Once, broadcast media consisted of two or three government-owned radio stations. Broadcasting was the voice of the people who owned it. In that climate the idea of equal air time for political parties made sense.
We live, even the Labour Party must have noticed, in a vastly different media environment. There is so much choice and there are so many outlets that the old rules no longer apply.
So for Phil Goff to cut up rough because John Key was given an hour to host a talkback show on Radio Live made him look whiny and petulant - which is Don Brash's job.
Radio Live is a network with an audience share so small that it could fairly be described as having a cult following. And even had he been offered a turn, would Goff have been happy to appear, as Key was, in a context of failed MPs or would-be MPs? From nine in the morning till six at night Live's hosts are Michael Laws, John Tamihere, Willie Jackson and Paul Henry. Who would want to be tainted by association with those losers?
This was a coup for Radio Live. How easy is it to get someone who's done stand-up on David Letterman to host a show? The PM, looking as innocent as Amanda Knox at her well-rehearsed best, protested that because he would not talk about politics for 60 minutes his slot fell outside political broadcast guidelines.
But not talking about politics is his style of politics. He plays the happy-go-lucky ragamuffin, skipping stones across the pond and whistling his way to election victory: "Heck, that downgrade sucks but whatevs. Hey, wanna see some Michael Jackson dance moves?"
It's a cute act well done, but dangerous with it. There is already enough to distract us from important issues when we vote next month. We can party now but must expect to wake up with a hangover of asset sales, social service downgrades and research and education cuts that no amount of good-natured flimflam will be able to cover up.
TATTOOS SEE BAR BAN
When I heard that Tunahau Kohu had been turned away from a bar in Christchurch because of his facial tattoo I assumed his forehead bore some obscene racist slogan. In fact it was something much more dangerous - a proudly worn moko of exceptional quality.
We later learned that Shaun McNicholl, a regular patron with a tattooed neck, was also told he was no longer welcome in the former Parklands Tavern, recently refurbished and rechristened the Turf Bar. And we heard that one of the bar staff has a tattoo on her neck but her boss has signed off on that. Louis Vieceli said that, unlike Kohu and McNicholl, the staff member's tattoo was not intimidating and, "it is up to me as to what I see is intimidating and what is not." So, the policy is not racist, merely capriciously applied.
New Zealand is said to be the most heavily tattooed country in the world. The link between moko and traditional European tattooing makes it a pivotal part of our bicultural identity. Full facial tattooing now barely merits a second glance in most cities, if not in Christchurch, that hotbed of diversity. Any organisation excluding someone because of a tattoo on any part of their body risks limiting their potential customer base. And looking like prats.
GREENS TURN DOWN TODD DONATION
The Greens have turned down a donation of $5000 - or as John Key called it in his banking days, lunch money - from the Todd Corporation, whose diverse interests range from health care to energy. It's the latter that gave the Greens conniptions and to conclude that the offer was outside their donor guidelines.
There's no need for you to congratulate them. They are more than capable of doing that for themselves. But the gesture does raise the question of how the Greens will treat revenue sources if they were to be in government.
Will we all have to pass a Green-sanctioned character test before our income tax will be deemed pure enough to be poured into the national trough? How will they deal with the vast sums earned from excise on alcohol and tobacco? Surely they won't want to run a country using the proceeds of drug trafficking?
And what about the GST on fatty foods, softdrinks and luxury vehicles? We need to know before we go to the polls that the party will maintain its principles to the bitter end - which may not be far away with this sort of thinking.
YOUR AVERAGE COP
It's impossible to know for sure whether your average cop is, as Pita Sharples says, the sort of lowlife who would target Maori more than other ethnic groups to help them with their inquiries.
It may be simple co-incidence that Pakeha are less likely to be stopped. Perhaps we go out less. But, when considering any given police officer, remember that this is an occupation which, like many others, from clergyman to parking attendant, allows people to dress up in a uniform and tell others what to do.