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Messenger shoot-out

Written By: - Date published: 3:14 pm, September 15th, 2012 - 52 comments
Categories: blogs, newspapers, The Standard - Tags:

It must be the new tabloid format. Or perhaps Steven Joyce talking about the death of print news. On Friday John Drinnan highlighted APN-internal media spats speaking of “Frenemies”; today John Armstrong launches forth at so-called bloggers Gordan Campbell and Bryce Edwards.

Armstrong’s article does mark a change; no longer is it blogs attacking  the MSM, now its the MSM attacking the blogs. Interestingly, Armstrong seemed most concerned about Bryce Edwards, implicitly threatening him with the worst of all Armstrong curses, that he is “unlikely to please National.”

Edwards’ blog is the extreme example of the fact that most blogsites rely on the mainstream media for their information and then use that information to criticise the media for not stressing something enough or deliberately hiding it.

Unlike the mainstream media, the blogs are not subject to accuracy or taste – and sometimes even the law.

It is the ultimate parasitical relationship. And it will not change until the media start charging for use of their material.

Armstrong is the second senior Herald journalist to have a go at Edwards, who features regularly on the Herald website although not in the print edition. Fran O’Sullivan has also been at it on her Facebook page here and here.

I’m grateful to Fran for the personal compliments, and have made the same to her in the past on this blog. But I think that both she and John Armstrong are engaged in what one might call “transition thrash.” The bleat that bloggers only use mainstream media for their information is increasingly untrue; most credible bloggers have experience and expertise of their own, and more and more blogs are communal, places for interaction and discussion. Trolling also seems on the way out.

O’Sullivan’s call for Bryce Edwards to be banned, and Armstrong’s for the media to start charging for the use of their material are more like the ” pair of tut-tutting old dowagers gossiping in the salons” than Campbell and Edwards.

Edwards’ contribution to the Herald website is likely to be retained precisely because he assembles a wealth of material from a wide range of sources, not just the mainstream. He links it intelligently, and enables the reader to access all or some of it for themselves. It’s interesting. If he sometimes reveals political elements that might be called personal, well so do Fran and John.  More often than Bryce, in fact. Harden up.

To be fair to John Armstrong, as a print journalist he sometime suffers from his headliners. This article was headlined in the print edition “Putin handshake a win for Key.’ My snort of  derision blew the windows out.

Citizen journalism and the web are undoubtedly offering a challenge to the old hands. Some are coping better than others.

52 comments on “Messenger shoot-out”

  1. Brad 1

    Blogs have the advantage because they have little to no rules they have to follow, so they can do whatever they like essentially. Hell, one only needs to look at The Standard to see this

    [lprent: Within the legal limits. In fact the same legal limits that print media are required to follow.

    Some of the MSM do have various industry bodies that impose additional guidelines on them in what are usually voluntary or near voluntary compliances. However like most self regulated industries, you’d have to wonder at what they do allow and start to think that it is more a process designed to delay recourse to the law. Without any registration authority most wind up as looking like slaps over the hand with a wet glove.

    But blogging came out of the net and such forums on the net from BBS’es to usenet. We really don’t bother with such pretentious covering of genitalia like professional bodies. We just figure out how to lower the costs to reduce the barriers to entry. Much of that is done with simple requests for comment that people start to follow. Similarly who people choose to read is entirely based on their content. Which is why the types of viewpoints are somewhat wider on various blogs than the remaining simple conservationist readership of the NZ Herald.

    The Standard is obviously doing well under the rules of the net because it is quite cheap to run in both money and volunteer time, highly interactive, and we keep getting new readers and contributors. The actual ‘market’ constraints on us are probably considerably higher than most MSM’s because there are no natural economic barriers for us to shield behind. And the list of failed blog sites is a hidden testament to how hard it is to provide a good site. Obviously we don’t have the advertiser displeasure constraint that hobbles most of the MSM – our costs are too low.

