Paul Henry’s resignation an anti-climax

October 10, 2010

Well, Paul Henry resigned on Sunday afternoon. The public pressure and an ominous warning yesterday from his boss Rick Ellis were apparently enough to shift Henry into proactive mode.

I was a bit surprised. I thought he’d tough it out and I wasn’t sure Rick Ellis would carry through his sack Henry option. But maybe, just maybe, Henry now exits with a modicum of his dignity intact.

[Sunday nightcap]

I’d also just like to acknowledge Paul Holmes’ column from the HoS today. It never appears online, but Paul H[olmes] did a good job of treading a fine line between the rat who took his mate’s gig and the consoling mate who thinks his first-namesake is actually a good bloke under all that hardening slime.

I was tempted to say that under no circumstances could I take a man’s programme when he was experiencing bad times and I would never forgive someone doing it to me but then I thought, well, what the hell, what could I do but accept? [HoS 10.10.10 p.41]

Well Paul, you could show some principles and act in solidarity with a mate “experiencing bad times”. That’s what a mate would do. Unlike that “certain crowd” who kick a mate when he’s down.

There is a certain crowd who will love to pull him down because he is simply too successful. This is the schadenfreude factor and it is very powerful.

Schadenfreude is taking delight in another’s misfortune. It is a fancy way of talking about the so-called tall poppy syndrome. It’s nonsense.

Henry fcuked up and exposed his inner gremlins; he wasn’t torn down, he self-immolated after pouring petrol over his head for some time and playing with matches.

What happens next?

Complaints to TVNZ as a precursor to a Beeza inquiry into Henrygate are now moot. Beeza may still feel it necessary to poke a finger in the wound, but I’d be surprised if any complaints make it that far now.

Rick Ellis has promised a review of editorial standards, which is a bit like oiling the hinges on the stable door after… Instead, there will be a hunt to find a replacement for Henry and it will have to be someone extraordinary in order to ensure that the Breakfast ratings don’t just go down the poo-hole with the show’s former star attraction.

Henry will be looking for a new job and like disgraced carefully and slowly rehabilitated sports presenter Tony Veitch, he may yet find another home in commercial radio after a spectacular fall from grace.

This whole messy mess is an opportunity for TVNZ to re-think it’s approach to breakfast television.

 

The captain, but no Tenille

 

I would opt for a return to Captain Kangaroo-style kids entertainment and leave the serious stuff to National Radio.

I loved Captain Kangaroo as a kid growing up in Milwaukee, he was just in control and always seemed about to explode – a lot like Paul Henry, so he would be popular with Henry’s audience profile and appealing to kids.

A serious morning news programme would be very interesting for the state broadcaster and I would enjoy it, but it would be expensive and a ratings stone (most likely). If TVNZ wants to go down that route I would be keen to offer some advice.

In the meantime, here’s the Captain to entertain you while you slurp down a coffee and some Froot Loops.


Henry Laws: Dynamic duo of dysfunctional rhetoric, or just ‘excitable boys’?

October 10, 2010

I made a bold prediction a few days ago. I suggested that Michael Laws would write a column in today’s Sunday Star Times defending Paul Henry.

Mea culpa. Laws defied my predictive powers and wrote instead about Len Brown and the Auckland mayoralty. However, Laws didn’t disappoint entirely, he has made some comments defending Henry and, along the way, he’s also now made some nasty personal and racist comments about G-G Sir Anand Satyanand.

Ah Michael, you are a paragon of certainty in this uncertain world. How will you manage without the benefit of the mayoral chains yourself. Perhaps you will be less prominent in our lives — at least for those of us who don’t listen to you talk-back drivel.

The tide of commentary about Henry is still rising and despite the absence of Laws’ in today’s papers, there’s plenty of others, including a surprising defence of sorts from Finlay McDonald.

Had Henry ventured that we might like to see, for example, a white person back in Government House, it would seem a little more clear-cut. But as every commentator was obliged to observe from the outset, by seeming to invoke some archetype of New Zealand-ness, it was logically possible he meant to include Maori as well. Straight away, then, it was a little more complicated than a bigoted buffoon running amok on state television inciting race hate. In other words, he might benefit from at least a little bit of doubt.

[Let's draw the line between idiocy and true racism]

Sorry Finlay, I totally disagree. What ever excuses are cooked up, there was intent in Henry’s comments, just as there was in Michael Laws’ attack on Satyanand last week too.

