Thursday, 16 August 2007

Air New Zealand. Ian Wishart. Beat up.

Not the first time you've seen the words "beat up" and "Ian Wishart" in the same heading, and as long as idiots keep giving his stories enough rope by which they should be hung for stupidity, it won't be the last.

Air New Zealand's now much publicised charter flight to Kuwait two-and-a-half months ago was never a secret, except to Ian Wishart and his readers. It was a flight with reporters and an ABC TV crew aboard, a charter about which flight industry journalists such as Peter Clark (who made this point on Leighton Smith's show this morning) were well aware, and the flight and the charter itself was reported without adverse comment in airline trade journals--which was all the legs the story really had until the recent beat up. [You can hear Peter Clark at this audio link, beginning 12 minutes in].

But the beat up itself has raised some other points which are worth making, some of which I've blatantly stolen from my colleague Lance Davey:
  • "On the TV One coverage of the story, some cowardly little vermin, some pant piddling pissant, suggested that Air NZ's involvement was 'inappropriate' as it could potentially make New Zealand a 'target'. . .
    "If they (Islamo-fascists) are that easily goaded (which they are) and if they are that scary (which they are) and if you are that afraid of them (which you SHOULD be) then why isn't our government SUPPORTING THE GODDAMN WAR!?" By the way, the cowardly, pant piddling, pissant was Keith Locke.
  • In his press release yesterday, pissant Locke said, "Air New Zealand has now exposed the airline, its travellers and the country to an extra risk of revenge attacks."
    Note the word "extra." Clearly, even the pissant is aware that a threat to us down here at the bottom of the world does already exist.
    Says My Davey, "He is acknowledging a prior threat, that this is an 'extra risk.' I don't disagree, yes this adds to the risk of attacks, but Mr Locke, simply being a free (somewhat) and secular society exposes us to the risk of attacks. That risk is currently small thanks only to our size and isolation. That is the very reason we should be outright in support of the war."
  • That this story has in any way become a political issue says perhaps more clearly than anything else the vacuousness of labelling and identifying "a national carrier," and the danger of political ownership of an airline. There's a danger that every simple commercial decision like this one is potentially politicised.
  • It would be nice to think we could stay out of conflict simply by holding our nose and asserting that we're not in one (although it didn't work for Neville Chamberlain, did it?), but the fact remains that we're already in one merely by being part of the free and secular west. In case you haven't noticed, war against us has already been declared. "In the minds of the terrorists this war began long before September 11, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled... " The long, long trail of appeasement, capitulation and death already inflicted upon westerners and non-Muslims is just the beginning of the evidence.
UPDATE 1: Says David Farrar with a wink:
I am somewhat amused by the fact that Air New Zealand has been getting closer to the action and combat zones, than the Royal New Zealand Air Force has been.
UPDATE 2: Blair M nails the moral equivalence elephant that's stampeding around the room:
So Phil Goff doesn't like Air New Zealand being chartered to carry US soldiers? Sends the wrong message does it? Not a good look? What about holding hands with a terrorist, Mr Goff? How does that look? You're not prepared for a commercial operation to assist friendly countries in the fight against terrorists, but you're quite happy to get all homo et homo with someone who started their career blowing planes up and shooting innocent athletes.
Yes, if you haven't seen it before, that's the famous photo of Phil Goff and Yasser Arafat holding hands during Goff's Middle Eastern visit to pay homage, not long before he sent five-hundred thousand dollars of our money to the murderous Hamas.

UPDATE 3: Liberty Scott hammers another nail into the phony 'moral equivalence' face of the Clark Government:
I read about this on an airline industry messageboard ages ago - if it hadn't been Air NZ it would've been Qantas or Emirates or someone else. The simple answer is to sell it of course, or Keith Locke could boycott Air NZ, which would reduce his carbon footprint as he could only fly to the 3 main centres.

Don't forget this is the same government and Green Party cozying up to blood thirsty child murderers in Pyongyang.
Faux outrage from morally blind politicians with an unerring attraction for thugs is just so unattractive, don't you think.

UPDATE 4: Heartening news from an unscientific poll at the Stuff site, which shows an overwhelming 72% of respondents "aren’t bothered by the fact that Air NZ has been transporting Aussie troops." Politicians, pseudo-investigative jourmalists and journalists who report politics as sport seem to have all the bother to themselves.

