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Bait and switch

Written By: - Date published: 3:47 pm, June 28th, 2008 - 78 comments
Categories: election 2008, national, slippery - Tags:

It strikes me there is a disconnect between what prospective National voters expect it to do in government and what it has actually promised it would do. Some examples:

Tax Cuts
How much larger do you expect the tax cut National will offer you will be compared to the ones Labour has announced? $5 a week? $10? Hardly any difference. National supporters weren’t satisfied with Labour’s cuts, they’ll want a significant amount more and such puny offerings would make a mockery of National’s endless fixation on cutting tax. Seems to me they’ve got to offer at least $20 a week more or the expectations of potential voters will be disappointed. How are they going to find the $3 billion needed to satisfy this minimal expectation? Not through cutting ‘waste‘.

Reverse the Child Discipline law
The Bradford amendments to Section 59 pf the Crime Act is one of National supporters’ main bugbears. Despite the fact that National voted for the law, Labour is blamed. Surely, then there is a strong expectation that National will reverse the amendments. But it’s not going to happen. John Key says they would change the law if there was evidence good parents were being criminalised and he says that is not happening.

Lower petrol tax
A common refrain from National supporters is that petrol prices are the fault of taxes (in fact, higher fuel prices reduces government tax revenue and raises its costs). Labour is blamed for this over-taxation and they believe electing National will change this. It won’t. National has repeatedly stated it won’t remove or reduce taxation on fuel.

Power prices
Think power prices are too high? Expect National to lower them? Think again. National has no energy affordability policy. It does, however, have a policy of extracting more profits from SOEs, and the biggest SOEs are Meridian, Genesis, Mercury, and Transpower; National wants power companies to make more profit, from higher prices. It opposes the Electricity Commission, whose reserve generator at Whirinaki gave us a buffer during the recent ‘power crisis’.

It is no coincidence that the expectations of National’s supporters and its actual policies are different. National’s strategy relies on hit and run attacks on the government. This encourages a belief that National has some plan to tackle the problem at isuue when it doesn’t. Securing the votes of people who have expectations that don’t gel with reality, what the Americans call ‘bait and swtich’, underpins National strategy.

So, if you’re thinking of voting National, ask yourself: what do you expect from them and do these expectations match with National’s actual statements?  Or are you falling for the bait?

78 comments on “Bait and switch”

  1. higherstandard 1

    According to the latest polls Tax cuts are not top of mind anymore.

    ” ..The economy continued to rate as the top issue likely to affect respondents’ vote (23.8 per cent).

    But public concern about crime saw law and order selected as the next issue most likely to affect voting, rising to nearly a quarter of respondents (23.4 per cent) – up from just 11 per cent in May. It overtook tax cuts (19 per cent) as the second biggest issue.”

    Not surprising that law and order is of rising concern with the spate of shocking incidents in Sth Auckland recently.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10518834

  2. Yeah, and National has no solutions for those issue either, yet I bet a lot of potential National voters think they do.

  3. higherstandard 3

    But both you and I know that governments are blamed when things turn sour not oppositions – tis the way of the world.

  4. But is that why you would vote National?

  5. Perhaps National can increase the fines for those losers that park in Handicap spots to raise money for tax breaks.

  6. erikter 6

    [lprent: banned remember]

  7. bill brown 7

    Not surprising that law and order is of rising concern with the spate of shocking incidents in Sth Auckland recently

    I would say:

    Not surprising that the msm is concentrating on law and order after the gap between National’s and Labour’s tax cut package was minimised.

  8. Monty 8

    you leftards just do not get it. It is not just those points above which is why Labour are so far behind. It is because they are arrogant (see Clark parking over disabled park for latest proof) Cullen has refused to give tax custs for nine years despite massive surpluses, and the list just goes on and on. Chris Trotter summed it up during the week when he said in his column “The trouble with this government, is that it’s always telling us what to do.” The Labour government as the current economic recession tells us have not actually managed the economy well.

    At present households in Auckland are struggling as evidenced by the increase in mortgagee sales, defaults on loans, drop in house sales (no confidence) and retail sales falling through the floor. The perception (and quite corect as well) is that Labour has robbed the woring classes to fund their social programmes. The middle classes who have funded the Labour ego have had enough.

    Labour as a result will suffer their worst defeat in a generation. In 12 months time while Labour are still licking their festering wounds and wondering how to cope with life with Helen controling every aspect of their lives, some on the left will undertake an objective analysis. The cause will be several things, but top of the list will be
    Cullen and his arrogance
    Electoral Finance Act
    Clark and her vindictiveness (and lust for power)
    The Anti-smacking law
    The Health system (and the sheriff in charge -)
    High interest rates
    Falling house prices (and no consumer confidence)
    destruction of the independant Public Service (it is not the government’s plaything)
    The theft of $800,000 of taxpayers money
    Increases in violent crime (and lack of real action on P and gangs)
    the drift to Australia of friends and family (everyone seems to have lost a son / daughter/ brother / sister to the West Island)
    And most importantly the arrogance of every single labour Party member of parliament.

    What does amaze me is that your support has not yet slumped to 20% – but given current polling trends I am certain that will be acheivable

  9. RedLogix 9

    Monty does the perfect demo of the sucker who has swallowed the exact “bait and switch” routine SP writes about. Classic.

    Monty gets the “Unselfconcious Irony Award” for the week.

  10. gobsmacked 10

    This will be the very shiny silver lining if National do win – getting out the popcorn and watching the show, as the penny slowly drops among the fingers-in-the-ears John Key fan club. Like when you start dating “HotChickHot4U” off the internet, and she turns out to be a scam artist who ends up with half your house. How did that happen? Coz you stopped thinking and followed your dick.

    Self-delusion is not compulsory, it’s a choice. And if people can’t be bothered to try and find out what they’re getting, they get what they deserve.

    PS Have just yawned my way through Monty’s long post … couldn’t find a single National policy there either. Says it all.

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

    Redlogix says it all really. Someone who considers ‘leftards’ a clever call it top of the list of people to get suckered by national. I wonder what muzza thinks Key will do for him – or maybe he just likes his smile.

  12. Lew 12

    Monty: On this thread I offered you a bet of a case of beer if National win 75 seats. Since you’re predicting Labour falling to 20%, I should think you’d be all the more keen now to put your money where your typing fingers are.

    Do we have a deal?

    L

  13. Key and National would be a disaster in government and there would be a bit of schadenfreude in seeing that go down. Problem is that it would be the people who really suffer, not National’s wealthy base.

    Monty, Brett – I hope you see that you’re ust showing that you’ve been suckered in by misdirection and the bait and switch. Honestly, I can’t image supporting a government in circumstances where I can’t name what they will do… it seems all you see National as is ‘not-Labour’. Incredible. Do you really want a government like that, with no policy and no solutions?

  14. coge 14

    Well Steve, it’s a case of knowing what Govt we don’t want, & knowing how best to get that result. This Clark led Govt is considered by most to be an abject failure. I anticipate both they & their coalition partners will be roundly rejected by the electorate.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    Ha ha ha … that’s brilliant!

    (You are a parody, I take it?)

  16. higherstandard 16

    Key and National would be a disaster in government .. how so ?

    Problem is that it would be the people who suffer not Nationals wealthy base …. really how so ?

    So those people who voted National in the last election and in this are the wealthy ? and they voted or are thinking of voting National because they’re wealthy and greedy … really … do you really believe that ? After your rant some time ago regarding the young Nats I’m starting to think you actually do.

  17. coge. If the Labour-led governments are such a failure, how come National wouldn’t reverse any of their changes?

    HS. You’ve seen all the stats, I can’t remember how many times we’ve showed the minimum wage and median income graphs, the distribution of income vs tax cut graphs…. National doesn’t believe in raising the minimum wage or improving work rights, plus a cornerstone of neoliberal economics is unemployment to suppress wage demands. Who suffers then? The people, not the wealthy. Are Natioanl supporters for those things because they are ‘bad’, no of course not. They believe that those policies are best for society in the long-run (‘with the right incentives, everyone will work hard and be rich doctors and IT contractors’), problem is (and again, we’ve shown this in a dozen different ways) they aren’t, they are best for those at the top, and the poor get shafted.

  18. RedLogix 18

    Coge,

    You are posting on a political blog site. It is openly left-wing partisian and there are a number of people here who are highly politically literate. As with all blogs the level of debate is can be variable, but allow me to assure you that if you continue posting here in this miserable vein you will be challenged to raise your game.

    1. You assert that this Labour led govt has been a failure. What is your definition of failure and how are you going to measure success? Specifically at what points do you think this govt has failed?

    2. You are welcome to your opinion that you do not want a Labour govt. Fine. But what DO you want, and what evidence do you have that National (the only plausible alternative at this point) will deliver anything like what you are hoping for?

    Surprise me with a coherent, reasoned and evidence based argument if you will.

  19. polaris 19

    yes, with Lake Hawea about to go the lowest it is allowed to go, the “power crisis” is really over isn’t it Clinton?

  20. coge 20

    RedLogix. Yes, it’s abundantly clear what sort of blog The Standard
    is. I think it is positive that many folk of opposing political stripe post are able to post here. I’m sure you understand this makes for lively debate, & thanks for your invitation. In my world political literacy is purely a subjective concept, as with the ideas of failure & success. But now we need to look at some facts, so I can answer your questions.

    1/Polling. In my opinion Labour are not polling at the levels that make them electable. How do I come to this conclusion? Since 2002 when Labour trounced National, Labours polling has fallen into a longterm downtrend, a slow decline if you will. Conversely National has experienced a longterm uptrend. Six years of this has made a huge difference. Now please answer this. For Labour, how can this be any measure of success? If it is not success, surely it is failure? I admit it is all based on statistics, but speculate that Labour has alienated many of their former supporters.

