Friday, November 13, 2009

Alcohol and sports sponsorship don't mix

"Alcohol and sport make unhappy bedfellows and sports sponsorship by drinks companies should be banned, say a group of public health researchers.

"They have previously found that such sponsorship – which often includes free drinks – is linked to alcohol problems in athletes."

New Scientist

I was reading this while having a nice glass of Cabernet Merlot as I delay rescuing my PCs that got trashed in an operating system upgrade gone wrong and it got me to thinking about the beer sponsorship of some of our elite sports teams ... I won't name them, but you know who I mean ... teams that are know as much for poor behaivour off the field as they are for being world beaters on the field.

Monday, November 9, 2009

John's key to hiding Rodney and honing Harawira

There's a lot of fuss at the moment about Rodney Hide and Hone Harawira misusing the parliamentary travel perks for private benefit. The media had a go at Chris Carter a while back, but when they were challenged that had he been heterosexual they wouldn't have done this they went quiet. Having carefully checked that both Hide and Harawira are heterosexual they decided that they could bay for blood over much lesser amounts.

All humour apart, Rodney Hide's infraction was particularly galling to many as he has publicly stood up a "perk buster" for a few years and was specially vigorous in that role before he took over as leader of ACT. It used to really gall me that he was going on and on with a populist line more fitting of Winston Peters than a party of principle like ACT, but to be fair the press wasn't reporting ACT except for Rodney, so it was a way of getting some publicity however bad.

On the other hand, Hide was merely using a benefit that is part of his employment package. It's really no worse than airline staff using the travel perks they get or bank staff and their cheap mortgages, if these still exist.

Hone Harawira was sent to Brussels for some kind of meeting with officials of the European Parliament. Don't ask me why they made the trip, but Europe is a very important trading partner and any improvement in relationships can only be good, so even if it was a touchy feelie thing, it's still of benefit to New Zealand. The only problem is that Harawira decided to bunk off from the last day of the trip and go to Paris to try and solve the Da Vinci code. When this was discovered he is supposed to have sent a private email couched in very offensive terms to another party member. Normally I wouldn't condone racist outbursts like that, but in this case it was a private email to another member of the Maori party, and should have stayed private. In other words it was a beat-up.

There's a big fuss at the moment, but it will all blow over after a bit for a few reasons and Harawira will not be expelled from the party nor punished in any meaningful way. The main one is that although it is a racially organised party, the Maori party is pluralistic and diverse party and not some kind of Nationalsozialistische Maori Arbeiterpartei. While other parties such as ACT or The Greens can appeal to a narrow economic or social segment of the population, Maori cover the range of demographic groups from Kaumātua and Kuia like the highly educated, urbane Pita Sharples and the grandmotherly Tariana Turia to the opposite extreme; and the Maori party has to find how to appeal across that huge diversity. Harawira does appeal to the economically disadvantaged Maori in a way that neither Sharples nor Tariana Turia will. The NZ Herald has just published a "Marae-DigiPoll survey" about Maori attitudes to the Maori party and other Maori politicians that shows that the three most popular Maori politicians are Sharples 33%, Turia 16%, and Harawira 6.4%.

Rodney Hide needs to make serious attempts of eating humble pie and repairing his reputation ... either that or he needs to go. ACT is a party of principle and must live or die by those principles. It's no excuse that members of the tired old centrist duopoly had their rorts ... nobody expects otherwise of them. It's no excuse that the Greens used their pension scheme for their rental scheme ... for all the ecological rhetoric, the Greens are a doctrinaire socialist party and still hold with Lenin's slogan "Expropriate the expropriators" and although many Maori deplore the ripping of of the system, others have been raised on an attitude of dependency and see nothing wrong with ripping off the government.

Hone Harawira is quite safe, as long as his support remains a lot less than theirs, Sharples and Turia won't touch him as they need him, or someone so like him to make no difference, to appeal to the minority segment of Maoridom he holds for the party. They'll make tut-tutting noises, but they are both to clever to alienate him or his electorate. Nor should they, their party is supposed to represent Maori and Maori interests and that means trying to appeal to all Maori. As John Key put it recently in a different context, Parliament needs diversity in order for the House of Representatives to actually be Representative.

Study trashes anti-tagging policies

NZ Herald News reports: "Taggers have trashed initiatives aimed at preventing graffiti, saying it just encourages them to keep vandalising private and public spaces.

New research aimed at understanding offender motivation may have implications for policy-makers and other agencies."


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