What really matters

August 2, 2013

The media and political tragics are exercised by the GCSB legislation and the furore over Andrea Vance’s phone records.

But outside the Bowen Triangle what really matters to people are the  issues which have the most impact on their lives: the economy, education, health, welfare and security.

People might not like this policy or that initiative but most vote on these five issues and the one on which all the others depend is the economy.

This doesn’t mean that the economy should always take precedence and that economic growth should come at any cost.

It does mean though, if we want first world education, health, welfare and security we need a growing economy, and a sustainable one, based on investment and exports not borrowing and consumption.

In spite of natural and financial disasters, that’s what the National-led government is delivering:
Despite some tough challenges in the past few years, the NZ economy is in good shape. That’s great news for families. What do you think of our progress?

Pretty meaningless stuff

June 27, 2012

Another quote of the day:

Rt Hon John Key: Has he seen any reports that the Government’s attempt to quantify 14 different outcomes is “pretty meaningless stuff”, and does he think it is pretty meaningless stuff to

be tackling rheumatic fever, abuse of children, and better education for New Zealanders—is that pretty meaningless stuff?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I saw a report—well, I heard a report that I did not initially believe, actually, because it was a quote from some chap called Chris Hipkins from the Labour Party, who said of these result areas—better educational achievement, less crime, and fewer vulnerable children—“It’s actually pretty meaningless stuff.” And on “Planet Labour”, I think it is.

On Planet Labour all sorts of strange things are said and done. Maybe it’s all the SMOGs (Social Media Own Goals) which cloud their thinking.

Megan Woods tweeted a Hitler comparison yesterday and David Clark followed it up by criticising Peter Dunne for his absence from parliament when he (Dunne) was at a funeral.

Such things are probably meaningless stuff outside the Bowen Triangle and among political tragics but they’re still nasty stuff.

Blogging takes insiders beyond the Bowen Trianagle

September 2, 2010

Colin Espiner has posted his last post at On The House:

 . . . It’s true that blogging has changed the way political journalists write; the style is more colloquial, and the topics we choose to write about are not always the ones that would fill the august pages of The Press or the Dominion Post.

But I’d argue – certainly for myself – that the standards never wavered. Off the record remained just that. Gossip over a glass of wine did not find its way on to these web pages – at least not without the author’s express permission.

For a while On The House became required reading in the Beehive, and I’m proud of the fact that Prime Minister John Key and many of his ministers read most of what I wrote.

I’m even more proud of the fact that he often went on to read what you wrote, too.

Because if there’s one thing that blogging has taught me about journalism it is that the old “sermon from the mount” approach to writing – particularly opinion writing – is no longer acceptable in the new multimedia environment.

Readers expect to have their own say about what is served up to them. I have certainly had to develop a thicker skin to cope with what has been served back to me.

I learned not to question Idiot/Savant on climate change issues, since he’d read all the United Nations reports. I learned to double-check what I wrote about Labour, because if not Jennifer would correct me – all the way from Texas.

I learned that whenever I wrote anything about law and order it would earn a diatribe from Adolf Fiinkensein (is that really your name, Adolf?) or that if I wrote about the smacking debate I was asking for trouble from Alan Wilkinson.

Other regulars on the site . . . helped keep me on the straight and narrow and were quick to correct me when I was wrong – or simply misguided.

It must be all too easy for those inside what Rob Hosking calls the Bowen Triangle – the confines in which political insiders operate in Wellington – to become insulated from other people and views, to think their views are the only views.

Blogging – and the response he got to it – took Espiner beyond the Bowen triangle’s boundaries.

Political analysis and journalism are the better for it.

Bowen Triangle beats Beltway

May 27, 2009

Rob Hosking uses his politics column in the print edition of last week’s NBR to suggest it’s time the term the beltway to be killed off.

It’s an American import, reflecting the beltway (or motorway, we would call it) which rings the political centre of Washington DC . . . But as a metaphor for New Zealand politics it is about as relevant as calling Parliament Westminster.

Here’s a suggested replacement: The Bowen Triangle.

First the Parliamentary precincts are roughly the right shape, if you include the large public service towers behind the building.

Secondly, it is evocative of the Bermuda Triangle, that mysterious accident-prone quarter of the Caribbean.

The Bowen Triangle is where reality is different from the rest of the world. It is where whole formations of common sense fly into the blue and are never seen again.

And it is full of people seeking the political equivalent of the lost city of Atlantis.

That’s a very persuasive argument and gets my vote.

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