  21. KK 21

    cOge? So you ‘re everything thing on polls. 1/Polling – is that it?

    “In my world political literacy is purely a subjective concept, as with the ideas of failure & success. But now we need to look at some facts” – your sentence makes about no sense and you named just one fact.

  22. coge 22

    RedLogix,

    2/ As to the alienation of some former labour supporters, well three terms is a long time for any Govt. The scandals, the advent of “Nanny state”, the economy, the P epidemic & attendant crimes etc, night after night on the media. National are seen as the new broom, when you’re in opposition you can’t make any real mistakes.
    From my own personal point of view, National traditionally are better custodians of the economy & have a better handle on crime. They also understand business, which time & time again Labour demonstrate ample ignorance in.

    One final comment. Intellectual bullying which raises it’s head on this blog once in a while. It’s not a good look for Labour & I fail to see how it helps your cause. Perhaps you would care to comment?

  23. lprent 23

    coge: I think that RL was quietly warning you about me and/or Irish. We like having people of different opinions around here when they discuss things. We don’t tolerate trolls for too long because they don’t contribute to debate.

    The comment he was referring to caused me to give you a troll scan – it was a classic troll comment. But you seem to occasionally contribute – hopefully you’ll get better :D

  24. Short of Labour digging up some real dirt on Key/National, the Right is going to be making up the next coalition government. Not that it will make any difference to the economy, National seems unlikely to reverse Labour’s biggest mistake: Working For Families.

  25. KK 25

    cOge “From my own personal point of view” – that’s tautology

    Nanny state, the economy, the P epidemic & attendant crimes etc, night after night on the media.

    have you ever given thought that the mainstream media is not the only source of information? Your arguments are seriously baseless mate.. perhaps if you backed them up and presented a coherent argument they’d be less of this “intellectual bullying”

    Do you really think that Labour “demonstrate ample ignorance”, I’ve heard the contrary I think that you’ve been mislead by the media and the key-loving machine.

  26. coge 26

    Iprent, thanks. A troll scan? Didn’t hurt a bit.

    Generally shorter communication is the most efficient. In this case it was noticed.

    Cheers

    [lprent: Shorter is efficient around here as well, at least for banning. You have to explain the why as well as the conclusions. That allows people to pick apart the arguments. Short usually leads to flamewars and I stomp on those because they're too annoyingly mechanical to scan. Consequently short usually leads to bans or moderation on the general basis that I like killing rogue code and the trash is the fastest and most efficient solution]

  27. Billy 27

    SP: If the Labour-led governments are such a failure, how come National wouldn’t reverse any of their changes?

    So, Steve, given that Labour have never reversed the benefit cuts of Ruth Richardson’s first budget, I take it we are all agreed that they were a great success.

  28. Dean 28

    SP:

    “coge. If the Labour-led governments are such a failure, how come National wouldn’t reverse any of their changes?”

    If the mother of all budgets and the 90s welfare reforms caused such division and poverty, why isn’t Labour prepared to reverse them?

    You really are a sycophant if you continue along this line of hypocrisy.

  29. Dean 29

    “So, Steve, given that Labour have never reversed the benefit cuts of Ruth Richardson’s first budget, I take it we are all agreed that they were a great success.”

    Snap! And about 1 minute apart. I wonder if SP will find the time to explain this one away?

  30. Lew 30

    He’s already done so several times.

    L

  31. coge 31

    KK, it seems you & I are not voting in the same election.

    Where does the general public get information from? How does the economy effect their opinion of the encumbants? What are the polling trends indicating to you? This all represents aspects of public opinion.

    Splitting hairs on this blog will not make one iota of difference to public opinion.

    I was a Labour supporter for many years, what I see now is a different party that has tired of listening, as it seems you have.

  32. RedLogix 32

    Coge.

    You made the effort therefore I’ll attempt an honest response.

    Yes we know the polls have the Left as underdogs going into this election. As you correctly identify, there is a natural electoral cycle. The longer ANY govt stays in power, the more inclined the electorate is to simply hanker change for change’s sake. Moreover as you correctly identify, being in power makes you an easy target.

    It’s made harder when large and influential sectors of the media are nakedly committed to changing the govt as well.

    It’s made harder when the general standard of political debate in this country is so low, that outright lies and smears are routinely substituted for facts. For instance I personally became politicised in 2004 when I witnessed National and Federated Farmers derail a long overdue reform of Public Access to Crown lands and backcountry recreation assets with a deliberate, malicious and hysterical campaign of lies and disinformation. The Minister, Jim Sutton who had shepherded a long and careful process of consultation and policy development through to the point of introducing legislation was crucified. The very cautious reforms his working party had proposed towards mapping and negotiating legal, LINEAR access to public land, along pre-defined corridors over private land… was hysterically twisted into a fearmongering vision of hordes of townies, criminals and vandals “WANDERING AT WILL” over farmlands and forests raping burning and pillaging. It was a deeply retrograde and cycnical exercise in sustained lies that has eroded my rights as a New Zealander to do what I love most… getting out in the backcountry to tramp, hunt or fish.

    The scandals, the advent of “Nanny state’, the economy, the P epidemic & attendant crimes etc, night after night on the media.

    The scandals were mostly beat-ups. In fact compared to the non-stop debacles of the 90’s Labour have run a pretty well disciplined and competent ship. Of course things do inevitably go wrong. In fact life on the 9th Floor is a constant succession of mini to major crisis… but almost without exception, the issues have been dealt with that within reason have balanced the need for accountability and the need for natural justice and fair process.

    The term “Nanny State” is meaningless rhetoric.

    The economy is doing quite well internally, but is like every other nation going to be challenged by the catastrophic fiscal debacle caused by the US Bush Administrations disasterous policies.

    Actual crime rates are either falling or static, despite John Keys claims that they are “rocketing out of control”. (Another absurd statement that the media gave him a free pass on.) What is happening is that it is election year and the media will run as always the usual “who can be toughest on crime” soundbite auction that they always do. Nothing new here.

    What has changed is the advent of P. Note carefully this substance was NOT introduced as the result of Labour policy, but getting tough on it would require the banning of the precursor chemical pseudoephidrine worldwide. This would cost the big drug companies billions of dollars. Can you see a Key led National govt committing to such a policy?

    As for your notions that “National traditionally are better custodians of the economy & have a better handle on crime.” the truth betrays the fantasy. In fact world-wide, middle of the road, social democratic govts have generally done quite well in both respects

  33. RedLogix 33

    Splitting hairs on this blog will not make one iota of difference to public opinion.

    So why are you here then?

    (This being the shorter and more efficient version.)

  34. Ari 34

    Billy/Dean- Choosing not to fight on one front is slightly different from adopting your competitor’s policy wholesale on about six different major fronts after bitterly opposing them. Really, it’s only because of the It’s Okay If You Smile Hard Enough principle that Key got away with it. ;)

    I agree with you though that Labour’s refusal to commit to even moderate benefit increases is sad, but it still leaves plenty of their principles intact.

  35. RedLogix 35

    On further reflection I can take that a step further. From Chris Trotter:

    Take away the direct, popular participation in the processes of decision-making, he told his audience of academics and diplomats (and by participation he wasn’t simply referring to the voting, but to all the talking, arguing, organising and footslogging required to mobilise public opinion) and democracy is emptied of all its meaning and power.

    In his own, memorable, formulation: “The discussion is the democracy.” Or, as he confided to me later, over dinner: “The great failure of social democratic parties came when they decided it was easier to assemble a symbolic majority of parliamentarians than build a genuine majority of citizens.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4599177a1861.html

    The media does not do conversations. It largely shuts us OUT of the debate, or filters what little we are allowed to say. But here on the blogs we ARE having conversations… we ARE doing democracy… we ARE the authentic public opinion… not that fake opinion that the polling companies thrust down our throats for their own profit.

    The Standard has been around less than one year, it’s early days. It’s far too soon to dismiss the blogs as irelevant to public opinion… far less to the future of democratic government.

  36. Draco TB 36

    National traditionally are better custodians of the economy & have a better handle on crime.

    For the last 70 years Labour has always handled the economy better than National. The one time they didn’t was the Fourth Labour government where they carried out massive structural changes that benefited the few at the expense of the many.

    They also understand business, which time & time again Labour demonstrate ample ignorance in.

    Define ‘business’?
    This may seem like a silly question but National always tends to ignore the biggest business sector in society. This, of course, is what the Fourth Labour government did as well.

    Where does the general public get information from?

    Unfortunately they get most of their information from the MSM which is massively biased in Nationals favour. This results in a misinformed populace.

  37. Bill 37

    “It strikes me there is a disconnect between what prospective National voters expect it to do in government and what it has actually promised it would do.”

    I’m not so sure that prospective National voters have any expectations per se.

    The problem could simply be that Labour voters didn’t get their expectations realised through the Labour led government. Admittedly I’m stating this on purely anecdotal evidence, but there is a lot of it.

    One example. There was a CTU/ Labour ‘meet’ about a year ago. The Labour cabinet members were there and a plethora of Union Officials. So far, a lot of (mostly) like minded people. There were also delegates, and that is where paths diverged.

    The fact that Labour and the Officials more or less engaged in mutual back slapping over Labour’s achievements overlooked the fact that a hell of a lot of the delegates present were not impressed, nay, pissed off.

    The overwhelming feeling amongst delegates I spoke with (a fair number)was that labour was ‘crap’ but that there was no other choice available. There seemed to be a sense of resignation that the interests of workers had not been and wouldn’t be addressed. If people were going to vote Labour, then it would only be because there was no other choice and in spite of the resentment felt.

    Nobody likes being told “We’ll give you (x, y or z) but you’ll have to wait 18 months, 2 years or whatever.” It pisses people off. When the x, y or z finally materialises, it is received, not with any sense of gratitude, but with resentment. (Try it with a kid. Buy them a bar of chocolate, tell them they can’t have it until next Tuesday and feel the resentment. And possibly be on the receiving end of some ‘get even’ behaviour?)

