Posts Tagged ‘’

Someone at Fairfax is a subversive?

16 March 2015 2 comments


Pointed out to me by several Facebook readers…


fairfax - stuff - story - Customs seeks powers to disclose passwords  - customs can go fuck themselves


Note the URL?

Someone at Fairfax/Stuff has a wickedly subversive sense of humour.

I may have to re-new my subscription to the ‘Dominion Post‘…




This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 11 March 2015.



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


Humpty Dumpty and Paywall


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

Staff were given no further details.

According to Radio NZ,

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

Acknowledgment: Radio NZ – Fairfax looks at job cuts

And according to Stop Press,

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

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

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

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

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

Which was reinforced with his statement to Stop Press,

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

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

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

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

To illustrate;

Monday 20 May 2013

Tittle: Dominion Post

Price: $1.70

Page count: 24

Front Page Headlines (stories):

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

Monday 26 May 2003

Title: Dominion Post

Price: $1.00

Page count: 44

Front Page Headlines:

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

Monday  24 May 1993

Title: The Dominion

Price: 60 cents

Page count: 44

Front Page Headlines:

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

Title: The Evening Post

Price: 60 cents

Page count: 28 (TV  Week: 16 pages)

Front Page Headlines:

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

Monday 23 May 1986

Title: The Dominion

Price: 25 cents

Page count: 20

Front Page Headlines:

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

Title: The Evening Post

Price: 25 cents

Page count: 36

Front Page Headlines:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Whakatane Beacon editor, Mark Longley pointed out,

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

Acknowledgment: TV3 News – News sites to adopt pay wall

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

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

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

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

Acknowledgment: IBID

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Acknowledgment; Dominion Post, 21 May 2013


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



Acknowledgment; Dominion Post, 21 May 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a customer, this is how I see it.

And really, isn’t the customer always right?

Good luck on the pay-wall.

I’ll be on the other side.

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



Source Acknowledgments

Various individuals


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Fairfax; An hour with Dear Leader


“Ask me a question. Anything. Go on, ask me. I’ll answer it all.”


Social media was abuzz; Dear Leader (we assume it was JK, and not one of his Party apparatchiks) was to “appear” on LiveChat on – Fairfax’s website. The previous day, the public were encourage to send through questions, that would be put to Key.

See:  Live chat with Prime Minister John Key

See:  Live chat  Prime Minister John Key

As promised, the LiveChat with someone purporting to be the Prime Minister went ahead,

11:28 Moderator:
Good morning. Our live chat with Prime Minister John Key gets underway at midday. Tune in then!
Tuesday June 12, 2012

12:00 Moderator:
We’re here live at the prime minister’s office. Thank you for joining us

12:01 John Key:
thanks, great to be here. Looking forward to your questions.

12:01 Moderator:
Sam asks: If you are elected for a third term as Prime Minister, assuming your colleagues continue to have confidence in you, will you stay the full term? Who do you see as your successor?

12:02  John Key:
In terms of the latter, that would be a matter for the Caucus and it would be far too early to predict that.  On the former, that would be my likely expectation.

The next question sounded like one of those patsy questions that backbencher MPs and Coalition partners ask Ministers,

12:02 Moderator:
Newton asks:
Given your big picture view of the NZ economy. Which three industry sectors do you think have the strongest growth potential for NZ over the next 15-20 years?

12:03 John Key:
Anything related to food, particularly as we move up the value curve. What is quite clear is that Asia is likely to be a very significant buyer of food related products from NZ as they become wealthier over the next few years…

Commentary: A suitable follow-up question to Key’s comment would have been, if  “Asia is likely to be a very significant buyer of food related products from NZ as they become wealthier over the next few years” – why are we permitting foreign investors from China, Australia, US, Germany, etc, to buy up farmland – thereby losing profits from food exports to overseas investors? How does that help us  earn revenue?

But that question was never asked, and “more important issues” were canvassed instead.

Prepare to laugh (or weep).

12:04  John Key:
I’m very optimistic that we can continue to develop niche sectors of high-tech manufacturing, services, the film industry, and tourism.

Commentary: Well, that would make a welcome change from growing the gambling industry; cigarette manufacturing; and 15-story brothels. Though this character – from the tobacco industry? – seemed somewhat oblivious to the annual death rate of 5,000 New Zealanders each year,

12:05  Moderator:
Sonny Gough asks:
Hello PM, As Minister for tourism, how do you feel the”Tobacco free NZ” by a certain date will affect tourist numbers to New Zealand. I note that many tourists that visit our shores are quite heavy smokers. Surely we are shooting ourselves in the foot on this. Kind Regards Sonny Gough

12:05  John Key:
Its an aspiration to see NZ smoke-free because of the health benefits that that policy bestows on the ountry. That said, it is highly unlikely that a day would come where we would stop people visiting NZ on the basis that they smoke.

