All rise - On the House stands adjourned

Last updated 09:33 02/09/2010

So this is it. The last post, if you like, from On the House.

It's been more than three years and 378 blog posts since the Stuff editor asked me to write a blog on politics, and it's been a hell of a ride.

When I first began writing this blog, an email went round all National Party MPs from Party Central, ordering them not to talk to me anymore. Apparently now that I was blogging I was A Risk.

Fortunately for me, and for this blog, party discipline has never been a long suit of the National Party, and its MPs by and large ignored the edict.

I'd also like to think that the fears some in Parliament held for my blog and the others that followed it - at least from the mainstream media end - have not come to pass.

Chief among those was the concern that, somehow, journalists would apply a different standard to their commentary online from that which applied in print. That we would be looser with our facts, or more likely to break confidences.

It's true that blogging has changed the way political journalists write; the style is more colloquial, and the topics we choose to write about are not always the ones that would fill the august pages of The Press or the Dominion Post.

But I'd argue - certainly for myself - that the standards never wavered. Off the record remained just that. Gossip over a glass of wine did not find its way on to these web pages - at least not without the author's express permission.

For a while On The House became required reading in the Beehive, and I'm proud of the fact that Prime Minister John Key and many of his ministers read most of what I wrote.

I'm even more proud of the fact that he often went on to read what you wrote, too.

Because if there's one thing that blogging has taught me about journalism it is that the old "sermon from the mount" approach to writing - particularly opinion writing - is no longer acceptable in the new multimedia environment.

Readers expect to have their own say about what is served up to them. I have certainly had to develop a thicker skin to cope with what has been served back to me.

I learned not to question Idiot/Savant on climate change issues, since he'd read all the United Nations reports. I learned to double-check what I wrote about Labour, because if not Jennifer would correct me - all the way from Texas.

I learned that whenever I wrote anything about law and order it would earn a diatribe from Adolf Fiinkensein (is that really your name, Adolf?) or that if I wrote about the smacking debate I was asking for trouble from Alan Wilkinson.

Other regulars on the site: Eddie, Roscoe, Dave T, South Islander, Sailor Sam, Richard Right, Brett, Sheelagh, KiwiKraut, and of course Cullen's Sidekick also helped keep me on the straight and narrow and were quick to correct me when I was wrong - or simply misguided.

I thank you all for the intellectual discussion, the levity, the wit and the enthusiasm you brought to these threads and made it such a successful blog for the Stuff website.

I'm not going to try to count up all the comments or the page impressions On the House has generated since it began in June 2007, but it would number in the many thousands.  Clearly politics means a lot to you people!

(Are you insane? Just kidding.)

I tried to think of a blogging highlight that did not involving blending up my words and eating them but I have to concede while it wasn't my finest hour, it was certainly the most popular.

Since leaving the rarified world of Parliament it's been more difficult to post as regularly as I would like, however, and at times I'm afraid the threads have degenerated into a bit of a war zone as you've argued it out among yourselves.

So the Stuff editor and I thought it was probably time to lay On the House to a well-deserved rest.

But the good news is that out of the ashes a new politics blog will rise - keep your eyes peeled for more on that soon. I certainly hope many of you will check it out and continue your arguments - sorry, discussions - in the new forum.

I'm hoping to start up another blog at some point myself, though I'm not sure on what yet. I'll let y'all know.

For now, though, it's adieu, and thanks. It's been a lot of fun.

On the House stands adjourned.

Post a comment
Mr Been   #1   09:57 am Sep 02 2010

Enjoyed this blog, bon voyage !

Peter S   #2   09:57 am Sep 02 2010

Thanks Colin for the time and effort that you have put into the Blog over the years. It has been entertaining.

I'm sad to see it go, and will certainly miss it, but I think you are making the right decision. To have continued the blog at a lower standard would have seen its eventual demise, and tarnished its reputation in the process.

It has been the best N.Z. political blog I have come across, and one of the better local ones in general. Thanks again.


Alan Wilkinson   #3   10:02 am Sep 02 2010

Thanks, Colin, most of all for your (almost) unfailing good humour in the face of fierce provocation.

Best wishes for the future.

Sheelagh   #4   10:08 am Sep 02 2010


I wish you all the best.You have received brick bats from both sides of the spectrum so it is to your credit that I don't believe that any of us could actually say what colour you are.I most certainly have no idea if you favour the red or blue.Now,as for me,there wouldn't be any prizes for guessing.

I have enjoyed immensely the wit and bantering.My typing skills have improved and my daughter is very proud of me.She sometimes reads what I have written and shakes her head.

Cullen's Sidekick You have made me laugh at your wit.Tell me,are you the Stig in Top Gear,Helen Clark in drag or John Key's dentist?Don't tell me you make Phil Goff's tight underpants.

Brett You and I have discussed the rugby,sometimes to the annoyance of others.

Christie,SouthernMan and all the others who have acknowledged my passion about reducing the horrific child abuse figures and backed me when others ridiculed me.I thank you.

I thank DanM and Andrew Stevenson who debated with intelligence.Andrew.You never know.You could become John Key's Sidekick and I could become Phil Goff's PA.Good luck to you

Sidekick Have you ever considered taking over from Colin? It would be a blast.

Joshua Teal   #5   10:09 am Sep 02 2010

Bravo Colin, you've been entertaining and informative. On the House was certainly a good read around election time. Best of luck...

Mike   #6   10:16 am Sep 02 2010

Thanks Colin - it's been fun. And to all those who disagreed, expressed anger, and got frustrated with my views lets not lose site of the fact it's only politics. To those who engaged in debate - it was fun and thought provoking. To everyone thanks - especially to those who stood on the other site of the political divide without you this would be no fun at all.

Simon DC   #7   10:28 am Sep 02 2010

Colin you are just a capitalist Tory right winger who eats babies - You are also a loony labour loving lefty.

I think that probably sums up about 90% of the posts I've read in reaction to your (usually) on-the-money insights into NZ's political environment. Thanks for not being put off by knee-jerk posts and continuing to give us the state of play. And thanks to the other 10% of posters who have made constructive and clever comments.

Katie   #8   10:39 am Sep 02 2010

Hi Colin

Always read and never comment, this blog will be greatly missed and I do hope you keep us posted on where you end up!

Have enjoyed a huge amount! Good luck

eddie   #9   10:42 am Sep 02 2010

OMG....Do you realise what you've done Colin, you have left John Minto's far left communististic (rich are bad, poor are victims) blog as the only 'political' forum on Stuff....haste ye back laddie, haste ye back!!

Thanks for all your time and efforts in being a glorifed ringmaster Colin, when at times it seemed more like a 3 ringed all those I have disagreed with/agreed with thanks it's been fun and with an election about a year away I'll look forward to Colins 'Watch this space' new blog and catchya all on there :)

Kat   #10   10:45 am Sep 02 2010

Colin, interesting comments regarding Nationals fears with the blog. I suspect any new political blog will continue to cause the Nats to fret especially if it is written by someone equally savvy and is as well positioned in the media as this one. Cheers Kat.

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