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Eleanor Catton on NZ

Written By: - Date published: 5:17 pm, January 27th, 2015 - 212 comments
Categories: art, books, culture, national - Tags: ,

Eleanor Catton won the 2013 Man Booker prize for The Luminaries, her success was widely celebrated in NZ. Interesting to get her perspective on NZ politics, and the current government. These comments were made at a literary festival in India and reported here in the Southland Times:

Eleanor Catton’s problem with New Zealand

Man Booker Prize author Eleanor Catton says she is uncomfortable being seen as an ambassador for New Zealand which she says is dominated by neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, shallow and money hungry politicians who do not care about culture.

“At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada, (is dominated by) these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture,” Catton is quoted saying.

“They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want. I feel very angry with my government.”

A challenge for the next government to be better than this.

212 comments on “Eleanor Catton on NZ ”

  1. lprent 1

    Added later as a warning

    I am pretty unhappy that a large chunk of the comments on this post diverted very early into a completely different topic – how to write a paraphrase. The comments related to that have all been shunted to OpenMike.

    Fortunately for the people concerned, I’m even more annoyed about some bots that decided to overwhelm the site while I was shunting the comments…. I had to forgo my usual considered irritation because I wasn’t sure of my anger levels after the comments had a bit of a spill.

    I would suggest that this unhappy state of affairs may not persist.

    😈

  2. vto 2

    Fantastic to hear someone with a voice that is listened to putting this out there.

    Keep it up Eleanor, get stuck in. People like you are so very important to a healthy society.

  3. Wayne 3

    More of an observation than anything else.

    In New Zealand, it does seem that a greater proportion of writers, artists, actors and playwrights tend to favour the Left, and especially the Green Left, than in other countries.

    In the UK and the US there appears to be a greater diversity of views among their artistic and literary communities.

    Is this largely a function of New Zealand being a smaller community, or that politics in New Zealand is by many standards pitched a little to the left of centre?

    So that although the Nats have won the majority of elections in the last 70 years, they do so by carefully cleaving to the middle. John Key being an expert in this particular art. And his being “Mr Everyman” reinforces the effect, but does not win him friends among the intellectual classes.

    Athough John Key clearly has respect among his peers (Obama, Harper, Cameron) that as far as I can see no other New Zealand Prime Minister has attained, this is rather lost in New Zealand. They clearly see qualities in him that elude for instance many of the commenters on this site.

    I noted a recent column by Rob Hoskings in which he said that judging by much of the commentary by Left pundits you would think John Key was the New Zealand version of General Pinochet. John seems to evoke a level of spleen that Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley never did.

    All a bit strange to me.

    • vto 3.1

      “Athough John Key clearly has respect among his peers (Obama, Harper, Cameron) that as far as I can see no other New Zealand Prime Minister has attained, this is rather lost in New Zealand. They clearly see qualities in him that elude for instance many of the commenters on this site. ”

      Sheesh Wayne, that is out there …. and I suggest those “lost” are Obama Harper and Cameron and not the NZ public who see the real John Key.

      Perhaps some time at a distance will provide greater clarity for you on the reality of those matters you raise.

      • Murray Simmonds 3.1.1

        If ‘ RESPECT among his peers (Obama, Harper, Cameron)” equates to “being easily used by them” then I’d agree. Unfortunately for Mr Key, ‘being easily used’ is NOT the same thing as ‘being respected’.

      • Paul Campbell 3.1.2

        what a bunch of whooey – they hardly know the guy, they’ve each had what 2? 3? hours of face time ever with Key – how can they possibly “know” him much less know enough to respect him.

        I think what you’re repeating is the bleatings of Key’s own political handlers, basically Key’s own spin on his place in the world – and he’s hardly an impartial observer

    • weka 3.2

      The reason they all look like lefties to you Wayne, is because the neoliberal revolution has shifted the middle so far to the right.

      I noted a recent column by Rob Hoskings in which he said that judging by much of the commentary by Left pundits you would think John Key was the New Zealand version of General Pinochet. John seems to evoke a level of spleen that Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley never did.

      A piece of shitty hyperbole designed simply to keep bolstering Key’s image.

    • Molly 3.3

      Your “observation” seems to be made through one-eye and that is the one on the right of your nose obviously.

      You imply that observations by singular persons, such as yourself and Rob Hoskings
      are singular truths, and from that perspective I’m guessing all artforms and artists look like left wing activists.

      …” John Key clearly has respect among his peers “… Obama couldn’t even remember John Key’s duo-syllabic name correctly for the first term. His acceptance into the club has been that of a freshman coming through hazing in a university fraternity. And like a fraternity, belonging has nothing to do with the core business of service or governance, all about unquestioning allegiance and feeling superior.

      “So that although the Nats have won the majority of elections in the last 70 years, they do so by carefully cleaving to the middle. John Key being an expert in this particular art.”
      John Key is not an expert at cleaving to the middle. He is The Great Pretender, pretending to be in the middle while implementing right wing policies, but most destructively – pretending to be a Prime Minister of NZ while operating for the club. (That said, I’m very aware of the fact that there are a number of clones in the National Party that would be just as destructive in his position, so my spleen is vent on his actions rather than his person.)

      “All a bit strange to me.”
      Logic, comprehension, context and wider considerations seem to be strange to the right. Something to work on perhaps.

    • Colonial Rawshark 3.4

      Wayne, just remember that Ayn Rand really was a third rate author, and she died on Social Security.

    • The Murphey 3.5

      Harper Obama Key Cameron and Abbott

      Each share traits deemed necessary to deploy the agenda of the next ups as per the job description

      Naturally each sock puppet recognises the other such as brothers at the same lodge or club do

      Q. Do you recognise the shared traits Wayne ?

      Q. Is it honourable to be respected by another sock puppet ?

      Q. Can a sock puppet have honour or earn respect ?

      Q. Are you still a sock puppet ?

    • Ovid 3.6

      I think it’s because good art and good literature strives to be novel, or rather, new. The conservative mindset is to maintain the status quo, so the whole right wing outlook runs counter to the creative industry’s efforts to develop new perspectives.

      It’s a lot like how good comedy punches up and cocks a snook at the powerful. Right-wing comedians who defend the establishment just aren’t very funny, so there are fewer of them around.

      • Murray Rawshark 3.6.1

        Salvador Dalí was a strong supporter of Spanish fascism. I think he’s an exception and did produce novel art.

        • Sans Cle 3.6.1.1

          Wagner was a bit of a Nazi, but still made great music.
          Lots of exceptions to the rule, but I think you have a point Ovid.
          Avant garde by definition flies in the face of conservatism, traditionalism and resistance to change.

