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Careful of them monsters, John

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, November 13th, 2008 - 75 comments
Categories: Media, national/act government - Tags:

It’s amazing to see how quickly John Key got over his fear of five-headed monsters once it came time to cobble together a government, and more amazing still how quickly the media chose to forgive and forget.

You’ll recall that just two weeks ago the media couldn’t get enough of John’s line that having a government composed of:

“all sorts of different parties” with “competing interests” would not be in the best interests of New Zealand during a period of “difficult economic times to manage”.

But, silly me, they bought that one when it was Helen Clark’s coalition options in question. Now that it’s John Key, it turns out what was irresponsible just two weeks ago was actually “smart” and “inclusive” all along.

They’re a funny bunch, our right-wing media.

75 comments on “Careful of them monsters, John”

  1. QoT 1

    And it has to be said, changing your mind isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you don’t get cookies for realising you were wrong in hindsight. I mean, the thought processes behind “this is a bad idea … oh wait, it didn’t all crash and burn like I thought … guess I was wrong” is just what the human brain should do. It doesn’t require Amazing Political Insight.

  2. Tane 2

    Yeah, or the old “we should have invaded Iraq… oh no actually we probably shouldn’t have, guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t it charge at the time… can you put me in charge now?”

  3. Monty 3

    There is a massive difference between the seven headed monster that Labour would have needed to pull together a marginal government – all pulling in different directions and the Government John Key could put together. For starters Act and National can form a majority government together. These two could skip together without missing a beat. – John Key – who is proving himself to be a very astute politician has decided to play the long game (a game Labour fear more than anything) and bring in Prissy Peter and the maori Party – and in doing so he will prove that National and Maori can work constructively together.

    Looks like Goff will only be a caretaker afterall.

    [Monty: That is simply a weak response. The right or the national party and act fit together ok. But not the centre. Why do you think that they’re hunting for a party, any damn party to the left. The remaining moderates in the national party have a strong aversion to the nutters in Act – just like the rest of the country.]

  4. Daveski 4

    I think you’re missing the point.

    The fear that Key played on was that in order to stitch a majority together, Labour looked like having to work with the Greens, NZF, and Maori. In particular, Key was playing on the fears about what the Greens would extract and, especially, the natural instability inherent in involving Winston.

    This is different from the situation we are now seeing unfold. Key already has what could be a stable government with Act. He has deliberately gone beyond this to anchor National as a broad based party and then a step further by endeavouring to include the Maori Party.

    The issue that Key was raising was the prospect of instability. The coalition that Key is putting together is trying to broaden the base and ensure a more inclusive government.

    Key has actually surprised me. I bet beyond the posts and comments here, there must be real confusion as to what has happened and the prospect that regardless of the economic trials and tribulations ahead, Labour could be looking at more than 3 years in opposition.

  5. disgusting bunch more like it.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    This is simply smart politics by Key, not the politics of desperation as it would have been if Labour had been trying to scrape together enough votes to govern.

    Key has a strategic mix now that should allow him to impliment most of his policies. The more right wing ones will gain the support of Act. The more left-wing ones will gain the support of the MP. Thus, he is unlikely to be held to ransom by either side, and should always have enough votes to get his way.

    In short, Key is in control, putting together this coalition to meet his own ends. OTOH, Labour would have had no choice in the matter, having to scramble together enough votes despite all the inherent drawbacks in the relationships.

  7. Scribe 7

    Well said, Daveski. It’s one thing to bring others into the tent, as Key has done. It’s another completely to grasp for anyone and everyone to cobble together a majority.

    They’re a funny bunch, our right-wing media.

    What a load of nonsense. Did you hear the media referring to Helen’s speak as “gracious”? Go back and watch it again. It was all about her, including her snide comment about how she hoped the right-wingers didn’t undo all her good work.

    The media in this country are left wingers, through and through.

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    It was all about her, including her snide comment about how she hoped the right-wingers didn’t undo all her good work.

    Bollocks. You’re projecting your view of the ‘one cautionary note’ over the whole speech.

    It’s one thing to bring others into the tent, as Key has done. It’s another completely to grasp for anyone and everyone to cobble together a majority.

    I bet beyond the posts and comments here, there must be real confusion as to what has happened…

    Sure, daveski and scribe, it’s all about bringing others into the tent for a big cozy snuggle. In case you don’t get it, it’s so that Key can play those sides off against each other; he can try for MP support when required, ACT at other times, all the while stroking his well-groomed lap-dog Peter.

    It’s possibly smarter than you guys give him credit for, all becuase you’re in such a rush to contradict the commenters here you’ve missed the point entirely! Inclusive my arse – it’s playing to the centre.

    I’ll wait to see what sort of concessions this requires – and whether ACT turns a blind eye while National works with the MP and vice versa. I suspect it’s something that’s good in theory, but in practice…we’ll see.

  9. Scribe 9


    “Cautionary note”. Please.

    Go watch it again. I watched it last night, after having let the dust settle from Saturday. I think Helen Clark has done some great things for New Zealand; her concession speech lacked class, IMHO. She’d seen McCain’s three days earlier as an example of how to do it.

    I’ll wait to see what sort of concessions this requires – and whether ACT turns a blind eye while National works with the MP and vice versa.

    Or maybe they’ll be allowed to criticise the Government on anything they like — oh, except their portfolio areas. What an absurd arrangement that was!!

    And isn’t it amazing how quickly Peter Dunne became a “lapdog”.

  10. Tigger 10

    Monty – Key is smart, but what he’s doing now is hardly rocket science. To call him astute for bringing some parties to the table is like calling him astute for breathing. How low are you setting the bar here?

    It’s early days folks – everyone is all smiles while they rush to put their hands on the baubles of office – the Maori Party and ACT must be overjoyed at the prospect of having power… And of course they will all behave. But once National have to swallow the ACT and Maori policies that come with their deals let’s see how well the Prime Tosser does.

