Hard News by Russell Brown



I buy odd stuff at second-hand shops. I like the small, printed things: pamphlets, leaflets and small books. So the chaotic shop on Abel Smith Street, near Real Groovy, proved a considerable diversion to me. I plucked four things from the knee-deep detritus of house clearance (and yeah, at 10 bucks the guy saw me coming):

The official brochure for the New Zealand International Trade Fair 1964 fairly bustles with optimism and faith in hardware. A spry-looking Jack Marshall blesses events, and on page 57, Dr Daniel Yu-Tang Lew, Chinese ambassador to New Zealand, touts Taiwan as as "the gateway to the China market of the future. Trade with Taiwan is investment in the freedom of China tomorrow while enjoying the fruits of commerce today."

But my favourite is page 55, which features an advertisement for this tasty bit of kit:

* * *

Do want, historically speaking.

Also, cyclostyled onto pale green paper, a leaflet for "Values Party candidate for Karori 26 year old industrial relations lawyer BRIAN DREADON." He bears a handsome droop moustache, and he writes by way of introduction:

By the time I am Mr Marshall's age New Zealand will be in another century. At the present rate of development the world will then be so overpopulated that natural life supporting systems will start to collapse. Our natural environment will be unrecognisably scarred and polluted. Most of our best rural areas will have been devoured by urban growth and industry. Auckland will cover one of the largest areas of any city in the world. In a country of such growth and change we will probably not even know our neighbour.

Among his party's solutions is:

Indirect Government measures to reduce the birthrate and stabilize population at a constant level. This is known as Zero Population Growth (ZPG) and occurs when the number of births roughly equals the number of deaths.

Government measures to reduce the birthrate should include sex education in schools, increased availability of contraceptive advice and facilities, and liberalised abortion in the first three months of pregnancy.

It appears that Ian Wishart was right all along.

The party also proposes a cutback in economic growth, equal pay for women, measures to "humanise" jails, and "partial decentralisation to ease the rigid and uninspired control of education from Wellington." The leaflet does not have a date, but if it's from the 1972 election, that would be the one in which the fledgling National Business Review urged its readers to vote Values.

Brian can also be seen in this video of The Amazing Frank E Evans Band in 1969 (colour film of the band playing in Albert Park starts at 4.18):

Ah, jug bands. Were they the white dreadlocks of their day? I thought I'd see what Brian was up to now. Still fighting the good fight in his way, it turns out. He's here , sans moustache, as the midlands regional manager of the Legal Services Agency.

An hour earlier, at a community fair in Northland (that Saturday was the day I learned that Northland is a suburb of Wellington) I picked up another gem: Freedom of information and Open Government published in 1978, published in 1978 by the Hutt Valley branch of the NZ Federation of University Women. It's really rather good, not least for a section of case histories covering everything from 'Secrecy in the development of the Health Department computer system' to 'Secrecy surround the selection of a film censor'. Such was life before the OIA.


I had heard that the Herald's tireless media hound John Drinnan was making urgent enquiries this week as to whether Auckland supermayoral candidate Len Brown was interviewed by Guyon Espiner on Q+A because a conflict of interest was feared if Paul Holmes did the job. I think it's vasty more likely that that Espiner did it because he is the programme's main political interviewer, but Drinnan's sticking with his story:

However, TVNZ is risking the credibility of its premier political programme because its host has not declared his intentions regarding standing for the Auckland Super City mayoralty.

Only TVNZ would allow a journalist to host a television debate when he is considering being a candidate.

Q&A producer Tim Watkin said TVNZ had not asked Holmes his intentions for the mayoralty and did not intend to.

It was some time before he was obliged to put his name forward and Q&A would certainly change its approach if he did.


Holmes - who provided political training for Don Brash before the 2005 election - probably has not decided yet whether to stand.

I confess, I have personally failed to declare whether or not monkeys are flying out of my butt. Indeed, I have made no statement whatsoever with respect to monkeys flying out of my butt. But if it should prove to be the case that monkeys are in fact flying out of my butt, the situation will be reassessed.


Last night's Media7, featuring the lively anti-smacking discussion, Tracey Barnett and John Dybvig on US healthcare reform and Bevan Rapson on the downsized Metro is here.


Real Groovy has a free download of the song 'Slow Down' from the David Dallas debut album, Something Awesome. Smoove.

I have two double passes to give away to what looks like being a pretty special show by Pitch Black at the Control Room on Saturday September 12. It also features DJ Automatic, Pig Out, North Shore Pony Club and what I am informed will be something much more than your average multimedia production. Pitch Black play at the fairly oldster-friendly hour of 11.30pm.

If you'd like to be in for that, hit "reply" and email me with "Pitch Black" as the subject line line. [The problem with the "Reply" link is now fixed. I wondered why no one liked me this week ...]

And on Hype Machine, another remix (this time it's Kanye) from disco drum-and-bass dude High Contrast, who also turns out to be a film nerd with a very readable blog.

And, indie kids, Fred Falke remixed Grizzly Bear's 'Two Weeks'. Pretty good!

It being Friday, post links as your heart guides you in the comments. (Remember that for YouTube clips, just paste the URL and it'll embed itself.) Have a good weekend …

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