Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

“The Nation” – a review




First off the block for the ‘Battle of the Current Affairs Shows’ is TV3′s The Nation.

The current affairs show has been revamped with a different format and new hosts, Patrick Gower and Simon Shepherd. There is also a political panel, with familiar faces Bill Ralston, Josie Pagani, and Jordan Williams, frontperson for the latest right-winger ‘ginger’ group, The so-called Taxpayer’s Union.

So, how was the first episode?

Not the best, really. It is as if all the experience built up over the last few years have gone out the window, and there were a few irritating “clunkers”.

The main discordance – Patrick Gower. The man is talented, knowledgeable, and (should) know his craft.

But he needs to learn to Shut The F**k Up. Posing question to his guest also means waiting for an answer – not leaping in before the interviewee has even has a chance to complete his/her first sentence. Gower’s non-stop interuption of Cunliffe meant the viewer couldn’t get any idea of what the Labour Leader was trying to get at.

Message to Gower: do you want to know why David Cunliffe shouldn’t be outlining his coalition preferences on your programme?

Answer: Because he wouldn’t be able to articulate it properly without you over-talking him. We’d never get an answer because we’d be hearing your voice instead of his, and any message he’d  try to express would be lost in your strident voice continually interupting him.

Next week, Gower will be interviewing John Key. Now, as much as I’m no fan of Dear Leader, I think I’d rather hear him speak than Gower. So learn to pose the question and draw breath whilst your guest responds.

On a vastly more positive note, contrast Simon Shepherd’s interview with Jamie Whyte. This was a measured, professional, almost laid-back style of interview reminiscent of past, by-gone years where the guest’s responses were the central theme of  an interview – not the interviewer’s ego.

Simon’s strength lay in his soft-spoken, unexcited style of questioning Whyte (who, I think benefited from Simon’s style). There was definite ‘steel’ reinforcing his  laid-back approach. The ‘softly, softly’ approach – and it worked.  I was reminded of the BBC’s Hard Talk host, Stephen Sackur.

More of Simon, please.

The panel was a direct rip from TV1′s Q+A, with practically the same characters re-cycycled.

If TV3 is going to pinch another channel’s idea – can we at least have some fresh commentators? There must be more than half a dozen political pundits that TV3 can call on?

Next, the whole “Next Week’s News” seemed a bit of a farce. Not content with a TV current affairs programme being “across” a story (god, I hate that term) – now they’re going one step further and trying to predict stories? It is almost as if  The Nation is trying to set the news/current affairs agenda – an uncomfortable step for a news/current affairs programme to take.

Oh well, at least they’re not making up Tweets.

Lastly; what gives with the near all-male line-up of hosts, reporter, and panellists?!  Does TV3 have no talented women journalists? And what happened to Rachel Smalley, who really grew into the role?

All up, I rate this 6/10.

Can do – should do – much better.




Other blogposts

The Daily Blog:  The Patrick Gower Hour of Power

Polity: Heads, talking

The Standard: A tale of two journalists

Whoar: review:..the nation:..the far-right come out to play..




= fs =

TV3 journo shows his true colours?

3 March 2014 7 comments


Patrick Gower and Nick Smith



From an interview in the NZ Herald,


4. How often do you drink with politicians?

Hardly ever. I think those days of journos drinking with the politicians are long gone. Either that or the politicians don’t want a bar of me – so it’s probably a bit of both actually…


Really, Patrick? You look very chummy with National MP, Nick Smith. Is that you “keeping a professional distance” from politicians?

Which may explain Gower’s botched attempt to interview Labour leader David Cunliffe on The Nation on 1/2 March.

Gower may need to excuse himself from further political interviews with Party leaders as his impartiality is now in severe question.





TV3: David Cunliffe admits mistake in attack on PM’s wealth

NZ Herald: Twelve Questions with Patrick Gower

Related Blogposts

“The Nation” – a review



= fs =

What a gutless wanker you are, Paul Henry…!

27 February 2014 6 comments


paul henry matt mccarten tv3 26 february 2014


Our household watched the Paul Henry Show on Thursday night (26 February). Henry’s guest was Matt McCarten – freshly appointed as David Cunliffe’s Chief of Staff.

McCarten’s reputation was such that there was intense media interest in the appointment, and quite rightly so. Matt McCarten is a shrewd, experienced, clever political activist, tactician, and (when necessary) butt-kicker.

Henry put questions to Matt McCarten. Matt McCarten answered each and every one very well. Watch the interview here.

What followed the conclusion of the interview absolutely astounded and disgusted us. After Henry had thanked McCarten for appearing on his show, and the link to the  Wellington studio was closed, Henry turned to another camera and read out this statement,

“Matt McCarten who once said “I can’t escape the feeling that he” – meaning David Cunliffe – “has the same phoniness as the Republican  US presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. His every nuance and action seems calculated.” You be the judge. We’ll watch and see him change.”

What a vile, cowardly thing to do; to read out an editorial statement  after closing the interview, and not saying it straight to McCarten’s face. It was a shocking, shabby,  way to treat a guest on his show.






TV3: The Paul Henry Show – 26 Feb 2014?




Get ya boots on and vote

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen



= fs =

John Banks and Winston Peters, Apples and Oranges

25 February 2014 Leave a comment




If ever the media – especially journalist wonder why the public view them with disdain and minimal trust – they need only look at their behaviour when it comes to undignified media “scrums” around public figures.

The recent melee in Parliament’s halls, as journos tried to elicit a response from NZ First leader, Winston Peters, regarding his visit to Kim Dotcom’s mansion – was a less than edifying spectacle,


Video - PM accused of spying on Peters


Evidently, the Press Gallery were a bit “miffed” at Peters’ curt responses to them and refused point blank to answer their questions. So in response to Peters’ lack of response, NZ Herald reporter,  Audrey Young, wrote a “revenge piece” for her paper,


Audrey Young - Winston Peters resists excellent questions


A “revenge piece” being something a journo will put together to present the subject under discussion in a less-than-positive light. That’ll teach him/her/them not to co-operate with the Fourth Estate!

Apparently really, really annoyed, Young  wrote,

“We don’t recall Peters suggesting John Banks’ visits were a private matter.”

This was echoed by “Claire” (Claire Trevett?),

“Do you think John Banks didn’t need to tell us whether he had gone out there or not, or whether his privacy was breached when Dotcom said he had been out there?”

Ok, let’s get one thing straight here; Winston Peters is not being accused of accepting donations from Kim Dotcom, nor attempting to hide said donations in a falsified electoral return.

If indeed that is what “Claire” and Audrey Young are suggesting, then let’s have it out in the open. Make the allegations and ask the questions.

But comparing John Banks’ dodgy “hide-the-cheques” shell-game is in no way comparable to a politician meeting a citizen (or permanent resident, in this case). That is not journalism – that is just downright immaturity on a school-yard level. It is pettiness.

It certainly ain’t journalism.

Disclaimer: I am not a NZ first supporter. Never have been, and most likely, I never will be.





TV1: Winston Peters: Spies watched me meet Dotcom

NZ Herald: Audrey Young: Winston Peters resists excellent questions




election 2014

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 17 February 2014.



= fs =

The trivialisation of the News and consequences

8 February 2014 4 comments


Foot In Mouth


Patrick Gower recently wrote on the TV3 website,

“The Labour Party has been putting voters wrong about its baby bonus.

Labour has been deliberately misleading, and in my view dishonest by omission.

On Monday night I told 3 News viewers that under Labour’s $60 a week baby bonus policy, families would get $3120 a year for their baby’s first year.

A simple calculation you might think, of $60 mutiplied by 52 weeks, given David Cunliffe announced in his State of the Nation speech: “That’s why today, I am announcing that for 59,000 families with new-born babies, they will all receive a Best Start payment of $60 per week, for the first year of their child’s life.

Now most normal people would think that means “all” those parents will get the payment “for the first year of their child’s life”.

But it wasn’t true – not that you would know that from Cunliffe’s speech, media stand-up, the MPs who were there to “help” and all the glossy material handed out to us.

Because buried in the material was a website link that takes you to a more detailed explanation policy.

And on page six of that policy document, in paragraph 3, it revealed the payment would commence at the “end of the household’s time of using Paid Parental Leave, ie. after 26 weeks in most cases.”

So translated, in most cases, the $60 a week payment is not for the first year, but for the second six months.”

Gower then went on with this eye-brow raising bit,

“Most journalists, like our office, only had time to find this overnight on Monday.”

So. Gower was obviously miffed. He had reported Cunliffe’s speech – and got it embarrassingly wrong.

So, it was all Cunliffe’s fault, right?

Well, yes. Partially.

But Three News team and especially Patrick Gower also need to take a measure of responsibility for incorrectly reporting this story. In fact, Gower is the one who took time to ask the wrong questions, when interviewing Cunliffe on 27 January,

@ 7:05

Gower: [voice over] And no controls on how the money is spent!

To Cunliffe: Some parents will just end up spending this on themselves on alcohol and cigarettes, though [unintelligible]?

