Here is a selection of Radio Live Sunday morning panels, hosted by Wallace Chapman (to March 2014), Mark Sainsbury (from April 2014 to November 2015) and Heather du Plessis-Allan (from 2016), that I’ve been a part of.
22 May 2016 with Trish Sherson (host: Melissa Davies): Prime Minister, John Key, and Finance Minister, Bill English, seem to be at odds over whether we will have a tax cut or if it is best to pay down government debt. We talk about recent revelations that the Ministry of Primary Industries has been complicit in illegal dumping of fish caught over the quota and by-catch as well as activism on the subject and Trish earns every cent of the money she is paid as a PR adviser to a large fisheries company. We discuss the surprising – at least to me – controversy over a young woman’s recent decision to have tubal ligation and the gender double standards that it brings to the surface. Twitter is struggling to grow. Will allowing more characters help or is the problem to do with the ‘dark side’ of the platform? ‘T’ plates for tourist drivers: would they make a difference?
20 March 2016 with Melissa Davies (host:Heather du Plessis-Allan): We talk about international corporations evading tax through base erosion profit shifting (BEPS), online bullying, and taxis – what a rip-off – why not just Uber instead?
14 February 2016 with Rodney Hide (host: Heather du Plessis-Allan): We talk about whether police should pursue suspects fleeing in vehicles; whether New Zealand cricket crowds are as abusive as Australian ones (I’m very sceptical); the crowd-funded bid for the Awaroa Inlet beach and criticisms of it; and, whether the Department of Conservation should charge visitors to the country to visit national parks.
29 November 2015 with Bill Ralston (host: Mark Sainsbury): We talk about the Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms that are about to go to Select Committee. The discussion turns to what we should do about the port in Auckland and whether the RMA really is a handbrake on economic development and housing development in New Zealand. Labour leader, Andrew Little, and Phil Goff went to Australia to petition the Government on the recent detention of New Zealanders for minor criminal offences. Was this just grandstanding or is there a valid case to answer? Are there lessons for Bill English in the Autumn address of George Osbourne in the UK? We reflect on the rise and rise of Donald Trump. Establishment conservatives have even gone so far as to brand him a fascist; is this just hyperbole or a valid thesis? Now that the flag referendum voting papers have gone out, we have a talk about how we voted (we both did) even though we are all underwhelmed by the choices available.
25 October 2015 with Matthew Hooton (host: Mark Sainsbury): We talked about the annual round of scrutiny of MPs’ expenses. These tend to be a bit of a beat up but we are more critical of the former-MPs and their spouses’ subsidised travel. The flag referendum looks like it’ll confirm the status quo based on latest polling. Which leads us into the sometimes vicious world of ‘the twitterati’ and whether they are as influential as they think they are. Paula Bennett has said that Housing New Zealand tenants should have one option of refusal on a house after which they will be dropped from the waiting list. We’re sceptical. We reflect on the Trudeau clan after Justin Trudeau’s win in the recent Canadian elections and our own Prime Minister’s oversharing, this time on Radio Hauraki’s morning show. Strong views are exchanged on the recent stoush between Matthew and Jacinda Ardern. Matthew’s views are much stronger than mine but we both question the quality of the debate around whether Jacinda is yet up to being a leadership contender.
23 August 2015 with Janet Wilson (host: Mark Sainsbury): We talk about the rather odd risk categorisations of various industries in the health and safety legislation coming through the House. Should Gerry Brownlee resign over parts of the Christchurch re-build falling short of standards? Are opposition parties overdoing the demands for resignations and inquiries? We hear about the brilliant business model of Eat My Lunch, about which I can’t say enough good things (seriously, donate to them on Pledge Me). Does New Zealand deserve its reputation as a corruption-free haven? The raising of the speed limit to 110km/h on the Waikato Expressway is probably a good idea. Mark checks in with us on the Ashley Madison hack. We have a good chat about the mooted raising of the age of adult criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 years of age, covering the usual calls for a more punitive system as opposed to attempts to rehabilitate.
3 August 2015 with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): We talk about Colin Craig’s latest pamphlet and wonder aloud whether it’s time for him to just stop talking. The TPPA has stalled. Will it pass? We discuss the matter of how Blessie Gotingco’s murderer, Tony Robertson, was free after a string of crimes and a lengthy lists of offences, and the sentencing of the 14-year old killer (13 at the time) of dairy-owner, Arun Kumar. We conclude that a focus on punishment and sentencing is at the wrong end of the equation when so many children are neglected and abused.
