Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ranting About Media

The reason I can sometimes be damning of NZ Media is that I'll always remember the coverage of the last elections (and the election before that, and before that) when people were interviewed on the street as to who they were/had voted for and why. 98% of those people said exactly the same thing "He/she seems nice". We mocked Americans soundly for voting in Bush Jnr twice because he was someone people would most want to have a beer with, but I'm not sure why since that seems to be our voting strategy as well.

If we're not informed voters how can we call ourselves a democracy?

Things I would like to see in 2013:

1. Get Key and co to front up on prime time media shows. If they keep on refusing, make that the story. Document how many times Key has turned down requests and compare this to previous leaders and leaders overseas. This has been an on-going running joke in media circles, but how about making it something shameful and disgraceful instead, because that's what it is.

2. The Housing Market: compare our situation to other places such as Ireland and Vancouver. Look into what the cause of the property bubble on our economy. Why are National so reluctant to put the brakes of foreign ownership, and when Key screams 'racism', don't let him derail.

3. Prisons - Idiot Savant already covered some issues here, but call me suspicious but is the State going to be implementing this or is this going to be tendered to private commercial interests, say like, Serco. By the way, this massive corporation is also involved in Detention Centres in Australia, it's controversial as it gets, and yes, barely a squeak over here.

4. I did a blog post a while back on what I felt was an uncomfortably close relationship between the Associate Ministry of Education and Talent 2 here. The media was fantastic in the way that it picked this up, and by that I mean that it printed John Banks statement assuring there was nothing in it and seemingly never looked further in to the issue. Investigative Journalism for the win! Who else in Government is besties with these companies that we're tendering multi-million contracts to - well, I guess we'll never know what goes on in the backrooms of Government.

By reading/watching international media I've seen enough news linking politicians to businesses (Cheney/Halliburton anyone?) to know that when power and money converge sometimes ethics takes a back seat (and is then taken into the woods and buried) - I think politicians and big business have an almost free ride in the NZ press in comparison.

5. Thanks goes to the Senior Political Commentators (tm Daily Show) who asserted that that Green Party hates business (printing currency is madness they scream - maybe it is, you never explained why), which is just as helpful as someone in his position declaring that the National Party hates poor people - yeah, I can certainly take you seriously from now on in (ffwd). Thanks also goes to the segment of Brendan Horan being door stopped so we could get his expression as he closed the door, after which you packed up and drove to the cemetery so they could get a shot of his mother's grave for your story. Who says gutter journalism can't be hard work, especially on car mileage.

6. Can we please have some investigation into the legislation process, the fact that because we only have a unicameral parliament, a short sitting period, an over-use of fast-tracking that can skip committees and consultation in a single bound, that comparatively speaking next to other first world democracies we're one step away from being a banana republic. Oh, and by the way, that means that there should be closer scrutiny as to what's going on, not more human bloody interest stories.

6. Can media stop with setting every reality crime show in South Auckland? Fairly sure enough crime is committed in other parts of NZ without having to permanently set up shop there, but then again I suppose this gives white viewers a thrill in seeing a constant flow of brown faces pushed in to the back of police vans.There's no racism in New Zealand, lol.

7. The main news channels have an hour set aside for news, but putting aside sport, weather, ad breaks and chimpanzee's cuddling kittens, it's 20 or so minutes of actual news. The investigative half-hour slots, taking aside the ad breaks and requisite Nanas knitting tea cosies for charity segments to get people actually watching, means 10 minutes for reflective news. Can we all now agree that this isn't working, that a workable Fourth Estate can't function with those time limitations and that the public needs to fund this because otherwise we'll get more shots in a couple of years of people stating that yes, they're voting for x, y and z because they seem nice. Bring back TV7, or something. Blah, we're all doomed.