  11. gobsmacked 11

    No, it certainly ain’t rocket science. If people broadly agree on direction (but differ on details), there is a good chance of stability. If they don’t, there is conflict.

    These heads do not agree, at all. The only way to believe in the monster is to ignore not just the policies but the very reason for the existence of the ACT Party and Maori Party.

    None of this will be apparent today or next week or before the summer holiday. It’s happy hour. Everybody (except blog addicts) is politicked-out, and will be happy to head to the beach for a while.

    But next year all the opposition will have to do is turn up to ask Questions in the House.

    “Does the Minister (or Prime Minister) stand by / have confidence in / support … his/her own party policy? If not, why not? Does (s)he stand by / have confidence in / support the [diametrically opposed] view of the other Minister?”

    Fish, barrel.

    Anyway, time for a break, see you all in 2009!

  12. Nothing funny about it. The NZ Herald is a disgrace on political matters.

    With a daily print monopoly in our largest city, you’d think they would show more restraint, but apparently not.

    One could then gather they deem themselves to not be accountable for what they do. That could prove to be a mistake in the long run. By their actions they are making an excellent case for kerbing media monopolies for the good of democracy overall.


    We do not have a free press where diversity of opinion is concerned. There is only one side being heard.

    With 55% of voters not supporting National we are left to wonder why almost 100% of our newspapers supported National. It isn’t that the values and views of the other 55% carry no weight.

    This pattern is repeated around the English-speaking world in places where media ownership concentration has reached extremes levels as they have here. One side is heard…and it’s almost always the conservative side.

    No accident this. It needs fixing. Democracy depends on it. We need real debate….not the phony, filtered sham we’re currently getting.

  13. Rocket Boy 13

    I like it, after a couple of years of supporting Labour’s policies while they were in government you have now moved full throttle into attacking the National government.

    You may have been disappointed at losing the election but I am sure you will have a hell of lot more fun taking the piss out of Key and his wobbly bunch of generals than you ever did propping up Helen and Co.

  14. jtuckey 14


    “We do not have a free press where diversity of opinion is concerned.”

    Ah nope – 7th equal in the world for freedom of the press according to reporters without borders


    ….we are left to wonder why almost 100% of our newspapers supported National”

    Ah nope, Labour led National 37% to 35% in media coverage devoted to parties, National received the most negative coverage at 43% of their total coverage, followed by Labour at 35%, John Key received 13% more negative coverage than positive, while Helen Clark had 1% more negative coverage than positive


  15. NX 15

    Tane is technically correct, but what he fails to take into account (conveniently) is National’s 45.5% of the party vote.

    So it’s not really a five headed monster, but rather a huge one-headed monster with a few pimples resembling the minor parties ;).

  16. “Ah nope, Labour led National 37% to 35% in media coverage devoted to parties, National received the most negative coverage at 43% of their total coverage, followed by Labour at 35%, John Key received 13% more negative coverage than positive, while Helen Clark had 1% more negative coverage than positive”

    In the last 6 weeks of the campaign.

    Someone should take the national press realse from a few weeks ago, and go to it with a red pen, swapping Labour for National and viceversa then go leave a bunch of copies up at the press gallery

  17. Scribe 17

    With 55% of voters not supporting National we are left to wonder why almost 100% of our newspapers supported National. It isn’t that the values and views of the other 55% carry no weight.

    Got anything resembling evidence for that? Feel free to read the information jtuckey presented before answering.

  18. Chris G 18

    Love daveski et al.

    “The issue that Key was raising was the prospect of instability. The coalition that Key is putting together is trying to broaden the base and ensure a more inclusive government.”

    Jeepers. If I’ve ever heard of worshipping idols/ repitition of crosby/textor spin, then you lot take the cake. But at least you give me my shits and giggles every day, and for that I thank you.

    The hypocrisy is quite clear: Key said labour working with lots of parties was a multi-headed monster to be feared. Now he is working with lots of parties that is a genuinely frightful monster. All quiet on the media front, suprise suprise.

  19. gingercrush 19

    Sorry but I can’t buy this media crap saying they’re all for national. National never stuffed up like Labour did numerous times in this electin.Also I didn’t see any complaining from 1999-2003 when the newspapers and television loved Helen Clark and she could do no wrong.

    Also have a look in America, you can’t tell me Obama isn’t mostly getting good press.

    The media goes where the momentum goes. If National stuffs up and Labour gets some momentum going, expect the media to start favouring them. Its just how things work.

  20. Daveski 20

    I don’t expect any balance here – it is unashamedly a partisan blog and if I don’t like it i can post office back to KB 🙂

    That doesn’t change the fact that Key has been criticised for a four headed monster when he criticized the five headed monster.

    The reality is that he could have settled for a two headed stable government. That would have been criticized here (rightfully) for being a right wing takeover.

    He’s now gone and brought UF into the fold and also attempted to reach out to the MP.

    Anyone with a sense of what’s right for NZ moving into dodgy times would have applauded the intent – allowing for things to go wrong in the future of course. Hell, he made it clear he would have even attempted to work with the Greens.

    All we are seeing her is rigid, standard lines from those bitter about losing the election. If it doesn’t suit the left, it’s anti-democratic – ban the press, change MMP.

    It’s going to be a long 6 or even 9 years in opposition

  21. Evidence-Based Practice 21

    Can I remind you all that key is a risk taking gambler and this is a very risky gamble.

  22. Daveski 22

    Chris G – stop giggling and read my comments to broaden your perspective.

    The issue with the 5 headed monster was instability and no one here has even attempted to dispute it.

    Key’s strategy is long term stability.

    My comments reflect my views. They relate to my perceptions. There’s more party lines been trotted out here than at New Year.