Now aside from the obvious;  what the hell kind of question was that?!?! Why did Gower automatically assume that, with an extra $60 a week, parents would spend it on “alcohol and cigarettes” ?

Does Gower have friends and family who regularly spend up large on “alcohol and cigarettes“?

Is there excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption in Gower’s own home, and he believes it to be the norm for other Kiwi households?!


Then why assume the worst for other households, some of which could be his friends, family members, work colleagues, neighbours, etc.

It beggars belief that, when a government transfers funds, that journos automatically assume that it will be spent on vices.

I hope Gower asked the same question of Gerry Brownlee when it was revealed that former National Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley,was  one of several Government appointees being paid $1,000 (per day!) to “monitor” the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera). Was that money spent on alcohol and cigarettes by the CERA Review Panel? (Who knows – maybe it was.)

Perhaps if Gower had not been so lazy as to resort to  posing such a vapid and inane question, and instead spent an extra hour or so researching the  the matter more in-depth – by simply checking the website links he referred to in his opinion piece! -  he and TV3 would not have been embarrassed at mis-reporting Labour’s sloppy policy release. (And by the gods, it was sloppy!)

After all, Cunliffe’s speech was released at 1pm on the day,  giving Gower and his production team, five hours before the 6PM News Bulletin that evening. What was Gower doing during all that time? Having a fag down at the local pub?

So please, Patrick – don’t get all toey, mate. Writing pissy little “opinion pieces” does not excuse  your sloppiness.

Maybe next time, try a little less of the sensationalising, moralistic “booze’n’baccy” questions, and do your job properly with real analysis.

Blaming others because you chose to trivialise a major news story with a superficial, cliched question is your responsibility.

Just as David Cunliffe’s  right-royal screw-up with Labour’s “Best Start” policy launch was his.

Any questions? (Make them good.)





Dominion Post: Govt spent $500,000 on boozy functions

The Press: Jenny Shipley on Cera review panel

TV3: Opinion: Labour dishonest on ‘baby bonus

TV3 News: January 27 6PM Bulletin

Previous related blogposts

The GCSB law – Oh FFS!!!




National out

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 February 2014.



= fs =

NZ Herald – self censors?

7 February 2014 2 comments


In a curious twist to the old problem of the media sensationalising some stories, the New Zealand Herald this year took upon itself the decision  not to  report protests at Waitangi;


NZ Herald - protest free (1)


NZ Herald - protest free (2)

Both images above courtesy of The Daily Blog.


One has to ask if it is the role of the media to be self-censoring stories of events occurring in this country? If central government issued an edict banning the Herald (or other media) from covering a political protest – the media would be furious. There would be editorials up and down the country, insisting that the media was obligated to report the news, and not hold back because something might may people “uncomfortable”.

If the Herald wanted to place a small protest or scuffle or shouted abuse into context, the item could easily be placed on page 6, as a small “side-bar” news item.That would be appropriate context.

Not reporting the news raises the spectre of self-censorship. But more important – what else is the NZ Herald withholding from the public? What else have editors, managers, Board Directors, etc, decided that we should not see?

Are we children, to be spared the hurt of something that might possibly upset us?!

Interestingly, the Herald had no hesitation in reporting this non-story about the Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, at the Waitangi Marae;



Waitangi celebrations start with scuffle


Interesting – there was no scuffle according to the Governor-General. He even tweeted as such earlier in the day,

“My being jostled at Waitangi is news to me. I’m enjoying the scenery, the people and the day so far! Visiting HMNZS Wellington tonight.”

But that did not stop the Herald from using the mis-leading headline,

Waitangi celebrations start with scuffle


Even as the Governor-General was tweeting that it never occurred, it  didn’t stop the Herald from quoting Dear Leader, who jumped into the fictional story with undue haste, without first checking the facts;

Having a few protesters or radicals effectively jostling the Governor-General is undignified, it’s unwarranted and, frankly, outright wrong.

Most people go to Waitangi to have a great time but there are one or two people that go to cause trouble and use the media to advance their own causes and their own issues.”

So there we have it. The Herald is only too happy to publish  a story focused on an fictional event that never took place, complete with an utterly misleading headline.

But not so keen to report real events and the background to what is motivating protesters.

A bit of a double standard there, NZ Herald.





NZ Herald: Waitangi celebrations start with scuffle

Waikato Times: PM’s comments called overblown


Previous related blogpost

Dear Leader – shoots from the lip. Again

Other blogs

The Daily Blog: Dear NZ Herald – a protest free newspaper is an abdication of responsibility








malcomx newspapers



= fs =

Dear Leader – shoots from the lip. Again.

4 February 2014 4 comments


Once again, Dear Leader has passed judgement on an issue;


Jeers for Governor-General at Waitangi


At 3.33pm, The NZ Herald reported Key as saying,

Having a few protesters or radicals effectively jostling the Governor-General is undignified, it’s unwarranted and, frankly, outright wrong.”

That’s despite  Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, stating via Twitter that he had not been jostled. Note the time;


governor general - waitangi day - john key

Source: Twitter – Governor General of NZ

Hat Tip: The Daily Blog: Will msm grill Key over misleading Waitangi comments the way they did Cunliffe’s Best Start?


Finally, by late afternoon, Key was forced to admit that his condemnation was  based on incorrect information;


PM backs away from Waitangi comments


The damage, though,  was done and many New Zealanders will have heard only the words “Waitangi”, “Governor General”; “jostled”; and “protestors” and reaffirmed their preconceived prejudices.

Racists and other right-wing nutjobs will be feasting on the carcass of this media-beat-up and Key’s ill-considered, rush-to-judgement. But then, the media love Waitangi Day for the headline-generating stories and advertising it sells, and for politicians – it’s Election Year.





The Daily Blog: Will msm grill Key over misleading Waitangi comments the way they did Cunliffe’s Best Start?

Radio NZ: Jeers for Governor-General at Waitangi

NZ Herald: Waitangi celebrations start with scuffle

Radio NZ: PM backs away from Waitangi comments

Twitter – Governor General of NZ


Fairfax media: PM’s comments called overblown





Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen



= fs =

The Paul Henry Show – A Review

4 February 2014 7 comments


paul henry show TV3 website page (2)


Far from being “television history”, TV3′s new “Paul Henry Show” on 27 January was a bit of the old chat show; the usual weather graphics; a mix of interviews and on-the-scene reporting; plus a curiously dated style of reading the news.

I must admit, I was sceptical. Henry’s track record in the electronic media left a lot to be desired, with episodes of racism and juvenile behaviour. He appealed to a certain sector of our society – mainly the racists and juvenile-minded adults. For the rest of us, he was a major *facepalm* in our lives and people were happy to switch off.

On 16 January, as TV3 began to promo Henry’s up-coming show, I blogged,

Henry can do outrageous, tasteless, shocking. It’s not that hard to cater for society’s lowest common denominator. Ignorance, juvenile “humour”, and  tastelessness require no thought whatsoever. Just check out Courtney Place in Wellington or Queen St in Auckland, in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings, for evidence of that kind of behaviour.

But I’ve also seen Henry’s better, more serious  side, where he has hosted intelligent current affairs programmes with maturity, dignity,  and professionalism. That side of Paul Henry is one that treats viewers, and his own profession, with respect.

I’m not expecting a sombre, sullen, Henry – fresh from a funeral or roadside crash.

But is it too much to expect maturity and  dignity from a man who is quite capable of delivering a professional performance?

Paul Henry has talent. I would love to see that in his new show. I would love to see TV3 encouraging that talent. And I would love to be part of an audience to appreciate it.

So Paul, I look forward to a solid, professional, engaging, performance from you.

Just leave the clown nose at home this time. Ok?

So, how was Henry’s first performance?

Firstly, it’s worthwhile pointing out that Henry had a co-presenter (or straight-person), in the form of Janika ter  Ellen. She was the “news” reader and weather presenter (off screen to weather graphics).

She read her news from paper (as well as an off-screen tele-prompter) – something of a ‘retro’ feeling – reminding me very much of news-readers from, literally, the last century;


phillip sherry


The ‘newsyness’ of the material ranged from a once-over-lightly of serious issues to the superficial; Lorde’s Grammy achievement; David Cunliffe’s State of the Nation speech; an explosion in Invercargill; Mt Etna erupting; inter-family rivalry, North Korean style; the Syrian civil war; ongoing unrest in the Ukraine; and a strange item on two pidgeons released by the Pope, and prompty attacked by a crow and seagull… (Slow news night, perhaps?)

As Ter Ellen finished reading the news and weather, Henry jumped in and made light of the pidgeon-vs-crow-and-seagull story, and referred to “If you were Jesus…”

At this point, it appeared that  the old, obnoxious, Henry was about to stage a sudden re-appearance and launch into a bad-taste comedy-routine… It came close. I nearly switched off… But persevered. Henry reigned himself in.

Just as well – a few thousand other hands were poised with TV Remotes, ready to switch channels or switch right off. Janika ter  Ellen looked decidedly uncomfortable, squirming ever-so-slightly in her chair. I could see her thinking, hoping, praying, “Please, please, please, Paul; don’t say something dumb. Don’t do it; don’t do it; don’t do it!”

