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.”
Dominion Post: Govt spent $500,000 on boozy functions
The Press: Jenny Shipley on Cera review panel
TV3 News: January 27 6PM Bulletin
Previous related blogposts
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 February 2014.
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Continued from: The GCSB law – vague or crystal clear?
On TV3 News, this remarkable piece of “journalism”,
Acknowledgement: TV3 News
The media in this country are asleep at the wheel. Or drugged. Something.
Their lazy interpretation of events (when they even bother to cover stories of national importance – see: Poisoned Legacy: Why is the News Media and the Left so bad at defending our freedoms?) has gone beyond incompetance – and is now firmly in the land of mis-information.
A prime example of various new media was Tova O’Brien on the evening of Wednesday 22 May 2013 on TV3 News. At about 6.5-6.10pm (and later that evening), she covered the on-going story of Paul Neazor’s report into the GCSB.
O’Brien stated matter of factly,
“The GCSB’s been cleared of breaking the law, but only just. The law ‘s so opaque it’s open to interpretation.The Prime Minister won’t won’t release the report into the spying on those eightyeight New Zealanders because it’s top secret, leaving the Opposition to continue to openly interpret it’s findings.”
Has she or her news team actually read the f*****g Act?!?!
They can’t have. Otherwise they would know the following parts of the law,
Section 14 of the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 states,
Restrictions imposed on interceptions
14 Interceptions 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.
Furthermore, the Act states in at least two parts, precisely who the GCSB may collect data on;
7. Objective of Bureau
(1) The objective of the Bureau is to contribute to the national security of New Zealand by providing—
- (a) foreign intelligence that the Government of New Zealand requires to protect and advance—
- (i) the security or defence of New Zealand; or
- (ii) the international relations of the Government of New Zealand; or
- (iii) New Zealand’s international well-being or economic well-being; and
- (b) foreign intelligence to meet international obligations and commitments of the Government of New Zealand; and
- (c) advice, assistance, and protection to departments of State and other instruments of the Executive Government of New Zealand in order to—
- (i) protect and enhance the security of their communications, information systems, and computer systems; or
- (ii) protect their environments from electronic or other forms of technical surveillance by foreign organisations or foreign persons.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a)(iii), the interests of New Zealand’s international well-being or economic well-being are relevant only to the extent that they are affected by the actions or intentions of foreign organisations or foreign persons.
- (a) foreign intelligence that the Government of New Zealand requires to protect and advance—
13. Purpose of Part
The purpose of this Part is,—
- (a) subject to the restrictions imposed by this Part, to enable the Bureau to obtain foreign intelligence; and
(b) to authorise the interception of communications (whether under section 16 or under an interception warrant or a computer access authorisation) only if the purpose of the interception is to obtain foreign intelligence.
The law surrounding the GCSB is most certainly not “opaque”. It fairly strait forward to anyone with a Primary School grasp of the Queen’s English.
What part of “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“ - do journos not understand?!
FFS!! It’s there in black and white!
The only people who’ve been seriously promoting the meme that the Act is somehow “vague” or “unclear” are the Prime Minister – not exactly noted for being 100% honest with the public – and his appointed minion, GCSB Director, Ian Fletcher.
I’ll point out here and now, this isn’t directed at O’Brien. She simply happens to be the most recent case of sloppy journos who have obviously not bothered to look up the relevant act – because otherwise they would be fully aware that the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 is actually fairly damned clear and unequivocal. I’ll print the relevant section again – In. Big. Red. Letters.
“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” ?!
The most dangerous aspect of this sloppy journalism is that the public will take people like O’Brien, or at TVNZ, or the Dominion Post, or NZ Herald, or any number of radio stations at face value. The public will not be bothered to look up the relevant legislation.
And why should they? Aren’t we entitled to have a degree of faith in the media to know what the heck they’re talking about?
Each time I catch some lazy journo pushing the government-orchestrated meme that the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 is “unclear” or “vague” – I’ll be on their sad arses pointing out their laziness and sloppy journalism.
This is serious shit, people. National intends to pass laws allowing even more invasion of our privacy; more spying; and increased State power.
If it was Labour doing this, the MSM would be baying for blood and screaming “nanny state!”. But when it comes to National and it’s right wing agenda, all we get is mis-informed “news” that is not based in any reality I’m familiar with.
Jesus, all I’m asking is that the media get their story straight.
When did that ever become something we have to ask for?
It’s simple. Do your job.
For one last time,
“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” ?!
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 23 May 2013.
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Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – TV3′s owners in receivership
Stupidity heaped upon government incompetence – there is no other way to describe the fiasco that Solid Energy has become since National took office in 2008. Whether it was National Ministers encouraging Solid Energy to expand their operations during a time of recession or forcing it to borrow huge sums and then pay it to the National government as “dividends” – Key, English, Joyce, et al have a lot to answer for.
It is not often that a government will run a SOE into the ground and then blame others for their incompetance. (See previous blogpost: Solid Energy – A solid drama of facts, fibs, and fall-guys )
News that Solid Energy may be planning to sell 3,500 hectares of land, and which may be purchased by offshore investors, is the final humiliation.
At this stage, I will make the following point;
- I don’t care if a foreign purchaser resides in Boston, Berlin, or Beijing. The negative economic consequences to New Zealand are all the same.
- Rightwingers maintain that it doesn’t matter if the land is sold into foreign ownership; “no one can take it away”. But that’s not the point. It’s not the land that is removed – but the profits generated for owners. It is dividends to overseas investors that can be “taken away”, thereby reducing our income; worsening our balance of payments; and ultimately pushing up interest rates.
- Land sales to overseas investors denies the birthright of all New Zealanders to participate in land based enterprises. It is difficult for young people to buy a farm when competing with wealthy investors from Boston, Berlin, or Beijing. In the end, those young New Zealand may end up tenants in our own country – which Dear Leader himself said was not desirable (see: PM warns against Kiwis becoming ‘tenants’ ).
The most common sense solution to this problem (I refuse to call it an “issue”) is simple and straightforward.
If local buyers cannot be found, the land should be transferred to SOE Landcorp, to hold it in stewardship. Good, productive farmland could be later sold/leased to young New Zealanders who want to get on the first rung of the ladder to farm ownership.