They are birds of a feather and both deserve to be criticised for their loose lips, not given any benefit of the doubt.

Perhaps, though, if we want to excuse their ugliness, we could suggest, that they are nothing more than “excitable boys”.

Read the rest of this entry »


Oh Henry #4: He’s not a ‘legend’ and it’s not about freedom of speech

October 9, 2010

There are two or three types of ‘defence’ that supporters of Paul Henry are using to deflect criticism, or to argue that he’s not racist, just misunderstood.

None of them are really robust, but I’m sure that we’ll see more of it over the next few days as his future hangs in the balance.

At least today TVNZ boss Rick Ellis has signalled that Henry’s future – and indeed, his return to the Breakfast gig – is still far from certain.

“I think that as the week has progressed and the complaints have continued to roll into the company, you’ve really got to reassess things each day and I’ll be reflecting over the weekend and again on Monday as to where we go from here.”

[Paul Henry's job future looking shaky]

Whatever Ellis might decide in the next few days, Henry’s defenders will try to make the following arguments:

  1. he was ‘only joking’ and shouldn’t be thought of as racist
  2. he went too far this time, but he’s generally a nice guy and very popular so allow him one or two mistakes
  3. you’re only picking on Henry because he’s conservative and he was only exercising his freedom of speech.

I don’t think the first two really stand up and they’ve both been analysed and discredited over the past week by many commentators. The ‘joke’ defence doesn’t stand up when you realise that Henry is a serial offender as I pointed out in ‘Oh Henry’ parts #1, #2 and #3. Henry may be a ‘nice guy’, but his image has taken a battering and his nasty streak is on display in concentrated form this week as everyone’s joined the dots.

[Note to new readers, or those stumbling on this at some distant future date - the background to all of this is contained in my earlier posts (linked above)]

And there’s no freedom of speech issue here either. Hate speech and blatant racism are not protected by any reasonable notion of free speech. That’s why these comments from Murray McCully are totally fatuous (I think that means ‘fart-like’):

Mr McCully this morning issued a statement saying he would also indicate to the Indian Government that Henry’s comments were the actions of one person.

He said freedom of speech was important in New Zealand.

“However it is always regrettable when a prominent individual abuses the freedom of expression, which is one of our basic rights, to cause offence to others.

“That is especially the case when the person offended against is a prominent public figure in another country.

[Henry's remarks the actions of one person - McCully]

Were they really the actions of one person? Herald columnist Paul Thomas doesn’t find Henry amusing either and his comments about Ellis appearing to defend Henry on free speech grounds are spot on:

Henry’s stuff doesn’t crack me up.

Nor do I get what TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis is on about when he says Henry “pushes the boundaries and that’s important in a country that values freedom of speech”.

Does Henry engage in cutting satire at the expense of the rich and powerful? Does he champion unpopular causes? Does he challenge middle-class New Zealand’s complacent assumptions? Is he a subversive figure like the American comedian Lenny Bruce who suffered police harassment and blacklisting?

Henry’s such an anti-establishment gadfly that he has a weekly audience with the Prime Minister which is apparently a laugh a minute.

[Penny drops for Henry and his employer]

Yeah, Henry’s apologetics for John Key are awful and now, thankfully, they may be over and Key won’t get a free spot to talk up his lame-arse government at our expense.

There’s a number of issues here that have been highlighted by two comments on my post #3. In particular, how complicit is TVNZ management in Henry’s juvenile posturing and insulting banter?

One of my postgrad journalism students, Josh Gale, points out that Henry’s co-hosts don’t call him out, particularly on the infantile “dick shit” episode:

While I agree with you that in the Dixit video one of his colleagues is trying to correct him, the woman sitting next to him has a big fat grin on her face the whole time. This seems to be quite common. All of his co-hosts sit there and giggle at Paul’s ignorant comments, maybe, but only maybe, saying “oh Paul, you’re being silly” in the usual vacuous manner, but not showing any spine whatsoever. The money must be really really good to sit there like a coward and not say anything.

And media commentator John Drinnan also picked up on this point in his comments:

Josh makes a good point. I’ve also been surprised by TVNZ’s willingness to associate key journalists with untarnished reputation – like Peter Williams, Pippa Wetzell and Alison Mau [with Henry]. Why would you ask key editorial presenters -with reputations to protect- to laugh along at those sort of comments.

