Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: This just in: Sky over Tasman Sea not falling

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    Jeremy, thank you for the best laugh I've had in ages...

    One of Britain's leading conservative newspapers has sprung to Mr Rudd's defence.

    The Daily Telegraph says the MP's excursion to the Scores club in 2003 is nothing to be ashamed of.

    It said striptease was invented in New York and as such is a major cultural attraction that should not be missed.

    Golly... someone should tell the folks at The Torygraph that the Ba-da-Bing is in Jersey, and its been a few years since you you could find a coochie dancer or porno theatre within coo-ee of Times Square. Popular culture lies again. Damn that prude Giuliani - I guess I'll have to settle for a Broadway show instead!

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    Well, even though I'm a fairly rusted on lefty, I'm largely with Craig on this one, ham-fisted overreaction from Labour to what should have been a relatively politics free commercial non-issue.

    That said, on principle I just can't stand being lectured to by that red-cheeked pompous smirker Lord Downer of Baghdad (the man who once saw fit to lecture Nelson Mandela on human rights issues and saw nary a glimpse of irony in his actions).

    And while John Key and Kevin Rudd are at it, I have to confess I went to a bar in Patpong Road once, but thankfully I can't remember anything about it.

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Can people please stop posting illogical statements like:

    shouting that it is objectionable and wrong to transport Australian troops to Kuwait. Inferring that the Australian troops are objectionable material that must be kept off of our planes

    Please.
    the govt may have moral issues about profiting from the iraq war. they are certainly trying to play NZ's lack of involvement for political advantage, and this has been used to attack them on such a stance: it's doubtless a poltical game.
    but if you "infer" anything about labour's attitude to australia's sovereignty, troops, right to conduct it's own foreign policy, etc, you've kicked off the shackles of logic to howl at the moon.
    imho ;-)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    That said, on principle I just can't stand being lectured to by that red-cheeked pompous smirker Lord Downer of Baghdad (the man who once saw fit to lecture Nelson Mandela on human rights issues and saw nary a glimpse of irony in his actions).

    I confess, that's probably the basis of my response. Downer is a smug, unpleasant, political bully-boy.

    There's no denying the cock-up element on this side of the Tasman, but, again, it was Downer who raised the stakes and made it known to journalists. Clark's bite-back is political, but I can understand why she wouldn't want to be patronised by Downer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    I just can't stand being lectured to by that red-cheeked pompous smirker Lord Downer of Baghdad (the man who once saw fit to lecture Nelson Mandela on human rights issues and saw nary a glimpse of irony in his actions)

    he was also the negotiator who bullied east timor into limiting its sovereign boundary, and thereby grant Australia the lions share of the oil in the timor straits.

    the man is a scumbag.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I really don't understand why the government got up in arms about Air NZ flying troops to Kuwait, and them not being informed. There's a fair few companies in New Zealand directly, or indirectly involved in supporting weapons systems, technology, or operations directly or indirectly in Iraq. If the government doesn't want them doing that, then they should ban all of them, or none. Or, buy them up, rather than owning 80% and expecting the owners of the other 20% to miss out on business.

    Personally I'm all in favour of businesses not being allowed to support the war in/on Iraq, but how about a little consistency?

    It's absolutely a domestic issue however. The government never said that they didn't want to carry Australian troops, and they never said that the Australians did anything wrong. They said that Air NZ, and MFAT did something wrong, involving a contract with Australian troops, to Iraq. You could replace 'Australian' in the story with 'American' or 'British', the important part of the story is Air NZ, MFAT, and Iraq, Downer shouldn't have bothered opening his mouth.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Eric Olthwaite,

    it's a matter of taking on a military charter flight in the prosecution of a war from which our government wants to keep a clear distance.

    In the words of David Brent "obviously not". The NZDF has been deployed to Iraq, and as Craig says Australia and Iraq are both friends of ours.

    But the real issue is ministers being blindsided, and all the ire last week was directed at the officials who didn't think to mention it,

    Why should the officials mention it? Iraq and Australia are both our friends. Military charters happen all the time. No-one tried to hide anything. There were no directives from the government that there were to be no charters to Iraq or anything really. Air NZ is not an SOE and so forth.

