Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: What I'd really like to know,

    I thought John Key looked tired on breakfast T.V. this morning. And - though I can't believe I am saying this - the petty, hectoring and patronising style of Paul Henry during the interview made me feel sorry for Mr.Key.

    Yes, he did look tired and yes, that was a predictable exercise in ritual indignation, little children with cancer and all.

    The clip is here if anyone's interested.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What I'd really like to know,

    I fear the government is still labouring under the impression that New Zealand is a rural nation ... when about 86% of the population lives in urban areas.

    Yes, but it took a trip to Asia last year to bring home to me how bloody big Fonterra is, and what it's doing to open new markets, especially in terms of creating products targeted to those markets. It is genuinely important.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What I'd really like to know,

    Oh, and this headline should give ammunition to those who believe the Herald is systematically downplaying the Labour government's achievements.

    ;-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What I'd really like to know,

    According to Morning Report, Fonterra, Zespri and PGG Wrightson have already signed up.

    Ah, thanks. I stayed in bed an extra 20 minutes this morning and missed that, but I think it was the most useful coverage I've come across.

    It's here if anyone else missed it too.

    Craig, if Helen Clark had all the details worked out at this time, I suspect you would be tempted to criticise her for for being a control freak.

    I thought she provided a fair amount of detail, and as much as you'd expect at this stage of proceedings.

    Interestingly, John Key has got his facts wrong again (thinks the fund will provide funding from interest only - it will actually provide funding from interest and principal) and has called it a "gimmick"

    That's a bad flub, and his subsequent refusal to come on Morning Report to discuss it just makes it worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Universal Intercept,

    Isn't that a Jimmy McGovern script?

    It happened to a friend of a friend, in a California town. Madness.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Universal Intercept,

    i'll never be able to urinate in a public place again

    Count your blessings. There are US states where taking a leak down an alley at night can get you on a sex offenders' register.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Universal Intercept,

    Rich, I don't think using them as proof is the idea. It's using them for clues.

    I'm pretty sure they were used as evidence in the Wellington case O'Connor was talking about.

    And the cops certainly (and understandably) wanted to use them in the Te Qaeda cases -- in fact, they were a substantial part of the leaked affadavit, and made for some of the best reading in it. But those intercepts were conducted under proper warrants, after certain activities came to the attention of the police.

    It's the "clues" thing I'd be wary about. You don't want to set up the facility for the authorities to just go on fishing expeditions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Call it what you like,

    My condolences to Finn's partner and family too. What can I say but repeat what others have said? I suppose that the repetition si an affirmation of community...

    I've been thinking about this: in this case, the medium and the community are the same thing. I think it gives a much better account of the sad news than the stunted syntax of a mainstream media story. It's a better, more fulfilling marker.

    If kids do this on MySpace or Bebo, the news media starts shrieking about internet suicide cults. But we're grown up, so it's alright.

    And Sophie: I think your grace humbles us all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Call it what you like,

    This is the letter the Herald journalists' chapel sent to APN CEO Martin Simons last week:

    Dear Mr Simons,

    I am writing to express the concern of the Herald Journalists Chapel over the "clarification" published in yesterday's Bay Report newspaper.

    We understand that the item, regarding comments attributed to John Key in the December 20, 2007 edition of the paper, was inserted on your instructions.

    It is not necessary here to traverse the facts of the original news article or the need or otherwise for the clarification.

    Our concern arises from your management interference in an editorial decision of a newspaper. Our concern is heightened by the fact that your action was on behalf of a political party. We clearly have no objection to your conversing or corresponding with politicians. Our concern is that you have acted as the conduit for an approach which ought properly to have been made to the reporter and/or editor/s concerned. It might have seemed a small matter since the paper concerned is a local one. However, the potential effect is to portray all New Zealand newspapers owned by APN as subservient to political interference. The risk is that readers will perceive the Herald, which has previously carefully guarded its political independence, as open to National Party influence.

    We would appreciate hearing your view on this matter and ask that in future you respect the tradition of editorial independence.

    We are circulating this letter to other journalists at the Herald and within the union because of the widespread concern among journalists about the matter.

    Simons has not yet responded. The word is that Simons personally worked out a clarification with Key and told the Advocate/Bay Report editor-in-chief Laura Franklin to publish it.

    This really stinks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Call it what you like,

    I figured I wouldn't need to venture on the apparent systemic failure in Finn's case, and that people would pick it up.

    It used to be so much easier: we'd just lock people up, then lock 'em up again if they got a funny look in their eyes. And we'd stigmatise them for good measure. It was only we decided that people with mental health issues should, where possible, play a role in the community that it got harder.

    I can't remember all the details (including the cases that led up to it) but things were worse before the Mason Report in 1996. The National government, to its credit, followed Mason's recommendations to bring some order to a system that wasn't working and pitched in a good amount of new funding. But these initiatives do start to wear out -- much in the same way that special education has in the past 10 years.

    A friend of mine worked for a long time at the ready-response end of the system. It seemed like an awful job to me -- not just having to walk in to people's worst traumas, but then having to find beds for acute admissions. It wasn't unknown for a nurse to have to accompany an acute patient on a commercial flight to another centre, where a bed was available. I'm damn sure I could never have done it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

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