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Media Watch: infotainment & “balance” – inequality

Written By: - Date published: 10:01 am, January 30th, 2014 - 53 comments
Categories: babies, capitalism, child welfare, class war, cost of living, david cunliffe, david shearer, education, election 2014, greens, labour, news, same old national, welfare - Tags: ,

The infotainment, ratings/sales driven basis of our news media, results in the skewing of political news in various ways: whether or not such skewing is intentional.  One of the things the MSM does with this “neoliberal”-supporting approach to news, is to focus on human interest stories.  Following the party leaders State of the Nation speeches, inequality is currently the main focus.

labour-education-inequality

So, in an apparent attempt at “balanced” coverage of the Labour Party’s Best Start policy, Simon Collins has compared the responses of two couples to the policy: article entitled ‘Labour’s baby bonus: a waste or a boon’.  Simon Collins has written a lot of well considered, fair, and knowledgeable articles about social policies.  However, this one provides a comparison, that while stark, skews the playing field in some unstated ways.

It looks like this is an attempt to compare a relatively high income couple with a couple on a low income, both with young children. The article doesn’t claim the two couples are representative of others in the same income brackets. Nevertheless, in the current context where the income inequality gap is center stage, they will most likely be understood as representative of all the “haves” and “have nots”.

However, neither couple is truly representative of either end of the income inequality spectrum.

The female half of the high earning couple is far from representative, although she may be representative of some of the 1%er  wannabes: Jane Siloway Smith is a high earning woman in an economy where the average female income is lower than that for the average male; and she works for the right wing, anti-welfare think tank, the Maxim Institute. The last two posts on the Maxim’s website blog are:

20-01-014: Jeremy Vargo praising National’s (alleged) education policy, as mentioned in John Key’s State of the Nation speech last week.

24-01-14: Jane Siloway Smith giving praise to some minor statement from David Shearer – a long with a backhander to Labour.  Ignoring Labour and the Greens’ SON speeches, Siloway Smith focuses on Shearer’s private members Bill aiming to feed children in schools.  Siloway Smith refers to an op ed by David Shearer of 20 January 2014.  She claims Shearer is doing a major U Turn with respect to his Bill. Siloway Smith claims that this means Shearer is agreeing with her that welfare is a bad thing. Shearer is NOT arguing against such welfare, but is saying this needs to be coupled with policies aimed at ending poverty in the long term.

In his op ed, Shearer says that his Bill is a start, but that he also wants to include some provisions aiming for long term self sufficiency.  This will include education on nutrition and the acquisition of practical  gardening skills.

Back to Simon Collins’ article.

Dr Jane Silloway Smith, research manager at the conservative Maxim Institute, and her scientist husband Dr Bryan Smith between them earn just under the $150,000 threshold that Labour has set for its proposed child payment for the first year after a new baby is born.

The Smiths, who came here from the United States in 2008, say they would be grateful for the extra $60 a week, but they could do without it.

Not suprisingly, given Siloway Smith’s views on welfare, she is opposed to Labour’s Best Start policy (though supports Paid Parental Leave).  In the course of her comments she manages to get a few words in praising the fact that the economy is (supposedly) heading in the right direction.

There is a quote from Ardern saying that, if this couple is opposed to the Best Start payment, they don’t have to apply for it.

The second couple are are both of the middle class and part of the precariat: Dr Barnett has been made redundant from lecturing at UNITEC, and her partner, Francois Byamana, is an actor and musician.  This couple, though well qualified and with skills and experience, are sometimes in need of social security payments.

The article does, however, show that they are huge differences in lifestyles in New Zealand, and describes the realities of low income living. However, it focuses on the struggles of a couple with more options than many who live on low incomes for long periods.

On the other hand, Bryce Edward’s Wednesday round up of articles and blog posts on the inequality, election focused debates, does give a pretty full coverage of the range of arguments.  The round up ends with reference to Greg Presland’s “pushback” against the criticisms of Labour in two Standard posts.

David Cunliffe state of the nation

These are among two articles, that show that Labour (and to a lesser extent, The Greens), have so far set the agenda for this year’s election.

Turei children

The Maxim blogs in contrast, are doing their best to ignore this as Key tries desperately to regain his momentum through some flag waving.

Meanwhile, the majority of potential voters are more likely to read Collins’ article; that’s if they don’t just watch the even more highly infotainment skewed coverage of the 6pm TV news.

 

 

53 comments on “Media Watch: infotainment & “balance” – inequality”

  1. Molly 1

    A couple of thoughts looking at the article.

    The framing, style and background of the photos reinforces the tone of the article.

    Despite the broad mention of income for the first couple, the second couple provides more detail on where the money is spent including $445 for rent. Would it have been too much for the journalist to ask the same detail of the Smiths?

    Auckland housing is notoriously expensive – if you are mortgage free – then you have quite a substantial cushion against financial woes. If you have the use of a company car, or access to Airpoints from business travel – these too provide benefits unavailable to many wage earners.

    “She has a second baby due in April and plans to take six months off this time – 14 weeks on taxpayer-funded paid parental leave, part of the remaining time on leave paid by Maxim, and several weeks unpaid.

    Dr Silloway Smith supports paid parental leave, but she said the Government had a limited budget and giving her family $60 a week would be “a waste of money”.

    Dr Smith benefits from a generous employer – and doesn’t consider their extra maternity leave payments a waste of money for them – even though maternity and early childhood care are not part of their mission. However, she applies this description to our government – where it is one of their core functions.

