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Death knell for print media?

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, March 16th, 2009 - 12 comments
Categories: articles, Media - Tags:

A conversation that seems to be occuring more and more frequently is asking what’s the future of our newspapers? It’s a global question and is examined in some depth in this interesting article from The American which says:

Speculation about the future of the newspaper or its equivalents should start with a review of the newspaper of the past. It was a brilliant blend of three things:

•Technological innovations—Cheap paper from wood pulp; the high speed rotary press that turned rolls of newsprint into 30,000 two-sided pages an hour; the linotype; a long-distance telecommunications system that was fast but too expensive for individuals to use.

•The nature of the newspaper itself—a cheap, portable, disposable, random access device that could serve as a platform for content of all kinds. Think of it as 19th-century broadband.

• The moat around content created partly by copyright law, but even more by the difficulty and cost of stealing it. No one could economically take and resell the product without a large-scale operation, which made any taker easily visible. Even after the invention of the copy machine it cost almost as much to copy a single article as to buy a whole paper. Copyright was important, but protection-via-technological impossibility was crucial.

If the question is whether newspapers can remake themselves into strong businesses adapted to the Internet Age, combining the past strengths of the news biz and their incredible brand recognition with the new power of the Internet, the answer is ‘maybe.’

These forces produced a business model of extraordinary power.

Fast forward ten years it will be interesting to see where our publication industry sits – and what role blogs and other online communications play. But what we must take care to protect is that staffing levels that allow the gathering and analysis of events, lest we all end up commenting on anecodotes alone.

Preparing the Obituary

By James V. DeLong Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Filed under: Culture, Public Square
Netizens and the news business are locked in a mutually destructive death spiral. Can anything arrest the decline?

In small-town Ohio in the early 1950s, the main link to the outside world was the Canton Repository newspaper. The radio had a role, as did the movies, and television was about to explode through the culture, but the newspaper had breadth and depth. It was the Repository that had the maps showing how the Marines fought out of the trap at Chongjin Reservoir, and it was the Repository that nurtured my unshakable view that an essential feature of a good newspaper is lots of comic strips.

The Repository was delivered daily in the late afternoon. Paperboys collected bundles of papers that were tossed off a truck at Sterling’s Drugstore downtown and showed an admirable skill at folding each into proper aerodynamic shape. Some rode special bikes, with a front wheel built small enough to accommodate a large basket which held the papers within easy reach to grab and throw. The boys also bore the collection risk—once a month they trudged their routes, punch cards in hand, ringing doorbells and recording the payments, or, since the town was poor, the excuses.

On Sundays, we added the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Pittsburgh was closer, but the lines of culture ran north and Pennsylvania was considered exotic. This was Indians and Browns territory, not Pirates and Steelers, and the papers were important parts of the identity.

The Repository still exists, circulation 66,812, and 86,357 on Sunday. GateHouse Media bought it in 2007 from the Copley Press, but Mr. Stock Market does not think much of GateHouse Media’s prospects, since the price of $20 per share in May 2007 has shrunk to 7 cents in March 2009, even worse than the 83 percent haircut taken by newspaper stocks generally in 2008. Mr. Market’s gloom seems warranted, since the company has $1.4 billion in debts and must include ‘intangible assets’ and ‘goodwill’ of over $1 billion to provide the balance on its balance sheet.

The state of newspapers as financial entities does not reflect their basic strengths as brands.

The Plain Dealer is the largest paper in Ohio and is part of Advance Publications, the empire of the Newhouse family that includes the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and a slew of business magazines. Its market penetration is impressive, as more than 75 percent of adults in the area read it on Sundays. Advance is privately owned, so its finances are unknown.

The immediate question is whether these institutions will survive into the next decade, or possibly even into next year. The answer is complicated. If phrased as: Will these and other newspapers continue to put content on newsprint and blanket their viewsheds? the answer is ‘no.’ Some will continue in their present form, but many are in a downward spiral. The New York Sun just folded, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is in bankruptcy, the McClatchy chain has $40 million in operating income per quarter and debt service of $34 million, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is about to shut down or go online-only. For the first nine months of 2008, the Washington Post newspaper business lost $178 million on $600 million of revenue; the company is bailed out by its educational subsidiary and cable television. The rot has spread to the magazine business, too; a dozen big ones had ad page decreases of 20 percent or more last year.

