Hard News by Russell Brown


A Strange Surprise

I gather I'm not alone in finding the LTSA's "Surprise" TV ad on new drug-driving regulations a little puzzling. A group of young people leave a burger drive-through only to be stopped at a police checkpoint.

The driver, who seems unimpaired, passes a blood-alcohol breath test, only to be told by the officer: "However I now require you to accompany me to a police station or other such place for the purposes of a compulsory impairment test, blood test or both." Bummer.

But why? Is the LTSA actually trying to give the impression that the new law will be used by police officers in an arbitrary and capricious fashion? That officers just will enact what amounts to an arrest without the bother of arresting someone because they feel like it?

To be fair, the purpose of the campaign is to scare young men, and the fewer of them there are on the road on drugs, the better. And there may be an unsignalled left turn earlier in the ad. And they are, well, happy (which is not, so far as I am aware, against the law).

But I wonder if its target market will also take the message that the cops can do what they want, and whether that's healthy in the long term.

I've been a fan of Sticky Pictures' zesty stylish arts programme, The Gravy, and I'm pleased to see it return next on TVNZ 7, with a new format based on themed episodes.

You can actually see the first episode, Taranaki, from today on TVNZ ondemand, and I gather the producers are well keen for you to do so. Like Media7, The Gravy has derived momentum from its online audience, and your visit to view will doubtless be duly noted.

Also: last night's Media7 is up on TVNZ ondemand too. I've been struggling a bit this week with a head-cold and springtime gout (yes, I am on the medication, thanks for asking), but the assembled talent made it a pretty good show. Gary Gotlieb and Jock Anderson duel over name suppression; The Press's Gerard Campbell, David Dallas and Mr Radio Wammo discuss video gaming.

And longtime Dom Post financial commentator Terry Hall gives a moving interview about the often unseen damage done by the finance company failures. One clear point to emerge is that the litigious nature of some of the people involved in that sector has quite effectively blocked and frustrated reporting on their businesses.

Next Friday's Orcon Great Blend Christmas Party is filling up quite quickly, but there are still a few places left for the Ignite presentations from 6.30pm, and more for the party in general from 7.30pm. Get in there today if you want to see and hear the presentations. I'm well pleased that Epic Pale Ale has joined Matawhero Wines as a pourage sponsor: it won't be free, but the price will be friendly.

And with that, I'd best get my bag packed for Wellington …

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