Home > Media > Q+A – 5 August 2012

Q+A – 5 August 2012


Q+A,  Charter schools


See video


The highly contentious issue of Charter Schools was canvassed on Q+A this morning (5 August). Corin Dann interviewed  NZEI President Ian Leckie and Former ACT president Catherine Isaac.

The Associate Minister for Education and ACT Party MP, John Banks, was nowhere to be seen. Curiously, it was left up to Catherine Isaac – not an elected member of Parliament – to front on the issue of Charter schools.

As Corin Dann said to Ms Isaacs,


CORIN OK, Ian Leckie, thank you. Now, Catherine, just finally, is it disappointing-? Are you disappointed that John Banks couldn’t come on this morning and front this issue? I mean, he’s your minister, your person in Parliament. We were pretty disappointed that he couldn’t come on.

ISAAC I couldn’t comment on that. I’m not sure why he couldn’t come on. I haven’t discussed that with him.

CORIN Well, it seems to be… Our feeling is that he’s reluctant, because he may be asked questions about the saga, of course, that’s been running over donations. And why I’m asking you this question is because does that make him an ineffectual minister to be fronting this flagship policy of your party’s?

ISAAC I’m sure you’ll find he’ll be fronting it.

CORIN So he won’t-? Does that mean he’d be-?

ISAAC Well, I can’t speak for him, of course, but he’s very positive about this policy. He’s extremely excited about it, and I’m sure you’ll see him appearing as often as he can.

CORIN But as a high-ranking party member, can you speak for the party? It must be disappointing.

ISAAC I can’t speak for the party. I’m not an official of the party, so I can’t speak for the party. But I think that you will find that John Banks will be a powerful advocate for this policy.

CORIN Do you think he’s been unfairly treated by the media and others?

ISAAC I don’t have a view on that.

CORIN You don’t have a view at all?

ISAAC I don’t


See: Q+A: Transcript of Catherine Issac and Ian Leckie interview

Corin Dann has summed it up perfectly; John Banks has become  an ineffectual Minister when he is no longer able to front to explain radical new policies that National/ACT are implementing. It’s fairly obvious Banks is too frightened to appear where journalists are in a position to ask him hard questions over the Undeclared Donations saga.

It is also astounding that Catherine Isaacs appeared for National/ACT, when, as she herself stated,

“I can’t speak for the party. I’m not an official of the party, so I can’t speak for the party.”

If she can’t speak for the ACT Party – what was she doing, fronting on Q+A, to promote Charter Schools, which is ACT policy?

Maybe John Banks just ‘forgot’ to turn up for the interview?


Q+A, Fred Pearce


Of particular interest to us should be journalist and author of  ‘The Landgrabbers: The new fight over who owns the Earth‘, Fred Pearce,


See video


Pearce was interviewed over the critical issue of foreign buy-ups of arable farmland threoughout the world. Pearce revealed that buy-ups of land wasn’t just occurring here in New Zealand – but was taking place in Africa, South America, and elsewhere.

He was adamant in stating that the “land grabs” were part of a process of certain nations securing food sources at a time in our history when this will become a critical issue. He stated, in part,


JESSICA Are we right to be jumpy here in New Zealand?

PEARCE I think you are, actually, because you’re a relatively small country. Your land is valuable. Clearly there’s a lot of interest internationally in your dairy farming. There’s a tradition of German interest in New Zealand. And it could easily get out of hand, but it’s still relatively small-scale in New Zealand. Now, the figures I’ve seen suggest 1% or perhaps 2% of New Zealand farmland is in foreign hands, and while that could increase, that’s a heck of a lot less than, say, Liberia in West Africa, where two-thirds of all their land is now under some kind of concession to foreign investors, or South Sudan, the new state that was just set up a year ago in Africa, where 10% of all the land had been given away in some kind of lease deal to foreigners even before the state was created, before they’d raised the flag. So, you know, on the scale of things, New Zealand isn’t in a bad state. But you do have to watch out, because there is a huge kind of land rush round the world going on, and prospectors and national governments and big corporations in expanding nations like China and India are looking out for really quite large areas of land, and if they can get hold of them and at a good price, then they will.

JESSICA Why does it matter whether its foreigners or locals who own the land?

PEARCE Well, maybe it doesn’t matter. In good times, people will invest and it probably won’t matter too much. But in bad times, it can be a problem. And you have to say that land is a very fundamental asset for a country. There’s nothing much more fundamental than land to a nation. And if you sell or give long leases on that land to foreign entities, then you lose control of it. You have much more democratic control, if push comes to shove, with a nationally owned company than you do with a foreign-owned company. But it is also true that we’re all part of a global economy now. Even if the company that owns the land is based in New Zealand, it may well have bankers who are abroad. So we can’t, I think, sort of put up very high walls around our country. But we do need to have democratic accountability. We need make sensible democratic decisions about how much we’re prepared to give land to other countries or other countries. Now, they may bring in expertise, which we want; they may bring in finance that we want. But there again, they may be out for a quick hit. They may be wanting to make a quick profit and not really contribute to the national economy, and those are the kind of things that one has to look out for. As I say, I think New Zealand is a kind of grown-up nation. New Zealand can look after itself. But many – especially in Africa – small, new, poor nations really do have great difficulty in keeping control of their assets if rich foreigners want to come calling.