    Also, working for this think tank – as a research manager – you would assume that she would know that policy works in broad brushstrokes and will always have those on the fringe who are included or miss out.

    • newsense 1.1

      Surely the equivalent in the US is a bit like asking Karl Rove if he is going to get anything out of Obamacare?

      not sure if Baby bonus is bs it has been popular in Aussie…

  2. Bill 2

    Nice one. Also maybe worth pointing out the use of the term ‘dosh’ in the secondary header? Lot’s of connotations to that term. Also…what is it with the headline ‘Baby Bonus’ bullshit? (I know what it is. I’m being rhetorical)

    • geoff 2.1

      It’s a way for them to spin it negatively but also alliteration and that’s what the aussies call their similar system. Except over there, it’s not a dirty word.

    • geoff 2.2

      oops you were being rhetorical, my bad.

  3. just saying 3

    Good points, Karol,

    As a side issue, a quote from David Shearer linked in the post regarding teaching children about vege gardening:

    I want to see parents and communities given the support they need to look after their kids and not simply depend on a government feeding scheme.

    David Shearer is MP for Mt Albert and Labour Party spokesman for Foreign Affairs and Energy and Resources.

    This really pisses me off.
    Does Shearer have any idea how much it costs to set up a functioning food garden?
    How weather/soil/luck dependent the results are?

    The words “feeding programme” annoy me too. I associate “feeding programmes” like “breeding programmes”, with livestock. If people don’t have the resources to buy nutritious food*, we need to provide adequate resources. Does Shearer have any idea how much land, resources, and expertise is required to provide adequate nutrition for a family? – plonker.

    This smacks of victim-blaming to me.

    *Benefit levels were deliberately set below amounts needed to meet adequate levels of nutrition. This was supposed to “incentivise” work.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      NB “Feeding Programmes” are exactly what he helped to organise and manage at the UN.

      Does Shearer have any idea how much land, resources, and expertise is required to provide adequate nutrition for a family? – plonker.

      Thinking of it – he very well might – but hasn’t thought it through.

      I doubt that he’s proposing clearing acres of land in the middle of Auckland suburbs for this. Which is what it would need.

    • Bill 3.2

      Absolutely agree with your comment about set up costs. Took me a long time.

      Not proposed as a complete solution, but what about school gardens? Perhaps a possible component of the Green Party’s school hubs?

      I’m thinking they could be much more accessible than community gardens that often require using a car to get to and the necessary social/community connections already exist to some extent or other in a school context.

      • just saying 3.2.1

        I’m aware that this is a tangent and Karol might want to move this to open-mike.

        Most primary schools have a rudimentary vege garden, and a couple of the community gardens locally, (bigger and worked by community volunteers) are located at schools. However, there is a problem with access in at least some cases. Something about permission to be on school grounds.

        A substantial community garden at each school would be brilliant. It would also be great if food was grown in every park and reserve area. Locals could tend them – fruit and nut trees and berries aren’t necessarily labour intensive. The biggest problem with the community gardens is how few and far between they are (so far).

        Now if Shearer were to talk about significant resources devoted to this kind of thing (without mentioning ‘feeding programmes’ at all)……

        • karol 3.2.1.1

          Not really off topic, js.

          The post is about media coverage of inequality and political parties policies on it. The post included comments on Shearer’s article, which also suggested a way to decrease poverty/inequalities through development of gardens.

          Some good critical comments here on Shearer’s article.

        • Zorr 3.2.1.2

          With regards this, in my local community there is a well maintained community garden at the local library because it is all council owned and anyone is welcome to call past and grab a head of broccoli or similar… depending on what has been having success…

    • JK 3.3

      I agree Just Saying – and to Karol too. Good post. I’ve only just read the Simon Collins article and Herald editorial (sent a comment into both) and was thinking along the same lines, Karol.

      As to poor people growing gardens – like Bill and Just Saying have said – it takes several years, and quite a bit of input with money as well as whatever you can harvest from your presumably bare land – to build up decent vege gardens. We’ve used access to free manure from local farm animals – that’s not a choice for many people living in urban areas.

      We’re in our sixth year of building our vege garden and fruit trees and only now, are starting to reap a benefit from them. We were given the feijoa trees, they’ve been in and well manured for five years, and this is the first year I’ve seen flowers and now fruit forming – so hoping to at last harvest them later this year.

      And a vege garden takes up a lot of day time. If both parents are working, and have to come home to look after kids, cook meals, do the shopping, housework, etc – there’s not much time left over for them to get a decent vege garden going.

      Its patronising for people in authority or in a better financial situation to suggest that those who are poor should just get outside and dig up a vege garden.

  4. Tracey 4

    Isnt meridian running an ad about 1 in 4 kids going without food? I thought poverty couldnt be measured.

    Anyone who thinks the delving into the 60 bucks waS even handed compare with keys 359m education policy… which schools and when. What criteria. Msm didnt chase those answers

  5. Will@Welly 5

    Expect more of this b.s. as we get closer to the election. National are desperate.
    Let’s assume Labour/Greens/Mana do win, then Cunliffe and the Labour Party must make it abundantly clear to those right-wing M.P.’s that their time in Parliament is limited.

  6. SHG (not Colonial Viper) 6

    What does “40,000 Kiwi kids arrive at school every week without food” mean?

    40,000 Kiwi kids only go to school once a week and when they do it’s without food?

    8,000 Kiwi kids go to school 5 times a week and every time they do it’s without food?

    40,000 Kiwi kids have arrived at school without food on one day out of a week?