The moment passed. Henry pulled back from the Chasm of Bad Taste. Viewers thumbs moved away from the channel switch. Janika ter  Ellen breathed relief. The show’s producer popped another med for angina.

As well as the superficiality of the news, a Paul Henry coffee cup was plonked in front of ter Ellen, distracting the viewers attention. If that was some kind of “product placement”, it was a dumb move. If it was an accident – watch that kind of stuff next time, please.

The “news” was followed in quick succession with an interview with David Cunliffe. There was discussion of his State of the Nation speech; oil drilling safety; royalties; Norway; and coalition partners.

Not a bad interview. Cunliffe responded well; confidently; and was well advised. But again, once-over-lightly, with easy questions, and no follow-ups.

Then on to World “News”; an Australian base-jumper killed; UK’s feral cats; and a pregnant brain-dead woman in the US having her life-support switched off. The stories were off-beat and more what you’d expect from Youtube than a serious media organisation.

Then into an interview with John Key, with a permanent – and oh-so-obviously fake – smile cemented onto his face. The Prime Minister must be a very worried man. I haven’t seen such a fake smile since the last door-to-door sales-girl came to my door suggesting I switch power-cos.

Henry quizzed Key on playing golf with Obama; what did they chat about (with a non-committal and vague response from Key); potential coalition partners; the Maori Party; would he trust Peter Dunne (yes); would he trust Winston Peters (evasive response);  would he trust Kim Dotcom (firm, decisive “NO!”); and would he trust Len Brown (a very diplomatic answer – but then Key isn’t an attractive woman).

That was followed by a bizarre contest; first prize a very shiny new car. Key had to name ten native birds in ten seconds. He got four or five.

It was a jarring moment, incongruent with a supposedly news/current affairs programme. Had we entered into a light entertainment segment. If so, it was a seamless switch.

Then we got given a “story” on Labour MP Jacinda Ardern. Evidently she “moonlights as a D.J? Vaguely interesting. The suggestion was that it was a means by which a politician could connect with young people in a social setting? If so, that wasn’t original at all. The Alliance did something similar in 1996, with young cadres visiting night-clubs with “Alliance” badges and other election paraphernalia.

Overall, it was a restrained, almost mature performance from Paul Henry (except for the pidgeon thing. As infotainment it was watchable.

As serious news/current affairs, it is a step backwards. Whether it was a miscalculation to deliver “lighter stories” at that time slot or someone at TV3 not doing their job properly, it was hardly in the class of John Campbell or Paul Holmes.

It’s major failing is that the Show tries to be all things; serious; newsworthy; informative; light-hearted; chatty; irreverant. It doesn’t work. And there were enough moments that ‘jarred’ as to make the viewing experience less than coherent.

Would I watch it in preference to TV1 News? Probably not. Not unless there was a particularly topical interview.

Can it do better? Without doubt.

Can it do worse? With Paul Henry, what do you think?

On a Frankly Speaking Rating, where 1 is Godawful-never-to-be-seen-again-by-Human-eyes to 10, This-is-unmissable-Walter-Cronkite-BBC stuff, I’d rate this a 6.

Unless the Show confirms which path it wants to be  on – serious news/current affairs – or  – light infotainment/chat show – it will not appeal to either audience demographic who demands one or the other.

However on a new Frankly Speaking Rating for Paul Henry’s self-discipline and attempt at professionalism; 8/10.

Indeed, perhaps that was the real news story of the night..


Having watched the Paul Henry Show again (28 January), I can confirm that he has not failed to live down to expectations. His inanities came through with usual juvenile predictability. He has obviously “loosened up” from the previous night, and returned to true form. I found it tedious.

It may work on 7 Days – but with him, on his show,  it falls flat and stinks. Much like an Arctic cod.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 January 2014.





Paul Henry Show: David Cunliffe talks State of the Nation with Paul Henry

Previous related blogpost

The Paul Henry Show – Insulting or Insightful?




No retreat, No surrender, Vote!

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen



= fs =

Categories: Media, Social Issues Tags: ,

The Paul Henry Show – Insulting or Insightful?

16 January 2014 8 comments




TV3 have been running ads promoting the new “Paul Henry Show”.  The ad shows Henry walking down a darkened alley, with a disembodied voice-over – hype over-flowing like the Waikato in heavy flood – and just as murky. Tantalisingly, or nervously perhaps,  TV3 gives little idea what the programme’s content will be.

TV3′s website offers this, somewhat less-than-illuminating, “information”,


paul henry show TV3 website page



The text refers to  “covering everything from the erudite to the outrageous” – and that, frankly speaking, does not reassure me one iota.

We know that Henry can be “outrageous”. He has form. Whether it be reference to a woman’s appearance or giggling like a ten year old at someone’s unusual-sounding name – Henry’s behaviour can certainly qualify as “outrageous”.

If outrageous is what TV3 want, I suspect Henry can deliver that by the monster-truck full. As much as TV3′s executives; the show’s producer(s); and the public can stomach before Henry  once again over-steps the mark and the audience vomit back any tasteless performance he rams down our throats.

Which is not to say that there is a percentage of the viewing public that will always rush to Henry’s defense after one of his spectacularly tasteless performances.

Then again, some people defended Tony Veitch after his vicious assault on his girlfriend. Not that I’m comparing Henry with Veitch. No,  I’m comparing their audiences whose moral compasses were so skewed that they would defend the repugnantly indefensible.

Henry can do outrageous, tasteless, shocking. It’s not that hard to cater for society’s lowest common denominator. Ignorance, juvenile “humour”, and  tastelessness require no thought whatsoever. Just check out Courtney Place in Wellington or Queen St in Auckland, in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings, for evidence of that kind of behaviour.

But I’ve also seen Henry’s better, more serious  side, where he has hosted intelligent current affairs programmes with maturity, dignity,  and professionalism. That side of Paul Henry is one that treats viewers, and his own profession, with respect.

I’m not expecting a sombre, sullen, Henry – fresh from a funeral or roadside crash.

But is it too much to expect maturity and  dignity from a man who is quite capable of delivering a professional performance?

Paul Henry has talent. I would love to see that in his new show. I would love to see TV3 encouraging that talent. And I would love to be part of an audience to appreciate it.

So Paul, I look forward to a solid, professional, engaging, performance from you.

Just leave the clown nose at home this time. Ok?

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 9 January 2014.



= fs =

Categories: Media, Social Issues Tags: ,

Matthew Hooton expresses recognition of The Standard and Daily Blog (in his own inimitable style)

From right-wing commentator and pundit, Matthew Hooton, posting on Twitter on 31 December;


Matthew Hooton on Twitter - mental blogs



This is a good sign.

It means that both The Standard and The Daily Blog are doing what they’re meant to; analyse, criticise, and encourage debate. It means that, after reading what is being written, it sufficiently motivates (bothers?) Matthew to go online and respond.

Matthew’s comments also give further credibility to those blogs and draws more attention to them.

This is also a good sign.

Carry on Citizens Prent, Bradbury, et al. *doffs hat*



= fs =

“Frankly Speaking” – 2013 in review

1 January 2014 3 comments

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year.

By comparison, this blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Broadcast, Media Tags:

Congratulations to the Daily Blog…

29 December 2013 2 comments

Congratulations to The Daily Blog – 2,000 subscribers thus far!


2000 subscribers to The Daily Blog


May it gain more supporters and go from strength to strength!

(And if you haven’t subscribed by clicking on TDB’s Facebook page – do it now! Gowan, you know you wanna!)



= fs =

Categories: Media Tags:

Census, Surveys, and Cellphones (Part rua)

12 December 2013 8 comments




In March this year I wrote on the issue of political polling and cellphone/landline usage. Specifically,

“Part of the problem [of inaccurate poll results] are anecdotal  stories that many low income families, students, transients, etc, no longer rely on landlines and use only cellphones. Polling companies do not call cellphones – only landlines. (A low-income family living not far from us fits this demographic group perfectly; no landline; cellphones only. The sole-parent head of the household votes Labour.)”

This year, Statistics NZ included a question pertinent to this issue. They asked households to disclose their landline, cellphone, fax, and internet usage.

This was Question 17,




I stated then,

“The question asks the respondent to “mark as many spaces as you need to show which of these are available here in this dwelling”.

What will prove interesting is not whether or not “a cellphone/mobile” is marked – but how many households will mark “a telephone”.

This will finally give us a clearer understanding what percentage of households do not have a landline.”

Yesterday (3 December 2013), Statistics NZ released the result of that question. The impact on political polling firms and their methodologies will no doubt be considerable;


Three-quarters of households now have Internet access

  • Internet access at home continued to rise, at 76.8 percent in 2013, compared with 60.5 percent in 2006 and 37.4 percent in 2001.

  • Cellphone access also increased, with 83.7 percent of households in 2013 having access to a cellphone at home, compared with 74.2 percent in 2006.

  • Access to a landline telephone decreased. In 2013, 85.5 percent of households had access to a landline telephone at home, down from 91.6 percent in 2006.

  • Fax access decreased. In 2013, 14.6 percent of households had access to a fax, down from 26.0 percent in 2006.

