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Bait and switch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

78 comments on “Bait and switch”

  1. higherstandard 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

  3. higherstandard 3

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

  4. But is that why you would vote National?

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

  6. erikter 6

    [lprent: banned remember]

  7. bill brown 7

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

    I would say:

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

  8. Monty 8

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

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

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

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

  9. RedLogix 9

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

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

  10. gobsmacked 10

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

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

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

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

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

  12. Lew 12

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

    Do we have a deal?

    L

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

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

  14. coge 14

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

  15. gobsmacked 15

    Ha ha ha … that’s brilliant!

    (You are a parody, I take it?)

  16. higherstandard 16

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

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

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

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

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

  18. RedLogix 18

    Coge,

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

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

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

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

  19. polaris 19

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

  20. coge 20

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

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

  21. KK 21

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

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

  22. coge 22

    RedLogix,

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

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

  23. lprent 23

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

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

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

  25. KK 25

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

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

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

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

  26. coge 26

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

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

    Cheers

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

  27. Billy 27

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

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

  28. Dean 28

    SP:

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

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

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

  29. Dean 29

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

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

  30. Lew 30

    He’s already done so several times.

    L

  31. coge 31

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

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

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

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

  32. RedLogix 32

    Coge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The term “Nanny State” is meaningless rhetoric.

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

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

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

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

  33. RedLogix 33

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

    So why are you here then?

    (This being the shorter and more efficient version.)

  34. Ari 34

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

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

  35. RedLogix 35

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

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

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

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

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

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

  36. Draco TB 36

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

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

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

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

    Where does the general public get information from?

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

  37. Bill 37

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  38. lprent 38

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

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

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

  39. coge 39

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

  40. Lew 40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    L

  41. RedLogix 41

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  42. lprent 42

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

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

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

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

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

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

    //—-

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

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

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

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

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

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

  43. Lew 43

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

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

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

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

    “Now I am a very ordinary citizen”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    L

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

  44. lprent 44

    Lew: I agree about what the msm will do.

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

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

  45. RedLogix 45

    Clarification:

    “Now I am a very ordinary citizen’

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

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

  46. Lew 46

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

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

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

    L

  47. Lew 47

    RL: I see what you mean, thanks.

    L

  48. RedLogix 48

    Lew,

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

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

  49. ak 49

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

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

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

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

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

  50. ak 50

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

  51. outofbed 51

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

    night

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

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

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

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

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

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

  53. RedLogix 53

    As suspected. The Persuaders have been at work:

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

  54. lprent 54

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

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

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

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

  55. lprent 55

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

  56. Lew 56

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    L

  57. Lew 57

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

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

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

    Interesting times.

    L

  58. IrishBill 58

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  60. Anthony 60

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

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

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

  61. Draco TB 61

    Lew:

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

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

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

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

    Capitalism = Ownership and Ownership = Control

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

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

  62. Lew 62

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

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

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

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

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

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

    L

  63. bill brown 63

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

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

  64. Lew 64

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

    L

  65. bill brown 65

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

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

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

  66. Lew 66

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

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

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

    L

  67. bill brown 67

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

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

  68. Lew 68

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

    L

  69. Draco TB 69

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

  70. Lew 70

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

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

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

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

    L

  71. Quoth the Raven 71

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

  72. Draco TB 72

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

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

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

  73. Draco TB 73

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

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

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

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

  74. Glenn 74

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

    2. National are really no different than Labour.

    Which is it, boys and girls?

  75. Lew 75

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

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

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

    L

  76. Lew 76

    Glenn: False dichotomies are easy.