31 May 2015 with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): The morning after the Green Party AGM at which I got a whopping 1% (third equal) of the first preference vote in the male co-leader contest and Deborah is celebrating the release of her new book, The Good Life on Te Muna Road. We talk about the FIFA scandal and the re-election of Sepp Blatter as president. Lawyer, Lecretia Seales, is fighting in the courts for the right to assisted dying. We discuss the viability of her claim that The Bill of Rights gives her the right not to be deprived of life, and not to be subject to torture or cruel, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment. Her lawyers have argued that the Crimes Act sections on assisting suicide and killing can be interpreted in a way consistent with her rights. Alternatively, she wants a declaration that the Crimes Act is inconsistent with her rights. Crown lawyer, Paul Rishworth QC, said there could not be a serious argument for an alternative interpretation of the relevant Crimes Act sections. Her claim that her right to life was infringed was based on an argument that, if assisted suicide and euthanasia were not available, it would force her to take her own life earlier, he said. Her illness was depriving her of life, and there was no treatment by the state that could be labelled as cruel, degrading or disproportionately severe. A 65-year old woman in Germany has had quadruplets through artificial insemination. She already has 13 other children. Is this right? New Zealander, Peter Gardner, is highly likely to be sentenced to death in China for attempting to smuggle 30kg of methamphetamine (which he claims he thought were peptides for bodybuilding). Mike Morah joins us to talk about the case.
12 April with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): Winston Peters is turning 70. Will it slow him down? It sure doesn’t look like it. We pay tribute to newly-created knight, Sir Peter Williams QC, while discussing a spate of recent attacks by young people on vulnerable seniors in Wellsford andOnehunga and more modern approaches to dealing with offenders emphasising rehabilitative and restorative justice over the punitive approaches that are often called for in highly-publicised cases. Will Camilla Parker-Bowles be a good queen? Do we really care? I say it’s time for us to become a republic and Charles becoming king will precipitate that quickly. Restaurant Brands which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr and Starbucks chains has committed to end zero hour contracts by July this year in a new collective agreement negotiated with Unite Union. The proposal promises staff that at least 80% of average hours will be guaranteed using a three month rolling average of hours worked up to a maximum of 32 hours a week; we approve. Is Phil Goff the man to lead Auckland Council? As he publicly warms up to the idea, the odds are looking good.
8 March with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): The first nine minutes of this panel are a (very generous on the part of Mark) opportunity for me to talk about my announcement that I will be standing for Male Co-Leader of the Green Party. We talk about Winston Peters in the Northland by-election. Deborah and I predict he will win (which he in fact did by a 4,441 majority managing a more than 13,000 vote swing). Nicky Hager revealed in the week preceding that NZ is carrying out ‘full take’ surveillance as part of the Five Eyes network on our Pacific neighbours and allies. Is it justified when we consider the threats of international terrorism such as ISIS? We consider the death penalty with regard to the ‘Bali 9‘ and whether the death penalty is ever justified. At the same time, do we have the right to judge the criminal systems of other countries? Indonesia is an easy target for criticism but how are they different from the United States? On the topic of unsafe convictions, Teina Pora’s conviction has been quashed by the Privy Council; is he equipped to deal with his celebrity as a free man?
15 February with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): Satisfied that I am now a regular TV watcher, Mark makes enquiries as to why I would go to a Greens policy conference rather than watch the cricket with my girlfriend in Christchurch. We talk about the unpopular request from Sky City for $180 million in additional funding to pay for the International Convention Centre and the signals from the Prime Minister that this may come from the taxpayer (later that afternoon it would be announced that the request for taxpayer funds would be withdrawn). Should we go into Iraq to fight ISIS? The discussion then turns to Hendrix Huawai’s sentencing for 4 years, 9 months for punching good samaritan, Lucy Knight, causing a brain injury. Much was made of his mother failing to appear at the sentencing and we discuss to what extent she is to blame. We have a quick chat about the sentencing to one year of prison of Cho Hyun-ah, the Korean Airlines executive, whose ‘nut rage’ delayed a commercial flight. Will Winston Peters run in the Northland by-election? I suggest that it’s more than just a bit of fun for Winston, it is an opportunity to take away National’s one vote majority on RMA reforms.
25 January with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): After Mark checks in with me to see that I’ve been watching plenty of television over the summer we move on to a discussion of whether David Bain should receive compensation for wrongful imprisonment now that he has dropped judicial review proceedings; whether charges should be laid over the administration of the Tuwharetoa trust; is education free? Should it be? We also talk about whether it is appropriate to make overtly political statements at Ratana as Metiria Turei recently did and whether Gareth Morgan is helping or hindering discussion of the Treaty of Waitangi.
