February miscellany

You just know things are getting dire in the change-the-flag camp when its promoters have to rely on the candlelight of celebrity.

Richie McCaw supports the change. Wow. Well that’s a must-vote for the new one then. And Dan Carter too. Double wow – it’s pretty much a done deal, but some obstacles remain.

Like the quasi celebs who are also in their camp – Mike Hoskings, TVNZ newsreader Peter Williams among others. They’re all flag-happy and flapping behind the PM, our flag change leader-in-chief (he sometimes sports the new version as a badge – subtle huh?)

McCaw and Carter are true rugby icons and entitled to their opinions, but in this contest you can’t help but sense an invisible hand or two in there screwing the scrum.

Let’s look at the other cheerleaders. Hoskings: avowed new flag supporter and host of Seven Anything But Sharp. Whatever else it is, it is clearly not journalism. Peter Williams is, like all the others, entitled to his opinions but for a newsreader, his whole-hearted endorsement of one side in a debate which goes to the core of our nationhood, is unfortunate.

On a national issue like this, impartiality is not just necessary but critical   because in varying degrees viewers lend their trust in newsreaders as much as reporters. So which way to vote? Easy. Against the breaches of process on this issue – and the glitterati on the other side of the scrum.


We baby boomers are getting it in the neck – again. And once more it’s that old refrain: we are just plain greedy.   Forget the fact that we bought our homes when banks were on a lending leash; that we had to pay up to 20% in mortgage interest rates; that generous governments not us, wanted stability after the upheavals of World War Two. All of which is to say we had our own problems. To blame an entire generation ignores history and creates handy scapegoats. Here’s the latest nonsense about our generation:

The Property Council’s Auckland Branch President Phil Eaton worries about   soaring house prices creating systemic social injustice, inequity and major economic risk. He ‘s right, but then he adds, (wrongly):

‘Now, Baby Boomers have essentially locked an entire generation out of their own homes. Young people and families will never be able to work and live in Auckland, and ‘Generation Rent’ is the legacy these (Auckland) councillors will leave behind’ . So his beef is with the City Council, but somehow we baby boomers are supposedly a major cause in what is essentially a problem caused by unrestricted immigration.

Last time we looked, babyboomers, like any other demographic, were cashing up on over-priced homes and checking out of Auckland.


‘No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people’ – H.L. Mencken, early 20th century American journalist and author who, when you look at the rise and rise of Donald Trump, got it right nearly 100 years ago.

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.