    National with their hit and run tactics and so on are merely (cynically) echoing or feeding off a sense of discontent felt by large numbers of workers. Throw in the line that things will be ‘different’ under National and you have a potential Obama scenario; empty platitudes that get filled by false wishful thinking. Maybe with National it’s more a suspension of disbelief and convincing yourself that things won’t be as bad as you know deep down they will be, married to the fact that you want to get a bit of your own back on a government that you feel has let you down.

  38. lprent 38

    RL: I originally got involved in this blog because I was interested in the effect in the 2011 election. I usually start political projects a long time prior to the effective date to figure out the bugs (as we’ve been doing). Besides the political systems are a bit sluggish and resistant to change. The msm were (to put it mildly) crap because of their sound bite problems.

    We needed a medium that was less chokeable and leads to better debate. Otherwise the political process would start having some severe difficulties in the longer term.

    As you say this is early days. But I have been surprised at the effectiveness of this medium. It shows in the sluggish responses just before I have to upgrade capabilities yet again.

  39. coge 39

    RL, Thanks for your considered reply. You have expanded my understanding of your position. Yes, politics is a brutal game, still a two edged sword even after years of MMP. Generally my politics are in line with ACT, but that remains to be seen.
    I agree with you about the quality of political debate, particularly in the use of the internet. Perhaps that’s why I’m posting here tonight. For better or worse that is the future which
    all concerned will need to embrace. Much like crickets descent into 20/20. Public opinion wins elections & I believe Labour are losing on that front.

  40. Lew 40

    RedLogix: “we ARE the authentic public opinion not that fake opinion that the polling companies thrust down our throats for their own profit.”

    Self-selected partisans defending a line or ideology anonymously on the interwebs aren’t anything approaching public opinion. This is one of the major delusions possessed by the blogosphere.

    The thing to realise is that once blogs become genuinely relevant, they will be institutionalised – either by the media or by those whose positions they espouse. The current ad-hoc model under which we participate lacks credibility, isn’t sustainable and doesn’t scale well. For a better model, look to something like OhMyNews – this got a good profile on Mediawatch last Sunday.

    DracoTB: “the MSM which is massively biased in Nationals favour.”

    The MSM seems currently to favour National for two structural reasons:

    1. Commercial media outlets use news as a means of enticing people to watch, read or listen to their advertisements. They compete for the same eyeballs and earholes. This means that, given tight resources resulting from the need to generate profit, they go with what will more easily attract eyeballs and earholes. National have three advantages here – firstly, they’re in opposition, and so don’t actually have to do anything; they just have to appear to want to do something. Secondly, anything bad which happens (and bad things will inevitably happen) is the fault of government, and bad things sell news – if it bleeds, it leads also applies to public funds. Thirdly, and most critically, National package their messages in order to make them useful to the media, relying upon the media business’s love for efficiency. Journalists are expensive; research and investigation are hard. Victory goes to those who make it easiest to simply print their press release, play their soundbite, or accept their glib assumption. This effect is redoubled in conjunction with the first caveat: because National aren’t in government, they don’t have to deliver on their statements. This may well be their downfall, but by then they’ll be in office.

    2. Commercial media outlets are owned by transnational capital and, where it doesn’t harm revenue (per 1 above), will take the line which advantages those interests.

    The hierarchy here is 1 over 2, because ultimately transnational capital doesn’t care how it gets its profits. The classical propaganda model is that the media drive consumption, because consumption drives advertising, and advertising drives revenue; not because they ideologically want a particular party to rule. The media want governments who will keep the economy strongest and demand highest. If (and both of you seem to agree with me on this one) that government in NZ would in fact be Labour-led, why would they oppose it? The answer is: National makes their work easy.

    L

  41. RedLogix 41

    Self-selected partisans defending a line or ideology anonymously on the interwebs aren’t anything approaching public opinion. This is one of the major delusions possessed by the blogosphere.

    Only because at present the vast bulk of public opinion is actively disengaged from political debate. Hell according to one media article last week there is a whole GenerationY out there that makes a point of ignoring politics.

    If I allow that you are correct, then the democratic experiment is doomed. Eventually it will all come down to who has the biggest marketing budget and slickest branding exercise. Nothing else will matter.

    If you will permit me my delusions for a moment. Four years ago I didn’t give a rat’s patui about politics. The internet was my portal to an issue I cared about, and one I wanted to participate in. Now I am a very ordinary citizen and to some extent I resent the label “self-selected partisian”. It’s a dismissive and minimising label, much the same as the term “party activist” is often used to minimise the sheer hard work and dedication of thousands of people committed to political causes. Without their efforts we wouldn’t have a democracy to be arguing about.

    Same for me. Yes I am a self selected partisian. I choose my social democrat outlook on life for all the same reasons Michael Cullen outlined in his speech in Wgtn to us just a few weeks ago.

    I’m not ashamed of believing in the innate moral equality of all people, I reject the unspoken assumptions of social hierachy I hear from the right.

    I instinctively select for long-term considerations, not short-term ones. The ability to defer gratification and work toward long-term goals is the most powerful predictor of genuine success. I reject the short-term live for today, maximise this quarter’s bottom line philosophy that is the main driver of unrestrained capitalism.

    In a complex world of competing demands, I am willing to seek a balance between the individual’s needs and rights to pursue opportunity and success on their own terms, against the wider needs of society to provide security for those vulnerable ones least able to protect themselves. I reject the delusion that ‘self-interest’ governs all, that the mythical ‘free market’ somehow solves all problems. Examples of market failures abound, and a critical role of govt is to provide moderating regulation and intervention in order to protect the interests of society as a whole.

    And yes I accept that the current blog model is immature and clumsy. With time they will evolve into something else… perhaps more institutionalised…. but the nature of the internet means that all attempts by institutions to capture the debate will fail. To quote an old line… the net interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it.

  42. lprent 42

    Lew: I don’t think that they can colonize this media all that easily.

    Currently the key issue for most media is the entry and maintenance costs.

    There is bugger all entry cost because the software is currently free and maintained by a vast base of geeks. There are few setup costs. The only real ‘code’ I had to do was to put plugin’s together and tested, plus a bit of css to get the exact effect required. Most sites spend way to much effort in getting good looking graphics – but that is to get the advertisers interested. That leads on to my second point.

    The direct cost of running this blog is now about $150/month on a standard commercial provider with considerable room for expansion. I don’t forsee needing more upgrades at the current growth for a few years.

    This gives me complete control on the system and I’ve used that to tweak performance. For instance I’ve dropped the data transmitted by a third in the last couple of months by tweaking the ModWrite caching rules.

    Technically, msm would have to figure out how to offer something significantly more effective to the end users that could be used as a choke point. Problem is those geeks know how do that stuff as well and will duplicate the algorithms and publish the code.

    //—-

    Now the non-technical. Writing and moderation are the keys. But it has to be a cooperative effort. A blog site requires a reasonable number of people to run effectively.

    The writing has to be pretty good and frequent. I’d anticipate slowly increasing the number of posters here over time as we get past beta hassles. Most of them would be recruited from the commentators doing it as a hobby. Some will come from other sites with moderation problems. That gets the main face of the site.

    Comments are a form of dialogue that is probably as important as the posts long term. A lot of lurkers look at them and often get involved eventually. Problem is that it is debilitating for writers to look at some of the crap that shows up as comments. This is what eventually killed Usenet. But it doesn’t take that much effort to kill the trolls and shills. You just have to have a ‘flexible’ general policy that can get very preemptive and quite arbitrary.

    Eventually the comments will self-regulate to a high degree because if you comment it is a total bastard to be cut off when you get banned, moderated, or have ugly sarcastic notes added.

    That is the toolkit I’m going to play with after this election. I think a lot of that can be automated without going the whole “you have to login” style. That is why I’m looking at what I call the rogue program look of trolls.

    Anyway, I think that the msm will have problems with people doing this as a hobby. They have few competitive advantages

  43. Lew 43

    RL: “the vast bulk of public opinion is actively disengaged from political debate … the democratic experiment is doomed.”

    I don’t think this follows. Democracy is rule of/by/for the people, and if The People don’t care about it then that’s their prerogative – it’s still democracy. It will stop being democracy in a meaningful sense if tests as to political knowledge, or similar, are implemented as a requisite to suffrage. I agree, though, that democracy is better with an aware and engaged populace, and I encourage all means to inform and engage people in the system, and to dispel cynicism about it.

    “Eventually it will all come down to who has the biggest marketing budget and slickest branding exercise. Nothing else will matter.”

    This is reductio ad absurdum, but even so: it’d still be democracy. People might be deluded or mistaken or just plain wrong in who they want to vote for, but that’s their right. There will always exist a bloc of the electorate who is politically aware, astute and somewhat more resistant to spin and marketing, and even if your reductio ad absurdum line comes to pass, it will be those voters who are kingmakers.

    “Now I am a very ordinary citizen”

    This is a nice delusion, and many people hold it, but by your own definition of ordinary citizens as disconnected from politics, it can’t logically be true.

    “to some extent I resent the label “self-selected partisian’. It’s a dismissive and minimising label,”

    I am possessed of strong political and ideological beliefs, but I am not a partisan. I use the term in its strict sense: supporter and defender of a particular party. That’s what most of the people commenting on blogs are, and fair enough too. I am an ideologue – I support and defend ideological positions, not their implementation by a particular group of people. So yes, to an extent, I am dismissive of partisans – not for their ideological positions necessarily, but for their common insistence that one party’s particular implementation is flawless or perfect.

    “much the same as the term “party activist’ is often used to minimise the sheer hard work and dedication of thousands of people committed to political causes.”

    I value the work of activists, and even partisans, very highly, but I see it for what it is: a means to an end.

