Archive for 15 June 2012

TVNZ7 – Picking at the body before it’s cold

15 June 2012 5 comments



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.

See:  Media 7 finds a new home on TV3

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.




Previous blogposts

Inconvenient truths? No go, Fair Go!!

A public broadcaster for New Zealand?

The Worst Newspaper Editorial Since – – – Whenever?!

21 May – Public meeting: TVNZ7 gets the big tick!


Coleman admits he got it wrong on TVNZ7

TV boss denies instruction to protect advertisers

Fair Go told not to upset advertisers, Labour claims

Other blogs

Red Alert:  Media 7 saved by TV3. Back Benches next?

Public Address:  Media7 will soon be Media3

Tumeke: Media7 moves to ghetto



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Guest Author: Judith Collins Says From Bright Red Vintage Convertible, “They want to portray me as a rich little white woman”

Occupy New Zealand media team

Tuesday, June 12, 2012



Full story


The recent NZ Listener article about ACC Minister Judith Collins is off the charts. Their profile of her (May 5-11 2012 edition) features a one and a half page colour photo of her driving a bright red vintage convertible. Shocking quotes in the article include;

I am not there to make their lives easy.” (of her opponents)

“They want to portray me as a rich little white woman from middle-class New Zealand” – this from a Minister posing in a sports car like some kind of deranged model for the quintessential mid-life crisis. Guyon Espiner describes her residence as an “immaculate Maraetai home she has scrubbed spotless”. Later in the article Guyon observes “…beyond the ranch slider and the spacious deck, the sea sparkles invitingly like the diamonds on her fingers.”


The Listener says she denies there is ‘internecine warfare within the National Party… then quotes her as saying “It’s sort of like friendly fire”, making it clear that behind the scenes things aren’t quite so peachy as they’d have us believe.

The most shocking quote in this article though, is when it refers to a previous Listener interview with Collins in 2006, in which she claimed her tactic of leaking stories to the media required no apology. They quote her as saying;, “I do ring people up and give them stories, because, gee, I guess I think that’s my job…”. She bragged of her “friendly and open” relationships with the media.

WHAT. THE. F$%&.

Since when is it a Ministers JOB to leak stories to the media? Can someone please explain this insanity? Doesn’t that defy everything we expect of a Minister? If we’re wrong and it’s totally cool, don’t they at least have some PR lackeys that can sit around ringing morally corrupt journos, feeding them pre-set agendas masked as ‘stories’??

The deeper we get into the article, the more we despair. Especially when Collins broaches the subject of poverty. “We do have poverty but attitude is really important..” she says. “The poverty of which I speak is a poverty of responsibility. A poverty of courage, a poverty of truth, a poverty of love, a poverty of faith.”

Which makes us want to stand her in front of a hungry child & see how many of the aforementioned words fill its mouth with food.

We suspect none.

The article repeatedly brings up her willingness to have a QC sue anyone who crosses her. To the extent that Guyon writes; “You can’t call politicians liars, especially ones who might hire a QC in response.”

Well guess what Ms Collins. We are calling you on your bullshit. You want to grin $10,000 worth of teeth into a camera from a bright red sports car then wax lyrical about being misunderstood as middle-class – well perhaps you are right.

We think, Ms Collins, that you are not middle class. How do we know that? Because the real middle class is currently fighting to stay in existence.

You are in fact: the 1%. Wholly complicit in the fleecing of our country, currently underway by National.

We, the tangata, will not forget.




Occupy Saavy


Fairfax: ACC saga: Opposition divided over Collins’ future

TV3:  Collins’ taxpayer-funded petrol bills top $11,000



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Letter from a National Party supporter…



The following letter-to-the-editor, published in Wellington’s ‘Dominion Post’, on 3 May, caught my eye,


Letter: What is it people want from John Key?

The Dominion Post takes issue with Prime Minister John Key’s handling of the SkyCity convention-centre deal (Editorial, April 27). What do people want from the man?

He wanted to open other mining businesses and we protested in the streets. Now state assets are being partially privatised and that’s a problem for some people. So, now, is the new convention centre because of the gambling issue. And that’s not to mention the controversy over the Hobbit movie.

So every new idea will be a problem in one way or another and then what? Auckland needs a shot in the arm because the place is stalling and it doesn’t act much like a tourism destination. Mr Key is also tourism minister and has a responsibility to show vision there, which he is doing. He is not a cowboy and wasn’t in business.

He is merely trying to kick- start the economy at a hideous time and despite the compromises required of MMP. What exactly would the newspaper have him do?