    The real problem for MSM is that mostly they haven’t figured out how to cope with the net providing such a relentless increase in efficiency in feedback and two-way conversation. So they’re losing audience amongst the younger generations because they simply look like prats trying to talk down to others without interacting. Even worse is their habit of thinly wrapping PR and serving it as ‘news’ or ‘analysis’ – which is John Armstrong’s main claim to fame in my opinion. These are the generations who are completely aware of such advertisements and can usually tell an puff piece advertisement from actual content within a few seconds of reading.

    Of course there are some who are still stupid enough to not think who do rely on the old media. Kind of leads us to you… ]

    • Dv 1.1

      No rulles.

      Have a look here.
      http://thestandard.org.nz/policy/

      DUH

      • David H 1.1.1

        Yep break the rules and our nice polite sysop (old bbs’er here) or writer/moderator, will point out your indiscretions in a nice, polite, and concise way.

    • fatty 1.2

      The rules of the newspapers are defined by advertising revenue

    • weka 1.3

      Of course there are some who are still stupid enough to not think who do rely on the old media”

      I think that is a little unkind. It takes more work, considerably, to use the internet for news than the MSM. The same critical thinking applied to the MSM needs to be applied to other media too, and when it’s not packaged and delivered and you don’t spend alot of time online it’s not that easy. That’s not stupid*, it’s just that some people don’t live in cyber space. 

      The other point of course is that some of us were reading widely outside the MSM before there was an internet. I can’t say how grateful I have been for public libraries in NZ, as well as street level media. 

       *but I agree with you that JA is, who should know better because it’s his job to.

      • lprent 1.3.1

        It is like everything else.

        You don’t rely on single media types because if you do, then you get captured by their funding model and/or systematic biases. It isn’t that hard to read widely on the net. What you generally do is to seek systematic and preferably disclosed biases of different types and read based on those.

        The Economist is a good source because it has a quite transparent editorial bias – I have had a subscription since the early 80’s for that reason.

        I tended to like the NYT for the same reason before it largely disappeared behind a paywall and I discovered I wasn’t interested enough to pay the sub..

        Slate is excellent for the sheer diversity of semi-(US)-leftish opinion.

        Wired sucks because it is like watching a talkshow after you read a few issues.

        I used to read the NBR. But it got to the point that I could damn near recite most of their articles after the first paragraph. The quirkiness that used to be there disappeared to the Independent. Dropped my subscription to NBR. Eventually the Independent disappeared.

        The NZ Herald isn’t a particularly reliable source because they frequently play the game of “unbiased news” when it has been clear forever that they are not (people who were around then the Auckland Star was running are quite aware of this). However it does have authors there who you can rely on to have a systematic bias. The anonymous editorials on the other hand seem to be in a continuous political war about who writes them. But some of the opinion pieces over recent years recently have started to sound like sectional PR spin. Fran for sectional non-productive business issues. Armstrong as a shill for National. etc. There are still some interesting writers there.

        I have a pile of other things that I read for other areas of interest; linux, c++, management theory, some areas of group theory, history, earth sciences, and general science mostly. But I tend to have sources that I trust enough to be well biased in different directions.

        I used to read magazines in specific areas. These days I read online newspapers, netzines, facebook links or blogs… I spend less time and money than I did 20 years ago and get a far wider range of opinions on news and current affairs. But even 20 years ago I was getting better analysis on nz.politics than I was in the MSM.

        This site tries to select authors from the left, but with a range, and then make it clear who writes a particular piece. Which is why all of a authors pieces can be viewed together. We are distinctly and deliberately biased to the left. But there is quite a range of authors especially when you consider the occasional ones who aren’t writing all of the time. But as importantly commentators tend to question and query a lot. Authors often respond if they feel like it. Seems to work at providing feedback to the authors and improving them rather markedly…

  2. Blue 2

    Yeah, the ageing right wing political journos are an odd lot to be sure.

    Exhibit A – Fran ‘KKK’ O’Sullivan, who thinks she is a genius for comparing pseudonymous bloggers to a bunch of racist murderers for the crime of daring to have a different opinion to her.