    At the end of a week we totalled up every time a kid had arrived at school on at least one day without food and the total was 40,000?

    • McFlock 6.1

      seriously? The problem doesn’t need addressing if it’s only 8,000 constantly hungry kids, or if 40,000 kids miss one breakfast a week because of poverty?

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 6.1.1

        Whether or not it’s a problem that needs addressing is not my point. The headline on the campaign document is shit. It’s vague. It needs explaining. Labour fails at communication, episode 956309.

        • McFlock 6.1.1.1

          No, it’s not.
          The only thing that matters is whether thousands of NZ kids are going to school hungry. That is clear whichever way you want to interpret it. 8,000 or 40,000 should not affect whether or not something needs to be done about it.

          But keep pretending the problem doesn’t exist

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 6.1.1.1.1

            Why doesn’t the campaign say that then? Why doesn’t it just say “THOUSANDS OF KIWI KIDS GO TO SCHOOL HUNGRY”?

            Again, Labour can’t communicate a policy to save itself.

            • McFlock 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Because then you’d argue that the problem’s exaggerated, that only hundreds go hungry. Because then you’d criticise the font, or the pic, or the colour palette. Because then you’d do anything else you can think of to avoid addressing the facts presented in the poster.

              I mean, if you genuinely gave a shit you’d have looked up the report cited in the poster, rather than whinging here.

              • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

                Heaven forbid that Labour get some people who can actually communicate effectively.

                • McFlock

                  I think the words you are looking for are Heaven forbid that Labour get some people who can actually communicate so pedantically and exhaustively that every poster it produces takes the format of Das Kapital, for fear that someone going “LALALALA NOT LISTENING” might be able to wilfully miss the point.

                  the current poster does the job for most people who are not intentionally blind.

                  • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

                    The current poster does the job for people who already support Labour’s policy on child welfare and will be voting Labour anyway. It’s preaching to the choir – a choir that for two elections in a row hasn’t been big enough to get Labour into government.

                    What Labour should be doing is making its messages so clear, direct, and unassailably powerful that even someone who WANTS to go “lalalala not listening” has to concede the point. Labour should be crafting and timing its messages to attract people who currently don’t intend to vote for Labour. It should be communicating effectively. But it’s not.

                    I didn’t see Cunliffe’s speech because he gave it on a public holiday, and I was at the beach. So I watched a recording of it, and then I read Labour’s documents, and they said two different things on an important point so I was confused. Then when I wanted to think about it a bit more I didn’t get a chance because I was swamped with work the day after a public holiday. Then I was distracted by Labour announcing that it considered Facebook a paedophile network and would ban it, which is something I consider retarded, so I was less likely to consider Labour a party with sensible policies. Then I saw a Labour poster about hungry children and while I think that’s an important issue my attention was already lost because I wasn’t sure what the heading actually said.

                    All of these things could have been avoided, and they weren’t because Labour can’t communicate for shit.

                    • McFlock

                      The fact that you were not convinced does not mean that the material was only preaching to the choir.

                      Failing to convince people who follow the catechism “if I don’t know exactly how many thousands of children are going hungry each day, I will refuse to acknowledge that there is even a problem” is likewise not the same as “preaching to the choir”.

                      Try drawing a Venn diagram to figure it out.

                    • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

                      If a sensible reader’s first reaction upon reading your headline is “what does that mean?”, then your headline is shit.

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah, but that was your reaction. Don’t go accusing a sensible person of being in that club.

    • PapaMike 6.2

      I have still not received an answer as to what those children do during the school holidays.
      I am aware that in some lower decile schools they are open for breakfast and some supervision, but only a few schools.

  7. Tracey 7

    Youve nailed it. Those are the most important things to sort out before we feed a single child.

  8. gem 8

    ”One of the things the MSM does with this “neoliberal”-supporting approach to news, is to focus on human interest stories.”
    With so-called ‘hip pocket’ issues, the news media always sought out and highlighted people directly affected. It pre-dates neoliberalism.

    To the wider point, I think the prevalence of the human interest angle (and often this means angling the story on the ‘real’ person but having official comment/statistics in the body of the article) is linked with the Rogernomics era overhaul of the public sector.
    It is incredibly difficult for journos to get straightforward answers from government departments because of their defensiveness about disclosing information, and their legions of ‘communications’ operatives acting as gatekeepers.

    It’s another reason we have personality-driven political news coverage; other information sources have virtually been closed down. From reading the Ombudsman’s annual report, the watchdog does not have the resources to investigate all the complaints that are lodged regarding departments and ministerial staff refusing to comply with the Official Information Act.

    Turning government departments into quasi corporate entities, inculcating an odd mix of public and private values, was driven by a de facto bipartisan consensus between Labour and National that the public sector should be run like a business.

    Should the media become activist in changing the system, or should political parties do something to change it?

    • karol 8.1

      Very good comment, gem.

      Also working with the infotainment approach, is the cut backs on experienced journalists. There’s a lot of quite young journalists, without a strong background in many political areas. Furthermore, journolists are given less time for research, and spend a disporportionate amount of time behind their computers or roaming the corridors of political power.

      Simon Collins is one who actually does get out to demos and interviews people there.

      • gem 8.1.1

        You just about need a private income to be a journalist these days, thus for most it’s become a stepping stone to a higher-paid, less stressful job.
        Journalists used to be on par with teachers when it came to pay, as I understand it, but that is no more.
        The consolidation of ownership also saw the axing of evening papers, which generally held left-leaning political views compared with the more pro-establishment morning papers.

