Monday, May 18, 2009

When the poo hits the fan

Q: How many times do you like to see the word 'poo' on the front page of the leading serious newspaper in the country?
A) Zero
B) One
C) Two
D) More than two
If you answered A or B - or, for that matter, D - then you will be disappointed by today's paper. A headline on the front page reads: "'Poo tax' plan for island dumping". That's dumping of treated sewage on Puketutu Island, not just... well, you know. The article begins:
Auckland's wastewater company is fighting a suggestion it should have to pay a "poo tax" to local iwi for sewage dumped on Puketutu Island.
I cannot confirm the origin of the phrase 'poo tax' in this case, as environment reporter Eloise Gibson declines to identify exactly whence she has quoted it. I would go so far as to claim that a Herald subeditor has simply tried to 'sex up' the article with 'poo' but... well, you know.

But, and this is the more important point (thanks Brad - I couldn't bring myself to read past the first paragraph, originally), the 'poo tax' "plan" is actually just a suggestion by a consultant that has already been rejected by local iwi on the not-unreasonable grounds that it's a bit insulting to be offered $2 to have a cubic metre of (admittedly treated) faeces dumped on your ancestors' graves. So, yeah, it probably won't happen. Worse (or is it better?), the original title from the paper edition has been changed from "'Poo tax' plan..." to "Proposed 'poo tax'", covering up the error of some overworked and/or incompetent subeditor.

All in all, a load of old... well, you know.


  1. Maybe you should start putting some polls on your blog about serious issues like 'poo' on the front page. Then, once people have voted, you can link to the 'current story', a la

    Serious issues! Or at least April would think so.

  2. Pointless, misleading story/headline of the day:

    Headline: NRL players told to visit brothels instead of group sex.

    1st paragraph: We're informed that this exhortation is courtesy of an Australian political party.

    Further down: It's the well-known and equally well-respected 'Australian Sex Party'.

    Honestly, that's as bad as the front of the Women's Weekly trumpeting about 'Lana's Tropical Romance' or the like - code for 'Lana enjoyed her holiday in Fiji very much, thanks for asking'.

  3. "Leading serious newspaper" ???!?

    Not with articles such as;

    NRL players told to visit brothels instead of group sex

    I made the mistake of looking to see which old duffer at the NRL had made such a stupid, out of touch and insensitive remark. Nope.

    It was Fiona Patton, of The Australian Sex Party.

    I am surprised that the Packaging Council hasn't yet been quoted with some kind of advice on correct storage or packaging - however irrelevant. (Actually, might be relevant).

  4. The headline is still "Maori demand 'poo tax' for island dumping" on the the homepage, right down at the bottom in the Environment section.

    Perhaps they didn't bother changing it as noone reads all the down there - it's a littleknown fact that Herald readers are physically incapable of scrolling past the Reader's Poll - whereupon they are compelled to vote against PC Gone Mad.

  5. Damn. I spent so long mucking about with HTML and trying to think up something witty that the packaging council might have said (didn't manage it) that Gwan beat me to the punch. Damn, damn, damn.

  6. sub-editor? yeah, they used to exist.

  7. Whenever I read "Maori demand 'poo tax'" I get the mental image of a grass-skirted tribesman doing a haka and demanding a shiny brown token from passers by, to appease Wiremu, the god of faeces.

    God, I think I'm turning into a typical herald reader! I'm off to post something on Your Views...

  8. "a Herald subeditor has simply tried to 'sex up' the article with 'poo' "

    I'm still shuddering at the image that inspires.

  9. "sub-editor? yeah, they used to exist."

    As opposed to a dom-editor?

    "a Herald subeditor has simply tried to 'sex up' the article with 'poo' "

    Keep us informed of shit stories from the Herald.