    Exhibit B – John ‘Lovin’ Armstrong, whose tragically unrequited passion for John Key has spawned many a panegyric.

    I was surprised at JA’s outburst this morning. Surprised that his editor would publish a ‘poor me’ column masquerading as political comment, and more so that he was bothering to reply to the plebs who do not occupy his vaunted position as a Press Gallery Journalist.

    As to his accusations against the blogosphere, if you had a few people willing to regurgitate press releases, go to press conferences and watch Parliament TV and report back, then I don’t know that we’d miss much without the MSM’s ‘political journalism’.

    • tc 2.1

      It got published so got through all the editors and gatekeepers, don’t excuse JA he’s doing his masters bidding who duely let it through to release.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Yeah, the ageing right wing political journos are an odd lot to be sure.

      They can see now the NZ that they helped tear apart over the years.

  3. fatty 3

    Its important to read John Armstrong to understand what idiots think. And also to know what morons think they know.
    Gordan Campbell is a real journalist. Edwards’ was good before he started wasting his time with daily overviews. eg. his 10 part series on Identity politics vs class politics

    • Shaz 3.1

      Most of Gordon Campbell’s journalism is a quantum better in research, depth, analysis, originality, writing skills and timeliness than that put out by many “opinion writer” journalists. Bryce’s summaries are good but I was disappointed that he missed the TPP a few months ago when it was the story of the day. Keith Ng’s analysis of the budget in Public Address surpassed all the other coverage. The Standard’s posts and comments often give an idea a really good thoughtful workout.

      As for paid journalism being a dying medium and the professional journalism model being broken surely any liberal democracy worth its salt should be able to stop the slow and tortuous death of paid journalism at a stroke by (for example) levying a charge on advertising listings wherever they appear (web , print, phone, television) to fund journalism. This would replicate the funding model that has existed for centuries in print media and for 50+ years on commercial television. Advertisting / listings agencies that don’t have their own media outlets would put the money into a contestible fund to support independant journalists. (Adapting an idea from the Tobin /Robin Hood Tax model to support informed citizenry doesn’t sound to me like it should be rocket science.) The audience for advertising is an important element of the charging model advertisers use so making this trasnparent to levy a small fee to support journalism shouldn’t be too hard.

  4. ianmac 4

    Went back and read the comments pages of Armstrong’s item and of the 36 only 2 had mild support for John. Most ridiculed his line.

    • Plastic Tolstoy 4.1

      Reading through those comments has made me feel a whole lot more positive about the direction we are headed in in this country, people may well be awakening from their stupor. Plus it gave me a bloody good laugh to see someone so clearly full of themselves be roasted like that. I especially enjoyed the comment from one person suggesting that John should be providing links to prove that his claims were true! Providing proof of claims is something that is standard on most blogs, even blogs written by novices, yet this man obviously believes that because he is a ‘real’ journalist he doesn’t need to.

  5. Mainstream media hating on bloggers? You have to be kidding me.

    Just what do JA and Fran O use for their sources? Secret inside information that no-one has? Get off. The NZ media is – I’m sorry – but, total crap. The Herald cuts and pastes from Reuters and AFP. At least bloggers branch out into the more obsure corners of opinion, cite appropriately, and present independent analysis.

    I should also note, that most main stream media of any value or credit (NYT, WSJ, the Huff, etc 0 I know these are not loved by all, I’m not going there), but these dailies actually have blogs anyway. There is a very fine line between opinion piece and blog, in many cases, its jsut what you call it.

    JA needs to climb out of the antiquated, soft-core and uninspiring machine that is NZ MSM and join the real world.

    • blue leopard 5.1

      @ Peanut Monster,

      “The NZ media is …total crap’?

      Sacrilege!

      Clearly you are unaware that independent analysis is anathema to NZ orthodoxy and bloggers and media whom are audacious enough to involve themselves in such heretical activities deserve every insult and unemployable situation they get.

      You should wash your mouth out with soap, or better yet beer and switch on some rugby and recant. We can’t be having anyone who makes too much sense around here.

