Cracker by Damian Christie

Snow job

Sometimes you've just got to wonder.

There's been an avalanche on the Turoa skifield of Mt Ruapehu. The avalanche was set off intentionally by the Turoa Skifield company, to test the stability of the upper slopes.

According to Chris Thrupp, the company's area manager, the avalanche then "built momentum." He sounded surprised. Now I'm no avalanche expert, and I'm certainly not as qualified in such matters as the skifield company, but isn't this how avalanches generally work?

I could be wrong, but all those times my grandmother dragged me along to see such films as The Adventures of the Wilderness Family, (cool poster, thanks Matt) for whom avalanches were a daily threat, not once did I see an avalanche start, then kind of give up halfway. The Little Avalanche that Couldn't, if you will. Anyway, let's be grateful that no-one was hurt, shall we?

One avalanche that seems remarkably controlled by comparison is the Opposition's release in Parliament of papers allegedly withheld from the "full disclosure" ordered by the PM. First there were four documents, now Bill English has stated in Parliament that in fact there were 184 documents, albeit not all from the PM's department. Helen Clark has responded that she only learnt of this yesterday, but it looks increasingly as though this avalanche is not going to slow to a trickle, nor be without its casualties.

I heard Jeanette Fitzsimons being interviewed by Linda Clark this morning, and have to admit I was impressed, particularly when compared with the way the Prime Minister has been handling herself of late. Ok, the Herald obviously had something to prove by turning it into a front page pull quote yesterday, but Helen's "I sometimes wonder whether I'm a victim of my own success as a popular and competent Prime Minister" line just isn't something one should say out loud. Similarly, referring to oneself as "the Prime Minister" is all well and good in the privacy of one's own bedroom, but please…

I'm still trying to determine whether leaving Minister Boo-boo in charge of the Environment portfolio, and hence the GE issue, shows reckless stupidity or supreme genius. When Helen Clark says she doesn't remember something, our eyes narrow with doubt. When Marian Hobbs says she doesn't remember something, it's just another day in the Beehive. The revelation on Friday that she never read Nicky Hager's book – despite criticising it – or other papers on the GM corn issue because she didn't want to suffer "contamination of memory" to me beggars belief. Here we have a cabinet minister admitting she can't assimilate information from both sides of an issue without it causing a cerebral short circuit. And we're paying this person!? I'd like to see Theresa Gattung last a week at Telecom after making such an admission.

Truly, some people are even beyond the help of Brian Edwards, including, it would seem, Edwards himself. I always feels dirty watching someone in a public position use it to push a personal agenda, after watching Edwards try (and fail) to take on Act's Rodney Hide, I needed a bath. Talk about a thinly veiled agenda. As Hide puts it: “Dr Edwards also trained me on how to handle a crotchety old interviewer coaxing you to defame their wife on their state-funded show so that they can sue you."

Well, Edwards seems to have got what's coming to him. Rather than he or his wife being able to launch a defamation suit, it's Rodney Hide who has complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority about the programme. Who's smug now? According to Hide, Edwards failed to be either balanced or impartial. Well duh. If, like me, you missed the original interview, the kind folk at Act have been doing their bit to increase Edwards' dire ratings (again, failing) by making the segment available on their website. It's not quite Hill -v- Pilger, but it's worth a look.