The Nation Review


I don’t know what the hell happened, but this weekends ‘The Nation’ on TV3 was one of the best I’ve watched.

Lisa Owen was a force of nature with her questioning of Maurice Williamson, the Panel was incredible and one of the best I’ve ever seen and the topics were sharp and freshly relevant.

Maurice was up. For someone who has been sacked, he was still in this delusional space where he didn’t seem to think there was anything particularly wrong with phoning the cops for a donor in a domestic violence case whom he renovates for and whom he did a quicky immigration ceremony for after lobbying hard for him – BUT NOT A FRIEND.

Maurice’s defences were ludicrous. His whole “I work hard for all my constituents’ shtick is meaningless bullshit, just because he works hard for his constituents doesn’t have anything to do with heaving cops for a donor.

Maurice went on and on about how many times he will go to “hell in a hand basket” for his constituents, which made me wonder if maybe Maurice had a bach there.

It doesn’t matter that he said to the Police right from the  beginning of the conversation, he could put as many caveats as he likes to that phone call, all that does is reinforce to the person receiving it that a Minister is calling them but not officially. That’s possibly worse! The fact he rang them was the moment he sinned and there are still huge questions over why the Police sat on this information for such a long time.

The panel were David Farrar, Toby Manhire and Laila Harre. That generated some of the most intelligent discussion I’ve ever seen on a panel. David defended Maurice, Laila sinks Farrar’s battleship in opening comments, Toby Manhire made very reasoned criticisms that demand answers. If the Nation could lock those 3 in for the rest of the year, they would do more for NZ than the entire public education system. That panel discussion was one of the best I’ve seen – kudos.

Sugar tax on sugary drinks is next. Compelling argument to have a 20% tax, I agree and would also add a super vice tax on the profits of the entire industry.

TDB Recommends

Labour/Green donor Phillip Mills is on, I like him, he’s a very genuine soul dedicated to see a change in positive Government that will see a real focus on the environment. Makes some really strong powerful comments. Why isn’t he running for Labour?

Special mention to the Fairtrade advert in the middle of ad break. If TV3 are going to do current affairs like this, companies wanting a different ethics should support that.

Panel discussion on sugar tax and environmental green wash. David’s argument that our emissions’ are tiny compared to the rest of the planet so we don’t have to be so environmentally focused just doesn’t stand up. Because we have so little pollution comparatively, we have an obligation to become as sustainable and green as possible to be the frontier example for the rest of the world on how to do it and hone those skills and technologies so that we are world leaders in this field.

One of the best episodes I’ve seen, worth watching again 10am Sunday.


  1. Mostly concur, ‘Bomber’. But Lisa Owen fell into the trap of interupting Williamson. It’s one of my bug-bears. When a question is asked I want to hear the entire reply, not just the first half dozen words. Otherwise we end up missing what the interviewee has to say.

    Disappointing, as Owen was far better last week.

    Farrar’s statement that the Nats have met our Kyoto Protocol committments was a jaw-dropping, blatant lie. It seems Mr Blogging-For-Pennies Farrar is still spinning for his political Overlords?

    Fact is that we’ve walked away from Kyoto Protocols; refused to engage in Kyoto II; and the Nats reneged on their promise to include agriculture/dairying in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

    No surprise then, that our Greenhouse Gas emmissions levels continue to rise.

    As I blogged here in greater detail;

    Phillip Mills is 100% correct – there is indeed a cabal of top ranking National ministers who are resisting all attempts at controlling greenhouse gas emissions in this country. We need more independent voices like his – especially from the business sector – speaking out.

    • Disagree- Williamson allowed to ramble and obfuscate – hang yourself worked for John Campbell other day – but wasted valuable time here.
      Laila Harre good – but we don’t want to get into a small coterie of same pundits – more real people please

    • I suggest if you ever want to hear a full reply from Mayor Lianne Dalziel, then, don’t ever listen to Suzy Ferguson interviewing said mayor on Radio NZ (last week).

