The season to be looney

(Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)

By Brian Rogers

Election time is approaching. The signs are clear. The nutters are coming out of the woodwork.

Election time is like a supermoon.

It flushes out the feral lunatics amongst us. People you wouldn’t normally trust to hold an ice-cream suddenly think they’re qualified to  hold power.

Here and around the world, politicians are failing spectacularly and providing plenty of entertainment.

If only it wasn’t our money.

May as well

In the UK this week we saw the end of May before the end of May but really I’m surprised we didn’t see the end of May before the end of April.

She’d had a clear signal from the frustrated public since February it was time for May to March, However May won’t be gone by June.

She’s staying on to tidy up.

Beam me up

Back in New Zealand, we’re told this week the government is a leader in the use of artificial intelligence. We can only assume that’s because there’s a lack of natural intelligence available.

What next

Since the Brian Tamaki clan, with an aversion to homosexuals, have launched a new political party, it’s a wonder it wasn’t called Tamaki Straight.

Some social media commentators had a better idea, since Mrs Tamaki is leader, posting the party should be called the “Wife of Brian”.

Personally I find the persecution of those named Brian offensive. There are even some people who have called their cats Brian. If you are one of these comedians, please send us photos of your cat Brian.

Aside from the relentless persecution of Brians, it’s something we all want to see.

Climate Crusaders caned

Meanwhile, the good folk of Canterbury have had a gutsful of their politicians, the local regional council slated for being the largest spender on international flights, except for Auckland. This, from a council that has declared a “climate emergency” would have to be a classic case of not democracy, but hypocrisy.

The Taxpayers Union has rightly  pointed out:

“Ecan’s primary functions are local ones, so it’s unclear why any international travel is necessary. Even domestic flights should be limited – in the time of Skype, the cost of constant trips to Wellington is eye-watering and unjustified”.

Publishing scam

The latest absurdity from government is a million bucks being thrown at ‘journalism’ in a trial to attempt to get more local reporting.

Only problem, the funding from NZ On Air (Read: your money) is being splashed out on major news organisations that have already abandoned their readers.

Worse, some of these organisations have just set up paywalls, so they’re putting one greedy hand out for government dosh, while the other hand is trying to milk the readers with paywall accounts.

Decimated industry

So the government is effectively helping fund our opposition… the same useless lot who refuse to do their jobs properly, have slammed the doors of long standing newspapers and, in the words of one of my media colleagues, “decimated the industry and left a wasteland”.

Now you, the taxpayer, are being tapped to shell out a million, while real local news organisations like The Weekend Sun and SunLive are still beavering away to stand on our own independent feet and bring you free news.

Community papers are trucking along on their own resources while the big players and public broadcasters such as radio and TV, already sucking on the NZ On Air mother milk, will benefit with extra copy provided to them free.

Go figure. Thanks, NZ On Air.

Feed to the lions

Meanwhile the NZ Community Newspapers Association has issued a please explain to the 19th Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media

Well it’s more of a “let’s feed him to the lions” – because they have invited Chris Faafoi to their annual conference where they can eviscerate him publicly for their own pleasure. Political bloodletting is always guaranteed to excite otherwise unexcitable conference delegates.

The community newspaper el presidente Dave McKenzie has given the minister some sample questions should he accept the invite. Like, “what the hell are you doing?” and “how will the Minister’s hair-brain scheme support independent locally owned community newspapers?”

Like The Weekend Sun, the NZCNA employs journalists and extensively cover local news and in doing so incur significant costs.

Corporate welfare

While Stuff and NZME have cut resources in this area, NZCNA members haven’t and continue incurring the cost of resourcing local journalism, to serve the local communities they operate in.

Members have been biting inky fingernails over why community newspapers were not also treated to some of the Minister’s largesse. They like cake too.

And hey Chris, the exclusive NPA boys club excludes most of our members from joining the NPA, because they are weekly, free papers.

The NPA is largely an organisation for the corporate and Australian owned daily paid for newspapers.

And a smart Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media might just discover he has a previous engagement the day of the conference.

Then again the Minister was a TVNZ reporter in a previous incarnation.

He might know all about grooming allowances and reading auto cues but absolutely nothing about mingling with the very poor cousins of the press.