    “Without their efforts we wouldn’t have a democracy to be arguing about.”

    This is only true for a certain, fairly narrow, ideal type of democracy, as I try to explain above.

    “the nature of the internet will I hope mean that all attempts by institutions to capture the debate will fail. To quote an old line the net interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it.”

    The major problem here is information overload. It’s not that there won’t ever be good, non-institutionalised content and analysis on the interwebs – I’m certain there always will be, just as there are self-published and self-distributed handbills, newsletters, films, songs, photos and essays – but how many of them have you seen? And how many of them has the notional average voter seen? To win the battle for the blogosphere, the media industry doesn’t have to censor or shut things down – it just has to make its own offerings the default and the most accessible. They will do it; mark my words. The reason they will do it is because they have all the same skills and technology as the current volunteer community has – plus they have money.

    I don’t consider this a bad thing – just the nature of the beast. Something, as you say, to route around. Keep making the better mouse trap.

    L

    Edit: Lynn, I hadn’t read your comment when I wrote this, but I think I’ve mostly given my views to it :)

  44. lprent 44

    Lew: I agree about what the msm will do.

    I don’t think that the posts are as likely to be as interesting. But their problem is going to be the moderation. If you don’t have it then the comments deteriorate to the lowest denominator. Too much and it becomes flat and weak.

    The msm posters will need content. They get it from good informed and opinionated comments. I don’t think that msm blogs can achieve that. They simply can’t pay the people capable of it enough to do it.

  45. RedLogix 45

    Clarification:

    “Now I am a very ordinary citizen’

    By this I mean that I am not employed by nor hold any office in any political Party, or semi-political body such as a Union. I have never worked directly for Central Govt nor by the Civil Service. I’ve never stood for public office (although I am compelled to respect those who have the guts to do so).

    All of us are unique in some way, but I make no special claims in regards to politics.

  46. Lew 46

    Lynn: Why won’t they be able to use the same moderate methods you use? What will prevent them from harnessing the same communities you do?

    Content will come from the same people who generate content now – journalists and opinion drivers.

    As far as comments go, I agree that they are at least as important as content – the bidirectional aspect is the major paradigmatic difference between this and traditional media formats. I see potential for all sorts of reputation-based commentary systems – escalation of privileges for good posters (like commenters in good standing here have the chance to make guest posts); micropayment systems rewarding insight; citizen-moderation, etc. I agree it’s a tricky problem as readership increases and becomes more general, but I don’t see how the volunteer community has any advantage.

    L

  47. Lew 47

    RL: I see what you mean, thanks.

    L

  48. RedLogix 48

    Lew,

    You make some strong points. But the difference is this… if the media attempt to capture or censor their content, then the barrier to entry for a more attractive competitor is so low that they could loose their dominance very quickly.

    Consider what has happened on the net already, look at how quickly huge outfits like AOL, or Yahoo have lost participation. Look how quickly whole new models like Facebook or Second Life have arisen. I’ve often thought that Fairfax made a big error of judgement in paying so much for Trademe, when a new alternative model could so easily take it’s place.

  49. ak 49

    Lew: The MSM seems currently to favour National for two structural reasons:
    Very good Lew (and Red)- nice analysis, but the biggie is the age-old fact that the tories own the MSM

    5% gap in November last year, now 20% thanks solely to the reportage from the Herald and her sisters.

    Just look at today’s headline: PM FORCES DISABLED MAN TO WALK.

    That such an utterly disgusting anti-Clark distortion of the facts can be laid before the public with such apparent impunity confirms my fears that we are rapidly adopting the “South American disease.” And all it entails.

    Key would have led us into Iraq and made us and our grandchildren targets of terrorism forever: are kiwis such naive ingenues that we cannot learn the lessons of history?

  50. ak 50

    (err – sorry to interrupt your geeky conversation, as you were)

  51. outofbed 51

    Don’t worry AK
    I have a healthy regard for the intelligence of Kiwi’s and in spite of the polls not looking good. I am absolutely convinced that the Tories won’t get in.
    I can’t see the 2005 Labour vote of 41% dropping by more then a few percent. Sure the Tories will be the biggest party but I am not convinced that they will get above 45%.
    I’m picking a LGM win and that is what I will be working my arse off to achieve

    night

  52. The sad part about the economy is that the world’s economy is suffering due to the consistent incompetence of the conservative US President, George W Bush. He turned surpluses into US$250B annual deficits thanks to his tax cuts to the top 1% of earners. His invasion and occupation of Iraq bring total to US$550+ billion annually. Those deficits and that war are the reasons for global economic heartburn, high oil prices and the credit crunch.

    It is bizarre to blame the economy on a centre-left government who refused to have any part in invading Iraq and who wisely did NOT cut taxes through 8 years despite intense pressure from National’s media allies.

    Voters appear to be making up their minds on emotive issues that actually have no real significance in their daily lives. Most are the consequence of a series of media beat-ups intended to make people think the present government is the “nanny-state”…and mainly over issues that in the big scheme of things are trivial.

    The people I talk to who don’t like Labour have that “We’ll show HER!” air about them. Never mind she doesn’t actually deserve it. They have been convinced somehow that she does….and the facts have nothing to do with it.

    They most often have no detailed understanding of ANY policy. They are voting their (apparently ignorant) gut.

    Not good….but too late now to change, I think. People learn slowly at the best of times.

  53. RedLogix 53

    As suspected. The Persuaders have been at work:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4601215a10.html

  54. lprent 54

    Why won’t they be able to use the same moderate methods you use? What will prevent them from harnessing the same communities you do?

    They’re corporates, average residence time of anyone in a single position is less than 2 years. Frequently a lot less.

    They haven’t managed a dynamic moderated community yet that has lasted more then 5 years. Almost every long lasting one has been done either by individuals or small companies. It is always a labor of love. Most of the advantages of capital don’t apply.

    What makes you think that corporate wage slaves can achieve it in this media?

  55. lprent 55

    RL: I liked that. I’m sure that the writer are going to have fun.

  56. Lew 56

    ak: “nice analysis, but the biggie is the age-old fact that the tories own the MSM”

    This is a particular point of disagreement between us, and probably worth discussing at some length (perhaps at another time). I see the business model as master to the ideology, not the other way around. One thing is sure – the media aren’t going to starve whether National or Labour (or the Democrats or the Republicans, or the Conservatives or Labour, or the Liberal Coalition or Labor) are in office, because ultimately these parties all represent the same basic ideology of globalised liberal-democratic capitalism – it’s a few details of implementation which separate them.

    “5% gap in November last year, now 20% thanks solely to the reportage from the Herald and her sisters.”

    But you haven’t actually addressed why the media are reporting this way. Saying `it’s because they’re all Tories at heart’ is a cop-out which if taken to its logical conclusion will result in anyone who’s not a Tory shunning the media. This path leads to electoral ruin. You have to learn to live with them, because politically, you can’t live without them.

    Steve Withers: “Voters appear to be making up their minds on emotive issues that actually have no real significance in their daily lives.”

    As they ever will. Feelings and suspicions trump rational consideration any day. People will engage in all manner of logical gymnastics to justify their gut instincts, but it’s rare to see someone change their deeply-held opinions in the face of actual evidence. I’ve quoted Murray Edelman’s argument on this blog a couple of times in support of this principle: it’s foundational to the art and science of political persuasion.

    RL: “As suspected. The Persuaders have been at work”

    I’d be shocked if Key and co. hadn’t contracted them again, or someone very much like them. They’d have been fools not to do so. Hager’s article there is, like The Hollow Men, not so much an indictment of National as a window into their world. Anyone who thinks it’s substantially different in other major parties might want to think again. I suspect it might be a little bit different within NZ Labour – but not within any of the other parties I listed above. The reason I think it’s different within NZ Labour is that I don’t see the sorts of advantages which derive from a well-constructed and well-implemented media/PR strategy accruing to Labour at present.

    Incidentally, the presence of articles like Hager’s in the Tory-owned media puts the lie to the somewhat conspiratorial idea that they’re dead-set against the left.

    L

  57. Lew 57

    Lynn: “What makes you think that corporate wage slaves can achieve it in this media?”

    `Corporate wage slaves’ as you somewhat uncharitably term them achieve plenty in all sorts of fields. I do take your point about continuity, however, that just suggests to me that a greater emphasis be placed on retention.

    You are absolutely right that all previously-successful models like this have been done on a small-scale, decentralised basis, or (like Slashdot, for instance) as a mostly-independent subsidiary owned but not managed by the larger corporate. Also, you inferred earlier that an edge could lie in distributed Free Software-like models of co-operation, code and method-sharing. There are indeed huge advantages to be gained here, and as yet corporates have been very reluctant to relinquish the necessary control over their systems to allow these to work.

    Interesting times.

    L

  58. IrishBill 58

    “Anyone who thinks it’s substantially different in other major parties might want to think again.”

    I think you would be surprised to find out how amateur most parties are when it comes to their political PR, Lew. Most of them do their spin in-house and develop their messages through groups of politicians and internal advisors with a bit of help from sister parties from other countries (particularly Australia and the UK). The hired gun approach is relatively new in NZ politics and not widely practiced simply because most parties don’t have the funds for this level of advice (a single round of focus groups costs tens of thousands of dollars and to be effective you have to run them continually) and are not willing to cede that much control of their campaigns to “outsiders”. I would hate to see the bill the Nats have run up with CT over the last two and a half years. I suspect is would be heading toward seven figures or more.

  59. Tax Cuts
    I’m not concerned with tax cuts; anything that National’s weak leadership offers will simply be a bribe to get them into power.

    However, the tax that is being collected is simply not being well managed. We are fast approaching Australia’s 1/3 of the work force being civil servants, who unfortunately are not “productive”; they don’t increase GDP ratios – the only reason Australia are so high on the GDP per hour list is the mining industry boom.

