Hard News by Russell Brown

Just making it up

So the Maori Trustee Office enjoys a reprieve, apparently. In yesterday's Herald lead story, which was presumably based on somebody's actual statement, the trustee's office was one of those over which Don Brash's "knife" was said to be hovering. But it didn't go on the block in yesterday's speech. The official agency deathwatch now consists of Te Puni Kokiri, Te Mangai Paho, the Maori Land Court, the Waitangi Tribunal, and the Office of Treaty Settlements.

So was it a mistake? Or did someone twig what Winston Peters, of all people, had to point out in a press release yesterday? The relevant part:

But most alarming, is the National Party's reference in today's New Zealand Herald to abolition of the Maori Trustee Office. The Maori Trustee is a Corporate Sole, established in 1920, with over 112,000 beneficiaries, with Maori and not taxpayer money. This outburst by Dr Brash is just one more excuse for Maori radicalism.

Why would you attack what is essentially a private trust where taxpayers' money is not involved?

Surely someone in the National Party understands this and it is no wonder even the most conservative Maori are now becoming confused, concluded Mr Peters.

Who knows? It's not like National is averse to making policy on the fly on these issues. Last night on Campbell Live, Gerry Brownlee (who appeared because the programme refused to accept Don Brash's condition that those emails could not be raised in an interview) had it put to him by the host that if National was being consistent it would abolish the "race-based" Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs. Brownlee fumbled around for a while and eventually suggested that perhaps that ministry could be folded into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Sorry? Was that a policy, or did he just fscking make it up on live TV?

Another Herald story today points out that National actually now appears to be saying that it will keep a health subsidy system favouring regions with high Maori populations - which it attacked as "race-based" on its inception. But it's hard to tell exactly how National's health policy will work, because it, um doesn't have one. Just the usual vague promises to "review" everything up the wazoo.

Anyway, other people unravel this stuff better than I do. Frogblog links to a Jon Johansson essay on Orewa I, and No Right Turn says his piece. And David Slack stays so wonderfully calm.

So, yeah, what those guys said ...

And so finally the Maori Party stops pretending there is no difference between National and Labour and rules out support for a National government. Why did it take so long? And who put the squeeze on Tariana?

Meanwhile, Radio New Zealand Internet goes podcast, and audio from the RNZ debates is online. Windows Media only for now, unfortunately.

Noelle McCarthy's Brash interview from last week is finally online. It's the forestry debacle edition. Quite funny.

This is quite funny too: New Orleans mayor launches secret plan to get Bush to stop vacationing and fly back to DC to help on hurricane. Renames storm: Hurricane Terri.

Anyway, work to do: I'm in Wellington from tomorrow morning to do a little consultancy and deliver a paper to the libraries research conference on Saturday. I've never delivered a paper before, but I imagine it's like giving a speech, only with fewer jokes (I'll post the paper in hard News afterwards). I'll also spend some time at the Scanz conference, Putting Science on the Front Page. The upshot is that I'm not sure if I'll post again this week, although I'll try and keep the mailing list running to keep you up to date with the work of the other fine bloggers on Public Address.