    L

  77. RedLogix 77

    Glenn,

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

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

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

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

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    I’ve been listening to a wonderful podcast this morning which left me thinking. The podcast was a 30-min well-spent break, in the company of Daniel Midgley and Michael Gordin.  You might know Daniel Midgley from the Talk the Talk linguistics podcast. Michael Gordin is the author of “Scientific Babel”, which ...
    SciBlogsBy Andreea Calude
    3 days ago
  • Snakeflu?! An intriguing source suggested for new Chinese coronavirus
    The whole world is on edge over a coronavirus outbreak that started in early December in Wuhan City, China. The virus is thought to have first infected people working at a seafood and live animal market. So what could the original source have been? There’s no official word yet, but ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • Simon’s Philippine jaunt: #LittleBoysPlayingToughguys
    Not too far back, Simon Bridges the Leader of the Opposition and National Party, went on an excursion to China. This was arranged not by MFAT (NZ’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade), but by their MP Jian Yang – a man who also just happened to “forget to mention” ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    4 days ago
  • Will Turia ever forgive Labour?
    Dame Tariana Turia with former PM John KeyWhat is it about Tariana Turia’s grudge against the Labour Party? Not content with attacking the Government over Whānau Ora funding, which was increased by $80 million in 2019, she has now made it personal by saying that Jacinda Ardern is out of her ...
    4 days ago
  • What are the recent fluoride-IQ studies really saying about community water fluoridation?
    Scaremongering graphic currently being promoted by Declan Waugh who is well known for misrepresenting the fluoride science This graphic is typical of current anti-fluoride propaganda. It is scare-mongering, in that it is aimed at undermining community ...
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #3, 2020
    Biography of a policy metric Bård Lahn performs a sweeping literature review to present the history of our notion of a "global carbon budget" and how this number has come  to encapsulate a massive amount of scientific research into a useful, easily grasped tool in our policy skill set.  A ...
    4 days ago
  • Oxfam Report: Time to Care – Unpaid and underpaid care work and the global inequality crisis
    January 2020 Economic inequality is out of control. In 2019, the world’s billionaires, only 2,153 people, had more wealth than 4.6 billion people. This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    5 days ago
  • How to avoid being a cunt to hospo workers’
    Working hospo is hard mahi for many reasons, from long hours and gruelling high-volume weekends to customers who treat us as their servants. There are always lovely and polite customers who treat hospo workers with respect and kindness but, throughout my 15-years in the biz, I’ve collected a number of ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    5 days ago
  • 2019-nCoV (the new coronavirus): Should we be concerned, and will there be a vaccine?
    Probably yes to both but don’t panic yet. There is a plan. What is this virus? 2019 novel coronavirus, aka 2019-nCoV, belongs to a family of viruses called coronavirus. These are very common viruses that infect a wide range of animals including humans and can cause mild to severe disease, ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    5 days ago
  • The Chinese coronavirus outbreak: what are the options for vaccines and treatments?
    By now you’ve probably heard of the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan City, China. The number of cases is rising, up to about 300 with six deaths. Cases have been reported in several more Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in Japan, Thailand, and South Korea. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Educating New Zealand’s future workforce
    Judy Kavanagh Do you remember your first day at school? The education I received was for a very different world than the world of today. Along with huge social shifts there have been big changes in the New Zealand economy and the work people do. There are occupations unheard of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • A casual attitude towards transparency
    Back in December, when the government was introducing new secrecy legislation on an almost daily basis, I posted about the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Bill. The Bill establishes a new class of public entity, "special purpose vehicles", which collect and spend public money and enjoy statutory powers. Despite this, they ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Against a carbon bailout
    If we are to avoid making the planet uninhabitable, we need to cut carbon emisisons fast. Which basicly means putting the fossil fuel industry - coal, gas, and oil - out of business. But this means that the banks and other lenders who have bankrolled the industry's environmental destruction will ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Still a criminal industry