Neither the Greens nor Labour appear to have options of their own or, if they do, I’m none the wiser. Do we want more legitimate employment and ideas, or do we not?





I found Mt Shirtcliffe’s letter tiresome. He is obviously a fan of John Key and most likely a National Party voter.  The letter, I thought, gives us an insight as to how the right wing mind works.

A bit of judicious analysis, sentence-by-sentence, gives us that insight.

“He wanted to open other mining businesses and we protested in the streets.”

Mr Shirtcliffe obviously supports mining in conservation lands, and doesn’t understand why most New Zealanders were horrified at the prospect.

Quite simply,  from a purely economic viewpoint, New Zealands earns more from tourism, and employs more people – than it does from mining,

Earnings from minerals make up just 3% of New Zealand’s wealth. In comparison, earnings from New Zealand’s conservation land make up 20% of our wealth.

Once you consider the costs of mining, it can actually make a loss. In 2006, the mining industry as a whole made a $236 million loss before tax. That meant a tax write-off for many mining companies – paid for by ordinary New Zealanders.

The total value of minerals mined in New Zealand is $1.6 billion – compared to $21 billion earned by tourism, which relies heavily of the preservation of conservation land.
If more mining was allowed in conservation lands, it would damage the unspoiled natural landscapes, habitats and wildlife that attract tourists from around the world. This damage to our clean, green image and “100% Pure New Zealand” brand could cost us billions.

National has said that exploiting our mineral wealth would help New Zealand “catch up” with Australia in economic performance – but New Zealand does not have the large quantities of valuable minerals which are mined in Australia.

In 2008, 5800 people were employed in mining in New Zealand – compared to 108,000 people who are directly employed in tourism, and many thousands more who are employed in others sectors boosted by tourism, and in conservation. Many of these jobs would be put at risk by expansion of mining into conservation lands.
The experience of towns like Waihi, where mining is based, shows that economic benefits do not always flow to residents – despite gold mining profits being made by the gold mines, the town’s residents still experienced high levels of economic deprivation and unemployment. Highly paid and skilled jobs rarely went to locals.

See: Forest & Bird  Mining Q&A

The right wing mentality focuses on mining because it is an easy-to-understand, get-rich-quick,  industry. It requires little long-term planning.

Tourism, by comparison is an industry that requires long-term planning for it’s  sustainability. It requires a collective approach between government, business, environmental groups, and local communities.

Right wingers hate that kind of stuff.  They prefer a far more simplistic ‘You dig-it; you sell-it; end of story‘ approach. Any environmental degradation  is not part of their equation and is someone elses’ problem.

Nek bit,

Now state assets are being partially privatised and that’s a problem for some people.

Yes, it is indeed “a problem for some people“. About 60-70% of people actually.

For several reasons, New Zealanders are averse to asset sales,

  • Experience in the late 1980s and 1990s have not been particularly pleasant for the country,
  • State assets were built up using the taxes of all New Zealanders and many question why a few (who can afford to buy shares) should benefit from the weath these assets produce,
  • State assets return up to 17% to the State, benefitting the country as a whole,
  • State assets that end up in overseas ownership mean a loss in revenue, which in turn impacts on our balance of payments deficit,
  • Prices inevitably rise.

That is why asset sales are “a problem for some people“. Of course, if Mr Shirtcliffe intends to acquire shares in any (or all) of these assets, then National’s plans for privatisation will suit his own personal agenda for wealth aquisition.

Following on,

So, now, is the new convention centre because of the gambling issue.”

Let’s call a spade a spade; it’s not so much a “gambling issue” as a gambling problem.

Pokies are the most insidious form of gambling, giving instant gratification , and fuelling a person’s addiction. They are also amongst the most profitable in the industry,

Total gambling expenditure (player losses) for the four main types of gambling activity (racing, New Zealand Lotteries Commission, non-casino gaming machines [NCGMs] and casinos) recorded in New Zealand was $2.034 billion for 2007/08. NCGMs represent the largest portion of this at $938 million, which is a slight decrease of 1.28% from $950 million in 2006/07. “

See: Informing the 2009 Problem Gambling Needs Assessment: Report for the Ministry of Health

The same report goes on to state,

Information about the prevalence of problem gambling was gathered as part of the New Zealand Health Survey 2006/07. The survey found one in 58 adults (1.7%) were experiencing either problem (0.4%) or moderate risk (1.3%) gambling. This is in contrast with the 2006/07 Gaming and Betting Activities Survey which found that 9% of adults had gambled to a harmful level during the last 12 months.