Some numbers are still rosy. Circulation may have peaked in 1984 at 63.3 million and declined since, to 54 million in 2007, but 20.4 million of that decline came from afternoon papers, slain by TV news. The morning papers increased their circulation from 35.7 million in 1984 to 44.5 million in 2007. Ad revenue, $23 billion in 1984, went to almost $50 billion 25 years later. Such improvement in market position was hardly a catastrophe for the survivors. Furthermore, the Newspaper Association of America will be happy to deluge you with numbers on readership, penetration, time spent, and other favorable aspects of the business. Indeed, despite the looming Internet, until 2005 ad revenue was expanding steadily, to a peak of $49.4 billion.

However, after the 2005 peak, ad revenues declined to $45.4 billion in 2007, followed by quarter-by-quarter falls of 12 percent to 20 percent during the catastrophes of 2008. Audience share is in a long-term decline. In 1992, 71 percent of survey respondents said they read a paper ‘regularly,’ but only 46 percent said so in 2008, and only 34 percent read a newspaper ‘yesterday’ (which is probably a better measure), and the decline is particularly large among young people. The newspapers’ share of total advertising also declined between 1984 and 2005, as the national market tripled while their revenues only doubled.

Most important, both the stock market and the internal industry observers are extremely gloomy. As noted, the former has given business not just a haircut but a shave as well, and there has been a recent boom in the number of woe-is-us articles that the Internet is killing the industry, including suggestions that the only solution is endowments or patronage.

The news biz has not really lost its readers; it just lost its ability to monetize them.

Even the Ozymandias of the business, the New York Times, is selling off valuable real estate assets to feed the hungry demands of its declining news business and recently accepted money from Mexican billionaire and crony capitalist Carlos Slim on distress-financing terms.

Clearly, the current business model is sick unto death.

But if the question is changed to whether newspapers can remake themselves into strong businesses adapted to the Internet Age, combining the past strengths of the news biz and their incredible brand recognition with the new power of the Internet, the answer is ‘maybe.’ It depends heavily on their shrewdness and on their ability to develop a new model for monetizing content and selling it to the society at large.

Peering through the murk of doomsaying, the state of newspapers as financial entities does not reflect their basic strengths as brands. Many besides GateHouse are in financial trouble because the assets on their balance sheets are heavily tilted toward the airy—’Goodwill,’ ‘Intangibles’—while the liabilities are hard debt and pension obligations. Gannett, the largest chain, had $9 billion in these two asset categories, as of September 2008, and $4.4 billion in harder assets, such as ‘Receivables,’ or ‘Plant.’ It also had long-term debt and other liabilities of $5.4 billion. As of January 2009, Gannett was considering a $5 billion dollar write-off.

If one examines the balance sheets with a thought to letting out the air, transmuting the debt to equity through the purge of bankruptcy, and reconstituting the newspapers as mixed print and Internet entities, a future looks possible.

Yet a third question is: If the newspapers do not survive, then what takes on the crucial social and economic roles they have performed over the past century and more? That is unknowable. Failing some inventive institutional spark, some vital functions might simply go unperformed. The Internet is creating a ‘tragedy of the commons’ situation for news, and no one ever claimed that all problems have solutions. Decay and decline are always options, and—unless some mechanism is found to let producers of information monetize their work—inevitabilities. Absent institutional invention, a government-funded news service seems not just possible but likely, possibly supplemented by privately funded organizations with varying axes to grind.

Is Past Prologue?

Speculation about the future of the newspaper or its equivalents should start with a review of the newspaper of the past. It was a brilliant blend of three things:

•Technological innovations—Cheap paper from wood pulp; the high speed rotary press that turned rolls of newsprint into 30,000 two-sided pages an hour; the linotype; a long-distance telecommunications system that was fast but too expensive for individuals to use.

•The nature of the newspaper itself—a cheap, portable, disposable, random access device that could serve as a platform for content of all kinds. Think of it as 19th-century broadband.

• The moat around content created partly by copyright law, but even more by the difficulty and cost of stealing it. No one could economically take and resell the product without a large-scale operation, which made any taker easily visible. Even after the invention of the copy machine it cost almost as much to copy a single article as to buy a whole paper. Copyright was important, but protection-via-technological impossibility was crucial.

