Wednesday, August 31, 2005

And so it began...

And so begins the Iraqi civil war....
Sickening.

Analogy of Idoicy

Trying my best not to sound callous in the face of human despair, but can we please stop with the "Our Tsunami" analogy over the Hurricane Katrina disaster. It's disrepectful not only to the thousands of South-East Asians who were killed last Boxing Day but also to the thousands of Americans suffering right now.
The appalling traegdy and despair we're seeing right now is obvious enough to make analogies like this totally redundant.
So how about instead of "Our Tsunami" it be called "Our Hurricane Katrina".

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Strategic Voting?

'Strategic' voting is creating some strange and contradictory bedfellows.
Known communists Che Tibby and NRT suggest to 'left' voters in Tauranga that in an attempt to unseat Winston Peters they should vote for National candidate Bob Clarkson. This is the same Bob Clarkson who says
"A family is a male, a female and a couple of children. You can do in your own home whatever you want - doesn't worry me two hoots - but don't you come into society and tell me that [homosexuality] is normal" which we can only assume is Clarkson's 'polite' way of saying
"You homos do what you like at home, but don't expect to be treated as equals in society"
Yet earlier this year NRT said 'left' voters should vote against Labour MP Phillip Taito Field because of his opposition to the Civil Unions Bill.
Confused?
I certainly am.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lazy Journalism Tale #3683

"Tax cuts put Nats back in the lead" yet the poll result has Labour ahead by one point.
As the Herald has already shown, splitting the sample of a poll to get the results you want is so very wrong and misleading.
Please stop doing it.
Thanks.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Marc E

Hurrah!
Even though this site has shown little respect for name suppression laws in the past we are overjoyed that we can now legally say Marc Ellis is a "celebrity drug fiend"
We also note that he will now be referred to as 'Marc E" for the rest of his life.
It's been especially ironic seeing journalists discussing and reporting these events who I know for a fact enjoy a bit of recreational drug use themselves from time to time, some of them probably even scored off the same guy as Marc E.
This could end up being a watershed day for NZ television, a drug-bust that leads to the implosion of the NZ operations of the hated Touchdown TV,
or it could be that Marc E has just booked his appearence on Dancing with the Stars 2 years from now.

Lazy Journalism Tale #3682

The headline for the online story about the new Herald-Digipoll is "National and Greens gain support", except (as usual) that is not true. From the previous Herald-Digipoll National is actually down 2 points. And even if you go by the Herald's statistically fraudulent method of splitting the sample and look at the "'post-tax cut announcement" portion of the sample only, National remains unchanged at 38% from the previous poll.
How is this a "gain" in support?

Braindead is an Understatement

After universal condemnation of the obnoxious and loud audience in the TVNZ "debate", the state broadcaster has responded by increasing the number of partisan idiots sitting in on the final leaders debate from 40 to 56.
The only time I want to see those mindless partisan idiots on primetime tv again is with Marc Ellis as part of a Touchdown reality show where the losers are put to death.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Poor Act

I think's it's endemic of ACT's problems that after Rodney Hide's Face to Face interview the sole piece of viewer feedback that was read out was from a gentleman who claimed that Rodney's interview had convinced him to vote ACT.
The gentleman's name - Nick Kearney conincidentally happens to be the ACT candidate for Te Atatu and #51 on the ACT list.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Fix the Debates, Please!

If anything comes from the debacle that was the TVNZ leaders debate it should be the realisation that NZ needs something similar to the Commission on Presidential Debates used in the US.
If you don't agree, look at what we've had so far, this year's crop of debates have been somewhat farcical, all operating under radically different conditions and expectations.
TV3's multi-party debate was set the furthest from the election date which ensured it was of the least benefit for coverage-starved smaller parties, the Dunne-Anderton court ordered appearence was an absolute joke. TV3 have brought upon themselves a dangerous judicial precedent but for which TV3 only have themselves to blame. And I haven't even mentioned the frickin' worm.
And did anyone under 40 actually listen to the National radio debate at 7pm on a Friday? Of course the debate is not available online because that would be, well, you know, convenient. But then this is the same public broadcaster whose staff care so much about the public's right to know that they strike in the middle of an election campaign. For both the people that listened, the RNZ debate was scarred by the same noisy partisan cretins that ruined the TVNZ debate.