  23. Ianmac 23

    gingercrush: National did stuff up on numerous issues. But they items passed by with minimal reportage:
    Tranzrail shares, wrong dates on leaving Elders, Hobsonville pepperpotting, questions about trading unexplored, to name four.
    Williams? He said very little but the Herald mounted a major assault -Labour fault.
    Peters? Months of trashing him on allegations- unproven- Must be Clark’s fault.

    The proof will come at the first National Govt stuff up. How will MSM handle it?

  24. Chris G 24


    “That doesn’t change the fact that Key has been criticised for a four headed monster when he criticized the five headed monster”

    Are you honestly going to point out the difference of one head? Straw clutching alert. When did Key ever say the issue with it was instability, rather than just saying it was a monster?

    “All we are seeing her is rigid, standard lines from those bitter about losing the election”

    Honestly the amount of times you pricks have said that, can you drop that line? Its obvious no one wants to lose an election. Callin us bitter all the time fucks me off like theres no tomorrow. Wanna grow up and instead say something constructive rather than repeat C/T lines like

    “Reaching out”

    “Whats right for NZ in these dodgy times”

    Gimme a break, what a PR job that is.

  25. gingercrush 25

    Well tranzrail got reported numerous times here. Same with Elders. Sorry but you;re cherry picking. You want to believe the media are all in some weird conspiracy against Labour. But sorry that isn’t true. I recall 2000, 2001 and the election in 2002. They sure loved Labour then. I doubt anyone here would complain.

    Labour should have kept their mouths shut about the possibility of there being some H-Fee Scandal. But they didn’t and they paid for their mistakes. Dirty politics that was and it effectively stopped all momentum Labour possibly had. You can’t blame the media. The only ones there to blame is Clark and Williams.

  26. Tigger 26

    NX – the five-headed monster remark is via Key himself – leave aside percentages, Key was referring to any bringing together of diverse parties and painting it as inherently unstable – this was to scare people to vote for National. Key has done just what Labour has done – but now it’s a triumph of leadership…well, according to his supporters.

    Your percentage noting also misses the point that here the one-headed monster needs the pimple(s) to govern – effectively the dog needs the tail…

  27. Scribe 27

    Any accusation of media bias ought to include discussion of the week before the 2005 election.

    Think about two major stories that broke that week: The Exclusive Brethren and allegations of corruption around Taito Phillip Field. One was front-page news; the other was page 5 news. Remember which was which? And which one led to criminal charges?

  28. Ianmac 28

    gingercrush: I am sure that we are partisan about coverage. My mother in law would get very angry just at the sight of David Lange on TV before he had said a word. When my boys were young they used to cut out pictures of David Lange and post them to her. Wow! She purred at the sight later on, of Jim Bolger.
    Beauty is in the ear of the beholder and balance will never be agreed to. (Unless one wears only one earring!)

  29. Daveski 29

    Chris G – try playing the ball not the man. This ain’t KB and you can do more to attack my points of view without abuse. Your post consisted of a stream of challenges rather than any attempt to argue your position.

  30. Nick C 30

    Out of interest do you guys plan to do a post on Phil Goffs U-turn on the EFA? Or is it to emmbarasing given how much time you spend defending it?

  31. Matthew Pilott 31

    The issue with the 5 headed monster was instability and no one here has even attempted to dispute it.

    Daveski – Of course not. That being the point – National’s 5-headed monster isn’t inherently more stable than that which Labour would have formed.

    All we are seeing her is rigid, standard lines from those bitter about losing the election

    I notice you didn’t respond to my point. I don’t think there’s anything bitter about it all. Given you’re so quick to dispense advice to others on how they should comment, can I suggest you don’t make sweeping vacuous statements like this?

    As I said, instead of rushing to contradict what people are saying, think about the reality of the situation. What Key claimed was a scary prospect is now one he’s actively pursuing. Why? Becuase the centrist promises he’s made mean he won’t be able to work with ACT alone, but had already committed to doing so. It is nothing about ‘stability’ or ‘inclusion’ at all. He’s in just as much of a scramble for support as Labour would be.

    Or maybe they’ll be allowed to criticise the Government on anything they like — oh, except their portfolio areas. What an absurd arrangement that was!!

    Scribe – Why? And are you expecting something different now?

    Oh, and if you want to do speech comparisons with the US, you might want to step back and think about what my obvious rebuttal would be. Trust me, it ain’t gonna work in your favour.

  32. Nick – I don’t think it would be as embarrassing as not being able to spell “embarrassing”. I’m sure if you write your little post and send it to the standard they’ll put it up as a guest post as long as you get the spelling and grammar right…

    Oh and how’d neca go anyway? No… don’t tell me… I’m gonna guess you’re one of Key’s “one in five”…

  33. Scribe 33

    Callin us bitter all the time fucks me off like theres no tomorrow.

    Well, tomorrow is a loooooooooong way off for some of you. How does nine years sound?

  34. lprent 34

    For all of NX’s waffling about percentages further up (which is absolutely irrelevant),
    National doesn’t have an majority in the house. Which is what this coalition/agreement stuff is all about.

    In the event of parts of the agreements go belly up, or a partner starts asking for more than their weight is worth…. The main party has options about where to go to for votes.

    There is zero difference between Helen doing it and Key doing it. It is all for the same reason, wining votes in the house. The only real difference is that Key is doing it with training wheels (ie far more than required) because he knows his party is crap at playing with others and needs a gentle start. It also gives more options for National to position itself in the political spectrum by effectively castrating Act’s leverage (as I have previously pointed out, there is no way a centre party likes being dragged around by nutbars).

    So yeah, yet again it appears that John Key’s greatest talent appears to be flip-flopping like a fish out of water. But we know that already don’t we….

  35. Scribe 35


    Oh and how’d neca go anyway?

