Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

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

99 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 Newer→ Last

  • Julian Melville,

    NatRad this morning was asking why Helen Clark had suddenly got stuck into Alexander Downer after supposedly keeping quiet for some time. Maybe the answer is at least partly that with Downer virtually guaranteed to lose his job in the upcoming Federal election, she can get away with it?

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 182 posts Report Reply

  • DPF,

    Air NZ did tell people - it was in their monthly magazine a couple of months ago.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Air NZ did tell people - it was in their monthly magazine a couple of months ago.

    Yeah, I know, every man and his dog knew - but it does actually seem that the ministers didn't.

    It'll be interesting to see whether Air NZ follows through on its promise to take Investigate to the Press Council over some of the claims in its story. It was a bit of a Wishart classic: a potentially good little scoop ruined by the editor's tendency to go completely, mentally over the top with conspiracy theories.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18514 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    Regarding the whole Rudd - strip club story, I think it's going to backfire.

    When I lived (briefly) in Darwin in the mid 90s, at least 70% of pubs had lingerie or strip shows on a Friday lunch time (no, I never went to one). That suggests that a reasonable proportion of Australian blokes don't have too much of a problem with a) strippers and b) having a few drinks.

    Surely these same blokes are quietly thinking 'Good onya, mate" about the whole Rudd thing? I'm not defending him, or what he may or may not have done. But if it came up that John Key had popped in to Showgirls on a night out a few years ago, having had one too many, do we think it would ruin National's poll ratings?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 238 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    So all Ministers out of touch with the Airline they use every week?
    NZ sent troops to Iraq - so what's issue?

    The sex industry & psychology go hand in hand - they're all f*@ked in the head.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Our senior ministers were in a purely domestic tizzy about being kept in the dark over a flight to Kuwait that everyone else seemed to know about. It was Downer who raised the stakes, surely.

    Well, yes, you would say that - and you're wrong. Hard as this may be to accept, Air New Zealand (which is not an SOE or Crown entitly, BTW) entered into a lawful and legitimate charter contract with the ADF. I'm not seeing anyone worth taking seriously suggest anything to the contrary.

    And like it or not (and I guess most PA readers would go for the latter), Australia is a sovereign nation whose government doesn't require a permission slip from the Beehive to conduct its foreign policy - and deploy its armed forces - as it sees fit.

    Also worth pointing out that Iraq is another sovereign nation whose internal politics - such as allowing members of the ADF to be within their borders - doesn't require the approval of the New Zealand Government.

    To be quite blunt, if anyone has dragged the Australian Government into New Zealand's domestic politics, I suggest Clark stop pointing the finger at Downer and take a hard look at herself.

    Maybe the answer is at least partly that with Downer virtually guaranteed to lose his job in the upcoming Federal election, she can get away with it?

    Two observations, Julian: You'd think Clark, of all people, would treat polls with extreme skepticism. Second: do a flip test on that statement, and tell me it doesn't stick in your craw. I believe both New Zealand and Australia elect their respective governments, not have them selected by a consortium of pollsters and should be treated accordingly.

    But if it came up that John Key had popped in to Showgirls on a night out a few years ago, having had one too many, do we think it would ruin National's poll ratings?

    No, but when Key and Clark start campaigning for the 'holier than thou' vote at places like this, I think it would be quite legitimate to raise an eyebrow.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    BTW, as a blog courtesy - hat-tip for the link in the final par. above to Paul Litterick @ The Fundy Post.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    Perhaps all this blustering (now focusing on Australian conservatives for goodness sake!) from the Labour Party is just them trying to create a smoke screen for their loses in the polls. I see another article in the Herald today warning them not to keep mentioning John Key's wealth. Labour sure sounds like a Party in it's death-throws for now.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Surely these same blokes are quietly thinking 'Good onya, mate" about the whole Rudd thing? I'm not defending him, or what he may or may not have done. But if it came up that John Key had popped in to Showgirls on a night out a few years ago, having had one too many, do we think it would ruin National's poll ratings?

    If there was a political strategy behind the Rudd story, I suspect it was surely to try and fix in Howard's moral conservative base, which might have been tempted by Rudd's avowed (and apparently genuine) Christian belief. He's been explicitly pitching to conservative Christians lately - making sure they cast a moral vote, rather than an economic one.

    Howard announced his government's preposterous new $189m "cleaning up the internet" policy during a live webcast to 700 conservative church congregations.

    My Listener column on the internet fear package, and why it makes no sense, is online now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18514 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The funny thing is, if an equivalent story to the Rudd one had broken here, it would not have centred on any alleged moral failing, but on the fact that this was a taxpayer-funded trip...

    No, I think folks might have been wondering WTF the leader of an opposition party was doing getting shit-faced with a tabloid hack in a titty-bar. Not looking at any politicians much closer to home... Nope.

