Word of the day

November 15, 2011

Losel – good for nothing, worthless.

Wild greens behind urbane front

November 15, 2011

This media release from the man who wanted to be known as Jo Henky was made at 11:23 this morning:

We were saddened to hear National Party president Peter Goodfellow attacking the messenger on Checkpoint last night, rather than responding to the message.

If National disagrees with the policies “The Rich Deserve More” and “Drill It! Mine It! Sell It!” they should simply say so.

To our knowledge no billboards were harmed in the delivery of this message. The stickers can be easily peeled off.

We do not represent a political party. We are private individuals who are disturbed by the policy directions of the current Government, and who seek to engage in the political process at election time in a light-hearted and hopefully humorous way.

Yet by then he had already been outed as Jolyon White, a Green Party member.

NewsTalkZB’s Felix Marwick tweeted more than an hour earlier that the Green Party might have been behind the sabotage and that Russel Norman was going to front the media. He followed up with a tweet saying it was the partner of Norman’s EA.

Norman continues to deny any knowledge of the attack on the billboards:

Dr Norman said he learnt of Mr White’s involvement only after other Green members recognised his voice in a radio interview this morning.

I accept his word and that the actions of White and whoever else was involved, whether or not they were Greens, were not acting on the party’s behalf.

Norman’s EA has been stood down and White has resigned from the party.

I have found no reference to any assurance from any other MP or office holder in the party. Until they give one it is legitimate to ask did any of them know anything about the plan or its execution before this morning?

Regardless of the answer to that question, Dim Post gets to the nub of the damage this has done to the more moderate brand the party has been striving to cultivate.

He says it highlights the disparity between the party’s target voters who aren’t anti-National and its activist base who are a bunch of anti-National anarchists.

The Greens are often criticised for being  watermelons  – a green shell with a red centre. This episode shows that for all the effort the party has put into taming its image, there are still some wild greens behind the urbane front.





November 15, 2011

7/10 in NZ History Online’s quiz.

Hypothetical questions, Politics Daily, World #1s,

November 15, 2011

The power of the hypothetical question opened discussion with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today.

While on matters political we also looked at:Politics Daily, Dr Bryce Edwards’ excellent round-up of political news and views; and the Listeners equally compelling read for political tragics – NZ Election Live.

We finished with international number ones – because every country is best at something; and a selection of absurd signs and disclaimers.

I found the last two sites via Ideaolog’s newsletter Daily Bacon to which you can subscribe here.

Let down by volunteers

November 15, 2011

This morning Whaleoil joined the dots between the messages on the stickers defacing National Party billboards and the distribution and came up with something green.

He was right. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has admitted the man behind the vandalism is the partner of his executive assistant.

Dr Norman said he had had no knowledge of the vandalism in advance, and only found out who was involved on Tuesday morning.

Whale deduced this looked like a green network. It looks like it was also at least partly a Green one, albeit without the knowledge or authority of the party.

All parties run the risk of volunteers getting carried away by their enthusiasm and doing something that will embarrass the organisation.

This is a particularly well organised and funded embarrasment. Parties of the right would be vilified if their supporters were stupid enough to do something similar even if it was done without their knowledge or authority.

Will some of the mud its supporteres have been also stick to the Greens?

The purpose of government

November 15, 2011

Quote of the day:

“We’re not in the business of doing things businesses could be doing. Our business is to provide the environment so businesses can get on and do business.”

The speaker was a local government employee but her words apply just as much to central government.

Remembering those who aren’t free to write

November 15, 2011

Today is the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer, which is marked in New Zealand as Courage Day.

Every 15th of November throughout the world, PEN (the international writers’ organisation which champions freedom of expression) holds events to mark the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer.

The New Zealand Society of Authors which incorporates PEN honours this event as Courage Day, named jointly after James Courage, a novelist and poet whose novel A way of lovewas banned because he dared to express homosexuality in his writing prior to the setting up of the Indecent Publications Tribunal in 1964, and his grandmother Sarah Courage whose book describing colonial life in New Zealand was burned by neighbours who resented comments she made about them.

This year we are commemorating the 42 writers who lost their lives since Courage Day 2006 as well as the 1000’s of writers, editors, broadcasters and journalists worldwide whose lives are endangered for speaking out against repressive regimes and human rights injustices.

Three writers will feature in our Courage Day events – journalist Anna Politkovskaya, whose work won her the description of “Russia’s lost moral consciousness” and whose murder in October 2006, made headlines worldwide. Turkish-Armenian writer Hrant Dink was shot dead in January 2007 outside his office, after being convicted of “insulting the Turkish identity” after writing about a mass murder committed ninety years ago. And, Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was executed 10 years ago along with eight others for campaigning against the devastation of the Niger Delta by international oil companies.

PEN is also asking for letters of support for five writers imprisoned for expressing their views –

Cuba – Normando Hernández González– a journalist imprisoned under crackdown on dissidents in 2003 and since held under dire conditions;

Gambia – Fatou Jaw Manneh– a journalist on trial and facing a heavy sentence on charges of sedition for her articles criticising the Gambian president.

Iran – Yaghoub Yadali– a novelist given a one year sentence for his fictional characterisation of the ethnic minority of which he is himself a member;

Uzbekistan – Jamshid Karimov– a journalist who has covered human rights abuses, and wrote critical articles and who has been held in psychiatric detention for over a year.

Yemen – Abdel Karim Al-Khaiweni – former editor of the online publication Al-Shoura who has been under threat since June 2007 for his writings and continued harassment by the military.

It is easy to take freedom of expression for granted in a country like New Zealand.

Courage Day is a reminder of the value of that freedom and of the people in other countries whose writing endangers their freedom and their lives.

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