So really there are some good questions brewing that I think TVNZ news management now has to answer:

  1. What is the editorial policy regarding Paul Henry? Does he have carte blanche?
  2. What are the instructions given to producers to hold a line, or to rein in some of Henry’s more outrageous moments?
  3. Does Henry have instructions to be outrageous?
  4. Does TVNZ management approve of Henry’s clowning and insulting behaviour because it drives up ratings points?

I’m sure I’ll think of more over the next couple of days and feel free to add yours in the comments, but this last question is particularly interesting given the sort of positive response Henry’s actions have got from his loyal fans:

 

A reader poll from the Herald website

 

Government squirms …and so it should

It is great that John Key is still being criticised for his lame response to Henry – he laughed along with the joke – and the government is wriggling on a nasty hook at the moment.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully is also flapping and yapping in a vain attempt to hose down the growing international disquiet that Henry’s comments have set in motion.

Key has also said that the High Commissioner’s response is enough, but he has not apologised himself, nor has he adequately explained his complicit silence.

However, the Nationals may take some solace in the Dominion Post’s editorial from Wednesday last week. The paper’s leader writer opined that Henrygate should lead to the selling off “to the highest bidder” of the emotionally and financially crippled national broadcaster:

//

TVNZ’s belated recognition of the untenability of its position is yet another reason for the Government to consider the broadcaster’s future. With its puerile news service and near-constant diet of reality shows and foreign programmes, TVNZ is indistinguishable from its private-sector rivals. It should be sold to the highest bidder.

[Henry slur a sign of TVNZ's weakness]

This is a disingenuous argument. One could [and I will] make the entirely opposite argument and suggest that the failure of TVNZ to control Henry’s child-like humour and nasty streak  [two sides of the playground bully] is a result of the unsatisfactory fence straddling that TVNZ has to do as a malformed public broadcaster with commercial imperatives.

It is the chase for ratings that brought Henry to TVNZ in the first place and it is the addiction to advertising revenue that has kept him there. If TVNZ was a real public broadcaster that was adequately funded then they could afford to ditch Henry and the peurile audience he generates.

Audrey Young hints at this in her column from the Herald today:

Paul Henry was respected by a cross-section of politicians in the past because he often subjugated his own right-wing opinions and played devil’s advocate.

He was more careful when Labour was in office, whether consciously or not. Helen Clark welcomed him to New York to do her first big media number of the United Nations.

But under National, he has taken and TVNZ has allowed him a freer rein.

That has morphed into a situation where he will say outrageous things – things he hopefully doesn’t believe – to get the attention he and the channel’s advertising executives crave.

[Careless words now diplomatic incident]

 


Oh Henry #3: What a dipstick! Does Paul play with his poos?

October 8, 2010

In the contretemps surrounding Paul Henry’s racist comments about the governor general we’ve (well I have, any way) forgotten about the also notorious and recent ‘dickshit’ remarks and juvenile giggling. But it can’t be left aside any longer.

The incident, from a  week earlier, is now front page news in India and the New Zealand High Commissioner has had to apologise to the Indian government for Henry’s actions.

Henry deliberately mispronounced and ridiculed the second name of Sheila Dikshit, who has been in the news after taking charge of the Commonwealth Games preparations.

Henry mispronounced the minister’s name as “Dik-shit” on air, despite being told it was pronounced “Dix-it”.

The Times of India is carrying the story prominently on its website.

This clip is very embarrassing. You can see how Henry’s colleagues are grimacing and trying to shut him up. But Henry is an out-of-control clown.

The man is a national liability. He certainly doesn’t showcase the clean, green image of New Zealand that the country is trying to project overseas.

There’s quite a bit of chatter now about Henry, including an interesting attempt at psychoanalysis by media commentator Brian Edwards. But does it end up excusing his juvenalia?

Update: I just need to say a belated congratulations to Ben Gracewood the technology guy who resigned his Breakfast gig to protest Henry’s racism.
What dignity and courage.TVNZ should sack Henry and ask Ben Gracewood to come back.
Check out Ben’s statement at No more breakfast.

Read the rest of this entry »


Oh Henry #2: Don’t shoot the messenger, but what will Beeza do?

October 7, 2010

It would be a travesty if TVNZ publicist Andi Brotherston is obliged to fall on her sword in the Paul Henry broohaha.

Brotherston made the now infamous comment that Henry was expressing what we all think, but are too scared to voice when he made racist comments about the New Zealand governor general.

She subsequently apologised in an email to TVNZ staff and now, inevitably, the email is in the public domain and Brotherston is taking the heat. This is a shame, Paul Henry has been allowed to slink off to wait it out under whichever muddy rock he currently calls home, but Brotherston is blowing in the wind and the story today is all about her.

