- Special investigation by Frank Macskasy & ‘Hercules‘
Speculation that the Beehive office of Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, was behind the release of a letter linking Labour leader, David Cunliffe, with controversial Chinese businessman, Donghua Liu, is supported by Twitter chatter linking Herald editor, Shayne Currie, with Cameron Slater’s Whale Oil blog.
“Nothing to see here” Currie’s boss, Tim Murphy, tweeted on 19 June in response to questions about Immigration NZ’s speedy release the previous day of the now infamous Cunliffe-Donghua Liu 2003 letter to his investigations editor, Jared Savage.
“We seek info, public service tells govt and denies us info. We refine request and get letters. We publish. Pretty standard.”
But there was nothing “standard” about the handling of this OIA request. Made at lunchtime on Monday June 16 it produced a response — which usually takes at least 20 working days — within 48 hours. Plucked from a file and previously withheld on privacy grounds, the 11-year-old letter was immediately put to use by National’s frontbenchers in the debating chamber and by the Parliamentary press gallery in the corridors to discredit Cunliffe and undermine his leadership of Labour’s caucus.
Although just a routine check on progress being made on Donghua Liu’s residency application, signed by Cunliffe as New Lynn MP in March 2003, the letter was touted as evidence of support and advocacy for the controversial Chinese businessman.
For the Herald, it lent credibility to its investigation into allegations that Liu had made big donations to the Labour Party.
Jared Savage’s investigation had included a request on May 8 for all information that Immigration NZ held on Donghua Liu. After taking three weeks to decide to withhold everything on his file on privacy grounds, the ministry sat on that decision for another three weeks before suddenly agreeing to release it to Mr Savage at 8.59AM on Monday 16 June.
Although no explanation was given for the sudden u-turn it is most likely that the potential for extracting maximum political advantage from releasing the Cunliffe/Donghua Liu letter became apparent over the preceding weekend.
The resignation of ACT leader John Banks as an MP had taken effect on the Friday (13 June). The filling of the vacancy created in Epsom required a special debate on whether to hold a by- election or wait for the general election on September 20. Gerry Brownlee decided to get it over with, scheduling it for Wednesday afternoon following the weekly General Debate. That meant National faced a torrid afternoon on Wednesday 18 June as Opposition parties combined to hang the Government’s dirty washing all around the debating chamber.
A diversion would be handy.
First, the response to Mr Savage’s May 8 OIA request had to be cleared away and replaced by a fresh request targeted more precisely at the Cunliffe/Donghua Liu letter. Mr Savage obliged with an email seeking “any correspondence, including emails, letters or queries, from an Members of Parliament in regards to Donghua Liu’s immigration status prior to 2005.” The email was sent at 1.04pm on the Monday and asked for the request to be treated urgently because of “the public interest in this case.”
Just over an hour later, at 2.11pm, a remarkably similar request arrived from TV3’s political reporter, Brook Sabin;
“We’d like to know if any Labour MPs lobbied for Donghua Liu’s residency back in 2005 . . . Cheers.”
A growing army of managers, business advisors, comms people and consultants went straight to work on co-ordinating responses to the two requests. Ironically, although TV3 lodged their request sixty seven minutes after the Herald, Sabin was to scoop Savage by three minutes when the 2003 Cunliffe letter was released just under forty eight hours later at 12.49PM on Wednesday 18 June.
Twitter chatter in the hour leading up to the letter’s release reveals a small network of journalists and right-wing bloggers who knew it was coming. They had their stories already written and were waiting impatiently to hit “send”.
12.10pm: Herald editor, Shayne Currie, starts the count down on Twitter: “Tick, tick, tick . . . keep an eye on @nzherald #scoop.”
The 2003 Cunliffe-Liu letter has not yet been released at this point. No one outside of Immigration NZ and Minister Woodhouse are supposedly aware of it’s existence. It would not be released for another thirty nine minutes.