If the question is whether newspapers can remake themselves into strong businesses adapted to the Internet Age, combining the past strengths of the news biz and their incredible brand recognition with the new power of the Internet, the answer is ‘maybe.’

These forces produced a business model of extraordinary power.

The high costs of printing and the need to maintain a distribution network capable of blanketing a metropolis in a few hours created a strong bias toward local monopoly or, at least oligopoly. The result was the bedrock of the newspaper business—huge power in a local market.

At the other end, the news gathering business, the papers could pool their resources to fund joint operations and share massive economies of scale. The Associated Press is dominant, a cooperative with 4,100 employees, owned by 1,500 daily newspapers. Each pays a fee, and also feeds local stories to the service. The AP also supplies 5,000 TV and radio outlets, and, more recently, the Internet, such as Google News, all of which pay for the service.

The efficiencies are amazing: In 2007, the AP had revenues of $710 million; apportion this out among 51 million newspaper subscribers and it comes to about $14 each. (That overstates it, because AP gets revenues from radio, TV, and the Internet, too.) Against this, each subscriber generated over $1,000 of revenue for the industry.

Each newspaper was thus placed neatly as a bottleneck between the worlds of news makers and news consumers, and became the center of a multi-sided market. It had a platform: the ability to deliver, every day, to hundreds of thousands of readers, as many sheets as it wished of content-carrying newsprint. The basic costs of the platform were largely fixed; the extra ink and paper required for a million copies are not that much greater than for 100,000, as compared with the long- and medium-term investment costs. Newsprint is only about 14 percent of the costs of a news operation.

Starting with this basic news product, the paper could then hire some reporters to do local coverage, perhaps set up some out-of-town bureaus, especially in state capitals and Washington, D.C., to get the local angle on events there, and add every possible feature that might pick up a marginal customerfeatures, comic strips, crosswords, whatever. Pack in enough variety and it is hard to find anyone who won’t find a quarter’s worth of value somewhere.

Then the paper could turn around and sell all those eyeballs to advertisers, and, because it was difficult for the advertisers to find an alternative channel to masses of consumers, these ads got good prices. Television was a threat, but it is a low information medium compared with newspapers, so display ads and classifieds became cash cows. This set up a happy upward spiral, too. Because advertising is itself valuable information, consumers would buy the paper to get the ads that the advertisers were buying to reach the consumers, and the more that each side signed on, the more valuable the service became to the other.

Furthermore, the newspaper protected the business models of its advertisers. A department store or a supermarket or an auto dealer needed to reach large numbers of people, and it could use the eclectic audience drawn in by the newspaper’s multiplicity of features. A niche competitor could not afford the price of a large ad because it was not trying to appeal to as many people.

As a final stroke of fortune, the advertising is not overly irritating. It is at the fringe of vision; look at it if it interests you or ignore it. The great weakness of advertising on audio or visual media is that it forces your attention and takes your time, so that a TV show, with a ratio of content to ads of about 2 to 1, becomes a frustration. As the publisher of Harper’s put it: ‘No offense to my fellow journalists, but newspapers and magazines are first and foremost effective catalogs, which some people like to read. If the headline or cover line grabs you, there’s a good chance you’ll start turning the pages and bump into the ads. Advertising on the Internet and TV (with Tivo, muting, and zapping), is simply too easy to dodge.’

The wedding of news and advertising is only the first level of sophistication. A newspaper is also an aggregator and filter of the news, assuring its readers that its staff has scanned the universe and selected for presentation what the readers need to know that day to be informed. For the hard core, this is an immensely valuable and time saving function. It also enables a newspaper to capture a good share of the budget of time that the reader is willing to allocate to news, akin to the way a good department store vacuums up its customers’ disposable income.

Newspapers also became the indispensable links between the newsmakers and the public. Anyone wanting attention had to go through the paper and its staff, a relationship that bred symbiosis and reinforced indispensability. The newspaper became the gatekeeper for commentary. No one not tapped by it could reach a significant audience. It became the certifier of experts, whose knowledge could be obtained for a pittance since they had no alternative way of reaching the public. They sold community, as the Repository provides for several counties in northeast Ohio, and as do hundreds of small town weeklies for their communities.

