Colin Espiner

The rise and rise of rude interviewers

I’ve noticed this myself. ?It seems that more and more interviewers think that interrupting, talking over the top and being plain rude is the way to put politicians on the rack

An exchange in an interview between Morning Report presenter Guyon Espiner and Prime Minister John Key on Radio New Zealand on August 18 went thus:

ESPINER: The Justice Minister of New Zealand has conceded publicly that she did pass on the name of a public servant. That resulted in him getting some pretty severe death threats. And you think that’s OK?

KEY: And people can see that . . .


KEY: And people can see . . .

ESPINER: Yes or no? Is it OK?

KEY: And people can see that this . . .


KEY: People can see . . .

ESPINER: Is it OK that Judith Collins did that, yes or no?

KEY: And people can see that this is a smear campaign by Nicky Hager and . . .

ESPINER: I’m not asking you for a critique about Nicky Hager’s motivation.

KEY: Well I . . . Read more »

Colin Espiner on Kim Dotcom and his marriage of convenience

Colin Espiner is snarky in his article…very snarky indeed.

Say what you like about the sacrifice of conscience for cash – a great big German spanner has just been flung into the machinery of this year’s election campaign.

I wasn’t going to write about Kim Dotcom’s vanity party again this week. It has had far more publicity in its short life than it deserves.

Plus, it seems that everywhere you look Dotcom is there. Giving evidence in the John Banks trial. Breaking up with his wife, Mona (on Twitter, of course). Fighting Hollywood over access to his millions. Calling on Prime Minister John Key to resign (again).

Shortly, it will be Dotcom in the dock as he fights extradition to the United States on fraud and racketeering charges. Forget Banks and buckets of mud – that hearing is going to be the trial of the year. So a bit of Dot-gone seemed like no bad thing.

And then suddenly, there he was in a civil union with the beneficent ghost from socialist Christmases past: Laila Harre.

And Colin Espiner thinks Laila Harre is the bee’s knees…or does he?

The media was expecting Dotcom’s Internet Party would announce a flake as its new leader. Or a complete moron. Either would have done just fine. We could have ridiculed them, and moved on to more important matters.

But Harre isn’t a flake. And she’s certainly no moron. She’s one of the most driven, persuasive and intelligent politicians I’ve met. I don’t know how Dotcom managed to put a ring on the darling of the Left but on the face of it, it’s a major coup.

The question, though, is for who? ? ? Read more »

Media commentators now pushing for food to be treated like tobacco

I’ve long predicted this, but who would have thought that one of the brightest commentators would fall for the lobbying of the troughers intent on treating food like tobacco.

Unfortunately Colin Espiner has bought the spin that it is the ingredients of food and not the fat bastard stuffing their gobs that is the fault and cause of the so-called obesity epidemic.

We’re eating?ourselves to death. Remember how we used to visit America and laugh at how many fat people there were? Who’s laughing now?

Rachel Smalley was right. Many New Zealand women are lardos and heifers. But even more so the men. And, sadly, their kids too.

A new health study has found 1.2 million Kiwis are not just a little bit pudgy around the middle, but obese. That’s nearly one in three adults and one in nine children. And that’s the overall average. In poorer areas of the country, it’s closer to 50 per cent.

How has this happened? How has New Zealand become the fattest nation in the OECD after America and Mexico? Aren’t we supposed to be a fit, outdoorsy nation living on fresh air and natural produce?

Health experts have been warning us for ages, but we haven’t taken any notice. Back when National took office in 2008, it was out with Nanny State and those pesky, dictatorial healthy eating programmes.

Labour was pilloried for banning pies and soft drinks and cream buns and sweets from school tuck shops. It wasn’t the state’s job to reach into the lunchboxes of our kids, we cried.

State funded health experts building lobbying businesses off of the back of ever increasing state funding…lobbying the government to spend even more with them…compromised much?

National wasn’t a fan of funding obesity programmes or education either. It felt the money spent on curbing our interest in unhealthy eating wasn’t actually a health priority. So Health Minister Tony Ryall cut funding for the Obesity Action Coalition. It closed on March 1, 2010.

