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The Standard

A note to a media commentator

Written By: - Date published: 2:51 am, November 17th, 2012 - 50 comments
Categories: activism, blogs, broadcasting, democratic participation, humour, kremlinology, labour, Media, news, newspapers, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

I have been busy over the past few days and didn’t get around to it. But being at conference is a breathing space so I thought I’d leave a note for the media commentator Gavin Ellis who appears in this piece with Kathryn Ryan about The Standard at about 8:50 (I can’t link directly to the track because of copyright).

He appears to have been incapable of understanding things like:-

  1. lprent is the author of this post.
  2. lprent is a shorthand or a pseudonym for Lynn Prentice.
  3. And I have been using lprent as a online handle since 1979 – it was my first login to a networked system. It is as much a part of my online identity as my real name is to my legal life. Many like or loathe lprent but few touched by it can deny the personality and accumulated and valued traits (my partner describes as a harsher and more abrupt version of the meat personality). Most people online feel the same about their usual handles and will go to considerable lengths to keep their good name. Just as they would with their offline good name. Legally of course they are the much the same just as having alias is offline.
  4. pseudonymous writing ≠ anonymous writing.
  5. I also wrote this post which Gavin Ellis appears to have carefully ignored in his analysis which was in a similar vein as Eddie and Irish.
  6. Mike Smith wrote this post with a diametrically opposite analysis, as did r0b in the same days as Eddie and Irish’s posts Why didn’t Gavin mention those? They were in the same day of publication. Because they did not resonate as strongly with our readership?
  7. I’d have to question if Gavin Ellis was looking at the operation of a pseudonym as much as he was simply disagreeing with the message. That isn’t a media commentator – that is the action of a person writing an editorial on their morals and presuming we should follow them when they didn’t follow it themselves (did he ever write editorials?). I’m sure that there is a word for that.
  8. Responsibility: I know most of the people who author posts on The Standard and Mike Smith knows the others. Between us we know everyone writing under a pseudonym. We have to. We are the trustees of the trust that is legally responsible for what they write. If they write something that exposes the site to harm, then we fix it. There is a word for that as well. Gavin Ellis should know what it was in old media.
  9. Authors on our site are not ‘anonymous’. They write under their pseudonym. Nor is any commentator on our site if I choose to find out who they are.

It is pretty clear that Gavin Ellis could do with a refresher course in even the legal principles of publishing. They are essentially the same on a blog as they are on a newspaper. Left and mostly Labour party activists have various issues about the Labour party coming up to the first Labour party conference since the defeat in 2011. Some of these are being dealt with in this and follow up conferences at least in part because our authors and many others helped bring them to the surface.

Rather than deal with that reality Gavin Ellis seems to prefer to cherry pick his posts to fit around an daft thesis that appears to have never been thought through. I found it quite fascinating how unwilling he was to look at all of the authors from other sites and media saying much the same things as our authors did. I was surprised that he appeared to completely miss that both Eddie and r0b were in fact responding to material from Vernon Small earlier that weekend. That there was a cascade of posts is a natural consequence of many people thinking much the same thoughts and responding to a topical issue. The only reason that my post was so late was because we’d already had three posts on the topic on the sunday when I wrote it. So it got re-edited and went up on Monday.

All of us and all of the others that Gavin Ellis named had previously raised similar questions in earlier posts as they did last weekend and throughout the week. So why was only Chris Trotter apparently concerned prior to last weekend according to Gavin Ellis. Most of the 200+ comments responding to Eddie’s post were from commentators who’d already been talking about the same issues even before the leadership debates last year. It isn’t exactly hard to research this. Searching using our search engine or googles will reveal this in seconds or minutes.

I’d have to ask if Gavin Ellis has even been read the posts or comments in which these same issues were being raised throughout the year. Why else would he be surprised about them being naturally being re-raised in the week before the first conference since the last election. Arggh who gave this political drongo airtime. I mean it is good fiction, but hardly worthy of the name of analysis or even commentary.