    I’ll assume you were being ironic there.

    captcha: early sympathize

  36. Daveski 36


    Point 1 – Stability – that was my main point but will happily agree it is semantics – politics is born out of semantics

    Point 2 – Agreed – hoist on my own petard to an extent. I don’t normally bite so “bitter” wasn’t my usual cautious choice of words. In terms of your argument, my view is that you can’t judge the success of the coalition until it has had a chance to work or not. Moreover, it is not a scramble for support (he doesn’t need the support) but an attempt to be broad based and outflank Labour.

    I suppose the reality is that this is a discussion we will be having a few months down the track – one way or the other.

  37. Tigger 37

    When you cut off a hydra’s head, two grew back in its place…

    I can so see this arrangement Key has created forming splits in both the Maori Party and National itself… The Maori Party will shard within the next two years…National MPs will defect right (to ACT) and left (to Labour).

  38. Evidence-Based Practice 38

    Remeber Alamein Kopu- an Alliance? MP who broke away from her party to prop up the last National Government up for a year or so with her single vote. Everyone has their price in politics.

  39. bill brown 39

    Kopu was Alliance

  40. Lew 40

    EBP: You mean the same Alamein Kopu who was an Alliance MP and quit the party to be an independent and prop up the government, who might-have-but-didn’t join NZF before the Great Split?

    What was your point again?


  41. Tigger 41

    I can guarantee there are a couple of Kopu-like personalities hiding in National and ACT…Auckland Central’s new MP Nikki Kaye looks like a dishrag in particular. I know several people she doorknocked who thought she was rather naive about the realities of politics. I saw her on TV next to Michelle Boag and I swear I could see Boag’s lips moving every time Kaye spoke…

  42. Billy 42

    Hey ‘sod,

    Instead of tormenting teenagers over their spelling, why don’t you go tend your once great (but now entirely neglected) blog?

  43. Carol 43

    The election media study is interesting. It is useful but such statistical content analysis has limitations, and it’s always important to look at the methodology. For instance we don’t know their criteria for positive and negative, and all positive & negative stories are weighted equally, whereas some stories can be way more negative than others.


    So far they have presented relatively raw data. There is no weighting according to significance of the story or issue, or for relative size of story or viewership. The number of stories included for the Herald was about double that for the Press and Dom Post combined, while the readership of the Herald is about 3 times more. It also tends to present very skewed headlines supporting National and/or knocking Labour, but when you get further down the article the facts are more balanced. Also they have more diverse views within the paper.

    This research looked at the front pages of the papers, plus election/political pages, and at the first 10 stories each night on TV One and TV3.

    I’ve always felt that the NZ Herald is the most right/National leaning news outlet in the country, and it has the biggest paper circulation. Ditto for TV One and the Herald also had about the same number of stories in the research as for TV One and 3 combined. But there are more stories included from TV3 than TV One, even though TV One has a much bigger viewership.

    It was my impression was that the media coverage was more balanced quantitatively than usual on TV during the election period.


    585,000 readership for the Herald, while

    Wellington’s Dominion Post fell 3.6 per cent to 94,598, the Press, Christchurch, was down 2.1 per cent to 87,221

    TVNZ’s flagship bulletin was watched by an average of 651,400 viewers (5+) each night in July 2008,

    From the Listener archive: Features

    From April 19-25 2008
    “Every night One News attracts 200,000 more viewers overall than TV3.”

    In the election coverage research the most covered issues were (in order)

    1) the economy
    2) coalition/MMP
    3) Polls / Public Opinion / Horserace
    4) The Campaign (nature)
    7) Law and Order
    8) Kiwisaver / Superannuation
    9) Immigration / Population
    10) Maori Issues

    So basically, I think the raw data published so far for this research, may have diluted the impact of the fact that the most viewed news outlets are the most right leaning. We need to see a comparision between each media outlet for the positive and negative stories, and have more info about the nature of the stories.

  44. Carol 44

    Whoops, that smiley was meant to be number 8
    on the list.

  45. Scribe 45


    585,000 readership for the Herald, while

    Wellington?s Dominion Post fell 3.6 per cent to 94,598, the Press, Christchurch, was down 2.1 per cent to 87,221

    The Dom Post and Press figures are circulation; the Herald’s is readership. (Herald circulation 187,000).

  46. Daveski 46

    Labour gets more coverage than National

    Labour gets more positive stories

    National gets more negative stories

    Posters here complain about the MSM being right wing and blaming the media for Labour’s loss.

    I don’t expect to see any more discussion on this tho.

  47. Carol 47

    OK, Scribe, thanks. This puts more balance in the number of paper stories covered, but still not balanced when the relative number of TV stories are factored into it.

    Daveski, research methodology should always be interrogated. Raw mubers can be misleading. Any media content analysis only tells a very limited story.

    Also Key got about double the coverage of Clark, and opinion polls, which favoured National got way more coverage than they warranted.

  48. Daveski 48


    Fair enough but the almost universal mantra here is that the media significantly favoured National yet the initial data challenges that belief to its core.

    it will be interesting to see what further analysis comes out of it but I can assure you on the other channel the belief is that the press is rabidly left wing 🙂

    The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

  49. gingercrush 49

    Yes lol I was about to comment on how in right blogs you see them saying the media is bias towards Labour.

    I always see it kinda like this. The side who has momentum typically gets better press. Thus when Labour was strong from 1999-2003 the media were very on side with them. Since then the pendulum has swung and its swinged towards National. Thus the media appears to favour them. But just as it once swung Labour eventually it’ll go back to Labour.

  50. Ianmac 50

    Carol: I noticed that headlines on the Herald (online) seemed to be very negative towards Labour.
    The text tended to reinforce the headline.
    Only at the end of the item would there be the positive aspect of the story.
    Sometimes the Headline had little to do with the substance.
    Therefore I was intrigued at how the methodology of the Survey separated the +- within each item.