But that wasn’t all. National scrapped the roles of district health board staff who helped schools implement healthy food and drink guidelines for schools implemented by Labour. More nanny stateism and bureaucratic red tape, it said. Better to channel the money into school sport – there’s not much a run around the footy field can’t fix. ? Read more »

Colin Espiner on Easter Trading

Colin?highlights the?ridiculously outdated reasons for these laws

Fancy nipping down to the pub this afternoon or a quick trip to the mall? Sorry, but because of a Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you can’t.

You can get your hair cut today, Easter Sunday, assuming you can find a hairdresser outside of a mall who’s prepared to open. But woe betide them if they try to sell you hair product – that’s contraband today.

If you’re desperate for a pint, you could always sign up to a chartered club, because that’s less offensive to Christianity. Or check into a hotel. Or head to a gastro pub or a restaurant that serves alcohol, as long as you purchase a meal as well.

Jesus loves those with a full stomach.

There’s always the garden, assuming it’s not raining today. Your local garden centre is allowed to sell you a potted plant today (Jesus has risen) but not on Good Friday (Crucifixion day).

Things are looking slightly better if you live in a designated tourist town, like Wanaka or Taupo, or for some bizarre reason, Auckland’s Parnell Rd. Picton’s a possibility for a spot of shopping today – but only if a cruise ship is in town.

If you like a pie-like food object, you can always get one from a service station too (remember to blow on it)

Read more »

Colin Espiner shanks Kim Dotcom, hard

Kim Dotcom showing off his Waffen SS helmet

Kim Dotcom showing off his Waffen SS helmet

Colin Espiner performs one of the best stabbings on Kim Dotcom seen so far.

What a relief to hear Kim Dotcom explain that he’s not a Nazi sympathiser – he just likes war games and making lots of money.

For a minute last week I was concerned the “vision leader” (as opposed to someone-you-can-actually-vote-for leader) of the new Internet Party was not the sort of person New Zealand really needed pulling political strings in an election year.

It isn’t a crime to buy a copy of the autobiography of one of the 20th-century’s most monstrous figures, unless you live in France, Germany, Austria or Hungary – which ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia.

And there are legitimate scholarly reasons for owning a copy of Mein Kampf. No doubt the book is in most major libraries in New Zealand.

But let’s be honest. Owning a rare first edition personally signed by Herr Hitler and gifted to Hermann Esser, one of the founders of the hated and feared Third Reich, is just a little bit creepy.

Actually, given Dotcom’s German nationality, it’s more than creepy. It’s boorish, stupid, crude, and unthinkably insensitive. Most Germans would rather collect excrement than have anything to do with a regime they remain deeply ashamed of to this day.

But then, most Germans don’t hold multiple identities, flee criminal charges, make a fortune out of hosting a web site that enabled large-scale internet piracy, live a self-described lifestyle dedicated to “fast cars, hot girls, super-yachts, amazing parties and decadence” before buying their way into a foreign country, fighting extradition to the United States on counts of fraud and racketeering and deciding to set up a political party dedicated to bringing down the prime minister.

Dotcom also feels it’s OK for a German to pose at a party wearing an SS helmet because “I’m a young guy [and] I’m not always politically correct”.? Read more »

Colin Espiner is dead right on Dotcom

Colin Espiner has shown up The Herald on Sunday this morning by critically analysing Dotcom’s proposals for his Internet Party.

While the Herald and its various organs run PR articles on behalf of Dotcom other more sensible commentators look at the facts.

Dotcom’s pending entry into our political landscape may be both micro and looney but it has reportedly got both Labour and National worried. It’s true the giant German national has earned his self-anointed moniker The Wrecking Ball of Change. There can be few immigrants who have caused more damage in such a short space of time.

Usually immigrants who cause problems get asked to leave…what about if they try to hijack our democracy as some sort of a petty vanity project in order to get revenge on some slight or another. Dotcom’s mouthpieces like to compare this party to Bob Jones but Jones didn’t form the New Zealand Party out of spite, he formed it to remove a tyrant. John Key is certainly no tyrant, in fact he is our most popular prime minister ever.

But in hindsight, the botched, illegal, government-sanctioned raid by police on behalf of the United States at Dotcom’s Coatesville mansion, and his subsequent brief imprisonment, was the best thing that could have happened to the publicity-seeking tycoon. It won him a level of public attention and sympathy even his millions could not buy.

Because behind the ice creams and the fireworks, the offers to fund our next America’s Cup challenge or a new submarine fibre-optic internet cable, the extravagant parties to which we’re all invited and promises of free wi-fi for all, lies a narcissist desperate for popularity, relevance, and above all, respect.