An independent commission comprised of representatives of the parties, major broadcasters and the voting public could decide frequency and format of the debates, along with the rules and conditions of entry. Each debate could be hosted by a different anchor from TVNZ, TV3 and Radio NZ or even Paul Holmes (just kidding). Every tv and radio station would be free to carry the feed, then we won't have the silly situation where TV3 news pretends the TVNZ debates don't exist and vice versa.
An independent debates commssion with a clearly defined role and based around serving the public interest would allow the voting public to be better informed and increase accessibility for the public good. This is the reason it will never happen. Ratings are far more important.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

One news Duh-bate

What a weird debate that was, One Sainsbury seeemed a little out of his depth trying to control the leaders and just let them riff on whatever they wanted. The bizarre debate format allowed Helen to completely talk over the top of the timid Don and although Helen Clark was indeed wearing a oversized Kit-Kat, by any objective analysis Don was crushed, so much so that he may have gained support on sympathy alone.
Though the Don does have a killer excuse as nicely paraphased by frogblog "I would have been more robust had Clark been a man. Because she was a woman, I decided to go softly on her".
And this guy wants to be PM? What would happen in discussions with another nation that has a female leader or foreign affairs minister, would he sell NZ down the river because he doesn't want to upset a "fragile" woman with open and robust debate?
Don Brash is obviously working hard on building that bridge to the 19th Century.

But seriously, whose idea was it to bring in idiot party hacks and put them in the crowd? I don't think hearing "rabble, rabble, rabble" whenever someone spoke added anything to the debate.
Although, I admit my interest was raised by the cute bespectacled National Party woman in the crowd who would wear her glasses in one segment then remove them for the next.
I vote glasses on, girl, it makes you look smarter.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

GTA - Waste of time 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

New Zealand's censors have finished re-rating videogame GTA - San Andreas, prompted by the discovery of a modification to the game which enabled 'hidden sex scenes'.
The modified version of the game will now bear the rating R18 with the descriptive note ‘contains violence, offensive language and sex scenes’.
The rating of the unmodified game (that being every single copy of the game legally offered for sale) is unchanged. As the censor's own press release acknowleges it is in violation of the game's licencing and end user agreement to sell a 'modified' version of the game with the sex scenes enabled.
Yes, our Censors have spent time and money re-rating a game it is illegal to sell.
Well, I guess if a business decides to sell the game and is sued into obilivon by the game's publishers at least they will have been using the correct classification sticker.
Thank you Office of Film and Literature Classification, you win this month's "Mindless bureacracy at work" award.

Game of Two Half Ounces

Crappy 'celebrity' quiz show Game of Two Halves will be must-watch televison tomorrow night, if this story is correct.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

8 Simple Rules

I really don't know what to make of National's bizarre TV ad campaign.
Don Brash and the National strategists are either extremely naive or electioneering savants.
Or maybe National's secret plan is that by making Brash look so inept, John Key will appear that much better when he finally takes over the leadership.

In the opening address (direct link) Don Brash (live from his round-windowed home in Hobbiton) seemed more concerned about defending himself from Labour's attacks than talking about what he and his party want to achieve. For god's sake, if you're going to do the "fake interview" style of advertising give a straight answer! You are writing the thing after all. The worst example being the answer to the question "Can we trust you?" instead of saying "Yes, you can trust me, This is why..." he answered with a 60 second blurb about Helen Clark's supposed untrustworthiness instead of directly answering the question about Don Brash.

But we are not heartless and we feel some sympathy for this piss-poor campaign so here are 8 simple rules for Don Brash to help him lift his game.

1) Give straight answers, especially to your own questions. Don't waffle.
2) Do not add qualifiers to your soundbites. Nuanced statements do not work in election campaigning. Ask John Kerry.
3) Talk about yourself and how awesome you are, not your opponent. Do not mention your opponent by name.
4) Don't get 'cute'. "Prime Moneywaster" is well past it's use-by date as is the anecdote about washing your socks.
5) This is a bad camera angle, do not use it.
6) Talk about the future, not the past.
7) Avoid negativity as that makes you sound bitter. Be positive whenever possible.
8) No matter what the context never ever utter the words "don't vote for me" in the very first line of your speech.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ad Nauseum

In case you weren't already aware, election campaign advertisments started tonight, and in a major interweb scoop threepointturn has acquired advance copies of the 30 second campaign ads of all the major political parties. As a public service to both of our loyal readers we are making copies of these advertisments available online over the next few days.
To begin here are two leaked commercials for the big boys, Labour and National. (in swf format)
(also available in wmv format here and here although the webserver seems to cut a few seconds from the start for some reason)

A Simple Request

I don't know if it's expecting too much from humanity but could we at least have the decency to wait until the guy's body is in the ground before pissing on his grave.