At exactly the same moment, an unidentified staff member in the Immigration Minister’s Beehive office in Wellington emails across the Parliamentary complex to Cunliffe’s office with a heads-up. Two documents, Cunliffe’s 2003 letter and a similar one sent five months earlier from Labour’s Te Atatu MP, Chris Carter, are to be released to the media “around 1pm”.
12.12pm: Meanwhile, “Pete” is getting impatient. Described in his Twitter profile as “a fluffer, researcher, reporter, journalist, moderator and deputy editor” for Whale Oil Beef Hooked, “Pete” tweets back at Currie: “We’ve been waiting. Get on with it. #bloodyembargoes.”
12.28pm: Currie tells sandwich-seeking “Pete” to “Take your Herald mobile app.”
12.30pm: Back in Wellington, ministry staff are racing to get the letters to the minister’s office. An area manager in Visa Services emails 10 colleagues with the news that a copy of the OIA response to Sabin’s request has been sent to the minister’s office.
12.39pm: The Visa Services area manager reports that he’s “just been advised that the Ministerial consultation has been completed so we will proceed to release.”
12.42pm: The same area manager then emails 10 colleagues to report that the consultation process has been completed and the letters are being released. “I have also asked . . . when we can release the Brook Sabin OIA.”
12.49pm: A business advisor in the ministry’s “Operations Support” team emails scans of the signed response and the two letters to Jared Savage at the Herald. At this point the 2003 Cunliffe and 2002 Carter letters ‘officially’ become public.
12.53pm: Sabin posts a scan of the Cunliffe letter on TV3’s website with a story quoting extensively from it. His story appear four minutes after ImmigrationNZ release the 2003 Cunliffe and 2002 Carter letters to Savage.
12.55pm: “Pete” checks in. He’s had lunch and he’s hot to post the story he’s already written after hearing from Whale Oil. Currie gets the green light and, obviously unaware that the Herald has already been scooped by TV3, tweets “Big political story breaking now . . . what David Cunliffe knew and said about Donghua Liu.”
12.57pm: Cameron Slater posts excerpts from Savage’s story on his Whale Oil blog along with a transcript from a media briefing the previous day on Labour’s KiwiSaver policy when Sabin’s TV3 colleague, Tova O’Brien, asked Cunliffe four questions about Donghua Liu.
1.00pm: The Herald’s veteran political correspondent, John Armstrong, posts a comment on the Herald’s website saying Cunliffe “is in deep political trouble. So deep that his resignation as Labour’s leader may now be very much in order”. Armstrong’s column is written and published on-line eleven minutes after Savage is emailed the 2003 Cunliffe and 2002 Carter letters.
1.46pm: Parliamentary Press Gallery accuse Cunliffe of lying and and being a hypocrite in 8-minute “stand-up” on his way into the debating chamber.
2.00pm: Cunliffe arrives in chamber, met by jeering from National benches. Ministers use the 2003 Cunliffe-Liu letter to attack the Labour leader’s credibility. Two of them (English and Woodhouse) quote directly from TV3’s Question and Answer transcript from the previous day.
On the following day, Thursday 19 June . . .
8.04pm: Herald political editor, Audrey Young, in New York with the prime minister, reports that Key admitted knowledge of the Cunliffe/Donghua Liu letter for some weeks. She says Cunliffe’s denials that he wrote “any such letter” has “thrown his leadership into crisis.”
5.14pm: Herald deputy political editor, Claire Trevett, and political reporter, Adam Bennett, report that Woodhouse had confirmed that his office had informed the prime minister’s office of the letter’s existence within a few days of learning of it on 9 May, the day after Savage lodged his first OIA request — the first of three conflicting accounts from Woodhouse.
1. This was no ordinary scoop. This was a political dirty trick with journalists as willing participants when they should have been exposing it for what it was. Links between political operatives, bloggers and journalists are inevitable and revealed. Ultimately the credibility of mainstream news depends on its objectivity, independence and accuracy.
