Posts by Richard Llewellyn
Sorry to see Islander wants to go. One of the things I have generally liked about PA is that dissenting views are usually welcomed.
On the convention centre debate, I think there are a number of issues.
On problem gambling, I would be interested to see any available data which shows the extent of problem gambling in our country over a long period of time, and the sources of problem gambling. While casinos are one source now, I think it would be fair to say that NZ has always had a fairly active gambling culture and has always had a lot of outlets for that urge. Is it worse now?. I can certainly remember that a lot of pubs, going back decades, had an in-house and extremely well-frequented TAB, and I can also remember working at a large factory in the days when people were paid in cash, and seeing the large-scale card schools springing up after work with people squandering their pay before they even got home. Not to mention the modern day ubiquity of state lotteries and pub pokie machines. Its a terrible analogy but I'm reminded of the perceived difference in attitudes between responsible drinking in some countries (Europe being the most common example used) and binge drinking in NZ. It's not what we gamble but how we gamble?
On a large scale convention centre - disclosing an interest as I used to work in the tourism sector - I genuinely believe that this is a significant gap in our tourism infrastructure and would deliver material economic benefit, not especially to a convention venue (which to be honest are always hard to run as viable commercial entities on their own), but to all the associated businesses, particularly hospitality, who cater for high-spending delegates (who are on average much higher spending than other tourists). I am aware of large international conventions that have wanted to come to NZ in recent years but couldn't, and am also aware that NZ has not been able to actively pursue and sell into the large convention sector without having the infrastructure in place.
I think the fact that getting a large convention centre has needed to involve a range of (not always mutually beneficial) interests also highlights - along with some of the big Auckland transport projects - that major infrastructure investment in NZ is tough for either the private or public sector to tackle on their own.
Hard News: Friday Music: Noise for the neighbours,
For me, the Powerstation is simply the best live music venue in Auckland.
Could not agree more. Although if the St James were still in use, it would run it fairly close. What has happened to the St James anyway?
Hard News: Music: At long last the…,
Love the Wedding Present (have very fond memories of a Brixton Academy gig many moons ago), love those squally guitar choruses, really love the Gedge Cinerama offshoot that shows his songs stand up without the wall of noise ..... but, sad to say, I don't love the Kings Arms
Speaker: Music: The Vinyl Frontier,
Love it. Our relationships to the 'stuff' that documents the years, that I've naively assumed would always hold the same meaning for our entire life, does, in fact, (to my enormous surprise) change.
If I'd known then that, after decades of lugging years worth of Face, Empire, and NME magazines from flat to flat and house to house that I would simply turf them all one day without a backward glance, I could have saved myself a lot of angst.
Hard News: "Because we can", in reply to
Different perceptions of the same events I guess Angus (like a Kurosawa movie). I watched the Mother Jones video and thought it showed that (granted in the context of an election strategy run-down) Romney holds many millions of Americans in contempt for not being able to or not wanting to fulfil the American dream (which he rather absurdly and implausibly holds himself up as a self-made example of).
As for Libya, I thought I had read somewhere that the people of Benghazi who were photographed with the Ambassador were actually those who had dragged him from the burning compound and who took him to hospital ......
Hard News: Friday Music: Love Cat Power,
sorry to hear about the Checks - saw them a couple of times and thought that live they had the swagger just right.
Field Theory: Yellow wristband, White flag, in reply to
Without doubt Keir, The Cannibal was the greatest and most dominant cyclist of all time. Interestingly enough, he also experienced a degree of 'persecution' for various things; not being Belgian enough, not being French, and winning just way too often for other riders and the general public to stomach. He also tested positive for banned substances more than once ( granted in an era where doping was more difficult to control and arguably more rife). Maybe USADA should retroactively strip Mercxx and the likes of Big Mig of their titles.
Field Theory: Yellow wristband, White flag,
The amount of smoke billowing out from under the doors of Team Armstrong is certainly enough to convince many of the doubters around the world ......... and the need for cycling to take drastic measures to regain its credibility after decades of doping suspicion and doping fact is undeniable .............. and yet .... and yet I find myself feeling strangely sorry about the way USADA and the many other critics of Lance Armstrong have singled him out of a widely and historically tainted sport (indeed 'encouraged' his loyal soldiers to turn on him to save themselves) for a coordinated and ferocious assault on his professional reputation and cycling legacy, using every method known to mankind and then some. There is a lot of deep symbolism about cutting off the head of the snake, that for some reason reminds me very much of how law enforcement often tackles organised crime and cartels. Sport as war. Given the huge amount of work that Armstrong has done outside of his cycling to benefit others, there is something very sad about all of this. Will the ends justify the means?. Probably, but still ........
Hard News: Strange days for journalism, in reply to
Woah Steve, them's pretty harsh words there. I was responding to Chris's legitimate complaint that too few NZ journalists are looking closely at these issues by pointing out that one, at least, is. I didn't really think the conversation was about whether or not we agreed with all their work or what we think might be their driving philosophies and loyalties (I would have thought an impossible task). But now that you raise the subject, may I ask, do you have a columnist or journalist in mind with whom you share a kindred spirit on policy views and loyalties? Just curious.
Hard News: Strange days for journalism, in reply to
Chris - don't disagree at all, maybe Fran is the exception that proves the rule, but I know for a fact that she works very hard in this space and does some good work and its pretty much all there if you want to find it. I think the issue is partly resource-related, in that very few media outlets can now afford to send reporters offshore or can spare the time for reporters to research our governments engagement offshore. And media fragmentation between nightly 'news' and thoughtful analysis is a topic for another argument. My experience has been that in general, if asked, a Ministry will be more than happy to explain why a Minister is going overseas. There are a few other good columnists around, e.g. Rod Oram, who take a good analytical look at some of the macro issues, but often do it from something of an academic distance, or from an NZ-centric perspective which can sometimes differ from reality on the ground as I am sure you are aware.