  • A small percentage of households (1.6 percent or 24,135 households) did not have access to any telecommunication systems at home. That is, they did not have a landline telephone, cellphone, Internet access, or a fax.



Note that only “85.5% of households had access to a landline telephone at home, down from 91.6% in 2006″.

This means that 14.5% of households did not have access to a landline.

Subtract  1.6 percentage points from 14.5 percentage points as not having access to any telecommunication systems at home at all – and the implication is that 12.9% of households rely on some medium of communications other than landlines: ie, cellphones.

In my March blogpost, I predicted,

“If the numbers of households without a landline are significant (+/- 10%), then polling companies will either have to adjust their polling techniques – or be rendered useless. Without factoring in cellphone-only households, polling companies risk becoming an expensive ‘parlour game’ with little value.”

12.9% is a pretty fair indication of households that cannot afford (or have no need) of landlines, and rely solely on cellphones for communications.

Low income families may not necessarily have credit on their cellphones – but that does not prevent polling companies from phoning in, to cellphone owners. As I blogged on 1 September, when Roy Morgan phoned me on my cellphone (see:  Mr Morgan phoned).

The up-shot of this census result is twofold;

  1. As the only pollster to call respondants’ cellphones, Roy Morgan is the most credible polling company and the one to watch.
  2. Expect other polling companies to follow suit and call respondants via their cellphones – or risk being ignored and becoming irrelevant.


The latest Roy Morgan poll (11-24 November 2013) had the following results;

National-led bloc,

National – 44.5%

Maori Party*** – 1.5%

ACT* – 0.5%

United Future*** – 0.5%

Total National-led Bloc – 47%

Labour-led bloc,

Labour – 34%

Greens – 11%

Mana*** – 1%

Total  Labour-led bloc – 46%

Wild cards,

Conservative Party** – 2%

NZ First – 3.5%

* ACT – not expected to survive the 2014 election.

** Conservative Party – not currently represented in Parliament

*** Electorate-based Party only

With the survival of electorate-based ACT and the Maori Party in question, and Colin Craig’s fun-loving religious Party needing active support from the Nats to win an electorate seat to gain seat(s) in Parliament, the 47% figure for the National bloc is misleadingly high.

Parties to watch in the run-up to the next election: NZ First and the Conservative Party.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 5 December 2013.





Stats NZ: Release Calendar

Stats NZ: 2013 Census QuickStats about national highlights -  Phone and Internet access

Previous related blogposts

Census, Surveys, and Cellphones

Dodgy polls, dodgy dealings, and a spot of fear-mongering

Mr Morgan phoned



= fs =

Geoff Robinson – an era ends.

28 November 2013 4 comments


geoff robinson radio nz

Morning Report co-host, Geoff Robinson

Photo Acknowledgement: Sunday Star Times


It was a feeling of sadness and a losing a familiar part of my world , when I heard today (28 November) that Geoff Robinson would be resigning next year, on 1 April, from his role as Radio NZ’s Morning Report co-host. (see: Geoff Robinson to leave Morning Report)

Geoff Robinson had been a part of my mornings since I “discovered” Radio NZ in the early 199os. He had been part of my mornings since then, outlasting several partners/lovers, and being there as I had my brekky and first of umpteen coffees.

His style was professional and reassuring. He asked the questions and voiced pertinent points from his guests that screamed from my own thoughts.  He always sounded chatty and “laid back” – but his subtle questioning could be deceptively edgy and insightful.

It’s a cliche, I know, but he will be a tough act to follow.

I will miss him terribly. Like a family member who hangs around, never really imposing himself, but always with something interesting to say.

I thank Geoff for making my mornings something to look forward to. How else could one face a Monday morning after a relaxing weekend?

And I thank Geoff for giving us notice up till 1 April. I shall be making the most of the time left and relishing every moment of the time he has given us.

Enjoy your retirement, Geoff. And your lie-ins. You’ve more than earned it.


“Here was a Caesar! when comes such another?” -  Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2



= fs =

Bob Rigg, of Roseneath, Wellington writes…

6 August 2013 4 comments



Bob Rigg letter to the editor Dominion Post 6 August 2013

Source: Dominion Post, 6 August 2013


Anyone wanting to express their views in a similar vein can email the editor;

  • Or send snailmail to The Letters Editor, PO Box 1297, Wellington
  • Word limit: 200
  • Don’t forget to include your full name, home address, and a contact phone number (not published)

Happy writing!




= fs =

The GCSB Act – Tracy Watkins gets it right

6 August 2013 3 comments


Spy bungles start to entangle PM

Source: Dominion Post – Spy bungles start to entangle PM


“The GCSB’s interpretation of the law was so loose it managed to spy on 88 New Zealanders even though the law specifically stated it was not allowed to do so.”

Nice to see the MSM finally catching up with the blogosphere.

Since the introduction of the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill on 8 May 2013, the Prime Minister – with his usual talent for mis-representing the truth and talking absolute bollocks – maintained the fiction that the current law surrounding the GCSB (the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003) was “vague” and “not fit for purpose”,

“In addition, the Act governing the GCSB is not fit for purpose and probably never has been.

It was not until this review was undertaken that the extent of this inadequacy was known.”

Source: – PM releases report into GCSB compliance

This was nothing less than a barefaced lie, designed to deceive the public.

The 2003 GCSB Act was actually crystal clear with it’s wording, and Section 14 of said Act states with unambiguous clarity;

14Interceptions not to target domestic communications
  • Neither the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau, nor a person acting on behalf of the Bureau may authorise or take any action for the purpose of intercepting the communications of a person (not being a foreign organisation or a foreign person) who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.

Source: – Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003

For a long time, the mainstream media parroted this fiction (see: The GCSB law – Oh FFS!!! ). Evidently no one in newsrooms had bothered to do a simple check.

Not until Audrey Young wrote a piece acknowledging the clarity of the current GCSB law on 24 June. (see:  Audrey Young on the GCSB)

So it’s refreshing that Tracy Watkins, writing for the Dominion Post on 3 August, has also got it right.

Now all that remains is for a journo to actually ask Key why he bullshitted us in the first place.

What are the chances…?

Andrea – time for utu.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 4 August 2013.



= fs =

When false advertising is hyperbole, so it’s ok

26 June 2013 6 comments


Pepperoni-less pizza not false advertising

Acknowledgement: Fairfax Media – Pepperoni-less pizza not false advertising


Well, so the Advertising Standards Authority has deemed that false advertsing is ok when it’s showing  products or services  ‘‘in a hyperbolic manner”?!?!

It’s unclear how this  “practice is likely to be understood by most viewers” when we don’t know what’s in a product like a pizza until we  see it. By then, it’s generally too late.

This decision does not serve the consumer very well. In fact, the ASA may have set a nasty precedent for businesses not to live up to their advertising.

Because it seems to me that if the complainant in the pizza case bought a product with 24 pieces of pepperoni on it and was sold a pizza with only eight pieces, then the up-shot is;

  1. The customer has received only 33% of what was offered in the advert,
  2. The company has made a profit by keeping 66% of the pepperoni,
  3. The company has profited by deception.

This isn’t “hyperbole”, this is fraudulent business practice. And it beggars belief that the ASA believes this is acceptable?!

As one wag pointed out on the Fairfax Comments,

The advertising standards authority does not work as advertised.” – Scathsealgaire

Ah, ya gotta love capitalism. A new way to rip of people every day.



= fs =

Pay Walls – the last gasp of a failed media business-model?

22 June 2013 4 comments


Humpty Dumpty and Paywall


NZ, Wellington, 25 May – Journalists and other staff working for Fairfax media, were told last week  of a review that the company was carrying out. Management told staff that times are tough; advertising revenue was down; and that job losses had not been ruled out. Incredulous staff were told that there would have to be a reshuffle to make things work and that their would be job losses.

Staff were given no further details.

According to Radio NZ,

Acting general manager Andrew Boyle says there are potential job cuts across the entire company, from advertising to editorial.

Acknowledgment: Radio NZ – Fairfax looks at job cuts

And according to Stop Press,

He’s unable to say how many of Fairfax NZ’s roughly 1800 staff will be affected by the restructuring, as the company is still in early consultation with its business departments. However, he does expect it to be wide reaching including editorial, sales and operational roles. Pre-press (ad placing) and a contact centre run by Fairfax are also in the scope, he adds.

Acknowledgment: Stop Press -  Job cuts on the horizon for Fairfax, company looks towards paywalls

Fairfax NZ acting general manager, Andrew Boyle, was quick to make reassuring noises to his readers,

We still intend to be the largest newsroom in the country. We know competing with quality local content is vital to our future.”

Acknowledgment: NBR – More jobs at risk as Fairfax continues to restructure

Which was reinforced with his statement to Stop Press,

At the end of all this we will remain the largest newsroom in the country and we won’t compromise what we’ll do for our readers.”

Unfortunately, if past trends with the Dominion Post, Evening Post, and The Dominion are any indication, Mr Boyle’s optimism is not confirmed by past experience.

Since 1983, newspapers in  Wellington have gone through radical changes in both style; the number of titles available – and page-count.