One bit did make me laugh. The likelihood of our authors being ‘manipulated’ has about the same lifetime of plausibility as a snowballs chance in hell. These aren’t junior reporters. With most of them, I’d rate any manipulators chances of getting away with a straight spine after the attempt to be quite low. They make their own decisions on a personal basis about what they will write about. I know exactly the reaction I’d get if I asked them to write a particular way. These are frigging volunteers. There is no hold that I have on them apart from preventing them from writing. Obviously that isn’t something I’d like to do.

And Gavin Ellis has clearly not bothered to exert the effort of thinking about why people will prefer to use a pseudonym. What our authors do on the blog is part of their private life as volunteers for the left. The people writing with pseudonyms are in positions where it would not be difficult for the malicious to interfere in their professional lives. Our older authors are the ones writing under their own names. They are the people where there is no easy way for malicous malipulative people to interfere in the professional lives. And yes it has been done and it will be done again. Writing with a pseudonym ensures that they cannot easily be pressured or manipulated.

And if the authors are being pressured then there is always myself or Mike to deal to whoever is doing it. Speaking for myself I’d be happy to drag the festering manipulation into the open for a good public dissection. Conversely if we think that an author is going over the line between the professional and personal opinion then there are quite a lot of things that we can and will do. Which is why it doesn’t happen.

Gavin Ellis appears to have little understanding of either the politics of the left nor how we run our blog site or even forums on the net. I rather suspect that he has blindly picked up a neat theory without bothering to think about it too deeply. In fact he seems to have named it himself in relation to china. It is the antique art that used to be called kremlinology. It probably fits some strange sentimental streak for the arcane viewpoint. It would have certainly sounded like it for most activists from the left when he described sentimentally described Richard Long and Fran O’Sullivan without some of their other career highlights that are so apparent to the left. Perhaps he should just read what is said or even (horror) ask rather than inventing yet another conspiracy theory. This isn’t exactly rocket science.

And like most people from the traditional media he also seems to have a curious blind spot about how newspapers have their own issues with anonymous content like editorials, “staff reporters”, and newsfeeds. Not to mention the apparent ease with which most mainstream media seem to be able to be manipulated by their need for capital and revenue. Coming from a site that requires only a minute amount of revenue to operate it does seem rather apparent to me.

And apparently to others Queen of Thorns (QoT when she deigns to write here :twisted:) has fun sticking a very similar needle into the people with pseudonym phobias. I wish I’d read that first – then I could have plagiarised quoted it… There are pile more around the net, but I’m sure we have given poor Gavin enough hints that he can use google on.

50 comments on “A note to a media commentator”

  1. Dr Terry 1

    An excellent presentation here – thanks! I guess we can see it as a good sign if the Standard is needling some of these unthinking people, obviously it is getting through even if it is touching a few raw spots. The Standard goes from strength to strength, keep it going!

    If one of the thoughtless ones has something nasty to say to me, send him (presuming it is a male) around to say it to my face. Even though I am old, I remain big and strong, and said person might find that he cops something unwanted right in his face! Nevertheless, I must remember the old school ditty “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me”.

  2. IrishBill 2

    I’m glad you said something about this Lynn. I was particularly struck by Ellis’ effusive praising of Richard Long which managed to include a list of all Long’s journalism jobs but failed to mention the fact he was a senior political adviser to the Nats! It seems to me his call for transparency only goes so far.

  3. just saying 3

    Many like to criticise the negative potential of pseudonymity: the potential for misrepresentation and other dishonesty, for new kinds of bullying and other aggression, for deliberate vested-interest astro-turfing.

    But the positive potential is at least equally enormous. With the right balance of moderation, it can create a uniquely safe forum for those whose voices are seldom heard. It can create a capacity to talk more openly, honestly and candidly than the practicalities of “real life” may allow. There have been discussions here between people from different sides of difficult, contentious, highly charged issues, which I can’t imagine even being possible outside of the safety that pseudonymity can create. It can not only foster openness to new ways of thinking, but allow us to safely interact with new ideas and their protagonists in close to real time.

    One of the things I appreciate is the opportunity to take risks and stuff-up. To have unexamined assumptions blown to pieces. To get it wrong. To write, and to come back it, and have the undeniable ‘stupid’ burn in the privacy of my own home. Learning comes easier with that kind of freedom.