    More evidence that the fishing industry suffers from pervasive criminality, with Forest & Bird highlighting some odd numbers in the annual statistics:The Annual Review Report For Highly Migratory Species Fisheries 2018/19 (Pg 4, Table 4) showed only 4% of commercial long lining trips for tuna and swordfish reported non-fish bycatch ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Controversy? Or Manufactroversy?
    A few days ago, New Zealand’s Minister of Education announced the wider release of a resource on climate change, which was initially trialled at a Christchurch school during 2018. According to the Minister, children will learn about “the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    5 days ago
  • The emerging coronavirus outbreak in China
    By now you’ve probably heard of the new virus causing an outbreak of severe pneumonia in China. The question on most people’s minds is, how worried should we be, especially as hundreds of millions of people will soon be travelling across China and beyond to visit family for the Lunar ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • How did climate change get so controversial?
    An excerpt from the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, released Feb 25. Our human brain is poorly equipped to deal with a threat like climate change. Over millions of years, we’ve evolved to avoid life-threatening dangers like predators jumping out of bushes. We’ve survived by quickly detecting and avoiding immediate, short-term ...
    6 days ago
  • Farmers are ruining Canterbury’s rivers
    Its summer, so people naturally want to go for a swim. But in South Canterbury, you can't, because the rivers are full of toxic goo:As of Monday, the Waihi River at Wilson Street footbridge, Geraldine, the Waihao River at Bradshaws Bridge, and three spots on the Opihi River - at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Sack Shane Jones
    Late last year, NZ First was caught trying to enrich itself from public office, with a dodgy forestry company linked to a number of NZ First figures sticking its hand out repeatedly for government money. Regional Economic Development Minister shane Jones' "explanations" were patently unconvincing, and his recusal from deciding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • BIG idea physics
    This morning I’ve been having a quick look through some documentation from The Ministry of Education on proposed changes to NCEA Level 1 Science. For those not familiar with the NZ secondary education system, a typical student would complete NCEA level 1 at the end of year 11.  In this ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    6 days ago
  • Revolution in New Zealand? Not Even Close!
    No Fires Thanks, We're Kiwis: For the moment, in those close-to-home places where revolutions are born, there may be tetchiness and resentment, frustration and complaint, but nowhere is anybody uttering the cry that will bring a New Zealand revolution into being: “We have found the way to make tomorrow better ...
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #3
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... 'It's heart-wrenching': 80% of Blue Mountains and 50% of ...
    1 week ago
  • Britain exits the European Union and takes a sharp right turn
    by John Smith  Britain’s exit from the imperialist bloc known as the European Union (EU) is now irreversible. The crushing electoral defeat of the Labour Party has dismayed many workers and youth who had placed their hopes in Jeremy Corbyn, its left-wing leader. This article assesses these historic events, neither of which ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 12, 2020 through Sat, Jan 18, 2020 Editor's Pick The Past and the Future of the Earth’s Oldest Trees Bristlecone pines have survived various catastrophes over the millennia, and they ...
    1 week ago
  • How climate change influenced Australia’s unprecedented fires
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections, and has been adapted into a new myth rebuttal on climate-wildfire connections with the short URL sks.to/wildfires Australia’s frightening bushfires, which kicked off an early fire season in September 2019, have already had cataclysmic effects, and the continent is still just in the early ...
    1 week ago
  • Gender Identity Ideology – A Partial Bibliography of Online Coverage
    This great resource has been contributed to Redline by Janie Doebuck. Janie made some notes on the bibliography: 1) It is by no means exhaustive. There are tons more gender critical posts, essays, articles, podcasts, youtube videos, etc. online. 2) There are links in the bibliography that are behind paywalls. There ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • About those biased Oscar Nominations
    There’s been a lot written about the 2020 Oscar Nominations and their apparent lack of diversity. It’s true, there are in fact no women nominated for the Best Director and very few nominees of colour across the board. But is this a result of a biased process or a symptom ...
    1 week ago
  • How New Zealand media reports chronic pain
    Hemakumar Devan Around three million New Zealanders access news media (both paper and online) every week. Yes, you heard that right! So, the potential for news media to shape public health beliefs is common sense. As chronic pain affects one in five New Zealanders, we wanted to find out how ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Still Waiting For American Democracy.
    Unfinished Republic: Though the United States' crimes against democracy are legion, most Americans are blissfully unaware of them. The brutal realities of American life: the officially sanctioned violence; the refusal to hold racists accountable for their actions; the seemingly endless tragedy of African-American suffering; of which White America is the ...
