September 2012


They say a week is seven days in politics, and they’re dead right. Last Saturday, veteran political writer John Armstrong was all frazzled, jangled, hot, bothered, snappy and stroppy; but today he takes away the glory and liquor of the Alcohol Sponsorship Press Award.

Armstrong has won the most coveted prize in New Zealand media for his remarkable outburst  in the Weekend Herald, when he expressed his anger and frustration with something he called “the blog-a-tariat”.

Alcohol Sponsorship Press Award convenor and Metro hack Steve Braunias said Armstrong’s column made for a compelling read.

“As a despatch from the frontlines of trailing after the Prime Minister on a foreign junket, it took the reader to the very nerve centre where it seems John Armstrong had his epiphany – a Tokyo traffic jam.

“There he was, battling sleeplessness, struggling with bad phone connections, ‘clambering on and off buses in 35C heat and 100 per cent humidity’, all the while trying his best to meet deadlines. The last thing he needed was someone telling him he wasn’t doing his job. He was mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it any more.

“In doing so, he breathed new life into the conversation about old media and new media, and inspired further discussion when he drew a gentle rebuke  and a measured response  from his targets. It also led to a typically robust exchange of pretty much one view on Public Address.

“But he’d already moved on, and by Thursday was ripping the Prime Minister a new one.

Good on him. John’s a bloody legend. The man deserves a drink. Salut!”

Armstrong will receive two bottles of award-winning Grower’s Mark wine as his prize.

Braunias said that the next three paragraphs would be a cut and paste job, and were intended for readers who may not be aware of the Alcohol Sponsorship Press Awards (ASPs).

The awards, established in November 2011, are held in association with Grower’s Mark, and are announced every Friday on the Twitter account @SteveBraunias. There are usually about five finalists, and the winner is awarded two bottles of wine – as such, the ASP credo is, “We don’t take the piss. We give it.”

The award recognises excellence and strangeness in New Zealand media, including social media, blogs and things like that. The judging panel comprises a seasoned media professional in each of the four main centres, as well as Tokoroa and Nightcaps.

Previous winners include Patrick Gower, Lincoln Tan, John Key and Anna Williams.

Anyhow, this week’s finalists – who don’t receive any liquor, but who are all to be commended and congratulated for their contributions – are as follows.


  • Ian Allen (Marlborough Express), for his 26-second film featured in the story, “Oak tree uprooted and replanted”.