    • Mark 3.7

      In my opinion, it’s the result of an insular small country, that we have so many clueless artists who sit on the green left. Funnily enough, such people often come from the comfortable white, middle and upper classes where concern for the environment is decidedly more fashionable than those at the bottom of the economic heap.

      Catton’s comments are pure ignorance however. NZ’s government expenditure as a % of GDP is c. 40%.

      If you think that’s neoliberalism, you either: (a) don’t know what neoliberalism is; or (b) are ignorant of hard facts.

      Source: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/tp/govtsize/13.htm

      • Paul 3.7.1

        I don’t think the state of the environment is something about fashion.
        It is about a crisis.
        But then, as Catton says

        “At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada, (I dominated by) these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want.”

        Your comment about the environment suggests you are one of they mentioned above.

        Educate yourself.
        Read Derrick Jensen’s ‘Endgame’

      • Murray Rawshark 3.7.2

        Yep. As Ovid said, right wing comedians are just not funny.

        • weka 3.7.2.1

          can you give an example or two?

          • Colonial Rawshark 3.7.2.1.1

            Boehner, McCain, Jeb Bush, etc. In NZ Brownlee, Smith, Joyce, etc.

          • Murray Rawshark 3.7.2.1.2

            Mark at 2.7 above. Most mainstream Aussie RSL comedians – Rodney Rude and his fart jokes is one.

          • gsays 3.7.2.1.3

            hi there weka,
            two right wing comics: spike milligan and john cleese, imo.

            • Paul 3.7.2.1.3.1

              Milligan was not a right wing comedian.

              ‘Milligan was never really a political animal, but he joined the Young Communists – partly to demonstrate his hatred of Oswald Mosley’s Fascists, who were gaining support near his home in south London.’

              http://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/spike-milligan-1-604885

              • gsays

                hi paul, yes fair call.
                he is a genius and like a lot of geniuses he could be complicated.

                my example of him as right wing would be better summed up as: was sometimes very conservative- racist before it went out of vogue, anti people breeding, despite having 6 children.

            • Murray Rawshark 3.7.2.1.3.2

              John Cleese defines himself as slightly left of centre and was a member of the Labour Party for many years. He subsequently joined the Liberal Democrats.
              Please stop making stuff up.

              • gsays

                hi murray, he also went on to support the coalition of the lib dems and the tories.

                • Murray Rawshark

                  I blame Tony Blair for that. He was the real right winger. I think I’d describe John Cleese as more centrist.

                  • gsays

                    without knowing his political leanings i have always felt cleese was very motivated by money (one of my definitions of a right winger), and the cambridge university education.

                    since this wee thread started, i have been looking round and the tory comics are few and far between.

                    south park crew and dennis miller are exceptions.

                    • Murray Rawshark

                      Cleese stopped being funny about the time he joined up with the Lib Dems. Cambridge used to be known as Red Cambridge and churned out everything from Marxist historians (Hobsbawn) to Russian spies. Even though Oxbridge is very Tory, traditional Tories didn’t mind letting people think a little. Today under the rule of neoliberalism, this would never occur.

                    • Crashcart

                      I think it is a bit of a streach to put Matt Stone and Trey Parker in the Torrie camp. If anything they are derrisive of all polotics. They have both spoken strongly against Bush and the Republicans, and will attack the Dems if they think they are being stupid.

    • McFlock 3.8

      In New Zealand, it does seem that a greater proportion of writers, artists, actors and playwrights tend to favour the Left, and especially the Green Left, than in other countries.

      Larger populations mean more people on the wingnut fringe, and therefore bigger markets for wingnut authors etc.

    • Tracey 3.9

      as opposed to the bank spokespeople, property speculators and real estate reps used in media who are all right slanted…

    • Michael 3.10

      Isn’t that because right wingers are too boring, money obsessed and philistine to be capable of creating anything? Just an observation.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.10.1

        Actually, I figure RWNJs have a great imagination. They must have to be able to believe the BS that they do. The real problem is that many believe that what happens in their minds is what happens in reality.

        BTW,

        1. Anne McCaffrey
        2. Mercedes Lackey

        And several other well known authors that I’ve read but can’t think of ATM are all RWNJs. This came to my attention once when I was reading an introduction to a novel by the author and she couldn’t understand why all these socialists kept writing to her to ask for her backing of some project or other. She was quite taken aback by it. After reading that I looked at other authors that I’d assumed were left leaning and found out that they weren’t.

        • Murray Rawshark 3.10.1.1

          Quite a few science fiction and fantasy writers are right wing, and some probably verge on fascism. A lot of their stories have very strong, self-sufficient characters who are superior products of evolution. The main difference from Ayn Rand is that they can usually write.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.11

      So that although the Nats have won the majority of elections in the last 70 years, they do so by carefully cleaving to the middle.

      Nope. That was, IMO from looking at the history, through gerrymandering of the electorates.

      John Key being an expert in this particular art.

      John Key is great at lying so that he appears moderate.

      They clearly see qualities in him that elude for instance many of the commenters on this site.

      They know that he’s a RWNJ on the side of corporatism.

      All a bit strange to me.

      That would be because you’ve got your ideological blinders on so that you won’t have to see the truth.

    • tricledrown 3.12

      Wayne the way Jenny Shipley never did Bolger was liked it was his cabinet that were hated Mostly Birch,Banks,Richardson and Shipley were hated!
      Key can’t be hated anywhere near what you claim,Wayne you were seen as an inefectual second tier boring bafoon!
      Nothing had changed their!

    • Clemgeopin 3.13

      I think intellectuals, thinkers, writers, artists, actors, playwrights and people with integrity see through Key and his dishonest lying destructive RW ways through and through. But, numerically, their size is small.

      US humours Key because he has shown to be their lap dog in his behaviour and policies toeing their line.

      The leaders in the five eyes club are a tight knit club for joint unity, collaboration and mutual support.

      Key has been a cunning operator with enormous amount of spin, BS and propaganda helped by the corporate owned media and his PR merchants, the Cosby Textor outfit.

      He has managed to fool a lot of voters for the last six years. Most people are not deep into politics. They take their cue from the media and get subtly influenced by the ‘NEWS’ and comments as presented by the media presenters! Most of them seem to favour the Nats and slide in snide unfair innuendos against the left in the course of dispersing their political ‘news’. This stays in the subconscious of those watching or reading the news. I am sure you have noticed that too, if you are observant.

      The RW is not only full of cash, selfishness and greed, but is also full of dirty politics, misinformation and dishonesty.

      As an insider, all this should really not be so strange to you.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.13.1

        The RW is not only full of cash, selfishness and greed, but is also full of dirty politics, misinformation and dishonesty.

        QFT

    • Tom Jackson 3.14

      It’s because conservatism tends to be ugly, boorish and has no intellectual credibility. You’ll get a few outliers like Eliot who end up tying themselves into ideological knots and the odd radical far rightist, but hardly any true conservatives.

