Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Debate like it's 2008!

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  • Shep Cheyenne,

    pg 132 of the report.

    NZers are feeling safer in the streets at night.

    Those scared of the Dark:
    1992 36%
    2004/5 30%

    6% of total are not scared of the dark any more but even better 20% of those who were scared of the dark have done away with their night light now.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I'm not defending everything he's ever said or done, or even the Green's position on trade agreements - all I'm saying is that, best I can tell, he has a genuine and admirable commitment to human rights internationally. And I'm pretty sure that that is the motivation for his current actions.

    Certainly the guy likes to "stand up strongly" for his principles but good lord, asking Cullen:
    "How many cases like that of Ye Guozhu, sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment for his opposition to forced evictions in Beijing associated with construction for the Olympic Games, and subsequently tortured while in detention, would it take for him to reconsider the April signing of a preferential trade agreement with China?
    is one of the more facile and insulting questions I've come across. Cullen's response was equally insulting and deplorable but I don't blame the guy for getting his back up at insults like that.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1722 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Russell blogged :

    ... very affluent countries such as Switzerland, Ireland and Iceland ...

    I wouldn't classify Ireland as "very affluent", in fact, I don't think it even warrants an "affluent" (unless you're comparing it to the world average, rather than relative to New Zealand). It is definitely not in the same league as Switzerland !


    David Haywood wrote:

    To all intents and purposes the definition of news journalist has now simply become: "One whose job is to retype press releases".

    So instead of calling them "reporters" we should call them "retypers" ?


    David Haywood also wrote:

    Maybe Public Address should be handing out a "Complete Fucking Bullshit" award to the worst case of bad journalism each week (of course, we might have to give it a more acceptable name...

    You could be right there. According to Wikipedia's Bullshit page :

    Bullshit is often considered a vulgar word, and in the U.S. and New Zealand, it must be censored from over-the-air radio broadcasts.

    The "Complete Fucking Bovine Scat" award anyone ?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 427 posts Report Reply

  • Jonty,

    <Yes, I didn't mean to imply he wasn't a god guy, but the Greens' approach to China as a whole is generally very negative, especially on trade.>

    ...and I suspect we may all feel the same once we see the disaster that will transpire for NZ after the signing of the FTA.

    Katikati • Since Mar 2007 • 101 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    It's awesome

    I'm not so sure Graeme, that test was pretty easy. I correctly counted 13 passes made by the white team, without problem. I might even have spotted the moonwalking bear first time 'round too - if that had been asked. But I was only asked to count how many passes were made by the white team.

    Still, I've had to do sillier tests when applying for jobs.

    But the moonwalking bear did make a good metaphor for cyclists. I notice the bear was not wearing any reflective clothing, just black fur, whilst intermingling with a swirling mass of black. Still, I suppose it's okay to be camouflaged if you're a bear. Not so good for cyclists.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    is one of the more facile and insulting questions I've come across. Cullen's response was equally insulting and deplorable but I don't blame the guy for getting his back up at insults like that.

    You clearly haven't watched question time very often. That's relatively tame.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6221 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    is one of the more facile and insulting questions I've come across.

    Listen to question time much? It's the exact format National constantly uses on crime or health or pretty much anything; and to my mind a bit more justifiable.


    FWIW you can, as usual, read the question time transcript on Scoop. Although it was I think during the general debate (which is to say, after withdrawing and apologising for the initial remark) Cullen tabled the article in question (it hasn't been tabled already?).

    Some time later Locke heard about it and made his extended and anguished personal explaination. Cullen responded by explaining that he hadn't said Keith had supported mass murder, he said he'd supported Pol Pot. Charming.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Snap!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Listen to question time much?

    Ha, no I don't. But that doesn't change the nature of either statement. I just think they both came across as insulting a$$holes (yes yes all politicians etc etc) and surprised at how 100% of the focus has been on Cullen's retort.
    But I suppose the "seasoned political observers" are simply used to that type of rubbish and were only piqued when there was a different nature of rubbish in there...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1722 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Oh and funny you link the Q&A transcript - started reading that yesterday but almost gave up on the "patsy" intra-party questions. Again, realise they're always there but sheesh they're nauseating!

    Was impressed to see bFM make leaders questions though!

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1722 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Haynes,

    "just as Close Up's elaborate contrivance to compare Clark and Goff as student protesters with the pair of them as government ministers 30 years later was irrelevant."

    Didn't catch the Close-up contrivance -- I generally only watch news and current affairs on the box -- but I can clearly recall being chastised by said Goff in the mid-1970s for wearing a Mao badge. (Yes, rather jejeune of me.) He was absolutely correct then, and pretty much always gets it right now. Not like Cullen, clearly.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    How many cases like that of Ye Guozhu, sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment for his opposition to forced evictions in Beijing associated with construction for the Olympic Games, and subsequently tortured while in detention, would it take for him to reconsider the April signing of a preferential trade agreement with China?

    So Ye Gozhou wasn't jailed for his politics, or tortured?

    Or we should just accept silently that our prosperity depends on ignoring that China is a fascist state of the first degree?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4484 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I just think they both came across as insulting a$$holes (yes yes all politicians etc etc) and surprised at how 100% of the focus has been on Cullen's retort.

    Wait, Locke uses question time to draw attention to human rights issues in China, which is a bit of an issue right now.

