yesterday i went to the launch of nz book month. i managed to get an invite because, out of the blue, i was asked by them to write about a book that had "changed my life", which i duly did. it was a lovely event, hosted by tvnz7, with a debate featuring c k stead, emily perkins, finlay macdonald, steve braunias, and a couple of other people whose names escape me just now. it was a pretty good debate on whether nz books deserved "special treatment". i'll leave you to watch "the good word" to see how it went.
i always feel a little anxious about events like this, because i'm not sure that i'll know anyone there and am always afraid that i'll be standing in a corner alone looking sad and friendless. but i was lucky enough to come across some cool labour peeps, who kept me entertained (especially you, david parker!). i also got stopped by the lovely jolisa gracewood, who recognised me even though we'd never met. it was really nice chatting to her, and i also got the chance to pester david slack to start writing again, which he took with customary good grace.
but it would be fair to say that the tvnz people there were worried about the government decision to stop funding channel 7. a decision that hasn't been publicly announced anywhere that i'm aware of, nor has it been put up for public discussion. just done quietly at about the time that civil defence in christchurch were announcing that the rescue operation had moved into recovery phase. a time at which we were all filled with sadness and sympathy for those families who had been hoping against hope for any chance of survivors.
i can't understand this decision. at a time when the country is again in recession, it surely can't help to cut more jobs. since the actual money saved won't happen until the middle of next year, and since that spending could easily be covered by an earthquake levy, and since (in relative terms) it's not a whole lot of money anyway, the decision can only be ideological. it is also destructive, and leaves maori television as the only properly funded public service television channel.
i feel for all the people who are involved in providing us with excellent programming, and i'm angry that these choices are being taken away from us without any chance for us to have a say.