    • Leftie 3.15

      ” the Nats have won the majority of elections in the last 70 years”
      False.

      There have been 5 Labour governments and 5 National governments, (The key led National government being the 5th).

      • alwyn 3.15.1

        The statement wasn’t about how many Governments there have been. It was about the number of elections won.
        There have been a total of 24 General elections in the last 70 years, the first being in 1946 and the last being in 2014. If we count “winning” an election as being the main party in Government after the election we find that National won 16 and Labour 8.
        On that basis a statement that ” the Nats have won the majority of elections in the last 70 years” is clearly correct.
        National won in 1949, 1951, 1954, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1969, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1993, 1996, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
        Labour won in 1946, 1957, 1972, 1984, 1987, 1999, 2002 and 2005.

      • Paul Campbell 3.15.2

        um – given that we basically alternate between National and Labour led governments aren’t there always going to have been roughly the same number?

    • English Breakfast 3.16

      Hi Wayne, like him or not, Key is enormously popular both in NZ and abroad. I remember in Helen Clarks heyday the right tried to paint her as the devil incarnate simply because NZ’ers supported her Governance in overwhelming numbers. The left is now making the same mistake about Key.

      • tracey 3.16.1

        He knows that cos he sat on the cross benches presumably oblivious to the Key/McCully/ Joyce/Farrar/Slater/Crosby Texter strategy to besmirch her and her husband personally, and thereby got into Cabinet.

        • English Breakfast 3.16.1.1

          Yep, politics eh. Who’d go into it? They’re all tarred with the same brush, left, right and centre.

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    Pretty editorially tragic that Catton’s comments had to have a postscript by the lizard in chief. A clear demonstration of the existence and determination to meddle of the shallow money-hungry neo-liberal vermin, and the media’s complicity in supporting them.

    • Paul 4.1

      Well the Southland Times are owned by Fearfax, who are owned by Reinhart.
      And remember the story was already out.
      Eleanor Catton had spoken to Indian media.
      The NZ media was only doing what it is is capable of – repeating, not reporting.

      And to top off their awful work, they went to their demi-God Key and got his view.

      Here is the article from India.
      http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/pzEq1u3frRLWQehmXjyzHL/Eleanor-Catton-In-the-last-year-Ive-really-struggled-with.html

      You’ll notice the Southland Times missed out some of Eleanor’s more damning criticism of our country’s culture, economics and politics.”

      “They ( our politicians) would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want. I feel very angry with my government.

      There’s also an interview posted there about the issue.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        Comparing and contrasting those two write ups is kind of revealing.

        Some of the contexts for what she said appear to have been ripped up and swapped over by the Southland Times.

        • Paul 4.1.1.1

          Yes, I thought it would be kind of interesting to find the source for Fairfax’s article.
          The whole interview with Catton is interesting. Her comments about shallowness and a lack of respect for culture are totally reinforced by the aspect of the interview Fairfax focused on…and which parts of the interview they ignored.
          Eleanor makes a lot of thought provoking comment in the interview.

      • Ergo Robertina 4.1.2

        ”And to top off their awful work, they went to their demi-God Key and got his view.”

        Paul, get a grip. If the paper hadn’t got Key’s comment, I bet you would be saying the capitalist running dogs were not treating Catton’s comments with sufficient seriousness to warrant an approach to the PM’s office.
        And anyway – don’t you enjoy watching the man squirm?
        If they’d angled on his rebuttal by putting his comments at the beginning of the article you might have a point. But that’s not what happened.

        • Ergo Robertina 4.1.2.1

          I can’t edit the above for some reason; I meant ”response” rather than rebuttal.

      • Tracey 4.1.3

        and yet he has NO comment about mike sabin. funny priorities

        • Paul 4.1.3.1

          Anyone know where that story has got to?

          • Tracey 4.1.3.1.1

            key was asked yesterday and had no comment. was pushed about why he had no comment and said that he

            comments on what he wants to comment and doesnt comment on what he doesnt.

            close to a childish “because” as you will get.

            journo concluded he is distancing himself from sabin.

      • Stuart Munro 4.1.4

        Thanks Paul – a much more interesting article than the Herald’s. I guess shallow is what they’ve done so long they can’t imagine long-form.

      • Clemgeopin 4.1.5

        Thanks for the links.

        She speaks honestly and fearlessly.
        From the top link, this passage is thought provoking.

        ” But I think it is always a shame when people don’t stand up for what it is that they really believe. And I do think the problem we face in New Zealand is that we are reluctant to express firm beliefs in anything. An example would be, I was teaching in class in Auckland. I made up a statement with manifestoes from all over the world, different writers who all thought what writing should do or not do. I was going to give it out to my students and have them write about the one that spoke to them the most. When I was putting this document together, I thought, hang on, I don’t have any New Zealand writers here. And I spent an entire day on the internet trying to find an aesthetic statement from a New Zealand writer and there was nothing. Hopefully in the future, we have more people being brave in that way. We have this strange cultural phenomenon called “tall poppy syndrome”; if you stand out, you will be cut down. One example is that the New Zealand Book Award that follows the announcement of the Man Booker Prize, in the year The Luminaries won it, there was this kind of thing that now you’ve won this prize from overseas, we’re not going to celebrate it here, we’re going to give the award to somebody else. If you get success overseas then very often the local population can suddenly be very hard on you. Or the other problem is that the local population can take ownership of that success in a way that is strangely proprietal. So many people have talked in the media and me directly in ways of 2013 being the year that New Zealand won the Man Booker Prize. It betrays an attitude towards individual achievement which is very, uncomfortable. It has to belong to everybody or the country really doesn’t want to know about it. I know I shouldn’t complain too much—I’m in such an extraordinary position—but at the same time I feel that in the last year I’ve really struggled with my identity as a New Zealand writer. I feel uncomfortable being an ambassador for my country when my country is not doing as much as it could, especially for the intellectual world. It’s sort of a complicated position to be in. At the moment, New Zealand, like Australia and Canada, (I dominated by) these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want. I feel very angry with my government”

        Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/pzEq1u3frRLWQehmXjyzHL/Eleanor-Catton-In-the-last-year-Ive-really-struggled-with.html?utm_source=copy

    • Bill 4.2

      In the interests of ‘balance’, nothing critical goes unchallenged, while everything sycophantic is treated as self evident truth.

      Hmm…what’s your problem there Stuart?

    • Pretty editorially tragic that Catton’s comments had to have a postscript by the lizard in chief.

      Yes. In some alternative universe, it would be totally awesome if Fairfax asked Eleanor Catton to respond to whatever bullshit-of-the-day John Key comes up with. I’d definitely buy a fucking newspaper to read that.