Selling/leasing to the next generation of New Zealanders – our children – is a sound way to give them opportunities in our own country.
Why we would deny them that birthright and instead prefer to sell to faceless foreign investors, sitting in offices halfway around the word, defies understanding.
As Bruce Jesson said in his book, about the neo-liberal mentality to sell off everything to the highest bidder, and bugger the consequences; Only their Purpose is Mad.
Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – MediaWorks in receivership
It is a great shame that Mediaworks is in this position. Their flagship broadcaster, TV3, has raised the quality and standard of programming in this country. Unlike the mediocre rubbish on state-owned TVNZ, TV3 has treated the viewer with a fair measure of respect.
Programmes like Campbell Live, Outrageous Fortune, and Inside Child Poverty have been nuggets of gold at a time when mainstream media is dumbing down faster than John Banks’ integrity post-Skycity and Dotcom donations scandal.
This leftwing blogger wishes the company all the best for the future; fervantly hopes that no one loses their job; and looks forward to more high-quality programming from TV3.
See more at The Daily Blog by Selwyn Manning: Breaking News: New Company Newco Positions To Purchase MediaWorks Off Receivers
The biggest problem and greatest threat from National Standards is the American phenomenon, “Teaching to Tests”. As Gordon Campbell wrote, four years ago when National Standards were first mooted by the Nats,
The main risk is that national testing will foster mechanical ways of assessing of children’s learning, as teachers get pressured into ‘teaching to the test’ – thus narrowing what they teach, and fuelling a focus on simplistic measuring rather than on creating a richer, and more child-oriented environment.
Quite simply, what this means is that for schools to “look good” in league tables (another right wing invention that inevitably follows National Standards), they will be pressured to teach students solely to answer tests. Nothing more, nothing less.
Because otherwise, a school risks looking poorly in National Standards results. Couple this with “performance related pay”, and “teaching to the test” to guarantee a high ranking in League Tables, becomes a dead cert.
Parents should not only be worried – they should be downright angry. This undermines our education system and turns it into a farce. Kids become expert at answering tests – but not much more. Problem-solving, initiative, increased knowledge, and even more tradition curricula, become secondary.
Because, really, if we’re going to have “performance related pay”, then teachers will make damn sure that their school doesn’t fall behind in any National Standard and subsequent League Table.
Interestingly, China, Sth Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong are also at the top of the OECD PISA scale. International education scholar, Yong Zhao (see bio here), pointed out why in December 2010;
… China has become the best education nation, or at least according to some experts and politicians. Chinese students (a sample from Shanghai) outscored 64 countries/education systems on the most recent PISA, OECD’s international academic assessment for 15 year olds in math, reading, and science…
I don’t know why this is such a big surprise to these well educated and smart people. Why should anyone be stunned? It is no news that the Chinese education system is excellent in preparing outstanding test takers, just like other education systems within the Confucian cultural circle—Singapore, Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong…
That’s the secret: when you spend all your time preparing for tests, and when students are selected based on their test-taking abilities, you get outstanding test scores.
Is this education?. Or is this a corruption of education and turning our children into mass-trained cogs, able to pass tests, but not much more in terms of free-thinking and expanding knowledge?
Make no mistake. This is setting us up for failure in the decades to come.
Perhaps, instead we should be looking at the Finnish experience,
In his country, Dr. Darling-Hammond said later in an interview, teachers typically spend about four hours a day in the classroom, and are paid to spend two hours a week on professional development. At the University of Helsinki, where he teaches, 2,400 people competed last year for 120 slots in the (fully subsidized) master’s program for schoolteachers. “It’s more difficult getting into teacher education than law or medicine,” he said.
Dr. Sahlberg puts high-quality teachers at the heart of Finland’s education success story — which, as it happens, has become a personal success story of sorts, part of an American obsession with all things Finnish when it comes to schools…
Both Dr. Darling-Hammond and Dr. Sahlberg said a turning point was a government decision in the 1970s to require all teachers to have master’s degrees — and to pay for their acquisition. The starting salary for school teachers in Finland, 96 percent of whom are unionized, was about $29,000 in 2008, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, compared with about $36,000 in the United States.
More bear than tiger, Finland scorns almost all standardized testing before age 16 and discourages homework, and it is seen as a violation of children’s right to be children for them to start school any sooner than 7, Dr. Sahlberg said during his day at Dwight. He spoke to seniors taking a “Theory of Knowledge” class, then met with administrators and faculty members.
“The first six years of education are not about academic success,” he said. “We don’t measure children at all. It’s about being ready to learn and finding your passion.”
Acknowledgement: New York Times – From Finland, an Intriguing School-Reform Model
1. Don’t vote for National in 2014.
2. Look at Finland for our answers to improve education – not the US which is lower on the OECD PISA ranking than us. (Finland is near the top.)
3. Be wary of simplistic rightwing agendas.
Gordon Campbell: National Education Tests, And Michael Jackson
The Political Scientist: National Standards and Neanderthals – “They will know what is required …” – Part I
The Political Scientist: National Standards and Neanderthals – “They will know what is required …” – Part II
The Political Scientis: National Standards and Neanderthals – “They will know what is required …” – Part III
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Continued from: Nothing quite sez Rich Man’s Conference than this event
I’ve always believed that the Left’s ability for in-fighting and self-mutilation is without peer. Our ability to attack each other – whilst the barbarian hordes of neo-liberals run rampant through our societies – is without peer, I’ve thought. (The self-destruction of the Alliance Party, in 2001, was a recent example of this.)
I was wrong.
There are times when the Right can be equally adept when it comes to bouts of masocistic self-harm.
The recent ACT conference at Alan Gibbs’ farm-estate at Kaukapakapa, about 50kms north of Auckland, was an eye-opener.
First of all, the choice of holding a Party conference at an isolated Rich White Man’s farm-estate, complete with bizarre multi-million dollar “art” and a private zoo…
Pray tell, ACT Party – precisely what message were you thinking of sending to the public of New Zealand?
That ACT chooses to be isolated from the rest of society, and stand apart from other New Zealanders?
That ACT is a Rich White Man’s Party?
That ACT surrounds itself with the trappings of an eccentric millionaire (who is absent from New Zealand most of the year), whilst unemployment, child poverty, and growing wealth-income divide worsens?
