from: Frank Macskasy <email@example.com>
to: Sunday Star Times <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date: Tue, Aug 26, 2014
subject: Letter to the editor
Sunday Star Times
With regards to the hip-hop group that recently put out a song referencing killing the PM – a wag wanted to know if that was the Prime Minister or the Prime Minister’s Office they were singing about.
Evidently, there is a difference.-Frank Macskasy
The Daily Blog: Hip hop death threats – the selective outrage of our media
Fairfax media: PM death threat in hip hop song
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
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- Neil Watts, Blogger, Fearfactsexposed
Little wonder Fairfax Media are struggling financially and virtually giving their publications away to attract subscribers.
Consistently failing to provide their readers with the news – if the news is damaging to their friends in the National Party – means that Fairfax Media’s credibility as a news provider is poor, and declining.
While less partisan news media jumped immediately on the third poll in a month showing National’s support crumbling, Fairfax avoided the story, as they have done with other polls that are unfavourable to their mates on the Right.
While this highly newsworthy story led the political news on TV last night, as well as on the New Zealand Herald website and Radio New Zealand, Fairfax once again applied the eerie Orwellian denial they have used in the past when a news item doesn’t suit their political agenda.
Predictably, when stuff.co.nz finally got around to mentioning the poll just before 9am today – some 15 hours after their rivals – it was only to provide readers with the National Party’s spin on the results, with a piece heavily dominated by John Key’s response.
As usual, the Opposition were completely sidelined from Fairfax’s story, and more importantly, the major implications of the latest poll – that Labour and the Greens could form a centre-Left government with a combination of support partners - were completely avoided. This angle is so obvious to any real journalist, that Fairfax again show their desire to provide propaganda over news, by avoiding it all together. As I noted here three weeks ago, after they avoided reporting on another negative poll for National, this illustrates exactly why such powerful, biased media corporations are a very real danger to our democracy. By stifling the debate, controlling the message, and starving the Opposition of comment, media organisations like Fairfax can and do have a frightening influence on our freedom.
Remember how their brainfart polls told readers over and over how the National Party were going to romp back into the Beehive last year? In detailed analysis of the reasons why New Zealanders didn’t vote, it was found that “a large proportion of non-voters cited the polls predicting the National Party’s victory, and decided the election was a foregone conclusion. The percentage of non-voters who said this was a factor was far higher in 2011 than in 2008″, according to The New Zealand Herald.
Critics at the time – myself included – noted the flawed methodology of these polls, and suggested that they were designed more to influence rather than inform voters. The resulting election turnout was the lowest in 120 years, with the supposably invincible National Party pushed much closer than the polls had suggested. Funny that, when their chums in the National Party are riding high in the polls, stuff.co.nz and the Dom Post can’t find a font big enough, but when the news is bad…well, it just ain’t news. Orwellian, Fairfaxian, call that what you will
Following a week where their political editor was heavily criticised for providing the Prime Minister with a series of glowing PR pieces as she escorted him around Europe, and where the most damaging elements of a number of issues were avoided, this is not a good look for Fairfax. Last week, they effectively ran the spin for John Key on the class size backdown, painting Key as “a leader who listens”, complete with a leading survey. They neglected to mention that the “listening leader” is ignoring New Zealanders over asset sales, and dodged figures picked up by other media showing that power prices would rise significantly once the assets were privatised. As if all of this isn’t damning enough for Fairfax’s credibility, another survey showed that 50% of stuff respondents favoured the Nazi solution of eugenics to tackle the problem of breeding “ferals”; is this a clear sign of Rightwing propaganda in action?
Had enough of this international corporation providing propaganda disguised as news? Please share this blog [Fearfactsexposed], join us on Facebook , and tell your friends to boycott everything that this National Party spin corporation publish. Only a strong public backlash will make Fairfax Media take notice, so let’s bloody have one!
Reprinted from the blog, Fearfactsexposed, with kind permission.
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“I just want to emphasise that it is not our best guess; it’s just a guess. It’s just to put some numbers in that look like they might be roughly right for forecasting purposes.
“That’s an honest answer.” – Bill English, 17 February 2012
That may be an “honest answer” – but it also has to rank as one of the dumbest in New Zealand’s political history.
To explain what Bill English was being “honest” about,
That’s right, folks, our Finance Minister has just let slip that National has no idea how much money they will raise from the part-privatisation of Genesis Energy, Might River Power, Meridian, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.
They don’t have a clue.
The $5 -$7 billion they have been quoting pre and post election are figures seemingly plucked out of hot-air from Parliament’s oxygen-depleted atmosphere. (Oxygen depletion tends to have unpleasant side-effects on a brain such as confused, muddled, thinking.)