Commentary: Now this, was probably the best question of the day,

12:06  Comment From gary  
If you are prepared to listen to public opinion on the Teacher cutbacks, will you do the same with your Asset sales policy?

12:07 John Key:
We have no intention of changing the direction we have set in relation to the Mixed Ownership Model. The reason for that is that it was an integral part of the election campaign, and was very well canvassed.  Given National polled a record result under MMP, I would argue we have listened to the people.

Commentary: So much for Dear Leader’s comment only yesterday, where he said,   “But, you know, governments from time to time adjust policies . . . if we never listen to people and never take on board what they’re saying then there is an argument for that as well – and that’s called arrogance.  And I think we’re a lot of things as a government, but we’re not arrogant.”

See:  Key: We were right, despite U-turn

12:07 Moderator:
Amy asks:
What do you have to say about the fact that starting from January, postgraduate students will not be able to borrow enough to live off? And what implications do you think that will have for professions that require an unpaid full-time internship year?

12:08 John Key:
The advice I have received is that on average the switch between student allowances and access to the student loan scheme will still enable students to complete post-graduate studies, albeit it will require them to repay this loan without interest. The research shows these students are likely to earn considerably higher wages over time.

Commentary: How much of his student debt did John Key repay from his tertiary education? Answer: none. He recieved a free university education, courtesy of the taxpayer.

12:08  Moderator:
Grace asks: What is your biggest regret over the past year?

12:09  John Key:
Not adequately spelling out the full aspects of the class size changes, because in the end a move to better quality teaching is an integral part of assisting those students who are falling between the cracks.

12:10  Comment From Simone  
What are your plans to help curb the brain drain in New Zealand? To be honest overseas opportunities are so much more appealing.

12:11  John Key:
I wouldn’t undersell New Zealand. Having just returned from Europe, this country is in far better shape than almost any other in Europe. It is also likely that over the next three years, NZ will have a faster growth rate than Europe, the US and Japan …

12:11  John Key:
While its true we lose people to Australia, that is neither new, nor should we misunderstand that a sizable portion of those leaving are going for opportunities in the mining sector.

Commentary: Say whut?!?! Hang on a mo’, Dear Leader – didn’t you and your party make a f*****g big deal, in the 2008 election campaign,  out of stemming the flow of emigrants to Australia, and to motivate New Zealanders to stay in this country?

Yes, I believe you did!


Frank Macskasy Blog Frankly Speaking


12:12 Moderator:
Liam asks: What are you going to do about the high attrition rate in our defence force? How do you expect to attract people to our military when everyone is leaving in droves?

12:13 John Key:
Attrition has been extremely low in the defence forces over the last three years, particularly as the labour
markets have been really tight. In recent times attrition has been a little higher as the military has been undertaking their change programme, but its my view that that programme is necessary for the long-term
benefit of the NZDF.

Commentary: Warning, Will Robinson! BS Alert! BS Alert!

See:  Job losses to hit military next week

See:  Defence staff eye leaving as morale falls

12:13 Moderator:
Elliot asks:
Why do you continue to reject the idea of a capital gains tax when almost every other country in the OECD has one?

12:14 John Key:
It’s important to understand that countries have quite significant variations when it comes to the type of taxes that they have, and the mix of taxes. NZ already has a capital gains tax; its simply not the  comprehensive CGT that some people talk of…

Commentary: “NZ already has a capital gains tax“?!?! Well, that’ll be news to everyone. This is an example of Key’s propensity to mis-represent the truth; where he only tells part of the truth, and leaves out remaining facts. It’s as good as lying.

No wonder that, in a poll last year, more respondents believed that John Key would be likely to “bend the truth” (34.9%) than his rival, Phil Goff (26%).

See:  John Key Safe hands, forked tongue?

12:15 John Key:
A CGT as proposed by Labour would be on the entire productive sector, but ignore three quarters of all ousing in NZ. Put bluntly, its bad for growth, and in the short term would raise very small amounts of revenue.

Commentary: John Key’s response is pure BS. A CGT would not be “bad for growth” – it would be a positive measure, as “mum and dad” investors would not be plowing their investments into speculative rental properties – but would instead invest in more productive sectors of the economy. At present,  NZers “love affair” with property is a serious distortion on our economy.

It is one reason why  private sector debt is ballooning out of control.

See:  NZ dangerously in debt: top businessman

See:  House prices a cancer for the economy

When the CGT was debated last year, almost every sector of the economy came out in favour of a capital gains tax.  For John Key to dismiss this reality shows that his sense of fiscal realities is badly out of touch.