      • David H 5.1.1

        I’ll take the Beers Ta, but you can (Sacrilege coming up) stick the rugby where the sun don’t shine… League and Cricket for me thanks.

        • blue leopard 5.1.1.1

          @ David H

          The depths this site sinks to, first trying to understand issues and now THIS

          You have secured yourself as first on the list when the new form of witch-burning is invented for that comment against the big R….ex-communicable for sure

    • tc 5.2

      JA along with Fran and cohorts will be quietly forgotten when the sun rises fully on the new media like the irrelevant carping has beens they are.

  6. Dv 6

    One of his moans about being stuck inTokyo traffic was telling. Who in their right mind would use a car when trains run every 3 mins on the Yamanote line.

    may be TOO common for John.

  7. seeker 7

    “implicitly threatening him with the worst of all Armstrong curses, that he is “unlikely to please National.”

    Hilarious MikeS.! No need for the “laughing gas spell” after reading this delight.

    Completely Pottily Potter. Am so going to get my manuka crossed with kowhai wand and use it on all blue at heart Kiwis who even slightly diverge from the national cult cants with—-
    da da da dahhhh (roll on drums)……………………the ARMSTRONG curse….aaaaaargh……

    This should definitely undermine them, and leave them in a highly anxious and twitching state, just as wicked witch of the west, Great Benefitnot and her high mistress oracle, Poorer Ratstock, and their aforementioned followers do almost daily to those that have no work and less.
    And the mere thought for blue Kiwis, that the curse might lead to them being cast out into ‘outer Helensville’ and away from the ‘brighter future’ of their idols, Arch Wiz key and his sidekicks(and I do mean ‘kicks’ as in ‘teeth’) Blighter English and Joyceless Bringer, will bring them multiple meltdowns and agony. Brilliant!!!

  8. jaymam 8

    “Unlike the mainstream media, the blogs are not subject to accuracy”. The Herald is often wrong and if it goes subscription only I won’t miss it.

    The Herald went along with alarmist propaganda that 15kg of uranium was seized in Turkey in 2002, and that was used to justify attacking Iraq. The Herald never did fully correct the story, which was that “The substance we analyzed was not uranium and was not radioactive,” Guler Koksal of the Nuclear Research Center in Istanbul.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    It’s as idiotic to say “the MSM iz rubbish” as it is to write a column like Armstrong’s.

    In recent weeks reporters like Phil Kitchin, Simon Collins, Melanie Reid, David Fisher and many more have broken major stories (ACC, John Banks etc). Today there’s another example: the Christchurch Press/Stuff investigation into the CTV engineer. Good journalists doing their job.

    Gordon Campbell is another fine journalist, Fran O’Sullivan certainly has been, and Armstrong … well, he was once. Sadly, he has a lot in common with many MPs, the ones who talk about “Skynet” in Parliament. The world has moved on, they haven’t.

    The new journalism needs a workable funding model (Campbell and Bernard Hickey are trying out a new one soon). But ranting about “parasitical” blogs is just that – a rant, not analysis. Silly John.

    • tc 9.1

      Senile John more like, I feel sorry as he’s like a lot of corporate lackeys following the lines offered as fact. Making it happen oh yay.

      Hope his contract gives him a good package like his colleagues across the Tasman have been getting in the OZ dailys when the time comes.

    • fatty 9.2

      how predictable…gobsmacked gobbles it up.
      I wouldn’t wipe my arse with the Chch Press, let alone read it. I’d rather go to Scoop and engage my brain.

      • gobsmacked 9.2.1

        If you’re not interested in the collapse of the CTV building, that’s your choice. But it was NZ’s biggest disaster in years. So it’s a shame you don’t want to read about it, with brain engaged.