John Key – realising that Bill English had made National the laughing stock of the country – jumped in, changing the “best guess” to a “best estimate”,
However, Key didn’t help matters much when he added,
“I think they are our best estimates”.
“There are lots of variables in there … what we do know is the Crown will absolutely have a minimum of 51 per cent shareholding but could have more. We don’t know what price the market will pay at the time; we don’t know the exact timing of all these particular floats.”
So let’s see. Key and English don’t know any of the following,
- How much will be raised by the partial-privatisation?
- Whether they will end up with 51% ownership – or more?
- Or even the timing of the “floats” (sale of shares)?
- Or what price the shares will be sold at???
No wonder Greens co-leader Russel Norman said, in utter exasperation,
“That isn’t how we should be running the finances of New Zealand.”
Norman wasn’t playing usual political one-upmanship games – he was voicing the entire country’s disquiet at what is rapidly looking like mickey mouse incompetance.
Yet again this is an example of National simply not being up-with-the-play. Much like unaffordable tax-cuts of ’09 and ’10; the Jobs Summit of 2009 that achieved very little; the credit down-grade they “never saw coming”; the broken promise on raising gst; the $1.4 billion revenue short-fall – National’s economic policies seem to be ad-hoc at the very best.
If this was the Muppet Show, it might look something like this,
Instead, it looks like this,
clowns muppets are in charge of billions of dollars worth of public property?
I am not reassured. In fact, I wouldn’t trust these two to run a charity sausage sizzle.
I can imagine how that would end badly,
- 1 x sausage, @ 50 cents wholesale
- gas, onion, sauces, napkin, est. 50 cents per sausage
- Retail price: ?
40 cents 60 cents75 cents!
Cue: muppet theme & roll credits.
Other Blog stories
More to come.
But seriously, Mr Prime Minister, we can’t afford any more your your government’s “fiscal prudence”!!!
Last Friday (30 September), Prime Minister John Key (or ‘Dear Leader‘ as he is now known), played radio DJ for an hour. Using the excuse of the “electoral commission rules”, Key’s presence on Radio Live was supposedly an “election free” event,
During Key’s session on air, New Zealand’s second sovereign credit-ratings downgrade was announced. Again, he refused to discuss the issue, citing “electoral commission rules”. His one hour was to be keep “politics and election free”.
We learnt that his cat was named, “Moonbeam“.
Which is like having Peter Jackson on-air and expecting him not to make any comment whatsoever on any of his movies or the entire film-making industry…
Just because Dear Leader instructs his listeners that his show was an “election free zone” does not make it so. In fact, it clearly was not “election free” at all, and only the most naive or ardent National Party-apologist could claim it to be. Quite simply, John Key is the Prime Minister and Prime Ministers are political irrespective of what “zone” they might be in.
In fact, hosting a politics-free radio show is a perfect opportunity for any politician to “connect” with his/her electorate and promote their persona as being one-of-the-people.
But there is more to this issue than simply John Key getting one hour of free media exposure. Quite a bit more.
It began in 1984 when Steven Joyce, at age 21, set up his first radio station, “Energy FM”. From there, his business venture expanded considerably,
“Joyce made his millions in broadcasting. He got involved with student radio as a presenter and programme director while doing his zoology degree at Massey University in Palmerston North. Then he and a group of friends, including radio presenter Jeremy Corbett, started their own station in Joyce’s hometown of New Plymouth.
Corbett says Joyce son of a grocer had a prodigious work ethic: “Steven expects everyone to work as hard as him and nobody does.”
Joyce was 24 when Taranaki’s Energy FM finally got a full licence. Later, the team began acquiring other stations. As Corbett puts it: “I got married and left, and the rest of them became millionaires.”
Joyce says money was the furthest thing from his mind. For years “we kept living like university students [so] we could keep ploughing money back into the business”.
By 2000 he was CEO of an empire called RadioWorks, with 22 radio stations and 650 staff. He didn’t want to sell up, but Canadian company CanWest launched a stockmarket raid and left him standing with a cheque for $6 million in his hand. It was a “bittersweet” moment.” Source
“In 2004, CanWest Global Communications combined television company TV3 Network Services and radio company RadioWorks to form the new MediaWorks company. On 29 July 2004, 30% of this new company was sold on the NZSX. Three years later, in July 2007, CanWest sold its stake of the company to Ironbridge Capital, a group of Australian investors, who subsequently obtained the remaining 30% from other investors. MediaWorks is significantly larger than any of its other investments.” Source
So far we have the following “trail”: Steven Joyce/Energy FM → Steven Joyce/RadioWorks → CanWest → CanWest/MediaWorks → Ironbridge/MediaWorks, which is the current ownership-situation.