12:15 Comment From Chris  
Why are you against raising the retirement age when statistics indicate that we’re going to have significant problems in the future if we don’t raise it soon?

12:17 John Key:
There’s very limited support for raising the retirement age prior to 2020 and on that basis I have much bigger issues to confront than that one. Secondly, the most important thing we can do to insulate NZ from all of the costs related to the demographic aging of the population is to focus on improving NZ’s overall competitiveness and growth.

Commentary: “Limited support” for raising the retirement age?!?! WTF?!!! Yet again, Key is lying his head off with that rubbish.

See:  Key rules out pension age referendum

There has been a growing realisation in this country that the current retirement age of 65 is simply not sustainable. For Key to dismiss these concerns is symptomatic of a government unwilling to address pressing problems that – left unresolved – will impact massively on our economy in coming decades.

This is a repeat of National’s mishandling of superannuation in 1975, where the then-Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, canned Labour’s compulsory super-savings scheme. Had that scheme been kept intact, New Zealand would have  considerable savings and we would not be so reliant on overseas funds.

By contrast, Australia’s compulsory savings scheme has amassed A$1.3 trillion dollars. Little wonder they have greater wealth and higher living standards than we do.

See:  Higher pension age key – OECD

Key’s intransigence is irresponsible and ultimately damaging to our economy and society.

12:17 Moderator:
Rhiannon asks:
What are some of your favourite bands?

Commentary: Ah, the hard questioning begins…

12:18 John Key:
I like Katy Perry, the Eagles, and Hayley Westenra.

Commentary: Tough call, Prime Minister.

12:18 Comment From Gabby  
How do you feel about the Christchurch Cathedral being demolished? Would you want to save it?

12:19 John Key:
I am saddened because its an iconic building. The Government’s released all the advice its had from engineers, who sadly are of the view that for safety reasons the Cathedral needs to be demolished. My focus now is on a replacement Cathedral.

12:19 Moderator:
Josiah asks:
I’m curious to know if there was one thing about New Zealand culture that the PM could change, what would it be?

12:20  John Key:
To be more confident as a nation.

Commentary: You hear that, poor people? Get confident!!

12:20  Moderator:
A follow up question: what is one thing you celebrate most about NZ culture?

Commentary: Prepare yourself for the answer,

12:20  John Key:
That we are an egalitarian society.

Commentary: *cough*splutter* cough, cough*

Is he taking the piss? Worse – is he being serious?!

12:21  Moderator:
Peter asks:
Where do you see NZ aquaculture in the near future(~5 years)? and what is the govt doing to make it easier for small fish-farms to get up and running?

12:22 John Key:
Hopefully significantly larger, which is why the Government has undertaken substantial reform in the aquaculture sector. Clearly an expansion into fin fish farming, both in terms of species and allocated space is critical, and maybe one day, a move into more exotic species, like crayfish.

12:22  Moderator:
Hayden asks:
Your wife says that it’s important to her that she’s able to be there for your son when he comes home from school, and to be around for him while he’s studying. What are you doing to help more New Zealand parents have that ability?

Commentary: Good question.

12:23  John Key:
The most important thing we can do for NZ families is to give them a stronger economy and give them more choices. Over the last three and a half years, under very difficult conditions, we have managed to grow the economy consistently. We continue to support family-friendly policies like ECE and Working for Families.

Commentary: Crap answer.

12:24  Moderator:
Kirsten Windelov asks:
You are currently proposing to close down all of the schools that students with physical and intellectual disabilities attend. If you go ahead and do this, can you guarantee that all of those kids will be better off with the mainstream schooling and foster care you’re proposing for them?

12:24  John Key:
I’m not sure that accurately reflects the position, although a move to mainstreaming more children is generally widely supported by the education sector

Translation: You’re on your own, Kirsten.

12:25 Comment From John  
Will you make lego in nz free for all kids in the near future.

Commentary: These questions just keep getting tougher.

12:25  John Key:
That’s not part of the current Government’s agenda, but a lot better than some of the other suggestions I get.

Commentary: *facepalm*

Is this going to get any better?

12:26  Moderator:
Joseph Whyle asks:
My question for the prime minister, what is your vision for New Zealand in the next 10 years?

12:27  John Key:
A more prosperous, confident and ambitious New Zealand, one that delivers both higher incomes and a higher quality of life. A country that maintains the very best of New Zealand in terms of spirit and commitment to each other, as was clearly on display during the response to the Christchurch earthquakes.

