Salient interviews Collins

October 1st, 2012 at 5:33 pm by David Farrar

Asher Emanuel of Salient has an extended interview with Judith Collins. It is an interesting read. A couple of extracts:

A: I’ve read that you were once a staunch Labour supporter—

J: Oh, well that’s what happens when you grow up in a family that is [chuckles]. Everyone’s allowed to be stupid once, I always say!

A: On Labour, you once said that it’s a group of people “who think that policy papers can change the world”—

J: They do. Actions speak louder than words.

A: How would you characterise the difference?

J: They think that having a strategy paper [...] followed by a work plan paper, followed by a consultation document should take up about three years of government and then they can say that they’ve done something. [...] It’s a bit like those people who say things like ‘one day I’m going to run a marathon’, and then never actually put their running shoes on to go and start. I guess I’m someone who feels very aware, Asher, that I have a certain amount of time on earth, I have a certain amount of time and I don’t believe I get to come back here to earth, so—not a buddhist. [...] And I am absolutely aware that every single minute has to count.

I think you could apply that to the health system. Labour had dozens of strategies, goals, targets and objectives. Tony Ryall came in and set six or seven clear national goals for the health sector, and we’ve seen some real tangible and important improvements.

A: How does your gender affect you media portrayal?

J: Well, there’s no point moaning about it, because you won’t get anywhere with it, but women politicians are quite clearly judged on an extra set of characteristics than our male counterparts. Our clothes are criticised, or sometimes ever MARKED. Hair, weight, age; all these things are up for grabs, and to the extent that our male colleagues don’t get the same sort of scrutiny. However, that is also an opportunity for us to actually show ourselves as different from what is the norm, and so every difficulty or every problem is actually an opportunity.

A: You’ve said before that you’re “pro-women” rather than describing yourself as a feminist.

J: I’ve never had a problem with saying that I am actually someone who is pro-women, and the trouble with the label feminist, is that it’s used in a derogatory way by many. It’s also used [in] a celebratory way by many. [...] Far too often—and not just in Parliament, in business and particularly around boards—we have far too few women. Or the women that some of the men feel comfortable with are the women who play supportive roles. Well… I’m not a supportive role player. Unless it’s part of the team—I’m very happy to be part of the team. But I’m not a handmaiden. And I think that some men, who feel threatened by that, that that’s a bit of a shame, because they hold back the best people, and they spend their time worrying about someone being threatening.

;

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Salient satire

March 18th, 2012 at 3:17 pm by David Farrar

Salient have kindly added me to their distribution list, and have just been reading their first few issues. Had a good laugh at a satirical article on Trevor Mallard’s scalping, which they have on their website also. An extract:

In a shocking turn of events, it has emerged that the sell-out sales to this week’s O-Week events was not due to popular student demand, but was rather the result of a new business venture by Labour Party politician and entrepreneur, Trevor Mallard MP.

Salient understands that the MP had bought all 1,000 tickets to the Mt Eden and Roots Manuva shows, set to be held as part of Victoria University’s O-Week 2012, in an attempt to scalp them on Trade me for a negligible to modest profit.

In a written statement to Salient, Mr. Mallard stated that the initiative was part of a broader fiscal scheme to bolster his personal income.

“The pay down at Parliament is bloody dire, to be honest,” he said.

“I mean, for fuck’s sake, what else was I meant to do?” …

In the face of these accusations, Mr. Mallard has refused to capitulate to demands to return the tickets to the student body, vowing to fill the venue himself.

“It’s a matter of honour now,” he said, “But it’s all good. I’ll bring my Parliament bros along. Trev and the boys can always bring the party!”

Mr. Mallard claims he may just be able to scrape together a half-capacity crowd. All he needs to do is round up in one room everyone who wanted Phil Goff to be Prime Minister.

Heh, very good. Even better was Michelle A’Court on the same topic Seven Days on Friday night. I won’t quote her exact words, but let’s just say it was very funny.

