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New Zealand

Eating Your Own Words

It is a well known fact that journalists and bloggers can be an opinionated bunch of people.  There has been a couple of stories recently about two of them being forced to eat humble pie.

Journalist – Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchen recently had an opinion piece in Slate Magazine where he touched on the alleged American practice of waterboarding [^] terror suspects.  Mr Hitchen’s contention was that the practice was “extreme interrogation” rather than “outright torture”, since the USA would never resort to torture.  An interesting line of reasoning!

As part of a story for Vanity Fair, Mr Hitchen was asked if he would volunteer to become a subject of waterboarding; he accepted.  Vanity Fair made a video of the session [^] and posted it online. 

Christopher Hitchens Waterboarding

Mr Hitchens wrote-up his experience in an accompanying story in Vanity Fair in which he said:

It goes without saying that I knew I could stop the process at any time, and that when it was all over I would be released into happy daylight rather than returned to a darkened cell  …  You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning—or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions …  Christopher Hitchens – Believe Me, It’s Torture [^]

In the piece Mr Hitchens explores both side of the “extreme interrogation” versus “outright torture” debate.  The journalist goes on to say “if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.”  And it must be remembered that Mr Hitchens experience was in a controlled environment, with a very clear means of ending the experience.

It seems that the journalist in this piece has now adopted a more reasoned position, rather than blind faith in the American way.  This was reinforced once it is made clear to him that information received from such techniques is of only limited reliability.

Blogger – Colin Espiner

In a much lighter vein; blogger Colin Espiner, on, ended-up literally eating his own words. 

In the run-up to the recent NZ elections, Mr Espiner blogged that the Maori Party would not form a coalition with the Nationals.  Mr Espiner went on to promise that if he was proven wrong he would print the blog post and eat it online on a web-cam. 


The Maori Party have now entered into a confidence and supply agreement, but not a coalition.  Rather then argue the point, like a politician, Mr Espiner has made good on his promise and ate the post.  The blogger printed the post added yoghurt, milk and banana and blended up a “Coalition Smoothie” [^].  “It actually didn’t taste too bad except you could definitely taste the printer ink.” 

Coalition Smoothie on Webcam [^]

Kiwis Throw Politicians to the Dogs.

I always knew that the New Zealanders were different to everyone else.  These are sensible people, they are throwing their politicians to the dogs [^].  Unfortunately not quite literally!

The New Zealand petfood company, Mastepet has create dog toys modelled on the two leading Kiwi political leaders – the incumbent Helen Clark and challenger John Key.  The sales of the toys will be used to unofficially track voter sentiment in the lead-up to the 8th November election.  The toy that gets thrown to the dogs the most wins.

 The website has also issued some guidelines for the use of the toy:

  1. Remember your purchase is part of a political poll – your vote counts
  2. Wear suitable ear protection when supervising your dog’s playtime with the toy. As with real politicians, the squealing can become quite deafening.
  3. Keep dog on a leash if around real politicians. Masterpet does not accept any liability for dog toy mistaken identity.
  4. When choosing a toy, take your dog along with you. Man’s best friend doesn’t like political ideologies thrust upon him/her more than the next person.
  5. If your dog destroys the politician in the first five minutes don’t hold this against your dog – the media do it every week!  ( [^])

Many comenters on the site have complained that the “Hulun” Clark toy has been made to look less unattractive than the real-life version.  Is this so that the dogs don’t get scared-off?

Clark & Keys Politician Masterpet Dog Toys

Clark & Keys Politician Masterpet Dog Toys

The "Real" Helen Clark - 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand

The "Real" Helen Clark - 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand

Aussie in Kiwi Rape Claim

A Motueka man who claimed to have been left speaking Australian after being raped by a wombat, has been sentenced to 75 hours’ community work for his trouble.

…[He] admitted in the Nelson District Court yesterday to the charge of using a phone for a fictitious purpose, after calling police with the message, ‘I’ve been raped by a wombat’ … He called police again soon after, …"I’ll retract the rape complaint from the wombat, because he’s pulled out …Apart from speaking Australian now, I’m pretty all right you know, I didn’t hurt my bum at all,”          Source:[^]

I think that we can consider this as heralding a new era of Trans-Tasman relations!  That just goes to show, it’s true that a wombat "Eats, Roots and Leaves"!


Image: Modified from the Phasmatisnox original licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

The Britomart Centre

The Britomart Centre is the hub of Auckland’s Public Transport system – ferries, buses, and trains.

Britomart, Auckland NZ.JPG

The building itself is the old Auckland Chief Post Office (CPO). I don’t know why they couldn’t have a GPO like everyone else, but that’s Kiwis for you I guess. There is more information and photos on the Auckland City Website