It’s my opinion that Dotcom’s constant quest for omnipotence stems from his desire to make us – and the rest of the world – understand the value of his achievements (and they are many) while forgetting his criminal past as a computer hacker and convicted fraudster. ?? Read more »

Trouble at t’mill, finally someone on the left understands

Labour apparatchik?Jenny Michie has a post at The Daily Blog which shows that ?she is one of the few who “gets it”.

[I]f the economy is doing well then the underlying message to voters is that the government must be doing well, so keep the government. Or as Colin Espiner puts it ?voters will pick the devil they know, rather than turfing out a government in economic good times?.

So the thing that Labour dare not hope for is for the economy to?well?.um?.tank.
Because asset sales haven?t hurt the government, screwing workers through draconian employment laws haven?t hurt the government, tax cuts for the rich hasn?t hurt the government, charter schools haven?t hurt the government, corporate welfare hasn?t hurt the government, 270,000 kids living in poverty hasn?t hurt the government, overseeing the biggest gap ever between the rich and the poor hasn?t hurt the government, hell, not even Hekia Parata has made a dent.

At some point you have to ask, what on earth will hurt this government?? Read more »

Colin Espiner on Len Brown

Len Brown is running out of support.

Colin Espiner is the latest to abandon ship.

The bruised and battered corpse of Len Brown’s credibility was dragged into the Auckland Council chamber yesterday and given a damned good public thrashing.

He was labelled a cheat and a liar, a fornicator and a deceitful sleaze-merchant. A grubby, two-timing, duplicitous philanderer who had lost all credibility, trust and respect. And that was by his fellow councillors. A woman in a cowboy hat in the public gallery said much worse.

So did other protesters who heckled and harangued throughout yesterday’s censure vote.

The noise level at times drowned out the meeting’s acting chairwoman, deputy mayor Penny Hulse, who struggled to maintain order.

After giving up trying to quieten the protesters, Hulse tried a different tack: “Could we at least just have one interjection at a time?”

The anger in the room was palpable. Many were out for blood.

Even Hulse, a long-time Brown confidante, said she was “angry, disappointed and worn out”. Some councillors spoke in favour of the move to censure Brown. Some wanted a motion of no-confidence. A few seemed to think he should – or could – be sacked. Everyone wanted him to pay, financially if nothing else.

Nobody spoke in his favour.? Read more »

Colin Espiner on the ratbag teacher unions


Colin Espiner, hardly a card carrying right-winger, makes some observations on the teacher unions and their opposition to Charter schools.

I’d thought that centrally-controlled, one-size-fits-all approach to education policy had disappeared with the introduction of Tomorrow’s Schools more than 20 years ago. But I reckoned without the teacher unions.

The vitriol spouted by the Post-Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) and the Educational Institute (NZEI) at the Government’s announcement last week that it would fund five privately-run Partnership Schools took me back in a flash to my early days as a reporter covering teacher union rallies and marches.

Back then, it was bulk funding and the devolution of central control to community boards of trustees the teacher unions didn’t like. Oh, and Lockwood Smith.

They went on to oppose NCEA, National Testing, religious schools integration, private school funding . . . in fact pretty much anything that threatened the status quo and the teacher unions’ privileged position within it.? Read more »

How long has Shearer got? Not long

Audrey Young outlines Labour dreadful choices…they all know David Shearer is hopeless and essentially a political corpse. Almost every political journalist and most commentators except the rabid mouth breathers of the left know that he is a goner.

When rumours of a leadership coup in Labour broke on Tuesday night, I bumped into a Green MP as I was racing back to the office.

The first question we asked ourselves is “who is it?”

We speculated about David Cunliffe and deputy Grant Robertson.

Grant’s not ready, I said. Grant is definitely ready, the MP said.

I also thought about Andrew Little. He had a boost from the last Herald-DigiPoll survey which had him almost matching Grant Robertson in terms of a suitable replacement for Shearer were he to suddenly depart politics.

It was the same poll that began this round of jitters because Shearer’s popularity fell six points and the party’s by almost the same amount to 30.9 per cent.

Anyway, by the end of Tuesday night, it was clear there was no coup under way by Robertson or anyone else. But Shearer’s chances of being replaced before the next election had increased. ? Read more »