Commentary: Haven’t we heard all this before… ? Oh, yeah…

See: 2008: A Fresh Start for New Zealand – John Key

12:27  Moderator:
Tim asks:
Do you believe in god?

12:28  John Key:
I don’t believe in life after death, so in the traditional sense of the world no, but I have no conclusive proof either way.

12:28  Moderator:
Anna asks:
What is the govt doing to prevent the extinction of the Maui dolphins? DETAILS! Not just “we’re working on it” NZ wants answers. We want a moratorium on set net fishing.

12:28  John Key:
We are very close to making an announcement in relation to that issue. Stay posted.

12:28  Moderator:
Dominique asks: What do you plan on doing after being Prime Minister? Retire? Continue in politics?

12:29  John Key:
I have no intention of continuing in politics. I haven’t given any thought to what might happen later, but it will involve golf clubs.

Commentary: “No intention of continuing in politics“? There is a god!

12:29  Moderator:
Arn asks: If you had to choose an opposition MP to take a job in your cabinet, who would it be and what portfolio would you give them?

12:29  John Key:
Shane Jones for Broadcasting.

Commentary: Was that supposed to be funny?

12:30  Moderator:
Sue asks: When did you last take public transport? What was it?

12:30 John Key:
Last week, and it was a bus, in London.

12:30 Moderator:
Chris asks: What changes do you believe are necessary (if any) for our Civil Defence capability in both the Canterbury Region, and Nationally, to improve what I believe is a very clearly defined weakness in our ability to respond to major natural disasters? Thank you.

12:31 John Key:
I’m not sure I would agree with the question…

12:32 John Key:
The Christchurch Earthquakes clearly tested the Civil Defence capability, and while there were always thing we could improve upon, it demonstrated there was a lot that we got right. After any major civil defence response, the Government undertakes a review and there will be some things from that process that will feed into our overall future responses.

Commentary: The next message was from the feeble-minded faction  of the political Right,

12:32 Comment From Guest  
With regards to the welfare system, Have you ever considered a life time entitlement for welfare assistance, Eg: every person has a 5 yr entitlement to welfare, once its used you support yourself or get a job.

12:33  John Key:
The difficulty with that suggestion is that for some people, they will never be able to support themselves. Overall the Government is focused on reform of the welfare system to ensure its ongoing viability.

Commentary: Plus, Dear Leader, it’s not the fault of workers who lose their jobs because your mates on Wall Street have shafted the global economy.  But you knew that already, huh?

The following question was another all-to-rare beauty,

12:33  Moderator:
Jan asks:
When prioritising, can you please explain how 15 million dollars is preferably spent on entertaining foreign dignitaries at the world cup, when it would cost only 16 million to keep TVNZ7 on, the nations only fully government funded TV channel (Australia, the UK and most other developed countries have several of these)? Thanks, Jan.

12:34  John Key:
The Rugby World Cup was the largest single sporting event NZ has ever hosted, and it made sense to leverage that event for New Zealand’s benefit. In relation to TVNZ7, the Government transferred that funding to the Platinum Fund administered by NZ on Air because it saw better value for money from that spend.

Commentary: Only thing is – New Zealand didn’t get that  much benefit from the RWC, according to reports,

See: Weather and World Cup fail to lift GDP

Yet again, John Key is out of touch with public opinion that wants TVNZ7 retained. What part of that message does he not understand?!

Once National is thrown out of office, an incoming government will be mandated to set up a new public service TV broadcaster. This time, with built-in safe-guards to prevent political interference from feeble-minded politicians from the Right.

12:34 Comment From James B  
how do we know this is the real john and not one of his clones

12:36  John Key:
When I was at primary school, I was sent to the “blue room” for talking. Dare you to find that on the internet. Today, Kevin is typing in my answers because he is quicker than I am, and that’s why I keep little pixies around the office.

Commentary: “Pixies”?

Nice to know  John Key is taking this communication with the voting public as a  serious matter.

Yeah, right.

12:36  Moderator:
Shanan asks: Hi John, What are your thoughts of the EU proposal for a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT)? Should New Zealand consider introducing a FTT if it goes ahead in the EU? Thanks.

12:37  John Key:
NZ has considered this before and rejected it. My understanding is that it disproportionately affects less well off people.

Commentary: Since when has Key been concerned with things that “disproportionately affects less well off people“? He wasn’t overly concerned when National raised GST in 2010 – an act that does disproportionately affect less well off people.

12:37  Comment From Bons  
Do you think marriage and adoption equality bills will be passed in this parliamentary term? If not, why not?

12:38  John Key:
No. Firstly they would need to be drawn from the ballot and that can’t be assured. Even if they were, the process would take quite some time because they can only be debated on Member’s Days.