If those were the messages – consider them received and understood.
Secondly – who let the clowns out, ha, ha-ha, ha!
Rodney Hides “performance” on Saturday, 23 February was gob-smacking.
It’s pretty fair to say that I am no friend of ACT or the Right Wing in general. But even I was embarressed at Hide’s weird behaviour in front of media cameras, and felt truly sorry for all those ACT Party activists who work their butts off at elections.
But don’t take my word for it – see for yourself. The ‘action’ rolls from 0:40 to 1:30 on TV3′s video,
That kind of bizarre, blokey ‘humour’ might be fine amongst friends and colleagues, away from the public eye. But televised to the entire nation, the message it sends me is,
- Rodney Hide doesn’t give a sh*t anymore
- Rodney Hide just gave the metaphorical “fingers” to the whole country
- Arrogance and inappropriate ‘humour’ is a bad mix – especially in public.
By the way. It may escape folks attention, but Hide’s outburst against TV3 was the height of irony.
ACT is a Party that supports free enterprise and business.
Mediaworks (TV3′s parent body) is privately owned business.
ACT supports businesses because they are supposedly more efficient than the State.
TV3′s journalists are highly effective at their profession.
So what’s the problem between ACT and a business such as TV3?
If TV3′s journos are doing well at investigating and probing politicians and their Parties – then that’s free enterprise doing what it ought to; providing a service to consumers; selling advertising; and returning a profit to shareholders.
Anyone would think that ACT is hostile to free enterprise.
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From the Sunday Star Times (scanned hard-copy – on-line version locked behind a Fairfax paywall) on 14 October,
Andrea Vance is correct; most polls have shown a steady decline for National (with the exception of those at specific moments when issues surrounding Maori claims over water rights are in the headlines) since the general election last year.
John Key’s teflon coating is patchy at best, as scandals; incompetance; and a stagnating economy is showing up National as singularly inept at any measure of governance.
A TV3 poll tonight (24 Oct) was even more bad news for these ministerial muppets,
The four relevant questions asked of respondents were,
1. Do you agree National has done a good job in terms of building a brighter future?
- 49% said no;
- 46% said yes;
- 5% did not know.
- 57% said no;
- 36% said yes;
- 7% did not know.
- 58% said no;
- 32% said yes;
- 9% did not know.
- 49 percent said yes;
- 42 percent said no.
Key’s responses to each of these four questions is reported here: National’s bright future not here yet – poll
Some of his comments are laughable. Actually, no. All his comments are a joke. If anything, his responses to these poll results are a scathing indictment of National’s arrogance and disconnect from the public.
Which brings us to Peter Dunne.
National is in power only because of complicity by John Banks and Dunne.
Dunne’s history began in 1984, as a Labour MP. From there, he jumped from one Party to another; Labour; United New Zealand; United Future New Zealand; and join coalitions led by both National, then Labour, and back to National again in 2008.
Dunne is a political chameleon – able to re-shape and re-form to suit his political environment, as governments come and go. Unlike that other Great Survivor, Winston Peters, Dunne has the unmatched record of rarely having been out of government. Any government.
He has outlasted Lange, Palmer, Moore, Bolger, Shipley, and Clarke – and is now onto his seventh Prime Minister, John Key.
Whatever “political viagra” the man is on, he could make a vast fortune selling it globally, to other politicians.
Political journalist, Andrea Vance, has suggested in her 14 October article that,
“As Labour begin to pick up in the polls… Dunne is the kid on the sidelines, eyes screwed shut, willing David Shearer to pick me, pick me”.”
For many people in this country, and this blogger included, Peter Dunne has burnt his bridges with the social democratic left.
His vote in Parliament, to enable the passing of legislation to facilitate the 49% sell-down of Mighty River Power, Genesis, Meridian, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand, is a step too far. (See: The asset partial sell-off can begin)
With the passing of the Mixed Ownership Model Bill into law on 27 June, Peter Dunne well and truly nailed his colours to the mast – despite even a poll on his own website receiving an over-whelming ‘no’ vote, and many comments critical of asset sales.
The poll was taken down soon after it began to attract public attention. (Evidently the outcome was not to Mr Dunne’s satisfaction?)
So much for asking the public to “let us know your views“.
Unless we see a threat of a possible third term for National (and one hopes the voting public is not that capricious), Shearer, the Greens, Peters, and Harawira should have nothing to do with Dunne.
His politics is best described as prostitutionism – with about as much ethics shown as a Wall Street banker or back street crack-dealer.
Dunne has utterly betrayed his own country by supporting the sale – theft - of state assets. Considering he has been part of three terms of a Labour-led government – to then support neo-liberal policies shows a lack of principled behaviour.
What was he doing in a Labour-led government in the first place?
What else is he willing to do to keep ministerial “baubles of power”?
A new Labour-led government, starting afresh and addressing many of the social inequities and economic imbalances afflicting our country, should leave behind the dross of previous administrations.
The next government should be a principled one. And Peter Dunne has none of the necessary qualities that would make him a credible fit with such a new administration.
Take note, Mr Shearer; you need to start your new Administration on the very best footing. Peter Dunne will provide the opposite.
Mr Shearer; do you really want the left-overs of a failed National “government” at your Cabinet table?
As the Member for Ohariu once said,
” We understand clearly that the only reason for our existence is to represent the voice of the people in our parliament. We believe that any party that is not constantly in touch with the views of the people is simply not doing its job. In this space you can read what others think on key issues, and you can let us know your views.” – Peter Dunne, “Have your Say Polls”, United Future website (since deleted)
Clean sweep, Mr Shearer, clean sweep.
Whilst Dunne’s website has closed down the Poll and the many posted comments are lost on his website, Blogger Robert Guyton had the presence of mind to C&P and re-post many of the posted comments on his blog.
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Tracy Watkins is the Dominion Post’s political editor and has been reporting on politics from the parliamentary press gallery for over a decade. She writes many, if not most, of the political stories for Fairfax Media (the Australian owner of the Dompost and other newspapers).
So she’s no ‘newbie’ and should know what’s going on politically.
Last weekend (18/19 August), Ms Watkins was a guest on Russell Brown’s “Media3“, and top of the discussion was Fairfax’s new pollster, Ipsos, one of the biggest polling corporations on the planet.