  9. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9

    The Maxim Institute is mentioned in Nicky Hagar’s book “The Hollow Men” (2006).

    A collection of some of the mentions:

    Maxim was set up “based on the model of right-wing United States thinktanks.” [Hagar, 2006, p203]

    and was active in supporting Don Brash’s National party (the one that didn’t get in in 2005) – The head of that Institute at the time supported Brash’s divisive Orewa speech publically in The Herald. [Hagar, 2006, p204]

    for another meeting the head of that Institute ” offered ‘to put together a meeting of up to 1000 “flammable”: parents on the North Shore of Auckland’, so Brash could present National’s education policies to a large and sympathetic audience.” [Hagar, 2006, p204]

    ……..
    ….So methinks providing a voxpop of a woman who is one of that group (a group that has been active in electioneering for a previous Nat party – and I would suspect nothing has changed for this election) is hardly ‘a person off the street’ and this choice of TV3’s can hardly be called ‘balanced’ and certainly not politically neutral in any way, shape or form.

    [n.b. I do not consider Karol is attempting to make the point that TV3 is managing balance, I am merely adding some detail for those that hadn’t heard of this ‘Institute’].

    • Tracey 9.1

      Thanks blue

    • gem 9.2

      +1 At least the fact she is a staff member of a right-wing thinktank makes her less credible to the public (the word ”conservative” was used as description in the Herald piece).
      Maxim must have waning influence; surely it could have organised a ”flammable” parent to ring the Herald to volunteer their views who did not have such an obvious link to itself.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.2.1

        @ Gem,

        Yes I agree re at least they introduced her as “research manager at the conservative Maxim Institute”[the exact words] – It did give a lead. I was thinking of adding that point to my comment, so am glad you did!

        I still get concerned about the use of a member of that particular group, however, because had it not been for my having just happened to have picked up “The Hollow Men” last night and recalled the name mentioned in the first chapter of that book – I wouldn’t have known the extent of their involvement with the Nat party and that puts a different slant on the comment she made and the choice to quote her.

        I do agree, though, that at least they mentioned the name of the Institute and that it was conservative.

        • gem 9.2.1.1

          ”I do agree, though, that at least they mentioned the name of the Institute and that it was conservative.” And ideally the story would mention Maxim’s involvement in the 2005 pre-election machinations, because as you said in your original post, some people won’t know what it is.
          The Hollow Men is a great resource, a book every Kiwi should read, and re-read in an election year. Thanks for the page refs.

    • karol 9.3

      Thanks, bl. Some very good background.

      In this case the article was from NZ Herald, not TV3.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.3.1

        Thanks for the correction, my apologies for the error – The Herald not TV3 argh!

        [I had TV3 in my mind having just read Micky Savage’s post, whom mentioned your comment about Maxim and separately mentioned TV3 – have made a similar error before – the mainstream media outlets are all lumped into the same ‘read or watch with severe scepticism’ section of my mind and so I will have to take care not to commit this error again for that reason!]

    • RedBaronCV 9.4

      Assuming they are not returning New Zealander’s how did they manage to emigrate here. Being a RWNJ is probably not on the skill’s shortages list?

  10. Olwyn 10

    This piece from the Herald, while it does allow Cunliffe to clear up misunderstandings around the Best Start policy, is illustrated with not one, but four, unflattering photographs. Four photos of the same subject hardly seem necessary to such a short piece. He is not smiling in any of them, and in one the shadowing lends his face a purplish hue. A subtle addition to “balanced” reporting.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11194159

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 10.1

      +1 The bias in this choice of pictures is shocking

    • Xtasy 10.2

      Simon Collins has been stopped from writing as he used to, because his “paymaster” wants him to “tow the line”, that is behind all this. If he does not tow the line, he will join others on the damned “dole”!

      That is the way power plays in this country, and under Key and Nats more so than under any other government!

      Do as you are told, and you will be “fine”, if you raise issues, hey, we got some “news” for you, it may be worth to rethink, what you just said!

      Make no damned doubt about it, this society is controlled and manipulated with pressure plays 24/7, and as the society has been divided into endless fearsome, mindsome, worried and also mercenary individuals, nobody dares to rock the boat. Nobody dares to even discuss certain things with work mates anymore, as the boss may hear, and then it is “down the road”.

      Yes, they have done a thorough job, the Natzies, and I hear and see it every day. But where is the “guts” that is displayed by some on the rugby fields? Where is the guts of people here to take a solid and firm stand, and to bring about change? I am waiting!

    • mickysavage 10.3

      Aye Olwyn. We should think about a special “The Herald is trying to make David Cunliffe look bad” post and put all of them up.

  11. BM 11

    there will always be haves and have nots food and accommodation is not a human right kids are a life style choice they shouldn’t have them if they cant afford them.

  12. Camryn 12

    I thought Dr Barnett and Mr Byaman were a fairly poor choice to represent those who might need the $60 because she was not laid off. It says she left her job voluntarily to study further. Therefore, if the child was planned, she chose to be studying (and lowering her income) at the time she was having a child. Her desire to extend herself in her field is great, but lecturing Art History is one of the few ways to earn a living with an education in Art History and she was already doing that… her timing in furthering her education was her choice and so it opens up the criticism of the policy that it only makes it easier for people to make personal choices without having to fully appreciate the consequences.

    • Olwyn 12.1

      You are right insofar as they are not minimum wage workers, so are not in the most desperate need. But Best Start, as I understand it, is intended to take the pressure off families, and they too would have benefited from having less pressure on them when their child was born. And you are drawing a long bow in suggesting that their example opens the policy up to the criticism that it encourages ill-considered personal choices. It is quite usual to juggle financial needs, personal development and so on, in order to include a child. We are not automatons. Moreover, Dr Barnett’s PhD makes her more employable in her chosen field, and she is working at the moment.

