Hard News by Russell Brown


Public Address Radio

We have a radio show. It is called, with impeccable logic, Public Address Radio, and it will be presented by myself and David Slack at 2pm on Saturday afternoons, starting this week, on Radio Live.

It's produced by the Down Low Concept, the creators of Off the Wire and Pop Goes the Weasel. Part of the idea is to draw talent from the blogosphere: David Haywood, Graham Reid and Craig Ranapia will be making regular contributions and you'll also hear from, Keith Ng, Idiot/Savant of No Right Turn, Hadyn Green of the Dropkicks podcast and others.

The show will feature packaged stories and interviews, which we'll unbundle and make available as podcasts, while Radio Live will have the whole thing available online. We'll get a bit bloggy on it. It might take a week or two to find our feet, but I think we already have some good stuff in the can and I think you'll enjoy what we're doing. We have 10 weeks' funding from NZ On Air.

I'm in Wellington at the moment getting a few stories. My producer Ryan and I were taken out on the town on Saturday by the Wellingtonista, with Jo Hubris plotting an itinerary that began with Tupelo, moved on to Scopa for pizza (where I interviewed Enzo about the impressive toilets) and wound up at Mighty Mighty, where Mark Cubey was having a few drinks to mark his departure from producing Kim Hill's radio show, and Voom were playing. Well, I wound up. A number of crew members pushed onwards into the evening, and Jo, as is her habit, topped off the night with a swim in the harbour.

Like Annette King, I am not in the habit of taking the Sunday News, but the Hummingbird does make it available for patrons, so I was able to read what will probably be the tabloid scoop of the year yesterday.

There is so much out there that it was always likely the pasts of Shipton and/or Schollum would make headlines again, but I didn't expect something so explicit and damaging at this: a sex tape with commentary whose total effect is to make Shipton (if he didn't already) look like a dangerous, sadistic weirdo. Worse, it clearly implicates serving policemen, including some on duty, and it didn't happen 20 years ago but six. I wonder if Clint Rickards will be repeating his character reference for Shipton?

The Herald on Sunday, had to content itself with a shitty little lead story revealing that Mark Burton, whose murder of his own mother made headlines six years ago, has been working at Auckland Zoo as part of his rehabilitation. It's not a flash job - literally shovelling shit - but it seems to have been valuable to him, and he was closely supervised at all times.

The organisation Burton did the work for Second Chance Enterprises, provides employment opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities, so the zoo management would have known that people with mental health problems would have been on site, but not specifically that Burton was there.

Burton was also allowed by the Mason Clinic to cycle to work unaccompanied. He did so via my neighbourhood, but if his father - who, of anyone, took the brunt of his son's awful deed - thinks he is well enough to work in the community, and that the job is helping him, then I'm not going to argue. It's a damn shame the zoo management has allowed itself to be spooked into terminating his employment on the somewhat spurious-sounding grounds that it has "a policy of not employing high profile people." That's a damn shame.

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