The Internet is creating a ‘tragedy of the commons’ situation for news, and no one ever claimed that all problems have solutions.

The result of these happy synergisms was a sturdy structure. In 2005 (the revenue peak), papers collected $44.7 billion for print advertising ($17.3 billion for classified, $22.2 billion for retail, $7.9 billion for national). Online ads produced $2 billion, and $11 billion was paid in by 54 million daily readers. About 75 percent of all circulation was via subscription.

Since then, it has been downhill. Although the model is powerful, it is also intricate and highly leveraged in that fixed costs are high and marginal costs of adding a subscriber or ad are low. As in any leveraged model, extra revenues go directly to the bottom line because the business can supply increases in demand without incurring significant cost increases. That is why newspapers had, for years, rates of return that were the envy of the business world. But levers go down as well as up, and declines in revenue also affect the bottom line quite directly.

At many papers, the inherent leverage of the business model was compounded by adoption of leveraged financial models, as news properties were loaded up with debt. Because debt service is sacred, decreases in revenues result not in a decrease in a variable called ‘profit’ but in an immediate need to cut costs, which means cutting the quality of the product.

The most immediate threat from the Internet is classified ads. Newspapers are not efficient media for classifieds if there is an Internet alternative. Classifieds are concentrated on the three big categories of autos (24.4 percent), employment (33 percent), and real estate (32.3 percent). These are all particularly vulnerable to the current slump, but they are also vulnerable to complete cannibalization by the Internet. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how this would not happen, because these listings attract people who are actively looking, not casual browsers flipping through a paper. So Craig’s List or other specialized websites will take over this area. The papers themselves are well positioned to run such sites, of course, but the threat of competition will keep the prices down.

Losing up to 30 percent of the revenues in a leveraged model is not good, but the real fear is that the rest of the advertisers will also leave, or at least demand substantial rate reductions to stay. National advertisers, in particular, are likely to see a portfolio of Internet ads as more effective than a collection of newspapers. In any event, the existence of alternatives is certain to put downward pressure on ad rates.

A second effect of the Internet is to deprive the newspapers of much of their market power at both ends of the news business. For the subscribers, they are no longer the only serious link to the outside. For the newsmakers, they are no longer the only link to the readers. Institutions of all kinds can set up websites and communicate directly with interested communities.

The role of gatekeeper and certifier of expertise has largely departed, and they have lost their position as the only game in town for those who want to be informed. Experts can reach out on their own. Slovenly reporting and bias are illuminated. Columnists are exposed to competition—as when the New York Times put its pundits behind a wall and found that no one missed them enough to pay to read them. A decade ago, the news junkie had the paper or nothing. Now, surf the net. The model of adding numerous specialized features to the platform no longer works because the reader who once bought the paper for its sports, or finance, or the crossword now has better Internet options, and probably for free.

The Cost of Openness

It is a tribute to the power of the brands, as well as to the high value of the content that the papers collected, that circulation has held up as well as it has. The papers have also been reasonably successful in transferring that brand power to the Internet. Their own websites are huge portals, attracting 100 million viewers a day.

The Internet community seems unaware of the extent of its own dependence on the newspapers for raw material; it acts as if the news is simply there, like the ocean, and damned if anyone is going to tell them ‘no fishing.’

Viewed logically, the papers should have been able to use their brands to achieve Internet dominance. In 2008, 40 percent of the respondents to a Pew survey cited the Internet as a ‘main source’ of national and international news versus 35 percent for newspapers and 70 percent for TV. For 18- to 29-year-olds, the numbers were 59 percent Internet, 28 percent newspapers, and 59 percent TV. The missing fact here is that ‘the news’ is pretty much all from the newspapers, either from their own websites, or via their subsidiary the AP. The news biz has not really lost its readers; it just lost its ability to monetize them.

As a thought experiment, imagine what would happen if content were effectively locked up, so it could not be freely disseminated over the Internet. One would expect that over time all newspapers would move to the Internet, with subscribers paying for access. Perhaps some printed copies would be produced for sale at train stations and downtown newsstands and for people who lack Internet access, though the latter are unlikely to be newspaper readers. The transition might be slow for a time, because there are generational lags, but eventually a tipping point would be reached.

