It's ironic that in some ways the quickest way to get your name published is to ask for (or better yet, get) name suppression. On a busy day in the number one courtroom at Auckland District Court it's easier to just get lost in the mass of humanity (or should that be inhumanity...) than to draw some bored to death court reporter's attention.
At any rate, Russell's post is one of the most sensible things I've read in the media on the subject. Celebrity sells certainly but is publication of the name in the public interest or is it just something that the public are interested in? If a leading moral campaigner is convicted of a reasonably serious offence then that's something that the public have a right to know about. The same is also true of those who seek public office - we have a right to know the true character of our (un)elected representitives. On the other hand, the son or daughter of a celebrity or politician or even of a morals campaigner are just who they are and can't help being who they are. To put it another way - it's not their fault their parent's famous. Yet the mainstream "news" media will swoop on this like a B-grade tabloid.
Ultimately, the complaints about special treatment for celebrities is somewhat tautologous - media interest in them derives from their status and absent that status there would be no interest and, in turn, no reason or justificaiton for suppressing their name. Forget about "creating" a special class - it already exists independent of the justice system.
One last thought - despite the Herald's crusade, it's notable that they haven't sought to challenge Judge Paul's decision. Given this, it's only fair to ask why not and whether the reason is because the advice they were given was that they'd most likely loose?
Come February, I'll been away from New Zealand for 2 years. It doesn't seem like that long and I don't know for sure when I'll be coming back. That's not to say i don't miss NZ - there are something I really miss and others that I'm glad I'm distant from.
Everyone over here always asks why I moved (well the Brits do - Kiwis and Aussies already know). I'll tell them three things - professional experience, money and travel - not necessarily in that order! to be honest, I like living in London - it has a lot to offer. At the same time though it's not home and never will be. A friend from back homse sent me some photos of his section from down the line - nice mountain vistas and a stream flanked by silver fern fronds. I put them up on my wall nect to my desk and my workmate who sits next to me looked at them and said "Anthony, look outside" - it was a typically grey London winter day - "what are you doing here?"
Moving was in some ways a means to an end - I felt my career was stagnating and, like many young kiwis before me, I felt a need to spread my wings. As with those who have trodden this well worn path, I've shown that Kiwis can compete on the world stage.
What frustrates me at time about NZ isn't so much the parochial nature of the country (e.g. headlines in the Herald like "Old Man found Safe") but rather what might usefully be described as perceived pessimism. We (or at least the media on our behalf) have this attitude that it isn't good enough for NZ to just compete with much larger countries than us on equal terms, but instead it's necessary for us to beat them. We bemoan social problems while at the same time failing to realise that our social problems are minimal compared to other countries'. here in Britain, stabbings in the south (of London) and shooting in the north is almost to be expected. In NZ an armed police officer is a rarity - rarer still are indisrciminate stabbings and shootings.
What I also notice living in Britain, is how thins country is only now just beginning to grapple with issues which were done and dusted decades ago in NZ. We're always keen to try and learn from our bigger "friends" without even beginning to realise how much they could learn from us.
Overall, the best thing NZ has going for it at the moment is focussed and decisive leadership. Sadly for Labourites, this is something that Britain is sorely lacking at the moment.
When I come back to NZ, I know that my UK experience will be looked upon highly. This is certainly justfied given that the UK is a much larger jurisdiction and I have opportunities here that I would never be able to get back home. That's not to say though that NZ doesn't have mcuh to offer returning ex pats. we need to realise that not only are we more than capable of competing on the word stage, many Kiwis before the present generation of ex pats have already done just that - often to great acclaim. People like Lord Cooke of Thorndon, Baron Rutherfurd of Nelson, Peter Jackson and Sir Keith Park are amongst those who deserve to be celebrated more than they are.
NZ needs to stop thinking about what isn't working and start thinking about contrsutive ways to fixthese problems. We also need to appreciate just how much of a mark our country and its representative have made on the world.
Finally, I should also add that the ironichumour in Flight of the Conchordes takes on a whole new twist when viewed as an ex pat!