In some regards this is my favourite time of year: when the news starts again. It’s day two, and Sean Plunket’s already excoriating Gerry Brownlee for failing to ensure security of electricity supply to the upper North Island. Seems Gerry was expecting a few softballs to start with: he was woefully unprepared, said the circumstances were “clear to him” and his ultimate comeback was to whine that the public were only “seeing one side of the story”.
Well, yes. Those who suffered from the outage will give their side of the story. If you’re the Energy Minister, or a senior executive of Transpower or one of the other agencies responsible for maintaining those lines and enforcing the Public Works Act (over the objections of landowners) then it’s your job to get the other half of the story out there. You can’t expect your opponents to do it for you, and you’ve nobody to blame but yourselves if it doesn’t emerge.
Blame-shifting and complaining that “it’s not fair” aren’t the sole domain of the Left, after all. When they’re all you can do, it’s a sure sign you need to work on your act.
I can’t get excited about the outage. As annoying as the outage was yesterday, for most people it meant only mild inconvenience. You would think from the media coverage, however, that the sky had fallen.
I don’t generally enjoy listening to Brownlee, but I did enjoy the way he put the boot into John Banks at the start of that Morning Report interview. Banks has been shrill and excitable and angry in the couple of interviews I’ve heard since the outage. In that respect he probably has a lot in common with the troublesome Waikato farmer.
I have some sympathy for the officials left to front the news media when this kind of thing happens. We expect that our power supply will always be foolproof. But we are not prepared to pay the price for a foolproof system. Sure, it’s not the job of their opponents to give them a break, but it would be nice if the people interviewing Brownlee and other officials would at least stop interrupting and badgering them and let them put their side of the story.
And those who claim such power outages are the hallmark of a third world nation (Banks again) ought to consider that many developed countries have power supply issues. They happen.
It’s even more concerning when you reflect that Banksie’s rhetoric has gotten substantially milder since getting the chains back. He used to customarily talk about NZ being part of the Fourth World. Wherever that is.
I agree with your assessment of the actual state of the utility network, but that’s not really my point. There was a failure. The Minister and transmission agency’s job is to avoid failures. If they want to argue lack of investment and intransigent landowners, that’s fair enough grounds for argument, but it’s not sacrosanct.
Sean Plunkett is a plonker who seems to have a gigantic ego. If anything he is getting worse, and will probably drive me away from Morning Report sooner rather than later.
RNZ are very lucky that the presence of Laws and Tamihere makes Radio LIve completely unpalatable at any time to many who currently listen to RNZ becayse there is nothing else.
Tom, I don’t listen to him for his erudition or his witty banter, I listen because he has a talent for extracting information from political, business and media elites.
If Plunket isn’t to your taste, Marcus Lush might be worth a listen. He also has an ability to extract stuff from talking heads, though he exercises it in a very different way.