However, different measures of gambling harm were used in the two surveys. Problem gambling services user statistics show a 9.8% increase in new clients from 2006 to 2007 for the Gambling Helpline, although visits to the website decreased by 35% in the same period.

At their first assessment, 62.1% of face-to-face intervention clients rated their gambling as either mostly or completely out of control, indicating many do not seek help until they are at crisis point. Non-casino gaming machines continue to be the primary mode of problem gambling cited by new clients (75.6% of new Helpline clients and 66.8% of new face-to-face intervention clients). “

This blogger has a personal experience on this issue, having a close friend whose elderly parents have lost  a considerable sum of money to their gambling addiction with pokie machines.  One of his parents has recently passed away, leaving the other parent living by herself, in a home requiring considerable maintenance and with little equity. She will soon become a burden on her children and society for the remainder of her life.

Rightwingers will reply that gambling addicts are simply exercising their “freedom of choice”.

No doubt they’re exercising the same “freedom of choice” that  alcoholics have?

Most people intuitively understand that gambling is an industry that contributes very little to society and is parasitic in the way it attracts it’s victims and sucks money from them.

The problem with people like Mr Shirtcliffe is that they are blind to the problems of their free-market ideology. They see the profits derived from gambling – but ignore the problems caused by the industry. To people like him,  it’s “someone else’s problem”.

And because rightwingers in general do not recognise or value the concept of community – it’s not a social problem, but someone elses’ personal problem.

We used to think the same way about drunk driving and domestic violence as well.

Next issue,

And that’s not to mention the controversy over the Hobbit movie.

Yes, let’s mention the controversy over the Hobbit movie.

What, precisely, is it that Mr Shirtcliffe does not want to mention?

I wonder Mr Shirtcliffe would be equally blase, about central government interference in employment matters, if a centre-left government re-introduced compulsory unionism? I suspect not, and Mr Shirtcliffe would spit the Mother of all Dummies if that were to happen.

Furthermore, Mr Shirtcliffe complains,

So every new idea will be a problem in one way or another and then what? Auckland needs a shot in the arm because the place is stalling and it doesn’t act much like a tourism destination. Mr Key is also tourism minister and has a responsibility to show vision there, which he is doing. He is not a cowboy and wasn’t in business.

Yes, Mr Shirtcliffe; every new idea has possible problems; nothing new there. Even the humble plastic shopping bag probably seemed like a really, really great idea when it was first invented – until our landfills and seas began to fill up with billions of the damned, non-biodegradable things.

The issue is not to ignore potential problems, but to assess their impact on our lives; society, and economy; to weight up the benefits; to determine how we can minimise possible negative consequences. That is what any  sane, intelligent person would do.

In the issue of a Convention Centre, few people dismiss the need for such a facility.

What we should be doing is looking at how such a Centre can be built; maximising the benefits; whilst minimising negatives.  Simple common sense.

However, Mr Shirtcliffe’s next statement takes the cake,

He is merely trying to kick- start the economy at a hideous time and despite the compromises required of MMP. What exactly would the newspaper have him do?

Neither the Greens nor Labour appear to have options of their own or, if they do, I’m none the wiser. Do we want more legitimate employment and ideas, or do we not?

“None the wiser”, perhaps, because rightwingers aren’t interested in Labour and Green party policies. Especially those that might actually benefit the economy.  ‘There are none so blind as those who will not see’, as the wise old maxim goes.

For example, instead of the two tax cuts in 2009 and 2010, leaving a massive deficit for National to paper over, Labour has been promoting a policy of a crash  housing programme. Such a plan would,

  • create jobs
  • incentivise those in the building industry to stay in NZ
  • boost the economy
  • given trades-training for 83,000 young unemployed people
  • help to resolve our housing shortage

The Greens are promoting development of environmentally-sound, green technologies. These are potentially billion-dollar industries that could be big earners for our country.

Die-hard National/ACT supporters don’t see any of this because they prefer not to. Instead they support a Party that is still stuck in the last century.

National has promised us 170,00 new jobs; 3% growth; and raising wages to parity with Australia. None of which have been achieved. Because aside from asset sales and pokie machines, they have no plan to achieve those laudable goals.

See: Business NZ sees no economic plan

Until National/ACT supporters wake up to the dead-end alley  of  “free market” economic dogma, this country will continue to stagnate.

And they’ll continue to blame everyone else for their failures.





Stats NZ Tourism Employment

Stats NZ Tourism Income

Beehive:  Some facts about mining in New Zealand



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Categories: The Body Politic