Over not too long a time, specialization would arise, with a few papers turning into dominant national brands while the rest become local and provide local news, advertising, and community. Ad rates would fall because space would not be scarce and there would be the threat of competition, but every local newspaper would have a huge brand name and first mover advantage that would allow it to become the premier local ad site.

Other websites would exist, of course, including the blogosphere, which consists largely of riffs on the news. However, these sites would feed revenue to the news-gathering business by paying for access or clicking, so they would be added sources of revenue.

It would be a rich mix, and, with the existing newspapers’ market power broken at both ends, it would produce new entities to create new aggregation and filtering functions, and perhaps new news collection services, since innovators would be able to monetize their investments.

That is not how it went down, though. The Internet was wide open, and the newspapers had given little thought to their crown jewels, the intellectual property in the content that they sold to readers, gathering the readership numbers that the paper then sold to advertisers. The protection by technology was accepted as the natural order of the universe, and the papers did not understand the implications of the fact that their power rested not only on their ability to monetize their intellectual property, but on the inability of others to do so.

Indeed, as reliable liberals, most reporters and editors had a bias against property; they favored seizing any piece of real estate in sight if doing so could be justified in terms of ‘smart growth’ or ‘endangered species’ or ‘historic preservation.’ When Hurricane Napster hit the music industry in 1999, the news biz did not sympathize with the recording industry. The editorials were full of comments about ‘the need to adapt’ and ‘don’t protect broken business models.’ Even in 2008, when the AP became concerned about bloggers quoting its stories, it decided to issue ‘guidelines’ on how much it thinks is fair. It discounted the possibility of legal action with the comment: ‘We are not trying to sue bloggers . . . That would be the rough equivalent of suing grandma and the kids for stealing music.’

Newsies’ biases also inhibited them in another way. In defending themselves against any limitations on reporting, they embraced the view that information wants to be free and that checks on disseminating it are immoral. The question of what use of news product is ‘fair’ is complicated—legally, economically, practically, and morally—but the newsies undermine their own survival.

There has been a recent boom in the number of woe-is-us articles that the Internet is killing the industry, including suggestions that the only solution is endowments or patronage.

At the outset, some newspapers tried to preserve a subscription model, but none, outside of some specialized worlds, succeeded. Too many sites went the other way, and no general newspaper possessed the power to compete with the spate of free content, especially when everyone uses the same wire services, and the content had ceased to be compelling. Besides, the papers drank some leftover Kool-Aid from the dot.com boom and decided that the big thing was to collect market share of eyeballs on the Internet and figure out later how to monetize them.

The newspapers were also a bit slow off the mark, and a new class of intermediaries arose. Newspapers are aggregators and filters of news, but the road to Internet glory lay in being an aggregator and filter of newspapers and other news sources rather than of the news directly. For the info junkie, the first stop in the morning is no longer to check the Washington Post or Times’s view of what’s news; it is to read the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post, a Real Clear website, or the comments posted on a preferred blog.

Even if sites link back to the original story, the search engines will pick up the aggregators, which will cream off a substantial share of the eyeballs attracted by the headline, and Google will skim off a good bit of the revenue for providing the service of interfacing with advertisers. A small share of click revenue cannot replace subscribers and major ads as sources of serious funding of content. The cold arithmetic is that as of a couple of years ago, for the Washington Post, ‘advertisers paid about $573 million last year to reach readers of the company’s newspapers, predominantly the 673,900 daily and 937,700 Sunday subscribers to the Post. Advertisers paid only about $103 million to reach the eight million unique visitors to the Post’s websites each month.’

Nor could the Post, as secure a newspaper as exists, do without the aggregators, because an undefined ‘most’ of its website traffic comes in from other sites, not from its own home page.

Essentially, the news was turned into a commons, and everyone was invited to drop in a fishing line and hook some advertising dollars. The problem is not that an advertising model cannot support the production of news content: pre-Internet, the industry had revenues of $1000 per subscriber, 80 percent of it from advertising, and the Internet can provide a vastly improved product. The problem is that no mechanism exists to channel the ad dollars back into the news production enterprises. So, inevitably, more and more people will launch their boats onto the ocean of content, and rising resources will be devoted to competitive efforts to attach advertising to that $14 per subscriber worth of AP content.