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Vote Knight

October 7th, 2010 at 2:29 pm by David Farrar

If you’re at Vic Uni, make sure you vote in the final of Academic Idol, for the most popular lecturer.

It not often ones goes for a lawyer, but the competition is from the psych department, and lets face it almost all psychologists are nuts themselves. Also Dean is a great guy.

Dean’s final entry is:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION
If you were going to commit a crime, which one would it be and how would you justify it to the public (if you get caught)?
Bonus question: Capybaras—yay or nay?

DEAN KNIGHT, LAW
“C’mon! You can’t ask a legal academic that question. We believe in the Rule of Law! Well, perhaps. Maybe. Or maybe only one or two of the different conceptions of the Rule of Law…
Anyways, the whole point about being a smarty-pants lawyer is we know what’s illegal and what’s not. And we know how to argue about the grey areas in order to avoid being convicted. No need to justify anything if you don’t commit the crime.
- Parking in a loading zone (Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004, r 6.4)—not a crime after 6pm, unless the sign says “At All Times”.
- Urinating in a public place (Summary Offences Act 1981, s 32)—not a crime if you reasonably believe no-one can see you.
- Drinking booze in a liquor ban zone (Local Government Act 2002, s 147)—the Police first have to analyse and prove the liquor is more than 1.15% strong.
- Stealing a baby’s identity to get a false passport (Tough on Crime Act 2010, s23)—you’re immune if you’re a member of the Sensible Sentencing Trust.
- Breaching any law of the land in the name of the earthquake recovery effort (Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act 2010, s 6)—not if you have a note excusing you written by Lord Gerry VIII…

Now this is actually damn useful advice – how to legally park on loading zones, urinate in public and drink alcohol in a ban zone.

A final note from Dean:

So that’s it. If you reckon I have done enough to Outwit, Outplay and Outlast (or Outspam?) – or just want to support the law guy – then you can text “Dean” to 027 CUSTARD (+64-27-287-8273) or editor@salient.org.nz; by 5pm Thu (NZT). Apparently you don’t need to be at Vic to vote.

You have 150 minutes to vote!

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VUWSA By-Election Invalid

September 22nd, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Salient reports:

Salient understands the recent VUWSA by-election was declared invalid by an independent panel following a complaint by Act on Campus vice-president Peter McCaffrey.

Sources revealed the decision to Salient last week. The report had not been officially released at the time of print.

McCaffrey complained because of irregularities between online and paper ballots, and lax identification procedures with paper votes.

Upon receiving the complaint the election committee released a statement saying the irregularities’ while “not strictly in accordance with the VUWSA constitution” had “minimal” influence on the by-election.

The matter was passed onto an independent panel, comprised of former NZUSA president Joey Randall, former VUWSA Treasurer Graeme Edgeler and Senior Lecturer in Statistics Dr Richard Arnold, who have reportedly found the by-election to be invalid.

I am not surprised. In fact I was amazed that the election committee upheld the by-election. Not only were the electronic ballot papers in breach of the constitution by offering a no confidence option when it should not, you had different ballot papers online and offline.  These are not minor issues.

If the election is invalid, the decisions of the VUWSA exec over the past two months may not be legitimate. …

Neilson said the panel’s decision put the exec “in a tight position”. …

“It puts the voting strength on or below six, [which is] what’s required to make quorum,” he said.

Five new executive members—Max Hardy, Caitlin Dunham, Guy Williams, Zachary Dorner and Luke Cao—were elected in the by-election held from July 27 to 29.

What is that old saying about ability to organise a piss up in a brewery? And they get $2 million or so a year in compulsory fees.

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The ASPA Awards

September 14th, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I was one of the judges for the Best Website section of the Aotearoa Student Press Association Awards, so went along to the awards ceremony on Thursday night.

aspa1

Barry Soper (left) was the Awards MC and Guest Speaker. Laura McQuillan was the Awards organiser.

