(assorted Nat-hacks and "commentators" delete all their previous tweets ...)
Long before she became an obscure National MP, Melissa Lee was the presenter and producer of Asia Dynamic, and later Asia Down Under.
In the 1990’s Asians were invisible on NZ television. Raybon Kan used to do a comedy routine complaining that he had to be a doctor because his one and only role model was Grace on Shortland St. But there was that one allocated slot for Melissa Lee’s programmes, on a Saturday or Sunday morning, when Asian communities could see themselves (and “Asian” was not just lazy shorthand for Chinese or Korean, but a range of ethnicities from across the continent, whether long-standing NZ families or recent arrivals). They had a few scoops too: once they featured an up-and-coming singer called Bic Runga.
The programme had a small audience, certainly failing the Hosking Test. But its value was incalculable. Somebody had to be doing this first, and Melissa Lee was. It was, of course, funded by New Zealand on Air*.
(the name has changed over time, but in short: by the taxpayers and broadcasting fee-payers)
your support for Brash
Mark, if that's how you're going to misrepresent me (and everyone else who criticised Jan Thomas) then there's no point engaging with you.
No. Assume less, please.
And I don't think giving Don Brash and his views the biggest boost since he left Parliament qualifies as "meaningfully resist". More like "stupidly assist".
Chris Gallavin exercises his right to free speech at Massey University and criticises the decision made by his boss. (FWIW, I completely agree with him).
Simon Bridges exercises his right to free speech at Parliament to ... um, not criticise Judith Collins, who is not his boss.
Having freedom of speech is important. So is having the courage to use it.
Also, it reduces hospitality to a tactical move. Which is a different thing altogether from a welcome, and ultimately gets treated as such.
Thanks Martin, I appreciate that. I don't really want to add more to the forest of commentary though, especially as Southern and Molyneux have now gone, and (almost) all NZ media have moved on, at last.
I went down to Aotea Square for the anti-racist event on Friday. I am a tame non-protestor, generally preferring to shout at the telly than stand up and march. A drop of rain would usually be enough to extinguish my fire.
But this was worth supporting, particularly as it had morphed into a celebration (by the time I left home the racist rally was confirmed as cancelled). I didn't do anything more than mill around for a while, on the fringes of the crowd, but it was time enough to observe the event as it was - not as portrayed in soundbites and clickbait columns.
The overriding impression was of peacefulness, indeed a complete absence of fear. The police stood around, looking bored but approachable. There were no shields, batons, tear gas. The "rentamob", or whatever term of abuse the angry want to use, was thoroughly non-threatening, and the cops didn't need to tell anybody to behave, not even to blow on the pie.
There were speeches and waiata, humour and heart, as everyone exercised their free speech in a public place (no, it's not hard to do, Don). But what really struck me was how everybody else in and around Aotea Square was just going about their business, on a pleasant, spring-like evening. Meeting friends, having coffee, cheerfully oblivious to the Extremist Threat To Society that was gathering in front of them. There were AUT students celebrating graduation, taking family snaps under the archway. There were the Hare Krishna devotees, entertaining, loud and harmless. I saw two Muslim women in conservative attire, each with small children, bothering nobody and being bothered by no-one. Passers-by saw rainbow flags and signs in Te Reo, lefty placards and assorted piercings, and nobody fled to the other side of the street. Sharia law or Stalinism were clearly on hold.
This is why Southern and Molyneux, and their apologists or advocates, have got it so wrong. The absence of fear is what they fear. The Canadian visitors showed no grasp whatsoever of today's Aotearoa-New Zealand. In fact, they showed contempt for it (Southern's parting shot was to say that her NZ homework was now "useless"). Yes, we have plenty of problems, including home-grown bigots. But I think we can keep muddling our way towards a better future without inventing a false present.
It was a good weekend.
Some terrific work there, Russell (& co).
Specifically on the legalisation referendum, I think the politics of this is fascinating. Here in PA World (or even Shane Reti’s world) we might like to envisage an informed debate by reasonable people, but experience suggests that a referendum encourages a good deal of unreasonableness too. In that ‘other world’, of Newstalk ZB and the AM show, it is axiomatic to link the Greens with “wacky baccy”, as Pavlovian a phrase as “PC gone mad” or “Treaty nonsense”.
National distancing themselves from that sizeable chunk of their base would be very welcome, and might finally bury those prejudices. But it might also provoke a conservative counter-reaction, and I haven’t seen much indication so far that Simon Bridges would face that down, in the way that Key did on smacking, for example.
“We supported the idea, but this wasn’t the referendum question we wanted, ours was better, the government rejected it, so unfortunately … ”. Le’s hope we don’t hear those words, some time in 2019.
The test of National's good faith is a simple one: what would now be happening if National had remained in government after the 2017 election? Imagine Prime Minister Bill English, with or without the support of NZ First, advocating for their new bill. Imagine Cabinet minister Simon Bridges insisting on it.