UPDATE 5: NBR's Nevil Gibson has a commendably measured view on this whole Inwishtigate instigated teacup in search of a storm:
The over-reaction to Investigate’s story on Air New Zealand military charters to the Middle East and elsewhere shows how far the government is prepared to go in furthering its own ends, as opposed to those of the country...

New Zealand’s equivocation may in future be seen as appeasement or even cowardly when defeating terrorism. The German magazine Spiegel has done a lot of work in this long piece on presenting a balanced picture of Iraq, and it’s not all negative or hopeless.

But when the Air New Zealand story broke, the reaction from the ministers, Winston Peters and Phil Goff, showed the functioning of government was really about political objectives rather than something the public was quite happy to let pass.
For sober treatment of irrational hysterics, I recommend reading and considering the whole piece: Whose Foreign Affairs - Nevil Gibson, NBR Editor's Insight.


  1. This is part of the reason governments are inferior owners of airlines and most other things (not all). When you're owned publicly, you are then expected to make decisions consistent with the interests of the median voter. As if running an airline were not difficult enough, you have to guess the political cost of any decision, weigh that against commercial imperatives.

    I'm pretty sure Air NZ would have been acting unconstitutionally by foregoing the opportunity to do this work, thus revealing the utterly vacuous nature of the argument. You can't give Air NZ a set of rules to run their business by and expect them to act in spite of it.

  2. Its probably worth adding this, since just about everybody falls for this fallacy.

    Does Air NZ's commercial imperative absolve it from making all moral judgments?


    e.g. Should it knowingly transport terrorists from A to B if the price is right? No. Because it is almost certainly not commercial to do so. Why? Because of the damage its reputation suffers, and that translates directly to commercial losses.

    Air NZ's is required to act in its shareholder's interests. Quite obviously, that does not mean pissing off every one of its customers by behaving very badly. That is bad business. The commercial imperative is sufficient.

  3. I'm laughing, I read about this on an airline industry messageboard ages ago - if it hadn't been Air NZ it would've been Qantas or Emirates or someone else.

    The simple answer is to sell it of course, or Keith Locke could boycott Air NZ, which would reduce his carbon footprint as he could only fly to the 3 main centres.

    Don't forget this is the same government and Green Party cozying up to blood thirsty child murderers in Pyongyang.

  4. Hey it gets even better, as well as potentially going to Iraq these troops could also have been going to Lebanon and Afghanistan (no-one knows), according to MFAT. So Labour and teh Greens are getting themselves in a tangled mess opposing an action by Air NZ that could be directly supporting govt policy - ie UN peacekeeping ops.

    Once again the kneejerk comes back to kick them squarely in the bollocxs

    Ain’t life grand!

    Also, where are the Shareholders' Assn and NZX? THey should be very concerned about the restrictions govt is placing on a listed company.


  5. *sigh* So let's see if I've got this right :-

    Air New Zealand ran two charter flights to places we are not at war with, and nobody is suggesting that the passengers or cargo contravened any appicable law or regulation.

    Nor is there any serious question that Air New Zealand openly entered into a legitimate, lawful and binding contract with the ADF for those flights.

    Nobody know where these soldiers ultimate destination was - or what they were tasked to do when they got there.

    And it's not Phil Goff or Winston Peters' fucking business anyway. As far as I'm aware, Australia is a sovereign nation that doesn't require a permission slip from the Beehive to conduct its foreign affairs or military policy.

    So what's the problem - it's politically embarrasing to the Government of the day. Especially when they've been trying to paint John Key as a flip-flopping warmonger who'll have Kiwis coming home in bodybags given half a chance.

    Well, tough fucking tit folks. Air New Zealand is not just another extension of a paranoid, incompetent and rapidly decaying Government. At least, it shouldn't be.

  6. What Craig said. Spot-on.

  7. Aren't we a shitty little backwater country with a shitty little backwater government who you can bet would be shouting long and loud for that great oppressor America to come and rescue us if we were ever attacked.

  8. Well said Craig. Your words will be lost on the Uber Libs who are only interested in ideological masturbation.

    Cresswell, write your essay debunking Christianity, like Wishart challenged you to 18 months ago.

    Chickenhawk. Fake.


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