Ipsos delivered it’s first poll-results at the end of July,
This blogger wrote an analysis of the Fairfax/Ipsos poll, and concluded that we are still on-track for a change of government in 2014 – if not earlier.
One of the most interesting aspects of the poll was the ‘revelation’ that John Key was becoming a polarising figure amongst the public,
” A new poll has found Prime Minister John Key is increasingly becoming a polarising figure – especially among women…
… Left wing commentator Bryce Edwards said there was a noticeable hardening in attitudes against Key, in line with the perception of a growing ideological divide with the Left, which opposes the sales.
“I sense more hostility towards him than there was, but I get the sense it’s among those who are predisposed to be against him.”
But after a year with the headlines dominated by asset sales, ACC, Nick Smith’s sacking, class sizes and the economy, Key is even losing his gloss among National voters, with one in four saying they hold a worse opinion of him than a year ago. “
Russell Brown raised this issue with Ms Watkins, @ 12.40 into programme.
Most interesting was this exchange between Russell Brown and Tracy Watkins,
Russell Brown: ” Was there anything in that first round about how people were feeling that surprised you?“
Tracy Watkins: ” There was actually and that was as a journalist it was a big call for me.
We had a story in the Sunday Star Time talking about how John Key had become more polarising. And I sort of struggled with that one because as a journalist you would say, ‘Ok well it’s not surprising that, y’know, people who don’t vote for national don’t like John Key’.
But we had the benefit of the open ended questions and the thousand responses from people. And Duncan Stuart , who’s a really amazing pollster who works for Ipsos , he made the call that Key was becoming more polarising on the basis that some of the comments about Key were very strong and very disparaging and that was something that as a political commentator I hadn’t really come across before.”
(@17.57 into the programme)
It seems unbelievable. Tracy Watkins who, as one of Fairfax’s most experienced political journalists, viewed Key’s increasing polarising effect as something she “hadn’t really come across before” ?!?!
Where does Ms Watkins live – the dark side of the Moon?
It seems astounding that a journalist of Ms Watkins’ long service could be so out of touch with public sentiment. Indeed, she went on say,
“And about Ipsos, behind it, I might’ve gone out into the street and asked ten people; what do you think about John Key, but I still wouldn’t have written saying he’s become polarising…”
(@18.40 into the programme)
You wouldn’t have written a story about John Key becoming more polarising, even with public feedback telling you directly how people were feeling?!?!
Little wonder, Ms Watkins; you seem to be out of touch with public sentiment.
There is no secret here and growing public dissatisfaction with Key has been blindingly obvious, especially since last years’ elections. A cursory look at blogs; internet fora; and the proliferation of anti-Key/anti-National pages on social websites should be enough to offer a clue that Dear Leader is no longer quite so beloved by many New Zealanders.
When Key was first elected as Prime Minister, those who had no love for National waited with bated breath as to how he would perform.
As time went by, and with an inept government that seems to be incapable of generating the jobs that they promised us last year, that nonchalence slowly morphed into an irritation; and then resentment; and now outright anger. This feeling has been generated by implementation of hardline policies that voters had only a barest understanding. It is a feeling that has been growing for the last nine months, and which was reflected in steadily dropping polls and weakening support for Key as preferred Prime Minister.
How could Tracy Watkins have missed all this?
It should not take a polling company from overseas to acquaint a seasoned political reporter with over ten years’ experience as to what her own countrymen and women are feeling. When politicians lose touch with the public, we view that with distaste.
When a journalist loses touch, that is cause for grave concern.
What else is she missing?
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TVNZ7′s impending demise is already attracting corporate “vultures”, even before the body is dead and cold.
TV3 has agreed to take up ‘Media7‘ (renaming it ‘Media3‘) on their own channel, and adding it to their other current afairs shows; ‘The Nation‘, ‘Three60‘, and ‘Think Tank‘, from August onwards.
Whilst it’s better than losing ‘Media7′ entirely, one cannot help but feel a measure of ongoing disappointment.
For one thing, the fragmentation of non-commercial public television to other TV networks dilutes any sense of cultural identity and value. Sandwiched between ads for beer; food-porn; and grim US crime ‘dramas’ (with their usual high body-count of predominantly female victims), does not lend mana to serious television production.
Secondly, broadcasting ‘Media7‘ on a non-commercial station gave it credibility. It critiqued issues surrounding commercial media without fear or favour, as it had no commercial imperatives of it’s own, looking over it’s shoulder.
By contrast, in early March of this year, TV1′s ‘Fair Go‘ was molested by TVNZ management when they were ordered ‘Fair Go’s‘ staff to take commercial imperatives into account when carrying out their investigative journalism.
This issue was brought before Parliament’s Commerce Committee by Labour’s broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran.
Jeff Latch – Head of TV1 & TV2, replied to allegations of management interference by saying it “wasn’t an instruction, per se“.
“The key points I made at that meeting was that the heart of Fair Go for the past 20 odd years it has been on television, is that it represents the underdog and the small guy and stands up for them.
“I also made the observation we operate in a commercial environment and Fair Go, like all our programmes, need to exercise care in the way they handle stories.”
Yeah, right. Whatever.
Latch was caught with his pants down around his ankles, doing an “indecent media deed” to a TV show dedicated to serious investigative journalism. Cut to the chase; this was a naked attempt to interfere with ‘Fair Go’s‘ impartiality, on behalf of commercial interests (aka, advertisers).
This is that sort of thing that ‘Media
7 3‘ will have to be concerned with. It should be noted that TV3 is owned by Media Works – which also owns C4, tv station Four, ten radio stations, and eighteen interactive websites. How will Media Works management react if/when ‘Media 3‘ critique some aspect of any one of their subsidiaries? Or a high-spending advertising client becomes involved?
There are potential problems associated with a commercial media corporation taking over a media show that critiques other media.
‘Fair Go‘ has proven that corporate executives just can’t help theselves. They have the power; human nature cannot resist using it. After 2014, an incoming Green-Labour led government must address this critical issue,
- A new public broadcaster must be set up, or,
- Conversely TV1 must be de-commercialised
- Any public broadcaster must be placed at arms-length to political interference
- Funding must be ring-fenced, and entrenched by contractual-law, as well as legislation.