The real issue here has to be what will Beeza do? So far Henry’s been suspended for two weeks by TVNZ, but he’ll be back on air soon enough and that will be don’t miss car crash TV. How long will the ill-tempered tosser be able to bite his tongue before bursting into glorious flaming wreckage? Let’s hope that this latest gaffe is enough to sink forever his chances of taking over from the talking moustache on Close Up.

But you know, I’ve just reviewed some Beeza cases against Henry over the past few years and most of the time he gets away with it and TVNZ is in there fighting for his right to be offensive. As they say: “That’s entertainment”. Actually, it’s not, as you will see…if you get to the end of this long post.

Read the rest of this entry »


Oh Henry! #$%*(^)#@@#$ to you too.

October 6, 2010

Ah, that delightful little sprite the Fuck-Up Fairy (FUF) has been dancing on the broad shoulders of disgraced TV sock puppet Paul Henry for sometime. The shit was bound to hit the fan one day and that day was Monday.

Until then the gormless and goonish Henry has been protected by some lucky charm and the dismissive comment that ‘he’s just like that’.

Well, yes. He is like that. He’s like a rotten, racist, foul-mouthed, trumped-up, bigoted, insensitive, right-wing dribblejaws with a modicum of intelligence, but not enough to help him keep his maw shut.

His comments about the Governor General not looking or sounding like a Kiwi are racist, particularly given that Anand Satyanand was born in Grey fckuing Lynn.

Sir Anand, in Delhi for the Commonwealth Games, said he had not received a personal apology.

“I haven’t seen his apology. I’ve seen news reports that he has [apologised]. If he has, that’s fine.”

He said when he heard of the comments he only had one reaction.

“I am a New Zealand-born New Zealander. I am reliably informed I was born in 37 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn at the Bethany.

“That’s all I need to add to the chemistry.”

But let’s be clear, the comments would be racist in any context and it’s good to see the strong reaction against Henry this week. Even TVNZ has reacted and thrown Henry’s sorry ass into the can for a couple of weeks. But only, it seems after first attempting to smooth the row over with another ‘that’s Paul!’  comment:

TVNZ is also facing criticism over an initial statement in which spokeswoman Andi Brotherston defended Henry, saying he often said what “we quietly think but are scared to say out loud”.

[Angry Henry]

Oh, so it’s OK to be quietly racist at TVNZ, just don’t get caught. So if you talk in code, rather than overtly bigoted tones, you can get away with it and send dog whistle messages to ACT party supporters in the vain hope that the government won’t cut the budgets even more.

Herald media commentator John Drinnan goes down this track, suggesting that TVNZ won’t be financially harmed by the outrage. He even argues that Henry’s stupid remarks were “orchestrated”:

Don’t attack Paul Henry for his latest orchestrated outrage – questioning whether Anand Satyanand has been “New Zealand enough” to be Governor-General.

Don’t blame the monkey, blame the organ grinder.

The real question is about Television New Zealand and its cynical use of racial comments to boost publicity and profits.

[Drinnan: Don't blame the monkey]

Dirnnan may be right about this, but it does seem that TVNZ had to be pushed in order for them to agrees to (reluctantly) shove Henry off the Breakfast set for a couple of weeks. This statement from CEO Rick Ellis shows just how reluctant TVNZ was to give Henry the boot:

“Paul is one of New Zealand’s best broadcasters. He is a provocative host who speaks his mind and that is what many New Zealanders like about him. He often pushes the boundaries and that’s important in a country that values freedom of speech. But I consider his latest remarks to have well and truly crossed that line.

[TVNZ Statement @nzherald.co.nz]

I would characterise Henry as a provocative host who shits all over people without a care in the world and that’s what many New Zealanders don’t like about him. At the moment the nation is evenly divided three ways in relation to Henry, but two-thirds don’t like his most recent outburst according to this Herald poll.

OH Henry - you're buggered!

I’d like to see a similar poll about how PM John Key’s handled this mess too. It’s not always easy to publicly stand up to racists, but Key should have said something to Henry instead of trying to laugh it off. That just legitimises the racism. The real shame here is with John Key, but hey, that’s John for you!

And Paul, put a sock in that filthy mouth of yours. You hand out the bruisings, but don’t like it when you’re the subject of the hounding. Get over it. Your comments that you’ll “sue the paper” for taking shots of your house and your neighbours’ houses shows just how little you really know about media law.