        • fatty 9.2.1.1

          Sure is my choice…you can take your CTV disaster porn and shove it. Having experienced all the quakes and had my life flipped upside down, I have no desire to engage with that story. That story does not affect me directly, so I personally see no reason to know the ins and outs of it. Most people I know in Chch do not care about that story, there are so many issues we are facing in Chch at the moment, and the CTV building is just one of a thousand tragic stories.
          Here’s the stories I am interested in, and they are stories which get little more than a footnote in the Chch Press:

          The city centre plan is not done for the people, or designed by the people. The city plan has screwed the people of Chch….and those in charge were congratulated for it.
          The covered stadium is not wanted or needed…rugby has never been so unpopular in Chch.
          The convention centre epitomises the corporate takeover of Chch.
          Social services in Chch have been at breaking point since the quakes and support of these organisations has generally been non-existent.
          Employment in Chch has been poorly organised and the average worker continues to suffer as the privileged continue to benefit.
          The vice chancellor is wrecking University of Canterbury by shafting the Arts department to get more funding for science/engineering.
          ECAN.
          Mental health issues in Chch is not being reported on enough.
          Housing concerns in the Press have mostly focused on middle class people…those who would be classed as primary, or secondary homeless have been ignored.
          Addictions, and people with addictions have been ignored.
          The general liveability in Chch has been underfunded…such as cycleways, community groups, support groups etc.
          There has been little critique of the worst mayor that Chch has had in a long time….”look at his orange jacket”…haha, very funny.
          Alcohol articles are more likely to be about ‘alcopops’ rather than the excessive use and abuse throughout Chch.

    • Blue 9.3

      The MSM didn’t ‘break’ anything on those stories. The ACC story was the result of an OIA by the Green Party, and the Banks one an OIA by the Labour Party.

      • gobsmacked 9.3.1

        ACC – Melanie Reid on “60 Minutes”. John Banks – David Fisher (Herald) and Campbell Live.

        ACC – Kevin Hague in Parliament. John Banks – Robertson, Shearer et al in Parliament.

        The opposition and the media have different jobs, but both are essential and interdependent in a functioning democracy. Kevin Hague can interview the Minister in the House, but somebody else has to interview Bronwyn Pullar on prime time TV. Are you saying that we’d be better informed if that hadn’t happened? If not, then how did it happen? Answer – months of work, by reporters.

        • Blue 9.3.1.1

          I think we have different understandings of the term ‘breaking’ a story.

          If someone puts an OIA in and gets some juicy stuff back, then that person ‘broke’ the story, not the media outlet that picks it up. Similarly, if the media outlet put the OIA in, then they ‘broke’ the story, not the bloggers who pick it up. It works both ways.

          Expansion on any issue is welcome and good. There needs to be more of it, whether it comes from the MSM or from bloggers.

          • Colonial Viper 9.3.1.1.1

            The MSM doesn’t do very much investigative journalism now. Other people are doing the legwork and digging around, and then the MSM does the easy bit, asks a few people for comment and puts it on air.

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    Foot stomping–“I used’da be someone, I still am someone!” is the tone of JA’s piece.

    Sitting across, or more likely way down the aisle from the PM glugging freebies does not cut it anymore. Millions have other sources of info.

  11. Hanswurst 11

    “To be fair to John Armstrong, as a print journalist he sometime suffers from his headliners. This article was headlined in the print edition “Putin handshake a win for Key.’ My snort of derision blew the windows out.”

    The “Putin handshake”? Sounds like something that men might get up to on their own after a hard day at the office.

  12. Populuxe1 13

    I think this article from the Guardian on how clicktivism and blogging affects the Left is relevant
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/12/clicktivism-ruining-leftist-activism

  13. Carol 14

    This seems to me to be the crucial part of Mike Smith’s post above:

    Armstrong’s article does mark a change; no longer is it blogs attacking the MSM, now its the MSM attacking the blogs.

    And it’s telling in Armstrong’s op ed piece that he doesn’t deal with the substance of Campbell and Edwards criticisms of the senior political journalists junket to the APEC meeting. In his op ed Armstrong points to the criticism he is responding to:

    Edwards’ and Campbell’s claim that there was precious little analysis of key Apec issues, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is simply not borne out.

    There were copious amounts written about the TPP beforehand, including a major feature in the Herald a few months ago.