    • They always go to him as a neutral political commentator.

      It’s very soothing for some people to be told how they should think.

  5. fisiani 5

    She’s just a greenie. Who cares what she thinks. She is obviously wrong. Winning a literary prize simply means she is good at writing fiction. Her opinions are fiction also that’s self evident. Being a greenie shows evidence of lack of judgement.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.1

      Apparently you care what she thinks, a great deal, although it is somewhat poorly reasoned and expressed in your year 6 prose.

      • vto 5.1.1

        fisiani fulfils all definitions of a tro1l and it is 100% consistent in its postings. Complete and utter waste of space.

        I have no idea why it is granted such leniency …. ?

        [lprent: Doesn’t usually break the policy bounds. ]

    • McFlock 5.2

      Thanks for your concern, there’s a good lickspittle.

    • Bill 5.3

      Oh fisiani!…and neo-liberalism doesn’t seep from a stench of dying fictions?

    • stever 5.5

      “She’s just a greenie.”

      “just”? What’s the point of that word there?

      “Who cares what she thinks.”

      I’d bet quite a lot of people do, since she’s clearly an intelligent, thoughtful and articulate person.

      “She is obviously wrong.”

      Your opinion, I presume.

      “Winning a literary prize simply means she is good at writing fiction.”

      Well, you might say that…but a more honest interpretation is that she’s one of the best in the world at what she does. Aren’t we meant to celebrate that sort of thing?

      “Her opinions are fiction also that’s self evident.”

      What? Someone’s opinions are statements of what they believe to be true, so I think we can assume the things she says as opinions really are her opinions.

      “Being a greenie shows evidence of lack of judgement.”

      How?

    • Te Reo Putake 5.6

      Fisi reimagined:

      He’s just a Tory. Who cares what he thinks. He is obviously wrong. Winning a golf round with Obama simply means he is good at selling fiction. His opinions are fiction also that’s self evident. Being a Tory shows evidence of lack of judgement.

      Fisi cut up:

      She’s just a writing fiction. Who cares greenie that’s self evident what she thinks. She is obviously a literary prize. wrong. Winning shows evidence of lack of Her judgement. simply opinions are a fiction also means she is good at Being. . .

      Fisi haiku’d:

      Green writer’s words hurt
      sensitive Troll Beats chest, bleats
      Feels validated

    • Tracey 5.7

      at least she is honest. the nz initiative deliberately cultivate the lie that they are politically neutral.

  6. Molly 6

    According to Stuff:

    “Responding to Catton’s comments, Prime Minister John Key said he was disappointed she felt that way, but not necessarily surprised.

    “She has been aligned with the Green Party, and that probably summarises the Green Party view of this Government. “

    • Murray Rawshark 6.1

      ‘She’s creative and intelligent, and that probably summarises the view that creative and intelligent people have of this regime.’

  7. vto 7

    Key said this, amongst more “”I don’t think that reflects what most New Zealanders perceive of the Government. If it was, they probably wouldn’t have voted for us in such large numbers”

    Key of course has it completely arse-about. They voted for him BECAUSE Key is a “neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politician who do not care about culture”

    Key has conveniently provided support for Catton’s observation and proved her very point about him. Very shallow. And other

  8. emergency mike 8

    I interpret it more as “she’s a greenie, therefore she’s just repeating party political propaganda that no one should take any notice of.” I.e. it’s spin.

    He reduces her opinion to a relativist debate about perceptions ‘we won the election after all’. Thus not addressing her points at all, and dismissing the need to at the same time.

    Ad hominem, undermine, distract, neutralize meaningful discourse, smile and wave, go home. It’s all reflex stuff for Key, it’s not like anyone’s going challenge him or anything.

  9. Ad 9

    She may be “just a novelist”, but The Luminaries had a greater command of the economic history of New Zealand from the 1860s than most economic historians I’ve read here.

    Amongst other things, it detailed with real historical veracity the standard quarry-enclave economy that has dominated most of New Zealand’s development, together with all its attendant ethics, gender displacements, and cutthroat commerciality we have seen from the current administration.

    • The lost sheep 9.1

      Everyone here has read ‘The Luminaries’ of course?

      • weka 9.1.1

        no, why?

        • The lost sheep 9.1.1.1

          Because Catton said this..

          ” New Zealand did not have a lot of confidence in the brains of its citizens and there was a lot of embarrassment over writers.
          Catton said she grew up with the “strange belief” that New Zealand writers were less great than writers from Britain and America.
          “Because we were some colonial backwater, we weren’t discovered, which I’m hoping will change,”

          So i’m just hoping that you Weka, and all the others who support her comments on this blog, will show solidarity with NZ writers who are willing to stand out and voice an opinion, by actually buying and reading her books.

          Like you all will do tomorrow?

          Hate to think that you don’t give a shit about literature, and aren’t willing to put your hands in your pockets to support it, unless an obscure writer says something political that happens to align with your personal views?

          • weka 9.1.1.1.1

            That’s an odd argument. If I like someone’s politics I have to become directly involved in supporting their day job? Why?

            If I were to read it I’d get it from the library, or second hand, like I do most novels I read. How would that be not giving a shit about literature?

            It would be better if you just made your point directly. Are you annoyed that some people like her politics, but you think they don’t read novels and this makes them somehow… what exactly?

          • McFlock 9.1.1.1.2

            lol

            so if we haven’t read that book, we haven’t read any NZ book?

            And as for “obscure”… lol. Good one. Keep pretending.

            I wonder if Key read the book? After all, he actually claimed to ” have tremendous respect for what she does as a writer”. Most commenters here just seemed to be happy that someone was honest about NZ for once.

            • fender 9.1.1.1.2.1

              Keys respect for what she does would start and finish with her commercial success.

              • McFlock

                and the prize. He likes shiny things. As soon as he figures out how to get a Man Booker, he’ll buy it.

                • Clemgeopin

                  He likes shiny things

                  Akshully, you mean like that shiny Troty of the cringe-worthy-three-way-hand-shake fame?

              • Tracey

                he didnt like keshia castle hughes ..or catton.

                but he does like peter jackson..

                spot. the difference

          • fender 9.1.1.1.3

            That’s from the National Party playbook, throw money at sycophants and burn critics.

            • The lost sheep 9.1.1.1.3.1

              So none of you have read it then, or more especially paid for it?

              I thought not. Really didn’t give a damn for her or her art until she said something ‘Jonkey’ did you?

              • weka

                that doesn’t make any kind of sense.

              • Clemgeopin

                I have. Have YOU read it?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Didn’t take this Tory shill very long to abandon the pretence, did it.

                • Murray Rawshark

                  It was pretty obvious from the start, but made a valiant effort to hide the Tory streak that runs down the place other people have a spine.