“Get off my f*****g land,” he shouted. “Have you got your pictures now? Have you taken photos of my property or any of my neighbours’ properties? If any photos are published I’ll sue the f*****g paper.”

When he was not given a response, he yelled: “Can you not speak, you there in the car? I will f*****g sue your paper.”

Here’s my tip: Paul, spend your gardening leave with a shrink and a law book. You will need the next couple of weeks to prepare a defence for the inevitable Broadcasting Standards Authority complaint hearing.

The big elephant in the parlour here is just how bigoted is New Zealand. A recent example that caught my eye was the interview last week on Campbell Live with the guy who’s running the keep New Zealand farms in New Zealand campaign. I was too busy at the time to write it up, but some of the same sentiments about White=Kiwi were in evidence there too, with just a smudge of mum’s homemade jam to sweeten the bitter bun.

We should come back to this question of racism in the national identity of New Zealand at a future date.


What part of the word “collide” don’t you understand?

May 11, 2010

Not before time the New Zealand government has begun to ask politely if the Japanese government would mind terribly sharing some information about its case against Sea Shepherd activist Peter Bethune.

Captain Bethune has been in a Tokyo jail for some weeks now and there is no indication that charges will be laid soon, or that he will actually receive any real justice while incarcerated.

Prime Minister John Key announced this week that he is seeking more information from Japan about the incident that led to the sinking of Bethune’s ship the Ady Gil in the Southern Ocean in January.

There was a collision and that is clear from the video footage of the incident, but what is in dispute (in a legal sense) is which vessel was responsible.

On the TVNZ news last night [8pm TVNZ 7 bulletin] it was reported like this by Guyon Espiner:

The Ady Gil collided with a Japanese whaling ship, the Shonan Maru.

That’s a slight paraphrase, but the simple subject-verb-object construction of this sentence is absolutely loaded with meaning.

The implication is that the Ady Gil hit or ran into the whaling vessel.

If this was the case we might expect the nose of the Ady Gil to be crumpled in the fashion that a car colliding head on with the side of another car will have a crumpled nose and the second (object car) will have dents in the side of it.

But the nose of the Ady Gil was sheared right off. A simple understanding of the laws of physics would suggest that for this to happen the impact would have to be to the side of the vessel, not directly front on.

The only way that this could happen would be if the Japanese vessel in fact collided with the Ady Gil.

This simple reversal of subject-verb-object changes the picture immediately and irrevocably.

The  Shonan Maru collided with the Ady Gil.

In fact, the video footage suggests that the Shonan Maru ran right over the top of Captain Bethune’s ship.

There’s a simple lesson here for journalists and journalism students.

Writing in simple subject-verb-object sentences is the right way to do it. It makes the meaning very clear, but if you get it arse-backwards as Guyon Espiner did in his report, the meaning changes.

Active voice suggests that the subject does the action [verb] to the object. In this example the reversal of subject-verb-object distorts the story in a bad, bad way.

As the caption on the Youtube video puts it using a slightly different construction:

“Ady Gil rammed by Shonan Maru”

This keeps Ady Gil as the subject, but the choice of verb clearly implies culpability lies with the Shonan Maru. This is an acceptable alternative because the verb clause “rammed by” makes it clear who was at fault.


Close Up and personal – NZ’s finest tabloid TV

February 11, 2010

A chilling story in today’s New Zealand Herald, that suggests the national broadcaster has got its news priorities all arse-about.
John Drinnan reports that Prime Minister John Key was bumped from Tuesday’s Close Up programme in favour of an extended interview with former All Black star lock Robin Brooke.

Nothing newsy in that you might think, producers often have to make last minute changes to the line up of current affairs shows to accommodate breaking stories. On any ‘normal’ day such things would go unnoticed.

But this case is a bit different. The PM had just delivered a state-of-the-nation address to the opening of Parliament for 2010 and in his speech had outlined some swingeing changes to New Zealand’s tax system.

One of the changes – alongside reducing the tax burden on the super-rich – was an increase in the GST that would impact heavily on low income earners. Raising the GST from 12.5 to 15 per cent would lift the price of all the basics that most low income households spend the bulk of their hard-earned cash on.

This was a significant story of national interest and we might have expected Close Up host Mark Sainsbury to put Key under some hot lights for a grilling.