2. While the last-minute scramble to publish the letter before 1pm on the Wednesday depended on its release to the Herald’s investigations editor at 12.49pm, there is no record of its release to TV3’s political reporter. There is no paper trail, except a few references in internal emails. If it didn’t come from the ministry, it must have come from the minister.
3. The production and circulation of the Question and Answer transcript, required to support the — false — claim that Cunliffe had lied or suffered serious memory loss, remains a mystery. Blogger Keith Ng’s instant judgment on it as a “wicked sick burn” is more than just a smart turn of phrase.
4. Nicky Hager’s chapter on the Cunliffe/Donghua letter in ‘Dirty Politics’ refers to a blogger called “Barnsley Bill”, who – on the day before the Cunliffe-Liu story “broke” on 18 June in the Herald – made this cryptic remark on Danyl McLauchlan’s blog, “The Dim Post“;
Within 24 hours the poll are going to be the least of David Cunliffes problems.
Keep an eye on the herald website, we are about to see pledge card theft relegated to second place as the biggest labour funding scandal.
Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 17, 2014 @ 10:21 am
Followed the next day with this;
There ya go. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11276510
Now wait for the 100k bottle of wine to drop
Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 18, 2014 @ 1:02 pm
“Barnsley Bill’s” reference to “the 100k bottle of wine” was made before the Herald published allegations of Liu spending $100,000 on a bottle of wine to the Labour Party. (Allegations which have since been re-tracted by the Herald.)
Maintaining his cryptic game-playing, “Barnsley Bill” referred on “The Daily Blog” to “look to Kerikeri for the leak” – which he pointedly repeated. Kerikeri is in the Northland Electorate. Northland is National MP, Mike Sabin’s electorate.
Mike Sabin is TV3 journalist, Brook Sabin’s father.
These are the people who knew about the 2003 Cunliffe letter before it was made public under OIA requests on 18 June. Those OIA requests were ‘smoke-screens’ as TV3, NZ Herald, and Whaleoil already had the documents, or had been informed of their content.
Those letters were provided by the Office of the Minister for Immigration.
Under Savage’s OIA request there was a deliberate, pointed paper-trail trail by Ministry officials. No doubt the civil servants involved had an idea what their Minister was up to, and wanted plausible deniability in case any investigation resulted. By contrast, no such paper trail exists to explain how Brook Sabin obtained his copy of the 2003 Cunliffe letter. Minister Woodhouse was clumsy.
This could have come directly from the Minister’s office.
As the Twitter discussion and “Barnsley Bill’s” cryptic, prescient, comments indicate, there were several people “in the loop” to what was clearly a calculated, planned, – if rushed – political trap and public smear campaign. Clearly, these people did not expect anyone to notice their public conversation.
Organised from a Minister’s office; with involvement by Cameron Slater, and with TV3 and NZ Herald complicity, David Cunliffe walked into that trap.
The truth is only now coming out.
Put the whole Twitter conversation together, and it is abundantly obvious that those involved knew that the story was coming out prior to the Ministry releasing the 2003 Cunliffe and 2002 Carter letters.
Herald Editor, Shane Currie certainly had fore-warning.
Appreciation to ‘Hercules‘ for providing information and filling in the gaps. Without your in-put, this story would never have come it.
