Most people are aware that anyone who fronts the media on a controversial issue likely will have rehearsed their answers to expected questions with a script to which they will cling unswervingly.

Take, for instance, Northern Districts Cricket chief executive Peter Roach, who popped up on radio this week to justify his organisation's plans for a BYO policy that would let patrons bring up to 12 bottles or cans of beer to cricket matches at Mt Maunganui - the spiritual home of sensible drinking behaviour.

He was prepped-as. For all that he appeared to be patiently and politely answering questions, he wasn't. He seemed to be treating the interviewer and the listeners like imbeciles, with evasive and euphemistic responses that avoided acknowledging this was a cynical and dangerous attempt to get more punters through the gate.

The interviewer was patient, professional and bound by an unspoken law that says you can't laugh out loud at your interviewee when what they say is self-evidently ridiculous.


Desirous of keeping up with "what consumers want from their sporting product", said Roach, he "thought this was an appropriate time to have a trial".

You see? Only a trial. Not something Northern Districts desperately wants to do to boost attendance, despite the inevitably appalling social consequences.

Was he worried that having hundreds of cricket fans 12 cans down might result in bad behaviour?

"We're worried about bad behaviour whether there's a licence on the venue or not," he said. "Our grounds have always historically been licensed but we saw this as an opportunity to trial something."

And yet, the "trial" was suddenly canned - close to Christmas - by killjoys from the police who had second thoughts about their initial advice that it would be legal. This may have spoiled Roach's plans, but not enough to make him deviate from the script. "We're disappointed we couldn't trial the idea."

Someone who didn't stick to the script this week was SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison, who gave Auckland, if not the country, an early Christmas present with his generous offer to drop his casino's expansion plans.

In an interview that was not at all about idle threats, he said that if the suddenly sought taxpayer - and possibly ratepayer - funding for his vision was not forthcoming, the plans would not be carried out and, he said, "That's fine with SkyCity. We don't have to do this."

Well, now he tells us. I do wish he had said so earlier. Nevertheless, this is a most generous offer and one that should be accepted before he has a chance to change his mind.


The Germans probably have a name for that process whereby you are told something will happen, then told that due to unforeseen circumstances it won't happen after all and this cycle is repeated indefinitely.

The something can be anything from lunch with a friend to the delivery of a manuscript for which a large advance has been paid.

An acquaintance of mine was in the middle of this cycle recently when she lost it, hit the phone and screamed down it until the hospital agreed the operation would be performed the next day.

This reinforced my long-held theory that you can do anything if you A) have limitless finance or B) get up before everybody else or C) keep talking until the other person gives in. This is empowering knowledge. Especially given that B and C are cheap and require little in the way of training or equipment. We seem to know this instinctively as infants but lose that knowledge along the way.