Hard News by Russell Brown


A depressing day in court

Well, horsewhip mum of Timaru, that Joan of Arc of parental discipline, put-upon victim of the child-stealing state, etc, etc, is back in court - accused, along with her husband, of assaulting another son. You can read the particularly depressing account given in court here.

I await with interest the response of the people who have consistently depicted this woman as a hero, given that she seems incapable of running a household that is safe for chlidren. Perhaps there could be an apology for Child, Youth and Family, but I'm not holding my breath.

The extraordinary thing is that yesterday, this clip appeared on YouTube. It features the same mother (her face obscured) calling on New Zealanders to resist the repeal of Section 59, claiming "even though I have been acquitted, CYFS still say I am a violent abuser, even though I've been acquitted. They paint me as being an angry woman who beat her child. I wasn't angry, I didn't beat him, the discipline was completely controlled."

What kind of denial do you have to be in, when you make a video statement like this and have it released on the same day as a court appearance where you know there will be an account given that you and your husband punched, slapped, kicked in the kidneys and hogtied your teenage son, who was prevented from calling his birth father for help and escaped only by running in front of a passing car?

Fortunately, there was a witness this time. And in light of that fact, Dave Crampton will surely want to revisit the version of the same incident he faithfully relayed from the parents last year, which differs markedly from the account given in court. It is well past time to stop believing anything these people say about their actions towards their "brat" children.

If this woman had not been acquitted under Section 59, then perhaps she and the hubby wouldn't have had the chance to become involved in this latest sorry incident. As a campaigner for Section 59, she makes a compelling argument against it.


Seeing as everyone else is touting it, I invite you, rather belatedly, to vote for Public Address in the 2007 People's Choice NetGuide Web Awards. You'll have to hurry, because votes close on Sunday. I think we'd be contenders in (obviously) best blog site and, for Public Address System, the "best new site or relaunch" category. You could also drop us in Best Media Site if you were of a mind to. Ta.

I happened to be in at Radio Live yesterday when a group representing private equity investors came in for a look-around. That Canwest's New Zealand assets are likely to be sold to such investors isn't a secret - Brent Impey has made it clear to staff that that's the likely path. But I gather this tour group was only one of several to pass through. It must be like being a tenant in a house that's on the market.

Still, that's clearly better than being one of those dispatched from TVNZ yesterday. Although Bill Ralston's expression of outrage is a little ironic, given that the early months of his tenure are chiefly remembered for the wielding of the chainsaw.

Ralston today bemoaned the destruction of "a good quality public broadcaster who gives you a news and current affairs service that you can believe and trust," but I'm not sure it's wise to go too far championing the credibility, and behind-the-camera skills, of a programme like Sunday, which has recently, and justifiably, fallen afoul of the Broadcasting Standards Authority for unfathomable efforts like this. I feel sorry for the people who've lost their jobs, but I'm holding on the panic reaction for now.

Elsewhere: a fascinating LA Times poll round puts Hilary Clinton ahead of Barack Obama among likely Democrat voters (and among black voters), but well behind Giuliani and only just ahead of McCain in head-to-head choices amongst all voters. But Obama beats all other candidates in head to heads amongst all voters!

No surprise corner: No Right Turn is better informed than the Herald editorial writers on the status of climate change policy.

New on TVNZ ondemand, a 1985 documentary looking back at 25 years of New Zealand television.

New Bill Bailey stand-up video.

Because you haven't seen it for a while, Sid Vicious performing 'My Way'.

And, finally, RIP Kurt Vonnegut: here's the video of his Daily Show appearance.

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