7 December with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): Wellington’s proposed council amalgamation. Discussion of match fixing legislation and terror legislation being rushed through the house. Should mothers who smoke and drink heavily whilst pregnant be liable criminally for the harm to the child (or is it more sensible, as I argue, to allow a civil remedy)? Parliament opens with a Christian prayer, should we change it to remove the reference to God? Destiny Church and the stage covered in money.
26 October with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): Do the Greens need to reach across the aisle to National? Is Judith Collins being treated unfairly in being denied her honorific before the inquiry is completed? The Whitcoulls Santa is saved within a day so why is it so hard to fundraise for more worthy causes like Starship Children’s Hospital? The Oscar Pistorius verdict (Mark suggests I’m not using the TV right if I didn’t watch the verdict live); Can the Malaysian diplomat in the Tania Billingsley matter get a fair trial in NZ? And, of course, the flag.
5 October with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): Mark checks in on how it’s going with my television; ACT: the resignation of Jamie Whyte as leader and MP David Seymour’s appointment as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary; the ongoing Labour Party leadership issue; Pike River mine re-entry; All Black Aaron Cruden and All Blacks’ discipline; the problem with the Greens’ political positioning as a party of the Left (at 31:45).
31 August with Clare De Lore (host: Mark Sainsbury): The first leaders’ debate of the 2014 general election; WhaleOil and RawShark; Judith Collins’ resignation, Mark Hotchin and the smear of SFO Head, Adam Feeley. Including a guest appearance from his hospital bed from legendary political cartoonist and journalist, Tom Scott. I tell Mark that I am getting a television, to his great delight.
3 August with Clare De Lore and Tom Scott (host: Mark Sainsbury): Kim Dotcom’s alleged ‘smoking gun’; Colin Craig’s rejection by National for an electoral accommodation; Green Party as ‘Ayatollahs’ (according to Tom Scott) and why – given the state of our rivers – aren’t they topping to polls?; John Banks’ conviction and possible appeal; Novopay; Micro-chipping children. Mark reprimands me for not having a television.
27 July with Rodney Hide (host: Mark Sainsbury): The very short parliamentary career of Claudette Hauiti; Hon Gerry Brownlee, Minister of Transport, skipping airport customs; Commonwealth Games, are they relevant anymore and are they worth the money?; MH17 shot down over the Ukraine; Rodney’s call to breach name suppression of known sexual predator in parliament. Mark reprimands both Rodney and I for not having televisions.
13 July with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): Tanya Billingsley (sexually assaulted by Malaysian diplomat), ‘rape culture’ (6m49s) in New Zealand, Hone Harawira’s comments that it didn’t matter (later apologised for), and the effect of diplomatic immunity; Media reporting of court cases; Korotangi Paki, son of the Māori King, discharge without conviction and quality of New Zealand’s judges; Are Māori discriminated against in the court system?; The trans-Tasman kayaker, Scott Donaldson, rescued only 83 kms from finishing the journey; $20,000 bill for the judicial review of a student suspended from school for his haircut. Mark reprimands me for not having a television.
11 May with Justine Ross (host: Mark Sainsbury): ‘Cabinet Club’, is it OK for people to pay for access to ministers?; The connections between WhaleOil and Hon Judith Collins first come to light; Judith Collins and the Oravida conflict of interest scandal; NZ First’s new rule to claim back $300,000 from any MP who leaves mid term; Is politics attracting talented people?; ACT proposal to cut the top tax rate; Proposed sale of Christchurch City Council assets; Should tourists have to take a driving test before renting a car?; Should adventure tourism be more closely regulated? Is it any use without proper enforcement?; Mark reprimands me for not having a television.
7 April with Deborah Coddington (host: Mark Sainsbury): The formation of the Internet-Mana alliance and Kim Dotcom; The royal visit of William, Kate and George; Teina Pora’s bail denied for his appeal to the Privy Council; Are young people getting enough education about consent as well as the physical act of sex?; Māori Television celebrates 10 years, its controversial new CEO, Paora Maxwell; Mark is appalled to learn that I don’t have a television.
9 March with Deborah Coddington (host: Wallace Chapman): Christchurch floods (I phoned in from Christchurch that morning); David Cunliffe and the use of trusts for fundraising; TVNZ seeks to uncover staff political ties in the wake of the Shane Taurima affair; Opening of a sexual offenders register; The first revelations around the Hon Judith Collins-Oravida conflict of interest scandal.
23 February with Rodney Hide (host: Wallace Chapman): Charlotte Dawson’s death; Big Gay Out; The Shane Taurima affair breaks; Colin Craig sues Green Party Co-Leader, Russel Norman MP, for defamation over his comments at the Big Gay Out; Commerce Commission probe into supermarket practices and Shane Jones MP’s role; Rodney tells one of his best ‘lazy Winston’ stories.