Hard News by Russell Brown


Life Goes On

The government hasn't wasted time in seeking to fix the widely identified flaw in its bank deposits scheme -- its lack of coverage for wholesale deposits. Good. As someone who is going to have to borrow money for house extensions sooner or later, I'm somewhat reassured that the bank will actually have money to lend.

Labour's guarantee scheme was excoriated along with National's risky new plan for the Super Fund in a not-online NBR lead story on Friday, under Rob Hosking's byline. Unfortunately, the latter can't be so easily fixed.

The story pointed out that by 2025 the 40% of the fund that National wants to force into local investment will by be $43.6 billion: bigger than the entire market cap of the NZX-50 plus the expected value of Fonterra were it to be floated and quotes a string of specialists pouring scorn on the policy. Ben Thomas thrashes the policy in his column, which concludes with an unnamed economist declaring "this is becoming a scary election."

Ben proposes that Labour should respond by running ads featuring Dancing Cossacks. That would be kind of meta, wouldn't it?

Meanwhile, the Radio New Zealand economics debate yesterday was lively and listenable, and Kim Hill did a good job in charge. My personal takeaways were Michael Cullen's strength in a debate format and Roger Douglas's grounding in a bygone era. It's here, along with the other policy debates.

But Winston Peters stood up Bill Ralston last night on Ralston's Sky News show Campaign 08. How silly. The programme that aired without him -- but with Phil Kitchin, Duncan Garner, Barry Soper and Vernon Small -- is here, along with the previous shows. It's actually a good dissection of Peters' troubles this year. Better, I dare say, than a show on which Peters was actually present.

The Washington Post has video of Colin Powell's Obama endorsement on Meet the Press. Watch it and then, if you're feeling sturdy, scroll down and take in some of the flat-out racism in the comments, most of it accompanied by recitation of the McCain campaign talking points, as applied in the new robocall campaigns. Those fuckers have a lot to answer for.

On a similar theme, Republican congresswoman Michele Bachman pretty much called Obama a terrorist in a frankly incredible TV interview over the weekend.

If you haven't caught up with John Cleese's interview on the US residential campaign, it's really worth your time. There's the short version with the "I thought Michael was the funniest Palin" joke and the longer one.


We have what should be a cracking Media7 lineup to record tomorrow evening. We're looking at the way the political campaigns are pitching via the media, and our panel is John Ansell (who created National's billboard campaign in 2005), former Labour Party president Bob Harvey and Auckland University political marketing specialist Jennifer Lees-Marshment.

If you'd like to come along, hit "Reply" and let me know (if you want to bring a friend, say so).

PS: Thanks to the organisers of Auckland's Diwali festivities down at the Viaduct over the weekend. We had a nice time there on Sunday, and I pigged out on four different dishes. If I were vegetarian, I'd eat that food all the time ...

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