Thursday, 31 May 2007

Fear and Loathing in Aotearoa

Kia ora,

What a day for the New Zealand media. It all revolved around the death of a woman by the name of Folole Muliaga. International headlines the local newsos tell us. To be quite honest, while I initially felt outrage at the cruelty of a State-owned corporation causing the death of one of the constituents, I can't help but feel it's merely indicative of society, and will probably be put down as "one of those things". Sigh. Reminds me an awful lot of Cave Creek.

Anyway, I didn't actually manage to get too much done today. Bit of a backlog at work, but we'll where we get. The venerable Paul Holmes on NewstalkZB took the tack that it was a horrible tragedy, and really wasn't acceptable, especially in light of the fact that this is a publicly owned company. Awful awful awful.

His Christchurch counterpart John Dunne didn't really want a bar of any PC sympathetic approach. No-one was likely to be criminally liable, and New Zealanders just aren't like that are they. We're a caring nation, particularly for our under-privileged. (Note to anyone who doesn't know much about New Zealand: We're not.)

Still on NewstalkZB, and into the morning talkback show with one of the less liberal people in the land (read neo-Conservative) Leighton Smith, and we found that Leighton does have a heart after all. He couldn't believe that a poor Samoan family whose english was probably barely passable at best could really concoct a lie that would put the fault solely in the hands of Mercury Energy. And, against his usual form, he actually hinted that all the blame lay with the power co. This was definitely a turn-up for the books. A lovable Leighton? It feels like lying in bed with your favourite handgun.

Ali Jones and Justin de Fresne (the rural talkback areas of Christchurch and Wellington respectively) didn't really want to give an opinion either way. There were just too many unknown quantites. Too many things that we, I you, and they just couldn't wrap their heads around. And, of course, they want to wait until they know which side to lambast when the cards are laid bare. Probably tomorrow. (A bit much NewstalkZB for me today.)

Andrew Patterson on RadioLive's Newshour took things a little differently. Unlike the rest of the broadcast media, they went to the Opposition for comment, and while Mr. Patterson was hoping to get Leader of the National Party John Key to come out with some kind of statement either for or against either party, he failed to get the old bully-boy conservative stance he was hoping for. I have to admit I was a little unhappy as well. I would have like to hear Mr. Key complain about State-Owned Enterprises giving in to the small guy, but I'm just letting my limp liberal self rant egotistically, so I shall proceed.

I didn't get on to too much else on the Muliaga case. RadioLive's news team continued to report that Mrs. Muliaga's oxygen was effectively a life-support system, and that cutting its power was certain death. That's the line the international media took as well. You almost get the feeling that they trump these things up a little to try and sell papers. Especially when they have more facts at their fingertips than I/we.

All I can say is what a shame. Sad times all round, and, while we may want someone to take the fall, it probably ain't gonna happen. I see another week-long feeding frenzy coming on...

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