Wikipedia: Shayne Curry
Document Cloud: David Cunliffe-Liu-Immigration NZ 2003 letter
Document Cache: Jared Savage OIA request 16 June 2014
Document Cache: Jared Savage OIA request declined 8 May 2014
Parliament Hansards: Daily debates – Volume 699, Week 75 – Wednesday, 18 June 2014
TV3: Cunliffe’s links to Liu (see video)
NZ Herald: Businessman gifts $150k to Labour Party
Document Cache: Jared Savage OIA request extension-approved 16 June 2014 8.59AM
Radio NZ: John Banks to resign from Parliament
Document Cache: Jared Savage – Immigration NZ – new OIA request – 16 June 1.04PM
Document Cache: Chris Carter – letter – 3 October 2002
Twitter: Pete – 12.12PM
Twitter: Pete – 12.23PM
Twitter: Shayne Currie – 12.28PM
Wanganui Chronicle: Wanganui man outed in Hager’s book
Document Cache: ImmigrationNZ Area Manager to 10 colleagues – 12.30PM
Document Cache: Immigration NZ – 18 June – 12.39PM
Document Cache: Immigration NZ – 18 June – 12.42PM
Twitter: Pete – 12.55PM
Twitter: Shayne Curry – 12.55PM
Twitter: Shayne Currie @ShayneCurrieNZH
Twitter: Keith Ng –
NZ Herald: Key on Liu-Labour Link – More to come
The Dim Post: June Polls – Barnsley Bill
The Dim Post: Entities – Barnsley Bill
Previous related blogposts
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 19 September 2014 as “The Donghua Liu Affair – how the NZ Herald played their part in #dirtypolitics”
= fs =
It had to happen, I guess… The media pack-campaign against Labour Leader David Cunliffe has managed to plumb new depths of absurdity.
On TV3, on 24 July, TV3/Tova O’Brien ran this report on their 6PM News bulletin, about Key’s face appearing – photo-shopped – on the cover of the “Rugby News“;
The print-version on the TV3 website had this to say on the story;
Key nestles in with the All Blacks
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has labelled the Prime Minister a poser and an imposter after yet another photo opportunity coup.
First it was tea with the Queen, then golf with United States President Barack Obama – now he’s managed to nestle in with some All Blacks on the cover of the Rugby News magazine.
“Some people will love it and some people will hate it,” says Mr Key.
With the All Blacks almost like royalty in New Zealand it could be seen as an endorsement, and Labour leader David Cunliffe is not impressed.
“I was surprised to see it,” he says. “It’s not often you see a major sporting body getting involved in politics.”
The New Zealand Rugby Union was forewarned by the magazine.
It did nothing but request a small disclaimer that Mr Key leading the pack wearing an All Blacks jersey was not an endorsement – it was photoshopped.
“I think I need to accept that I’d more than likely make it as a mascot than a player,” says Mr Key.
“It’s posing and impostering,” says Mr Peters. “You wouldn’t put an All Black jersey on unless you’re an All Black. He looks like an imposter.”
He did not request the cover, the magazine approached him and it does not breach any electoral laws.
Previous related blogposts
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 25 July 2014.
= fs =
If there is one thing that Tania Billingsley has raised in this country, it is focusing the glare of public scrutiny on New Zealand’s casually sexist and demeaning attitude toward women. Some refer to it as a “rape culture”, where men (and generally speaking, they are men) hold the most repulsive attitudes imaginable toward women.
I’m not even referring to rapists, molesters, and men who beat (and often kill) their partners senseless.
I’m referring to the casual acceptance of views toward women that are more suited to less enlightened societies, than a supposedly advanced, well-educated nation like ours. It is views of some men who – whilst not abusers and rapists themselves – are enablers of attitudes that empower the abusers and rapists by creating an ingrained belief that they are entitled to abuse and rape. Somewhere in the back of what passes for the minds of abusers and rapists are the comments they’ve read and heard elsewhere in society; that it is ok to mistreat and violate women. (Though they have to be over 16 to be abused and violated. Anyone under that, and the abuser/rapist is labelled a paedophile – which is evidently still ‘not ok” for misogynists. Yet. But working on it.)
The vileness of such attitudes is not just found on rabid social media pages where poorly-educated, and often insecure males (predominantly), click “Like” to show their solidarity with several hundred (a minority) other poorly-educated and often insecure males.
The mainstream media also has a culture of sexism, ranging from crass innuendo and exploitation of women, to outright violence.
Case in point is the media personality-cum-village-idiot, Paul Henry.
Henry has a track record in boorish behaviour, more befitting an immature, adolescent male, rather than a mature man who should know better.