This blogger will write more on this issue, shortly.
= fs =
In my previous blogpost, Why Hekia Parata should not be sacked, I outlined three reasons why Minister Parata should not be sacked from her role as Minister of Education.
In essence, though her policy of increasing class size and cutting teacher numbers was unpopular with the country, she had done nothing inappropriate (that we know of) or underhand. Unpopularity, by itself, is a poor reason to sack any elected representative – or else we’d be having elections to fill vacancies on a weekly basis.
The same, however, cannot be said of ACC Minister, Judith Collins.
There has been some very dodgy dealings going on at the very highest levels and Minister Collins has been implicated in events that have yet to be adequately explained,
- Who leaked Bronwyn Pullar’s name to the NZ Herald?
- Who leaked Ms Pullar’s information to a certain right-wing blogger?
- What was right-wing activist, and National Party apparatchik, Simon Lusk’s involvement in this issue?
- Did Collins know that the report from ACC contained falsehoods?
- If the answer to #4 is in the affirmative, when did she become aware of the falsehoods?
- Why has Minister Collins not called for an investigation into the authors of the report?
Instead of acting decisively to get to the bottom of this extraordinary matter, Collins’ reaction has been to… issue demation lawsuits against Labour MPs Andrew Little and Trevor Mallard!? How does suing MPs, who are asking hard questions, help clear up this murky affair?
It is clear to even the most partisan National supporter that ACC’s management was out of control and engaging in dubious activities. At the very least, the Police complaint laid by ACC against Bronwyn Pullar appears to constitute an offence of wasting Police time.
Minister Collins appears not only to have done nothing to resolve this unmitigated mess – but appears to have some form degree of involvement, yet to be determined.
John Key has no option. He must stand down Judith Collins immediatly and ensure than any and all investigations include her office as well.
What we are seeing is the tip of the iceberg – and god knows what lies beneath the surface.
Judith Collins must go.
= fs =
After a damning interview on TV3′s ‘60 Minutes‘, Bronwyn Pullar and ex-National Party president, Michelle Boag, left the viewer in little doubt that there were serious concerns surrounding ACC’s management and Judith Collin’s handling of the entire affair.
”What is clear is that ACC deals with a huge number of complaints, a huge amount of data and there are always people who feel the system hasn’t treated them fairly and that is partly because the big dispute always comes around the definition of a pre-existing condition.
That at one level is at the heart of what sits with this Bronwyn Pullar claim.”
Since when did Dear Leader become privy to Ms Pullar’s personal file to such an extent that he could utter pronouncements that she had a “pre-existing condition ” ?!
Not since Welfare Minister, Paula Bennett, accessed and mis-used the personal files of two women on the domestic purposes benefit has a Minister referred to a private citizens personal details.
Dear Leader’s desperation is becoming obvious when he becomes a self-professed expert on medical “pre existing conditions” and attempts to mis-use his position of Ministerial authority to try to dis-credit a critic of his administration.
Rob Muldoon would’ve been proud.
A word to the wise, Dear Leader – keep your nose out of other people’s business and their personal files.
= fs =
- End of the Week Bouquets, Brickbats, & Epic Fails -
TV3′s current affairs “chat” show, “Think Tank” is hosted by John Tamihere, on Sunday mornings. This half hour programme discusses critical issues confronting our nation, but in a low-key, constructive manner. There are no flashy graphics; no distracting backgrounds; and the guests are encouraged to offer their views without being talked over by other guests or the host.
The only slight criticism? that this excellent show is “ghettoised” on Sunday mornings (alongside TVs’s “The Nation” and TVNZ’s “Q+A”).
It would be a radical moment in our media history if “Think Tank” (as well as “Q+A” and “The Nation”) were re-scheduled for prime-time evening viewing. The public might actually be exposed to intelligent viewing for a change.
Shayne Currie (Editor, New Zealand Herald)
Who tweeted (@ShayneCurrieNZH), ‘We wouldn’t want to be populist now would we Mr Key‘, after Dear Leader whinged on Newstalk ZB that “the media are in a more aggressive and hostile mood towards us” . Key singled out the Sunday Star Times and NZ Herald for special criticism.
Nice one, Shayne. Sometimes it takes a gentle reminder for politicians to understand that the Herald is not Pravda, nor is Sunday Star Times New Zealand’s own Izveztia.
Locked out by their employers, the Talley Brothers – millionaire businessmen – who are hell-bent on driving down staff’s wages and destroying the Meatworkers Union.
The AFFCO meatworkers are ordinary New Zealanders – they could be any one of us – who have been harrassed and persecuted by the Talleys.
In a display of sheer courage that our ANZAC forebears would be proud of, the workers have faced up to the bullies who are their employers.
These brave men and women should be hailed as true Kiwi battlers.
An incoming Labour-led government should not forget the AFFCO workers when they next review employment legislation.
Paula Bennett (National MP
For planning to force welfare recipients to immunise their children for no other reason than they are receiving welfare assistance from the State. This has to be the worst case of State coercion since military conscription.
If National wants everyone immunised, by law, then make it compulsory for everyone. Yeah, right! There would be rioting in the streets, and this rotten government would fall within a week.
But it’s fairly obvious that Key, Bennett, and their misguided mates are exploiting the vulnerability of New Zealanders who happen to be on welfare, for their own political ends.
This country’s economy is in dire straits; we are stagnating; unemployment is on the up; and kids are starving and going through pig-slop buckets to get a feed. Plus on top of that numerous scandals and dodgy deals, and National is desperate to focus public attention elsewhere.
In the 1930s, the nazi government used gypsies and jews as scapegoats. We can’t use jews – Israel would kick Key’s sorry arse to the curb. And we don’t have gypsies.
But we do have welfare beneficiaries, and the public doesn’t mind if they’re ‘bashed’ around a bit.They are the 1930s “jews” of our society.
This is shameful. For a New Zealand government to demonise a sector of the population in such a cynical manner is unforgivable.