  13. Anthony Blomfield 13

    John key is a cunt. I’m shamed that I voted once for him.

    • mickysavage 13.1

      I do not suffer from that sense of regret but it is good that you acknowledge it Anthony.

    • gem 13.2

      fair enough. My mother says she won’t vote national this year for the first time in her life.

  14. Xtasy 14

    “One of the things the MSM does with this “neoliberal”-supporting approach to news, is to focus on human interest stories.”

    KAROL, thank you, another good contribution to expose what goes on. Yes, the MSM (mainstream media), they “love” those individual stories. They just love to “personalise” and “individualise” everything, because it is “VERBOTEN” to challenge the main reasons for the malaise, the SYSTEM!

    So they continue to personalise, individualise, trivialise the issues at stake, and because the MSM (being mostly large corporate, or similarly minded “competing” media organisations, even in public hands) does not want to force any issues, or even “bite” the hand that feeds them (advertisers and agencies that do the expensive brainwashing work for them).

    New Zealand is in this regard the same as Australia, the same as Canada, and ultimately the same as the United States of America, as that is where the major influences on our economy, our economic and social realities come from. New Zealand maybe doing great trade with China, Japan, the EU, and others, and be quite a lot dependent on this, but in its “spirit”, tradition and “culture”, it is the US and the UK that have shaped and thus control New Zealand and the people’s psyche here.

    The powerful lobbies behind the media, the payers of the advertising, the lobby groups and major economic participants in this society, they DICTATE, where the journey goes, and what is “allowed”. Make no damned doubt about this!

    That is why we have NO “independent” media, apart from a few blogs catering for a few tens of thousands at best, that is why we have NO democracy. The spin is always favouring the government, and since at least the early to mid 1980s, ALL governments in NZ have been influenced, if not been “determined” (through basically “rigged” elections by manipulated media serving the interests of certain “contenders” and their lobbyists), by forces other than the people who voted.

    When you have a manipulated, poorly or even misinformed public, then you will end up with totally biased, thus irresponsible, and “bought” voters. That is what we are heading for again, with that, what I have observed the last two or three weeks.

    It appears that anything Labour, Cunliffe, the Greens or New Zealand First, let alone Mana or others, say, that is instantly “rubbished”, and anything that “the government” says, it gets taken up with a statement from “officialdom”, and thus with credit and respect.

    Karol and others, I cannot believe, how patient, long suffering and patient so many of New Zealanders are, you are taken for a damned ride again. It is not helpful, this “New Zealand way”, to not speak up, to not protest, to endure, and to somehow sort things out without standing for firm positions and principles. No, that is NOT my way, I fight, I stand for principles, and I will never make rotten, or half rotten deals, with what this government, the rotten media and whosoever tries to promote.

    Having shopped again in todays Auckland supermarket in an inner suburb, where it is push and shove now, like anywhere else in the world, I know, the traditional “New Zealand way” is dead, as that was allowed to happen. Better wake up and start fighting, for the remnants of what this country may still stand for!

    Amen!

  15. tricledrown 15

    Blinkered Mysoginist
    So Natures drive to reproduce should be repressed by poor and uneducated…
    Laws of the jungle only the strongest should be allowed to reproduce what do you suggest forced abortion alah China.
    Compulsory birth control .
    Or just leave children of the poor starving cold sick.
    Remember We Johnny Key he would have been on your eugenics list.