    1 week ago
  • In Outrage Over Its Bunk Science, Goop Finds Fuel for Growth
    Michael Schulson For years, experts have said that Goop, the wellness and lifestyle brand founded by the actor and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow, markets pseudoscience and overblown cures. And for years, despite the criticism, Goop has just kept growing. Now the company, which was valued at $250 million in 2018, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Tobacco Excise Taxes and the Smokefree 2025 Goal: Some Ways Forward
    Janet Hoek, Richard Edwards, George Thomson, Andrew Waa, Nick Wilson Debate over tobacco tax increases has intensified as research indicates potentially conflicting policy directions. On the one hand, excise tax increases continue to stimulate quit attempts among smokers yet, on the other hand, they may lead to financial hardship for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #2, 2020
    Conflation and how to fix it VIa AMS,  Raul Lejano looks at what in a layperson's thinking would be called conflation— confusion and blending of entirely different topics— when people think about climate change. Ideology and the Narrative of Skepticism  (open access) starts with some arguably frightening false connections between the science and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Cranky Uncle’ smart phone game will show you how to disarm climate deniers
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bud Ward (Image: Courtesy of John Cook) When it comes to climate change, it seems every family has its own version of the proverbial Cranky Uncle. An uncle, cousin, grandparent, in-law, neighbor, whatever. Just think back to the recent holiday season’s large ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Science in the ’20s – part 1
      Outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. That’s a description of the lifestyle of women “flappers” in the 1920s. Could it apply to science (and scientists) in the 2020s? Actually, you could look back at the past decade and see those, or similar terms, used about some science and scientists. Sometimes ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Postscript: Citizenship Granted.
    I am pleased to say that I have been granted NZ citizenship. I need to do the ceremony for things to be official, but the application was a success. I now join my son as a dual NZ-US citizen. To be fair, very little will change other than the fact ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Music: Morales is coming
    It will be no secret to longtime readers that I, Russell Brown, love the disco.   So I'm pretty excited by the fact that one of the greats of the game is returning this summer – and also pleased to say I have tickets to give away.Legendary mixer and DJ ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The WHO Vaccine Safety Summit – from someone who was actually there
    The conspiracy I saw a new conspiracy theory flying around the other day. According to the conspiracy (that seems to originate from Del Bigtree), the World Health Organization have been ‘caught on camera’ questioning the safety of vaccines. Gosh this sounds as though someone was a mole at a ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • The timely death of the British Labour Party
    Below is an article submitted to Redline by Alec Abbott  At its inception, the British Labour Party was a vehicle for the propagation of racist and imperialist views within the working-class. Such views are still widespread in the party, as they are in Europe’s Social-Democratic parties, though, in the case of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Mystery China pneumonia outbreak likely caused by new human coronavirus
    Connor Bamford, Queen’s University Belfast Since December 2019, there has been a cluster of 59 cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, eastern China. The pneumonia is associated with a previously unidentified coronavirus related to the deadly SARS virus. Seven of those cases are thought to be serious, and one person – ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, koalas are cute – but should we bring them to NZ? Errm, no
    It’s been hard to miss the extreme fires raging across Australia and the tragic plight of the animals – human and otherwise – affected by the fires’ insatiable spread. I know I’ve been captivated and concerned by the tales of how Australia’s famous wildlife has been coping. Koalas approaching cyclists ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s negative campaigning
    Anybody who looked into the Dirty Politics saga knows all too well that honesty is often in short supply within the National Party. You would think that after the exposure the John Key government received over their untruthful attack politics, the National Party would learn from its "mistakes" and leave ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending the government’s charade over water
    For the past decade, the government has been responding to the obvious Treaty issues raised by water allocation with the mantra that "no-one owns water". But last year, the Waitangi Tribunal ruled that actually, Māori owned it, and that those rights had never been extinguished. They recommended that iwi bring ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Northern Ireland joins the civilised world