    • karol 3.1

      Well said, js.  I like that this is a pretty safe forum and that the extreme kind of bigoted abuse seen on some right wing forums is not tolerated here.

    • rosy 3.2

      You’re speaking for me there js.

      Also, I would never have commented on any blog if I had to give my real name. I have such low confidence in writing out my thoughts and questioning others that my pseudonym actually comes from blushing with embarrassment when thinking about whether I could press submit on my first-ever comment. Clearly I’ve moved on from there 😉

    • LynW 3.3

      Me too JS!

    • RedLogix 3.4

      Learning comes easier with that kind of freedom.

      I suspect that by nature most of us who participate regularly in these kinds of forums work best when were are on our own. We prefer the chance to think things through deeply without the additional drama of dealing with other people’s noise in our faces.

      • Rogue Trooper 3.5.1

        Are we not Men? We are Devo!
        (it’s a Beautiful World we live in…Working in a Coalmine…it’s just the girl…The Girl U Want)

        -picaresqueing some weeds that the chook has discriminated against in the vege garden shortly, although they are very helpful with the oxalis bulbs; love them they do, and not just the pretty, tiny flowers that I tolerate as a rationalistion for not attempting to throw them all to the wind)
        :)

  4. Great post! I think this attention proves The Standard has come of age, a force to be reckoned with, it’s just they are finding it hard to do that!

  5. Shorts 5

    How can someone claim to be a media commentator when they simply don’t get media – I won’t call the web new media, as it simply is not new.

    It’s not hard to understand.

  6. karol 6

    The social scientist and (new) media scholar in me is interested in the shift in the MSM that is being seen with this issue.

    I recall a time when it was mainly certain right wing blogs and bloggers that got most of the MSM attention when  blogging issues were raised.  And they often failed to mention the bloggers’ right wing position.  They also seemed to not be bothered by some of the rac1st, myisogynist, and homophobic abuse that commenters indulged in.

    I can remember a time when homophobic abuse was pretty common in public and ordinary conversation.  In those days I feared I would lose my job if I came out at work.  I still feel some vulnerability around that, and will not visit some sleazy space where that kind of abuse is accepted.

    But, back to my main point: there is a shift going on here with bloggers and commenters on TS expressing a desire for a shift from the neoliberal consensus of the last couple of decades.  The MSM is not able to ignore it.  They, right wingers, and some Labour/left people are doing their best to neutralise this by smearing bloggers as “anonymous”, and worse (all those inaccurate comparisons with violent, dictatorial organisations).

    I’ll be interested to see how this plays out.  But I can’t help feeling that it represents a bubbling to the surface of a desire for a new political direction – a desire held by a lot of ordinary Kiwis.  

    And it seems to me that the “left” political parties, like many organisational structures, tend to be quite entrenched in the status quo.  And I don’t think they will shift in a new direction without the impetus coming from “below”, from a ground swell of ordinary people.  

    And I do agree with Lynn that the increase in TS posts on the Labour Leadership/caucus etc, was the result of many people thinking similar things.   Or, if it was orchestrated, I want to know why I was left out of the loop? No-one contacted me about it in advance, and I was left to go blissfully on as usual, writing and posting on whatever I decided, without any editorial interference.

    • prism 6.1

      karol And I do agree with Lynn that the increase in TS posts on the Labour Leadership/caucus etc, was the result of many people thinking similar things.

      What could NACTs find wrong with this. It’s the very basis of the neo liberal ‘heart’. That individuals forming masses with similar desires constitute the decisive force that the market reacts to and Obeys. Strains of Money money from Pink Floyd.

      Not so good when the mass want something different, say real democracy that responds to those not sitting on top of the hill with the good view, which is likely to cut down the flow of money into this here bag.

    • lprent 6.2

      Or, if it was orchestrated, I want to know why I was left out of the loop? No-one contacted me about it in advance…

      You weren’t. I knew the previous week that Irish was unhappy because he told me when I’d phoned him about something else.

      In fact he told everyone as I seem to remember as he’d commented something to that effect, or am I remembering someone else. But I’d read Small’s article and then r0b’s and Eddie’s posts.