Commentary: Never let equality and justice get in the way of the bureacracy, eh Dear Leader? After all, what’s more important here – equality for all, or maintaining The System?


12:38  Comment From Greg  
How do you think repealing the voluntary student loan repayment bonus scheme provides an incentive to pay loans back faster?

12:39  John Key:
There’s no question that for some students, the repayment scheme was an advantage. Sadly, it wasn’t widely used. It was expensive to administer and there was some gaming of the system.

Commentary: At this point I sent another message (one of many) to the moderator asking John Key if he was willing to pay for his University education, which he received free of charge; no student loans; no debt; all paid for by the New Zealand taxpayer.

Strangely, that question was never put to Dear Leader. Must’ve got “lost” in the system.

12:39  Comment From Kristen  
Thanks for backing down on the class-size thing, but I’d like to know what you’re going to cut in education to make up the savings you would have got from cutting class sizes.

12:40  John Key:
We are working on that, but worst case scenario we will have to take it out of next year’s new Budget spending provision.

Commentary: Or, Dear Leader, you could raise taxes for top income earners; introduce a Capital Gains Tax or FTT; or stop giving welfare handouts to corporations.

Just a thought. No pressure, John.

12:40  Comment From Nick  
Were you surprised that Piri Weepu got selected at half back in the current AB’s ahead of Andy Ellis?

12:41  John Key:
Yes, but I’m having a bad enough week without wading into the reasons on this.

12:41  Comment From Henry  
Mitt Romney or Barack Obama?

12:42  John Key:
Too close to call, and too inappropriate for me to name.

12:42  Comment From Scott  
What is the greatest moral challenge for kiwi society today?

12:43  John Key:
I believe it is drug addiction and alcohol abuse by young people in particular.

Commentary: So… what are you doing about easy availability of cheap booze; the spread of liquor outlets; RTDs/alco-pops geared toward young people; alcohol advertising on TV, etc, etc, etc? It’s one thing to recognise alcohol abuse as a “moral challenge” – but what is National going to do about it?

12:43  Moderator:
William asks:
John Key i’m sure you know that cannabis in its natural form is legally regarded as a medicine by 15+ American States and by Canada and some European countries. In May 2011, our own Law Commission said NZ should follow this path and Police should leave medicinal users alone. Do you agree with the Law Commission?

12:44  John Key:
I don’t support liberalisation of drug laws, because I think it sends the wrong message to young people and would prefer that those with medical conditions sought relief from other alternatives.

Commentary: Whereas advertising alcohol on TV; making it ridiculously cheap and available from outlets  in almost every suburb; and almost 24/7 trading hours – that’s not sending “the wrong message” to young people??

Mr Key – you and your Party’s hypocrisy is breath-taking.

12:44  Moderator:
Michael asks:
Hi Why did the national party pull the pin on a full national cycleway?

12:45 John Key:
We didn’t, but the advice we had was that 18 individual rides linked by a rural roading network would better fit the profile and intentions of those likely to use it.

Commentary: plus the couple of hundred jobs it created – instead of the anticipated 4,000-plus  – wasn’t a ‘good look’, Dear Leader?

See:  Cycleway jobs fall short

12:45 Comment From Richard  
What exactly is it about John Banks that you do have faith in? What makes him an excellent asset to New Zealanders?

12:46  John Key:
I accept Ministers at their word and unless they either breach my trust or break the law, it would be quite inappropriate and confusing for me to sack a Minister.

12:46  Moderator:
Don asks:
What kind of watch do you normally wear? Do you collect watches?

12:47  John Key:
I normally wear a Cartier, and I have another watch which is a Brietling that my wife Bronagh gave to me for my birthday.

Commentary: by this time, and following on, this blogger had messaged the Moderator at least half a dozen times posing the question as to why John Key was not willing to fund sufferers of Pompe’s Disease – a terminal condition – as he had agreed to fund a full-term course of Herceptin for breast cancer sufferers, in 2008. (2008 was an election year. Not that it has anything to do with anything.)

This was very silly of me. Obviously the matter of John Key’s watches takes precedence over a life-threatening disease which will kill several New Zealanders.

Sorry, Fairfax. My bad.

However, a serious question did manage to slip in. Perhaps the Fairfax moderator was having a cuppa with Dear Leader at the time,

12:48  Moderator:
Julie asks: (in terms of asset sales)
How can you justify rushing the legislation through urgency? How can the average “mum and dad investors” afford to buy shares?

12:48  John Key:
In terms of the first point we are not doing that. Its the Government’s intention to pass the MOM legislation using the normal House procedures…

12:49  John Key:
The Government is working on ensuring the minimum parcel size of shares can be within the reach of as many NZers as possible.