    Cullen plays game by saying personal stuff about Locke, which he knows he's going to have to withdraw, and avoids the issue of our engagement with China.

    I know who I thought came out of it looking more like an asshole.

    Maybe if politicians treated the debating chamber less like a sandpit, they'd get better questions.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6221 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    On the subject of bicycle theft, in 1950s Vietnam, making bicycles into bombs by stuffing the frames with plastic explosive was a popular activity. I guess that would have had a substantial effect in deterring people from stealing your bike?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4484 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    If Locke had asked "is the minister aware of the case of Ye Gozhou and does he wish to make comment on it" etc then all power to him. I would applaud any highlighting of such atrocities.
    Equally, I would be interested in questions regarding what consideration of human rights abuse the government makes when entering into any deals with other countries, particularly free trade.

    But when he asks "what's the number of torture and illegal imprisonment cases before we stop the free trade deal", then that's insulting. It's clearly the case that no Govt or sane human being links them, yet here he is implying that Cullen is happy with one or two torture cases, but would draw the line at 10. Insulting.

    Comments like "so it didn't happen" and "we silently link our propserity to fascism" are equally ridiculous. There are ways of arguing the merits of free trade with countries of poor human right records without emotional hyperbole. It's the anti-smacking style of argument all over again.

    Maybe if politicians treated the debating chamber less like a sandpit, they'd get better questions.

    Completely agree, and I hope it's clear I deplore the nature of response Cullen gave as well.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1722 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    subsequent to a release from Victim Support

    If it was - and it certainly looks like it was - said release doesn't seem to have been widely distributed. It's not on their website.

    </grizzle>

    I'm starting to feel like Ministers are more and more avoiding Questions they could easily answer, and often preferring (if mostly on policy) to abuse the questioner. Like it's a matter of principle.

    Considering that lowering the tone will only alienate people - people generally considered unlikely to be right-leaning voters, that's sad.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But when he asks "what's the number of torture and illegal imprisonment cases before we stop the free trade deal", then that's insulting. It's clearly the case that no Govt or sane human being links them, yet here he is implying that Cullen is happy with one or two torture cases, but would draw the line at 10. Insulting.

    No government or sane human being links torture and illegal imprisonment with free trade?

    Umm, I think quite a lot of human beings link free trade and human rights. As have governments, frequently. And still do.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6221 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Why is it "ridiculous" to suggest that we silently (or otherwise) link our prosperity to fascism.

    Do the Chinese jail, enslave, and torture people?

    Do we sell them lots of milk products and similar?

    Do they in turn sell us coveted consumer items at a much cheaper price than a country without slave labour could?

    Now, this situation may be inevitable. If we had to sell our commodities in democracies and buy our products from countries with acceptable employment practices, then we'd probably all be down to watching telly on that 10-year old 19" from TradeMe.

    But I don't see what's wrong with accepting the tradeoff.

    Finlandisation?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4484 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Locke welcomed the arrival of the new government in Cambodia in 1975, but so did many other people, and other governments

    and they were right to do so. the tragedy was that the "new stable government" rapidly went downhill under a huge weight of paranoia and dogma.

    for those who need the background, the previous, generations-stable government was "bombed into the stone-age" by a zealous and self-righteous nixon.

    the khmer rouge offered something like stability to a country being progressively, and deliberately, destroyed.

    thankfully, the vietnamese intervened again in 1979 and ousted the khmer rouge.

    crazy, crazy days. and the usa was to blame.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    and, what about the Coddington Award for Creative Writing

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Like I said - anti-smacking style of debate.

    I was commenting solely on the way Locke worded his question - to imply that at a certain number of people tortured, Cullen would say "oh right, that 100th one really put the nail in that trade agreement. was happy with 99 though".
    It was "ridiculous" Rich to respond with the implication that I support the linkage of prosperity to fascism when all I did was question the nature of his wording.

    It seems you all assume that I instantly disagree with Locke's position on China's human rights position, or even that we should ignore the nature of a countries human rights record when dealing with them on other matters. I don't. I think it's all valid. I just expect them to do it in a critical, balanced, grown-up manner which unfortunately seems to make me Mr Naive Innocence in the political world.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1722 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    For those currently ranting online against China, in most cases itd mean giving up their computers and sitting at home in the nuddy.

    True, it'd be hard to find electronics not made there, but there isn't quite the same problem with clothes. Clothes made in NZ, Europe etc are much more expensive, but quite apart from the ethical issues, they'll be better made, last longer and look better. I'd rather have one $300 shirt that feels good, looks sharp and lasts for years than three $100 shirts that you'd have to throw away after a year and look nasty anyway.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I believe Trelise Cooper is having her kit made in China now. I'm told the price hass dropped markedly.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    On the topic of media uselessness, there's a good article by John Lanchester in the LRB on journalists' increasing reliance on press releases here. It's written from a British perspective, but the issue's equally applicable here.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    to imply that at a certain number of people tortured, Cullen would say "oh right, that 100th one really put the nail in that trade agreement. was happy with 99 though

    But the whole pseudo-argument *is* that it is all a question of degree and that although there are "human rights concerns" about China, they are have made sufficient progress that we can happily sign agreements with them.

    The argument against is that they are way over the line. Just because Tibet has been occupied for 50+ years doesn't mean that it's ok to shoot Tibetans because they still struggle for independance.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4484 posts Report Reply

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