    Everybody knew and said the TPP would not be a big deal as Barack Obama, the figure crucial to building political momentum to achieve a final deal, was absent.

    TPP is sure important within the wider context of Apec. But it was not a major feature of this year’s meeting.

    Or is it Campbell’s and Edwards’ agenda or strategy to make the media feel guilty about not writing more anti-TPP stories?

    This is just diversionary and an inadequate excuse for lack of in depth critique of political issues related to the APEC meeting. Armstrong knew in advance of his APEC trip, and should have done lots of background research to draw on in his reporting of the event.

    But a flick through Armstrong’s op eds while away for the APEC meeting, shows pretty superficial reporting, a lot of Key promos, and little critical analysis. He provides some local colour with descriptions of things like beaches, buildings and weather. He provides some potted background history and context (largely about Russia and Putin). But mostly he just seems to paraphrase Key’s press releases and speeches, with one or two selected quotes.

    In contrast, Campbell’s pieces are well researched, provide in depth critique, and aren’t focused on puff pieces for any one powerful politician.

    Armstrong’s latest pieces look like the death throes of a senior political journalist, as new more independent voices find their feet online.

  14. BernyD 15

    It’s strange no one has called JA on it, but he wants to charge for information he is meant to be reporting on ???

    Does anyone else see the death throws of a an incompitent idiot ???

    Or is he simply trying to score old fashioned browny points from his current bosses ???

  15. captain hook 16

    the recondite problem with the meedja in Noo zillun is that it has become completely infantilised.
    everywhere you look or heavens above read there is some geek talking about themselves and what they bought last week.
    Look at the ads for University Of Canterbury on the teevee at the moment.
    Unbelievably childish but this tendency represents everything that is small minded and feeble about the public discourse in noo zillun.

  16. ianmac 17

    “Bloggers Don’t let the Facts get in the Way.” is now the heading online Herald. Wonder why the bit about “parasites” was dropped?

    • BernyD 17.1

      I don’t read the Herald anymore, it was bad for my soul.
      TVNZ is on the “Wire”, so are many others.

  17. Tom 18

    Who is this mysterious ‘Gordan” ?

    Should it be the ‘Gordian’ knot ?

  18. Draco T Bastard 19

    Can’t say that I was paying much attention to this blog post. It has some mild interest about the verifiability of Wikipedia and then this paragraph jumped out at me:

    Third: people should perhaps start having a debate about the way authors are treated in “proper” sources. The New Yorker, the Guardian, ABC News and the Los Angeles Times – all respected bodies. And all, without being able and/or willing to do their own research, happily published or republished Roth’s assertions. We rely on these organisations for reporting what our politicians do, what our armed forces do, how entities with the power of life and death over humanity are accountable to the people. And they happily gulp down the glorified press releases of anyone who offers to let them touch his Pulitzer.

    And that brought me back to this thread and the assertion by JA that bloggers don’t check facts and yet the evidence is that it’s the MSM that doesn’t do the checking.

  19. xtasy 20

    Homely, homely, homely, my name is Dr Alzheimer, I visit thou and others now and then, may be persistent too, if you do NOT let me into thy “grey space”. I have been welcomed by “brother John” some time ago, he invited me into his abode upstairs, and I feel quite comfy there. It is “cheap” rent not even asked for, it is like a kind of “dwelling right”, really. Now we will sort all this out at some stage, but just leave us in peace, while we try doing so.

    Get your thrills maybe on youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMJbM8I7K0I

    Amnesia is excusable, thank you! Admittedly, it is a DISEASE!

    JB and JK

  20. Polish Pride 21

    Was sitting behind a Guy on the Train working for the Dom Post last week. He was having a conversation with the person next to him. He said its a dying industry and they know it.

    • BernyD 21.1

      Not dying, evolving rapidly, there’s no difference between Internet and TV / Radio / Print, it’s just another medium to disseminate information on.

