Mental Health Break


Toby Manhire says John Campbell’s style is irreplaceable.

When news broke six weeks ago that Campbell Live was on the chopping block the response was genuinely astonishing. This wasn’t just your garden-variety social media outrage – huge numbers of people were properly pissed off, they took it personally.

I felt a bit sorry, even, for MediaWorks bosses, who found themselves copping heaps of flak. Some of it they deserve (and yesterday’s announcement, two minutes before Bill English began reading the Budget, was cynical and unbecoming), but at least as much would have been better hurled at politicians from both major parties who had allowed public service television to become all but extinct.

Oh come on…the media hate politicians doing the Friday dump…and when it suits them they use it themselves.

John Campbell’s mix of acuity, tenacity and integrity is irreplaceable. His work in leading campaigns on school lunches, in disaster relief, and especially in remaining tirelessly focused on Christchurch, when most outside the region had stopped paying much attention, adds up to a formidable legacy.

It is hard to overstate how keenly he’ll be missed by colleagues, too: everyone from those in the mailroom through to senior journalists at TV3 speaks glowingly about Campbell’s willingness to stop and talk, to mentor the next generation of bushy-tailed reporters.

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Map of the Day

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National starts election run-up, and they’re willing to buy your vote

Photo / Mark Mitchell - via NZ Herals

Photo / Mark Mitchell – via NZ Herald

Which one of these does not belong? (a) Returning to surplus. (b) Reducing net debt. (c) Cutting ACC levies. (d) Cutting income tax. (e) Reducing debt quicker. The answer obviously is (d). The Government calls these its five fiscal priorities but the fourth, projecting income tax cuts from 2017, has no right to be in a Budget that has just failed to return to balance and projects a negligible surplus next year.

Without a sustained return to surplus none of the Government’s responsible priorities will be possible. It will not have spare cash to start paying down debt from 2018, let alone (e) finding the revenue to get the debt down to 20 per cent of GDP sooner than 2020. That is the target that matters, it is where the net government debt needs to be in case of another international economic upset. The Labour Government’s surpluses and low debt enabled National to run deep deficits in the last crisis. It is taking its time to restore a fiscal cushion. Read more »

Eurovision song contest still gay – no booing allowed

Polina Gagarina

Polina Gagarina

After a year in which Russia continued to be fiercely condemned for annexing the Crimea and its separatists’ seizure of eastern Ukraine, the country remains a pariah through most of Europe.

Now, amid fears Russia’s Eurovision singer Polina Gagarina will bear the brunt of the ill-will, contest organisers have installed drastic ‘anti-booing’ technology for the final in Vienna.

Special sound reducers have been installed in a bid to stop the acrimony towards Russia being broadcast – an issue that was last year labelled ’embarrassing’ by organisers. Read more »

Phew, with his first name he’d never win anyway

The other day I was chatting to a few mates about the leadership candidates for the UK Labour party.

We all remarked that the bloke called Tristram didn’t have a hope…and it appears he has realised it.

The Telegraph reports:

A Tristram cannot appeal to working class voters in northern towns or cities, nor even to the middle class – especially if he’s as posh as this one.

The news that Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary, will not be running for the Labour leadership did not come as much of a surprise.

After all, there is a simple reason why this eminently telegenic, rather likeable and clever man would never be elected as leader of this county’s main Left-wing party – or indeed any other party.

The biggest obstacle to Tristram Hunt becoming leader of the Labour Party was not his personal appeal, his political creed, his abilities or even his level of support among his Parliamentary colleagues.

It was, quite simply, his name.

Modern day Britain is not somewhere that a Tristram can put himself forward as a man of the people – Comrade Tristram just doesn’t have quite the right ring about it.   Read more »

Sign of the Day

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Niagara Falls Heritage Foundation Collection. Meet Annie Edson Taylor, an American adventurer who, on her 63rd birthday, October 24, 1901, became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Photo: Niagara Falls Heritage Foundation Collection.
Meet Annie Edson Taylor, an American adventurer who, on her 63rd birthday, October 24, 1901, became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

The Impetuous Daredevil

Would you go over Niagara Falls in a barrel to make sure you had enough money to retire?

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I bet Tony Abbott is pissed off he didn’t think of this

Tony Abbott is going to be seriously annoyed with David Cameron.

Cameron has come up with a really good idea for dealing with illegal immigrants.

Foreign workers will have their wages seized by police and face deportation without appeal if they are in the UK illegally, David Cameron will announce today as part of a “radical” crackdown on immigration.

The Prime Minister will vow to make the UK a “less attractive place to come and work” by using next week’s Queen’s Speech to announce a series of laws to “root out illegal immigrants and bolster deportations”.

Mr Cameron will also unveil plans to make it a criminal offence for businesses to recruit abroad without advertising in the UK first.

He will give councils powers to evict migrants and force all banks to check bank accounts against databases of people who could be in the country illegally.

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Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  Roger Price

Credit: Roger Price