Sorry, who am I kidding. Let me rephrase that:

We might have expected Close Up host Mark Sainsbury to invite Key into the studio for a friendly chat – rehearsed in jolly tones – about his great and glorious, nay, visionary, tax proposals to help New Zealand’s struggling millionaires in their honourable quest to catch up with their well-off Aussie cousins.

Instead we got a five week old story about Robin Brooke’s drunken groping of a teenager and his threat to bash the 15-year-old girl’s gallant protector – himself a tough and seasoned 17.

Brooke was cajoled into giving a heart-felt (at least that’s what he told Sainsbury) apology. All of that took an excruciating (for Brooke and for the audience)  17 minutes and 56 seconds.

I get that Brooke was something of a Kiwi hero ‘back in the day’. But this story is titillation and tabloid celebrity tittle-tattle. The tax changes, on the other hand, affect every New Zealander and have some potentially huge political spin-offs for National’s relationship with the Maori party.

What were they thinking?

In Drinnan’s piece, a TVNZ  spokesmouth is quoted as saying that Close Up has a “preliminary booking” to speak with John Key on Budget night – that’s a whole three months away. But there’s no guarantee that this booking will be honoured. Suppose another ex-All Black does something stupid and wants to revarnish his reputation with a soft appearance on Close UP and Personal. Key will be left in the wings again.

No doubt the PM’s minders are not too worried about this. The less scrutiny of National’s robber baron tax policies, the better. Besides, three months is a long time in politics and Key doesn’t have to worry about getting a nasty chin rash from getting too Close Up and Personal with Mark Sainsbury’s feral facial hair.

Alongside rumours that John Campbell’s only got a handful of months to run on his contract and that Campbell Live is going to be dumped in favour of the atrocious @7, this is another nail in the coffin of New Zealand current affairs television.

Postscript 12.47pm

A source at TVNZ has written to note that the Herald‘s occupation of the moral high ground on this issue might in fact be them standing on a pile of the proverbial. My acquaintance sent this image as the proof of the pudding.

Should this pot call the kettle black?


Lingerie football – TVNZ…Why do we need to know?

May 16, 2009

OK, it’s Saturday, it’s football season, but this is not right. Not only do we have the Cronulla Sharks to deal with, now we have the ladies’ HotGirlsAndFootball-motivational-posterleague to distract and bewitch us.

Consider my utter and absolute dismay when Lingerie Football [NSFW] was presented as a “news” item at the end of the TVNZ bulletin.

I am very disappointed that TVNZ thinks it’s OK to humiliate female newsreaders for the sake of a tits’n’arse ratings point or two.

I’ve been home most of the day, I was doing some marking and preparing for my Writers & Reader’s Festival gig tomorrow afternoon. I had the TV on in the background because Moac was shopping for warm, smart and “grrrrrhhhhh…..merino!”

Throughout the day I was switching between Snoop’Dog THS, football, baseball, motor racing, Coro-omnibus, gardening shows, netball and news. At least a dozen times I heard the Sky-guys yakkin’ on about “lingerie football”.

A “no news” news item that’s most certainly a result of Flat Earth replicators. So it was and so it came to be that TVNZ replictated the advertising meme on cue.

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Public television for $1 a day

April 3, 2009
The Babbage Difference Engine - similar to the one at my place

The Babbage Difference Engine - similar to the one at my place

Earlier this week my Unitec colleague Peter Thompson had a very thoughtful response to National’s canning of the TVNZ Charter published on Scoop.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I can recommend it as a good read. Peter makes a very interesting point, New Zealand can afford a decent public service television broadcaster and it would cost around $1 a day per household. I have run his maths through the old EM Difference Engine and, By Jove, I think he’s right.

This good news deserves to get a lot more coverage than it has. It should have been the headline statement in Peter’s piece. So I’m bringing it too you again.

This is a debate we need to have, but the National governmet is so keen on its ludicrous 100 day plan to make Ms Laura Norder the sultry star of its first (and last) term of office that there’s no time for intellectual quibbles or a proper public discussion.

My AUT University colleague, Alan Cocker, also makes some good points in a piece published a couple of days ago in the NZ Herald.

I also want to draw your attention to some correspondence I got a few days ago from Radio New Zealand’s Comms Manger (a threatened species these days) about how we often leave public service radio off our radar in these debates.

As John pointed out to me, progammes like Morning Report and Checkpoint do a good job of irritating everyone and for many Kiwis they are a daily fix. More anon…

But first to our headline: Would you be wiling to pay $1 a day for a quality public broadcasting television service?

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