      • fatty 21.1.1

        One key difference is that when we just had radio and print it was much more difficult for people outside of journalistic institutions to get their view across. We were told what to think and what to believe. The internet allows many more people to give their opinion, and their version of the news because it is far more interactive.
        I’ve read a number of your thoughts here BernyD, alongside many others, and it gives me a much more in depth analysis of news/politics. Journalists are losing power, that is a big difference with the internet and the rise of the blogs.
        Journalists like to talk about the lack of ethics on blogs as if journalists had ethics themselves. Its their last ditch effort to hold onto the power that is slipping through their hands.

    • blue leopard 21.2

      “He said its a dying industry and they know it”

      Which is interesting because I would be much more interested in buying newspapers if they

      ~Reported things correctly (Throughout my life I have had numerous examples where names, places and facts have been conveyed incorrectly when someone from my circles has had an article done on them)

      ~Could spell accurately

      ~Corrected grammatical errors including things like incomplete paragraphs and sentences that don’t make sense.

      ~Weren’t simply a mouthpiece for vacuous orthodoxy- would prefer insight and informed input on subjects were provided.

      The first 3 failures are unacceptable when each article has an editor checking them. A luxury that blogspots are unlikely to have.

      The letter and editorial pages are usually the only part of a paper that is bearable to read now.