Pita Sharples (Maori Party)
For citing that there had been a number of gains for Maori the upcoming budget, such as “funding for treatment of cancer, funding for tackling rheumatic fever…”
Yes, Mr Sharples – but at the expense of raising prescription charges from $3 to $5, which will hurt welfare beneficiaries, superannuitants, and low income earners the hardest. Many of whom already have to make hard choices whether to pay the rent and electricity bill, or cut back on food, medicines, etc.
Many of those low-income earners are the Maori Party’s constituents.
By any definition, that is not a “gain”, Mr Sharples. This is robbing Pita to pay Paul.
For not distancing itself from racist bigot, Louis Crimp, and returning his $125,520 donation. Is ACT so desperate for funds that it willingly accepts money from a person who believes,
“I don’t give a stuff what I’m called. You have to look at the facts and figures. This is the problem with New Zealanders. Most of them dislike the Maoris intensely – I won’t say hate – but they don’t like to say so.”
At what point does a Party draw a line and refuse to accept financial support because the donor is just so repugnant?
Act’s president, Chris Simmons, said he disagreed with Mr Crimp but respected his right to have a view,
“One of the beauties of the Act Party is we believe everyone should have their say.”
That may be, Mr Simmons. But by accepting a racist’s money, you are giving tacit approval to their abhorrent prejudice.
It’s called tarred by association.
Think about it.
And for the final category, the Epic Fail of the Week,
Businessman and bigot. Unfortunately, he may not be alone is holding such racist views.
We have a long way to go, in this country.
= fs =
- Matty T, Blogger, Extra-Channels.com
Digital switchovers (and analogue turnoffs) are presently progressing in both Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand most people tuning into free to air television are either going for Freeview Satellite, being broadcast on the Optus D1 satellite, or Freeview HD on UHF (or since they have slightly different channel line ups, setting themselves up to receive both). In Australia they have Freeview Australia serving the capital cities and major towns on UHF. For regional areas beyond the reach of UHF towers they are going with a new system called V.A.S.T, which is being broadcast on the Optus C1 satellite. V.A.S.T. is replacing an earlier system called Aurora. Both V.A.S.T and Aurora broadcast mostly encrypted channels enforced by smartcards mostly to limit the geographical areas of broadcast for the licensees. New Zealand’s satellite system in contrast is free to air (but limited by the footprint of the satellite beams to just over New Zealand).
Those in the know in New Zealand have been tuning into 2 channels from SBS, an Australian public broadcaster which has been filling a hole in the Aurora coverage for viewers in remote parts of Tasmania with transmissions on the Australia New Zealand beam of the Optus D1 satellite. (You can get it with a 90cm or larger dish and a LNB picking up the vertical polarity, or with a dual polarity LNB since Sky and Freeview Satellite use horizontal polarity on the same dish.) SBS is a unique station in that it is a public broadcaster of an ilk that New Zealand just doesn’t have. Originally setup to broadcast to ethnic viewers initially in Sydney it went nationwide and has evolved into a station that still serves its ethnic viewers, but with all foreign language programmes subtitled in English, and many programmes in English (e.g. documentaries, cooking shows, soccer, cycling) it is a channel that has wide appeal.
TVNZ7 is the only channel in NZ that comes close to being a public broadcaster like SBS and it is being defunded by the NZ government in July 2012. This will be a great shame.
With the commissioning of V.A.S.T. for Tasmania in the first half of 2013 New Zealand viewers are probably going to lose the ability to pick up SBS. This will also be a great shame.
SBS was originally ad-free, but then as Australia’s second public broadcaster it was being squeezed for funds by the Australian Government and it introduced some ads between programmes. The purists were horrified. Since then ads have been snuck in during programmes, and a lot of people in Australia have decried the intrusion. Ads are on SBS for about 5 minutes every hour. This is apparently to raise revenue of a bit over $20 million dollars a year. The commercial channels in Australia and NZ by contrast have 15 or 16 minutes of ads per hour.
It is said New Zealand is too small to have a proper public broadcaster. TVNZ has virtually been fully commercialised. It may be a State-owned enterprise, but it doesn’t have a remnant of public charter to fulfill. The charter was officially dumped by the National Government on July 12th 2011. Government money is spent by NZ on Air to get New Zealand productions and NZ shows onto the existing commercial channels. The last Labour government’s attempt to introduce a modicum of ad-free public broadcasting, TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 have come and gone, and as previously said, or are about to go. TVNZ6 has turned into the god-awful channel U and TVNZ7 will be defunded, meaning that it will disappear altogether. Only public outcry has saved TVNZ7 from being turned into a shopping channel. (A blank screen, and a hope for something better is better than a shopping channel). New Zealand free to air TV will thus be aligned to the National government’s ideological position that quality public television should not exist. One of their problems with it (apart from wanting to keep the population stupid so they are more likely to vote National) is the cost of running a quality public broadcaster. New Zealand is a small market and to run a BBC or ABC like service it would cost the country a lot, or so the argument goes.
So the end result is no quality ad-free public broadcasting for New Zealanders. It really doesn’t have to be that way.
Suggestion one: flog off TVNZ to the highest bidder. We will lose nothing more than we have already lost by allowing it to be privatised.
Suggestion two: Make an offer to the Australian Government. Tell Australia that New Zealand will pay just over $20 million dollars a year to share the costs of running SBS. SBS takes that $20 million dollars and completely removes advertising from its two TV channels. Most of the programming doesn’t change. SBS News Australia, becomes SBS News Australasia. Mandarin News Australia becomes Mandarin News Australasia. Dateline is now seen on SBS instead of TVNZ 7. SBS will now look to Australia and New Zealand production houses when it commissions work. SBS 1 (HD and SD) and SBS 2 (SD) gets added to either Freeview Satellite or Freeview HD. The beauty of this suggestion is that for $20 million a year you get channels that would cost many more millions of dollars to produce than that.
NZ On Air still can fund New Zealand specific content on the commercial broadcasters much in the same manner as it does now. Not accounting for the fact that funding crap reality TV with public funds is sometimes pissing money up the wall. FFS who thought funding reality TV was a good idea?
In Australia there is an Aboriginal channel on the Optus-C1 satellite, called National Indigenous TV. It is run as a non-profit enterprise.