Whilst prices have risen, the number of pages has dropped.

To illustrate;

Monday 20 May 2013

Tittle: Dominion Post

Price: $1.70

Page count: 24

Front Page Headlines (stories):

  1. “Mystery as China blocks NZ meat”
  2. “The tragic toll of asthma”

Monday 26 May 2003

Title: Dominion Post

Price: $1.00

Page count: 44

Front Page Headlines:

  1. “Millions creamed from pokies”
  2. “Only two All Black canes expected”
  3. “Woman with rifle threatens shoppers”
  4. “Hollingworth resigns for sake of office”
  5. large photo-story of father/son Tae Kwon Do contestants in national competition

Monday  24 May 1993

Title: The Dominion

Price: 60 cents

Page count: 44

Front Page Headlines:

  1. “Cyclist killed in horrific accident”
  2. “Woman dies in domestic related incident”
  3. “Referendum may not have Senate vote”
  4. “Bolger rules out Aussie marriage”
  5. “Hutt Council may scrap its school recreation programme”
  6. “EnergyDirect faces another court challenge”
  7. + 6 mini-item single-column stories
  8. + photo-story on rugby league player, Robert Piva

Title: The Evening Post

Price: 60 cents

Page count: 28 (TV  Week: 16 pages)

Front Page Headlines:

  1. “Projects blamed for Hutt debt”
  2. “Eve determined to keep going”
  3. “Waite caps off  Kiwi golf clean-up”
  4. “Million Cambodians vote for peace”
  5. + 6 mini-item single-column stories

Monday 23 May 1986

Title: The Dominion

Price: 25 cents

Page count: 20

Front Page Headlines:

  1. “Sea and air rescue of 20,000 gears up”
  2. “Grampa takes a bow”
  3. “Rock fall injures rafters”
  4. “Car batters wineshop”
  5. “Bodies found in snow”
  6. “Tear gas use defended”
  7. “Mosely ends racing career”
  8. “Tour lifts cloud for Dairy Board Chief”
  9. “Tories get jobless vote”
  10. “Wholesalers seek change in margins”
  11. “Wages action meets tough line”
  12. “Douglas expects Cabinet reversal”
  13. + 6 mini-item single-column stories
  14. + 1 mini-item story

Title: The Evening Post

Price: 25 cents

Page count: 36

Front Page Headlines:

  1. “Freeze stretched to Feb 29 – Back-dating kills allowances”
  2. “Ferries sale, planes fly – Storm battering travellers”
  3. “600 bed down on board”
  4. “Her new car met train”
  5. “Gale shuts out containership”
  6. “Edward lunches with Cabinet”
  7. “Mud, water rupture hill road fill”
  8. “The longest gale”

Generally speaking, as the price of newspapers has risen, the page count has dropped, and the number of news stories on the front page has also reduced in number. Content within newspapers has most likely also reduced.

According to one source, whilst readership levels remain fairly positive, advertising revenue has also dropped by at least 40% in the last financial year alone.

Staffing levels have also been slashed. Three years ago, about a hundred sub-editors were made redundant – a process that began in 2008, but received very little media coverage (see:  Fairfax says 100 further jobs to be cut in NZ ). Those who were kept on were reassigned to “hubs” that Fairfax set up to supply a centralised news service to service  its various metropolitan dailies.

Only Fairfax’s on-line staffing levels – those who maintain the website – have shown an increase in numbers, as the company diverted more resources to it’s web presence.

Financially, APN’s NZ Herald is in an even  worse financial state. So much so that APN has not found any willing buyers for the ailing newspaper and remains on the market to this day.

According to Stop Press, Boyle is considering pay-walls Fairfax NZ’s online publications,

We’re investigating quite actively what paywalls might mean. There’s a lot of modeling and research work being done but I can’t tell you a definitive time line for it or what it might look like.”

Both Fairfax and APN are actively considering the pay-wall model – but are afraid to make the first move, lest  the other hold off, and readers flock to a free web-version of their competitor.

As Whakatane Beacon editor, Mark Longley pointed out,

If one major newspaper website charged and the other one remained free, well, that would be a tough call.”

Acknowledgment: TV3 News – News sites to adopt pay wall

An additional problem is that there are plenty of other on-line sources of free msm news; Radio NZ, Radiolive, NewstalkZB, TV3, TVNZ, etc. On-line readers may simply desert Fairfax and APN to where free material can be accessed.

There are already three pay-to-view publications in New Zealand; the Listener, Whakatane Beacon, and the Ashburton Guardian.

On TV3 News, Ashburton Guardian editor, Coen Lammers said,

If you want to know about Ashburton you have got to come to us, people have no choice really. If they value our journalism they’ll pay for it.”

Acknowledgment: IBID

That may work well in a town or small city, but in larger cities people have recourse to alternative sources of news. In fact, this blogger questions whether a pay-wall will turn around the fortunes of these large media chains when the problem is not with the readership – but with the content of their publications.

As the numbers above show (with one exception), the page count has dropped dramatically since 1983. It’s not possible to offer a similar service to readers even as page numbers drop – and advertising clients still have their advertisements crammed into fewer remaining pages.

Something has to give, and it has unfortunately been the quality of news presented.

To give an example; in the mid 1990s, the Evening Post alone assigned two reporters  to covering Wellington City Council issues. A third reporter was assigned part time. The Dominion most likely also had their own reporters covering Council issues.

This blogger has learned that the Dominion Post – an amalgamation of the former Evening Post and The Dominion – has assigned just one reporter to cover Council business.

How is that geared toward improving coverage of City Council issues?

Another case in point;  “fluff pieces” dominating  the front page does not help to present a serious, credible image of a newspaper;



Acknowledgment; Dominion Post, 21 May 2013


Whilst burying serious news stories – of a nature that may  will have incalculable consequences for the future of our country – somewhere in the back pages, does not scream Serious Media;



Acknowledgment; Dominion Post, 21 May 2013


Putting  Fairfax’s Stuff  (a god-awful name, by the way) website behind a pay-wall simply presents the same reduced news service, with a price-tag attached. This is not a clever business model. Especially when the “consumer” has free alternatives to choose from.

If Fairfax (and APN) are finding that revenue from advertising is falling, perhaps it is appropriate for management to re-visit their business strategy. Their model may be wrong when they treat print advertising separate from their online service.

Perhaps if Fairfax and APN proprietors treated both print and online media as a combined service, their clients may think more favourably about using it. Shoe retailers are masters at presenting a good deal for shoppers.

The last thirty years have shown that reducing the quality of media publications has proven disastrous in terms of  building readership and a strong advertising base. Trying to ‘sting’ readers for using an on-line service harks back to the old  “cost-plus” business mentality. That didn’t work out well either.

If Fairfax and APN want to grow their revenue then they need to get a lot more clever than simply putting their hands out and expecting readers to ‘cough up’. They will be mightily disappointed.

There is good reason why this blogger ceased buying newspapers ten years ago. I have a reasonably good memory that harks back to fine journalists like Lidia Zatorski who use to cover the Wellington City Council brief. If the mayor so much as sneezed – Ms Zatorski and her colleagues knew about it.

The Dominion Post is a pale shadow of it’s predecessors. My current short-term subscription of the Dompost confirms to me that nothing much has changed for the better (and said subscription will shortly be cancelled). Quite simply, the Dompost is hardly worth the paper it’s written on.

As a customer, this is how I see it.

And really, isn’t the customer always right?

Good luck on the pay-wall.

I’ll be on the other side.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 27 May 2013.



Source Acknowledgments

Various individuals


National Business Review:  Fairfax says 100 further jobs to be cut in NZ (26 Aug 2008)

Stop Press: Sky TV profits up, APN suffers losses, and Fairfax not doing so well (22 Feb 2013)

Stop Press:  Job cuts on the horizon for Fairfax, company looks towards paywalls (21 May 2013)

Radio NZ: Fairfax looks at job cuts (21 May 2013)

National Business Review: More jobs at risk as Fairfax continues to restructure (22 May 2013)

TV3 News: News sites to adopt pay wall (24 May 2013)

NZ Herald: Maori TV payout and the year of the paywall (24 May 2013)



= fs =

Media Review for 26 May: Q+A, Susan Wood, & some casual racism

21 June 2013 2 comments


painting the media

Sunday morning TV current affairs yielded a wide range of issues discussed; Len Brown and the Auckland Unitary Plan; Hekia Parata’s political career; US-NZ relations; New Zealand Universities; the high incidence of asthma in Maori; the Living Wage campaign; the rising careers of Dayna Grant and Maisey Rika; and the recently released findings of the Independent Police Complaints Authority. Plus the obligatory ‘plug’ for TV3′s “X Factor” on TV3′s  “The Nation“.

On the issue of the IPCA’s report, “Q+A” host, Susan Wood introduced the issue with this segment;

SUSAN WOOD: “And the police conduct authority delivering it’s findings on the Urewera raid. Some road blocks and searches found  to be unlawful. Some on the receiving end thinking about compensation.”

