Look back in bemusement

by Jane Clifton / 29 December, 2007
2007: The Diary.

January

Return to work from holidays with the realisation that not only would I be better off not being TVNZ's Head of News and Current Affairs but TVNZ might consider themselves better off, too. For the first time in the history of the corporation an amicable parting agreement is made. I head home to lie in the sun, read books, improve my diet and hire a personal trainer.

February

Have toasted myself to a dark brown. I am considering lodging a Treaty claim. I have lost 8kg, so I buy new clothes. Also discover I enjoy the new R&B and hip-hop sound and invest a fortune in iTunes. My wife now erroneously convinced by my svelte bronzed shape and my recent habit of krumping around the house in an elevated mood that I am having an affair.

March

Bought a new house in the middle of Ponsonby. My wife now absolutely convinced I am in the grip of a mid-life crisis (again). I point out that if that is the case and this is the middle bit, I will live to 108 years. She takes no comfort from the prospect of such longevity. I read a newspaper for the first time in two months and discover the Reserve Bank is forcing interest rates and the Kiwi dollar up to unbearable levels. I am outraged until I realise that I do not have a mortgage and that our meagre savings are the beneficiary of these rapacious interest rates. I ring Alan Bollard and congratulate him on his stewardship of the bank.

April

Have become fascinated by the news again. Apparently the War on Terror continues to go well and George Bush is trying Muhammad Ali's trick of "rope a dope", lying back and taking a pounding until his opponent is exhausted. Those Afghans and Iraqis have fallen into his cunning trap and are obligingly beating the crap out of the Americans. The fools.

May

Clint Rickards still suspended on more than $150,000 a year. Phil Kitchin tells me he and Louise Nicholas are writing a book, due out later in the year once all the legal issues are over. The problem is the way the courts handled the charges, splitting up all the trials, leading to a massive amount of suppressed evidence from one case to the next. No single jury ever heard the evidence in total, which might have helped show a common pattern of behaviour. The book is the best hope of presenting the fullest possible picture of what happened.

June

National leading Labour in the One News poll, 52 percent to 36 percent. That sounds dire, but Clark has managed to drag her party back up by five points. Actually a remarkable achievement given that a woman died after a state-owned electricity company cut power to her house because the family hadn't paid its bills.

July

My tan has completely faded. I am showing nasty signs of returning to something resembling work. Had coffee last month with arts patron Jenny Gibbs and wrote it as a story for the Listener, following on from another I had done on Don McKinnon. Hope this one goes down better with the subject. Friends tell me Don and wife Clare would cheerfully kill me after that particular effort.

August

My birthday. I am 54 years old. Retreat into plans about buying the Green Vespa Bar on the banks of the Mekong in Phnom Penh. What mid-life crisis?

September

Labour's Damien O'Connor in deep doo-doo with Helen Clark over the parliamentary rugby team's sponsored trip to France. For God's sake, if the Labour-led government has descended to this kind of inane quibbling, it is doomed! Meanwhile Parliament lurches on like an asylum on Prozac with the God Squad trying to form a new political party with walking wounded like Taito Field and the hapless Gordon Copeland. I debate Bishop Brian Tamaki on Eye to Eye with Willie Jackson and demand he calls me Pope Bill.

October

Forget global warming: the planet is already at an end. We stuff up the World Cup again. The usual three-month period of mourning cut short by news that police have launched paramilitary raids against activists they have labelled terrorists. They should raid a dinner party I was at last night where two lawyers, an accountant and a property developer demanded the assassination of Michael Cullen.

November

Parliament wracked by ministerial resignations and the ludicrous Setchell Affair. The wings are falling off the government. It's tired, bereft of ideas and mired in its schoolteacherly mindset of "shoulds" and "musts".

December

Bloated by Christmas parties. Put on 6kg. Hope of resurrecting tan scuppered by a month of cloud and rain. Government even more knackered in the polls. Someone put them out of their misery. They shoot horses, don't they? Actually, I shouldn't say that. I might get raided. Oh, God, more cold ham.

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