    Like Craig I struggle to see what the issue is here or where anyone other than Helen has done anything wrong. If I were a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I can't see anything in this situation that would give it a red flag as something I should inform the minister about - maybe that's why I'm not a bureaucrat :-).

    Bill Hicks said of the first Gulf War that it was very entertaining and kept our gaze off domestic issues, I think that is what is happening here as well. Those editorials about the Democracy Rationing legislation were starting to bite.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    Kyle

    The plane didn;t go to Iraq so you could equally leave that word out as well and substitute it for Kuwait, or Dubai, or Bahrain, or Beirut. I think the inference has been drawn that NZ was saying the Aussies were going to be involved in something so terrible that we didn't want a part of it.

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Though most of your WAN article was good Russell. This sort of filtering is an interesting response (not sure if I agree with it in principle), but the practical result doesn't look too good.

    I thought this paragraph was a bit disingenuous though:

    I was unable to find any record of a single sexual assault initiated via internet contact by a stranger in Australia, but the government’s own crime surveys indicate around 70,000 sexual assaults annually in the real world, almost all by people known to the victim. And yet the government’s funding boost for police teams to detect grooming is nearly three times the entire $16.5 million founding budget for its National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault.

    The vast majority of work nation-wide on grooming will be done from this government funding - probably a section in the federal police I'm guessing. After all, tracking internet grooming doesn't need to be done locally. 'Ordinary' sexual assault in the real world will be primarily funded at the state level by ordinary state police - both in specialised offices, and with ordinary detectives investigating sexual assaults etc.

    I can only guess, but if you totalled up the funding spent nationally on policing real world sexual assaults, and compared it with funding spent on 'grooming' the former would be many many times the latter.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The plane didn;t go to Iraq so you could equally leave that word out as well and substitute it for Kuwait, or Dubai, or Bahrain, or Beirut.

    I don't think anyone believes they were going to Kuwait, and no further. They were going to Kuwait to deploy elsewhere, it's my understanding that was Iraq.

    That's irrelevant though. The question is, should the government get huffy because one NZ business has had some involvement in a war, and not apply those same rules to other NZ businesses?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    John Key did go to a strip club, but he was the most junior member of the group, and just went along with the majority. He did not actually support going to the strip club himself, but supported their right to go to the strip club, and anyway it was a long time ago and he doesn‘t recall. Today he says he would not go to the strip club and insists he has no plans to join his old friends in the Coalition of the Willies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1332 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The vast majority of work nation-wide on grooming will be done from this government funding - probably a section in the federal police I'm guessing. After all, tracking internet grooming doesn't need to be done locally. 'Ordinary' sexual assault in the real world will be primarily funded at the state level by ordinary state police - both in specialised offices, and with ordinary detectives investigating sexual assaults etc.

    I take your point but this is additional funding (the Australia police already do a lot of monitoring of online discussion) for a problem that, in relative terms, barely exists.

    But let's do another comparison: the new $40m education campaign to protect children from online sexual predators, part of the same "cleaning up the internet" package, is still more than twice the money the federal government allocated to the National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault.

    Given Australia's serious problem with sexual assault (compare their trends with ours), it's hard not to conclude that the Howard government is seeking political advantage by demonising the internet, when much more serious problems lie elsewhere.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, and also, just did a Goggle News search.

    Total NZ stories on the trans-Tasman spat in the past 24 hours = 24

    Total Australian stories = 5

    Total NZ stories today = 8

    Total Australian stories today = 0

    We seem a lot more exercised than they are.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    . . . the man is a scumbag.

    Downer's the scion of an old Liberal political family. In his youth he was patted on the head by Menzies, a form of symbolic anointing which gives him Holy Idiot status in Howard's Ming-worshipping world view.

    Such figures are not limited to the right of Australian politics. Kim Beazley, despite spending decades proving his incompetence, was cut vastly more slack than he deserved on account of his family history.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Has anyone named the dude who updated Air NZ on wiki?

    During the Air NZ v Ansett battle a few letters to the editor praised Ansett and they got a bit of deserved mileage from it.
    An Air NZ manager sent a memo encouraging staff to write bogus we love Air NZ letters to the editor. The reaction was one of indignance to think our ethics were as maluable as his.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Meanwhile, The Press has picked up (naturally, without attribution) on Rob O'Neill's scoop about an Air New Zealand employees editing the article on the ill-fated Erebus flight -- and rather missed the point.