I knew a few of the other Judges, and got to meet some I hadn’t already met, such as the Dom’s Post Greer McDonald, and Nicky Hager. No doubt Whale and Cactus will expel me again from the VWRC for fraternising with Nicky. I did ask Nicky to consider revealing one day in the future (as in many decades time after the people involved are dead) who or how he got the National Party e-mails,for the sake of accurate history.

aspa2

The Salient team accepting the Publication of the Year award, with editor Jackson Wood next to Barry.

The full list of awards was:

  1. Best Website – Craccum
  2. Best Headline – Critic for “Students spitroasted at CoC fight”
  3. Best Cartoonist – Robyn Kenealy of Salient and Maria Brett of Critic
  4. Best Original Photography – Clinton Cardozo of Debate
  5. Best Sports Writer – Brad Kreft of Critic
  6. Best Education Series – Joshua Drummond of Nexus
  7. Best Humour Content – Joseph Harper of In Unison
  8. Best Reviewer – Joseph Harper of In Unison
  9. Best Columnist – Dr Love of Magneto and Liz Willoughby-Martin of Critic
  10. Best Cover – Salient
  11. Best Editorial Writer – Ryan Boyd of Debate
  12. Best Feature Writer – Sarah Robson of Salient
  13. Best News Writer (unpaid) – Jessy Edwards of Salient
  14. Best News Writer – (paid) – Stacey Knott of In Unison
  15. Best Feature Content – Nina Fowler of Salient
  16. Best Design – Chaff
  17. Best Small Publication – Magneto
  18. Best Publication – Salient

Was a fun night. It wound down a bit before midnight when some headed into town. Thanks to Fairfax for sponsoring it, and well done to the winners and finalists.

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VUWSA and VSM

April 30th, 2009 at 12:22 pm by David Farrar

It is time for National to live up to its core principles and make a commitment to voluntary membership of student associations. VUWSA gives us two good reminders of why students should have the choice about whether or not they hand over millions of dollars every year.

First have a look at this story and comments at Salient about the VUWSA Exec refusing to lay a wreath for ANZAC Day. Scores of angry students – but you know not one of them is legally allowed to quit as a member and get his or her fee back – or refuse to join up and spend the fee joining a group they do wish to belong to.

The other going on is at Salient itself. I’m not going to cover the full story, as it is on Ethical Martini, but Salient (which is funded by VUWSA compulsory fees) threatened Dave at Big News with a defamation suit over a very trivial issue (involving someone from the Salient office spamming his site). Now student media of all groups should be the last to be trying to use defamation laws aggressively against people. Again – if they actually had to earn their money – not get given it by statute – this silliness would largely disappear. Fortunately Salient have withdrawn their threat of legal action.

If you want to give 200,000+ students a choice, then e-mail Minister of Education Anne Tolley and ask her to stick it on the agenda for 2009 or 2010.

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Salient vs VUWSA

August 12th, 2008 at 6:12 pm by David Farrar

Salient has an open letter to VUWSA – the organisation that all Vic studenrs are forced to fund. Salient normally goes soft on VUWSA as they fund them, so they have to be pretty peeved to do this:

As you failed to hold an Initial General Meeting this year, and have so far failed to hold an Annual General Meeting to pass last year’s budget, students have not been afforded the forums they need to discuss your structural issues.

Pah – democrarcy – who needs it.

We’re cool with you pulling pranks, like offering $10,000 to whoever arrests Condoleezza Rice, but you have to earn the right to pull these pranks by otherwise running your organisation well, and often you don’t.

I’m never cool with compulsory fees going on such pranks.

Although we don’t write about every little problem you encounter, given the lack of any general meeting this year, it’s worth discussing some of these issues now.

Here are two examples. At the end of last year, former President Geoff Hayward decided to spend over $22,222.22 (which is a much less funny number when it is students funds) to upgrade VUWSA’s van, with the support of current Education Vice-President Paul Brown. Although they did this without the proper authority, the payment could not be reversed and VUWSA was stuck with the bill.