  51. jtuckey 51


    “Also Key got about double the coverage of Clark”

    Yes that’s what the raw data suggests but let’s not forget that –

    “John Key received 13% more negative coverage than positive, while Helen Clark had 1% more negative coverage than positive”

    Perhaps this supports the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity ?

  52. Carol 52

    Daveski, I agree we need to see more of the analysis to really understand this research properly and the extent of biases either way.

    My view is that the most viewed media outlets (The NZ Herald & TV One), over time tend to have been more biased to the right in the last few years. However, they are not always biased left in all stories or by all journalists equally. I do think the Herald is the most blatantaly right leaning, and I think they have a lot of influence in Auckland. Also I think the TV news tried to be more balanced than usual during the elections.

    I think statistical content analysis of media is a pretty blunt instrument that can produce misleading results (I think this is true of content analysis of violence in the media, for instance). I think such analysis can’t deal well with ambivalent messages, or subtexts or dog-whistles that tap into prejudices, or the fact that some stories or topics have more impact than others.

    For instance, I notice that the 2nd – 5th most covered topics were to do with the campaign itself, rather than issues of policy. So, were the stories rated as negative for Key/National, ones in which the focus of the story was on how negative Labour was in their campaign? Which actually could just make Labour look very negative. Meanwhile some of the more positive things on Labour’s record are way down the list (Kiwisaver etc). Was this Labour or the media’s fault? So I would like to know more of the detail. But if nothing else it shows that the media did a poor job in relation to helping the voters to understand policy issues.

    And the polls got too much coverage – there is a danger they can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Could be. jtuckey.

    I’ve noticed that too, Ianmac. I wonder how the researcg rated such articles? Nedative for Labour? Or neutral.

  53. jtuckey 53

    “I think statistical content analysis of media is a pretty blunt instrument that can produce misleading results”

    Agreed but not nearly as blunt an instrument as personal opinions on blogs.

  54. Lew 54

    Ianmac, Carol: You’re absolutely right to rake methodology and content analysis practice over the coals. When the research is completed and released it’ll come with an explanation of the methodology and some details of how coding was conducted. However I’d be shocked if there was anything untoward about it. I’ve done this sort of research at university, and I do it for a living in my work, and when you’re going to publish your work in a peer-review system or before the eyes of a board of directors, you dot eyes and cross tees like crazy.

    Daveski: Yes, the common mantra on leftie sites is that the MSM favour the right, just as on rightie sites the mantra is that the MSM favour the left. I’ve long argued both are bollocks (if anything the ideological bias in the media is toward consumerism, because it drives advertising, which is the media revenue stream). These results don’t really provide any steer either way on the question of left/right bias – unless you want to beg the question that National are `the right’ and Labour are `the left’, which makes for a single fairly tenuous data-point. Assumptions and conclusions like that are problematised by matters like incumbency (wouldn’t the government normally get more press, and since ministerial pressecs issue authoritative releases on policy, wouldn’t it usually be more positive?); the parties’ media strategy (Key isn’t a polished public speaker but he insisted on dominating the cameras and microphones instead of allowing his better-spoken comrades to do so); etc. I can go into more detail if you’d like – but honestly, it’s better to wait until the thing’s released, in which (if they’re any good) the author and his researchers will themselves discuss all these factors.

    What the report does make clear is that there has been no bias in the media towards the National party and John Key (more specifically than `the right’), as most lefties suggest there has been. According to these results Key got a hard time from the media, and so did Rodney Hide. If anything this makes their election results all the more impressive.


  55. NX 55

    Tiger wrote:
    NX – the five-headed monster remark is via Key himself – leave aside percentages, Key was referring to any bringing together of diverse parties and painting it as inherently unstable – this was to scare people to vote for National. Key has done just what Labour has done – but now it’s a triumph of leadership well, according to his supporters.

    Your percentage noting also misses the point that here the one-headed monster needs the pimple(s) to govern – effectively the dog needs the tail

    I disagree. Listening to Key on 3 news* he said “….that will work going in one direction with a smaller group of parties, or do they potentially want a five headed monster”.

    Proportionality was always implied when he talked about the ‘five headed monster’. That is the length of the tail that wags the dog – if you get my drift.

    In National’s case the tail is one of those short stumpy ones you see on bulldogs.


  56. Lew 56

    Carol: I think statistical content analysis of media is a pretty blunt instrument that can produce misleading results (I think this is true of content analysis of violence in the media, for instance). I think such analysis can’t deal well with ambivalent messages, or subtexts or dog-whistles that tap into prejudices, or the fact that some stories or topics have more impact than others.

    You’re quite right, but this is a question of methodology. There are ways of bringing the nuance and level of detail which discourse analysis (for example) provides in alongside statistical, quantitative or qualitative content analysis. But it’s a hell of a lot of work, and it’s very, very hard to do in a methodologically sound fashion, and very few people do it. Good researchers, however will be quite explicit about what their research does and doesn’t, and can and cannot mean.


  57. Daveski 57

    That you Carol – that was both informative and interesting

  58. Lampie 58

    And the polls got too much coverage – there is a danger they can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I like that

  59. Carol.
    to what extent if any do you sense media played in a 59 percent turnout.? This would be for the campaigning period and prior up to let’s say 2 years..

  60. Carol 60

    Lew, I have a background in media research, and tend to favour a qualitative approach, though I think statistical analysis can be useful. I think we just have different perspectives on this, as occurs between different approaches to media analysis.( I have had one or two articles included in peer reviewed publications). And I think there’s a few media academics I know who would disagree with you on the lack of (left) bias in our mainstream media.

    I do think the consumerist approach pretty much amounts to a right wing slant, though that doesn’t necessarily match onto the Labour/National divide. Labour has taken on board quite a bit of (right wing) neoliberal & consumerist policies/philosophies – though it’s been hard not to over recent years.

