Paul Henry: State Beneficiary

Television New Zealand are set to shed some sixty workers from its news and current affairs division. This is a management response to declining ratings and advertising revenue.

It's further evidence that the Labour Government's bizarre television hybrid has been an abject failure. The idea that TVNZ could meet public service obligations while at the same time meeting commercial targets was ludicrous and so it has proved.

The sackings are also further evidence to add to the mountain of evidence that TVNZ should become a full public service channel, similar to the ABC in Australia or the BBC in the United Kingdom.

Equally though TVNZ's troubles will be used as ammunition by its right wing critics to argue that TVNZ should be sold off - which was the National Party's intention before it was booted out of office.

One man who would support TVNZ's privatisation is one of its own high-profile presenters, the very-right-wing Paul Henry.

He co-hosts TV1's Breakfast Show and occasionally hosts the 7pm Close Up. He has also popped up on several other TVNZ shows including a recent turgid This Is Your Life.

Henry stood for the National Party in 1999 but lost heavily to Labour's Georgina Beyers.

Roll on to the present day and we find Henry railing against the present centrist National Party. Henry is very right wing - so right wing that his loony libertarian mate Linsay Perigo thinks he's great.

Henry is all for the free market - the less state involvement in the economy the better is the view of a man who also decribes himself as a property investor.

He also doesn't think much of the welfare state either. On his radio show (Radio Live, 4-6pm weekdays) he can often be heard attacking beneficiaries and the working class.

The working class is getting screwed by capitalism? Nonsense, says Henry. Like other right wing nuts, he blames the victims for being out of work or being in low wage jobs. Depending on what kind of mood he's in, beneficiaries and workers are generally 'irresponsible', 'full of excuses', 'lazy' - the list goes on.

Of course, Paul Henry is a state beneficiary himself. In fact he must be one of New Zealand's biggest beneficiaries; he gets paid a six-figure salary by the state media organisation he privately thinks should be privatised.

Henry, who is big on 'principles' and 'individual responsibility' has decided to ignore his monetarist principles and chosen to take the money from TVNZ.

Is Paul Henry, among other things, a hypocrite? I couldn't possibly comment..

Garry Moore Rides the Gravy Train

On a regular basis, welfare beneficiaries get bashed by politicians and the corporate media. According to these fat cats, benificiaries are 'living it up' at the 'taxpayers expense', 'bludging off the State', etc. No doubt you are familiar with these well-worn attacks on the poor and disadvantaged.

These same 'protectors' of taxpayer money however have less to say about the already well-off riding the gravy train of various government committees, advisory boards and the like.

Take the example of Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore. He's not contesting the mayoral elections later this year which means he's going to be out of a job. Not that he's exactly poverty-stricken - as mayor he was on some $176,000 a year.

But Garry wants a job. No problem - his friends in the Labour Government have come to his aid.

Moore has been appointed to the boards of Transit New Zealand and Land Transport New Zealand.

Serving on both boards means he'll pick up some $55,000 a year.

Both positions are described as 'part-time' but what the work entails is not clear.

However I rang a source a source at Land Transport and was told that Moore would probably have to 'attend no more than half a dozen board meetings a year'

Moore will be joined on the board of Land Transport New Zealand by another new appointment, former Labour cabinet minister and Wellington Mayor, Fran Wilde. Described on the Land Transport's website as a 'professional company director', she's also the chair of Wellington Waterfront and a member of the NZ Food Safety Advisory Board.

No doubt both Moore and Wilde will be welcomed to the Land Transport board by Mike Williams - he's the Labour Party president. Williams is also on several other boards.

Moore, Wilde and Williams are getting a whole lot of money for doing very little - but the media does not describe them as 'bludgers'.

We'll be reporting on other bludgers riding the gravy train on a regular basis..

Councillor Bob - A Man of the People (yeah, right)

Councillor Bob Parker wants to be the Mayor of Christchurch. The former television host has been doing the rounds of late - kissing babies, ringing up radio talkback, appearing on TV chat shows. Bob wants the votes of Christchurch's ratepayers - but his recent track reveals that he doesn't necessarily have the interests of all Christchurch ratepayers in mind.

First up, Councillor Bob supports the destruction of more Christchurch houses to be replaced by tiny boxes - otherwise known as townhouses. It's the best solution to Christchurch's growing population he argues - but there is scant evidence to back up Councillor Bob's argument.

There is ample evidence to suggest though that Christchurch property developers will make huge profit's via Councillor Bob's urban strategy. Interestingly, the Christchurch Press revealed two months ago that Councillor Bob's mayoral campaign is to be largely funded by a prominent Christchurch property developer. Golly - what a coincidence.

Councillor Bob, by the way, lives in a big house in Akaroa - up on the hills with not a townhouse in sight.

Councillor Bob doesn't think much of democratic accountability either.

Recently he voted for the creation of three Christchurch City Council shelf companies. This will allow some council organisations to do what they like without being acccountable to the ratepayers of Christchurch who fund them.

Last week Councillor Bob, ignoring the wishes of the majority of Christchurch's citiizens, voted for the construction of a 'service road' through the previously pedestrian-only Cashel Mall. He also ignored Cashel Mall small business owners, who also don't want the 'service road'.

In fact as former architect Peter Beaven pointed out in a letter to the Christchurch Press, the only organisations who want this road are the big corporations.

Councillor Bob, a man with a penchant for expensive suits, has demonstrated he's no friend of the little guy or girl. But, hey, if you're a property developer or a big business or if you've just got lotsa cash, then Councillor Bob wants to talk to you..


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