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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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    Families with multiple babies, and those born prematurely or with disabilities, are the winners from moves to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks but the Government must give all babies the same head start in life, Labour’s spokesperson for… ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk
    Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools have been left completely in the dark about the… ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools
    National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education… ...
    3 days ago
  • Takahe massacre supposed to get all New Zealanders involved in conservation
    The Minister’s claim that a  botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.  “An email from Minister Maggie… ...
    4 days ago
  • Serco circus rolls on with revelations of fight club practice
    Further revelations that a Serco prison guard was coaching inmates on fight club techniques confirms a fully independent inquiry needs to take place, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Minister’s statement today that a guard was coaching sparring techniques… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government targets put ahead of students’ education
    The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “A PPTA report released today says… ...
    4 days ago
  • ER patients in corridors as health cuts bite
    Patients are being forced to wait for hours on beds in corridors as cash strapped hospitals struggle to keep up with budget cuts, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “People coming to the emergency room and being forced to wait… ...
    4 days ago
  • Not too late to fix Health and Safety for New Zealand’s workers
    The Government and its minor party supporters are showing an arrogant disregard for workers’ lives by not agreeing to a cross-party solution to the botched Health and Safety bill, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday I wrote to the Prime… ...
    4 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Council of Infrastructure Development
    Tēnā Kotou Katoa. Thank you so much for having me along to speak today. Can I begin by acknowledging John Rae, the President, and Stephen Selwood, the chief executive of the Council for Infrastructure Development. ...
    5 days ago
  • Reserve Bank points finger at Govt inaction
    In scathing criticism of the Government’s inaction, the Reserve Bank says Auckland housing supply is growing nowhere near fast enough to make a dent the housing shortage, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer today… ...
    5 days ago
  • Chickens come home to roost on climate change
    The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “The release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts and Figures Report for 2014 on the ETS… ...
    5 days ago
  • Website adds to long list of big spends at MBIE
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s $560,000 outlay on its new website is further evidence of excessive spending by Steven Joyce on his pet project super ministry, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.  “Hot on the heels of… ...
    5 days ago
  • Brownlee warned over EQC repairs but ignored them
    Gerry Brownlee was warned that EQC’s underfloor repairs weren’t being done properly by industry experts, the cross party working group and in public but he arrogantly ignored them all, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.  “Today’s apology and commitment… ...
    5 days ago
  • Serco wants in on state house sell off
    The Government must keep scandal plagued outsourcing company Serco away from our state housing after their disastrous record running Mt Eden prison, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Today it has emerged that at the same time Serco was under… ...
    1 week ago
  • Come clean on Pasifika education centre
    Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga needs to come clean and tell the Pasifika communities if he’s working to save the Pasifika Education Centre or shut it down, Labour’s Pasifika spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.  “I’m gutted the Pasifika Education Centre funding… ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for NZTA to work on alternatives to flyover
    The High Court decision rejecting the New Zealand Transport Agency’s attempts to build the Basin Reserve flyover must now mean that NZTA finally works with the community on other options for transport solutions in Wellington, Grant Robertson and Annette King… ...
    1 week ago
  • Shiny new system leads to record truancy
    Record high truancy rates shows the Government’s much-vaunted new attendance system is an abysmal failure, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Data released today shows truancy rates have spiked more than 15 per cent in 2014 and are now at… ...
    1 week ago
  • Woodhouse wrong about quarries
      The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse was wrong yesterday when he said limestone quarries were covered by the farcical Health and Safety legislation, says Labour’s Associate Labour spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “He said he ‘understood’ limestone quarries… ...
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers money spent on culling one of our rarest birds
    It beggars belief that four endangered takahe were killed by incompetent cullers contracted to the Department of Conservation and the Minister must explain this wanton destruction, says Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It must not be forgotten that there are only… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing NZ must immediately move family
    Housing New Zealand must immediately move a Glen Innes family whose son contracted serious and potentially fatal health problems from the appalling condition of their state house, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Te Ao Marama Wensor and community workers… ...