      While I got around to writing mine, I read several other bloggers and journos. Then bloody Irish, Mike and even QoT beat me to it.

      You were welcome to say whatever, but by that time I was determined that the next post on the topic was going to be mine……..

      • QoT 6.2.1

        even QoT beat me to it

        When it’s a Sunday and the laundry’s all done I am simply unbeatable. 😀

      • karol 6.2.2

        BTW, this was my attempt at a joke:

        I want to know why I was left out of the loop? No-one contacted me about it in advance…

        A bit feeble, I know.

        But I was happy to sit back and read what other people were posting on the topic.

        But I am impressed by how much all you posters had your finger on the pulse. 

  7. Lanthanide 7

    While we’re talking about site-stuff, it looks to me like we’ve had rather an influx of new commenters in the last 2-3 months. Anyone else get that impression?

    • lprent 7.1

      Probably. I will check later

      • AsleepWhileWalking 7.1.1

        It’s becoming easier to find this site : ) Great job in putting this together.

        IMHO a large part of WhaleOil’s popularity is that the site was updated regularly, issues of significance were vented, and (possibly most importantly) there was little in the way of competition. Needless to say I’m glad I found you.

    • prism 7.2

      Could be that there are hundreds – might even then not match the value of Bored.

  8. RedLogix 8

    I’ve been a small part of TS from within a week or two of when it was started. That’s quite a few years ago. I can state categorically that I have never seen any evidence that this blog is anything other than exactly than what Lynn says it is.

    Sure there may well be some private conversations going on around the margins that I’m not aware of or privvy to. But at no time has there been any sense of manipulation, conspiracy or limitation on what any author could say … within a very broad left-wing agenda.

    The extraordinary thing is the independence authors are given and trust Lynn and Mike put in us, and the degree to which a diversity of opinion and ideas is not only tolerated but encouraged.

    As for the psuedonym thing … the msm routinely fail to understand because virtually all their material these days is about attacking the messenger. Without a ‘name’ or a personality to hang their narrative off they’re helpless. Helpless because they really don’t know how to do ideas anymore.

    • “Without a ‘name’ or a personality to hang their narrative off they’re helpless. Helpless because they really don’t know how to do ideas anymore”

      Bloody well said M8!

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      <blockquoteAs for the psuedonym thing … the msm routinely fail to understand because virtually all their material these days is about attacking the messenger. Without a ‘name’ or a personality to hang their narrative off they’re helpless. Helpless because they really don’t know how to do ideas anymore.
      QFT

      The Standard (I always think of TeamSpeak whenever some puts in TS) is independent with no editorial oversight and the MSM just don’t seem to be able to grasp that.

      [lprent: We do have some. We don’t want to waste time in court or to outrage everyone so much that we have to spend all our time defending it. But it is a quite broad limit. ]

  9. marsman 9

    Who tells Gavin Ellis what to say? His praising of Richard Long sounds very suspicious to me.

  10. What is the difference between radio talkback where a person can use a false name,to a blogger
    who can use a tag of identity ?
    I have no curtain to hide behind,no darkend room,just a will to get MY opinion out there and the
    standard is a vehicle for that.
    In fact i have written to opinon columns in my local paper in all things political,so i could be
    called an activist.
    My roots are entrenched, my family history is labour,therefore i feel i have an absolute right
    to have an opinion whether it be from policy,organization,party,leader,ministers,whatever,
    i will not stop because of the insults thrown at bloggers on this site.
    Thank you to the standard for allowing me the opportunity to have my say, i am a REAL
    person with an opinion, that’s all.
    ps, I also enjoy reading other opinions.

  11. Te Reo Putake 11

    Does anyone know if Ellis is equally scathing about the pseudoanonymous nature of the editorials he used to publish when he was editor of the NZ Herald?

    • QoT 11.1

      Fuckin’ A, TRP. This is the biggest thing for me whenever the MSM start hating on blogs – at least there’s etiquette around using consistent handles, compared to our biggest daily newspapers letting any old hack put forth their opinion under an established, authoritative banner with no verifiability whatsoever.

