Wednesday, April 05, 2006


By Ana Samways

Wanting to stir up some froth against raising the drinking age, Act on Campus approached National MP Richard Worth to debate Rodney "twinkle-toes" Hide on the subject of booze. One of Worth's henchmen turned down the request unless drugs were on the agenda, so to speak. Given Worth's not-so-secret strategy of trying to paint the teetotaller Hide as some sort of radical marijuana campaigner, they said no deal. At the event a 40-something male appeared in the crowd, desperately trying to steer the debate towards drugs. How strange. Whoever you were, FYI: Students don't actually wear John Lennon glasses, Nike running caps and naff 80s Rip Curl T-shirts, let alone a backpack with the straps adjusted for a small child. Perhaps sensing his cover might be blown, the allegedly planted questioner scarpered as soon as his drug question was addressed.

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Wondering how to spend your Working for Families "hand-up"? Well, if your kids already have iPods and your $500,000 bungalow has nearly paid itself off, you can probably afford to take the tribe to the Royal Easter Show. You'll be paying $6 for your 2-year-old and 12-year-old, but your 13-year-old will be charged the full adult price of $16 - unless he or she supplies a high school or tertiary student photo ID, when it's $11. Strangely superannuitants aren't required to provide any ID for their concession price of $11. Add to that the carnival rides, which vary between $3 to $7 a ride, and the total cost is looking fairly steep. A spokeswoman for the Royal Easter Show pointed out that entry prices were for a whole day's entertainment and included all the shows, for example, a Madagascar live show, the Farmworld petting area, dance competition Boogie Fever and a circus. Whatever you do, pack a lunch and your ID. (Kelly Tarlton's and the Auckland Zoo are free for under 4-year-olds and adults are those who are 15 years and over. Student discounts also apply.)

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Another instalment from the prophetic billboards hanging from the TVNZ building (remember the NZ Idol "Who's Next" when Judy Bailey was canned and the time when Ian Fraser got the hump and quit, with the Insider's Guide to Love banner reading "Not everyone survives the fall"). On Monday, as TVNZ trolleyed out its new but old chief executive Rick Ellis for the media, the billboard was for Jamie Oliver's new show, The Great Italian Escape. It read: "Can he cut the mustardo?"

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How about those xenophobic undertones following the appointment of Anand Satyanand to the job of Governor-General? Cringe-making radio talkback hosts purposely stumbled over the pronunciation of his name (said it wasn't very "New Zealand"), grumbled about the fact that he wasn't a famous sportsman and fuelled middle New Zealand's conspiracy theories, including that one that Labour would get too much flak for putting another feminist in a top job, so they went for the next best thing, an ethnic minority. Sheesh. The governor-general shouldn't be a celebrity, he or she should be an amiable but obedient Poindexter, and someone who represents a more ethnically diverse New Zealand is a reasonable decision. And some radio bosses wonder why the Auckland radio market is such "a challenge"?


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