As Mike Kilpatrick wrote for Fairfax media on 16 July, Henry’s obnoxiousness reached a nadir when he interviewed Dr Michelle Dickinson, a scientist working at Auckland University;
To quote the Auckland university directory, Dr Dickinson’s areas of expertise are;
Nanotechnology, Nanomechanical testing, Fracture Mechanics, Materials Engineering, Biomimetics, Calcified Biological Structures.
Dr Michelle Dickinson obtained her PhD from Rutgers University (USA) and her MEng from Manchester University (UK) in Biomedical Materials Engineering. She has previously held positions in industry which brings an applied focus to her academic research.
Her research is involved in measuring the mechanical properties of materials from the nanoscale through to the macro scale, specifically using indentation techniques.
She has a special interest in biological material behaviour and adapting traditional engineering measurement techniques and models to suit realistic biological testing conditions.
Dr Dickinson is a scientist with serious credentials*.
Which makes what followed next all the more jaw-droppingly unbelievable.
After a cursory interview with Dr Dickinson, Henry then asked a question of mind-blowing, crass sexism, as Kilpatrick explained in his Fairfax piece,
Henry then shows a photograph of Branson hugging Dickinson and then asks the question “Did you have sex with Richard Branson?”.
Note the question; “Did you have sex with Richard Branson?”.
For those with kevlar-lined stomachs, they can see the interview here. The offensive remarks are 5:21 into the interview.
To illustrate the sadly-all-too-predictable consequences of Henry’s comment, read the public comments – 425 as at this blogpost – which followed Kilpatrick’s story. Note the attitude of those who think that Henry’s comments are acceptable. Note the casualness of acceptance of a remark that, in other circumstance, would be utterly unacceptable in normal social circles, and result in oppobrium.
Is this to be the new benchmark standard for female guests for TV3?
What do female staff and management think of Henry’s remarks? Would they be comfortable if comments like that were directed at them? Or their daughters?
What does Sussan Turner, Group CEO of MediaWorks think of being asked – in public – who she’s recently had sex with?
Perhaps Clare Bradley, Legal Counsel/Company Secretary; Siobhan McKenna, Chief Executive Officer (Interactive); Wendy Palmer, Chief Executive Officer (Radio); Liz Fraser, Director of Sales & Marketing; Katie Mills, Group Marketing Director (Radio); and Jana Rangooni, General Manager (Talk Brands), et al, might like to offer answers to Paul Henry’s questioning of their own sex lives?
If not, why do TV3 executives think that such comments directed at Dr Dickinson were remotely acceptable?
Allow me to remind TV3 executives, producers, staff, and presenters;
- It is not ok to treat women like that.
- It is not ok to have it beamed into our homes.
- It is not ok to give voice to a culture of sexist denigration.
- And it is not ok to dismiss it as just “humour”. There is nothing remotely funny about sexist denigration.
After all, this is precisely why 99% of New Zealanders were so horrified at the degrading behaviour of a group of young men calling themselves “Roastbusters”.
At least the “Roastbusters” had the excuse of youthful stupidity (a crime I was guilty of, in my own youth).
Paul Henry has no such excuse. He is a supposedly mature, responsible, 54 year old man.
I agree with Mike Kilpatrick. Henry’s comment was beyond the pale. He must resign, or be sacked. Unless New Zealanders are comfortable with more and more abhorrent, gutter-level attitudes being expressed by “media personalities” and broadcast into our homes, this kind of behaviour cannot be allowed to become a new norm.
Changing channels is not a practical option. Not if this kind of behaviour is to be normalised throughout the electronic media.
No wonder Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris were able to inflict their decades-long reign of predatory-terror on hundreds of children and women. It had become acceptable and normalised. No one thought to speak out. And if they did, the new normality meant their cries for help fell on deaf ears.
Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris were also funny men.
Their behaviour was anything but.
Well, Mike Kilpatrick has spoken out. And I add my voice to his. I refuse to give assent by silence. I refuse to turn my back on behaviour that, to fair-minded people, is just plain unacceptable.