Similarly, at the snow games party in late 2007, VUWSA held a competition in which they gave away a snowboard. However they failed to give the snowboard to the person who won it, and the winner subsequently took VUWSA to court at the beginning of this year. Hayward’s successor as President, Joel Cosgrove, then failed to turn up on the appointed court date. Good one guys.

This is what happens when you don’t have to work for your money.

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Salient interviews Sir Roger Douglas

July 24th, 2008 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

An in depth interview with Sir Roger Douglas by Salient. Extracts:

Are you not concerned at all about any bad blood in the house?

(Laughs) What kind of bad blood is there?

Tensions between various other politicians…

Like who?

Well for starters Helen Clark and Michael Cullen…

Oh look, im not worried about Helen Clark or Michael Cullen, we are not going to agree anyway. How can I agree with them anyway! They are tearing the country apart! They have reduced our labour productivity to a third of what it was, multifaceted productivity is down to one seven of where it was. I’m not going to worry about what Michael Cullen or Clark think. They think as highly of me as I think of them.

And productivity growth is the long term key to closing the gap with Australia.

What is the single biggest issue facing New Zealand at the moment and how would you remedy it?

The level of government expenditure. This government has increased government expenditure over and above inflation. That’s about 17 billion a year. But in more practical terms, that’s $200 a week per family in New Zealand. The lives of families in new Zealand would be dramatically changed if the government had not taken that money from them and flushed it down the toilet because that’s essentially what they did. They wasted it.

There’s a whole lot of families out there that I used to represent, in Otara, who would feel a lot better about their lives today if they could keep that $200. This is supposed to be a government that cares about those kinds of people. They don’t care. They are chardonnay socialists. And in some ways I have nothing but contempt for them. Because they have usurped the people they claim to represent. They don’t even mix with those people. I’d mix with those people a lot more than they would.

That’s fighting words!

Why has John Ansell left the ACT team?

Well, I still talk to John. I think John probably from his point of view found there were frustrations, he wanted to control from woe to go. The problem in politics is you’ve always got that fine balance about aiming for perfection and when possibly 95% will do, and sometimes 95% is enough, you have a trade off there between speed to market and perfection. …

Id see something and say its great, but in John’s eyes it could be perfected by doing this or that. I’m sorry to lose him, hes a genius. And im hoping – I spoke to him yesterday – that he can do things for us. But, the other factor, and I don’t know if John really recognised, is the issue of the best use of his time. When you have a creative genius – which he is, you want him to work on projects that matter. Little projects aren’t as critical. Your better to keep him away from them really.

High praise for John.

So the consequence of that, apart from the years of 1992 – 2000 our productivity has been relative to other countries abysmal. We had higher productivity than Australia in 1992 – 2000 largely due to the changes Ruth and I made. During those years we were catching up. But apart from that we are going backwards. One of the other significant reasons is that you’ve had a public who have rewarded politicians who have lied to them. And the students are a typical group. They might be bribed again. I dunno. I hope not. I hope they’ve learnt their lesson. And the public have responded to politicians who’ve scratched every itch. So Winston Peters goes up in the polls when he becomes a racist. And I hate that.

Not the only one!

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Salient interviews Jordan Carter

July 14th, 2008 at 8:01 pm by David Farrar

Salient interviews Jordan Carter, who is standing for Labour in Hunua. I’m even one of the topics discussed, and Jordan is very generous with his comments.

One part I’ll quote, which I agree with:

Do you think that the struggle for gay rights has largely finished in New Zealand, do you think that the battle has been won?

No, no, I think the battle for gay rights quote, unquote, will be won when there isn’t a battle for gay rights anymore. When the idea of someone being gay is no more particular or significant than them having red hair, or them being short…

I know not everyone is there, but to me someone being gay is about as significant as them having red hair. Except of course gingas deserve to be persecuted. More seriously, when I do find out someone I know is gay, it is just a feature of who they are.