And ps 8. Bill English was once quizzed in the corridors of Parliament on the economy. He said that we had nothing to worry about because of the Chinese market. There was jaw droppage and swearing on my part, because are you kidding? This was the governments economic way out of the global recession - piggy backing on China?!  Again, nobody picked this up, nobody said anything. Not a peep. And NZ's economy certainly doesn't have a history of massively tanking after another country stopped buying our goods in the past (PSSST, IT WAS ENGLAND). Bloody hell, NZ. Bloody hell.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review of Campbell Live's First Episode of 2013

Major props to Campbell Live last year, they did a fantastic job looking at issues such as SkyCity and gambling, Novopay, poverty and lunches in schools et al, so I was dead keen to see what they would bring to the table in their first episode last night. I was, unfortunately, a little bit disappointed.

The first segment, following an ACC recipient who was living the good life in Fiji, and by the accounts of his neighbours was routing the system, was something snapped straight out of the pages of Fair Go. We had hidden cameras, we had an out of breath reporter ambushing the no do-gooder with accusations...to be fair they have apparently written to ACC to ask how many people are receiving benefits who are living overseas so there is an indication that this story will be followed up. But I felt the real questions were why it was taking so long for allegations to be followed up by ACC - was this typical, atypical - were never addressed? This was an emotive story where we can get angry indignant, but I don't really feel like we learned anything. But yes, hopefully this is still to come.

The next story was on NZ firefighters in Australia battling the flames, or in reality, creating fire breaks. I learned that smouldering branches can reignite, that apparently it wasn't as hot as they were expecting, and that fire is bad as I got to re-watch previously screened footage of trees and homes ablaze. So much learning! Again this was strictly an emotive story where we were meant to feel proud of our own getting stuck in. Aussies were interviewed and said how glad they were of their volunteer firefighters, but they failed to get the sweet pop shot of them saying they were glad of the NZ firefighters, so that was added as a voice over by the reporter, ahaha.

What we need now is a bit more outrage, and what's better for doing that than bureaucracy gone mad. In this case it was someone who had planted two fruit trees on council property who asked for retrospective approval and was told that it would cost $1,000 for an inspection. I bet the PM denies all knowledge. Except apparently that's wasn't really the case and there was a mix-up and the fee is for inspecting retaining walls etc? Who knows what the actual story was about, but hey, outrage and close up shots of guava trees. Then there was the live cross over (wtf?!, maybe they were hoping to see the guava tree miraculously blossom?) which was completely gratuitous, weird and unnecessary but it did allow two grown men to wrestle about in the background, of which I was eternally grateful for. They should be hired to do that in all live cross overs from now on in.

So in conclusion, little bit disappointed. They were fluff pieces where you didn't actually learn anything and they were after an emotive reaction - outrage, pride, outrage. But, to give them their due there is potential with the ACC story, and it's only the first episode of many to come over the year. They bought their A game last year and I'm really hopeful that we'll get a bit more insight into issues that count.

So don't forget to send them your cat pictures where tonight Gareth Morgan will come on to talk about banning cats (not purely emotive, at all!) and we live cross back to see how that guava plant is doing.

Oh, god.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

David Round: Maoris Are Plotting to Kill You

You need kidney dialysis. You’re a regular Joe Blog i.e. not Maori. But you cannot get it, because Maoris, although less deserving of treatment on purely clinical grounds, have priority. I know! You have paid your taxes all your life so you have worth as a human being and should get dialysis. You die. Maoris have stolen your dialysis machine that you paid taxes towards! 

Impossible? Absolutely. But imagine if it wasn’t! That’s some scary stuff.  Maoris are going to kill you and the Government is letting them! Several years ago when an elderly man in Northland was ruled ineligible for dialysis - on solely clinical grounds - the Maori Council declared elderly Maori people were "taonga" and therefore entitled to treatment under the Treaty of Waitangi, which would give them priority over non-Maori. If you decide to google it you might discover that the only reference of this occurring is when I’ve talked about it, surely a sign of a conspiracy cover-up and shows that this was really going to happen.

If, then, we were saddled with a written constitution which referred to the Treaty and its alleged "principles", we could easily have racial discrimination in health care. Imagine if these “principles”, disgust quotes!, went any way to alleviate the imbalance that already exists within the healthcare system with “Maori” more likely to suffer ill health and to  have shorter lifespans. What kind of liberal poppycock would that be!