TV3 – Paul Henry has no place in broadcasting.
He must go.
* Though all women, regardless of education achievements, professional status, etc, should be treated with respect and not with degrading sexist attitudes that are demeaning and promote a culture of casual misogyny.
Email sent to TV3;
from: Frank Macskasy <email@example.com>
to: Producers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
cc: Mark Jennings <email@example.com>
date: Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 12:10 AM
subject: Paul Henry Show – Asking a female guest if she’s had sex with a businessman – is this OK?
Please refer below to a draft of a story which I intend to publish regarding remarks made by Paul Henry on his show, on 15 July and directed at his guest, Dr Michelle Dickinson.
I would appreciate your response to the issues I have raised and what remedies, if any, Mediaworks intends to make before I proceed further.
Your comment s would be appreciated.
[Draft copy of this blogpost included as in-text]
I received a response the same day;
from: Paul Henry Show <PaulHenryShow@mediaworks.co.nz>
to: Frank Macskasy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date: Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 5:26 PM
subject: RE: Paul Henry Show – Asking a female guest if she’s had sex with a businessman – is this OK?
Dear Mr Macskasy
TV3’s company culture is one that highly values equality and equal opportunity. Our news and current affairs division has often led the debate on how women are treated in New Zealand culture, including two of the instances you mention – a 3 News investigation uncovered the Roast Busters group and led the subsequent coverage, and Tania Billingsley recently told her story on 3rd Degree.
The question line taken by Paul in Tuesday night’s interview with Dr Michelle Dickinson was checked with her before the interview, and Dr Dickinson has confirmed she was not offended at the time, and is not offended now. The question was not asked without Dr Dickinson’s okay. She is an intelligent and articulate person who has appeared on the show many times and can hold her own with Paul (and anyone else). Dr Dickinson has since made her views on the interview clear and it is worth paying her the respect of reading her blog at http://sciblogs.co.nz/nanogirl/2014/07/17/science-sexism-and-the-media/
For the record we completely reject the comparisons your email makes between Paul Henry, and the actions of the Roast Busters group and of renowned paedophiles Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris. Such comparisons are irresponsible, lacking in fairness and balance, and verging on defamatory.
I’m afraid it’s just not possible to take your blog or questions about TV3 seriously when they are written from a position of such ignorance.
Group Head of Corporate Communications
Executive Producer, Paul Henry Show
For the record, I did read Ms Dickinson’s sciblog post, and have several points to make;
- My criticism of TV3 and Paul Henry in no way reflects on Ms Dickinson or her professional career. Dr Dickinson can in no way be held responsible or associated with things that Paul Henry said.
- This issue is wider than Dr Dickinson herself, and if muppets like Henry can get away with asking obnoxious questions from a highly respected; well-educated; professional woman – then no one else is safe from his prurient “humour”. It was not too long ago that Willie Jackson and John Tamihere were suspended as radio-hosts from RadioLive, after comments were directed to a woman about her sex life, after she disclosed on-air that she had been raped as a 14-year-old.
- I sympathise with Ms Dickinson’s remark in her blogpost; “I feel passionately about providing our daughters with a positive role model for an educated female who is successful in a very male dominated field“. The question is – how does being questioned about one’s sex-life help our daughters to be successful in male dominated fields?
- Dr Dickinson further writes; “Yes, I’m not naive to the reputation that Paul has and I go on to his show prepared for a question that may be slightly off topic or controversial, but I’m an intelligent female who works in a very male dominated field, and I’m used to inappropriate and sexist comments and questions, it goes with the territory of being a female engineer! Perhaps my past experience of being the only woman in a meeting (and asked to make the tea), or being told that if I want to be taken seriously I need to wear shoes with less of a heel as they could distract the men in the room has made me a little immune to sexism and a little more tolerant of comments that I should be offended by.” Should we not be offended by such remarks? And should we not do more than just being offended?
