Tracy Watkins on Politics

Guest blog: Selling rugby to the Vietnamese

05:00am 30 Oct 2010 70 comments


On the face of it selling rugby to the Vietnamese is a bit like trying to market cricket to Americans.

But Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully knows it is a canny move. Rugby is about to explode over Asia.

Japan is taking its turn hosting the RWC in 2019 and New Zealand has been working with them to promote the game in the region. Seven aside rugby will be part of the Olympic Games from 2016. And in 2013 sevens will be played at China's national games and Kiwi coaches and player have been helping develop the game there.

With this in mind, Mr McCully and Prime Minister John Key threw a Rugby World Cup lunch for business leaders in Ho Chi Minh City's Hyatt Park hotel yesterday.

Over venison pies and Kiwi steaks, washed down with wine from New Zealand vineyards, Mr Key explained just why this is the place to do business next year. Commercial partnerships will be formed, trade deals done.

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Concession to save face

05:00am 20 Oct 2010 67 comments


The Government's so-called concession to the ACT Party over its foreshore and seabed legislation is nothing of the sort.

National's willingness to amend the law to enshrine ''free'' public access to the beach is recognition that a campaign against the law change, which has been tapping into many of the same fears that its own 2004 iwi/kiwi campaign unleashed, is gathering steam.

The Maori Party knows ACT is just a convenient excuse for National and National probably knows the Maori Party knows that's the case. But it's a way of both parties saving face.

As a measure of ACT's commitment to forcing the change, ACT leader Rodney Hide was apparently sounded out weeks ago by the government over his willingness to put up a clause enshrining free public access.

The fact that the minor party only got around to doing so last week speaks volumes.

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You never get used to armed police

05:00am 15 Oct 2010 62 comments


Armed and dangerous with their finger on the trigger  - or vulnerable beat cops at the mercy of gun toting P dealers?

The dilemma facing Police Commissioner Howard Broad is thorny and contentious.

Nine police officers have been gunned down in the last two years, two shot dead.

Gun crime is soaring - there were 871 firearm offences in New Zealand in 2008-09, up from 695 in the previous period.

Just over 800 firearms were recovered in police searches, compared with 561 in 2008.

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Time for Carter to pull his head in

05:00am 12 Oct 2010 51 comments


Labour's ruling council had only one credible choice when it met to discuss Chris Carter's membership in a marathon hearing last night.

His bumbling bid to stir up revolt against Phil Goff by distributing an anonymous letter to journalists saying a coup was brewing and claiming the party was broke would have been an unforgivable act of treachery in any party.

The amateurish Keystone Kops methods employed by Carter should have been reason alone to kick him out.

He wrote the address on the envelopes by hand, allowing Goff to easily identify the culprit as soon as he saw them, and delivered them personally to Parliament's mail room for distribution.

It is rumoured he was seen there by an informant and caught on video - something he could have easily avoided by forking out for five 50 cent stamps.

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Paul Henry has gone too far

05:00am 04 Oct 2010 281 comments


Paul Henry has built a career on the back of his abrasive, shoot-from-the-lip style, never afraid to offend and never far from controversy.

But he has gone way over the line with his comment that Governor-General Anand Satyanand doesn't look or sound like a New Zealander.

To his credit, Prime Minister John Key was visibly uncomfortable when Henry asked whether the next Governor-General would be more like a Kiwi than Satyanand, though he should have done more to rubbish the suggestion that Satyanand is somehow not a New Zealander because he has Indian heritage.

Anyone who has met Satyanand would be left in little doubt he is a Kiwi - hardly surprising given that he was born and raised in Auckland and spent his professional career in New Zealand.

He may not speak with a Taranaki twang, but his vowels are certainly far less rounded than those of his predecessor, Dame Silvia Cartwright, and - if we're doing the who sounds most Kiwi thing - his enunciation far less clipped than Henry's.

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