Why should that surprise us? It shouldn’t; Maori are conniving and are out to get us and destroy our way of life. The Treaty's words are now twisted to mean their exact opposite. The Treaty said Maori and settler were to be equals under the Queen's government. In Captain Hobson's words, "Now we are one people". But by the modern "principles", "Maori" are not the Queen's subjects but her "partners" in governing New Zealand. How can anyone not look at the history of New Zealand and not think that Maori and Pakeha have not been treated equally. If Maori wanted to have the Government cheaply buy or take the bulk of their land, and to live in economic and social poverty, well, that’s obviously a personal choice.

The "taonga" Maori were promised are now not just their physical property - what the word undoubtedly meant in 1840 - but anything Maori might take a fancy to. Your wife? Taonga! Your job? Taonga! Your children, your pets, and your car? Taonga, taonga, taonga! If a Maori walks on to your property and yells taonga, it is now legally theirs. 

Well, not now, but very likely in the future.

To give these "principles" (pa-tooey!) overriding legal standing would be utterly disastrous for our country, our jobs gone, our wives ravaged and our pets eaten. Yet incredibly, a racially-stacked panel (there are non-Pakehas on it!) appointed by the Maori and National parties is considering how to put the Treaty into our constitution. A legal document having legal standing and acknowledging the history of this country is preposterous.

Our present Chief Justice considers herself entitled, as if she was the head of something, to declare acts of Parliament invalid if they offend against her own extreme understanding, an understanding that is not mine, of Treaty "principles" (pa-tooey!). That is, essentially, treason. And she should be, essentially, hung. Parliament has been our undisputed supreme lawmaker for centuries, yet this usurper longs to replace our democracy with her own decrees.

Maori want to take everything that we hold dear and usurper unelected traitors like Elias will let them unless we do something, like buy a gun and build a bunker to store our supplies. Maori are a different creature to you and I, not civilised. If only our Chief Justice could be more like the judges of our day such as Prendergast who recognised that the treaty was a load of pish and nonsense and called Maori’s primitive barbarians. That’s the NZ judicial system I know and love, not this modern flim flummery.

At present the Waitangi Tribunal may not recommend that private land be "returned" to Maori ownership and what the Waitangi Tribunal recommends is in no way binding on the Government. But Maoris are involved, so you just watch. They will take your bach, make no mistake.

All this is being plotted right now. I type from my bunker. The Maoris are coming. You have been warned.

David Round teaches law at the University of Canterbury. Seriously. Jesus Christ.

News of the Day

 John Key announced that Hekia Parata would be keeping her position as Minister of Education, praising her as one of the “smoothest communicators” within the Party. 

Ms Parata was called to comment on her reinstatement. ” As I begin this next phase of my public service I stand before you weighted with pressing expectation as to the valued added targets that will be reached, exceeding past doctrines and overreaching success with the partnership of the community and education sector.” 

It was reported that Ms Parata then closed down half off the public school sector, sold the other half to private interests, and never stopped smiling the entire time. 



Prime Minister John Key was said to have fainted in a Christchurch restaurant late last night. 

He was quickly swooped up into the loving arms of his Diplomatic Protection Squad that swarms about him at all times, laid on the back seat of his new ministerial BMW, his driver then rushing him to the nearest hospital where he was attended to immediately by three specialists who spent two and a half hours cutting him out of his too tight corset that had directly caused Key’s dramatic faint. 

Key reportedly was mildly embarrassed over his fainting fit stating that he was not normally prone to “swooning like a poofter”. He was impressed though over the care he had received, though was concerned that the health sector was wildly over funded. 

“Being one of the richest people in New Zealand I would normally never set foot inside a public hospital,” Mr Key said. “This experience has made me realise that the public is assured of being attended to immediately by a large number of doctors for a substantial amount of time for relatively minor issues. While it is reassuring that the public sector is so well funded it does call into question whether it isn’t too well funded and whether the money should be redirected to fund tax cuts for high income earners, which creates jobs for middle New Zealanders.” 

Mr Key then began to choke on his own laughter and was immediately helicoptered to a private medical clinic in Sweden.