    Some of the right wing bias I am aware of is as much in the way things are presented, and the more subtle meanings conveyed, which can be exposed through close analysis, and yes, discourse analysis. It’s also in the topics chosen and the things not said, the context etc. Statistical content analysis is not very good in examining such things.

    But, yes, I agree, when the research is published, I’m sure they will highlight more of the nuances and limitations. And I do think the choice of media outlets examined, and the lack of a strong equivalence, must skew the data.

  61. Carol 61

    Northpaw, it’s hard to say. But it is a possibility that the media did have an influence. I know at least one Uni academic in the media/politics field has said something along those lines. Because it is a possibility, I think they should be far more careful about how they use these polls – maybe follow some countries in not being allowed to release poll results in the week or so before elections.

    The MSM are largely irresponsible in the way they use such polls. They mainly use them to create a sense of an exclusive story. Over recent years they’ve inaccurately matched them onto a projection of parliamentary seats, with an FPP focus. Who knows how much this has influenced people’s views?

  62. Carol, thanks for that.

    You’ll also be aware of push-polling – (viz pushing a pov). To the extent that persistent and regular polling is conducted with – as was the case E08 – that pov could have gotten to be accepted as result = foregone conclusion. So why bother etc.. Push-polling, as used elsewhere and understood is partisan, Poll-push-polling (my wee suggestion) is something else.. not least of which would be the best intentions gone awry on democracy..

  63. Lew 63

    Carol: I have a background in media research, and tend to favour a qualitative approach

    Yes, I can tell you know what you’re talking about. I also favour qualitative research, the more qualitative the better – I prefer discourse analysis for this reason (though currently most of my time is spent doing content analysis).

    And I think there’s a few media academics I know who would disagree with you on the lack of (left) bias in our mainstream media.

    Yeah, I accept it isn’t an open-and-shut case. I have a few problems with the bald statement `the media are biased to the right’, though. I’m a political scientist working with the media as an expression of politics, and I find there’s a tendency among media academics without a background in politics to overstate or oversimplify ideological matters. As far as systemic ideological media bias goes, I’m certainly not arguing there’s none – just that bias typically takes the form of distortion rather than a distinct skew either way.

    I think there’s some merit to the argument that heavy focus on polls influenced the final election result, though – strong consisitent polling for one `side’ will tend to embolden that side and demoralise the other side. It’s about manipublating projected regret in voters.


  64. Daveski 64

    Toyota me … things can often get a bit trivial on a blog but this level of discussion to me is what makes blogs like this so valuable. My thanks for your contributions and insights.

  65. Carol 65

    Hmmm. Well, the media academics I know tend to go for a pretty nuanced approach, in which there is a consideration of the ambiguities in relation to any poltiical perspective – more focus on discourse and the finely tuned negotiations that go on, rather than rigidly following any ideological line – a lot influenced by postmodernism/poststructuralism, and a few from a sociological background.

    With respect to our MSM, I think the Herald in recent years tends to be blatantly pro-National, though it can present some leftish views in some articles – usually buried away from the main pages. TV One tends to lean more to the right, but it could be the result of a variety of interacting facors rather than a conscious position – stories available, pressure for ratings, individual reporters (Espiner leans more to the right than some of the other journos), and maybe just having absorbed some of the right wing philosophy that is inscribed into the aims of a commercialised TV channel

    eg It always irritates me that, come budget time, TV One promotes their item on it by asking “Will there be something in it for you?” Rather than a more leftish question, which would be “Is it fair to all sections of ociety? Or a simplified version of,”What affect will this have on the different sections of society?”

    I have been surprised by the conservatism of some political studies academisc I have come across

  66. Carol 66

    Oh – lost the edit function & that above posted itself before I had finished typing – apologies for the typos.

  67. Akldnut 67

    Daveski – I’m with you this has been totally absorbing and has opened my eyes a lot wider on MSM.

    Interestingly it mostly confirms my thoughts and suspicions about the MSM but really good to see it written down and elaborated so well.

    Many thanks to you all

  68. lprent 68

    Carol: The re-edit is ajax and sometimes a bit flaky. Especially on safari on macs for some reason. There is a new version ready for release I think, but I’ll check it out well before I put it up.

  69. Lew 69

    Carol: Yes, political science is much more conservative than that of media studies and most of the ~ologies. It’s not nearly as normative a discipline as it is descriptive, and it’s very much concerned with implementation.

    One of the major reasons the right (such as it is) takes such a dim view of the humanities and of academics in general is because they take for granted a lot of postmodernist, poststructuralist, Marxist/Gramscian, relativist, etc. theory and perceive it to be a sort of orthodoxy. I adhere to a lot of that theory, but I don’t believe it is an orthodoxy anywhere outside the academy. In the (and I hate this propaganda term) `real’ world, other theoretical bases – realism, nationalism, etc. hold much more sway, Much of the problem I find with media academics is that they tend to presume that orthodoxy and apply it in a normative sense to the media and political action – essentially they judge the world as it is against a yardstick of how they think it ought to be in light of a whole lot of somewhat alien theory. They say reality has a liberal bias – but I don’t think it’s quite as liberal as a lot of academics think.

    Lynn: Yeah, I’ve been hatin’ on this new ajax edit. Bring back the old one, I say!


    [lprent: I’m coming to think that I should just write my own (usual time pressures apply). Unfortunately the old one was having problems with newer browsers and didn’t work with the latest version of wordpress.]

  70. ak 70

    Carol: I think such analysis can’t deal well with ambivalent messages, or subtexts or dog-whistles that tap into prejudices, or the fact that some stories or topics have more impact than others.

