So here's a free tip for the Herald editorial team: your readers overwhelmingly want the parliamentary expense system reviewed. Readers buy papers. How about you write a front page article about how the man who decides whether MP expenses are reviewed is an MP, and that there is possibly a conflict of interest here? You could even say 'Hey look, MPs in Britain were claiming money to build duck houses and clean their moats - maybe something is going on here too?' Remember Tuku Morgan and his $89 undies? How many papers did you sell then?Well look here - today's lead front page article is "MPs face public eye on expense accounts":
MPs' expense accounts are likely to be opened to public scrutiny after a face-saving move by Prime Minister John Key led to an urgent cross-party meeting being called.Another scoop for EtH? You decide.
But something intrigues me: how does this square with what I read in the Herald every other day? I thought we were in the middle of a 'War on P'? That doesn't sound very peaceful! I've also heard that we were in the midst of a wave of violent crime where we led the world, where it wasn't safe to leave our homes? Well, according to the report:
Most aspects of safety and security in [New Zealand] society, including the likelihood of violent demonstrations, the homicide rate and the level of respect for human rights receive the lowest possible scores (unchanged from last year)Wow, that's confusing. Now I don't know what to believe. Could it be that - you may want to sit down for this - that the constant focus on violent crime is partly a media beat-up?
One more interesting part of the Herald article is this statement:
That quote is indeed from the report. But anyone who had actually read even the summary of the report - and, to be fair, the journalist in question probably just didn't have the time - would know that what the report is getting at is that the government seems stable and popular, unlike some of the less steady coalitions of past years. In that sense, our first place isn't "explained by the election of a National-Act coalition"; we would have been equally ranked if a Greens-Legalise Marijuana Party coalition had been elected in a landslide. In fact, with everyone smoking marijuana, I can only imagine New Zealand being a peaceful, if less productive, place than it already apparently is.
The report, which surveyed 144 countries, says New Zealand's rise to first is partly explained by the election of a National-Act coalition last year.
"The centre-right National Party has a strong popular mandate and a robust parliamentary majority by New Zealand's standards, putting the new Prime Minister, John Key, in a good position to push through his agenda."