    NFP organizations which include most government departments have a fundamental core culture of adding layers of bureaucracy. What the private sector called middle-management-bloat.

    Cull off some of this and put the money back into the following:
    front line education/health/law
    grants for developing business; including subsidised employment for long term unemployed with REAL support structures
    increase innovation through dollar for dollar matching of R & D (not the insignificant 15% they currently put forward)

    A manager can manage 30 people comfortably. Why then is the ratio in government closer to 1:7. Cut the wasters. Put the tax where it will improve NZ’s shocking GDP per hour productivity statistics.

    Section 59
    I don’t personally use physical discipline on my child. However; I don’t think Section 59 was well considered. Assault is assault; and the judiciary already had powers to convict, but the police kept messing up due process and evidence chains.

    Petrol
    Lost opportunity with Tui Oil Fields and the likes. Also, put 20% of the current revenue generating by fuel taxation into R & D for alternative fuels. Balance of tax to subsidise improving our fleet by dumping all vehicles over 10 years old and improving public transport alternatives. Will pay for itself in relatively short time frame. Roading initiatives can be put on hold – they are such a short term view it is a waste of capital.

    Power Prices
    As it is an essential service; all profits should be retained for infrastructure and improved technologies.

    Summary
    Nothing National will do will improve those four things; and if Labour were actually serious about fixing problems, they would take a more pragmatic approach and provide real support for innovation in internal processes and infrastructure.

    They are being too timid; we could lead the world in energy infrastructure innovation. Bugger the agricultural industry; R & D and innovation in new technologies is where NZ should position itself to make it a wealthy country once again.

    And that all falls back to having a secure infrastructure and education.

    So National have no leadership or experience, and can never achieve what New Zealand needs. I pity the National supporter. They probably know in the back of their mind that National will make a complete hash of it.

    [Apologies Karl, for some reason you got caught in the spam filter]

  60. Anthony 60

    “and if Labour were actually serious about fixing problems, they would take a more pragmatic approach and provide real support for innovation in internal processes and infrastructure.”

    The problem with Labour (or any other party) encouraging innovation, is that it will breed success, and that will mean there are less people dependent on the state – i.e. Labour’s support base will not need them in government to guarantee their benefits if they aren’t on them anymore.

    And Labours subsequent response to this success would once again be their short-sighted income re-distribution policies, which actually ends up stunting growth and innovation, instead of rewarding it.

  61. Draco TB 61

    Lew:

    But you haven’t actually addressed why the media are reporting this way

    It’s because they’re being told to.
    The Independent

    The minute stated: “For The Sun and News of the World he explained that he is a ‘traditional proprietor’. He exercises editorial control on major issues like which party to back in a general election or policy on Europe.”

    He may not maintain control over other editors but you can be fairly certain that he maintains influence. Such influence was recently seen here in NZ when APN forced an editor of a local rag to print a correction.

    Capitalism = Ownership and Ownership = Control

    Incidentally, the presence of articles like Hager’s in the Tory-owned media puts the lie to the somewhat conspiratorial idea that they’re dead-set against the left.

    Or it adds to the illusion that their reporting is unbiased. I’ve read some of the studies and done my own research and the conclusion is inescapable – the msm are right-biased.

  62. Lew 62

    DTB: I’m aware of the Murdoch and APN cases, and I’ve seen Outfoxed too. They show that there is some causative link between ownership and editorial content, but not that there is a throughgoing line of editorial argument in all media determined from the top.

    The argument that `Capitalism = Ownership and Ownership = Control’ does have some currency, but broadly speaking it’s limited to a few publications in a stable; the reason for this is that as soon as you take a partisan line, you turn off a large chunk of your target audience. This goes doubly in NZ, where the market is so crowded that a paper has to appeal to as broad a cross-section of the populace as possible just to stay viable. News of the World, The Sun and Fox have already segmented themselves away in that market niche on the reactionary right – they have nothing to lose from holding that line, and in fact they stand to gain from holding it by giving their audience what they want to hear. In NZ nobody has that luxury.

    I’ve never argued the ideological imperative is not there; just that it’s subservient in most cases to the profit imperative.

    Your argument that the presence of contrary voices in the media is to give the `illusion’ of a lack of bias is cynical. The whole idea that there’s an `unbiased’ media is a utopian fallacy. If you talk to any political editor long enough they’ll acknowledge their own and their outlet’s biases; that they exist and broadly what they are. Contrary to what you might think, most people do take these into account – in fact, it’s the main reason why people choose that medium over others.

    I hire a lot of people to work in the media industry. Question 1 in the interview is about what media literacy: what are your media consumption habits? I get a variety of responses, and I don’t judge on the basis of what but on the basis of why they choose particular media. I’m particularly hard on people who choose the echo-chamber approach of only listening to Newstalk ZB, or National Radio, or reading the Dominion Post. An argument like yours which would if taken to its logical conclusion mean something like `I don’t trust the media because it’s all owned by international capitalists’ shows a sorry degree of media literacy indeed.

    From your comments it’s clear to me that you don’t live in an echo chamber – so you clearly see some value in the capitalist-owned media. Why for you, but not for others? Or are you not actually arguing that people ignore the Capitalist Media in favour of the Peoples’ Media (if it even exists)?

    L

  63. bill brown 63

    “…where the market is so crowded that a paper has to appeal to as broad a cross-section of the populace as possible just to stay viable”

    Or it creates a large cross-section of the populace that agrees with it and therefore are more likely to read it to hear what they want to hear.

  64. Lew 64

    BB: Doesn’t follow. There is a feedback component to media consumption (that is – media outlets both create and respond to markets) but it’s not as clear as you claim. In NZ, there aren’t enough eyeballs and earholes for an outlet to simply be able to create a market for itself.

    L

  65. bill brown 65

    Not sure about that. What’s the Herald’s competition in Auckland? If you wake up in the morning and decide to buy a paper, which one do you buy?

    I think this gives the Herald the ability to create a market, I agree attenuated, but not by as much as if there were a competitor.

    If you hit the right note – and anecdotal evidence is that Ak is bluer than the rest of the country – you may be onto a positive feedback winner.

  66. Lew 66

    BB: That’s the thing which explicitly prevents the Herald from creating its own strongly partisan editorial line: the threat that a competitor paper might move in. If the Herald went strongly pro-National, to the point where Labour voters weren’t satisfied with it, there would be an opportunity for Fairfax to launch a competitor paper, or an Auckland Edition of the DomPost, or something else.

    You are right in a sense, though – the Herald can move its editorial line to the right or left as public opinion shifts, as long as it does so without alienating a large enough market share to allow a meaningful competitor in. This is also subject to the feedback effect, so it could stimulate a further shift in political views – it’s a tricky business.

    Internationally speaking, it takes about 1m-1.5m people to support a broadsheet daily newspaper. NZ has four full-scale metros, plus the Waikato Times and various regionals. That’s about saturation; all those papers are working to very tight margins and under very firm competition, even though they’re all-but-one run out of two main offices. And you can still get the DomPost or the ODT in Auckland, or the ODT or the Herald in Wellington. I tried to get a Dom post or a Herald in Christchurch once – no dice there.

    L

  67. bill brown 67

    It is true you can get the Dom Post in Ak. However, even as a DP subscriber, when I’m in Ak I read the Herald.

    On a nationwide level, we may be at saturation, however I do not agree that there is competition for the Herald in AK (or for the dom post in Wellington) They are very city centric papers – even if the Herald has illusions of grandeur with its name!

  68. Lew 68

    BB: Yes, they explicitly aren’t national papers, though the Herald does aspire to be, as you say. But if one gives up ground on either side of the great divide, it’s a small step for the other to become a national daily, and then it’s on. A bit like mutually-assured destruction :)

    L

  69. Draco TB 69

    Lew:
    I see value in all media and have no difficulties with media bias. I can recognize it even as I recognise my own bias. I would prefer it if the media acknowledged their bias as not everyone will recognise it. The hidden aspect of MSM bias leads to times when articles like the Hager article are published and people will point to that article and say ‘see, they’re not biased’ – exactly as you did (Yes, I know that’s not exactly what you said but that’s how it came across). So, the MSM occasionally publish left wing articles which leads to the continuing illusion that the MSM aren’t biased even though 90%+ of the articles they publish have a definite right-wing slant.

  70. Lew 70

    DTB: “90%+ of the articles they publish have a definite right-wing slant.”

    I know this was an off-the-cuff figure and I’ll not hold you to it, but I’d love to see some methodologically sound research into that question; quantitative and qualitative content analysis of the Big 4 over a fair length of time, controlled against how it was at, say, this time in the last National government’s term. I suspect there’d be a correlation, but not as strong as you might think.

    The hard bit, of course, would be getting a good definition of what constitutes a `right-wing slant’.

    This is the root of my problem with people bagging the media as biased, incidentally: nobody does it on the basis of hard data or methodologically rigorous research. I don’t trust peoples’ gut feelings on these matters, especially when there’s such a strong correlation between someone’s own political views and their perceptions of bias against them: the fact that The Standard thinks the media is all biased against the left while KiwiBlog thinks it’s all biased against the right seems to me a good indication that it’s less biased than either group thinks.

    L

  71. Quoth the Raven 71

    coge – I have said this before but I’ll say it again; You can’t blame the P epidemic (if indeed there is one) on Labour. This has been a worldwide problem. It hasn’t mattered whether governments have been more or less left or right. P has been around for a very long time. There wasn’t much of a problem with recreational use until the rise of ephedrine and pseudoehpedrine based cold medicines. The vast majority of these chemicals are made in half a dozen factories around the world and the product sold to big pharmaceuticals or to illicit drug makers. If you want to blame someone for the P epidemic blame those companies. Coming down hard on users is certainly not going to solve the problem and neither is wasting time and effort chasing after each and every pusher (an approach which hasn’t worked for any drug). P is unique in that the source of drug (unlike something that can be grown in your backyard) could be easily targeted and controlled but governements around the world haven’t bothered with going after the source they’ve instead chosen to go after every little pusher or restrict in some way the sale of cold medicines. A much harder and in the end ineffective approach to the problem.