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    8 hours ago
  • An abuse of the OIA
    In the wake of revelations that Prime Minister John Key had systematically and repeatedly bullied, sexually harassed and assaulted a cafe waitress, the New Zealand Herald published a piece exposing the victim. It seemed like retribution, and the involvement of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    8 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    frogblogBy Eugenie Sage
    9 hours ago
  • Calling Peak Car?
    There’s often a lot of discussion around the future of transport – particularly in cities. We’ve talked many times before about how transport trends are changing, how we’re seeing people drive less and catch PT more, how changing preferences amongst younger people in… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Australia’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on...
    The prohibition against torture is one of the cast-iron features of international law. You're not allowed to torture people, and you're not allowed to return or extradite people to a country where there are substantial grounds to believe they will… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    9 hours ago
  • Fiji: Removing the opposition
    Last year, Nauru's government abused its parliamentary majority to suspend the opposition from Parliament on a spurious privilege motion. Its a disease which is spreading: last night, Fiji's "democratic" regime did the same, suspending an opposition MP for making a… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    10 hours ago
  • Budget 2015: Don’t worry about the surplus, worry about this… Whiteboar...
    Bill’s budget put a bit of extra change in the pocket of poor families, but that came at the cost of the promised surplus. But should you be worried about it? With government debt still only at 25%… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Gareth Morgan
    10 hours ago
  • The productivity trap – heads they win, tails we lose
    The article below was written in 2006, so some of the stats are a bit dated.  However the fundamental argument remains.  For instance, NZ productivity growth continues to be poor and NZ capitalists remain behind most of the OECD in… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    10 hours ago
  • Attention leftie campaigners: Watch Lynton Crosby
    This is a video of Lynton Crosby, of Crosby/Textor fame and infamy, talking about how he approaches campaigns. It is well worth an hour of any serious campaigner's time - whether they're of the left or the right. I've… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    10 hours ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Out there in the world
    Friday Music posts here don't generally have much to do with my day job helping make a media TV show, but next week's Media Take is an exception. We're putting together a New Zealand music month-themed programme and one of the… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Government announces plan to grow Auckland housing bubble
    The key initiative in yesterday’s budget is a plan to grow Auckland’s housing bubble. Auckland’s housing bubble is projected to take over from dairy farming as the fastest-growing sector of the New Zealand economy. Consider a typical Mangere housewife. For… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    11 hours ago
  • Paul F Tompkins: The undisputed king of podcasts
    When Paul F Tompkins got into comedy in the mid 1980s, the formats with which he’s achieved most renown and popularity didn’t actually exist. “None of them did!” he yells, laughing, into the phone during an interview about stage… ...
    12 hours ago
  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
    12 hours ago
  • What next?
    It feels really, really surreal to nearly be done with my degree. And terrifying, mostly. Right now I have a single 2000 word essay remaining for Politics of Protest and then three exams mid-way through next month, and… that’s it.… ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    13 hours ago
  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    13 hours ago
  • April-15 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    15 hours ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    16 hours ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
    There’s a Herald summary here. I’ve been saying for a while that ‘neoliberalism’ – ie a belief in the efficacy of free markets, the distortionary evil of taxes and benefits and the minimalisation of the state – is dead. There… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    17 hours ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    24 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
    Speech – New Zealand Government I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at this International Conference on the Future of Asia.22 May 2015 Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific (speech delivered to 2015 Nikkei Forum, Tokyo,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: Media releases and tertiary education coverage
    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    1 day ago
  • Helping Our Heritage Come Alive – Mt Eden Rd
    This is an image from Mark Bishop. Here are the previous posts: Queen and Wellesley, Newton Rd, Kingsland These images were developed by merging together various historic black and white photographs (all from the “Sir George Grey Special Collection” –… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015 shows no plans for public sector wages
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says this budget does not address the wage rises needed across the public sector. ...
    1 day ago
  • Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
    I keep coming across this very naive form of chemophobic scare-mongering – the use of safety data sheets to frighten consumers about trace chemicals in their environment, food and drink. Here is an example anti-fluoridation propagandists continually use – safety data… ...
    1 day ago
  • World News Brief, Thursday May 21
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Mediaworks: The only horizon they see
    When it emerged last month that Campbell Live was facing the axe, I ventured that Mediaworks had become far more Julie Christie's company than it was John Campbell's. And I think that's the reality behind the news that Campbell Live… ...
    1 day ago
  • Andrew’s little Poem
    by Don Franks Twas the night before Budget When just for a change Andrew Little’s thought’s did more widely range Labour’s leader cast round in his mind for an angle On which a publicity moment might dangle Some little device… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • One good thing
    Today's budget is a dismal affair, as the government shuffles money around and announces new spending while conveniently forgetting to mention that its a sub-inflation rise and that health and education are going backwards - as they have every year… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Budget tougher for students – NZUSA and TEU media release
    Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU. Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Lala-land forecasts on housing investment
    Some of the forecasts in the Budget beggar belief, and when they almost inevitably turn out wrong they spell disaster for New Zealand families. Here’s the clearest example. In the last year, investment in residential property ballooned by 16%. In… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Cynical bribery on the horizon
    Bill English has said time and again that new spending initiatives of around $1 billion each year are the responsible thing to do, and are the new normal. And, in the next two years, he is as good as… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Share of the economy going to workers continues to fall
    The BEFU documents today have unwelcome news for workers. Over the next four years, the share of the economy that ends up in the hands of workers through their wages will fall by around 1.3%. That 1.3% of GDP,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Bill English’s Budget illustrates complexity in welfare system
    Budget 2015 has been touted as a package for the poor. And it certainly delivers them more money. However, it gives with one hand and takes away with the other, revealing the confusing and perverse nature of our welfare system.… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Pathetic half-measure on housing
    Yesterday, Paddy Gower thought he had a big scoop. He had leaked Budget docs alluding to a big government-lead house-building programme in Auckland. Today, the pathetic truth is revealed. The Budget puts only $52.2m – as a one off –… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Good idea on child poverty. Pity about the tinkering package.
    I can only speak personally, but I am genuinely pleased that the government is following through on its promise to focus on child poverty. New Zealand’s rates of child poverty are appalling, and anything that helps to bring them down… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Blah Budget: Why there won’t be a surplus next year, either.
    Having failed to reach surplus in this, his promised year, Bill English looks set to fail next year, too. Having been over-optimistic this year to the tune of almost $1.2b – comparing BEFU 2014 to BEFU 2015 - Treasury has… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago

  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    6 hours ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    6 hours ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    6 hours ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    6 hours ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    7 hours ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    7 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    9 hours ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    10 hours ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    12 hours ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    1 day ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    1 day ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    3 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    3 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    4 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    4 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    4 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    1 week ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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