House rules, ok

by Jon Gadsby / 24 January, 2004

After a few days' break, I turn on the radio expecting to hear the dulcet tones of Leighton Smith, Newstalk ZB mornings. To my surprise, it seems that he is on holiday. This is doubly surprising in light of the fact that prior to Christmas the intrepid Mr Smith had only just come back from another holiday - several weeks in exotic parts of the world. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose. Perhaps the previous holiday was such that he needed a holiday on his return.

During Smith's last sojourn, Michael Laws stood in for him. Laws must be on holiday himself this time - why is everyone on holiday but me? The upshot is that Act MP, publisher, journalist and former Libertarian Deborah Coddington is occupying the well-worn talk-back chair.

She wears it well - if in fact one can wear a chair. On the morning I listened, she cruised effortlessly from solo mothers and DPB recipients through to the desirability of tracking down defaulting fathers (with dogs if necessary) who are reluctant to pay for their offspring, then onto the Treaty of Waitangi in all its horrible glory. Titewhai Harawira came in for a bit of a caning and the general consensus was that we should abandon the whole three-ring circus and go for a separate national day as the wily Australians have done.

It was when Coddington read an excerpt from an English paper that things really started to rev up.

Apparently, an English TV station had commissioned a survey among its viewers as to what sort of law they would like to see brought into being should they be given a choice. A British MP had promised to sponsor the result as a private member's bill should any consensual result become apparent. It became apparent, all right. The overwhelming desire of those polled was for legislation allowing property owners and occupiers to take any action whatsoever if an intruder entered their home. Retaliatory action included napalm and weapons of mass destruction on down. The MP in question now feels he has bitten off rather more than he can swallow, let alone chew, and is now back-pedalling frantically.

The ZB audience seized on this cautionary tale with enthusiasm, deciding that it was just the sort of thing we needed in this country. Numerous notorious home invasions and intrusions were dug up and revisited, and it was agreed that napalm, high-voltage electric booby-traps and guard-crocodiles would see the incidence of these diminish drastically. Coddington handled all this with ease, agreeing with all but the most alarming propositions. As a result of what I heard, I shall never even think of burgling her house and will advise others to be warned likewise.

This radio was good over-the-top stuff of the type that Lindsay Perigo once specialised in - good entertainment as long as you can convince yourself that at least some of the callers are tongue-in-cheek. If they were all serious, then may God have mercy on us. Coddington can play along (and probably sympathise) with the reddest of necks in the business while still allowing the odd liberal to escape with limbs and vital organs intact.

The station's choice of her is an odd one, though. I'm not sure if it's a great or wise idea to have a sitting MP presiding over the talk-back lines, although, heaven knows, precedents have been set with Rob Muldoon and John Banks. Talk-back hosts can wield considerable influence, and with elections getting ever closer we might expect to hear demands from other parties for something like equal time. I don't think the audience is yet ready for Michael Cullen Breakfast, Afternoons with Sue Kedgley and Drive with Don Brash. Evenings with Keith Locke would be good ones to avoid, but in Winston Peters there's the perfect host for Midnight to Dawn - broadcast live from Courtenay Place, I imagine.

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

Trade Me bans sale of pugs, British and French bulldogs
86110 2018-01-20 10:49:32Z Business

Trade Me bans sale of pugs, British and French bul…

by Sally Blundell

As a result of growing concern over the welfare of pugs, British and French bulldogs, Trade Me has announced they're banning the sale of these breeds.

Read more
Puppy farming: New Zealand's secret dog-breeding shame
86056 2018-01-20 00:00:00Z Currently

Puppy farming: New Zealand's secret dog-breeding s…

by Sally Blundell

NZ has an unregulated puppy-breeding industry where unscrupulous operators can flourish, so why aren’t we following the lead of overseas governments?

Read more
The Crown has lost its way in season two
85715 2018-01-20 00:00:00Z Television

The Crown has lost its way in season two

by Greg Dixon

To read the gushing media reports, you’d have thought The Crown was a winning combination of the Second Coming, unicorns and sliced bread.

Read more
How your name influences who you become
85737 2018-01-20 00:00:00Z Psychology

How your name influences who you become

by Marc Wilson

Researchers say that 'Daisy' is more likely to dress and act in a feminine manner because the name has a stereotype of femininity.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and present lend their support
86105 2018-01-19 15:45:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and pres…

by RNZ

Politicians from at home and abroad are reaching out to offer congratulations to the Prime Minister mum-to-be.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND a mum
86091 2018-01-19 12:36:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND…

by Katie Parker

New Zealand’s newly minted PM and bizarrely cool and normal lady Jacinda Ardern has announced that she and partner Clarke Gayford are expecting a baby

Read more
Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy
86074 2018-01-19 11:11:36Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy

by RNZ

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she is pregnant, with the baby due in June.

Read more
What the media silly season taught us
85933 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Politics

What the media silly season taught us

by Graham Adams

To the eternal gratitude of media chiefs, each holiday period seems to throw up at least one minor scandal that runs in the absence of anything newsy.

Read more