[cut to:]

RUATOKI CITIZEN: “Because you know, stress and all that kind of stuff. Cleaning the house. Because it took quite a while. That tear gas is quite hard to get rid of. I had to paint the ceiling.”

SUSAN WOOD:  (smiling) “Who’d have known?”

Time Stamp: 1.05 – 1.20

TVNZ – Q+A – Series 2013, Episode 12

A screen-shot captures the moment when Wood made light of the young man’s experience, with her flippant, dismissive remark,


Q+A 26.5.2013 - Susan Wood on tear gas - who'd have know

“Who’d have known?”


Yes, Susan. Who’d have known that a white pakeha could so openly lack empathy with fellow New Zealanders, in our own country, that had been terrorised by a para-military exercise that our own IPCA labelled as unlawful, unjustifiable and unreasonable?

Who would have thought, Susan, that women and  young children could be locked up in a garage for nine hours under guard,  without food, and a supposedly reputable journo like you could make light of it?

Who’d have thought, Susan, that an entire small town could be locked down and sealed off from the rest of the country in a scene straight out of C.K. Stead’s “Smith’s Dream/Sleeping Dogs” – and it would be an object of mirth for you?

When something like this – perhaps one of the most shameful events in our recent history – is so casually dismissed by  you, then perhaps you should reconsider if you’re in the right job.

Your flippancy might be suitable on the cyber-sewer that is Whalesoil or  David Farrar’s marginally less odious Kiwiblog,  like this insensitive clod, anonymously revelling in his racism,


ruatoki raids_kiwiblog_rightwing halfwit post

Kiwiblog – Greens see racism everywhere


Is that the kind of racist moron you’re lining up with, Susan?

Sorry, but  one expects better from a supposedly experienced,  professional in our media. Just because they were brown folk and poor, and not like your refined middle-class neighbours in your fine, leafy suburb – a bit of empathy mightn’t go astray here.

Or  has the mask slipped, revealing the true attitudes of white mainstream media in this country?


Robert Kennedy


This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 26 May 2013.



= fs =

NZ Herald mis-represents Green Party spokesperson on synthetic ‘highs’

21 June 2013 2 comments


Legal highs linked to deaths - coroner

Acknowledgment: NZ herald – Legal highs linked to deaths – coroner


In a shocking piece of misleading journalism, the NZ Herald yesterday (14 June) mis-quoted Kevin Hague, the Green spokesperson on Health issues.

Herald journalist Kurt Bayer claimed that the Greens supported using animals for testing “party pills” (also known as synthetic ‘highs’).  Bayer wrote,

The SPCA and Greens today finally agreed that some animal testing of party pills was necessary for the sake of keeping young people safe.”

Source: Legal highs linked to deaths – coroner

This was shown to be wrong when the Greens posted their actual media release on-line on their website. The release stated,

The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at:

The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at:

“The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee…”

Source: Bill a win for communities and animals

Bill a win for communities and animals
Bill a win for communities and animals

The Green Party statement went on to specifically state their opposition to animal testing,

“However, we will still be putting forward our amendment to rule out the use of data from animal testing being used as proof of safety.

“Our amendment is much simpler and more practical to enforce than the Minister’s amendment and doesn’t allow any animal testing.

We have not seen any evidence that we need to allow animal testing of recreational drugs. In fact, the evidence we have seen is that all the proposed animal tests can be replaced with modern and effective non-animal tests,” said Ms Mathers.”

Source: IBID

The Green Party statement was in stark contrast to the story penned by Bayer and published online at 3:15 PM on Friday Jun 14. The offending portion stated,

 The SPCA and Greens today finally agreed that some animal testing of party pills was necessary for the sake of keeping young people safe.

An amendment limiting animal testing has now been included in the Psychoactive Substances Bill.

“This bill is a necessary and practical step to end the harm caused by allowing untested drugs to be the market,” said Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague.

“We support strong regulation for party pills and legal highs – we can’t continue to put our communities at risk.”

The third and fourth paragraphs appear to indicate Green support for the first paragraph, which is erroneous.

The Green Party position was more accurately reported on Radio NZ’s website,


Animal testing must be last resort in legal highs tests

Acknowledgment: Radio NZ – Animal testing must be last resort in legal highs tests

The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at:
The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at:
The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at:
The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at:

This issue was brought to this bloggers attention by Facebook user Jeanette Wilkinson who, at first, took the Herald story at face-value. Ms Wilkinson wrote on the DiscussioNZ page,

“I am extremely disappointed with the Green Party right now…in fact your credibility has taken a huge dive in my eyes upon reading this article below …especially where it mentions the Green Party finally deciding that SOME animal testing is required on animals for vile dangerous and totally unnecessary evil party pills and substances … I thought the Green Party would have some common sense and not support this at all and be inclined to have unnatural and dangerous chemical highs banned completely!”

When the actual Green Party policy was brought to Ms Wilkinson’s attention she accepted that the Green Party’s actual position had been mis-represented,  and also added,

” I also believe that synthetic highs should be illegal and banned then none of this controversy would be happening and wouldn’t that be a much better result for all moreso our young people?”

In a series of tweets by this blogger, I brought  Kurt Bayer’s attention to the mis-reporting of Green Party policy on animal testing, and asked for his response,


Kurt Bayer twitter profile


@KurtBayerAPNZ Hi Kurt. Your story “Legal highs linked to deaths-coroner” appears to have misquoted Green policy.

@KurtBayerAPNZ Will you be publishing a correction? Note, I am in process of blogging this story.

@KurtBayerAPNZ I can email you my draft blogpost for you to comment on. Would like your response on the record.

As at midnight on Saturday, no response had been received from Bayer.

It will be interesting to see if the Green Party pursues this matter through the Press Council.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 June 2013.





Green Party:  Bill a win for communities and animals (14 June 2013)

Bill a win for communities and animals

NZ Herald: Legal highs linked to deaths – coroner (14 June 2013)

Facebook link: Discussion NZ



= fs =

He Couldn’t handle the Truth…




Seven month and a half months after right-wing blogger, Cameron Slater took over as editor of ‘Truth‘, the newspaper has been put into receivership.

On a TV3 report he offered the excuse that,

Bottom line is that Truth was too far gone.”


It’s a shame for the staff, though. It’s never a good time when workers lose their jobs, especially because of management incompetance.



= fs =

Categories: Media Tags: ,

Radio NZ’s new CEO is announced…

… and it is Paul Thompson, replacing outgoing CEO, Peter Cavanagh.


Paul Thompson.

Paul Thompson.


The appointment of Paul Thompson was (is still?) a bit of a worry.  His background, as Radio NZ disclosed in a press relelease is firmly rooted in the world of commercial media,

Paul Thompson is currently the Group Executive Editor of Fairfax Media in New Zealand and a former award winning editor of the Christchurch Press and the Nelson Mail.

Peter Cavanagh

Acknowledgement: Scoop – Appointment of Radio NZ Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief

Why is this of concern?

This report, in the NZ Herald, five months ago, for starters;


Radio NZ on the hunt for next chief executive

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Radio NZ on the hunt for next chief executive


Note the references made  by Herald reporter, John Drinnan,

However, a source said the board was expected to appoint a new chief executive more amenable to change, particularly over sponsorship income…


… Critics say that has been at the expense of innovation and by resisting Government calls for new funding sources.

Acknowledgement: IBID

Radio NZ is one of the few state entities that earns very little income (if any); makes no profit; and requires constant  funding by the government of the day.

It is anathema to a right-wing party such as National – which instead prefers to lavish tax-payer funded largese on private corporation such as Warner Bros.

As such, Radio NZ’s annual budget of $31,816,000 has not changed since 2009, after National’s election to power the previous year.

Despite a successful Save Radio New Zealand Facebook campaign in February 2010, there is still considerable apprehension that National has a dark, neo-liberal agenda for Radio NZ. The Nats want Radio NZ commercialised. Commercialisation would ‘gut’ the broadcaster and turn it into a radio-version of TVNZ.

And we all know what TVNZ serves up to it’s audience…



Pressure is also coming from right-wing bloggers and “columnists”, such as this piece of propaganda BS from conservative Karl Du Fresne, RNZ’s bias needs to be tackled. (Du Fresne’s allegations of “left wing bias” is strange, considering that he and  several other right wing commentators are often guests on various Radio NZ programmes, such as Jim Mora’s 4-5 Panel.  See previous related blogpost: Karl Du Fresne has a public baby waa-waa cry-session)

The commercialisation of Radio NZ  can only be achieved if, at first, the broadcaster’s leadership is changed, and someone more ‘amenable’ to National’s destructive monetarist ideology, is appointed.

Paul Thompson would seem to fit that bill perfectly.

However, there is a glimmer of hope that the last bastion of non-commercialised public broadcasting will not be corrupted by a National Party stooge. If Paul Thompson is being straight up with us, and his comments can be taken at face value, then he is no stooge of this shabby, incompetant  government,

I think any form of commercialisation of any of the stations or the content would be a bad thing.

The funding is what the funding is, and lets hope in future at some stage that changes. In the mean time I’m sure that we can continue to do a very good job.”