There is a reasonably large Maori population in Australia ( >100,000 people), and many of the programmes on Maori TV are interesting to a non-Maori audience.. There are not that many Australian Aboriginals in New Zealand, but likewise some of the programming has a wider appeal than just to one indigenous group. So a straight out swap and putting Maori TV on VAST and Freeview Australia and NITV onto one or both of the Freeview services in New Zealand will give people all over Australia and New Zealand access to all the indigenous cultures of both countries.
There would be a minimal cost to governments in NZ and Australia,
What Australia gets: 1 new FTA channel. The two SBS channels go back to being ad-free. Price competition for commissioned works. Australians get to see Maori programming. Cost – the broadcast fees for another channel on Freeview Australia and VAST.
What New Zealand gets: 3 new FTA channels, including quality public ad-free TV. Programming for some ethnic groups present in NZ. Another market for content makers. New Zealanders get to see Aboriginal programming. Cost – $20million a year to help fund SBS. The broadcast fees for another 3 channels on Freeview-HD and/or Sat.
It’s win/win/win/win/win for the Australian public/ the New Zealand public/SBS/Maori TV/NITV. The only objectors would be commercial interests who run commercial TV faced with more quality competition, and small-minded ideologues opposed to public broadcasting.
This is version 2 of this post. I’ve made a couple edits since I had a couple of factual errors, and a suggestion was made to me that because of the two hour time difference when SBS is showing foreign news in the late afternoon (4-6pm) East Coast Australia time it’s early evening (6-8pm) in New Zealand, and those hours could be used for New Zealand specific programmes such as we are losing from TVNZ7. Australian audiences might prefer Hearts and Crafts over the PBS News Hour.
It’s also been pointed out to me that $20 million dollars a year is more than the cost of keeping TVNZ7 open with its current budget of $16.25 million dollars. Whatever solution to our public broadcasting deficit though it’s better to fund public TV than to subsidise commercial TV in NZ. If commercial TV needs handouts from the government to survive then perhaps there are too many commercial channels.
= fs =
The ridiculous saga of the ‘Teapot Tape’; calling in Police; raiding media offices – these were the actions of a petty dictator from some Latin American banana republic,* who got peeved because someone didn’t salute his 30m statue in the city plaza fast enough and had the hapless citizen and his family chucked in jail…
Tonight, TV3 “found” a film-clip of John Key giving a speech (to a very unenthusiastic-looking PSA gathering). Key’s comments probably left most TV3′s viewers flabbergasted, spluttering into their early-evening milos, and quite bemused,
“3 News has dug out never before seen footage of Mr Key promising “no job cuts” to the Public Service Association Conference back in 2008.
Since then 2,500 jobs have gone and hundreds more are being shed at Foreign Affairs, Defence and in the wider public sector.
In the same speech Mr Key also says selling assets like Mighty River Power will not make the economy better or the “boat go faster”.” – TV3 News
The TV3 story, with video embedded…
That, folks, was the all-too-rare sight of a politician caught with his pants down around his ankles.
Kudos to TV3 for this insightful, and revealing, story on our current Prime Minister.
* * *
Previous “Minty Moments”…
John’s Key’s promise NOT to raise GST,
On 1 October 2010, Key’s government raised GST from 12.5 to 15%.
John Key trying to explain away an email from a “mysterious friend” who claimed that Standard & Poors would have down-graded New Zealand’s credit-rating had Labour been in office,
Standard & Poors quickly denied making any such comments.
* * *
(* No offence intended to banana republic tinpot dictators – I actually like bananas quite a bit.)
= fs =
Cont’d from: Fear and loathing in the Fascist State of New Zealand …
This blogger has written to Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss on this issue,
“from: Frank Macskasy
to: Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss <email@example.com>
date: Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 1:44 PM
subject: NZ on Air
Is it simply outrageous that NZ on Air – and more specifically – Board member, Stephen McElrea, is attempting to interfere with the broadcasting and programming of television documentaries, citing that it might contravene NZ on Air’s impartiality. Specifically, NZ on Air has criticised and condemned TV3′s broadcasting of a documentary on child poverty four days prior to last year’s election.
This is absolute rubbish. It is also dangerous.
It is not – and should not – be mandated to a state owned organisation as to what New Zealand citizens are/aren’t allowed to watch, and when. Then is North Korean or Syrian style of government.
Furthermore, it appears that Board member, Stephen McElrea, is involved in attempting to empower NZ on Air to have authority to determine when specific programmes may be broadcast by independent media,
““The minutes of the NZ On Air board’s meeting in December says it is now considering adding a clause to the broadcast covenant requiring broadcasters not to screen programmes likely to be an election issue during the election period.”” – http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/96173/nzoa-accused-of-political-bias-over-poverty-show
This is outrageous and unacceptable. More so because because Stephen McElrea is deeply connected to the National Party, in his role as a Regional Deputy Chairman, and as John Key’s Electorate Chairperson in the Helensville Electorate.
This is totally unacceptable. Not only is this a gross conflict of interest, but it places NZ On Air’s independence into serious question.
This entire situation demands the following;
1. A new system of appointees to state bodies be set up which may make impartial appointments based solely on merit, rather than political connectivity. Such a reform is necessary if the public are to maintain confidence in our state structure and bodies.
2. Stephen McElrea must step down immediatly from NZ On Air. His position is simply not tenable, and casts a dark shadow over the impartiality of that organisation.
I sincerely hope that the suggestions and comments I have made here are brought to your attenton, as I believe this issue demands your utmost attention.
- Frank Macskasy
- “Frankly Speaking“”
Any response from the Minister’s office will be published here.
A copy of the email has also bee sent to various media, as it might be of interestr to them that a call has been made for Stephen McElrea’s resignation from “NZ on Air“. I suspect I may not be the only one making that call.
Tom Frewen has also come up with an interesting little matter of the only person to have complained to “NZ on Air“; a person by the name of “Alastair Bell”. As Frewen has written, is this the same “Alastair Bell” who is on the National Party’s Board?
To clarify this matter, I have written to Mr Bell, at the National Party,
“from: Frank Macskasy
to: Alastair Bell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date: Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 1:53 PM
subject: NZ on Air
Kia Ora, Alastair,
Regarding the matter of an email sent to the board of NZ on Air, regarding a complaint about the broadcasting, by TV3 of a documentary, (“Inside Child Poverty”), can you confirm that you are the same Alastair Bell referred to in NZ On Air documents, as released under the Official Information Act?
