Thought so.

Young also provides a useful balance to some of the attempts to beat this story senseless, redeeming herself for last week’s OTT response to Goff’s admission that Labour could possibly lose the election.


Goff’s “gaffe” gives grief

May 20, 2008

Audrey Young blogs today about Phil Goff’s statement on fringe TV that he would be a candidate for the Labour Party leadership were Labour to lose and Helen Clark voluntarily to resign. He also allowed on the show that, “sure there is a prospect of defeat.”

Young tries to beat this up into an incredible “gaffe”. Goff is said to have “breached political convention” in an “extraordinary lapse”, and so on. “It is not done speak aloud about alternative leadership or admit the possibility of defeat… That is politics 101”, she opines.

Well, she’s half-right, sort of.


Immigration Service review: doing it right

May 19, 2008

By moving to set up a thorough, independent enquiry, the Government (a.k.a. Helen Clark) has recognised the seriousness of the corruption revealed at the Immigration Service.

It probably helped that she was very angry, too. She does not like being caught unawares, and her anger yesterday was palpable. “It’s fair to say the confidence of the Cabinet has been somewhat shattered” was the least of it.

It is great to see a quick (as these things go) response. Best of all, this will be a truly independent enquiry, and will therefore go a long way to restoring our bruised confidence in the integrity of our public service.

For one thing, Auditor-General Kevin Brady is nobody’s poodle. He’s the one whose criticism of various parties’ use of public money at the last election caused so much consternation in 2006, not least on the Ninth Floor. At the time the Herald editorialised that, “few public officials have performed their duties more bravely and honourably than … Kevin Brady.”

Also, the Auditor General has the power “to require documents and information to be handed over, and for evidence to be given under oath”, as the Herald puts it.

Importantly, the Auditor General gets to set the terms of reference. This is especially welcome, as much doubt has been cast over various enquiries in recent years due to overly tight terms of reference. Perhaps we have turned a corner here.

[Footnote: Strangely, in view of the praise heaped on Brady just 17 months ago, the Herald barely mentioned these aspects of yesterday’s announcement. Maybe this doesn’t fit the story that the paper is trying to tell?]