As says Swearengen in Deadwood "Act civilised, even if you ain't"

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lazy Journalism Tale #3681

In the Herald On Sunday, a headline claims "Greens wilting in new poll" so by the common definition of "wilting" (to feel or exhibit the effects of fatigue or exhaustion; weaken markedly) one would expect their poll rating to have dropped markedly or be in severe decline.
Er, not quite, this is the Herald on Sunday so the opposite is true, the Greens actually went up from 3.2% in the last Herald-Digipoll to 4% today. So that's actually an increase of 25%.
In fact, no party other than Labour had a larger increase in party support from the last Digipoll than the Green Party.
Insert trite statement about "lazy journalism" here.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Tale of the Tapeworm

It's official, the 'worm' sucks. Any device which favours the vague hypocritical middle-ground Peter Dunne occupies has to be fundamantally flawed, as such we have re-christened the 'worm' the 'retardometer' due to the effect it has on debate over actual issues.
Our uninformed leader by leader analysis follows.

Peter Dunne
The court decision forcing Dunne into the debate could end up being crucial to the future of United. Peter Dunne again benefited the most from the decision to include the retardometer in the debates. The media decides - based on a positive knee-jerk reaction from a small sample group that he 'connects' with the undecided voters, which in turn means more media coverage for the party and so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nevermind that all he says is meaningless bollocks.
"I want to see every child by the age of 10 to have basic literacy, numeracy and mind changing skills."
What the fuck is a mind changing skill?
Is it like a jedi mind trick? flip-flopping? something to do with Harry Potter?
4/5

Jeanette Fitzsimmons
The audience loved Fitzsimmons, and really how could you be mean towards her? She's just so fluffy and nice. The anti-Rodney Hide. Oddly, her success with the retardometer came with statements about actual policy rather than the meaningless platitudes. A Statement such as "Progress is more than just about making money" sets the Greens apart from the other parties and resonates with a considerable number of undecided voters, whether they come out to vote is another story. And extra points for not bringing up GE.
4/5

Helen Clark
A popular and competent performance, she didn't work any harder than she had to. It seems as if she was keeping a bit of ammo in reserve for the one on one debate with Brash. Gave the impression to voters that she knows more about National's own policies than Don Brash. Brash then proved it beyond doubt which drew potential heat from the minor parties away from her.
4/5

Winston Peters
Dubya had a bit of an off-night, slightly hungover perhaps? Still pisses all over Brash at playing opposition leader. Managed to land a few zingers on Hide and Brash but didn't really get to riff much on bashing immigrants and when he did the retardometer didn't give him much rub, though I suspect his appeal to the undecided television viewers would be stronger than the studio audience.
That alternate universe where Winston Peters is leading the National Party to a third successive victory must be quite a strange place.
3/5

Rodney Hide
He was just 'there', not overly offensive, none too interesting either. He did the best that could be expected of him and may have inspired some right-National voters to reconsider ACT as a viable option. The problem is he just doesn't seem to be able to connect with lower-income voters like Richard Prebble could. Rightly or wrongly, short angry white guy doesn't play well with the undecided voter.
3/5

Don Brash
For a debut performance by a first-term MP he wasn't too bad, pity that is nowhere near good enough for the leader of the main opposition party. Without the readily apparent leadership skills he needed to fall back on policy, unfortunately much of that hasn't been released yet, which leaves him up shit creek without a waka let alone a paddle. He seemed more concerned with giving watertight nuanced answers than delivering clear decisive statements of intent. If the National party campaign really is being "directed from Washington" it must the Democratic party doing it.
2/5

Tariana Turia
Biggest mistake was being a Maori woman concerned about Maori issues, the retardometer punished her for it, no matter what she said. Hurrah for racism.
1/5

Jim Anderton
Made me want to smoke P and hold-up the local Kiwibank. Court action needs to be taken to ban him from future debates.
0/5

