Glasgow. A lavish party is being held in one of Europe's most economically deprived cities - not that the New Zealand mainstream media has noticed.I SHARE THE VIEW of former ACT leader Rodney Hide. I too have zero interest in the Commonwealth Games.
It is an increasingly anachronistic and second tier sporting event that barely registers with the rest of the world.
But there are other more important and substantial reasons I am unenthusiastic about the Commonwealth Games - and which Hide hasn't talked about.
Truckloads of cash have been spent on an eleven day event in a city where nearly 40,000 children live under the poverty line. Indeed statistics from the Scottish Government last year revealed 710,000 people north of the border - including 150,000 children - were living in poverty in 2012.
The British Government's austerity measures have furthered deepened the level of deprivation in Scotland , as elsewhere in Britain. A number of benefit cuts were introduced by David Cameron's government in 2013. The British Institute for Fiscal Studies has forecast that,as a direct result of the welfare 'reforms' there will be a further increase in the number of British households, both in work and out of work, experiencing poverty.
None of this got a mention in a sanitised and plain awful Commonwealth Games ceremony, where they instead sang about fictitious lake monsters: 'Nessie! Nessie Nessie! We believe in Nessie!'
The Glasgow Commonwealth Games have now cost well over half a billion pounds to hold. Over 21 million pounds has been lavished on the opening and closing ceremonies alone.
The fact that a lavish party is being thrown in one of Britain's most deprived cities has escaped the notice of the mainstream New Zealand media
Once again another sporting event has given a whole load of broadcasters and journalists the excuse to have a bit of a holiday in Scotland, in between filing hysterical news stories.
Have you been counting the cliches? How often have you heard : 'It's a golden day for New Zealand!' and It's gold rush for New Zealand'. And what about 'There's a golden glow around the New Zealand team!' - that one came from Radio Live's Marcus Lush.
Such is the media's hysteria over a New Zealander winning a piece of metal in the egg and spoon race, it has been judged so important it has been the lead story on both the TVNZ and TV3 six o'clock news bulletins. Apparently the fact that Israel is presently bombing Gaza back to the Stone Age isn't quite as important as a New Zealander winning a medal. It hasn't got that essential 'feel good factor', you see.
None of New Zealand's many journalist and broadcasters in Glasgow have seen fit to take a stroll through the city's economically deprived East End, despite the fact it is only a stone's throw from the main Commonwealth Games venue.
It was in the East End that the Accord Centre, a day centre for the learning disabled was bulldozed by the Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council to make way for a car park for buses for the Games. The Accord Centre had been serving the local community for over twenty years
East End resident Helen McCourt - and who a child attending the centre - told the media: “Over 120 people were put out. Glasgow City Council told us we’d be getting a new building but there has been nothing. They said there was £250,000 for it but now it’s gone—what’s happened to it?”
They probably used it to pay for Rod Stewart.
And the Dalmarnock area of Glasgow was effectively destroyed to make way for the athletes’ village and other venues. Hundreds of homes were demolished. Former residents have been promised new homes and other facilities - a promise that has not been kept.
The only people smiling have been the corporations and the wealthy property developers.