Commentary: Especially New Zealanders like these,

See:  Rich Listers enjoy 20pc increase in wealth

12:49  Comment From Geoff  
Given the recent dirty dairying news do you still stand by your claim that NZ is 100% clean and green?

12:50  John Key:
I’ve never said that statement. What I have supported is the marketing slogan used by Tourism NZ of 100% Pure.

Commentary: Actually, Dear Leader, you did . John Key;  “if anybody goes down to New Zealand and looks at our environmental credentials and looks at New Zealand, then for the most part, I think in comparison with the rest of the world, we are 100 per cent pure.”

See:  Key rejects BBC criticism of NZ ‘pure’ claim

Another “hard” question followed and was well answered by Dear Leader. He was ‘sharp’ today,

12:50  Comment From Sean Kusel  
What is your main hobby?

12:51 John Key:
Work commitments mean I have a limited time for other activities, but I enjoy cooking, golf, and watching rugby.

Commentary: But how did this one slip through the vetting system,

12:51   Comment From Year 12 Sos Hghs class  
How would you feel about class sizes going up in your sons school?

12:51  John Key:
Totally fine, if they were of the magnitude being previously proposed. I care much more about the quality of the teacher standing before my son.

Commentary: And the reason for not sending his children to State schools is—?

12:52   Comment From Cameron  
Hi, Please don’t take this as being rude but, do you think we will actually hit our budget targets for near future?

12:52  John Key:
If you mean the forecasts that were in the Budget, I hope so. They are based on the best advice available to the Treasury at the time the Budget was put together.

Commentary: Advice from… Treasury?! That’s us stuffed!

12:53  Comment From mike  
When will people with complaints about ACC be herd by an independent group, that doesn’t involve ACC supposedly not interferring with the process.

Commentary: Followed immediatly by this little ‘gem’ from Brendan. Brendan is ‘special’.

12:53  Comment From Brendan  
What’s on the lunch menu today?

12:53  John Key:
I need to check for you, but I think there are avenues that are totally independent that complainants can explore if they believe they are being unfairly treated by ACC.

12:54  John Key:
Sadly, there is nothing in the fridge and unlike Barack Obama I don’t have a chef hanging around to make me a Tuna fish sandwich.

Commentary: It’s tough when you have to slum it with the poor folk, Dear Leader. By the way, Mr Key, how far did National go with it’s promise of free meals in schools, as promised by National when it was in Opposition,

See: National launches its Food in Schools programme

Still on the subject of food,

12:54  Comment From Kayla  
What type of cheese did you give the queen

12:55  John Key:
A range of Kapiti cheeses including blue cheese and aged cheddar. The Queen personally thanked me and told me she’d already tried one of them.

12:55 Comment From Megan  
What was it like meeting with the Queen? Was it just awkward small talk? Or is she quite personable?

12:56  John Key:
She’s very personable, and this is the fourth private audience I’ve had with her. She is very passionate about New Zealand and genuine in her concerns, particularly over the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes.

12:56  Comment From Guest  
Mr Key, I believe the taxes being handed off onto smokers are unfair. How do you justify these smoking taxes? The obese population put far more burden on our health system each year, and don’t have to pay any extra tax!

Commentary: Yeah, mate, ‘cos  5,000 New Zealanders dying each year through smoking-related disease just isn’t enough for you, is it?


Key’s only sensible reply for the whole afternoon,

12:57  John Key:
The Government is unashamedly trying to deter people from smoking through price, particularly young people who are very sensitive to rising tobacco prices. I know this is difficult for those that have smoked for quite some time, but for your long term health I can only encourage you to try and give up.

12:57  Moderator:
Have you ever smoked, prime minister?

12:58 John Key:
I have never smoked anything in my life, but my mother smoked and I spent years convincing her to give up. When I turned 15, she did.

Commentary: Followed by another decent question,

12:59   Moderator:
Jane asks: When will people who care for the elderly receive a fair wage. Elderly helped build the country

Commentary: A shame that Key’s response was so much twaddle,

1:00  John Key:
I acknowledge that many of the caregivers for the elderly are some of the lowest paid workers. When the Government’s finances are in better shape, this will be one area we will take a closer look at.

Commentary: Which sounds suspiciously similar to Key’s previous promises to raise wages – which have also come to nought.

1:00  Comment From Nick  
Whats you’re favourite kiwi custom?

1:00  John Key:
The haka is not a custom, but I love it when our sporting teams and cultural groups and schools perform it.

Commentary:  *shakes head*

1:00  Moderator:
Time for one last question….