    As for that simply bizarre e-mail from Paul Campbell. Well, perhaps we can have Air New Zealand draw up a public no-fly list of people that might make their planes "a target for terrorists". Think it though, Paul - if Salman Rushdie ever visits New Zealand, should come on a rowboat? And I must tell queers of my acquaintance to stop flying ANZ to Sydney for Madi Gras - I'm sure they'd hate the though that they're putting you and your family at risk of being murdered by homophobic lunatics.

    Seriously, Paul, what a shabby, shabby argument.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And like it or not (and I guess most PA readers would go for the latter), Australia is a sovereign nation whose government doesn't require a permission slip from the Beehive to conduct its foreign policy - and deploy its armed forces - as it sees fit.

    But I don't think there was any suggestion that wasn't the case. Did Winston Peters call in the Australian High Commissioner for a telling off? Did he ban Air NZ from taking ADF contracts? No. It was Downer who decided he'd throw his weight around.

    What our senior ministers were upset about was being blindsided over something that, given that Air NZ is largely owned by the New Zealand public, has political ramifications.

    On whether it matters: well, it clearly matters to frequent flyers like Paul Campbell. A lot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18514 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    Ahh...interesting. I haven't been follow events across the ditch enough to see that Rudd had been waving his Jesus flag. Changes the context a bit.

    Hard as this may be to accept, Air New Zealand (which is not an SOE or Crown entitly, BTW) entered into a lawful and legitimate charter contract with the ADF.

    I do think you have a point Craig, but does Potential Terrorist A know that Air New Zealand is not an SOE or Crown entity? I think that's what's causing the concern for many people - these are planes with our country's name plastered across their fuselage, regardless of who owns them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 238 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    I find that snippy email about feeling safer a bit odd when the guy is flying through LAX. Does anyone seriously think terrorists actually give a shit what Air NZ does? Most of the NZ security apparatus obviously didn't, which is why they didn't tell, so why invent risks?

    And I'm not sure if hiding behind the curtains in fear of what terrorists might do is showing great international or moral leadership.

    Downer quite rightly had a go at NZ for its attitude. BAsically HC;s and PG's posturing took it beyond a domestic issue and made it some sort of thought crime for a public company to actually do commercial work for the govt our closest neighbour and ally. (You might remember them, we regularly exercise and cooperate militarily with them and HC likes to play the old ANZAC card when it suits her.) And that reaction, in my view, could only be seen as casting aspersions on the integrity of Australia and its military.

    IF Air NZ were supposed to follow govt foreign policy in their commercial decisions why are they flying to Fiji?

    and now HC is acting like a kid who has had her toy taken - the one she planned to whack her sandpit neighbour with.

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Ahh...interesting. I haven't been follow events across the ditch enough to see that Rudd had been waving his Jesus flag. Changes the context a bit.

    He's a social-justice Christian, rather than a moral-right Christian. This ABC interview is quite interesting.

    It's a follow-up to Rudd's October 2006 essay for The Monthly, Faith in Politics, which concludes with this paragraph:

    This essay began with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who went to the gallows at Flossenbürg concentration camp on 9 April 1945, just two weeks before the camp was liberated. Hitler had personally ordered the execution of all those who had been charged with conspiracy against him. Bonhoeffer was hanged, together with his brother and two of his brothers-in-law. He died a Christian pastor, committed social democrat and passionate internationalist. I believe that today, Bonhoeffer would be traumatised by the privatised, pietised and politically compliant Christianity on offer from the televangelists of the twenty-first century. Bonhoeffer's vision of Christianity and politics was for a just world delivered by social action, driven by personal faith. Bonhoeffer's tradition therefore acts still as an eloquent corrective to those who would seek today to traduce Christianity by turning it into the political handmaiden of the conservative political establishment. Bonhoeffer's Christianity was, and remains, a more demanding challenge than that.

    I would venture to say he's closer to what-Jesus-would-have-done than Howard is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18514 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    On whether it matters: well, it clearly matters to frequent flyers like Paul Campbell. A lot.

    Well, Russell, I don't particularly like the record of the Chinese Government on human rights,the treatment of religious and ethnic minorities, labour and environmental standards, copyright and intellectual property standards, that it executes more of its citizens every year than the evil Americans have managed in the last three decades, or their shabby harassment and intimidation of journalists and politicians in this country, That matters to me a lot, too - whether that's an argument for Air New Zealand to stop carrying Chinese citizens or cargo is quite another.

    Sorry, but I stand by my comment that if anyone sucked the Australian Government into our domestic politics it wasn't him. And Downer is perfectly entitled to respond in the manner he did - because I don't think Clark would be very impressed by having (say) our presence in Afghanistan dragged into political debate in Australia.