              • tracey

                that is a HUGE leap LS.

                Have you read it? Seen all the LOTR and Hobbit movies? Every movie ever made by a kiwi or having kiwi actors? Do you have to go to an All Black match to have an opinion on them too?

          • tracey 9.1.1.1.4

            I bought it and read it.

            BUT I am pretty sure that people dont have to buy the book to have a view. Which would be like saying if you have never been robbed you cant have a view on law and order, or if you have never bought an investment home or stock you can’t have an opinion, or have never been a teacher so can’t have an opinion on teaching.

  10. Bill 10

    John Key – “I’m disappointed she (Eleanor Catton) doesn’t have respect for the work that we do…”

    bwahaha!

  11. Paul 11

    Here you can read the whole article about Eleanor Catton from India ( she is at the Jaipur Writers Festival) , without the attention of the editor of the Southland Times or the ad-homonym toxic nonsense spouted by Key, polluting Catton’s ideas and thoughts.

    http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/pzEq1u3frRLWQehmXjyzHL/Eleanor-Catton-In-the-last-year-Ive-really-struggled-with.html

    • McFlock 11.1

      actually, I’m vaguely tempted to read the book, too.

      • tracey 11.1.1

        Its a read twice job imo. I struggle for the first 100 pages but once there it was a great read. Couldn’t wait to get to the end. Am reading it again having schooled myself up on the astrological references at the beginning of each chapter.

    • weka 11.2

      thanks Paul!

  12. Macro 12

    She enunciates my thoughts exactly. The Arts in NZ have taken a back step since 2008. Helen Clark as well as being PM was also minister of the Arts and it showed. Not the case now.

  13. Paul 13

    The Herald now following the story.

    They also go for Key’s comment.

    NZ Prime Minister John Key said he’s disappointed Catton “doesn’t have respect for the work we do because I have tremendous respect for what she does as a writer”.

    The more you read that quote, the more pathetic it sounds.

    Imagine Kennedy saying ..”I’m disappointed Rosa Parks doesn’t have respect for the work we do because I have tremendous respect for what she does as a civil rights activist.”

    Imagine The French President of the time saying ..”I’m disappointed Marie Curie doesn’t have respect for the work we do because I have tremendous respect for what she does as a scientist.”

    It sounds so puerile.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11392635

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 13.1

      Haha .. Key is neither speaking to Eleanor’s audience nor to citizens with integrity and morals. But he is talking to his own elitist neolib club.

      • Paul 13.1.1

        No, he’s speaking to ordinary New Zealanders…the Waitakere Man who distrusts intellectual thought and the populace sated in celebrity and sports news.
        Sadly there are many people in this country hooked on the neoliberal pill and will continue to believe the lies we have been told till they themselves are affected.

        The Greeks have woken up.
        We are a long way away.

        • sabine 13.1.1.1

          leave the waitakere man and women out of this because quite a few of us did not vote for this pissant.

          • Paul 13.1.1.1.1

            OK ..he’s speaking to ‘aspirational’ Kiwis’ ‘Mum and Dad investors’ ….they are all terms to trick working class voters to go against their own interests.
            And sadly it works, thanks to the media/political complex.

    • Pascals bookie 13.2

      The Herald actually tidied up his response to save his English language fail

      “I’m disappointed she doesn’t have respect for the work that we do, because I have tremendous respect for what she does as a writer, and that’s why I think she’s been so widely acclaimed.”

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/books/65463098/eleanor-cattons-problem-with-new-zealand

      yeah, she won the plaudits coz Key respects her.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.3

      NZ Prime Minister John Key said he’s disappointed Catton “doesn’t have respect for the work we do because I have tremendous respect for what she does as a writer”.

      I’me sure that John Key, like me, didn’t even know who Catton was or what she did before the news hit.

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    I don’t think that reflects what most New Zealanders perceive of the Government. If it was, they probably wouldn’t have voted for us in such large numbers.

    And the usual BS about large numbers voting for National despite the fact that almost 2/3rds of NZers didn’t.

  15. Paul 16

    Catton’s words.

    “these neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture. They care about short-term gains. They would destroy the planet in order to be able to have the life they want.”

    That description so sums up Key doesn’t it.

    The last sentence in particular.

  16. A very wise lady is Eleanor Catton and it is great to see her saying it as it is.

    I read tonight that Key is disappointed Catton “doesn’t have respect for the work we do.
    Well J Key, you do not deserve respect for all your underhand ways you conduct the National Govt .
    You are the so called leader, then bloody well act like one , stop galavanting around the globe at our expense trying to be somebody.

    You are an embarrassment to many New Zealanders.

    • Paul 17.1

      Yes I was taught as a kid you earn respect.
      Key certainly has not earnt mine.
      Selling off the country to the wealthy is not the behaviour that gains my respect.

    • tracey 17.2

      Funny, he didnt mind peter Jackson playing an active role in the drive to change our labour laws but Ms catton… tsk tsk tsk

  17. Weepus beard 18

    That will be the last literary prize she receives.

    John Key will see to that.

  18. Saarbo 19

    Excellent!

    The problem is that everyone who reads tend to vote “Left”, the other 48%-52% vote National.

  19. sabine 20

    Quote: But Key refused to be drawn on Sabin’s future, as an MP or as chair of Parliament’s law and order select committee.

    Repeatedly quizzed on the allegations, Key would only say: “I have no comment to make.”

    Pressed on why he wouldn’t answer questions, he said: “Because I comment on things I want to comment on, and I don’t on things I don’t.”

    from here http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/65470014/john-key-distances-himself-from-mp-mike-sabin

    Pathetic he is this little man that would like to be part of the club, but he is nothing. was nothing. will never ever be anything. A gutless little lickspittle he is.

    • Paul 20.1

      Comments on Catton, yet nothing to say about his own MPs.
      A wretched PM.
      I’m as embarrassed as Eleanor Catton about the leadership of this country.

  20. saveNZ 21

    After what JK has done selling off the country not just the utilities, state houses etc but now our land and his human rights, surveillance etc, he will be remembered as the worst PM NZ has ever had. Good on Catton for telling it how it is. Soon like the US, 5% will be in obscene mansions and the 50% in trailers or cars. The beaches and rivers devastated by pollution, our dairy farms and residential property being owned by foreigners, etc etc

    • Paul 21.1

      Yup, we’ll be in the state Greece is in if we keep going down the track of selling everything and letting the wealthy pay no tax.
      Still the Greeks are now awake.
      NZ is sound asleep….only waking up for reality TV shows.