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  • NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for April 1, 2015
    This edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains seven media release snippets and four links of the day from Wednesday 1st April. BREAKING NEWS: Mark Lundy has again been found guilty of the 2002 murders of his wife and daughter. The jury delivered… ...
    Evening ReportBy Selwyn Manning
    7 hours ago
  • Gareth Renowden on The Age of Sustainable Development
    Hot Topic – By Gareth Renowden – Analysis published with permission of Hot-Topic.co.nz The Age of Sustainable Development IT IS PROFOUNDLY DEPRESSING to hear pundits and politicians talking about the prospects for economic growth with no reference to either equity or… ...
    Evening ReportBy Evening Report
    7 hours ago
  • Live Video Cross To North Africa – 8:30pm – Tonight on Evening Report
    Evening Report. At 8:30pm tonight on Evening Report we cross live to Tunisia in North Africa to talk to New Zealander and foreign correspondent Yasmine Ryan about the ISIS and al Qaeda threat to the region. Yasmine articles in… ...
    Evening ReportBy Selwyn Manning
    9 hours ago
  • Police welcome verdict in Lundy homicide re-trial
    Source: New Zealand Police – Police welcome verdict in homicide re-trial At the High Court in Wellington today Mark Lundy was convicted of murdering his wife Christine and daughter Amber at their family home in Palmerston North on 30… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    9 hours ago
  • Police Association welcomes guilty verdict in Lundy Re-Trial
    Source: New Zealand Police Association – Police Association welcomes guilty verdict Police Association president, Greg O’Connor. “The New Zealand Police Association welcomes the Lundy guilty verdict on behalf of the police teams involved in both the investigations and trials,” Police… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    9 hours ago
  • Statement on behalf of Craig (Mark Lundy’s brother) and his wife
    Source: New Zealand Police – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Statement on behalf of Craig (Mark Lundy's brother) and his wife Home » News » Statement on behalf of Craig (Mark Lundy’s brother) and his wife ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    9 hours ago
  • Surge in New Zealand’s broadband speeds
    Source: New Zealand Government – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Surge in New Zealand’s broadband speeds Latest international figures on broadband speeds have reported New Zealand’s average connection speeds have increased by almost 60 per cent in the past year, said Communications… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    10 hours ago
  • Surge in New Zealand’s broadband speeds
    Source: New Zealand Government – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Surge in New Zealand’s broadband speeds Latest international figures on broadband speeds have reported New Zealand’s average connection speeds have increased by almost 60 per cent in the past year, said Communications… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Politics
    10 hours ago
  • Spot the slightly uncomfortable looking Tory posh boy
    Who's just realised the people beside him might not have gone to Eton:Someone should have givben him a bacon sandwich to eat, that might have made him feel more relaxed. ...
    10 hours ago
  • Gun control: Water balloon edition
    How many water balloons does it take to stop a point-blank bullet from a .44 Magnum? We've all wondered for a while. Finally, an answer (the fun part starts around 1:55): Amazing, right? Everyone loves a little physics nerdery.… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    11 hours ago
  • Real changes must come from CYF review – Ardern
    Source: New Zealand Labour Party – Real changes must come from CYF review Labour MP, Jacinda Ardern. A well-overdue revamp of Child, Youth and Family cannot be just another cost cutting exercise, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Politics
    11 hours ago
  • The cost of GCSB spying
    What's the cost of the GCSB's mass-surveillance of the Pacific? "Fewer whistleblowers, more corruption, less stability", according to Public Address:Fewer whistleblowers, more corruption, less stability. That's the assessment of longtime Pacific journalist Jason Brown of the impact of the revelation… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    11 hours ago
  • Yet another external review the last thing CYF needs
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Minister Tolley’s announcement of a Paula Rebstock-led review into Child, Youth and Family (CYF) is the last thing needed by an organisation that has demonstrated it can assess and plan for its own needs. ...
    11 hours ago
  • VIDEO: ‘My daughter’s education is my duty,’ says Vanuatu cyclone fat...
    MIL OSI Analysis – Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Media Watch Ten-year-old Joana Bani tells her story at Black Sand near Vanuatu’s capital of Port Vila. Video: UNDP Pacific Wednesday, April 1, 2015 Item: 9189 Alice Clements PORT VILA (UNDP Pacific/Pacific… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    11 hours ago
  • WEST PAPUA: Media restrictions over simmering struggle 50 years on
    MIL OSI Analysis – Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Media Watch A rally in Jakarta for the Free Papua Movement. Image: CPJ/Reuters Wednesday, April 1, 2015 Item: 9190 Bob Dietz NEW YORK (Committee to Protect Journalists/ Pacific Media Watch): One of the… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    11 hours ago
  • $7.8m for new sustainable farming projects
    MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Government – Press Release/Statement Headline: $7.8m for new sustainable farming projects 29 new projects have been approved for $7.8 million in new funding over four years through the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), Primary Industries… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    11 hours ago
  • MBIE takes enforcement action for dairy farm employment law breaches
    MIL OSI - Source: New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment MBIE – Press Release/Statement: Headline: MBIE takes enforcement action for dairy farm employment law breaches Enforcement action is being taken against 19 employers in the dairy industry for… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    11 hours ago
  • ACT Gets Twitchy – Leader Says National looks after everyone but taxpayer...
    MIL OSI – Source: ACT Party – National looks after everyone but taxpayers “National is parading its indexation of welfare payments while refusing to do the same with tax brackets,” says ACT Leader David Seymour. “Benefits were adjusted for inflation today.… ...
    Evening ReportBy MIL_Syndication
    11 hours ago
  • No good reason for secrecy
    Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee recently returned from Iraq with an impunity agreement enabling the deployment of New Zealand troops. But he's refusing to release it:Labour has attacked the degree of secrecy about the preparation of a New Zealand troop deployment… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    11 hours ago
  • New Zealand First’s Succession Plan
    Last time I met a New Zealand First MP, I decided to ask him about New Zealand First’s succession plan. He replied “why would we need a succession plan? Winston Peters isn’t going anywhere” “Well, Winston Peters is not as… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    11 hours ago
  • The importance of circulation workers in 21st century capitalism
    New Zealand disribution workers While the article below is about the United States, it is highly relevant to the New Zealand situation. by Joe Allen Amateurs study strategy, professionals study logistics,” US Army General Omar Bradley famously said. Bradley’s declaration was… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    12 hours ago