Commentary: Oh, I can hardly wait. What’s it to be;  Dear Leader’s favourite colour? When he last patted ‘Moonbeam‘?

1:01   Comment From Pam  
Mr Key, on the Super debate, is there any appetite to means test Super? I think raising the age is harsh – especially for those in very manual work, e.g. building, labouring.

1:02  John Key:
No, but you raise a fair point that an ad hoc simple moving of the age is a very simplistic way of looking at a very complex issue.

Commentary: “Ad hoc”?! Every organisation, political party, the OECD, and a majority of the public understand that keeping retirement at age 65 is unsustainable, and must be raised to 67 if we are to avoid bankrupting ourselves – and you dismiss it as “ad hocery“?!?!

Mr Key – what on Earth goes through you mind?

Mr Key – you are playing games with the economic future of this country. For you and your fellow National MPs not to act on raising the age from 65 to 67 is irresponsible.

Mr Key will be remembered in the same way that Robert Muldoon is remembered; the man who nearly wrecked our economy through short-sighted acts of incompetance.

Do what is necessary – or resign. One or the other.

1:02  Moderator:
Thank you for joining us in today’s live chat. Sorry we couldn’t ask all the questions.

1:02  John Key:
My pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity.

Conclusion: It seems fairly obvious that whoever was answering the questions was only barely taking the situation seriously. If it was John Key, then we’ve had another insight into his arrogance and his disdain for treating the public with a modicum of respect.

For a man who has spent much of his working life in finance, he appears to have little appreciation for fiscal matters such as taxation; investment imbalances; retirement strategy; etc. Any thought of Key as being “fiscally responsible” is misplaced.

As for the questions; the Moderator’s choice left much to be desired. It was like a meal at a Chinese restaurant; one was left feeling hungry for more soon after.

This blogger is left with one inescapable conclusion that has been strengthened by this “Livechat”: the sooner National is thrown out of office, the better for our economy and society.



= fs =

The Shining Path according to Dear Leader (Part Toru)


With infinite largesse, Dear Leader has  consented to answering questions from the Great Unwashed Masses,




Not one to pass up an opportunity to reaffirm my fealty and unswerving obedience to Beloved Dear Leader, this blogger has fired off a quick email to with questions as to why we are so lucky to be gifted his Enlightened and Benevolent  Leadership.

Well, kinda.

The actual email, posing two questions which I believe merit an honest (*snort!*) response from John Key,


Subject:  Questions for the Prime Minister
Date:  Monday, 11 June, 2012 9:22 PM
From: “Frank Macskasy” <>
To: “Stuff” <>

I have two questions for the Prime Minister;

1. On 11 June, in response to your backdown on increasing classroom sizes, you said;

    “But, you know, governments from time to time adjust policies . . . if we never listen to people and never take on board what they’re saying then there is an argument for that as well – and that’s called arrogance.  And I think we’re a lot of things as a government, but we’re not arrogant.”

If you are prepared to listen to public opposition to increasing classroom sizes, and call that “adjusting policies” – why are you remaining stubborn in the face of public opposition to the part-sale of state owned assets. By ignoring public opinion on this contentious issue, how can you say “but we’re not arrogant”?

2. Why will you not fund life-saving medication for sufferers of Pompe’s disease, as you promised  to fully-fund herceptin treatment for breast cancer sufferers in 2008 during the election campaign? Pompe’s disease is just as terminal as breast cancer. Why the discrimination saving some lives and not others?

-Frank Macskasy
“Frankly Speaking”


Dunno why I bothered, really. I think we all know what we’re going to get in response,




= fs =

Key on ropes as Fairfax grope for a lifeline back to the people

Neil Watts,  Blogger, Fearfactsexposed

March 4, 2012


National’s heartland backlash echoes Fairfax’s credibility collapse.

Since becoming leader of the National Party, and then elected as Prime Minister four years ago, Wall Street banker John Key has been able to rely on Fairfax Media to offer a handkerchief and say ‘bless you’ every time he sneezed.

But, today’s Sunday Star Times suggests that this anti-democratic relationship has – in the end – served only to damage both.  The frontpage headline ‘Key’s heartland backlash’ has Fairfax’s Sunday newspaper suddenly distancing itself from a dogmatic Rightwing Government in freefall, and desperately looking for a way back to centrist credibility.

Fairfax political editor and unofficial National Party press secretary, Tracy Watkins, has been sidelined, with the more moderate John Hartevelt handling a political front page lead that, for almost the first time in five years, doesn’t look like it was written by the National Party.  As this Government’s popularity suddenly collapses, have Fairfax finally decided to abandon their unhealthy partisanship, in a last ditch attempt to save themselves from commercial disaster and media irrelevancy?