  21. Reddelusion 22

    All blacks voted for national and promoted as such, so what, a writer doesn’t like national and opines as such, again so what, neither party has a mortgage on the truth, if it helps you feel better by propping up and underlying belief or bias all good. Catton statement is superficial and childish green party slogans and hardly anything insightful

    • McFlock 22.1

      neither party has a mortgage on the truth

      National sold the truth years ago.
      Not just 49% of it, either – if john key says something, it’s a good bet he’s lying.

    • fender 22.2

      Failed your resolution eh deluded.

      Those “slogans” are accurate facts and only lacking insight to those with a closed mind such as yourself.

    • greywarshark 22.3

      Isn’t that interesting to see the RW machine start working. yek says it is Green inspired and here is someone repeating his comment already. Probably in a puppet show these days it’s all wire-less, the new way of performing is to go on a blog and start playing your programed lines.

  22. venezia 23

    How refreshing to read Eleanor Catton’s account of her experience as a successful writer and her thoughts about our current government. She very eloquently states what many of us feel. Our media seriously let us down by representing only the ideas of the ruling elites – the shallow, money obsessed, neoliberal lackeys that they are. And in many repetitive ways people are told what to think. Catton is right about our unwillingness to tolerate strong opinions, or even to speak the truth. Look what happens when a journalist expresses evidence based concern about dirty politics, or for the environment – eg farmers polluting our public water resources to generate wealth for their private interests. Rachel Stewart has had rape and death threats, and no doubt her very career will be at risk for upsetting the powerful financial interests in our country.

  23. Paul 24

    The Herald have updated their story.
    Their use of Language is clearly intended to get your average reader to be turned against Eleanor Catton.
    They describe her comments as an ‘outburst’.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11392710

    Read the actual interview and decide for yourself, rather than listen to John Roughan’s prejudices.

    http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/pzEq1u3frRLWQehmXjyzHL/Eleanor-Catton-In-the-last-year-Ive-really-struggled-with.html

    • Halfcrown 24.1

      “Read the actual interview and decide for yourself, rather than listen to John Roughan’s prejudices.”

      Thank you for the invite Paul, but no thanks. As I have said before that pathetic excuse for shithouse paper is the last place I would go for information or an opinion.

    • vto 24.2

      Yes, curious that they would use “outburst” to describe Catton yet don’t use “kneejerk” to describe Key.

      But what do you expect? The Herald is owned by some of the richest business people on the entire planet so of course the Herald is going to support Key.

      Herald is a pile of partisan shite

      • tracey 24.2.1

        and dont ask him if he read it and then follow up questions thereafter to put his answer to the proof (if affirmative).

        all the response and framing is doing is proving her very point.

        Janet Frame was lauded in the UK and USA long before she was here, same with Katherine Mansfield. Eleanor Catton, could with the same kind of support from the government given to LOTR and Hobbits create quite a tourism opportunity for the west coast… if our Minister of Tourism could actually see what is under his nose.

        • Murray Rawshark 24.2.1.1

          His nose is in Hawaii, up someone’s bum on a golf course. He can see that.

        • greywarshark 24.2.1.2

          A toothbrush moustache? Or is it that his pini-okeydokey nose is getting longer and harder to see beyond, over or even to limbo under? How low can you go!

          • tracey 24.2.1.2.1

            his hard portfolio (Minister of secret services) was beyond him… looks like anything beyond a cgi movie and all blacks is beyond his imagination

    • greywarshark 24.3

      Interesting how the media have turned it round from concentrating on her and her opinions to an opportunity for yek to shower us with his august opinions, to enter into every part of our lives – ubiquitous and noxious.
      edited

  24. Paul 25

    Local Bodies shows that other prominent intellectuals and experts are questioning our governments direction.

    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.com/2015/01/eleanor-catton-is-not-alone.html

    • vto 25.1

      Yes mr sprout does very well on his blog there, in particular his last paragraph where he says this;

      “Prime Minister John Key and his Government have been soundly criticised by our most internationally recognised writer, our foremost Anthropologist and historian and one of our most respected scientists. Our Prime Minister does not have a positive relationship with any of the above and has very little positive contact with them. Instead John Key has had a very close personal relationship with one award winner, New Zealand’s most widely known “shock jock” blogger, Cameron Slater.

      Some say that you can judge a man by the company he keeps ”

      Sums it up.

      I hope these people keep up their loud voices very much.

    • Skinny 25.2

      That because plenty of intellectuals have a social conscience. Just prior to the Key regime taking office I moved in with my then partner who had moved back to New Zealand from abroad. She had taken up a role as a law lecturer at the local university. It was one of the best streets in the city we were living, what surprised me was I assumed in this neighbourhood the street was full of Tories. At the time I was active in the Labour Party, come election time we put up a vote Labour hoarding on the outside of the deck which overlooked the bush park walkway. We started getting thumbs and neighbours stopping to chat, at a street party there was plenty of discussion how the Tories would under fund art & culture, attack the poor and strip our asset.

      Anyway my point is National deliberately act the way they do for ideological reasons, reminds one of another evil regime that were kicking around during the 1940’s.

    • Murray Rawshark 25.3

      This moderately well known scientist also questions the direction of the Key regime, or actually, whether it is an appropriate direction for Aotearoa. Anyone with a brain cell to keep the other company knows where this direction takes us.

  25. vto 26

    If Catton believes what she has said about people being too afraid of standing up for what they believe in, and she believes what she has said about the politicians, then perhaps she should consider a further retort to Key…

    … she should take this matter at least one more step. Stand up for what she has said. Don’t let it lie in yesterdays paper where it now resides, only to be dried up and blown down the street while these politicians grab the next soundbite.

    She should double it up.

    Go for it Eleanor, get stuck in again.

  26. Pernille 27

    Very glad that Catton is a critic of neoliberalism. I’m critical of it too but I don’t feel it reflects on the overall culture of New Zealand. If I were travelling abroad I’d still be full of love for this funny little country of ours and ever hopeful that the Key regime would soon be over. She sounds very young and inexperienced. Of course there would be more quotes about writing online from other countries. We’re tiny. Moreover, I don’t think JK Baxter, Janet Frame and Maurice Gee skulked around feeling embarrassed to be a NZ writer. Cultural cringe is old. We’ve been talking about it for decades.

    As for her not winning the NZ Book Award … I read somewhere that the judges felt it polarised New Zealanders. That would be true. I’m an AVID reader of literary fiction and found The Luminaries hard going. Technically it was a great achievement but on the whole it seemed kind of hollow. Some key NZ critics said this while other praised it to the skies and many ordinary readers have it on their shelves unread. In my not so humble opinion it was over-rated and Catton can’t accept this so is sour about NZ.

    I feel guilty saying the above because she seems like an excellent person.

    • tracey 27.1

      I disagree. I don’t often buy prize winning books because they can be hard going. I bought Luminaries because I have strong historical and current West Coast connections and I wanted to support a NZ writer because I know they do not make the kind of money our sports people make or our few hollywood actors.