    1 week ago
  • No understanding of the value of overseas investment
     The Government has now admitted it has absolutely no idea of the actual value of foreign investment in New Zealand, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It is crucial that the Government starts to understand just what this overseas… ...
    1 week ago
  • Another bridges bribe from Simon Bridges
    Simon Bridges is embroiled in another bridges-for-votes controversy after admitting funding for a replacement bridge in Queenstown is “very much about… the 2017 election”, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Transport Minister is today reported as telling Queenstown locals… ...
    1 week ago
  • Saudi tender process reeks of SkyCity approach
    The tender process for the $6m investment in a Saudi sheep farm reeks like the SkyCity convention centre deal and once again contravenes the government’s own procurement rules, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker. “The $6m contract… ...
    1 week ago
  • Maori Party should stand up for workers
    The Government’s proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill does not go far enough to protect those in specific industries with the highest rates of workplace deaths, says Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “We are told that Maori workers are more… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister must explain budget blowout
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must explain a budget blow out at Te Puni Kokiri, after the organisation spent more than 2.5 million dollars over their budget for contractors, says Labour’s Associate Māori Development spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “For the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Successful effort to raise the issue of GE trees in proposed standard
    Many thousands of people submitted on the proposed National Environmental Standard –  Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).  A vast majority of the public submissions were particularly focussed on the NES having included GE trees in its mandate. People want these provisions removed,… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Fair Share Friday – Thoughts and Reflections
    As part of our Fair Share  campaign, Green MPs have been doing a series of visits to community groups across the country to have conversations about inequality in New Zealand and what communities are experiencing on the ground. I visited… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Crucial Auditor General investigation welcomed
    The Auditor General’s decision to investigate the Saudi sheep scandal is important, necessary and welcome, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says. “The independent functions of the Auditor General are a cornerstone of the New Zealand system of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver sign-ups continue to fall
    New KiwiSaver sign-ups in July were 45 per cent below the monthly average, despite John Key saying axing the kickstart “will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver”, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Contact bows to pressure
    Contact Energy’s decision to cut its pre-pay rates to be in line with its customers who pay monthly is good news and the company deserves credit for responding so quickly, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer.  “Two months ago… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • I’m pushing for a ‘fair go’ for solar
    My Fair Go For Solar Bill was pulled from the Members’ Ballot last week and is set for a vote in Parliament. In this blog post I explain some of the background to the bill and how it aims to… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Key must explain why Health and Safety Bill pulled
    John Key must explain why his Government is delaying the Health and Safety Bill when Pike River families have travelled to Wellington specifically to register their opposition, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday afternoon John Key suggested the bill may… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Diving for sustainable scallops
    Last week, there were calls for scallop dredging to be banned in the Marlborough Sounds, following scientific report saying that 70% of the Sounds had been lost from dredging, trawling, and sedimentation from forestry. At the same time we see… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Backdown whiff in state house leasing option
    Bill English’s admission that the Government is looking at leasing large numbers of state houses to non-government providers has the whiff of a backdown, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This is an acknowledgement by Bill English that he has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis downgrade threatening banking sector
    The out of control Auckland housing market is now threatening the banking sector, with Standard and Poor’s downgrading the credit rating of our banks out of fear of the bubble bursting, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Today we have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good money after bad for failed experiment
    The National government are throwing good money after bad with their decision to pump even more funding into their failed charter school experiment, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There are already major problems with several of the first charter… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National borrows Labour’s idea on urban development
    Labour's Associate Environment spokesperson Phil Twyford says he welcomes the Government's adoption of Labour's policy for a National Policy Statement on urban development, and has called on the Government to take up Labour's offer to work together on these issues.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Toothless OIO never refused a single farmland sale
    The Overseas Investment Office has approved more than 290 consents from foreign investors to buy sensitive land in New Zealand, but has not turned down a single application says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash  “The Minister of Land information,… ...
    2 weeks ago

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