  12. Pete 12

    I would imagine that some of the people who comment here are public servants – I was, until last year (I don’t know about the post authors, though) and are cowed from taking an open political position. Of course, it’s unwise for anyone to talk smack about their employer, but sometimes the perspective these people bring contributes much to a discussion.

  13. gobsmacked 13

    It was a very poor commentary by Gavin Ellis (he’s usually better than that).

    There are many ways that public opinion is expressed in the media. These include …

    – Opinion polls (anonymous, and scientific)
    – Online polls (anonymous, and not scientific)
    – Talkback (effectively anonymous, and now less representative than ever. In the age of the internet, talkback is confined to a small minority on the fringe)
    – Online comments (on blogs, Stuff, TradeMe, a hundred different forums)
    – Text polls (anonymous and totally meaningless)
    – E-mails being read out on TV/radio (sometimes anonymous, and not verifiable)
    – The TV/radio vox pop (i.e three or four people being interviewed on the street, and saying “The Budget is rubbish, ciggies are going up”)
    – Trawling Facebook and Twitter for “juicy” quotes

    and so on, and so on …

    All of the above are a daily staple in news reporting – whether they are valid or not. Which ones should be used? Or ignored? Now that would be a good subject for a “media commentator”.

    Instead we just got a session of uninformed, highly selective axe-grinding.

    Do better, Gavin. Much better, please.

    • just saying 13.1

      Hell, names and adresses are not taken at old-fashioned public meetings. The blogosphere is being held up to a different standard to most forms of political participation. Also, there is the little matter of everything you have previously said being available in that little search engine up on the right.

    • Morrissey 13.2

      It was a very poor commentary by Gavin Ellis (he’s usually better than that).

      No he is not usually better than that. His contributions are not only lacklustre, they usually lack insight.

  14. Morrissey 14

    Anyone who listens to his dire weekly contributions to Kathryn Ryan’s show will know that Gavin Ellis is a dullard. After an utterly undistinguished career at the Herald, Ellis unaccountably schmoozed his way into the editorship.

    However, he will go down in infamy not so much as a dullard, but as a coward: he was the editor that was bullied and badgered by a small but fierce band of extremists (Lesley Max, David Zwarz and David Nathan) into firing cartoonist Malcolm Evans in 2002.

  15. Great article Lynn , very well said Indeed :-)

  16. Bill 16

    When the unwashed mob can speak directly to one another in fairly large audiences without their words being mediated through some authority or being otherwise censored…then that’s kind of democratic. And democracy is dangerous shit that ought not to be encouraged. Y’know, a levelm playing field of communication might lead to ideas being formed and ideas taking hold. And ideas that don’t come from an authoritative ‘centre point’ – be that center point a megaphone or a niche within a hierarchy – is an idea that is out of control. And that is a bad thing 😉

  17. ianmac 17

    One time when a blog site could be manipulated is when a team of suspect commentators do comment with a view to swamp a post with a themed opposition to that post. A conspiracy thinker might suspect this especially around election time.
    Teams of Right Wing Comment Manipulators? Dunno.
    Great airing of your response to Ellis, Lyn.

  18. DS1 18

    Even if pseudonym = anonymous, anonymous =! invalid or inferior opinion.

    Besides, Mark Twain, Lewis Caroll, and George Orwell (for example) are all pseudonyms. Using their real names would not have increased the validity or quality of their writing (and it’s unlikely Orwell would have written if he’d been unable to use a pseudonym).

    • Absolutely true bud, all voices a worthy of hearing, and unfettered they have a chance to express themselves honestly.

      Anonymous != Soulless , which is what some are trying to say about us “Bloggers”

  19. Mary 19

    “I’d have to question if Gavin Ellis was looking at the operation of a pseudonym as much as he was simply disagreeing with the message.”