      I did find the first 100 pages hard going, but once over that major character and scene setting front found it a rollocking good yarn. Yes, very well crafted but a great story and great character development. The last thing I would describe it as is “hollow”. So you think it was over-rated and I don’t. That is 1-1. I see no evidence she is sour at not winning the NZ book award.

      Your interesting choice of “skulk” and “sour” seem quite emotive when criticising someone who was asked to talk about her experience s a writer and honestly gave it which was then turned into a story back here. I know she has spoken publicly on many things over the last couple of years but this was chosen for publicity back in her homeland.

      Janet Frame wrote about her appalling treatment at the hands of our mental health system and other experiences of bullying and misfitness. She was an introverted person in many ways so to suggest her not saying something negative in a public speech must mean she loved everything about her home nation is absurd in the extreme.

      I suspect from your observation that you haven’t read much of Frame’s work or James K Baxter’s for that matter if you think they only had love for this nation of ours.

      • Murray Rawshark 27.1.1

        “I suspect from your observation that you haven’t read much of Frame’s work or James K Baxter’s for that matter if you think they only had love for this nation of ours.”

        I’m 100% sure. As usual, the right sanitises achievers and claims them as their own.

      • Pernille 27.1.2

        I agree that James K Baxter and Janet Frame were critical of our (50s) boring society and terrible psychiatric treatment. I do know that. In fact I know a fair bit about literature! I can’t really explain why I find her answers to the interview so sort of blind. She invokes cultural cringe and tall poppy syndrome while I expected her to be above that … once again that’s the NZ of decades ago and has nothing to do with Key’s govt, surely. It’s something to do with being a small ex-colonial society.

        She definitely expressed her disappointment in or disapproval of the NZ Book Award not going to her. That is bad form.

        As for 1:1 in opinions about the book, I’m not alone. I rushed out and bought the book the day it came out and guiltily gave up when I realised she was going to go through all 12 signs of the zodiac (and then some) instead of developing Moody’s character. I quite liked him. Later I went back to the book and managed to finish it. My interest was piqued a bit towards the end and I really admired the technical structure but felt there was nothing inspiring or deep about it. My opinion was shared by NZ writers and key reviewers like Kirsty Gunn, CK Stead and Guy Somerset. On my Goodreads page I have received hundreds of likes for my somewhat negative review. As for the Booker Prize, I feel it should go to a deeply significant book, not a “rollicking good yarn” (not that I found it that).

        My use of emotive language was just echoing hers when she said we can’t have embarrassed writers slouching around, or something like that. Have you read the full interview?

        I find it sooooooooo disappointing on The Standard that contrary views are knocked down and the view-holder is assumed to be buying into a vast right wing conspiracy. I’m almost a tribal Labour voter and a member of the party. I have voted Values and Green in the past however when Labour has gone to the right. I think it is wrong for everyone to assume that Catton is right 1) because she criticises the government and 2) because she won the Booker prize.

        • Tracey 27.1.2.1

          i didnt suggest you were part of any vast conspiracy, right wing or otherwise, i disagreed with your categorisation of Luminaries and suggestion that frame and baxter were somehow non critical of nz.

          so some people agree with you. i have the booker folks on my side. we have different views was my point. you invoke ck stead and others as though that makes your view more valid. it is not. it is different to mine.

          she expressed an opinion some agree with and some dont. it is. ot about right and wrong. you seem to be confusing opinion with fact.

          in any event the je suis charlie sentiment of embracing those who speak out seems short lived in some quarters.

          • Pernille 27.1.2.1.1

            Sorry, Tracey, I can’t quite let this go! It’s kind of my thing twice over, my passion for politics and literature. It wasn’t you who suggested I was … horror of horrors … “Right”. It was the other commenter. I’ve commented on the Standard only three times and on two of those occasions I was tarred with the “Right” epithet. I see other people getting torn to shreds and feel very sad that the biggest Left blog is so vitriolic.

            Once again you are right about the Booker judges agreeing with your opinion. The point I’m trying (probably very badly) to make is that her Booker win is a little bit controversial. Her book DID polarise people which I think is why it didn’t win the NZ Book Awards. This is not just my opinion, it is a factor in this whole “Catton criticising NZ” shemozzle. She is a unique voice and not one to be automatically agreed with because she has stature and has spoken out against neo-liberalism. In the same interview she maintained that novelists shouldn’t write poetry because to change genres would weaken their craft. What!!! Is she getting at CK Stead? I mean she is not always a person whose analysis of stuff is going to be reliable.

            I also object to the fact that she has expressed reluctance to be representing NZ when thousands of NZers celebrated her achievement and bought her book. I’m too lazy to quote what she said but it seemed ungracious to me. I didn’t like her book but many NZers including you obviously did … it’s kind of a lack of acknowledgement of her enthusiastic readers in this country. I think it sold exceptionally well.

            Maybe the interview in India is one she will look back on and shudder about.

  27. grumpystilskin 28

    I just went to the herald to re-read the article.
    Interestingly, It’s been rewritten in the last hour..

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11392710

    BTW, is there an easy way to track “updates” to stories on major news sites? It’s just I’ve been noticing some articles seem to differ in slant depending on the update.

  28. framu 29

    whats also telling is the pattern

    key is unable to take critricism without an attempt to denigrate , attack and belittle the messenger

    that, is a mark of a very weak, immature and insecure person

    • One Anonymous Bloke 29.1

      It can also be the mark of a calculating cynic, a strategy to unsettle the opponent and play to supporters.

      • Murray Rawshark 29.1.1

        I vote for immature. He is demonstrably childish. The cynicism comes from his Crosby Textor handlers.

  29. idlegus 30

    sean plunkett calls catton an ‘ungrateful whore’ but he is saying he said ‘ungrateful hua’ http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/books/65493542/radio-host-sean-plunket-lets-rip-about-eleanor-catton

    • vto 30.1

      confirms Sean Plunket’s place and standing in our society.

      laughable really

    • One Anonymous Bloke 30.2

      Yeah, of course he was completely innocent of the potential for confusion in the ‘minds’ of his audience.

      What a contemptible thing to say.

    • tracey 30.3

      so when jackson was unhappy about our labour laws, Key said “i am sorry peter doesnt respect my government”, akshally he changed our laws and gave a rebate to a billion dollar profit-making company.

    • McFlock 30.4

      Hmmm.
      Does Plunkett routinely drop Māori expressions into his radio diatribes, or is this a sudden case of “mad gone PC”?

      • Molly 30.4.1

        Lived with a few Irishmen back in the UK, and the phrase “hoor” was their version of whore.

        I too, wonder whether SEAN Plunkett is a consistent user of Māori expressions, or whether he did a fast conversion to Te Reo when he realised that might have been a step too far.