  72. Draco TB 72

    the fact that The Standard thinks the media is all biased against the left while KiwiBlog thinks it’s all biased against the right seems to me a good indication that it’s less biased than either group thinks.

    The problem with this methodology is that real studies have shown that the MSM really are right leaning and the Kiwiblog Right are just spouting what they’ve been told by their leaders – facts be damned. ie, basing a judgement by averaging what two opposing groups think of the same item doesn’t get you close to what the actual truth is.

    I’d point you you in the direction of Political Communications in New Zealand by Janine Hayward and Chris Rudd (eds). It’s not exactly what you’re looking for and probably doesn’t answer the specific question that you’re asking. Bill Rosenberg has an interesting take on it in News media ownership in New Zealand.

  73. Draco TB 73

    the fact that The Standard thinks the media is all biased against the left while KiwiBlog thinks it’s all biased against the right seems to me a good indication that it’s less biased than either group thinks.

    The problem with this methodology is that real studies have shown that the MSM really are right leaning and the Kiwiblog Right are just spouting what they’ve been told by their leaders – facts be damned. ie, basing a judgement by averaging what two opposing groups think of the same item doesn’t get you close to what the actual truth is.

    I’d point you you in the direction of Political Communications in New Zealand by Janine Hayward and Chris Rudd (eds). It’s not exactly what you’re looking for and probably doesn’t answer the specific question that you’re asking. Bill Rosenberg has an interesting take on it in News media ownership in New Zealand.

    EDIT: I may have submitted this twice – the first time it didn’t seem to go through.

  74. Glenn 74

    1. National will usher in a new Dark Age, slashing workers rights and sacrificing babies on the altar of neoliberalism.

    2. National are really no different than Labour.

    Which is it, boys and girls?

  75. Lew 75

    DTB: For one thing, an `I reckon’ based on the fact that blogs on both sides claim the media is against them isn’t a methodology, and I’d never claim it was one.

    I’m not aware of any close content analyses of NZ media which have found a strong rightward bias, which is why I called for some. Rosenberg’s work is good and useful, but it is not such a piece of research, and in my view overemphasises ownership. It doesn’t actually demonstrate a link between ownership and editorial policy; it hypothesises one and asks us to take it as fact. It’s fair enough – actually proving the link would be a great deal of work and he or others may well be in the process of proving it.

    This is ultimately my point – it’s arguable, not set in concrete. And arguing about it is valuable.

    L

  76. Lew 76

    Glenn: False dichotomies are easy.

    L

  77. RedLogix 77

    Glenn,

    Almost right, only as Lew points out you’ve created a false choice. What you should have written is:

    1. National will usher in a new Dark Age, slashing workers rights and sacrificing babies on the altar of neoliberalism.

    2. National will pretend to be no different than Labour, before the election.

  78. There is an old saying “when the world gets a cold NZ gets pneumonia”
    My wife and I are pensioners so are on the Old Age Pension.
    She handles the money expertly. I have tried to get her to give me say an hour a day and I would write the book for her. No way “hose”! Let them find out for themselves.