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Incoming RNZ head rules out sponsorship

For more on Paul Thompson’s comments on this issue, Listen to Paul Thompson on Morning Report

Let’s hope Mr Thompson is a man of his word. I think it is no exageration to say that the fate of one of New Zealand’s best known iconic institutions lies in his hands.

Don’t stuff it up please, Mr Thompson.




Related blogpost

Talkback Radio, Public Radio, and related matters



 = fs =

The fabulously talented Kim Hill…

15 June 2013 1 comment

… has ended her two week stint as co-presenter on Radio NZ’s Morning Report.




I think more than a few folk will miss her considerable presence on the Morning Report segment of Radio NZ’s programming. Her no-nonsense, commanding  style of interview delves past the BS, and  demands answers to questions which we, the public, are entitled to know, but unable to put to those in positions of authority. (And when we do put questions to those in Authority, our efforts are “rewarded” with fob-offs; bullshit, or ignored entirely.)

Kim is one of the best interviewers we are currently blessed with, with more talent in one finger than a regiment of reporters.

Note: Kim Hill will still have her own segment on Saturday Mornings.



= fs =

Categories: Media Tags: ,

Judith Collins, Peter Dunne, & Backbenches

12 June 2013 3 comments




Just got home from being down at Backbenches Pub, for the filming of Backbenches. It was a good evening. A good natured crowd.  We even gave up a couple of our spare chairs for a National MP and one of his staffers’ children.

Low points of the night…

  • The anti-flouridation fanatics behind us. One of whom was asked his point of view, and he gave it whilst the rest of the crowd listened with relative attentiveness.

When pro-flouridation views were offered by others, the anti-flouro crowd erupted into hyena-like yelling, cat-calls,  and interjection, until Damien told them to knock it off. As he pointed out to them, their man was given the courtesy of being heard without abuse thrown at him.

Advice to anti-flouro activists: a bit of civilised respect cuts both ways. You will not change public opinion by yelling your opponents down.

Bad form.

  • Judith Collins.  Collins turned up with her retinue of staff, and others. She was standing less than a metre from our table.

As the subject for the three MPs in front of the cameras got around to Peter Dunne, I looked at Collins. Was that smirking that I saw on her face as the question was asked who felt sorry for Dunne?

Yep, I’m fairly sure it was smirking.

One may disagree with Peter Dunne’s vioting history during this government – and god knows I sure as hell do – but it takes a sadistic charachter to take pleasure in someone’s very public fall from grace.

Not that I’m saying that Collins is sadistic…

But I’m fairly sure of one thing.

She was smirking.

Bad form again.

Backbenches: tonight, Prime TV, 10.30pm



= fs -

Week Watch – 7 June

An end-of-the-week look at issues that’ve hit the headlines (or not)…


Looking at the pieces


When the State fails our children

The recent case of an 11 year old child excluded from Paeroa Central School for violent and other anti-social behaviour has brought into stark consciousness the problem of dysfunctional, troubled, and/or special needs children in our education system.

On the one hand, these children – many of whom have been raised in dysfunctional households or have other problems – have a right to State funded support and education. They cannot be left to rot and grow into troubled adults moving in and out of the justice system.

On the other hand, children and staff at schools have a right to safety and a non-violent, undisturbed environment to learn and socialise.

Both rights are equally valid.

Having had some experience with a special needs child (see previous related blogpost:  Once upon a time there was a solo-mum), who I’ll refer to as “Zack” (not his real name), I have seen how a mainstream school can have considerable difficultures in this area.

“Zack” is an intelligent, charming, highly curious, young man (12) who requires one-on-one support during his entire school day. Not having that one-on-one support is untenable for both “Zack” or the school, as he can “flip out” at provocations which other children might not notice.

“Zack” was expelled from two previous schools for lack of one-on-one support from a teacher-aid.

He was enrolled at his current school with the specific agreement that “Zack” would be provided full-time, one-on-one support from a dedicated teacher-aid.

It soon become apparent that the Ministery had assigned this teacher-aid (who was doing the best she could under the circumstances) to two children; “Zack”, and another child at another school.

Not being able to violate given laws of physics by being in two places simultaneously, the school took action to cut down “Zack’s” hours in class. He was permitted to attend class only when the teacher aid was present (approx 4 hours per day). When she left to attend her second client, “Zack’s” grandmother collected him. (“Zack’s” mother, “Sally”, is a solo-mum who works at an early childhood facility. Read her full story here:  Once upon a time there was a solo-mum.)

Implementation of promises of full support – the current fashionable term is “intensive wraparound support” – by the Ministry of Education have been erratic and never fully implemented. (At the beginning the Ministry was reluctant to offer any support for “Zack”. They relented only when schools refused to accept him unless theree was  funding for a teacher-aid.)

Paeroa Central School was right to stand their ground.

Principal, Janet Jones, said,

“We can’t understand why the ministry would give us the directive to take him back and put him in the classroom of the teacher who was assaulted. There’s got to be other alternatives.”

Acknowedgment – TV3 – Violent pupil needs to be supported, MoE

I know why.

It’s called “washing your hands of a problem”.

Note this from the above TV3 story,

Last year the ministry controversially decided to shut down the McKenzie Residential School for children with extreme behaviour in Christchurch.

The former principal of that school is not sure how effective the wraparound system will be.

“Anecdotally information we get is that pupils are struggling, principals are struggling and schools are struggling,” Greg Healy says.

Acknowedgment – IBID

The Ministry (or rather, this rotten government) had similar plans for Salisbury School, which also catered for children with special, high needs. Salisbury School, however would have none of it and recognised that the Ministry’s promises of “intensive wraparound support” was so much bullshit. (See previous related blogpost: Why Salisbury School was right to be wary of this government)

It was another principal, this time in Whangarei, who discovered the realities of “support” available from the Ministry,

A Whangarei school principal says a system designed to improve support for at-risk children appears to be bogged down in paperwork.

The Gateway programme began two years ago to co-ordinate the roles of Child, Youth and Family, doctors, schools and mental health services for children in care.

But Horahora primary school principal Pat Newman said from what he has seen, the gateway is blocked.

He said he has been trying since March to get an assessment for a young pupil with serious anger problems who hurts other children on a daily basis.

Mr Newman said various agencies have filed their observations about the boy and though he clearly needs specialist help, there has been no action. Now his classmates are afraid of him and have begun to exclude him.

Acknowledgment – Radio NZ – Paper-work seen as blocking support for children

The moral of this story?

Beware of the Man from the Ministry who sez he’s here to help.

Dominion Post – New depths in coded racism?

After the furore surrounding Nisbet’s racist cartoons in the Marlborough Express and The Press, Fairfax’s newspapers seem more circumspect at how they voice their casual racism.

Take this bit in the Dominion Post’s  editorial on 7 June,

Nobody can argue with the restrictions for suburban bars, which are in residential areas where the right of people to get a good night’s sleep clearly outweighs the right of proprietors to open into the early hours of the morning. There might also be a case for shorter opening hours for bars in Newtown, which has been identified by the council as high risk because of its demographics and the number of patrons seeking hospital emergency department treatment.

What does “because of its demographics” mean?

Could it code for… people with non-white skin colour?

Could it mean… people who are different to the rest of us by being poorer? Browner? Non-white, non anglo-saxon, non-gentiles?

Because it’s highly ironic that the anonymous author of that comment then refers to “the number of patrons seeking hospital emergency department treatment”.



Funny that. Because according to previous reports in the Dominion Post, it wasn’t Newtown that has been the real problem in terms of alcohol-fuelled harm;


Ambulance base for Wellington party central

Acknowedgment – Dominion Post – Ambulance base for Wellington party central


'Pressure valve' medics patch up night's drunks (2)

Acknowedgment – Dominion Post -  ‘Pressure valve’ medics patch up night’s drunks


It seems fairly obvious even to the most blind-drunk person that the real problem zone is not Newtown, but a few kilometres to the north, in Wellington’s boozy, brawling, bar-strip – Courtney Place.

But maybe the “demographics” aren’t as easily discernible in Courtney Place? And the voices of profitable booze-bar owners are more organised and louder in Courtney Place?

I wonder what the anonymous writer of that trashy editorial has to say on this?

Blogger’s shock discovery

The Blogger-Known-As-Jackal, may have uncovered something quite sinister in  the stranding of the m.v. Rena in October 2011.  Jackal writes,

“For over a year and a half now The Jackal has been attempting to learn exactly what was onboard the MV Rena when it ran aground near Tauranga on 5 October 2011. I was wanting this information to try and work out the potential environmental impact, but unfortunately my efforts have been in vain.

On 10 October 2011, I made a formal request under the Official Information Act (PDF) to Maritime New Zealand for information relating to what the MV Rena was carrying, which they declined. I then approached the Ombudsman about that lack of disclosure.

This week, I received the Ombudsman’s final ruling on the matter…”

See:  Rena to hold her secrets

Check out his blogpost, and look at the picture that Jackal posts. His assessment of the situation  seems to be on the ball: the Rena was carrying yellow-cake uranium.

And now it’s lying on the sea bed and shoreline of our east coast.