    • Murray Rawshark 30.5

      Ungrateful hua is designed for the knuckle dragging pakeha who have no notion of what it means. I don’t regard it as any better than ungrateful whore.

  30. Plunkett has had the good taste to call Eleanor Catton a whore and a traitor. Radio Live are spinning desperately that he actually said “hua”, which is risible (and still an obscenity), considering that he’s whiter than cottage cheese and ignorant of Maori.

    Naturally Stuff swallow the spin.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/books/65493542/radio-host-sean-plunket-lets-rip-about-eleanor-catton

    That’s the standard of her critics – Key acts relaksshed and lets his sycophants do the dirty work.

    EDIT: idlegus, snap!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 31.1

      Yes, a perfect expression of National Party values.

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 31.2

      Is his Maori vocabulary so stunningly extensive? Should be put to the test.

    • Undecided 31.3

      No sorry but to my ears it sounded like he said “Hua”

      • tracey 31.3.1

        and what did you think he wanted her to be grateful for and to?

        • Undecided 31.3.1.1

          I think Seans got it wrong on this, everyones entitled to their opinion and to express it. I just don’t think he called her a whore is all.

          • tracey 31.3.1.1.1

            understood. I didn’t hear it so genuinely have no idea. That’s why I was asking you who you thought he meant she should be grateful to/for

            • Undecided 31.3.1.1.1.1

              I think he meant that she should be greatful to the people of NZ for the book sales, tax payer funded job and support shes gotten and shouldn’t be knocking it and, by extension, the people of NZ

              I feel that people should be allowed to say whatever they like and to be told shes a traitor makes Sean look a bit of a plonker

              • tracey

                and it is exactly that notion she was speaking to in her speech and which keeps our university employees quiet despite their statutory duty to criticise and be our conscience…

                Oh wait, as a university academic Catton was just enacting her statutory/lawful obligation under her contract.

              • greywarshark

                @ Undecided
                I think he meant that she should be greatful to the people of NZ for the book sales, tax payer funded job and support shes gotten and shouldn’t be knocking it and, by extension, the people of NZ

                Who was the creative that criticised the gummint lately and got this very same result – that of being ungrateful for the arts grant they were given and who should have shut up and choked on any criticisms? Not long ago. The name escapes me, but is the same attitude entirely as we see from Sean Plonkit.

      • rhinocrates 31.3.2

        “Hua”. Oh, that’s all right then – it’s a contraction of a very obscene epithet in Maori. And while we’re at it, since when is expressing criticism of a politician “treason” except in a dictatorship?

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 31.3.3

        “sorry” about what?

    • He seems to have a problem with women who don’t know their place – he was previously suspended for a while at Radio NZ after bullying Jeanette Fitzsimmons on air.

    • uke 31.5

      “Hua”.

      Definition of “hooer” from Harry Orsman’s “Dictionary of NZ English”:

      “A dial. or variant pronunciation of whore… also [used] freq. in the familiar speech of modern New Zealanders but rarely associated with whore, and often thought to be of Maori origin (hence the form hua)…. Used in opprobrious address or reference…”

      In other words, not a Maori word. But Plunkett could possibly be excused for not knowing that it meant whore. Of course, his insults only proved Catton’s point about top poppies.

  31. greywarshark 32

    The thread has stretched out. If anyone wants to read the original report from the Indian mint times Paul put it up here http://thestandard.org.nz/eleanor-catton-on-nz/#comment-957974

    And then there was a youtube piece round the same area.

    And then Clemgeopin did a brick on part of the contents just below.

    In case you want to compare the original source with the Southland Times link in the post.
    It has promped much interesting discussion.

  32. Tracey 33

    .”Little said it was important to celebrate freedom of speech, especially after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris.

    “Two weeks on from one of the grossest tragedys in the world, which is all about freedom of speech, let’s celebrate freedom of speech, let’s celebrate and welcome what our writers have to contribute and to offer. 

    “Let’s actually listen to them, let’s not try and shout them down.”

  33. Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 34

    Thank goodness for taxpayers’ money that has enabled her work to be carried out and for her now to speak out.

    As a taxpayer, and together with many of my other taxpaying friends, family members and workmates, we would like to see more grants being made to her to write more beautiful books and express her views about the government.

    The last thing we would want to see is that she is silenced or bought off by support from public funds.

    Thank you, Eleanor.

    No doubt, the nutjobs would be wanting to bully her and also her colleagues into silence:

    http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/taxpayer-funded-middle-finger-eleanor-catton/5/212541

  34. Sable 35

    Catton is to be applauded for her honesty and courage. Shame some in the MSM don’t share this view but then what can you expect. Objective investigative journalism is mostly dead in this country.

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    4 hours ago
  • NZ COVID-19 response earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Amazon’s Web Services’ (AWS) decision to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery. “Amazon is the second ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • New Zealand invests in cutting edge cancer R&D
    Scaling up the manufacture of CAR T-cell cancer therapy for clinical trials Advancing New Zealand’s biomedical manufacturing capability Supporting future international scientific collaborations Transforming cancer care with targeted, affordable solutions Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced that the fight against COVID-19 will not stop the ...
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    7 hours ago
  • Expert group appointed to lead New Zealand’s future health system
    An outstanding group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience have been appointed to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This Government is building a truly national health system to provide consistent, high-quality health services right across the country. This ...
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    10 hours ago
  • Funding to help clean up contaminated sites
    The Government is supporting the clean-up of contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland to reduce risk to people’s health and protect the environment. Environment Minister David Parker said the funding announced today, through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, will help us turn previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public ...
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    13 hours ago
  • Predator Free apprenticeships open up new job opportunities
    The expansion of a predator free apprenticeship programme is an opportunity for more people to kick-start a conservation career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Predator Free Apprenticeship Programme is focused on increasing the number of skilled predator control operators in New Zealand through a two-year training programme. “The Trust ...
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    1 day ago
  • Further NCEA support confirmed for Auckland students
    The number of Learning Recognition Credits for senior secondary school students will be increased for Auckland students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. This recognises the extended time these students will spend in Alert Levels 3 and 4. “It means students in Auckland will have a fair opportunity to attain ...
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    1 day ago
  • Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
    The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and also sets out how ...
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    1 day ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
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    1 day ago
  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
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    2 days ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
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    2 days ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
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    2 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
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    2 days ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
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    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
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    3 days ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
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    4 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
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    6 days ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
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    6 days ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
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    6 days ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
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    6 days ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
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    6 days ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
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    1 week ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
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    1 week ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
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    1 week ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
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    1 week ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
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    1 week ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
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    1 week ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
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    1 week ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
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    1 week ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
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    2 weeks ago