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Eight is Enough

TV3 will be rushing to get another two podiums erected for the debate tonight with the forced additions of Dunne and Anderton, the judge ruled that as TV3 was performing a public service they had to include them, it's a interesting precedent, perhaps Destiny NZ's lawyers will be in court this afternoon arguing their case as they certainly have reason to be included following this decision. But quite frankly, six was always a ridiculous number to have in a debate given that there are 8 parties in parliament, four of which are actually relevant to most New Zealanders. I wonder how much face time Anderton and Dunne will get on the programme tonight, 5 maybe even 10 seconds? Not that I'm suggesting TV3 would ever treat a politician unfairly in an election campaign.

Brent Todd

At his request, Brent Todd has had his name supression removed in the "celebrity drug trial", I wonder if the fact that the other "celebrity" has an awful TV show running at the moment is anything to do with continuing his name suppression.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Worm Returns

According to TV3 news the much-despised "worm" will be making an unwelcome return to tomorrow's 6 party TV3 "debate". Based on the campaign so far, expectations are not high for an intelligent or reasoned discussion but with the addition of the worm we can expect at best a 'fridge magnet' debate with lots "moving forward" "united" "together" "creating" "a Stronger New Zealand".
Thank god Doctor Who is on at the same time.

Westfield vs Democracy

Shopping mall operator Westfield is refusing to let enrolment booths operate within it's shopping malls without paying a $2500 a week fee. Even though other malls, supermarkets and The Warehouse let the booths operate without charge.

Westfield claims that because a company is (shock!, horror!) being paid to run the enrolment booths, they should get a cut too. They consider getting citizens enrolled to vote on the same level as selling water filters and steak knives.
Political candidates are still allowed to campaign in their malls "free of charge" because Westfield considers that to be a "non-profit" activity. In that case perhaps some thugs from the National Front should be encouraged to go and campaign in their shopping malls.

Other than going to their corporate headquaters in Auckland and pouring red and blue paint on their nice carpet, perhaps a few emails from disgusted citizens might make them change their tune.
Yeah right.
You can contact their marketing manager Linda Trainer at ltrainer@nz.westfield.com or call 09 978 5050

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Go the Black Caps!

The NZ Cricket team have shrugged off the incessant whining about their forced tour of Zimbabwe in the best way possible, by destroying the home team within 2 days in the 1st test and recording the largest margin of victory by a NZ team ever.
It probably makes me a blood-thirsty Mugabe-loving tyrant (if I wasn't already) but I had to laugh when New Zealand received their prize money for winning the game -
$20,000,000 which at the current exchange rate equates to $NZ1706.
Ouch!

Road Rage

I see the kids have been making good use of the school holidays and have created "'Keep Left" "Your source for real political information", any site which states such invariably means exactly the opposite.
According to the site if you support National or ACT you are 'bad', supporting Labour, the Greens or Jim Anderton makes you 'good'.
To quote Star Wars "Only a Sith deals in absolutes"
But thank you "Keep Left" for making things simple, no longer do I have to actually think about an issue or examine actual facts to form a opinion, I just have to choose the 'Left' or 'Right' opinion depending on the 'team' I support.
I also find the obsession with Don Brash a little disconcerting, perhaps I'm too old but I really don't find the guy that threatning. Sure, I disagree with most of what he says, but it's not as if he's the second son of Satan like these guys seem to think he is. It's ironic that these smear tactics used against Brash are very similar to some of those used by Bush Republicans against the similarly wooden Senator Kerry.
But I gotta give them their due, they are right up there with Tom Scott in making retarded Hitler references.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Caller Despair

In another stunning display of idiocy National wants to review Telecom's KiwiShare obligations to provide free local calling and telephone services to rural areas. Clearly this has been a long time coming, Telecom - a struggling, majority foreign-owned monopoly are still yet to post a yearly profit of over billion dollars since being gifted the nation's phonelines over ten years ago.
Bearded Maurice Williamson claims the Kiwishare obligations are "a barrier to other players investing because it is incredibly hard to compete with free local calls", er, no, the barrier to investing in telecommunications here is a powerful entrenched monopoly and successive governments unwilling to step in and regulate the industry to provide actual competition and better prices and services for New Zealanders.

