Espiner to replace Robinson


Guyon Espiner is to replace Geoff Robinson when he retires from Morning report next year.

. . . Espiner has been a political editor for Television New Zealand and the Sunday Star-Times, and has presented TVNZ’s Q + A programme on Sundays.

He also worked on TV3 programmes The Vote and 3rd Degree and has been in journalism for 20 years.

Radio New Zealand’s chief executive Paul Thompson described Espiner as an incisive interviewer with an impressive career and impeccable journalistic credentials. . . .

When I did the Kellogg Rural Leadership programme we visited Radio NZ while Morning Report was on air and were able to speak to Robinson afterwards.

I asked him what made a good interviewer, he said, one of the most important attributes was being a good listener.

When does rent become a rort?


Kiwiblog has more on the Green Party’s accommodation arrangements and the issue has also been picked up by the MSM.

Julian Robins interviewed Metiria Turei on Morning Report and the Southland Times editorial says:

Interestingly, it appears to have been the party, rather than the MPs, who refunded the money. Interesting, because the Greens have been accused in the past of using trusts to buy houses in Wellington and then renting them out to their MPs, at a profit, of course.

This is the same accommodation rort that many MPs, from all parties, have got their grubby little hands into at the expense of the taxpayer, and it has to stop.

I don’t know of any other party or MPs who rent flats from their superannuation fund. But who has done it is irrelevant, it’s that they can which matters and that must be addressed.

MPs should not be out of pocket if they have to maintain a home in their electorates and accommodate themselves in Wellington. But the rules need to ensure they aren’t able to take the most expensive option to get a greater gain for themselves.

Bloke behind bird song bags Old Blue


Wildlife film maker and sound recorder John Kendrick, the man who initiated National Radio’s bird calls has been awarded an Old Blue.

That’s the Forest and Bird Society’s highest award.

Sean Plunket’s interviewed him on Morning Report today.

Philippa Stevenson has more information, inclduing a photo of the kokako which Kendrick says has his favourite bird song, at The Bull Pen.

DOC accepts greenmail payment from Meridian – Updated


RadioNZ  National reports that the Department of Conservation accepted $175,000  from Meridian Energy in return for not opposing Meridian Energy’s Project Hayes windfarm in Central Otago.

Morning Report’s news quoted DOC’s Otago Conservator Jeff Connell saying it would have been inappropriate to oppose the project when the previous government supported it.

Excuse me?

A government department took $175,000 from a State Owned Enterprise for not doing something it felt would be inappropriate?

Isn’t accepting a greenmail payment at least as inappropriate especially when it is basing its view on political considerations not environmental ones?

UPDATE: The Morning Report story is now on-line here

Mickey Mouse turns 80


The time difference between the USA and New Zealand means that although Mickey Mouse’s 80th birthday was yesterday, November 18th, celebrations are happening today November 19th for us.

One of those celebrating is Lila Frisch  who shares Mickey’s birthday.

The Port Angeles woman and the Walt Disney icon are turning 80 on Tuesday, and Frisch — an admitted Mickey aficionado — will celebrate with a Mickey-themed party at her Fogarty Avenue home.

For Frisch, the party won’t compare to that for her 75th birthday, when she was the grand marshal of a parade at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

“You just can’t imagine how that made me feel,” Frisch said. “They treated like me like royalty. I figure I could never be treated so royally again.”

Instead, Frisch will celebrate with her “Mickey people,” as she calls fans of the squeaky-voiced cartoon character. And there are quite a few Mickey people in Port Angeles, Frisch said.

Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Wille, 1928.

Time marks the birthday here.

Morning Report also took a look at Mickey’s life and although it’s not on-line Geoff Robinson tried to sing the song. Come on, you know it – altogether now: M-i-c-k-e-y-m-o-u-s-e

Election post mortems


John Key’s first extended interview as Prime Minister elect with John Campbell: part 1, part 2, part 3.

Sunday part 1, part 2, part 3,  part 4,  part 5.

Morning Report’s election special.

RadioNZ Sunday  – Sunday Group on the election and Media Watch on election coverage.

Peters MIA


Morning Report  interviewed the leaders of all the wee parties this morning – well all but that of New Zealand First because Winston Peters didn’t turn up.

He didn’t turn up for the RadioNZ  foreign policy debate either.

Does he have a problem with radio or is today’s no-show related to a RadioNZ news story that he’s given up on Tauranga?

Morning Report discussed that in more detail.

And what does Helen Clark’s comment yesterday that he was a victim of a malicious campaign mean?

“It’s one thing to try to take people out of politics on the basis of their policies, it’s another to mount a campaign based on smears and we’ve now had three inquiries which have fallen completely flat on their face.

“Wouldn’t I look a chump today if I had sacked Mr Peters because of those inquiries.”

No, she’d have been seen to treat him as she’d treated other errant ministers and she does look a chump for backing him in the face of the privileges committee censure.

But what happens now?  Will she tell the Labour candidate in Rimutaka to pull back to give Ron Mark a better chance?  

That’s the only electorate where NZ First has a chance and if they don’t win it they’ll need 5% of the party vote which is possible but not probable.

Glenn will give evidence


Brent Edwards has just given an update on this morning’s meeting of the privileges committee and says Owen Glenn will give evidence to it next Tuesday.

It isn’t clear whether he will appear in person or by video link.

The Morning Report interview is on line here.

Taxi driver – no-one voting Labour


The taxi driver who took me to Wellington airport this morning was listening to a political discussion on Morning Report.

I took the opportunity that offered to ask what passengers were saying about the election. He said no-one was supporting Labour; nor were he, his family and friends. Some of them weren’t sure who they’d vote for but he’d be voting National and he reckoned John Key was honest.

The views of one taxi driver and his passengers can not be likened to a scientific poll. But they can be a barometer of mood and this taxi driver was sure the mood was for change.

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