Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gould to Garth

Speaking of the Herald, its op-ed page generally
maintains a high standard of opinion-writing from all
sides. Thursday 3 September was a good example.
There were three pieces on the page, each of them worth
reading in their own way. Outstanding was Bryan
Gould’s take on executive bonus culture
, in which he
exposed the puerility of the argument in favour of
bloated salaries and bonus payments for business
executives (‘If we are to attract the talent we need,’
droned a spokesperson for the Institute of Directors,
‘we have to pay salaries to match those paid in the rest
of the world.’) Yeah right. Writes Gould:

It’s a wonderful thing, the global economy. It requires
us to push up New Zealand’s top salaries to match
world levels, but at the same time requires wages for
ordinary employees to be driven down to the
benchmarks set by the lowest-wage economies.

The supposed need to pay a top executive 100 times
the income of his skilled employees is a self-serving
nonsense produced by a small charmed circle who claim
the right to set their own (and their mates’) pay rates.

Well said, that man. Then there’s a typically discursive
opinion piece from Mike Moore
, who, whatever his
political shortcomings, has a sharp original mind and a
gift for putting things in a memorable way, eg,

I coughed my coffee through my nose when I heard the
Law Commission release the stunning revelation that
young people ingest alcohol late at night. All this time I
had thought they drank booze.

(Subtext: get a life, Geoffrey Palmer.) Moore comes down
from his solo flight over referendum territory after only a
couple of speed wobbles (what exactly is 'light, corrective
patting'?) and taxis back into the hangar with this:

Most people behave well, they are just sick of a political
culture where you expect, at any moment, someone to
intrude on your television set and tell you to sit up
straight and not to eat too much meat.

Much of this is worthy and possibly even good. Esperanto
and vegetarianism are probably good ideas, too.

And to cap off this page of wonders, we even have Garth
George sticking up for the idea of dedicated Maori seats
on the Auckland super-city council. Writes George:

It seems to me that those who espouse the ‘one
nation, one people’ concept are invariably white,
and stand to the right of the political spectrum.
That, in itself, is a cause for suspicion.

Cripes. I also remember George, whose neck generally
gives the impression of being bright vermilion, writing
a column earlier this year in which he said he was quite
impressed by the Green Party. Just how red is that neck?

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