United Future – The Party you have when you’re not having a Party…

This week it was revealed that Peter Dunne’s “party”, United Future, did not have the required 500 signed up members.

Up till now, United Future has been receiving taxpayer funding, which all registered Parties are elegible to receive. Under parliamentary rules, Party leaders are entitled to receive an extra $100,000 to fund the leader’s office.

Winston Peters challenged this funding, pointing out that if United Future did not exist as a registered entity, therefore it could not receive Party funding.

The Speaker of the House – a National MP, but supposedly a “neutral arbiter” in such matters – made a surprising determination that United Future was still eligible for Party funding.

So, despite being de-registered by the Electoral Commission, it is still being paid taxpayer money?

Opposition Parties being mostly powerless, resorted to one of the few actions possible to display their opposition; Peters led a walk-out of NZ First MPs from the Debating Chamber.

Of course, that was dismissed by Dunne as  “children’s games”.

National Minister, Gerry Brownlee, also used the same phrase (see: Parliament walkout ‘childish’ – Brownlee),

“The Speaker is the sole determinant of how the rules are applied. They’re being really childish over this.”

That may be. But sometimes making a point requires that   “children’s games” are played.

Just like  on 4 September 2003, when National MP, Shane Ardern, rode a tractor up Parliament’s steps during  farmer protest against a proposed flatulence tax (see: MP runs into strife on tractor),


Shane Ardern - tractor - Parliament steps - september 2003.

As reported by the NZ Herald at the time,

National leader Bill English, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, Act rural affairs spokesman Gerry Eckhoff and United Future leader Peter Dunne all voiced their opposition to the tax at the rally.

“Game-playing by children”: best done by National MPs with big, smoke-belching, noisy  machines.

By the way, check out Gordon Campbell’s comments on this issue – especially where it pertains to welfare beneficiaries: Gordon Campbell on the Speaker’s lifeline to Peter Dunne.

Interesting though, isn’t it, how this government can break rules and laws when it suits their purposes.

Like this…

Simon Bridges – Soft on Crime?

On 6 June, Minister of Labour Simon Bridges announced that Labour Inspectors would no longer be targetting retailers who unlawfully opened their doors to trade on Easter (see: Garden shop welcomes relaxed Easter laws).

Bridges said,

Where there are complaints they will be followed up, there will still be prosecutions but it won’t be as proactive as it has been previously.”

Evidently, according to the Minister of Labour,  “his department is moving away from enforcing shopping laws to clamping down on the abuse of migrant workers“.

Yeah, right. Of course they will.

This wouldn’t have anything to do with a failed Bill in Parliament, in 2010, to liberalise Easter trading laws, would it? This Bill, promoted by  Rotorua MP Todd McClay, and supported by Simon Bridges,  was  voted down in Parliament.

“I supported that because I think it is really inconsistent that the likes of Parnell, Taupo and Queenstown can open on Easter Sunday at the moment but Rotorua and Mount Maunganui, which are certainly frequented by many tourists, can’t.”

However, Mr Bridges said he would not support retailers opening on Good Friday.

“I’m personally in favour of some liberalisation of the law so that there can be more business made by retailers on Easter Sunday but I won’t go the whole hog,” he said.

Acknowedgment – Bay of Plenty Times -  Easter trade campaign gets MP’s partial nod

So the Bill which Bridges supported was voted down by Parliament. But now, Bridges is permitting illegal Easter trading through the “back door”, by withdrawing Labour Inspectors who visit law-breaking retailers, to issue infringment notices?

Is that how National ministers deal with inconvenient laws?

Is this how National demonstrates it’s “tough on crime” attitude?


National hoarding staying strong on crime


Darren Odering, of Orderings Garden Centres says,

“Personally I think its a stupid law. Nobody suffers. I think they’re doing that now anyway. They go to some of our stores and not others.”

Acknowedgment – TV3 – Garden shop welcomes relaxed Easter laws

The same could be said of this country’s marijuana laws: “its a stupid law. Nobody suffers”.  And yet successive governments spends millions in busting pot smokers and imprisoning them.

As I blogged last year on this issue;

Is it a “victimless crime”, as garden centre owner, Darryn Odering insists?

Or is this a a case of businesses manipulating ill-informed public opinion; selfish attitudes;  and exploiting their advantage as a minority of law-defying businesses, trading when their competitors are closed?

Oderings is open during Easter because it is hugely profitable.

Why is is hugely profitable?

Because it’s a public holiday.

Would it be hugely profitable if every single business was open on Easter Friday? Including schools, government departments, etc? In fact, if Easter Friday and Easter Monday was no different to any other day of the week – how profitable would it be for law-breakers like Oderings?

The answer, of course, is that it wouldn’t. It would simply be another business day. Let’s be clear here;

Oderings relies on it’s profits because it’s competitors obey the law.

Oderings would not have those huge  profits if it Easter Friday (and Monday) was another normal trading day.

So people would be at work .

So if the law is to be changed, let’s do it fairly and apply it across the board throughout the country: everything opens and everyone (with a job) works. Not just the captive retail assistants and fast food workers. Everyone.

And this is where the rubber hits the road. Do we, as a country, want to give up a holiday so we can all work like any other day?

And if we’re all working – how will that benefit us and retail outlets?

The answer is; it doesn’t benefit us. We get another day that shops are open and we’re all working. Oh  whoopty f****n doo.  What the hell did we just gain/lose?!?!

To all elected representatives, I offer this advice;

  1. If we’re serious about keeping our holidays, then it’s time that the $1,000 fine was increased to a more meaningful amount. $25,000 seems a nice figure. The current  penalty of $1,000 is meaningless. It’d be like sentencing a drug pusher to community service. Both are supposedly “victimless” crimes, after all.
  2. If we’re going to allow Oderings to open on Easter – then make it a blanket law, across the country. Everyone opens; everyone works.  That includes schools, banks, local bodies, government departments, Parliament, etc,  on Easter Friday and Easter Monday.  No one takes time off.

Now let’s see which way the public jumps.

See previous blogpost:  Easter Trading – A “victimless crime”?

Simon Bridges on democratic protests

Simon Bridges announced earlier this year that sea-going protestors who oppose deep sea drilling, will face harsher penalties, and may face interception and  arrest by our military.

The revised law includes interfering with or damaging structures, ships, equipment, operations or activities in the zone and could incur fines of up to $100,000 and up to two years’ imprisonment. (see: Prominent NZers fight environmental protest ban)

See also:  TVNZ Q + A: Transcript of Simon Bridges

Interesting to see now National ministers can be “tough on crime” when it comes to dissenters protesting against perceived threats to our envioronment – but not-so-tough on crime when it comes to commercial retailers deliberately  flouting the law, purely for personal profit-making.

Is this is how it works in New Zealand under a National government?

Dunne resigns as Government Minister!!

More here:  Dunne resigns as minister over GCSB leak

Key is  relaxed.

After Dunne – What about John Banks?

On 29 April 2012, Dear Leader Key said this about John Banks and the Skycity and Kim Dotcom “anonymous” donations,

I’ve sought an assurance from Mr Banks that he complied with local government law. He’s given me that assurance. I accept him at his word. If people don’t believe that they are free to test that with the police.”

Acknowedgment – MSN News – PM standing by under fire Banks

After the Police completed their investigation into the donations scandal, on 5 July 2012, it became apparent that John Banks had lied about the donations being “anonymous”. In fact, he knew damn well where they had originated from. Banks had made a full disclosure to the Police.

On 17 September 17 2012, Key stated categorically that he would not sack  Banks after these new revelations,

He’s got a version of events, others have got a different version. It’s not for me to forensically go through that. But I accept if he says to me, which he has, ‘look I didn’t know’ then I accept that. Look there is not court case against the guy.”

Acknowedgment – TVNZ -  Key not interested in calls to sack Banks

To protect John Banks, Key took evasive action,

The prime minister is resolutely refusing to take a look at the 126-page dossier from the police investigation into “anonymous” donations to Mr Banks’ 2010 mayoralty campaign.

Acknowedgment – Fairfax Media – Master of Keyvasive action

By not looking at the Police report, Key could claim that he had “no knowledge”  of any lies told by Banks.

Contrast that to Key’s handling of the Dunne-GCSB Affair.

First of all, Key actually read the report,

The report shows that Mr Dunne has not met all of the requests for information from the inquiry.”

Acknowedgment – – PM releases leak inquiry report, accepts Minister’s resignation

Secondly, he’s challenged Dunne on the issue,

He’s told me categorically that he didn’t leak the report. I want to believe him but the problem is unfortunately the inquiry doesn’t rule him out and I can’t dismiss the possibility that he has because of the information contained in the report.”

Acknowedgment – TVNZ – Peter Dunne: I did not leak the GCSB report

Read the report. Challenged Dunne. Accepted Dunne’s resignation.

What about John Banks?

  1. When will Key read the Police report into their investigation on the donations scandal?
  2. When will Key challenge Banks on the issue?
  3. Will he accept Banks’ resignation as he did with Dunne?

Double standards much, Dear Leader?

Lying prick.


Fabulous Fridays



= fs =


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 594 other followers