- Should boofheads like Paul Henry not be challenged when they make disparaging sexist comments to women they would never dream of making to male guests? Just as scientists once challenged authority on much-cherished beliefs that the world was flat and the sun orbited the Earth or that disease was caused by ‘humors’ of the body?
- Ms Lorimer and Ms MacMillan seem more keen to label me as “ignorant” rather than addressing the issues I raised in my blogpost. Does this mean they have no answers to the criticisms I have levelled? They certainly have studiously avoided the questions I put to them;
- Is this to be the new benchmark standard for female guests for TV3?
- What do female staff and management think of Henry’s remarks? Would they be comfortable if comments like that were directed at them? Or their daughters?
- What does Sussan Turner, Group CEO of MediaWorks think of being asked – in public – who she’s recently had sex with?
- Perhaps Clare Bradley, Legal Counsel/Company Secretary; Siobhan McKenna, Chief Executive Officer (Interactive); Wendy Palmer, Chief Executive Officer (Radio); Liz Fraser, Director of Sales & Marketing; Katie Mills, Group Marketing Director (Radio); and Jana Rangooni, General Manager (Talk Brands), et al, might like to offer answers to Paul Henry’s questioning of their own sex lives?
- If not, why do TV3 executives think that such comments directed at Dr Dickinson were remotely acceptable?
Fairly simple, straight-forward questions I would have thought?
Or perhaps they would prefer to discuss their sex-lives, if it’s easier?
A list of companies advertising during the Paul Henry Show on 16 July;
NIB Health Cover
Southern Cross Health
Early Settlers (furniture)
Future Finance (futurefinance.co.nz)
Dependent on TV3’s actions to follow, this blogger will be contacting the above advertisers next and posing three very simple questions; do they want to be associated with a TV show that promotes sexist denigration of women? Do they want to risk having their reputations tarnished when this story goes ‘viral’ in the blogosphere and social media? And is this what they are paying their expensive ad-slot times for?
Fairfax media: Just when you thought Paul Henry couldn’t sink lower…
Auckland University: Dr Michelle Emma Dickinson
Fairfax media: Just when you thought Paul Henry couldn’t sink lower
NZ Herald: Roast Busters: RadioLive hosts taken off air
Sciblogs: Science, sexism and the media
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 19 July 2014.
= fs =
Over a year ago, in March 2013, I raised the issue of cellphone users not being polled by the major polling companies, with the exception of Roy Morgan. To polling companies such as Reid Research, UMR, Ipsos, Colmar Brunton, Digipoll, etc, people who rely solely on cellphones are “invisible” when it comes to surveying.
As I wrote on 8 March last year,
“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.”
The importance of this fact was highlighted in last year’s Census, which reported on 3 December 2013 that 14.5% of households did not have access to a landline,
“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.”
I then wrote on 12 December,
“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;
As the only pollster to call respondants’ cellphones, Roy Morgan is the most credible polling company and the one to watch.
Expect other polling companies to follow suit and call respondants via their cellphones – or risk being ignored and becoming irrelevant.”
It was therefore amusing to see this TV3 “news” story on 6 July
As the story stated;
The rise of the mobile phone is casting a shadow over the reliability of traditional telephone polling…
In fact, he says it is not just young people who are rejecting landlines. The latest census data shows 86 percent of households have a landline, down from 92 percent in 2006.
And only eight months since I pointed out that the increasing sole-reliance on cellphones in many households made land-line-calling, as a sole means of contacting respondents, somewhat dubious.
Interestingly, TV3 journo, Emma Jolliff – who penned the story – wrote,
“…because there is no directory of mobile phone numbers those people are essentially off the grid to pollsters.”
Stats NZ: Release Calendar
Previous related blogposts
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 8 July 2014.
= fs =
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.
The Daily Blog: The Patrick Gower Hour of Power
Polity: Heads, talking
The Standard: A tale of two journalists
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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.”
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Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 February 2014.
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