  • The cost of corporate tax cheating in Australia
    How much does corporate tax-cheating cost us? In Australia, A$25 billion a year - enough to eliminate two-thirds of the government budget deficit:Australia's biggest 900 companies claimed tax deductions and exemptions worth a total $25 billion last year – enough… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    12 hours ago
  • Union merger gives local government sector a stronger voice
    On 1 April 2015 the Southern Local Government Officers Union (SLGOU) and the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA) merged. Already New Zealand’s largest union, the merger brings the PSA’s membership to nearly 62,000. ...
    12 hours ago
  • March ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    There are now over 300 blogs on the list, although I am weeding out those which are no longer active or have removed public access to sitemeters. (Let me know if I weed out yours by mistake, or get your stats wrong).… ...
    12 hours ago
  • the stone in Winston
    The Greens made a good choice in not standing a candidate in the Northland by-election but the win from Winston and NZF is not good news for them.I like the Green Party and I'd be happy if they were dominant… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Secret squirrel
    The New Zealand Herald reports: Labour has attacked the degree of secrecy about the preparation of a New Zealand troop deployment to Iraq. The ABC in Australia revealed yesterday that New Zealand troops had begun training with the Australian Defence… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    14 hours ago
  • A victory on freshwater
    Fresh water quality is one of the big environmental battlegrounds in New Zealand, with the government hellbent on destroying it for the profit of its cronies in the dairy sector, while the public understandably wants rivers which are safe to… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    14 hours ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day. And the big question is what will the parties do in expectation of the shift in the balance of power when the Northland by-election results are finalised? Will they filibuster to prevent ballots or preserve… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    15 hours ago
  • Midweek lunch break
    Sit back and relax to these soothing, beautiful Wrestlemania 31 gifs. Best. Entrance. Ever. Dean. Fucking. Ambrose. Ronda. Fucking. Rousey. Super. Ladder. Plex. RKO. Outta. Nowhere. ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    15 hours ago
  • No spy, no fly
    A really disturbing report out of the US: The United States Justice Department has moved to dismiss a lawsuit in which American Muslims allege that that twenty-five law enforcement officials, particularly FBI agents, had them placed on the No Fly… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    15 hours ago
  • Will the Govt’s new HomeStarter scheme make it easier to buy a house?
    The Government is defending a new subsidy scheme for low and middle income couple who build a new home, but the Labour Party says it will add to the housing crisis. New Zealanders on the hunt for their first home… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Invercargill to become New Zealand’s Capital City
    At a specially called press conference this morning, Prime Minister John Key announced that Invercargill was to become New Zealand's new capital. The news was unexpected as there had been no awareness that moving the capital was even being considered.Key… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Not in my backyard!
    As we have written before on Transportblog, we think that choice in housing and transport markets is really important. In particular, Aucklanders need to be able to choose not to live in apartments. Therefore we must act now to ban… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    16 hours ago
  • The Nashing Of Labour’s Teeth: Why Being Green Ain’t Getting An...
    Red In Tooth And Claw: Stuart Nash, winner of the provincial seat of Napier, clearly intends to build Labour's vote by savaging the Greens. IF THE GREENS want a glimpse of their future with Labour, then they should listen to… ...
    16 hours ago
  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping
    When I was a lad, we didn't have your fancy smartphones. We didn't have mobile phones at all, which meant there was much greater need for public payphones and they were consequently more numerous. The funny thing was, there was… ...
    17 hours ago
  • The Age of Sustainable Development
    It is profoundly depressing to hear pundits and politicians talking about the prospects for economic growth with no reference to either equity or environmental constraints. In the case of New Zealand a “rock star” economy can apparently develop accompanied by… ...
    Hot TopicBy Bryan Walker
    17 hours ago
  • Asbestos needs a ban and a plan – petition presented
    Workers have today presented a petition signed by over a thousand New Zealanders calling on the Government to ban the importation of asbestos and develop a comprehensive plan for the removal of all existing asbestos in New Zealand.  Photo:  … ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    17 hours ago
  • Genius from google
    PacMan on google maps. I'm guessing for today only. Complete genius. Sweet! Just click on the PacMan logo on the bottom left and you're off. The Courtenay Place end of Wellington is easier to play than the Parliament end.… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    17 hours ago
  • Hard News: The GCSB and the consequences of mass surveillance
    Fewer whistleblowers, more corruption, less stability.That's the assessment of longtime Pacific journalist Jason Brown of the impact of the revelation that the GCSB has been conducting "full take" collection of communications in Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands and other Pacific nations… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Paid Parental leave increases – but more work needed
    Workers are pleased that, from today, paid parental leave increases from 14 to 16 weeks, but unfortunately New Zealand is still well behind the support that other countries offer to new parents, the Council of Trade Unions said. Photo:  … ...
    CTUBy Huia.Welton
    18 hours ago
  • QOTD: snark vs smarm
    From the epic On Smarm by Tom Scocca at Gawker: Snark is often conflated with cynicism, which is a troublesome misreading. Snark may speak in cynical terms about a cynical world, but it is not cynicism itself. It is a theory of… ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    18 hours ago
  • Birkenhead Transport orders triple-articulated double decker bus
    Birkenhead Transport announced today that it is planning replace its entire fleet with a single triple-articulated double decker bus. The bus is 57m long and over 4m tall. The Walfisch 57 double decker triple-bendy bus. Owner, managing director and part… ...
    18 hours ago
  • The X Factor NZ: That summer feeling
    Improvements have been made, true contenders are emerging and Dominic Bowden only grows in power.   X Factor NZ judges Shelton Woolwright, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Stan Walker and Melanie Blatt. Photo: The X Factor NZ A good X… ...
    18 hours ago
  • MPs back animal testing ban
    From left, owner of Crumpet the Rabbit Greta-Mae McDowell, Green Party MP Mojo Mathers and #BeCrueltyFree campaigner Tara Jackson. MPs have unanimously supported a ban on animal testing in New Zealand for finished cosmetic products and their… ...
    19 hours ago
  • The other missing mode
    Here at TransportBlog, we often write about “missing modes“. Auckland is shamefully underprovided with alternatives to driving, and that’s the situation that led to us developing the Congestion Free Network. The CFN calls for investment in rail, bus and potentially… ...
    Transport BlogBy John Polkinghorne
    20 hours ago