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    Gareth’s World | 30-09
  • Parliament should decide
    Yesterday John Key began laying the groundwork to deploy kiwi troops to Iraq to fight in another pointless American war. And with the Labour Party distracted by its autocannibalism, its left to Winston Peters to stand up for democratic values...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • The problem with warmongers
    The problem with warmongers is they appear to have no empathy for their fellow human beings. That's because war, and the industrial complex behind it, is invariably built upon people's prejudices.History is littered with examples of prejudice being used as...
    The Jackal | 30-09
  • Australia to criminalise journalism
    Imagine this scenario: Australian spies seeking to fight domestic terrorism borrow the tactics of their American counterparts and start running agent provocateurs to "flush out" those with terrorist leanings. But an operation goes horribly wrong, and actually results in a...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • School funding failing vulnerable students – time for a better way?
    1 October 2014 Schools with the greatest needs get too little to meet those needs, says PPTA president Angela Roberts. The current school funding system is failing to support our most vulnerable students and this morning delegates at PPTA’s annual...
    PPTA | 30-09
  • Waiho Papa Moana Hikoi
    More than 1,000 people marched up Queen Streen in Auckland yesterday, as part of the Waiho Papa Moana Hikoi, to protest outside Sky City at the New Zealand Petroleum Summit against plans to begin deep sea oil drilling in the...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-09
  • Why the Prime Minister and RB Governor are whistling in the wind
    Let there be no mistake, New Zealanders want the NZ dollar to be as high as possible. A 65 US cent dollar makes us a hell of a lot poorer than an 88 cent one. So why does the Reserve...
    Gareth’s World | 30-09
  • A targeted transport rate?
    An article in last Friday’s NZ Herald provided an interesting insight into where the investigations into additional transport funding options are at. This is the second phase of the project to close the supposed $12 billion funding gap over the next 30...
    Transport Blog | 30-09
  • Is New Zealand ready for an openly inane Prime Minister?
    In the current leadership race for the Labour Party there are two candidates: Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe. There has been much discussion of their strengths and weaknesses, but one subject has been delicately avoided; perhaps because of political correctness,...
    DimPost | 30-09
  • Is New Zealand ready for an openly inane Prime Minister?
    In the current leadership race for the Labour Party there are two candidates: Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe. There has been much discussion of their strengths and weaknesses, but one subject has been delicately avoided; perhaps because of political correctness,...
    DimPost | 30-09
  • Carpetbaggers
    So, those wishing to participate in the Labour leadership election (2014 edition) have until 11.59pm on Wednesday the 1st of October to join.I won't be joining, but I've noticed an alarming number of people on The Standard announcing that they...
    Left hand palm | 30-09
  • Gordon Campbell on the last rites for the TPP
    Column – Gordon Campbell The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is one of those litmus issues that has always had more to do with one’s place on the political spectrum than with any imminent reality. To date, the Greens have...
    Gordon Campbell | 30-09
  • Gordon Campbell on the last rites for the TPP
    Column – Gordon Campbell The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is one of those litmus issues that has always had more to do with ones place on the political spectrum than with any imminent reality. To date, the Greens have...
    Its our future | 30-09
  • ATTN MSM: this is not a political news story. I repeat, this is not a polit...
    New Zealand your media treats you as if you are stupid and vacuous, and articles like this are the only things your feeble minds can handle at any given time, unless Paddy has turned up with his friends Shouty Paddy...
    Politically Corrected | 30-09
  • How did the UK grid respond to losing a few nuclear reactors?
    This is a re-post from PassiiviIdentiteetti, written by Jani-Petri Martikainen. Answer: mainly by increasing the use of coal in power production. In the second week of August power company EDF decided to shutdown their reactors in Heysham and Hartlepool. This...
    Skeptical Science | 30-09
  • The very public evisceration of David Cunliffe
    Ordinarily, when the coup of a party leader is underway, one of two things happens. Either the incumbent simply walks, having seen the writing on the wall, or attempts to stare down their opposition in a closed room. Someone walks out of...
    Occasionally erudite | 30-09
  • Dr Sean Simpson from Lanzatech
    On 8th October, Dr Sean Simpson from Lanzatech will be speaking at the University of Auckland, on the subject of “Climate-friendly fuel: A challenge of scale and time”.  This is part of the Energy Centre’s Energy Matters lecture series. Sean...
    Transport Blog | 30-09
  • Stuart’s 100 #36 On the Beat
    36: On the Beat What if we had more cops on the beat? Isn’t it time the New Zealand Police started to recognise the changes happening in urban New Zealand? In our central cities and busiest town centres and main...
    Transport Blog | 30-09
  • Bonus growth for SaaS exporters
    The currency fall has a wonderful effect for exporters, especially those who have most of their costs back here in New Zealand. As I write this, the NZD versus the USD has fallen about 10% since earlier this year. As an...
    Lance Wiggs | 30-09
  • Against returning to Iraq
    Last week the US announced a new bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Its hard to see how bombing will do any good (except for US defence contractors), and easy to see how it will cause blowback. To...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • Speaker: An Open Letter To David Cunliffe
    Dear David,I want to first congratulate you on the campaign you ran. You gave it your all, and did well in the debates. I was deeply disappointed in the result that Labour got on September 20th - but I’m sure...
    Public Address | 30-09
  • Long run or short season for David Cunliffe?
    When you’ve read this short post have a look at the interview below with David Cunliffe on last night’s Campbell Live .  But first,  if you haven’t done so already, please  read my previous post on the ex Labour leader, titled...
    Brian Edwards | 30-09
  • Seaworthy ships and stormy seas – PPTA annual conference 2014
    30 September 2014 Pirates, privateers, seaworthy ships and stormy seas all featured in PPTA president Angela Roberts' nautically themed opening speech to the association's annual conference this morning. Describing the political context PPTA ventures out into as "often stormy and...
    PPTA | 30-09
  • Key admits exiling people without trial
    Back in February, we learned that John Key had responded to the "threat" of people travelling to Syria to participate in its civil war by cancelling their passports. This was done without any sort of due process or review, let...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • Reflections on Melbourne and Sydney
    2014 was an auspicious year. Whether by cosmic alignment or fickle chance, Easter Monday and Anzac Day fell in the same week, and I was able to shoot off to Melbourne and Sydney for ten days with only three days...
    Transport Blog | 29-09
  • The “Pacific solution” devolves into rape and child abuse
    Australia's "Pacific solution" of imprisoning refugees in remote gulags in an effort to pschologically torture them into going home has turned into a catalogue of horrors: neglect, beatings and rapes, torture, and murder. And now they've got a new one:...
    No Right Turn | 29-09
  • The leadership characteristic that shall not be named
    David Cunliffe formally resigns today, setting up a head-to-head battle between him and Grant Robertson, although there’s still a chance that David Shearer, Andrew Little and/or Stuart Nash might throw their hat(s) into the ring. As the Labour MPs arrived for...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-09
  • The leadership characteristic that shall not be named
    ...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-09
  • Th Austerity Disaster and its impact – Lessons for New Zealand? (Fro...
    Europe’s Austerity Disaster29/09/2014 by Joseph StiglitzJoseph Stiglitz“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is easier to keep the theory and change the facts – or so German Chancellor Angela...
    the Irascible Curmudgeon | 29-09
  • The Damage Fallacies of Neo-Liberal economics cause
    The on-going and recent scandals (Judith Collins & Oravida, Maurice Williamson & Donghua Lui, John Key & Dirty Politics....)  in New Zealand that have swirled around the neo-liberal National Party government of Key, supported by the discredited political parties of...
    the Irascible Curmudgeon | 29-09
  • Changing Leaders Will Not Be Enough
    Trial By Ordeal: The techniques of the Seventeenth Century Witchfinders-General might be preferable to the process Labour has adopted to uncover the reasons for its woeful performance in the 2014 General Election. It's a pity the Party has not allowed...
    Bowalley Road | 29-09
  • Starting a constructive conversation on the future of the Treaty of Waitang...
    To learn more about our upcoming Treaty project click here...
    Gareth’s World | 29-09
  • Gillard on NZ Labour
    I arrived in Australia a month after Tony Abbott had been elected Prime Minister, a week after Bill Shorten had been elected Labor Leader and a month before Kevin Rudd announced his resignation from Parliament. It quickly amazed me how...
    Progress report | 29-09
  • March to #StopDeepSeaOil and #StopStatoil
    There have been amazing and moving scenes in Northland as the Waiho Papa Moana Hikoi made its way down from Cape Reinga to stand up for their coast, their way of life and for future generations. And they are not...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 29-09
  • Auckland Transport Early October Board Meeting
    The Auckland Transport board meeting is on Thursday and below are sections from the various reports that caught my attention. The first thing I noticed was the huge number of items on the closed agenda with 18 specific items for decision/approval or...
    Transport Blog | 29-09
  • Labour not “part of the communities we live in”
    Labour leadership aspirant Grant Robertson told a blunt truism to Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand the Monday after the election. “Politics has to be about more than elections,” he said. “It has to about being part of the communities...
    Colin James | 29-09
  • The mystifying rise of Jacinda Ardern
    As Labour’s leadership debacle lurches nowhere fast, the only winner thus far appears to be Jacinda Ardern. A One News poll (or what One News sometimes likes to call a poll, despite it being a self-selecting online survey. Please, just leave the...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-09
  • The mystifying rise of Jacinda Ardern
    As Labour’s leadership debacle lurches nowhere fast, the only winner thus far appears to be Jacinda Ardern. A One News poll (or what One News sometimes likes to call a poll, despite it being a self-selecting online survey. Please, just leave the...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-09
  • “Unless you can perform miracles, it’s time to go David”
    To be honest, I haven’t really had time to keep up with the volumes that has already been written regarding the (current lack of) leadership of the New Zealand Labour Party. One piece that has however caught my eye is...
    Progress report | 29-09
  • How sustainable is New Zealand?
    Behavioural economics is not a complete theory but it demonstrates that we are not the economic rational being usually assumed in economics theory. One of the most troubling divergences is that we make time-inconsistent decisions so our short run choices...
    Pundit | 29-09
  • The Labour leadership meltdown continues
    Over the weekend, I road tripped it down to Wellington, where I had a beer with a pollster, briefly checked on what announcement Cunliffe had made mid-Saturday afternoon, and then proceeded to ignore politics. Fine wine and convivial company was far...
    Occasionally erudite | 29-09
  • Hold fast to your Mana – Harawira
    Hone Harawira today called on the voters of Tai Tokerau to hold fast to their mana, and not be dictated to by those party leaders who have ganged together to tell them how to vote. “I call on our people...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Media Advisory – Interview availability
    This is to advise all media that Hone Harawira will be available in Auckland tomorrow, Friday the 19th of September from 7am to 4pm for interviews relating to his recent press releases. If you are interested in interviewing Mr Harawira on...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Labour stands on proud record on Suffrage Day
    Women have come a long way in the 121 years since New Zealand became the first country to give them the vote on September 19 1893, but there is still more to do, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont says....
    Labour | 18-09
  • Polling Booths asked to treat Maori voters with respect
    “Polling booths without Maori roll voting papers, Maori people not being offered assistance to vote, people getting sent from Whangarei to Wellsford to vote, Maori people getting turned away from voting because they didn’t have their ‘easy vote’ card, Maori...
    Mana | 17-09
  • Aussie Liberals embroiled in Key campaign
    John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says....
    Labour | 17-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit. “If you’re lucky enough to have...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Māori development crucial to New Zealand’s future
    Labour recognises the concern of Māori about child poverty and the rising costs of living, and in Government will make a real difference to the wellbeing of whānau and iwi, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “As our Māori...
    Labour | 16-09
  • MAORI PARTY – DON’T COMPLAIN … WALK
    “If the Maori Party are serious about stopping government spying on NZ citizens then they should tell the Prime Minister to either stop doing it or they will walk away” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, on...
    Mana | 16-09
  • JOHN KEY SUPPORTING LABOUR
    “There is something really sick about a National Party Prime Minister coming out in support of a Labour candidate” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira, after hearing that John Key is urging voters to back Labour in...
    Mana | 16-09
  • SHUT DOWN THIS GOVT NOT KAITI WINZ – Nikora
    “I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can” is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti  said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Winegums make for better polling – Harawira
    I wanted to laugh when I saw the Native Affairs poll the other night (Hone Harawira 38%, Kelvin Davis 37%) because it was almost the same as the one they did back in 2011”, said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 16-09
  • The Leadership of MTS Lied – Harawira
    “Normally I’m happy to tell people that I was right but when I received the news about the staff cuts at Maori Television, I had nothing but sympathy for the three Maori media leaders who are going to be made...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Privileges Complaint Laid against Prime Minister – Harawira
    MANA Movement Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has today lodged a Privileges Complaint with the Speaker regarding the Prime Ministers denials in parliament that he knew anything about Kim Dotcom before 2012. “Information made public today appears...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Sharples’ new appointments are out of order
    The new appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal announced by Dr Pita Sharples this morning are completely out of order given the election is just five days away, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “This Government continues to show disdain...
    Labour | 15-09
  • MANA Movement Housing Policy
    “When families are living in cars, garages, cockroach-infested caravans and three families to a house then we have a housing crisis”, said MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira. “When you have a housing crisis for low-income...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore and Seabed – Sykes
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both...
    Mana | 14-09
  • MANA wants Te Reo Māori petition fulfilled
    Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Te Hāmua Nikora, MANA candidate for Ikaroa Rāwhiti  “More than four decades have passed and the petition calling for Te Reo Māori in schools...
    Mana | 14-09
  • Primary focus on the critical issues
    A Labour Government will prioritise New Zealand’s agricultural sectors by recreating a Rural Affairs Minister and appointing a Primary Industry Council and a Chief Agricultural Adviser. Releasing Labour’s Primary Sector and Rural Affairs policies today, spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Maori Television fears confirmed – Harawira
    ...
    Mana | 12-09
  • More ghost houses from National
    The Government’s desperate pre-election announcement of more ghost houses won’t fool Aucklanders wanting action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “These are ghost houses, to go with National’s ghost tax cut. Families cannot live in ghost...
    Labour | 12-09
  • National bows to union pressure over travel time