    Same-sex marriage has finally become legal in Northern Ireland. But not through any decision of the Northern Irish Executive or Assembly, which has only just reformed after a three year walkout by the DUP; instead, Westminster made that decision for them. I've talked before about the constitutional impropriety of this, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • I had an intense conversation at work today.
    Claire Cohen-Norris volunteers with Citizens Climate Lobby as a chapter founder and leader in rural New York. Her climate advocacy sprung from her drive to provide a secure, joyful and fulfilling life for her two wonderful children. It has become a life’s mission, shared with her like-minded husband and partner. Claire ...
    2 weeks ago
  • French transport workers take on Macron over pension reform
    by John Edmundson Starting on December 5th, 2019 workers in the Parisian rail network commenced an open-ended strike in opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed changes to their pension scheme. Rail workers in the Metro Underground have, for decades, had retirement conditions that compensate them for the low wages, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • What a difference the decimal point makes
    I’m back at work following a nearly three-week break over Christmas. We were fortunate to be offered a house to stay in for a week over Christmas, which enabled us to have a holiday in Dunedin and see the extended family reasonably cheaply. But the house came with a catch:  ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Who’s Going To Stop Him?
    Blank And Pitiless: Having ordered the assassination of the Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani, President Donald Trump promised to reduce the cultural monuments of Iran’s 3,000 year-old civilisation to rubble if a revenge attack was mounted. A breach of international law? Certainly. A war crime? Indisputably. Who’s going to stop him? Nobody.WHAT ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A worker’s story
    This interview is from Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) and is the first of an ongoing series of interviews they plan to do with workers from various sectors who are having their well being and livelihoods damaged. They begin with an educator in Southland. Due to the attitude and actions ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 5, 2020 through Sat, Jan 11, 2020 Editor's Pick Debunked Australian Bushfire Conspiracy Theories Were Pushed by Alex Jones, Murdoch Media   As unusually intense and widespread bushfires have ...
    2 weeks ago
  • J.K. Rowling, the Seattle Library, and the Issue That Must Not Be Named
    This article was submitted to Redline by Seattle-based activist Lucinda Stoan J.K. Rowling recognizes repression when she sees it.  That’s why the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books recently tweeted in defense of Maya Forstater. Forstater lost her job for stating that sex is real and immutable. A judge ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Rules of Empire: Laws simply do not apply and “National Security” excuses all else.
    Empires rise and fall, and the American Empire is absolutely no different. But while an Empire, in order to further the footprint, it seems to pay to do one primary thing above all else: project that everything – everything – is “simply for the good of the world” at large, ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Indian lessons for NZ workers – the January 8 general strike
                    by Phil Duncan On Wednesday (January 8) another massive general strike took place in India.  Some 250 million industrial workers, white-collar workers, agricultural labourers struck against the government’s economic policies and attacks on the Muslim population through new proposed citizenship rules. This ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The action that counts
    Over on Newsroom, Professor Jacqueline Beggs writes about the action she is taking on climate change. Its the usual list: reduce meat, don't fly, consume less. I'm doing some of this myself, and none of it hurts - but the way our economic system is constructed means the impact of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fossil fuel political giving outdistances renewables 13 to one
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk Corporations, special interest groups, and individuals inject billions of dollars into the American political system every year. Much of the financial support in politics is concealed from public view, as some rules – and loopholes – allow “dark money” and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Animal response to a bushfire is astounding. These are the tricks they use to survive
    Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity. Australia’s bushfire season is far from ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago
  • Should I ditch my fossil-fueled car?
    Yes. Reducing the number of cars in your household, or switching from petrol/diesel to electric, will dramatically reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. It’s one of the easiest and highest-impact climate steps you can take. New Zealand is being flooded with cars The New Zealand vehicle fleet is increasing rapidly. In ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Planet History: Taking Tea with Quentin