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  • Many regions need by-election levels of support
    Northland is not the only region struggling under the National Government, but unfortunately places like Gisborne, Whanganui and Tasman do not have by-elections on the horizon, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says. “A desperate National Party has thrown money… ...
    12 hours ago
  • Real changes must come from CYF review
    A well-overdue revamp of Child, Youth and Family cannot be just another cost cutting exercise, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour has been pushing for a review for some time. It was part of our policy at the election. ...
    12 hours ago
  • Latest Air NZ plan carries on regional snub
    Christchurch Labour Members of Parliament have secured a meeting with Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon following the airline’s decision to cut its Christchurch to Tokyo summer flights.  They are also calling on the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges to… ...
    1 day ago
  • Carmel Sepuloni back in Social Development role
    Andrew Little has reinstated Carmel Sepuloni as Labour’s Social Development spokesperson following the sentencing of her mother in the New Plymouth District Court today. “It has been a tough time for Carmel, but we both agreed it was appropriate she… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government taking Kiwis for April Fools
    Many Kiwis will be wondering if the joke is on them when a raft of Government changes come into effect tomorrow, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “First is ACC and National’s unwillingness to end its rort of Kiwi businesses which… ...
    2 days ago
  • Time to show RMA housing affordability plans
    Labour is challenging the Government to reveal its plans to make housing more affordable through amending the Resource Management Act, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Labour remains willing to consider the proposals on housing affordability on their merits and… ...
    2 days ago
  • John Key now admits no broad support for RMA changes
    John Key has now been forced to admit that he never had the broad political support to gut the Resource Management Act, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods. “Cornerstone legislation such as the RMA should never be changed without genuine… ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s changes leave student bodies in chaos
    The chaos created by National’s scrapping of compulsory student association membership may force the 86-year old Union of Students Association to fold, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “National’s 2011 Voluntary Student Membership Act has left student associations with… ...
    3 days ago
  • Tragedy must be impetus for better training
    The Police Minister needs to explain why unsworn and inadequately trained custody officers were put in a situation of caring for a medically unwell prisoner on a busy Saturday night, Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Commenting on an IPCA… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government must be more transparent on investor state clauses
    The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which… ...
    6 days ago
  • Protect university staff and student voices
    The Green Party believes ensuring student and staff representation on university councils is important. National recently passed a law reducing the size of university governance councils while increasing the proportion of the members nominated by, guess who… Steven Joyce. The… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    6 days ago
  • C’mon Nick what’s the truth on the RMA
     “Nick Smith has got to fess up and tell us what is happening to his much vaunted RMA reform, Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods says.  “With just a day and a half to go before the polls open in Northland,… ...
    6 days ago
  • SSC salaries sink National’s spending spin
    Massive pay rises at the State Services Commission prove National’s claims of clamping down on spending in the public sector are simply fantasy, Labour’s State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. “Salaries in this one department are almost $70,000 more than… ...
    7 days ago
  • We can fix Christchurch and keep our assets
    The Christchurch City Council is seeking public feedback on its proposed 10 year plan for Council revenue and spending. This is probably one of the most significant 10 year plans ever to be written by a local council because of… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    7 days ago
  • Epidemic of serious assaults in our prisons
    Labour wants stab proof vests and pepper spray for all corrections officers to keep them safe from the epidemic of serious prison assaults that are occurring around the country’s jails, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “There have been five… ...
    7 days ago
  • Listen to the locals Hekia!
    Minister Hekia Parata needs to understand what consultation is, Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “It means you have to listen to what people say in their submissions and then be able to demonstrate you have considered their views when… ...
    1 week ago
  • Thanking our caregivers
    Let’s celebrate and thank our caregivers. This week is caregivers’ week. It’s a chance to acknowledge the thousands of women, and occasional other person, who are caring for the elderly and disabled in our country. They hold people’s lives in… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Mana Post shop the best outcome for community
    Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi has welcomed the move to place the services from the Mana Post shop to a local small business. “This is the best outcome for the community we could ask for. All the vital services… ...
    1 week ago
  • Roundup: UN finds it “probably” causes cancer
    At last the UN has spoken out against the widely-used weedkiller Roundup. The UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified glyphosate, the principle ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. They also include as probable carcinogens the insecticides… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • World water day: eight rivers in one day
    Our photo journey started by the Waioweka (also known as Waioeka) River which flows from Te Urewera to Opotiki, and is surrounded by beautiful forest. The water looked great! Kopeopeo Canal It contrasted greatly with the Kopeopeo Canal near Whakatane,… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • We all benefit when education meets everyone’s needs
    As Dyslexia week comes to a close,  Dyslexia NZ have reminded us that around 10% of our citizens are dyslexic and are entitled to better support. One of their strongest arguments is that failure to provide identification and support for… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Big change starts small
    Today marks Race Relations Day in New Zealand. Race Relations Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The United Nations General Assembly chose this day as it marks the day in 1960 when 69 peaceful… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Israel, Palestine and the question of statehood
    The knife-edge election in Israel complicates the Middle East situation, even more than usual. The Prime Minister-elect, Binyamin Netanyahu, is moving to form a government. Netanyahu has indicated that, during his term, a Palestinian state would not be established. That… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch transport goes backwards
    The Green Party has a vision of a liveable, accessible Christchurch with a sense of identity and strong connected communities. Instead, 2013 census figures released by Statistics New Zealand reveal a fractured community, and tell a story of frustrated Christchurch commuters… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Sounds Stakeholders Seek a Sustainable Future
    It was heartening to see a large number of people who care about the Marlborough Sounds come together at the Marlborough Marine Futures’ forum in Picton on March 8. Fellow Green MP Steffan Browning, who lives in Marlborough, and I… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    3 weeks ago

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