Holmesless

So, Paul Holmes on Prime has been cancelled, it's a shame really. Perhaps it was schadenfraude but I must have been one of the few people who actually enjoyed his show with it's mix of amateur reporting and a host riffing on whatever subject pissed him off that day irrespective of current events. Be interesting to see what exactly Prime does with him now. I'd quite like to see Holmes in an edgy late night show where he can go a little bit more crazy with longer interviews and perhaps even a little bit of cursing and swearing.
I certainly enjoyed Holmes more than the god-awful "Close Up" where apparently the biggest problem in NZ (read - Auckland) is gulliable people using the wrong builder and ending up with a "leaky home". And "Campbell Live", television's bran cereal, you knows it's good for you, but it's hard to eat everyday without venting a lot of shit. And don't get me started on the pretentious "Book Club".

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Loan Free

Nick emailed me saying that if I didn't post something soon he would demote me to "Intern" so like Jim Sutton in court here I am against my will.
When I first heard about Labour's "No Interest" Student Loan lolly scramble, like "Foot and Mouth disease on Waiheke Island" I thought the Australian media had mis-reported the policy, surely the loan would still contain some interest somehow? at the very least adjustment for inflation? Apparently not, Labour is content to mortgage the country's future for the sake of vote-buying.

I can hear the squeal-in-unison "But so are National's tax cuts" No, they are not. Lowering the tax burden on working New Zealanders is a core principle of the National Party. Labour said as recently as 2 months ago that there would be no radical changes to student loans. A bit of poll trouble and voila - a loan policy more radical than the Green Party's.

So you may have to forgive me for my cynical attititude about this policy given that
A) I paid off my own student loan voluntarily and in full two years ago, and
B) I live and work overseas so I would not recieve the interest discount anyway.

Every person with a student loan has signed a contract that clearly states the conditions of repaying the loan, if you can not or choose not to understand the consequences of that contract, then you don't deserve to be in tertiary study. With this policy it's as if Labour have decided to move the goalposts halfway through the game, or in my case, after it's been over for two years. Unlike many who joined the "brain-drain" from New Zealand I busted my ass to get my loan balance down and eventually paid off before i took off overeseas, but yet now I see those who have skipped the country without paying their due will recieve an amnesty on penalty payments for avoiding those repayment obligations.
So by taking personal responsibility for one's own debt and playing by the rules I am far worse off if I had skipped the country without paying my dues.
Thank you NZ Labour party. Celebrating and rewarding medocrity for over 60 years.

White Lies

In a seemingly self-penned Herald article, property developer David Henderson claims he attempted to buy 10 grams of cocaine to "lose weight" - quite possibly the most expensive weight-loss regime ever.
But he is a property developer, so chiding him for lying is like berating a baby for wetting itself. If, as he is requesting, he gets discharged without conviction, this could open up a new line of defence for affluent lawyered-up drug users -
Your Honour, the cannabis was for my glacoma, that ecstacy was for preventing the onset of Alzheimers, the crystal meth was to maintain an erection and the heroin was so I could go to sleep afterwards.
But seriously, if you're going to take illegal drugs to lose weight, P is the way to go, it's cheaper, more effective and available everywhere.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Young Turks

Unsuprisingly 95,000 of New Zealand's youth aren't enrolled for the election, one quarter of all eligible "young voters" in New Zealand are not enrolled, that figure is as high as 44 percent in Auckland. Given that many young people have chosen to stop using using vowels in written language, this has to be a good thing.
All sorts of reasons for the 7.3% of the entire population missing from the roll are given by the election officals, except for the biggest reason people choose to not enrol.
BAYCORP.
It's like a private poll tax, if you want to vote you best be sure you have a clean record with the credit agencies. To have an unlisted phone number all it takes is a phone call to Telecom, but for a name to be unlisted in the electoral roll a court order or a special favour from a police officer is required.
Seems rather contrary to democratic principle that a person hiding not from the Police, but a private organisation such as Baycorp is never going to put their name on the electoral roll. Yes, most of these people are idiots and/or thieves and will vote for NZ First or the 99MP Party, but they should still have the facility to cast their vote.

Disclaimer - I have never been involved with any negative dealings with any credit agency whatsoever, although I take a slightly morbid pleasure in returning the letters they send the now deceased former owner of the house. Seriously Baycorp, stop sending them, it's getting kind of spooky now.