See: Q+A: Transcript of Fred Pearce interview

It seems that we New Zealanders were right to be concerned with offshore investors buying up arable land and that we risk losing control of this valuable asset at our peril.

Whether foreign ownership emanates from Berlin, Beijing, or Boston – be concerned. Be very concerned.

As Pearce said about land,

You know, they’re not making land any more, so, you know, you’ve got to look after what you have. 

By the way, as a side-note; during the video interview with Pearce, an object appeared at the top right of the screen. It faded away momentarily, then came back brighter and more defined.

Anyone got any ideas what it was? (Cue: the X-Files  theme.)



Q+A, Paul Holmes


Also on TVNZ’s Q+A this morning; Paul Holmes.

But not the Paul Holmes we’ve known since 1989, when he first  beamed into our  homes.

This morning, Paul looked terrible;  gaunt, weak, with shaky voice – the result of recent open-heart surgery. At one point he had to reach and grasp an object to support himself on his feet. His appearance was so shocking that at any moment I expected him to collapse,




What was TVNZ thinking, allowing him on-air?

It was irresponsible.

It was heart-wrenching, watching him struggle to stay on his feet.

Not good, TVNZ.

And for Paul,

Get well soon, mate.  You’ve got too much work to do, skivving of up on that farm of yours. TV is not the same without your impish grin on our TV screens.

Get better, please.

And we’ll see you back, when you’re 100% again!



= fs =

  1. Theodore
    6 August 2012 at 12:00 am

    So Banksie was a no-show huh? Gutless wonder. Epsom voters must be delerious with this creep.

  2. 6 August 2012 at 12:57 am

    No surprise on the Banks no show – just following in the footsteps of the Dear Leader, who also does a good trade in no shows on RNZ, Campbell Live, Q&A, et al when it suits. Which appears is quite often…

  3. Murray O
    6 August 2012 at 1:06 am

    The land ownership guy makes a good point in that, even when ostensibly owned by kiwis, the debt is to Australian banks. This is very relevant to the Crafar farms fiasco, where people are/were happy for Michael Fay, the Swiss resident asset stripper, to buy them, but dead against the Chinese. We need a workers government to nationalise the land, but that’s some way off.

  4. 6 August 2012 at 1:45 am

    Great! I’m all ears to political tactic’s. Preferrably in it’s correct form, so to speak…lol

  5. 6 August 2012 at 9:54 am

    As Pearce said in regard to overseas buyers bringing expertise with the purchase of land,..Using Fonterra in China was a good example of China benefitting from Fonterras expertise,..so my question is, what expertise did NZ get when the Crafer Farms were sold to a Chinese Company? I would venture that we got nothing.

    • 6 August 2012 at 10:01 am

      Indeed, Decafe. Considering that we are supposedly a world leader in dairying, I struggle to understand what our Chinese cuzzies (or any other nation) could teach us on this subject. If China has such “expertise”, why is Fonterra in China?

      Like you, I venture that the answer is simply money for the mortage-holders of the Crafar farms and a secured food-source for China.

      And National may have benefitted monetarily from the sale as well: https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/doing-the-business-with-john-key-heres-how-part-rua/

  6. Craig Coffee
    6 August 2012 at 9:55 am

    As Pearce said in regard to overseas buyers bringing expertise with the purchase of land,..Using Fonterra in China was a good example of China benefitting from Fonterras expertise,..so my question is, what expertise did NZ get when the Crafer Farms were sold to a Chinese Company? I would venture that we got nothing.

  7. Priss
    6 August 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Yes I saw the show yesterday and agree that Holmes looked really ghastly. He should’ve been in bed in lying in the sun and not doing that tv appearance. I hope he gets well soon.

  8. 6 August 2012 at 3:25 pm

    we needed to appease the Chinese for the way our PM crawls up the backside of America because of the free trade agreement we have with China…no such thing as a ‘free’ anything in the ‘free’ market |:~\

  9. Taura
    6 August 2012 at 10:32 pm

    What we need to do is tell all of them to piss off if they don’t like what we think or say. Ok, we have a FTO with China and that scares the yanks. What doesn’t? This government and it’s band of halfwitted narrow minded arse licking hyenas has done nothing but sell out the people it is supposed to represent and whose best interests it is supposed to uphold.

  10. 8 August 2012 at 9:14 am
  1. 25 February 2013 at 4:41 pm
  2. 8 September 2020 at 8:01 am

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