    This interview with Quentin Crisp is part of a series of articles republished from Planet, the independent magazine I edited in the early 90s from a base at 309 Karangahape Road, along with Grant Fell, Rachael Churchward, Fiona Rae, David Teehan, Mere Ngailevu and others.Inevitably, you forget things, and over ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #1, 2020
    Supply Side How are we doing with CO2 emissions? It's an important question, increasingly posed to a mixed bag of CO2 contributors who may or may not provide accurate reportage. Liu et al present a new, additional means of measurement based on satellite observations of nitrogen dioxide co-emitted from ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Donald Trump’s strategic gamble
    There’s a meme going around the Internet at the moment claiming that Donald Trump is a bit of an idiot. To outside eyes it does seem as though the President of the United States thumbs his nose at his own countries laws and administration far too often to be taken ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Is the prostitute the seller or the sold?
    Excerpts from Being and Being Bought, by Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Spinifex Press, 2013. Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book. This is the third part of a synopsis and brief commentary of the book by Daphna Whitmore. Part 1 was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 weeks ago
  • The climate crisis is also a biodiversity crisis
    Dr Andrea Byrom Like many of us, the summer break has seen me transfixed with horror at the scale and magnitude of the bushfire crisis in Australia. As an ecologist, I can’t help but be appalled at the loss of some of Australia’s most beautiful ecosystems and landscapes. And ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago
  • Apathy in the face of disaster
    Warning: This article contains topics that might trigger right wing snowflakes!Unless you’ve had your head buried in a billabong for the last four months you’d of heard about the Australian bush fires. The fires have been unprecedented, with approximately five million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land burned nationwide. More ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Jeremy Clarkson – God is an arsonist
    You've really got to wonder if Jeremy Clarkson is worshiping the right deity? I mean thinking that Australia is somehow deserving of the calamity that has befallen it in the form of unprecedented bush fires is one thing, but claiming God intentionally likes to cause people and animals immeasurable pain ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Week That Was: 2020
    We are back for 2020! From changes to Family Funded Care, to a record high number of Kiwis in construction in the trades - we're already back making progress on those long-term challenges. Read all about it and more ...
    3 days ago
  • Winston Peters: “Ihumātao deal still a long way off”
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told Mike Hosking that a settlement deal regarding Ihumātao in Auckland is still a long way off. The Maori King's flag was lowered at the site near Auckland Airport yesterday, sparking suggestions an announcement of a deal could be made by Waitangi Day. Pania Newton, ...
    4 days ago
  • Winston Peters accuses Gerry Brownlee of ‘politicising’ Holocaust memorial
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is accusing Gerry Brownlee of "politicising" a Holocaust memorial event after the National MP questioned the lack of Kiwi representation there. The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, Israel, is holding the World Holocaust Forum on January 23 to mark 75 years since ...
    4 days ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to help Waipukurau Pā sites attract thousands of tourists
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna - Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project is receiving $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. It is is expected to boost the town's employment and tourism, creating sixteen new jobs once completed and attract up to 15,000 visitors a year. Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development ...
    5 days ago
  • “Common sense will prevail, not extremism” Winston Peters backs Shane Jones’ pro-meat stance
    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing his MPs who have spoken out against a new climate change teaching resource that advises students to eat less meat to save the planet. The new teaching resource, announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, tells students ...
    6 days ago
  • Violent assault on paramedic highlights need for law change
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Justice Today’s horrific violent assault of an on-duty female paramedic which rendered her unconscious is truly unsettling. “Our thoughts are with the paramedic, her loved ones and the St John’s team at Warkworth Station,” says New Zealand First Justice Spokesperson Darroch Ball. “Harsher penalties for perpetrators ...
    1 week ago
  • Acting PM Winston Peters confirms NZDF troops in Iraq not hit by Iranian attacks
    Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters called for calm and diplomacy following Iranian missile strikes on bases housing United States troops in Iraq, but confirmed New Zealand's base in the country was not hit. The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) was earlier today investigating claims New Zealand's base in Iraq had ...
    1 week ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive ...
    1 week ago
  • Delivering a stable water supply to Wairarapa