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Reason No 7,562 for VSM

May 20th, 2008 at 9:16 am by David Farrar

Almost every single student at Victoria is forced to fund VUWSA, and the salary of its President – this year Joel Cosgrove.

If you do not approve of the jobs VUWSA does, you can not resign. If you are disgusted with the President – you can not resign. The President andor Exec members can treat students with absolute contempt because their funding is guaranteed.

And we see this in a story on the Salient blog (photos by Sean Gillespie), about the capping ceremony at Victoria. Capping is a big day for most students. They have worked three to five years or more to get their degree. It means a lot to them, and their families. It is not about the Professors or the people on stage – it is for the students – the very ones who fund VUWSA against their will often.

Now this photo is of the stage, and the one standing out is VUWSA President Joel Cosgrove. Now the issue isn’t actually being scruffy, even though I think that is a bit disrespectful. I had the privilege of serving on the Otago University Council and even though I hated suits would wear them when it was appropriate. Also as a Council member I was eligible to wear academic regalia even though I had no degree. I remember having a very cool purple hood. I never actually got around to finishing my degrees so my only graduation ceremonies was as a Council member. Anyway the not wearing regalia is not the issue. Salient notes:

At the parade on Thursday Cosgrove was wearing a suit. So why did he feel the need to wear the t-shirt on Friday’s ceremony? He could have chosen something more appropriate to the occasion, but the university should not have allowed him to sit on the stage at all.

This is a prime example of the complete lack of respect he holds for students.

This is the issue. That is just 100% inappropriate. Graduating students walking along the stage should not be confronted with a “I love my penis” t-shirt. The fact the t-shirt is part of a campaign for a good cause – sexual health checks – is irrelevant. It is about what is appropriate for the occasion. Cosgrove was not there as “Joel Cosgrove”. He was there as President of VUWSA.

Now some may say this is an issue over someone being a dickhead, not about VSM (Voluntary Student Membership). That you get dickheads everywhere. And yes that is true. You get dickheads everywhere and sometimes they get elected as President of VUWSA.

But the nature of compulsory membership does make the problem worse. It increases the chances of getting a student President who, like Joel seemingly, has a contempt for students. When they have no ability to resign in protest or even not join because they think everyone involved is a dickhead – well it is little surprise you get a student president who thinks it is appropriate to wear a penis t-shirt on stage at Capping.

Imagine how pissed off the graduating students are – this is one of the biggest days in their lives – they are walking across the stage receiving their degree and the person who is meant to be their representative, who they have been forced to fund paying him a full-time salary, is sitting them with a “I love my penis” t-shirt on.

It’s a bit of a pity that one of the graduating students didn’t have the presence of mind to grab the microphone as he walked past and say something like “On behalf of most of the students here today, I’d like to just say our President is a douche and we wish he wasn’t here being a douche”. They would have got a standing ovation I reckon.

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Blog Bits

April 30th, 2008 at 2:52 pm by David Farrar

David Cohen at NBR covers the apology from Hot Topic to the Listener and notes that by allowing a comments section on your apology, you sort of undermine it.

Rod Drury tries out his Freeview box. He likes the high definition but given a choice between HD and being able to time shift on MySky, he puts the time shifting as more important.

Martin Hurst asks whether shorthand should still be taught in journalism schools, with the greater use of digital recording devices.

David Weigel at Reason looks at most over-rated Presidents. He chooses Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and George HW Bush.

Conrad Reyners at Salient blogs on the Business Roundtable forum on public policy held last night. Sounds like Rod Deane stole the show.

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Most important issues facing students

March 5th, 2008 at 12:24 am by David Farrar

Salient asked some MPs and candidates on campus some questions, including “In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing students at the moment?”

Here’s their initial responses:

Mark Blumsky (National): Student loans.

Heather Roy (ACT): Student loans …

Sue Kedgley (Greens): How to pay for the crippling debt.

Grant Robertson (Labour): Keeping Labour in Government …

Phil Howison (Libertarianz): Getting government out of students lives …

Hmmn, spot the answer which is most revealing.

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