Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Confessions of a Virgin Talkback Host

And so I have become the shepherd of the misinformed and the misanthropic but also the hopeful and the caring. Talkback is everything it’s cracked up to be but also a continual surprise.

Filling in for Kerre Woodham recently on Newstalk ZB was an eye opener.

It’s easy to have low expectations from night time talk but just as a sigh starts to build in your soul something marvelous happens.

Discussing why it’s best to transport bees at night with a tax agent suddenly turned into one of the more perspicacious economic assessments I’ve heard in a while. China’s stuffed, Europe’s stuffed and America’s been stuffed ever since the Marshall Plan set in force a fundamental shift in the world’s economy that no-one saw coming.

Meanwhile the government throws money at dodgy banks to keep the economy alive, while the IRD is going out of it’s way to close down small and medium businesses having a tough time in the recession.

That caller could see the long term effects of short term thinking, disappointingly most could not.

On the jailing of a 14 year old for shooting dead his cousin, most callers had no sympathy and said throw away the key and let him rot as though the grooming of Bailey Junior Kuariki never happened.

While the father’s actions in covering up the killing was seen as acceptable as blood is thicker than water and whanau is all. And no-one saw the double standard. To me the kid needed a second chance while the Dad was morally bankrupt and beyond redemption.

On the economy, the problem is apparently our productivity which will never match that of China’s. But no-one was prepared to forsake our lifestyle for that of a worker in Guangzhou.

Everyone agreed the government is spending more than it earns but no-one wanted to give back their tax cuts.

And everyone wanted a first world society but no-one knew how to do it when we’re just 4 million people effectively living in a very big house that’s really expensive to maintain.

Now, maybe I’m a strange kind of talkback host.

A liberal free marketeer and a laissez faire humanist. Or, in other words, a pragmatist.

But please we all know the problems, the real genius is in the answers.

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