• Where’s the Self-Respect?

    If we needed any confirmation, we have it in spades in today’s edition of the Herald; our supposedly leading daily newspaper is determined to do what it can to decide the outcome of the next election – to act, that is, not as a newspaper but as the mouthpiece for those seeking a National/Act government.

    The Herald will provide a platform for any story or story-teller that can be presented as reflecting badly on the government. Such partisanship constitutes a real – and unacceptable – threat to our democracy. It is astonishing that self-respecting journalists could lend themselves to such an enterprise.

  • Hosking v. Ardern

    Mike Hosking’s all-too familiar diatribe in today’s Herald is so dripping with venom and anti-Jacinda animus that one can’t help but wonder if the content matters less than the spirit and purpose in and with which it was offered.

    Hosking clearly needs help. He seems to live in a world of his own making in which a titanic struggle is being fought between him and Jacinda Ardern. It seems that he cannot bear to accept that Jacinda has won every round so far and is currently Prime Minister of New Zealand, while he remains merely a hack. Get real, Mike!

  • How to Lose

    Losses to Australian teams over the weekend by both the Crusaders and Hurricanes have been greeted with shock and surprise by New Zealand rugby fans.

    Yet, an at least partial explanation is available; the two losses were both set in motion early in each match by a play that is seen all too often in New Zealand rugby and that in both cases lead to an opening try for the Australian opposition.

    Both the Crusaders and the Hurricanes sought to move in the opening minutes on to the attack by kicking from their own half deep into their opponents’ territory. The ball – in each case – was easily fielded and when the opposition’s speedy backs, predictably enough, ran it back at them at speed, crucial tackles were missed and, in each case, a try was scored.

    It beggars belief that New Zealand coaches have not warned their teams against the kind of aimless kicking that so often produces an opposition try and that did so again in the two weekend losses.

    A kick downfield that goes too far to be challenged for when it goes to ground or that fails to find touch for a useful gain of territory is nothing more than an invitation to the opposing team to launch an attack, with the all too common outcome that an opposition try is scored or that the line has to be desperately defended.

    The only way of scoring is to have the ball. What is the point of simply kicking it away?

    Do New Zealand coaches never study recordings of the games their teams play? We see the same error and failing in New Zealand rugby over and over again.

  • Hosking v. the Prime Minister

    Mike Hosking continues to deliver what his paymasters pay him for, if today’s Herald is anything to go by. No surprise there – Hosking has always been under no illusion as to what it is that he has to sell.

    What is worth remarking on, however, is the evident emotional pleasure that Hosking gets from rehearsing his familiar anti-government diatribes. He positively exults in detailing the various challenges the government has faced as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, and he can’t restrain himself from celebrating the hard times that the country as a whole has endured. He can’t quite seem to grasp that the downsides of our recent experience are attributable to the virus rather than the government.

    He seems to be under the illusion that he is engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle for primacy with the Prime Minister – a personal struggle in which he (if not the Prime Minister) has invested a great deal of emotional capital. It is our bad luck as Herald readers that we have to put up with his self-ascribed role as prosecutor in chief. There is only one remedy available to us – we can stop reading both him and the Herald.

  • Doing Not Saying

    A major, nation-wide challenge to our national well-being, such as the coronavirus pandemic, is not necessarily bad news for everybody. The government of the day has no choice but to take it on the chin, but opposition politicians, and other critics of the government, can have a field day; they can stay safely on the sidelines and take potshots whenever it pleases them.

    The reason for this is simple. The pandemic inevitably presents a panoply of difficult issues, and they are difficult for a reason. The majority of them require a choice to be made between two either-or responses, neither of them attractive – to act or not to act, to do A or to do B, to act now or wait. Whichever answer is chosen will please one group of people and displease another; the government will, in other words, be damned by one group if it does and by another group if it does not.

    The choice for the opposition is a simple one. They align themselves, whatever the merits of the arguments on either side of a particular issue, with the group that is displeased and thereby create the impression that the government is always getting it wrong. How much better things would be, they say, if we were in charge – we would unerringly arrive at the right answers to all of these difficult issues. And their credibility is greatly enhanced by the automatic support they receive (whatever their preferred option) from the anti-government media.

    Fortunately, the voters are a little more sophisticated. They know that hard choices have to be made and that what matters is that they are made and not just swept under the carpet. Doing, rather than saying what you might have done, is what counts.