Hard News by Russell Brown


The arrogance of the Labour government was laid bare last night after it was revealed that the Prime Minister shamelessly allowed her official car to be hit from behind and shunted into another car on Auckland's Ponsonby Road.

Act leader Rodney Hide dismissed claims that the laws of physics precluded Helen Clark from preventing the accident.

"The Prime Minister follows such laws only when it suits her," said Hide. "I am sure that had a member of her Cabinet been travelling in the front car, she would have had one of her cronies waive the so-called Newton's Law. This is typical of the double standard applied by this corrupt government.

"And I think the public has a right to know why the Prime Minister was not in the car following her car, making sure the driver applied the brake in a timely fashion."

The real story is almost as silly in parts. Last December, Clark's official car was the middle party in a nose-to-tail on Ponsonby Road, after a following car carrying diplomatic protection squad officers rear-ended it and shunted it into the car in front. That's pretty crap work for an official driver.

But Hide is making more of it. He told the Herald that a woman in the front car said that the PM's car didn't stop:

"They explained [to the women] that they were part of the VIP motorcade and they had to deposit and take care of their VIP," Mr Hide said the woman told him.

Uh, so the PM's minders somehow had this conversation from the window of a moving car? Or did they stop, get out and speak to the occupants? In which case, how exactly is this not stopping?

At any rate, the DPS car, with its crew of burly, well-trained men, stayed at the scene to offer assistance while the other Crown car took the PM around the corner to her engagement and then came back a few minutes later. Isn't this pretty much what you would expect to happen? Was the Prime Minister supposed to jump out and perform CPR or something?

The police spokesman said: "The information I have was that all vehicles stopped and the motorists involved were asked if there were any injuries. There were none and the Crown car continued on from the scene. The VIP protection car remained."

Hide says he has spoken to the passenger in the front car who said the driver suffered whiplash and "significant damage to the rear of her car". Well, you get that in traffic accidents. If the civilian driver or her passenger have been in any way poorly served since, let's be hearing about it. The at-fault driver may yet cop a careless driving charge, but it's hard to see how that's Clark's fault.

Otherwise, I guess it's a story, perhaps even a below-the-fold front page story on a Thursday. But what exactly is Rodney Hide alleging here?

Meanwhile, on 95bFM this morning, I'm pretty sure I heard Don Brash describe Nick Smith's actions in contempt of court as "trivial". Someone really should quote him on that.

I thought Smith acted dreadfully in that case, but I never thought he should lose his job (although his electorate secretary thought he deserved a by-election anyway, to restore his "mana"). And it seems evident that if David Parker is prosecuted under the Companies Act for an offence for which very few members of the public are ever prosecuted and which the Acting Registrar of Companies has compared to a traffic infringement - even if he is convicted and discharged - he will suffer a grossly inordinate punishment in being ejected from Parliament altogether.

Of course, if the registrar decides not to prosecute, or if Parker is prosecuted under a lesser section of the act, we all know what that means: creeping Stalinist police corruption.

David Slack would know more about this sort of thing than me, but various people have picked up what appears to be the new favourite device of Bush's speechwriters: kicking the bejesus out of straw men. It's quite an interesting - and, thus, far, highly effective - rhetorical technique.

Uroskin notes the issue that promises to tear Serbia and Monenegro apart: who gets to represent their state at the Eurovision Song Contest this year.

New blog! Mark "Monsta" O'Brien has launched dailycartoon.co.nz. Go look.

And today's video treat, thanks to Public Address reader Christian. How do we stop kids sharing software? We'll talk to them in a language they understand: rap! See Don't Copy That Floppy, by the illin' Software Publishers Association, circa early 90s.