I grew up in times when state housing was in almost all suburbs – “pepper-potting”. It was tough being a poor kid at a prosperous school, but if you weren’t the only one, it wasn’t too bad.
Importantly, those schools were well-resourced and you got to see some of how “the other half lived”. And learn some of the cultural stuff around being middle-class – the language they use, the customs. Even, at a young age, networking. In short, going to a middle-class school was one way to boost upward mobility. Although without middle-class parents or income, it’s merely a start – but better than nothing.
Pepper-potting was what let John Key go to the same school as me, Burnside High. There was state housing scattered through the nearby suburbs and I think the result of that was good for everyone at the school.
But I recently had a discussion with a couple of Māori friends about pepper-potting and was quite shocked to discover they had a very different view – they felt it had broken up their communities and cut them off from their culture. So it is complicated sometimes.
As for those NIMBY wankers in Epsom, the only time I was seriously bullied at school for being “different” was at Epsom Normal Intermediate School.
Interesting. You’re not the first one I’ve seen mentioning that school in a negative context.
And I got to go to a kid’s birthday party where the house had a swimming pool AND sauna.
Heh. Yeah, I remember going to the properly rich kids’ houses …
Meanwhile, professional shithead Mark Richardson:
"I've worked hard all my life and I've put my nuts on the line. I've tried to optimise every opportunity, I screwed myself to the wall to get into the eastern suburbs of Auckland.
"I don't then want [Phil] Twyford coming in and going 'we'll put that, that, that, that, that, that' without at least consulting me. I have a right to have my house and have my moat and protect that."
That is ACT policy isn’t it?
Radio NZ really only has the weekend early morning story slot for kids (insofar as I am aware) – and nothing to match Dick Weir’s lost lamented evening show Ears (1988-96) – Kids imaginations need to get a little ‘Weired’ – or the really great school holiday programmes I remember as a kid in the ‘60s, presented by Gavin Yates.
I don’t think RNZ’s Wire caters to young kids.
Yeah, The Wireless is for young adults/millenials. There's a decent archive of children's stories on the RNZ website and I do tend to think the way to reach kids these days is online and interactive. In some ways it's akin to the issue faced by Music 101 – which is consistently good radio, but relies on a different audience to the day-to-day RNZ National listener turning up at the appointed time.
I'd forgotten this Newsroom report backgrounding Carol Hirschfeld's departure, which made it clear quite how strongly Griffin in particular defended his executive:
Going over a record of the select committee underscores how strongly Griffin and Thompson backed Hirschfeld and her initial story. Fourteen minutes of the 50 minute meeting were devoted to discussing the meeting in excoriating detail, with Griffin in particular getting increasingly frustrated with Lee’s persistent questioning. Each time, he defended Hirschfeld.
“How important is it to remain independent?” asked Lee.
“It’s essential. It's enshrined in our legislation and our ability to conduct our news operations and make our editorial decisions free from any kind of interference is pivotal,” responded Griffin.
“Your vision for RNZ+ will be similar independence?” Lee asked.
“Absolutely,” said Thompson, “In my time as CEO in four years I’ve never had one whiff of editorial interference.”
“Talking about independence should shareholding ministers, in your case did the Minister of Broadcasting, Communication and Digital media have any influence over content or news?” Lee continued.
How dare you ask that question?
Indignant, Griffin responded, “Why would you ask that Melissa?”
“We ask the questions, Mr Griffin, you answer them,” interrupted National MP, Christopher Finlayson, another member of the committee.
Lee then went on to raise the Hirschfeld-Curran meeting with Griffin who said that he would be worried if the meeting occurred “in the nature” Lee put it, but not in the context he then believed to be the case. We now know Lee’s version of events to be correct, meaning Griffin would be worried.
The questioning went on. Griffin became increasingly frustrated, saying he did not see it as “sinister” and that, “in a perfect world” serendipitous meetings would probably not take place, but Wellington, small and compact, was not a perfect word.
“That’s the way it is and you know it,” he said, by then noticeably frustrated.
“It was not a meeting!” he added, when Lee repeatedly asserted that it was.
And the conclusion:
The episode was embarrassing for both Griffin and Thompson who repeatedly defended Hirschfeld, delving into the minutiae of her story and appearing exasperated at Lee’s line of questioning. Their reactions suggested Lee’s questions were facetious. The record now proves her to be correct.
In the corridors afterwards, National Party figures could be heard describing RNZ as “the broadcasting wing of the Labour Party”. RNZ guards its independence closely. This protects it from influence under National and Labour Governments. This latest episode shows they might not have guarded it closely enough.
I really can understand how pissed off they both were when the truth emerged.
A couple of people have directed me this Facebook video, in which Curran basically says what we already know: that she's been told to go away and come back with a plan, which will in turn will be provided to her by her ministerial advisory group, which as far as I know has yet to even talk to stakeholders.
Both her key stakeholders have a good grasp on their own needs, and she's had every chance to find that out. But she's buggered that up. She ends up by generically promising high-quality news and current affairs and more services for Māori and Pasifika, the disabled and children, all from the unallocated $15m.
Which is fine, but I get the impression she literally doesn't know what the two organisations are already doing. I guess she'll find out more when she officiates at the launch of Hei Hei, TVNZ and NZ On Air's new children's media platform this Friday.
It would be sensible to wait until the board under the new chair Jim Mather is up to speed. Hopefully there will also be some public broadcasting enthusiasts among new board appointees.
Jim Mather's appointment is a great one. But making RNZ wait even longer to end a nine-year funding freeze, while it closes down regional offices and curtails services, is not good at all.
If the minister really couldn't come up with a plan in time for the Budget, the proper response would have been to give RNZ and NZ On Air $7.5m each to meet their immediate needs and said "see you next year". Punting it all off to an advisory group formed for a completely different purpose to make a decision some time this year is an awful outcome for everyone.
He could have done everything in a diplomatic way but he chose to go nuclear.
Griffin’s only direct role in this was very late in the piece, when he was told that the ill-advised meeting was in fact pre-arranged and told Paul Thompson – which was a proper course of action, given that, because they’d been lied to, both of them misled a select committee and would need to go back and correct their statements.
By that point, Curran had herself misled a select committee and then eventually had to admit under questioning in the House that the meeting happened. She was still insisting it was a chance meeting and it was three more weeks before her office contacted RNZ to say the meeting had actually been pre-arranged. All this happened before Griffin contacted his CEO. Then Curran tried to dissuade Griffin from going before the committee to correct himself.
A Broadcasting minister needs to understand that RNZ is vulnerable to being made a political football, and do things by the book. This minister acted in a way that hopelessly politicised everything and damaged RNZ along the way.