The Diary

Rachel Glucina looks at the top events and newsmakers of the day.

The Diary: Tetchy Tenby meets his match on Twitter

Businessman lets fly in tweet exchange with tech entrepreneur

Tenby Powell. Photo / Dean Purcell.
Tenby Powell. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Perhaps he was smarting from former political ambitions amounting to nothing, or joking about riding public transport being exposed on national telly, but Auckland businessman Tenby Powell (pictured) took to Twitter after TV3's The Vote on Wednesday to vent - and have a crack at a business high-flyer.

Powell - caught out on the show for travelling in a Bentley, not the bus - was copping it. "It's just a car," he tweeted detractors. "Go and live somewhere where tweeting openly is banned. In the meantime, the rest of is [sic] will work to create value for NZ."

Like tech entrepreneur and investor Selwyn Pellett.

A Twitter exchange followed between the two, but when Pellett told Powell growing the national economy "isn't helped by building and borrowing for Auckland homes", things turned ugly.

"So f*** off and live in Syria," Powell snapped.

"That was a highly intelligent reply. What happened ... Someone ding your Bentley?" Pellett retorted.

The gloves were off. Powell evidently knew when to retreat.

To be fair, Powell is passionate about his city. He stood for the Waitemata and Gulf ward in the last local body election, coming third to Mike Lee and Alex Swney.

Paul Henry set to publish

He penned a best-selling memoir, now boomerang TV3 star Paul Henry is writing a collection of short pieces suitably titled Outraged. The humorous book (Random House: RRP $39.99) will hit shelves in mid-October and Henry told The Diary he is furiously "writing it now to meet my deadline".

Not short of an opinion, the controversial broadcaster will cover topics as diverse as nudity, kids on planes, tipping, queuing, dog owners, surcharges, roadwork signs, Twitter, too-cold wine, lights left on, and the sin city of Las Vegas.

Kloeten's conflict

A business journalist who writes about council issues is running for council. Niko Kloeten is leaving the National Business Review and managing editor and publisher Todd Scott discovered this week he is standing as a candidate for Affordable Auckland in the Franklin ward of Auckland Council.

"Niko is leaving at the end of the month," Scott told The Diary. "I was only made aware of the situation when Auckland Council rang and said they would not be prepared to answer Niko's inquiries because of a perceived conflict of interest."

Kloeten, who has been an outspoken critic of Auckland Council, officially launched his political campaign in Franklin on Saturday. The 26-year-old announced in May that he would stand as a candidate.

Gala 21st party

It's a black-tie birthday party for the Starship Foundation, which is turning 21 with a glamorous gala dinner, auction and live entertainment at the Viaduct Events Centre on September 21. Tickets are $250 a person. Go to starship.org.nz/21stbirthday. All proceeds will go towards the major refurbishment of Starship's operating theatres and surgical facilities.

Battle of the Johns

TV3 bosses told The Diary yesterday the GCSB bill issue does not work well for ratings, and yet Campbell Live continues to cover it. Producers say it's an important story and New Zealand needs to know about it; but the country evidently isn't watching. It's no inside secret, however, that Campbell Live's interview with the Prime Minister on Wednesday night was not what the team expected. Good TV, perhaps. A battle well won, no. John Key 1. John Campbell 0.

This was not Corngate. Key played Campbell like a maestro conducting an orchestra: with artful finesse.

In the battle of the Johns, there could be only one survivor. And Key, well-prepped and raring to go with short, staccato-fired sentences, had it all over the methodical and seasoned broadcaster, who appeared tired, irritated and hunting for a conspiracy.

The blogosphere and Twitter went into overdrive with post-match analysis. The left backed their man of Grey Lynn, with some declaring it wasn't his night. The right were gunning for Key, hailing a master-class in political communication action. The neutral class struggled to sit on the fence.

"All I saw was a Prime Minister on fire. Have been through the entire Clark years and not seen such," tweeted typically diplomatic broadcaster Wallace Chapman.

Liberal-leaning commentator Brian Edwards, a longtime Labour luvvie and friend of Helen Clark, was not so nonpartisan. "Raving is not interviewing, John. A graceless and embarrassing performance. This from your greatest fan. Brian."

As far as enthusiasts go, Campbell can knock Edwards off the Chrissy card list. But gracelessness was not Campbell's problem. Neither was a lack of prep time. Both men were well prepared on the moot in question.

Campbell was jaded. He's worn the GCSB issue on his heart (and sleeve) for countless episodes in his eponymous show, and yet, in the one that mattered, he failed to cut through. Banging on about Key failing to accept his invitation to appear on the show is of little consequence to most New Zealanders. All they hear is woe-is-me whining.

The government surveillance laws may be a matter of close examination for the Fourth Estate and related parties, but TV ratings illustrate it is not an issue being passionately observed by most Kiwis. If there was one lesson from the battle of the Johns, it was speak to your audience and be equipped. For Campbell Live, it's back to the drawing board.

- NZ Herald

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