    National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “This decision is long overdue...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Predators on Poverty – Harawira
    “As poverty has ballooned out of control, the Predators on Poverty have emerged to suck the lifeblood from whole families and communities” said MANA Movement leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “They are deliberately targeting low-income areas, particularly those...
    Mana | 11-09
  • MANA Movement Policy Launch
    Predators on Poverty (pokie machines, alcohol outlets and loan sharks) 1pm, Thursday 11th September Corner Great South Road and Criterion Street Otahuhu Shopping Centre...
    Mana | 10-09
  • Party members and affiliates – the real losers in Labour’s leadership f...
    Hey, wanna do a back room deal that cuts the members and affiliates out? Cunliffe must be reeling. He has lost failed Ilam candidate James Dann. It must cut as deep as the loss of Steve Gibson. Apart from providing Claire...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election res...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election result...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • The rich get richer
    Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman highlights the growing inequality in this article in the New York Times. The left wing slogan that the “the rich get richer” is a fact of almost perverse power. The most recent period of expansion in the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • A brief word on reinvading Iraq
    So after telling the country before the election that NZ would not send forces to Iraq, lo and behold now he’s won the election with a full spectrum dominance political majority, Key is suddenly now looking to join the re-invasion of...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • A brief word on the importance of ACT, Maori Party and United Future to Nat...
    I’m a far right wing clown who attacks tax money going on anything collective, gimmie some cash and privilege.  One of the great successes of National has been to implement hard right policy but have it sold as moderate. For some NZers,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Labour’s Angst
    Was Labour’s predictably low vote David Cunliffe’s fault? Was it policy? Was it something else that has aroused perceptions of electoral carnage? My analysis of the numbers suggests that, as uncertain voters made up their minds, there was a late...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Information wars: Gaza as “the last taboo”, the threat of mass surveill...
    “When the truth is replaced with silence” wrote the soviet dissident Yevgeni Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.” There has been a silence these past months full of noise, static and sound bites of those in power justifying their violence,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?
    I was watching The Nation in the weekend, and watched the defenders of NZ media up against Minto telling him he was wrong in his claims of media bias and that the media covered Dirty Politics. I laughed. When the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG – P Campbell – To the Left with love
    A week after the general election results I feel wrung out emotionally, having been through the disappointment, depression and anger of seeing  another right wing government elected overwhelmingly by winning support from the parts of NZ that will never benefit...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – I will be the new Labour Leader!
    One week after the election, while I was still waiting to be consulted about contributing to the review on what went wrong, what do you know? There is a leadership challenge. So instead of opting for a united, thoughtful and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – A Prescient Post
    A very prescient pre-election post by Martyn Bradbury tells us why the Labour Party are at war now. “The NZ First-Labour Party attack strategy against Internet MANA better work” Despite Martyn Bradbury warning them this Right Wing strategy “Better Work”...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – W(h)ither Labour (!/?)
    There’s an old saying that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Not so in the Labour Party, wherein soul-crushing defeat on a scale unseen since 1925 definitely has many fathers (and more than a few mothers and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • At the end of the day…
    At the end of the day…...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty
    Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Internet MANA the election and the media
    I’ve been very critical of media reporting of Internet MANA during the election campaign and not surprised at the predictable response from representatives of the corporate media establishment. I wasn’t going to carry this further but was asked at the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Rachel Jones – A superficial discourse analysis of a superfic...
    On Sunday there was a story about Paddy Gower and his detached retina in the Herald on Sunday. Really? I hear you ask. Really? Yes, really. Pam Corkery will have sprayed toast crumbs over her dressing gown. The reporter has become...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Terrorising Australia’s Muslim population
    We should be suspicious when 800 police conduct “terror” raids across Australia, but only one person is charged with a relevant terrorism offence (of which we know few details). We should be suspicious of the lurid tales of terrorists planning...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its min...
    Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its mind. I know the Labour party has its problems and I’m not even going to try to prescribe what should be done about it. But what I...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Loyalty, Leadership and the Labour Party
    My first after the election and I can only say I’m feeling pretty sad.  It was a terrible result, and feels even more so knowing the number of volunteers hours, hard work & sacrifice made by so many people who...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • A Study in Party Stability
    . In terms of long-term stability, one party above stands above all others, with the exception of personality-driven groups such as NZ First and United Future. That party is the Greens. If the Labour Party wants to look elsewhere for...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Cunliffe vs Robertson – Round 2
    Much to the disappointment of the NZ Herald and other right wing pundits who have decided they would like to appoint the next Labour leader, Cunliffe has surprised by deciding to damn the Caucus and appeal directly to the members...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The tasks before the left and labour movement
    Anyone on the left would have been disappointed at the result of the election. There was an opportunity to win, but that got lost through a combination of factors. There were tactical decisions made by Labour, the Greens and Internet-Mana...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • From Fiji’s dictatorship to ‘democracy’ – the AUT student team on t...
    Mads Anneberg’s profile on Ricardo Morris and Repúblika. David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. THREE STUDENTS from AUT University covered Fiji’s historic “from dictatorship to democracy” general election this month. While the election arguably legitimised Voreqe Bainimarama’s so-called 2006...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • David Cunliffe Resigns As Labour Leader – Forces Robertson Out of the Bel...
    David Cunliffe has made a smart move, resigning as the leader of the Labour Party so as to force a leadership primary campaign. The move draws rival Grant Robertson out of the beltway to parts of the country where he...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Deep thought vs Deep prejudice
    . . This letter to the editor appeared in The Listener, on 27 September, and caught my attention; . . Mr Dawson wrote in response to one of those typically unthinking comments which  condemned the poor for their “unbridled, reckless...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The NZ National voters elected
    The NZ National voters elected...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The post election postmortem is giving me post p...
    I feel the need to contribute to the discourse. This is a new experience for me. Not having an opinion, but expressing it on a popular forum in a public sphere. That’s why I have waited till now and put...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A dictionary of education terms and definitions, brought to you by the let...
    Free to all TDB readers, please enjoy your very own cut-out-and-keep handy primer of terms that I predict you will need to know over the next three years… Achievement Gap (noun) Synonym for wealth gap. ACT (abstract noun) Intangible. Reported to exist in...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA
    New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • Reflecting on Elections Past
    There are a number of past elections that can give the left in New Zealand guidance and hope. Two major points though. Major parties require leaders who can bridge the political divide through strength of personality, vision of what it...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – The Reptile Room
    I stress, at the outset, that I’ve got nothing against reptiles. Some of my best friends are reptiles. Some say I am one, but I’m not really. I just emulate that ability to sit, stationary for hours in court, eyes...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • The success of right-wing counter messaging in the election
    One of the reasons National won the election was due to its success in counter messaging – and the way so many media commentators ran with th the right-wing spin. Here are some examples. Dirty Politics The original message was...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New Flag competition
    New Flag competition...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • Submissions sought on herbicide for weed control in maize
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on a herbicide to improve broadleaf weed control in maize. The substance CADET contains 100g fluthiacet-methyl in the form of an emulsifiable concentrate and would contain a new active ingredient...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line
    Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line TV personality Jesse Mulligan will live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line this October in order to raise awareness of sex trafficking. Mulligan will survive on $2.25 for his food from October...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn?
    Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn? - Sue Bradford, Russell Brown & Kirk Serpes discuss....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change
    Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change at launch of Pacific environment report...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages
    The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management advises that while changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages come into effect from today (Wednesday 1 October), the Ministry has been, and remains, the authoritative voice for tsunami...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Police remove banner at Statoil Offices in Wellington
    Oil Free Wellington hung a banner at 9:30 this morning at the Statoil office headquarters in Wellington as the Petroleum Summit opened in Auckland. The banner, which read 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil', has now been removed...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Mixed massages raise concerns
    Mixed massages raise concerns for Te Taumata Kaumatua Ngapuhi nui tonu, and Te Wakaminenga O nga Hapu Ngapuhi....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Union Slams Port Boss’s Pay Rise
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) says Lyttelton Port CEO Peter Davie’s 18% wage rise, taking his pay packet to $1.24m, is unjustified and inflammatory. ‘Lyttelton port has an appalling health and safety record, with three deaths on...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Prisons expert Ron Nikkel to speak in Auckland October 15
    Prison Fellowship NZ and JustSpeak have the privilege of hosting the former president of Prison Fellowship International, Ron Nikkel....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Hundreds of educators protest IES in Rotorua
    Four hundred educators from around the country took their opposition to the Government's controversial Investing in Educational Success policy to the public today....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Crime drops by 3.2 % in the 2013 / 2014 financial year
    Criminal offences dropped by 3.2 % in the last financial year according to figures released today through Statistics New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: what do we learn?
    I would like to invite you to a Fabians Reflection on "Dirty Politics, Dotcom and Labour’s worst result" with Colin James, Keith Ng, Stephanie Rodgers and Richard Harman. They will provide a debrief of analysis and lessons from the 2014...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Oil Free Wellington drops banner from Statoil headquarters
    Today members of Oil Free Wellington have targeted the offices of Statoil, by attaching a banner reading 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil' to the entrance of Vodafone on the Quay Midland Park, where Statoil's New Zealand office...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Media Statement from Karen Price
    “After a period of intense media attention and scrutiny of our family, I set up and used an anonymous Twitter account over the weekend and made a number of comments that I deeply regret....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Greenpeace disrupts Simon Bridges’ speech to oil industry
    Greenpeace activists have disrupted the opening speech by Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges at the Petroleum Summit in Auckland this morning....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • An open letter to the Prime Minister
    in which Transparency International New Zealand asks the Prime Minister to ensure integrity underpins all work he leads "in the best interests of all New Zealanders"...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Paula Bennett ‘great work’ acknowledged – McVicar
    “Paula Bennett, as Minister of Social Development, has contributed significantly in lowering our crime rate and preventing further victims.” - McVicar...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Key’s Restraint in Propping up ACT Welcomed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the announcement that ACT MP David Seymour will not be appointed as a Minister....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Only Concession is from the Taxpayer
    Responding to the confidence and supply agreement reached between John Key and Peter Dunne’s United Future Party, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A Tent for Any Tenant
    AUT students and Salvation Army Manukau Community Ministries team up to raise awareness, as South Auckland’s housing situation moves from crisis to collapse...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report Seeks Comments
    The Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report and Recommendations was published on 25th September 2014 and the panel are inviting comments. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, the organisation campaigning for consistent speed limits outside schools, is encouraged...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour’s Review – Terms of Reference Agreed
    Labour's Review - Terms of Reference Agreed Following a meeting of its ruling New Zealand Council yesterday, Labour has released the terms of reference for the comprehensive review initiated following its 2014 election result. The review will comprise three...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • The final countdown for Kiwi smokers
    There are just two days left until many smokers stubb out their cigarettes for the last time and embark on Stoptober – New Zealand’s first national quit-smoking month....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose”
    “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose” – Chris Hipkins Labour Senior Whip I would say to all of the caucus and all of the members let's actually hear the arguments from the people who want to be leader,...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Campaign to make Murder of Unborn ”Safe and Legal”
    The IPPF have launched an international campaign through its 161 affiliates including the New Zealand Family Planning Association [NZFPA] to make the murder of the unborn safe and legal and accepted as a human right. This is an acceleration of...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Grant Robertson Labour leader hopeful on TVNZ Q+A
    “Look I think what we need to be is relevant, clear and consistent with New Zealanders about the Labour Party's values,” said Labour leader hopeful Grant Robertson on TVNZ’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour Needs to Get House in Order Before Deciding Leader
    Ex Labour party leader and possible repeat contender David Shearer says the Labour Party is going about the post-election period in the wrong way....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Hate merchants at it again with smear tactics
    “It’s disappointing to see the hate merchants at it again with yet another attempt to smear and silence a health professional who’s doing research they disagree with,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
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