      I understand politicians wanting to run their spin lines but this was about important updates on the Christchurch flooding I wanted to hear and it was impossible.

      The over-riding questioning was all about the cost and not about the damage to people’s lives and well-being.

      I began to wonder if Ferguson actually had a hate-on for Dalziel, with Ferguson’s behaviour being so bad.

    • I sincerely hope we haven’t met our Kyoto obligations. This nonsense, and particularly the Green policy options, will cost each one of us a great deal, and the burden falls most heavily on those on lower incomes. If you seriously want to foist this nonsense of the populace, at least get the worlds serious greenhouse as emitters to play ball, other wise it’s nothing more than tokenism, and at a significant cost to our national wealth.

  2. Totally agree with all of the above except the interruption. He spoke over her as well. And sometimes when you’ve answered but want to carry on then why not interrupt. Perhaps these types of interviews should be longer.

  3. tho’ i like hearing answers..

    ..much of what williamson was saying was repeats..

    ..he was just trying to fill up/voice the allocated time.. farrar..esp on nat-rad..knows that if you are speaking/closing down the time for the opposition/more questions..

    ,,that you are winning..

    ..and farrar alternated between spinning and squirming under harres’ words/dismantlings of his bullshit..

    ..i thought that mini-doco on sugar was excellent.. gurning face fronting/dominating it..and just focused on the facts of the matter..

    ..a very tidy piece of work..

  4. You ask why Mills doesn’t stand as a Labour party?

    Planet bradbury is a strange place.

    The Labour Party is inconsistent over strong environmental policy. Make some noises about vetter environment, but still supports more oil drilling while claiming to address climate change.

    • Actually, sometimes it’s better not to join a party. That way, folk like Mills retain their independence.

      Once you’re a party member, people tend to be slightly dismissive or cynical thinking/saying, “Oh, well, he would say that wouldn’t he…”

  5. Yes, the Nation is worth watching again, after Pat Gower moved on after filling in for a few weeks. Lisa Owen is doing a good job, although I feel she could still improve with her interviewing skills.

    At least we are back to some kind of balance. Yes, that panel was a refreshing change too, someone from the left (Laila Harre), someone from the right (old “fart” Farrar) and one from the centre (Toby Manhire, from the Herald, I presume).

    Farrar was kept in check, and his suspicious glances over to the other two told tales, that he realised, he was not having two other panelists that he could easily sway with his spin, has he has been able on some other panels.

    I look forward to more good reports and interviews on The Nation now, besides of Q+A, which I also tend to watch, same as Native Affairs on Monday nights.

    Hopefully Paul Henry will become even more dull with his self promoting “Paul Henry (Distraction and Ridicule) Show” late at nights on TV3. With such a horror week for National, he has over the last few nights reported stuff all on the Williamson and Collins developments, left most of it to his obedient news reader (always there for a giggle about his silly boys jokes). It now seems to all be about “9 out of 10”, and little else, what he is going on about.

    Let us get some more scandals, let Collins’ head roll, and let Labour present some policy surprises, of the quality that David Parker delivered, or even better, and September 20 may after all be a day worth celebrating.

    I can see Paul Henry resign in disgust, as TV3 will not let him get away playing 9 out of 10 every night, while dodging reporting on a Labour led government, and being unable to lash out at the opposition, as then his favoured party will be there, in opposition.

    Oh, how I will enjoy that Schadenfreude then!

  6. “David’s argument that our emissions’ are tiny compared to the rest of the planet so we don’t have to be so environmentally focused just doesn’t stand up. ”

    David’s point is valid. Why should we pay for what will be nothing more than a token gesture, when our trading partners are doing nothing?

    • baah, baah, follow the head ram, as I am only one small sheep amongst the herd, and cannot do anything, baah, bahh, IV says it as I shall follow, baah, baah!

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