    Too true Carol: nor deliberate omissions or under-reporting, nor the justification for reporting at all, nor timing of reports, nor placement or duration…nor….etc

    Lew: There are ways of bringing the nuance and level of detail……. But it’s a hell of a lot of work, and it’s very, very hard to do…

    Impossible I reckon Lew. Sorry, I know it’s your job an’ all (and I had high hopes that someone like yourself might be able to quantify it), but it’s a bit like trying to pre-judge or analyse the effectiveness of advertising: persuasion is an art form and the only real proof is in the pudding.

    One pudding we have is the high male/Auckland tory vote, and the stand-out ingredient is the “Lenin/Clark” Herald. Geographical coincidence?

    To quote my favourite fillum (The Castle), “it’s the vibe”. Death by a million “unbiased” repetitions of, e.g., “Her critics accuse her of…… nanny state-corrupt-Helengrad-anti-smacking-digging dirt-third-termitis-desperate-tied at the hip-social agenda-lightbulb banning-short showers……etc etc ad nauseam coupled with a studied nonchalance towards the greatest political flip-flop and blooper show in history.

    Unmeasurable? Sure. So is the assumption that those who hire the sole informants of our swing voters’ opinions vote tory. So’s love. But not pudding.

  71. Carol 71

    Lew, I am interested to read your perspective on media academics. I will keep it in mind in the future when I’m reading or listening to some of them. At this point I’m having difficulty in matching it with the media academics I know (either quite well or in passing), and who include some of the best in the field in NZ. They are quite diverse in their approaches and interests. I don’t see them as having that big a disconnect between their theoretical perspectives and the ‘real’ world, though there is a difference here between individuals. And those of us interested in audience/reception and media use studies do spend some time focusing on how diverse people use and discuss the media.

    Still it’s an interesting proposition/observation and I’ll keep it in mind for the future.

    Iprent – something strange seemed to happen when I wrote that problem post, that seemed to be more than just an edit problem. As I recall I hadn’t finished typing when I must have hit some key or the mouse by mistake & the comments posted (I may not have added anti-spam the code words(?)), with the last paragraph incomplete. As you can see it ends mid sentence, and didn’t include the last sentence or two that I wrote. I was using a PC and Firefox. There was an edit link visible, but no timer counting down, and clicking on the edit link produced an error message.

    ak, some good points. I too worry about the possible untoward influence of such dominant productions as the Herald. I think it would help if our main news outlets were less commercially oriented, raised the quality of their reporting, encouraged more diversity of perspectives in front page/headline stories, and encouraged more people to critically engage with the media. A big ask I know in our infotainment, consumerist environment. But IMO the problem is not so much that there is bias in the MSM, but that a large number of people consume the stories without being aware of and/or critical of the biases.

  72. Tigger 72

    Hehehehe. I see Key has met with union leaders about Kiwisaver and will try to consider their concerns. Better add another head to that hydra…and I wonder how ACT feel about that.

    I swear, Key is trying to be centrist but he had no idea how much blood is going to fly once all those heads start attacking one another. He has such a desire to please everyone – that sort of attitude is idealistic but will make for a huge mess once people’s expectations are shattered.

  73. Lew 73

    Carol: I suppose we probably know or have worked with some of the same people 🙂 Yes, it’s a complicated business and a complex and critical group of people, about whom I don’t intend to over-generalise. I certainly don’t mean to bag academia – I’m a part of it, in a way, and on the whole I don’t think the rest of the world listens to them enough – partly due to the ideological gap I talked about.

    AK: Well, it’s impossible by definition to nail down all the meaning in a cultural system, because meaning is a function of audience – different things mean different things to different people, if that’s a banal enough way to put it. I agree it’s the vibe – but I question the assumption that The Herald (to take your example) is creating that feeling or reflecting. It’s a feedback loop – you can’t assign all the agency to the media outlet and its Tory-voting primaries, which is what the `media has a right-wing bias’ argument does. A great deal of the media’s function is in agenda-setting – telling people what to think about, rather than explicitly what to think – but by the same token a media outlet generally needs to tell its audience what they want to hear in order to be successful. It’s a devilishly hard bit of business to tease out whether the media’s main role is in reinforcing peoples’ prejudices or in forming them in the first place, and I’m always deeply suspicious of people who claim to have done so (unless I can see their working).


  74. When you are right, you are right.

    Whilst I could nit-pick one or two points I won’t.

    Good call.

