How weird is this? Duncan Garner is no longer on the show because he had a massive argument with ACT Party cheerleader and Executive Producer of PR company FrontPage, Richard Harman. Apparently the dispute was over direction of the show. Duncan wanted a successful current affairs show and Richard didn't.
So they've replaced Duncs with this other bloke, Simon Shepard. I'm not sure why Rachel Smalley hasn't been pulled up to the plate, she's actually pretty good on Firstline, and just needs better researchers for The Nation, but no, it's this Simon Shepard bloke.
Which begs the question, why bother watching? While Duncan is right wing enough to launch his own Party, he is a current affairs pit bull who once locked on doesn't let go. I love that, he's entertaining enough to ignore the right wing bias, but Simon Shepard? More Simon Yapping Dog.
Patrick Smellie, Colin James and Brian Fallow are on to quiz Bill English on the ZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Fallow has a go at English in terms of the zero budget, the host has blended into the background, what was his name again? Bill's noting that his spin is so great he's convinced the entire political spectrum of the 'return to surplus' joke. Fallow asks if things get worse will there be a sub-zero budget, Bill accepts that.
To be fair, none of them believe Bill and they all let him know.
Best surprise was David Parker suddenly coming to life and attacking the critics with Labour's big ideas on capital gains and raising the super age.
The counter would have been 'yeah but you are still sticking to the same surplus crap David, using the same right wing mechanics, so let's ease off the self congratulations just yet hu?'
Parker was looking too pleased with himself to have been asked something like that.
It's an okay show this week.
So it's official, since the complaint against him has been upheld by the press council, Paul Holmes is a racist. Apparently the Q&A producers tell people that 'they look after Paul better than the Herald does'.
English is on, seeing as the arrogant clown is predicting a 3rd term landslide for National at yesterdays National conference, I'm surprised he's even bothering to appear on interviews.
Interesting question about SERCO.
Parker is on selling the Labour vision. He's fighting a good fight this weekend. He's doing better than he has all year. Sadly Cunliffe would have done better.
Panel is Ray Miller, Heather Roy and the great Matt McCarton.
Heather doesn't like the budget, Matt points out Labour and National believe in the same free market myths and points out that National are destroying young people by raising the pension while charging more for kiwisaver.
They all point out that cuts don't grow the economy. Great discussion on how student loans have created the incentive to leave for our students.
The reality however is that despite the damage National are causing NZ, the sleepy hobbits love him. Political polarization has reached American levels, it doesn't matter what Key does, National voters love him.
Peter Marshall is on defending the Urewera farce. He admits that there wasn't any actual target. He's using all the evidence that was thrown out and wasn't able to be used in the case.
What about the $14million cost Peter? What about the illegal spying your Police force engaged in? What about the over the top manner you raided a community with a long history of righteous grievance? What about just talking to key members in the so called conspiracy to pull this whole thing back? Why allow Key to visit the area 2 months earlier if there was such a violent threat? How come catapulting a bus onto George W Bush was considered a credible assassination attempt?
When will you be investigating Slater and Lusk's hunting parties Peter?
I've got a question Peter, the draft IPCA report that is DAMNING of your Police action (and which you are desperately attempting to smother and have changed), are you concerned that it will get released on line so that the differences between the draft and the official can be exposed?
I think the draft IPCA report into the Police handling of this should be sent to Wikileaks, are you concerned about that Peter?
He has all the smugness of the NZ Police defending and justifying their beatings of protestors during the Springbok tour.
Holmes brings up the good question of 'what they were doing', which is a bloody good question. Activists shouldn't touch guns. That doesn't justify the over reaction, but Jesus, how stupid to give the Police this excuse.
Flavel points out that a person caught 2 years ago with vastly more military weapons got a $5000 fine.
Heather Roy points out that when you give the state vast powers, there needs to be checks and balances. Ray points out they were watching for 18 months and that the NZ Police went on a fishing expedition and how can the Police Minister not know before the night before.
Very good show today. Well done Q+A.