- Frank Macskasy
“Frankly Speaking” “
Again, any responses will be published here, as I believe it is important to clarify this matter. Keep checking back, for updates.
Acknowledgement from the Minister’s office, recieved earlier today,
from: Kartini Havell (MIN) email@example.com
to: Frank Macskasy
date: Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 2:43 PM
subject: FW: NZ on Air
Dear Mr Macskasy
Thank you for your email of 18 January 2012 to the Minister of Broadcasting. The Minister will consider the issues you have raised and respond as soon as he is able.
Private Secretary – Broadcasting
Office of the Hon Craig Foss
Minister of Broadcasting
Private Bag 18041
DDI 04 817 9022 Fax 04 817 6518
Response recieved from Chris Foss, nearly a month later,
I’m not sure if anyone would buy the Minister’s assertion that “the expectation is that all Board members put their political or other affiliations aside when they participate in Board activities“.
Stephen McElrea most certainly did not ” put [his] political or other affiliations aside ” when he attempted to interfere in TV3′s programme-scheduling over the child poverty documentary.
Email address for Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss: firstname.lastname@example.org
Related Blog post
More than ever, people’s curiosity is mounting over just what was recorded in the “Teapot Tapes“. John Key’s assurances that the tapes hold nothing of interest seem to be of dubious value, since he has now referred the matter to the Police for investigation.
By referring the matter to the Police, it’s a rather ham-fisted attempt to close down the issue. Fat chance. (Although it now gives John Key the standard excuse, “I-can’t-comment-on-an-ongoing-police-investigation”, when journalists press him on this issue. Clever lad, John.)
Things have become more interesting…
The ‘Herald on Sunday’ advised the public that they had destroyed their copy of the tape… but not before passing a copy on to another media outlet – TV3!
Today, TV3 ran this story on the “Teapot Tapes”,
TV3 have been warned by Police not to air the tape or publish a transcript.
However, that didn’t stop TV3 reporter, Rebecca Wright from asking John Banks a series of questions;
“1. Did you talk about Don Brash at all?
2. Is there going to be a restructure of the ACT party after the election?
3. Do you think that people who are going to vote for you have a right to know if Don Brash isn’t going to be there after the election?”
Which kind of gives away what was discussed by the Two Johns: ACT’s leadership.
Judging by John Key’s reticence in releasing the “Teapot Tapes”, he said something that – at the very least – might be highly embarressing to him, publicly.
Little wonder that Brash, Banks, Key, and ACT/National supporters don’t want the contents of these tapes made public.
It makes them look like utter wallies.
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.
Our entire mass media seems to be fixated on RWC, or Rugby, or any other sport, social event, or person(s) vaguely related to balls. If “Happy Feet” had played rugby on Peka Peka beach, our media moguls would have died happy in their beds…
Case in point how the RWC has supplanted normal, every-day, news events. On 25 September, TVNZ7 News-at-8 consisted of the following:
8.00 – 8.07: The Warriors’ win
8.08 – 815: Rugby. RWC. People with a rugby ball. Sick Jonah Lomu (ex rugby player). More rugby.
8.15: Christchurch earthquake. Meningitis case in Wellington.
8.16: Crime story in Dunedin.
8.18: Plane crash in Nepal/Mt Everest
8.19: Libyan civil war
8.21: Civil unrest in Yemen. Fire and fatalities in London.
8.23: Politics in Russia. Putin standing for President again. (Aside; will he campaign bare-chested?)
8.25: Campaign against bull fighting in Spain. (True! No bull!) Crazy US stuntman in China. Followed by Weather today. Followed by International Weather. (Raining in Botswana, I see – fishing trip cancelled tomorrow.) Then TVNZ7 station break.
8.28: Global financial crisis
8.33: UBS Bank Fraud – CEO quits. I shed at tear. (No, not really.) ASB computer glitch. (Some IT geek too busy watching internet porn?) ACT announces policy to decriminalises cannabis. (Good policy – except pot heads will have forgotten by tomorrow morning.)
8.38: Kiwi chick #1,000 born. (Lack of suitable penguin story?)
8.39: “Coming Up Soon” announcement.
8.40: TVNZ7 station break.
8.41: Sport. Rugby. (At this point I switch off. Consider phoning ASB IT geek to obtain his favourite porn website.)
There we have it, folks: fifteen minutes of rugby leading a supposedly “serious” TVNZ7 news hours – with another 15 to 20 minutes of same, at 8.40.
By comparison, the global financial crisis – which threatens the entire planet with another Depression and collapse of entire governments – lasted five minutes.
Though this information was collated from TVNZ7, the other two television news serices, TV1 and TV3, have been likewise guilty of trivialising news reporting. Theresult is that we, as a society, are less well informed as to what is happening in our own country, and indeed the world.
This is perhaps a matter made even more critical as we have a general election looming and the global economic crisis seems to be gathering an evil head of steam. We also have a piece of legislation called the Police Surveillance Bill currently before the House – a proposed law that could make New Zealand one of the most surveilled country in the Western world.
Big Brother has taken a step nearer.
All this is practically “invisible”. The news media has practicalled muzzled itself, as it chases the Rugby World Cup, and cute animal stories.
Now I’m as happy as the next bloke or blokette to have TV news cover the RWC. No, honestly, I am! But not at the expense of general news; politics; the economy; community; and international affairs. There is a time and place for everything and the News media have a responsibility to inform New Zealanders what is happening in their own country. There is more to our lives than a 15 minute story on the All Blacks thrashing [insert other rugby team here], and then a human-angle story on one of the All Blacks’ mum and dad.
Otherwise, this isn’t just “dumbing down”, this is a pre-frontal lobotomy of the electronic media with an ECG charge of 5,000 volts to the temples, for good measure.
Welcome to Bread and Circuses, 21st Century style – instead of Christians and Lions, we have penguins and rugby.
Question – without using Google, do you know the answers to the following:
- What date will the coming General Election will be held on?
- Which party proposed a Capital Gains Tax?
- There are NZ military staff in which country: Iraq, Libya, Fiji?
If you don’t know the answers, but do know who will be playing the next match, then ask yourself why?
And who knew that this was going on: