Bachelor chooses his own company as media firms eye each other's.

This week, it seems, we are through the looking glass.

The Bachelor finished and the Bachelor chose his own company. I didn't watch a pixel of The Bachelor, as a feminist protest, and apparently I missed nothing.

A day after the final episode, Jordan advised Fleur he wanted his rose back. Her tears brought the crumpled petals back to life, and Jordan bounced away.

It's like the show never happened. The whole series was a dream sequence. I understand Naz wants to replay the final. If this season ever gets repeated, they'll have to retitle it The Rooter.


Meanwhile, in another romantic comedy, Fairfax and NZME seem to be dating. So one media firm was eyeing up another, yet the media were caught by surprise. What do we expect? The media were in a lock-up watching The Bachelor.

And today, Judith Collins is representing New Zealand at a global anti-corruption summit.

Yes, there is such a thing, and it's being held in London, where the leaders of so many troubled countries have their completely easy-to-explain holiday homes.

I wonder how it works. Is it like fashion week? Do countries jockey for seats in the front row to admire the latest daring designs in corruption? Are there goodie bags? Is it sponsored by Mossack Fonseca?

Or is it more like the Corruption Olympics? Are there events like the 10,000km plunder?

Sadly, if it's the Corruption Olympics, up against failed and war-torn states, New Zealand probably isn't in the running for a medal.

If corruption was hard-core pornography, the closest thing we'd have would be a saucy, slapstick moment from Benny Hill.

We can sneer, and call Panama a tax haven, but nowadays "tax haven", like "brothel", doesn't even sound like an insult. It sounds warm and beachy.

And besides, in a world increasingly marked by isolation and loneliness, "It's who you know" is at least a sociable approach. And in New Zealand, everyone knows everyone. Corruption's just a way to avoid having to listen to hold music.


Which brings us to the Panama Papers. Journalists are crazy for this story because it looks like there's newspapers hiring in Panama. But no.

The Panama Papers reveal the inner workings of a law firm in Panama, doing what's legal in Panama, using all the laws of Panama and other countries, including us.

We can sneer, and call Panama a tax haven, but nowadays "tax haven", like "brothel", doesn't even sound like an insult. It sounds warm and beachy.

The problem with the Panama Papers is that the sheer scale of the illicit money is so huge and historic, it transcends anger and envy. The harms are public, so nobody feels personally aggrieved or stolen from.

As for our tax system, words that come up are "ethical" and "moral", and these words don't carry the heft of "illegal" or "criminal". And they certainly don't carry the heft of "Do Not Pass Go, Go Directly To Jail".

It's just a dreary truism to say the world's laws have been shaped by the rich (and their lobbyists.)

Our Prime Minister comes from this world. A red flag is that he doesn't need his salary. To put it in sporting terms, our PM's State of Origin is Merrill Lynch. That's the monastery where he learnt his kung-fu. That's his compass, those are his values.

Before he was PM, in a 2005 Herald interview he touted the opportunities for New Zealand if only we'd become "the Jersey of the South Pacific". He offered the example of Ireland, offering a 10 per cent tax to foreign investors, as advised by Merrill Lynch. The restaurants we'd have, for all the star bankers!

Three years later, both Ireland and Merrill Lynch needed bailing out.

The GFC caused pain that people felt, to their toes. Yet even then nothing changed: banks who'd committed crimes were bailed out and the bankers were given bonuses, funded by government bail-outs.

So what effect can we expect from The Panama Papers? They're much harder to understand than the GFC, and we peasants don't even have the spur of pain or rage to read them.

I visited the website of the ICIJ, the heroic journalists who diligently put out the Panama Papers database. There's a page where they solicit donations: "Support Us!"

To predict who will win this fight, that's all you need to see. The whistleblowers are begging. The people named inside the Panama Papers, on the other hand, don't need to crowdfund.

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