Quite possibly.

Fairfax’s publications have been long regarded by many thinking New Zealanders as something of a sad joke.  Their commercial demise has been documented alongside their journalistic one on this blog, and few in the capital take The Dominion Post for anything other than National Party propaganda these days.  Their,nz website increasingly attracts heavy journalistic criticism attached to the comments forum of stories, and the most damning of these are censored by Fairfax themselves.  A Facebook page and blog dedicated to holding this company to account has fueled the debate for three years, and while much of their demise is of their own making, we have clearly had a dramatic impact on how New Zealanders view their work.

Circulation is in freefall; they now quote ‘readership’ rather than ‘circulation’ to advertisers and subscribers, and recent financial figures published on this page show that, while their rivals are riding out tough economic times, Fairfax are struggling to attract advertisors as well as subscribers.  Fairfax are, it seems, in a desperation of their own editorial making.  In fact, just last week, I recieved a letter from Dominion Post editor, Bernadette Courtney, saying that: “Because we really want you back we have put together this exclusive offer, all for the low price of just $5.40 per week.”  This exclusive offer consists of six newspapers, delivered to the door, plus a subscription to a glossy monthly magazine.  At about half the price of a pint in most Wellington bars, this unsustainable initiative points to abject desperation at Fairfax Media, and genuinely makes me sad.

As I’ve always said, I love newspapers.  I’ve grown up with them.  I’ve studied, practiced and taught journalism, and literally had newspapers for breakfast for much of my life.   Like many who’ve lost faith in the industry, I don’t need some special offer that virtually gives the product away.  I want to see news media flourishing, making healthy profits, and employing fairly paid staff.  If the product is striving for fairness, accuracy and balance, and holding those in power to account, rather than misleading the people on their behalf, I will gladly renew my subscription and welcome the reporters’ analysis back into my home.  And, if Fairfax Media are genuinely signalling a return to real journalism and abandoning National Party spin, I’ll be the first to sing their praises from the capital’s rooftops.

As always, you can rely on Fearfactsexposed to keep you posted.  Thank you for helping to make a difference.





Heartland backlash over Crafar farm fallout





The Great New Zealand Scam

19 November 2011 1 comment



Never mind Nigerian scammers – we have something much closer to home, and is the biggest rort ever. What do retirement policies and asset sales have in common? Plenty!


Full Story


One commentator to the story above posted this message on Stuff’s messageboard,

cm   #47   11:48 pm Nov 18 2011

All this shows is who votes, and in numbers.

the boomers stand to loose the most from a retirement age increase. The boomers stand to gain the most from asset sales.

come on gen y, x, z what ever the demographs call you. get out and vote before the baby boomers (your own parents/grandparents) sell you and your future out. its pretty damn simple, if you over 20 you arnt a child anymore, your an adult. so act like you give a damn about your futures and stop believing the bullshit that your parents will look after you, put that on a tui bill board.


CM has pretty well identified how Baby Boomers are going to “internalise a complicated situation” by voting National even though, on the surface, they have an alleged dislike of asset sales.

It is a perfect analysis of what is about to happen on 26 November: the Baby Boomer generation is about to ‘steal’ property from the next generation, for their own gain.

Instead of our generation paying it’s way through taxation, we’ve voted tax cuts for ourselves (2009, 2010) and big borrowings from overseas to sustain those tax cuts, and maintain social services. Then, to start paying it back, instead of doing it through taxation, we’ll sell off state assets. End result; we get the benefits, and Gen X, Y, etc, are left with $13 billion in student debt and not much more to show for it.

By the way, John Key and many others in his position had the benefit of a free tertiary education – fully tax-payer funded. With a student allowance on top, to make it all as easy as possible.

Then, through two tax cuts, he voted himself an extra $1000 a week.

Meanwhile, our young folk are accumulating more and more student debt. By last year, the student debt mountain has grown to an unfeasible $13.9 billion.

What a racket! This is ‘better’ than a Ponzi Scheme! It’s better than a Nigerian scam – because it’s all totally legal.

This is why our best and brightest young people are heading overseas.  They’re leaving before they get saddled with the bill for looking after us in our retirement.

Unfortunately, Labour’s policy to make sure disengaged youth are heard may be too little, too late. Our children are already disconnected from us and our society because we made damn sure it happened that way. Saddling our young folk with a debt we (Baby Boomers) never had to face is pretty well telling them, “Kid, you’re on your own!”.

All I’ll say to Gen Xers and Yers is: Run! (Though Baby Boomers – through the government – won’t let you get away quite so easily.)


Additional reading

Student loans – the debt mountain

Govt may use student loan debt collectors abroad

Greed is Good?