    It's about time someone took this sort of thing to the Press Council; it's straight out theft of intellectual property, and should be nipped in the bud.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    During the Air NZ v Ansett battle a few letters to the editor praised Ansett and they got a bit of deserved mileage from it.

    I was living in Australia at the time, and the media view there was interesting on the Ansett sale/Air NZ collapse.

    While there was a predominant Australian commentatariat view that seemed to enjoy Air NZ's death spiral and liked to paint it as a simple case of kiwi hubris and biting off more than they could chew, there was a credible counter view that Air NZ were guilty of no more than naivety, and the real culprits were Ansett (never saw a different airplane they didn't buy) with their hidden staff and maintenance costs, News Limited, who won big at the negotiation table with Air NZ, and most damagingly, the Keating Governments Ministry for Qantas protection racket, who, when welching on a deal to let Air NZ into Australian domestic competition, pushed Air NZ into an ill-suited romance with Ansett.

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    I must admit I thought our government's reaction lacked a little class. And a certain sense of good timing. If I was an Australian foreign minister facing an election cycle I know I'd be less than pleased.

    "If they tried this up north, we'd be out with guns."

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4122207a10.html

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Sorry I didn't specify the battle early 90's when Ansett hosties were all drop dead georgous (much like me at the time - how times change).

    I'm told the buy out could have worked, if the civil aviation body in Oz enforced saftey requirements in the privious five years.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    you've kicked off the shackles of logic to howl at the moon.

    In politics "our" people are more important than "other" people and logic is not an important criteria. If our troops are kicked to touch by a foreign government we consider it a hostile action by that foreign government. But apparently if we kick troops of our property it is an internal matter not concerning anybody else.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Clark's bite-back is political, but I can understand why she wouldn't want to be patronised by Downer.

    Then again, Russell, I will be more than understanding if Downer just happens to release notes of the meeting where he briefed Clark about the invite to speak at the National Party conference two months before the event, and which raised no concerns on her part -- you know, the briefing she now denies ever took place. I don't like being patronised either; but I like being called a liar even less.

    To be honest, I guess you've got a point - and I've expended more meat RAM on this than it really deserves. But I just have to wonder if Clark's misread the domestic mileage to be gained from pouring petrol on a political bushfire that was dying down nicely over the weekend. Watching Clark and Downer try to out-butch each other is moving from tragi-comedy to the plain tragic.

    And while John Key and Kevin Rudd are at it, I have to confess I went to a bar in Patpong Road once, but thankfully I can't remember anything about it.

    I think I can top that, Richard - was at a stag party last year, where there was a stripper. Ended up getting in touch with my inner prude on the deck, where I shared a cig with her (extremely butch) minder and we marvelled at the mysterious creature that is the straight man. Just don't get the appeal of watching a complete stranger polish a pole with their arse cheeks.

    Anyway, I guess we should be thankful that Hone went walkabout in the Outback rather than doing fieldwork on minority representation in the *cough* adult entertainment industry.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I confess, that's probably the basis of my response. Downer is a smug, unpleasant, political bully-boy.

    and an arrogant wanker with very much the white man's burden on his ample shoulders if seen from Indonesia. His strutting superiority and condescension towards the lessor souls here (as seen from his side of Canberra) is often commented on.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    and an arrogant wanker with very much the white man's burden on his ample shoulders

    Heh - the Scottish phrase I liked was (used in reference to a similarly dislikable twerp - Rob Andrew) "He's got a face like a smacked arse".

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I confess, that's probably the basis of my response. Downer is a smug, unpleasant, political bully-boy.

    Our own international statesman is hardly a humble envoy. And in twelve months time we'll probably have Murray McCully representing our country.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Kennedy,

    John Key did go to a strip club, but he was the most junior member of the group, and just went along with the majority. He did not actually support going to the strip club himself, but supported their right to go to the strip club, and anyway it was a long time ago and he doesn‘t recall. Today he says he would not go to the strip club and insists he has no plans to join his old friends in the Coalition of the Willies.

    You forgot to mention that he kept his eyes closed

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 225 posts Report Reply

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