Hard News by Russell Brown


Oh Dear ...

I see National's Judith Collins has had another bout of political Tourette's: this time attacking the Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro for her support of the Section 59 bill.

Collins issued a statement declaring Kiro to have "lost the plot" and advising the commissioner to "pay heed to the Children's Commissioner Act of 2003 and get on with her main job of dealing with complaints relating to children, and the monitoring of Child Youth and Family."

For a lawyer, Ms Collins displays a bewildering inability to read the law.

The intent of the 2003 Act was precisely to formally expand the Children's Commissioner's brief into advocacy, with particular emphasis on assisting New Zealand to fulfil its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. See, in particular, Section 3(b) : describing the Act's purpose as to "re-enact the Commissioner's functions with modifications that are consistent with the Commissioner's primary role as an advocate for children."

Collins really needs to stop insulting independent agents of the Crown and get a grip on what she's doing.

A rather better performance from a National MP - a dazzlingly good one, in fact - was to be had from the party's new arts spokesman, Chris Finlayson, on Frontseat last Saturday. In the past National has tend to chuck the arts portfolio at anyone who wasn't quick enough to get out of the way, but Finlayson looks like he not only knows what he's talking about, but cares.

You can see the video of that interview and the rest of the show here. I think Frontseat's looking really good in its new timeslot this year, but thank God (or Rupert, I guess) for MySky. Mummy and Daddy have better things to do at 8am on a Saturday than watch television.

Canadian-based expat New Zealander Richard Graydon confirms in our forums that Dr Tim Ball, the "expert" featured in The Great Global Warming Swindle is indeed continuing to tout bogus credentials:

I am a New Zealander who has lived in Winnipeg since 1972. From 1995 until 2006 I was a member of the Board of the University of Winnipeg and served as Chair of the Board for 2003-04.
Dr. Tim Ball was indeed a Professor of Geography at the U of W. I concur with the fact that at no time was he elected a Professor Emeritus. Since his retirement he has consistently denied the global warming phenomena and is considered to be a crank. Living on the Prairies I have seen the effects of global warming in our much milder winters, much reduced snow fall and dry summers. Dr. Tim Ball is really without honour in this community where he taught for so many years.

The great gay TV controversy has entered a new chapter with the announcement of the official title and likely content of TVNZ's new "obs-doc". It's called The Outlook and will be based only partly on observation of the daily lives of staff of the gay newspaper, Express, with a magazine component filled out with a "young programme makers' initiative" under which five-minute films on GLBT themes will be solicited for screening, with the producers extending screen credits and a "small fee" to the new film-makers.

TVNZ commissioner Jude Callen answered the question everyone's been asking in the GayNZ forums earlier this week: the owners and staff of Express are neither paying or being paid to appear in the programme. Callen also described the new reality format as "moving beyond the magazine style programmes of the past." I think there may have been some refinements to the format in the days before the announcement …

Waj's Virtual Nostradamus Super 14 picks are up for the week. I (largely) let Waj guide me last week and did rather well. If the Blues don't win this year with the dream draw they've had you have to wonder why.

And, by popular demand, new Colin: cat in a bag. I do wonder if stardom (21st most-viewed animals and pets video on all of YouTube on Tuesday!) is going to Colin's head a bit. Having spent recent days lurking in his bag and pouncing on any moving thing that strayed past, he was oddly reticent on camera. He's also refusing interviews.

PS: The response to my casual offer to people who might be interested in joining emusic.com to let me do the tell-a-friend thing was such that I'm probably going to have more free downloads than I know what to do with. So we're running some emusic ads now. These are cost-per-sale ads, so we only get paid if someone signs up. Most of the others you're seeing at the moment are cost-per-click, so we get paid if you click on an ad and have a squizz. The ad-serving system behind them should be prioritising the ads that get the most clicks. If you do click on one and get an "expired" message, please let me know.

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