In April 2009, the Radio Broadcasters’ Association wrote to the now-Minister of Communications, Steven Joyce, asking for the high cost of renewing radio spectrum licence payments to be spread over 20 years, rather than paid in one lump sum. Source.
In the following month, May 2009, the Ministry of Economic Development advised Joyce that there was no compelling reason to accede to the Association’s request, as it would “put the Government in a credit financing role“. Joyce followed that advice and subsequently declined the RBA’s request. Ibid.
At around this point, the
Dear Leader Prime Minister starts to get involved and things begin to get murky. Around August 8th or 9th, 2009, Brent Impey - the then-CEO of Mediaworks - lobbied John Key directly, to get a deferred-payments scheme put in place. (Evidently, such a scheme was desirable not because MediaWorks was in financial trouble – but because it would improve their bottom-line profitability.)
At first, John Key denied even meeting with Brent Impey, and stated this in answer to parliamentary written questions,
“The Prime Minister said he had “no meetings” with representatives of MediaWorks to discuss the deal.” Source
Two days later that answer was corrected, saying he “ran into” Brent Impey at a “social event” in Auckland where the issue was “briefly raised” and he “passed his comments on” to the responsible minister.” Source
It seems fairly unbelievable that one could have a meeting with someone; discuss a matter involving $43 million – and then claim to have forgotten it?!
Despite having declined the Radio Broadcasters’ Association’s first appeal (May, 2009) – after Key “ran into” Brent Impey at a “social event” the matter was re-visited and on October 22, 2009, Cabinet agreed to the RBA’s request for deferred payments.
Question: What transpired between May 2009 and October 2009 to so radically change government policy, and in effect adopt the role of “credit financing”, against the advice of the Ministry of Economic Development, which Steven Joyce had originally accepted?
Question: What role did John Key have to play in this matter? Because all of a sudden he seemed to become pivotal to this issue and it’s outcome.
Question: How could John Key have forgotten that he “ran into” Brent Impey at a “social event” ?
Click here for a Timeline of events, by NZ Herald report, Derek Cheng.
Essentially then, for reasons that are as clear as a barrelfull of Christchurch liquifaction, this government decided to make a loan for radio frequency-fees, worth $43.3 million to MediaWorks.,
As John Drinnan wrote in the above article,
“…the Government allowed them to keep the frequencies and pay the money over a 50-month period – paying 11.2 per cent interest a year. The Crown held a mortgage on the frequency with a strong security. “
However, politicians being politicians, they will always argue the point,
“Telecommunications Minister Steven Joyce yesterday said the money was not a loan, but a deferred payment system to help the radio industry during tough times in 2009.” Ibid
Steven Joyce was adamant that this was not a “loan” to MediaWorks,
In fact, Joyce goes on to say,
“”They have to present it as a debt because it is a debt they owe the Crown, so how they do that is between them and their accountants.
“All I can tell you is that the Crown has not advanced any cash to MediaWorks at all, that the Crown has offered a deferred payment option to all of the frequency holders who were due to renew at that time, which involved them paying interest and getting in their payments over five years.”” Ibid
So according to Steven Joyce, this is not a debt “the Crown has not advanced any cash to MediaWorks at all“?!
Is that how it works?!
In which case, property-owners around New Zealandf should rejoice and do cartwheels! We have no debts! The mortgages that our banks and building societies extended to us are not debts at all because they did not “advance any cash” to us! After all, mortgage monies are paid directly to the vendor – the new owner never sees a cent of it. Banks and other financial institutions simply hold a mortgage over our properties, and charge us interest on top of principle, to be re-paid.
Which is precisely what this government has done, as already mentioned above,
“…the Government allowed them to keep the frequencies and pay the money over a 50-month period – paying 11.2 per cent interest a year. The Crown held a mortgage on the frequency with a strong security. ” Source
It’s a loan, Mr Joyce. Deal with it.
So perhaps it’s little wonder why Radio Live (owned by MediaWorks) did not extend Labour Leader Phil Goff, and other Party leaders, the same advantage as John Key had,
Of course Radio Live “didn’t give an explanation for refusing“. It’s fairly obvious what has transpired in some fairly shady, back room, “arrangements”. It is fairly obvious that whatever “arrangement” now exists between Media Works and John Key and his government is now to their mutual benefit.
The question is; did that $43 million buy just the one hour with Radio Live?
Or is there more to come?
Watch this space.