    Hon. Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in Wairarapa The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $7.11 million to create a sustainable water supply for the Wairarapa. The PGF will provide a $7 million investment to Wairarapa Water Limited to progress the Wairarapa Water Storage Scheme towards procurement, consenting, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing consents hit highest level since 1974
    Housing consents have hit a 45-year high, as Statistics NZ data shows a total of 37,010 residential consents were issued in the year to November --- the first time they have breached the 37,000 mark since the mid-1970s. Statistics NZ said the trend had been rising since late 2011, when ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Darroch Ball MP: “Violence against first responders is a problem on the rise”
    New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball says that a paramedic being kicked unconscious last night in an attempted burglary in Warkworth, north of Auckland, is a symptom of a larger problem. "Incidents like this are becoming more and more frequent...and it’s getting worse," Mr Ball said. The MP is pushing for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Ron Mark asks NZDF to conduct fire risk assessment from defence point of view
    Defence Minister Ron Mark said there was nothing to prevent similar large-scale bushfires seen in Australia from also happening in New Zealand, and has asked the New Zealand Defence Force to conduct a nfire risk assessment from a defence point of view. The defence assessment would help prevent a disaster ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Defence Minister Mark expresses “absolute confidence” in NZDF forces stationed in Iraq
    While feeling worried about increased Middle East tensions, Defence Minister Ron Mark said he had "absolute confidence" in New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) leadership. His statements come as the fate of Kiwi troops stationed in Iraq comes under intense scrutiny. Forty-five Defence Force personnel were thought to be in the ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Minister pays tribute to journalist, author and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan
    The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, has paid tribute to well-known New Zealand author, journalist and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan, following Mr McLauchlan’s death today. “Gordon held a statesman-like place in New Zealand’s media, which was fittingly acknowledged in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, when he was ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Minister wishes best of luck to those heading back to school
    As Kiwi kids and teachers return to classrooms over the coming weeks, the families of around 428,000 students will feel a bit less of a financial pinch than in previous years, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The Government’s decision to increase funding for schools that don’t ask parents for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Health staff to meet flights from China as precautionary measure
    Public health staff will begin meeting flights from China from tomorrow, to actively look for signs of the novel coronavirus and provide advice, information and reassurance to passengers. Health Minister Dr David Clark says the additional measures are being taken following the arrival of the disease in Australia, via flights ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • National Yearling Sales 2020
    National Yearling Sales at Karaka   26 January 2020    [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here on opening day of the 2020 National Yearling Sales Series. Let us all acknowledge Sir Peter Vela and the Vela family for their outstanding contribution to the New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government and construction industry to build big, lift productivity with Transformation Plan
    Delivering the workforce and productivity gains required to build the houses, schools, roads, rail and hospitals New Zealand needs will become easier with the Government-industry Construction Sector Transformation Plan launched today, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. “The action plan launched today delivers on the Government’s Construction Sector ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Log trains to begin on Wairoa-Napier line
    Log trains are about to start running between Wairoa and Napier following Provincial Growth Fund investment to reopen the rail line, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The Government invested $6.2 million to reopen the mothballed rail line which was closed after significant storm damage in 2012. “With PGF ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister of Defence concludes successful visit with his US counterpart
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark met with United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper today. “This was an excellent opportunity to meet with one of our closest security partners,” Ron Mark said. “The main focus of the meeting was to discuss challenges that New Zealand and the United States share ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand acknowledges ICJ decision on Myanmar
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  • Major Events support for creative and cultural events
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