    That’s precisely what was happening. Interestingly, by trying to describe O’Sullivan’s and Long’s comments as showing integrity and political maturity he had the opposite effect by pointing out how they were both showing so-called “support” for Shearer not because they thought Shearer continuing as leader would assist Labour but because it would assist National. There’s no problem saying this – I’d love to see Judith Collins become leader of the National Party not because I think she’d be a good leader but because I think she’d be aggressive and divisive therefore a total liability to the party – but all three, O’Sullivan, Long and Ellis were not being honest in this way. Ellis let his own colours get in the way of genuine analysis and for this reason he’s no commentator. It’ll be interesting to see if Ellis responds on this post. I don’t think he will. People like him are gutless cheap-shot gits.

  20. weka 20

    Kathyrn Ryan’s ignorance was also breathtaking.
     
    In the interests of balance, RNZ should now be interviewing or having a commentator who understands the dynamics of political blogging. Has Mediawatch been covering this?
     

    • Mary 20.1

      “Kathyrn Ryan’s ignorance was also breathtaking.”

      Yes it was, but when thinking back over it it’s not surprising. Ryan’s just your average non-listening set Q&A journalist so to expect more from her is wishful thinking. If I had a dollar for every opportunity she’s had for a killer follow-up question she’s blown by simply moving on to the next question on the list I’d be a wealthy woman.

    • lprent 20.2

      She didn’t understand the blogging side – psuedonyms and all that. However she did poke a few holes in Gavin Ellis’s arguments. It was mostly what I’d expect.

  21. tracey 21

    Perhaps he thinks mediA commentators here are manipulated because he is embarrassed that he has often succumbed to manipulation.

  22. tracey 22

    Shes formerly from the press gallery… often manipulated consciously or otherwise. i miss lina clark

  23. tracey 23

    Shes formerly from the press gallery… often manipulated consciously or otherwise. i miss linda clark

  24. tracey 24

    When an editor of the herald impugns others integrity it must be as part of a comedy routine. there can be no other explanation.

  25. peterlepaysan 25

    Ellis, like Armstrong, Watkin et al seem to think that the messenger is more important than than the message.

    They cannot “mediate” the message and then us unwashed dumb klutzs will be ill informed because they could not mediate.

    Yeah right!

  26. xtasy 26

    Who is Gavin Ellis, I first thought.

    Then I found this:
    http://artsfaculty.auckland.ac.nz/staff/?UPI=gell002

    He is clearly a former journalist of the old school, apparently struggling with the new phenomenon of blogs and the bloggers, who on this and other sites use pseudonyms as their chosen names or identity.

    That in itself does not at all disqualify the integrity and authenticity of opinion pieces written and commented on.

    Ellis seems to be fitting the mould of John Armstrong and such types of journalists.

    Kathryn Ryan on RNZ is also a typically mediocre “mainstream” radio journalist, who seems to do only superficial bits of researching, before she has persons on her program, whom she asks questions.

    I remember some time ago, when she had the head of Housing NZ on her program, who of course fed her all the dishonest, glossed over and propagandistic policies they were implementing in their management of housing. There were no hard questions asked, and she let that woman get away with telling half- and untruths, justifying the National led government’s policies they have to implement now.

    It was all dressed up in politically correct terms and all done so “fairly”, reasonably and justifiably, while in fact they force people out of their houses and stick them into shoe-box size alternative homes, so they can sell existing homes and land to private land and property developers.

    But amongst all of radio media, RNZ is still better and more informative, so that tells you what the situation about broadcast media in NZ is in general: Largely total CRAP!

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     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    2 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    3 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    3 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    3 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    3 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    4 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    4 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    6 days ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    7 days ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    7 days ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    7 days ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    7 days ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    1 week ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    1 week ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    1 week ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls on all parties to end coat-tailing
    Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging all parties to support his Bill to end the coat-tailing provision when it is debated in Parliament this week.  “New Zealanders have sent MPs a clear message. An opinion poll found more than 70… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government social sector reforms
    I’ve written previously about the major shake-up that is happening in the provision of government and community services. Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development spoke publically about what these reforms are likely to look like within MSD. There are major… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • PM must explain Saudi sheep scandal backflips
    John Key’s explanations of the Saudi sheep scandal continue to be riddled with inconsistencies and irreconcilable backflips, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says. “Either he has been misled by his Minister Murray McCully or the Prime Minister is deliberately obfuscating… ...
    2 weeks ago

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