    Look Russell, I'll put it quite cynically - perhaps there's a long game being played here, and Clark thinks a combo of 'Iraq' and evil scum Aussies is going to be much-needed poll boost at home, and Downer is (politically) irrelevant. Maybe she's right - but, really, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that this is another massive over-reaction that came out of a typically over-amped Investigate beat-up.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Personally I think the whole Air New Zealand troop carrying saga is a total cock up on the part of labour.
    Surely it would have been better to rebuff Nationals attack over this by asking National if it was suggesting government interference in business was a good thing? No laws or international agreements were breached. It was just another opposition beat up and the knee jerk reaction of Labour has done more damage than good. If it ain't damaged don't go into damage control.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    He's a social-justice Christian, rather than a moral-right Christian.

    Should I give him a cookie? I'm a get-the-ballot-box-the-hell-out-of-my-church Christian who wishes Arnold Vinnick wasn't a fictional character. Watching Tony Abbot and Rudd trying to prove who's the "better" Christian was a sight only fit of bullemics - because it sure made me want to vomit. We talk a lot about the separation of Church and State; it might be time to have the kind of conversation some evangelicals are in the US about separating the soapbox and the pulpit.

    A very wise priest once said to be that Jesus didn't have a party rosette pinned to his chest, and politicians (who are prey to the same moral failings as everyone else, regardless of party) could do with being reminded of that.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    "I would venture to say he's closer to what-Jesus-would-have-done than Howard is."

    I think I agree with you Russell if you are not saying that christianity doesn't have a moral component, only that the moral component often gets in murky when brought into poiltics. However, there is a danger for any of us to compartmentalise our faith according to the 'institution' we are dealing with. I do think that Rudd's christian principals should have alerted him to the moral dangers of 'titty bars'!

    Another 'Bonhoeffer-esq' example is William Wilbeforce, who has been adequately portrayed in the current file, "Amazing Grace".

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Well, Russell, I don't particularly like the record of the Chinese Government on human rights,the treatment of religious and ethnic minorities, labour and environmental standards, copyright and intellectual property standards, that it executes more of its citizens every year than the evil Americans have managed in the last three decades, or their shabby harassment and intimidation of journalists and politicians in this country, That matters to me a lot, too - whether that's an argument for Air New Zealand to stop carrying Chinese citizens or cargo is quite another.

    Could you get any further off-topic? It's not about carrying Chinese citizens, 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.

    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, not at the Australian government.

    Again, it was Downer who hauled in another country's high commissioner for a telling-off, slapped a ban on Air New Zealand and leaked it to journalists -- not the reverse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18514 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I do think that Rudd's christian principals should have alerted him to the moral dangers of 'titty bars'!

    Possibly. But I think the essay makes it quite clear that Rudd sees the moral dimension of Christianity to lie with our attitude to the poor and downtrodden, not with obsessing about sex.

    There was another opinion piece in one of the Aussie papers saying the Rudd had steered clear of "moral issues" in Parliament. What the author really meant was that he hadn't wasted his time fulminating about gay marriage.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18514 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    And the reason he dragged him in Russel? Likely because he felt New Zealand had made a very firm dig at the ADF's integrity and suitability as a customer of ANZ. I had the very same reaction last week and wondered how the Aussies would view it. Downer understandably said ‘well, if you are too good to take us there, we don’t want to go with you anywhere- sucks boo to you’.

    HC and PG said their concern was driven by ANZ not conforming with govt policy on support for the war. Well we have policies on a whole range of things, yet that doesn’t seem to be a concern as regards ANZ and Fiji (who kicked out our High Commissioner) which seems a salient example given that Fiji and its govt are highly reliant on revenue from our tourists and HC has been very outspoken as to the legitimacy of their govt and our view of their actions. Hell, we have imposed sanctions on Fiji – what sanctions do we have on Iraq or Australia?

    Any embarrassment Labour felt on this is largely self induced due to their selectivity and feral reaction.

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    "But I think the essay makes it quite clear that Rudd sees the moral dimension of Christianity to lie with our attitude to the poor and downtrodden, not with obsessing about sex."

    Yes. Jesus had mountains more to say about 'the poor and downtrodden' (and money) than sex. I do, however, think personal morals can make or break a society. History shows though that morals are difficult to legislate...but forgive me for getting off topic!

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 238 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    But if it came up that John Key had popped in to Showgirls on a night out a few years ago, having had one too many, do we think it would ruin National's poll ratings?

    Looks like Key is falling over himself to point out that he goes to strip clubs too.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 833 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Our senior ministers were in a purely domestic tizzy about being kept in the dark over a flight to Kuwait that everyone else seemed to know about. It was Downer who raised the stakes, surely.

    How can it possibly be a purely domestic issue when it is a flight to Kuwait from Australia? These are not part of New Zealand. Our government is 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. Helen Clark is damned lucky Kev Rudd likes to visit NY tittie bars or this could well be making Downer look good defending Aussie troops against her implied barbs.


    PS: Paul Campbell if you are concerned about terrorism do not get on any plane into LAX that is an actual target of terrorists, as opposed to Air NZ that is possible target for terrorists.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.