  75. Ok, I can’t help it.

    I have linked to this post on my blog but I have nit picked those points…

    Sometimes the Left are Right: The Right-Wing 5 Headed Monster

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    1 week ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    1 week ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    1 week ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    1 week ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016). The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    5 hours ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    6 hours ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    6 hours ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    1 day ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    5 days ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    6 days ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill passes first hurdle
    An independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is a step closer after it unanimously passed its first vote in Parliament today.  The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill lays the groundwork for establishing the Commission as a fully independent crown entity – delivering on a key recommendation of He Ara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 mins ago
  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
    We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to screen travellers for border and immigration risks off-shore before they travel to New Zealand. It was launched in August and became mandatory on 1 October 2019. More than 500,000 NZeTAs have been issued since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Plan of action to protect seabirds
    A proposed national plan of action to reduce the number of seabirds caught in fisheries is being circulated for public feedback. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage say New Zealand is a global centre of seabird diversity with about 145 species in our waters. It has more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • National interest test added to overseas investment rules
    The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. Associate Finance Minister David Parker said under current Overseas Investment Act rules, assets such as ports and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced further support as the Government of Samoa responds to a serious measles outbreak. “New Zealand will deploy a further 18 vaccination nurses, bringing the total to 30 working in Samoa over the next four weeks,” Mr Peters said. “A New Zealand Medical Assistance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says today’s release of sexual and reproductive health data reinforces the significance of the Government’s commitment to providing free or very low-cost contraception. The Ministry of Health today published statistics from the Ministry of Health’s 2014/15 Health Survey. “It is important people can make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ medical staff and measles vaccines going to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that at the request of the Samoan Government, New Zealand will be providing further support to Samoa as it faces a worsening measles outbreak. “In response to a request from the people of Samoa, New Zealand is providing 3000 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023
    “The new Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 moves us towards the inclusive and accessible New Zealand that this government has committed to,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  “The Action Plan was designed by disabled people, their family and supporters, the disability sector and government agencies. It will ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint Statement – Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting
    Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting 14 November 2019 Joint Statement 1. Defence Ministers Ron Mark and Dr Ng Eng Hen today conducted their third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore. 2. Building on the Enhanced Partnership signed between both countries in May this year, this annual meeting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Sexual Violence Legislation Bill has its first reading
    A Bill to improve the court system’s response to sexual violence has passed its first reading in Parliament today. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill will reduce the trauma sexual violence complainants experience in court, while maintaining defendants’ fundamental rights and making sure the trial process ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Streamlined business invoicing a step closer
    Streamlined payment practices are a step closer for Kiwi businesses with the formal launch of New Zealand’s e-Invoicing framework. Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the government has now established the structure to enable automated and direct data exchange between the accounting systems of buyers and sellers. “The move to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More frontline biosecurity officers protecting NZ
    Another 51 quarantine officers and four new biosecurity detector dog teams will help protect New Zealand from invasive pests and diseases this summer, says Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “The Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system and support our valuable primary sector “New Zealand’s flora, fauna ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ space economy worth $1.69 billion
    A new report has found New Zealand’s space sector contributed $1.69 billion to the economy in the last financial year and employs 12,000 people, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. The report by Deloitte was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and shows New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Chair for Royal Commission into Abuse
    Judge Coral Shaw has been appointed as the new Chair of the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. "Judge Shaw, who is currently one of the inquiry commissioners, is extremely well qualified for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better mental health facilities for Palmerston North
    The Government has confirmed its third major mental health facility upgrade since the Budget, this time at Palmerston North Hospital. The Prime Minister and Health Minister today visited MidCentral DHB to announce that $30 million has been allocated to upgrade its acute mental health facility. It follows earlier announcements in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bowel Screening hits halfway point
    The roll out of the National Bowel Screening Programme has reached the halfway mark, with 10 out of 20 District Health Boards now part of the programme. MidCentral DHB, which covers Palmerston North, Manawatu and surrounding districts, this week became the latest to DHB to offer free bowel screening to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More vaccines for meningococcal disease
    The Government welcomes PHARMAC’s decision to fund a vaccine to protect young people from meningococcal disease from 1 December this year. “Meningococcal disease is a serious threat which people at higher risk should be protected from,” says Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter. “The combined pharmaceutical budget was increased by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Fisheries innovation projects supported
    Groups involved with innovative fisheries research projects are encouraged to apply for government support in the latest funding round from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures programme. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the SFF Futures funding is designed to be flexible enough to support small or large projects across a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government fixes culturally arranged marriage visa issue
    The Government has fixed an issue affecting how Immigration New Zealand has processed visa applications for culturally arranged marriages, which will now see a consistent process applied which ensures people with legitimate arranged marriages can visit New Zealand while also preventing any rorting of the system. Earlier this year Immigration ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Extension for Royal Commission into Mosque attacks
    The Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques will report back on 30 April 2020 to give it more time to hear submissions and consider information, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Royal Commission was originally scheduled to report back to Government by 10 December 2019. “There has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Terrorism and Trade on agenda as Foreign Minister visits the United States
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington DC today to attend a ministerial meeting focused on defeating ISIS, and to continue pursuing New Zealand’s trade opportunities. Mr Peters will participate in a meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers from key countries contributing to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Hoiho get extra support alongside 168 community conservation groups backing nature
    The recently crowned Bird of the Year, the hoiho/yellow eyed penguin, is getting a much needed helping hand alongside more than 168 other community conservation projects announced Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage today. 168 community conservation projects throughout New Zealand are benefiting from $8 million in government grants, including $500,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New safety measures for modified pistols
    Controls on assault rifles and semi-automatic firearms are to be broadened to include some types of pistols, under changes to a bill currently making its way through Parliament. Police Minister Stuart Nash has tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to the Arms Legislation Bill, which is currently before a Select Committee ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit Singapore and Thailand
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark will travel to Singapore today to conduct a counterpart visit and to co-chair the third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting with his counterpart, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen. “Singapore is one of our most important defence partners in the region, and our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Future secured for Salisbury School
    Nelson’s Salisbury School is to be rebuilt, creating a modern and suitable learning environment for students at the residential special school, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The school for girls aged 8-15, in Richmond, was earmarked for closure by National until the process ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Resource management reform options released
    The panel undertaking a comprehensive review of the Resource Management Act has identified the main issues to be addressed and options for reform and is calling for feedback to inform its final report.  In July the Government announced the comprehensive review of the resource management system, including the RMA - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission established
    An important safety valve has been added to New Zealand’s criminal justice system with the third reading of the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill today. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) will investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “We’ve seen how our justice system can very occasionally get things spectacularly wrong, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Racing Industry destined to be on-track
    Racing Minister Winston Peters welcomes the tabling of the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) 2019 Annual Report in Parliament today. He says the 2019 Annual Report marks the point when New Zealand’s racing industry’s decline was arrested and a turnaround started. RITA’s 2019 Annual Report recorded an industry net profit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand firefighter support to Queensland
    The New Zealand Government is today sending 21 firefighters to help fight the ongoing catastrophic Australian bushfires. “The fires in Australia are in some of the toughest, most challenging conditions ever,” says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.  “As of yesterday morning, there were 100 active bushfire-related incidents across Queensland and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting all schools to succeed
      More frontline support for schools through a new education agency, as part of a redesigned Ministry of Education More support for principals and school boards including through a new centre of leadership and local leadership advisor roles New independent disputes panels for parents and students Management of school property ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago