Friday, December 03, 2004


Here's a first for this blog. Three days and three posts!. You can blame this burst of creativity in the fact I've been off work all week with the flu. I had intended to go back today but the boss wouldn't let me. How nice is that? It's certainly never something that's happened to me in any of my previous workplaces. In fact the opposite was usually the case. You got a day off if you were lucky and even then had to put up with jibes about mental health days and veiled accusations that perhaps you weren't really ill and you were just slacking off. (Note to the people I used to work for at Carters; you were right, I was faking some of the time just to get out of that hellhole for the sake of my sanity). Anyway for the first time in my working career I've had four consecutive days off and it's been great. I've got the bug, and most of the mucus, out of my system and hopefully will be raring to go on Monday.

Right time to talk local issues again. It is supposed to be the point of this blog after all.

There's been another blow for local TV content with regional broadcaster CTV axing its news services as of Christmas. As someone who used to work at the station I have to admit I'm not surprised. The station's been through a succession of owners over the years and has lurched from one financial crisis to another. It's sort of been a an annual event for workers have arrived at the station of a morning to find both their program and their position no longer exist (Chris O'Malley knows what I'm talking about here). The station's current management claims they're now breaking even. But I'm a little suspicious of this as CTV's news operated in a stronger format several years ago when the station's financial state was parlous. Those were the days when Dennis Chapman (of Switchtec fame)owned it, when it was losing 60 to 100 thousand dollars a month. When the margins are slim the accountants immediately cut the most expensive arm of the business and that invariably means the newsroom. It's a real shame and not just for the people that work there. You see the strength, or advantage, of local TV is its news. It gives locals the chance to see stories they'd never see on the Aucklocentric One News and Three News bulletins. If it's removed then it's inevitable some of the audience will go with it. Programs like Marketplace, or Shopping With Jo, may be good moneyspinners but realistically who really enjoys watching them? Needless to say my commiserations go to the newsroom that closes as of Christmas.

The Adventure Air inquest has been dominating the past fortnight however I'm not going to dwell on it here just yet as I've not been covering the hearing. Anyway it's been pretty well covered in the papers. I have dug up some interesting information on the CAA director, John Jones, but I'll wait until the coroners findings are out before I'll elaborate further.

Canterbury had its first Seabed and Foreshore occupation today. A group calling itself Te Mangoroa occupied the New Brighton Pier this morning protesting the recently passed legislation. While I don't wish to be critical of the protesters, who're perfectly entitled to protest, I would like to make a salient point about their place of protest. If you're going to occupy a beach why would you choose New Brighton? Sumner would have made more sense (financially that is). Anyway only bout a dozen people turned up so it can't really be described as a groundswell movement.

The Christchurch City Council's sorted out its new payrates for its councillors and community board members. The hefty payrise is due to the recent downsizing of the Council. 12 members were cut at the last election after it was decided there were too many of them for the city. However the Higher Salaries Commission doesn't allocate council salaries on the basis of the number of elected members, but rather on the size of the city. This means the same amount of money is now being split among a smaller number of councillors. The contentious point is that the council's downsizing was sold by the Mayor and his supporters as a good move. Promises were made at the time the new political system would see extra powers and responsibilities devolved to community board members. This was a pretty significant promise as councillors have traditionally been very reluctant to let powers slip from their hands. Anyway the end result of the reforms has seen increased workloads for all parties and more money for councillors. What it hasn't done is see community board member payments go up and they're understandably a little annoyed about this. Doing more work for the same money isn't exactly a win win situation as far as they're concerned. Expect to see a few political tizzies as a result.

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