However, the whole structure of Internet sites still relies on the newspaper industry, including the AP. Since the newspapers support the wire services, the more the content leaks out the more they are supporting their competitors’ free ride, and the more they enable the entry of still more competitors for the advertising dollars.

Information Wants to Be…

The newsies must have had a Come-To-Jesus session recently, or perhaps Come-To-Darwin, because suddenly the Internet is full of rumbling about the need to find a monetization model. The editor of the New York Times just ‘challenged the belief among some of the digerati that ‘information wants to be free,’ saying ‘a lot of people in the news business, myself included, don’t buy as a matter of theology that information ‘wants to be free.’ Really good information, often extracted from reluctant sources, truth-tested, organized, and explained—that stuff wants to be paid for.” The LA Times talked of the need for an antitrust exemption so newspapers can jointly agree to stop giving away the product, and several columnists have chimed in about the need for monetization.

So from here, things will fork. Either the news business succeeds in establishing a property rightsbased monetization model, based on subscribers or control of advertising or both, or it doesn’t. If it does, then the scenario described earlier will play out, with national outlets, local outlets, and specialized outlets. Innovative news collection services will arise to compete with AP, especially in specialized areas, and the creative side of the Schumpeterian balance will accompany the destruction of the old print model. We would probably get a paid Internet and a free Internet, with a great deal of interesting crossover and interaction.

If the newspaper business continues on its present path, then the structure goes into both individual and collective death spirals. Advertising and circulation declines will reinforce each other, and, crucially, papers will withdraw support for the AP and become exclusively local, where their control over a news collection apparatus will provide them with some market power. As is true of any cooperative enterprise, withdrawal of support by some will place more burden on those remaining, so the overall quality of news collection will decline, more papers will drop out, and so on.

It is a tribute to the power of the brands, as well as to the high value of the content that the papers collected, that circulation has held up as well as it has.

It is this possibility of individual and collective death spirals that is causing news people to think about property rights and monetization. On the other side, the Internet community seems unaware of the extent of its own dependence on the newspapers for raw material; it acts as if the news is simply there, like the ocean, and damned if anyone is going to tell them ‘no fishing.’

So the Netizens will fight the news industry on this right up to the point of mutual destruction, and then all bets are off because it is impossible to begin to imagine the shape of an Internet deprived of the material produced by the newspapers and wire services. At that point, the options change to government bailouts of the news business, or endowments for wire services, or beneficent foundations.

It is hard to hazard how this one will come out. News collection will not disappear, but given the odds against creating a property rights model in the current zeitgeist, it seems ominously likely that we are headed for a government-sponsored news service. Maybe we will like it. China is already expanding Xinhua to go worldwide, so we can call ours Xinhua East. It shouldn’t take more than a few days to clear any given story through the White House information czar.

James V. DeLong is vice president and senior analyst of the Convergence Law Institute, LLC, and special counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert, LLP.

Image by Darren Wamboldt/The Bergman Group.

12 comments on “Death knell for print media?”

  1. Lew 1

    In the words wrongly attributed to Mark Twain: greatly exaggerated.

    L

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Government supported news – there’s no problems with that just so long as it’s an independent body. We get the journalists we need with the resources they need to report the information we need to run our society. It’s only downside is that we don’t have a bunch of worthless capitalists profiting from our accessing of that information and I really don’t think most people will consider that a downside.

    Information isn’t free but it does need to be freely available.

  3. gingercrush 3

    A fascinating but long read. Thanks Dancer. Don’t really have much to say about it though. Many pressing issues but not enough answers. Though I certainly agree with his point, that without newspapers. Without the way we gather news currently. Its hard to see how blogs will function as they are currently without them.

  4. Tane 4

    Let them collapse. The sooner the oligarchs who control the print media go down, the better. The net will fill the gap, along with niche publications, and the state can fund independent journalism along the lines of the public broadcasting model.

  5. lprent 5

    I was initially annoyed with the length of this. But it was a fascinating read.

    Good article

  6. Ianmac 6

    And don’t forget the position of magazines like the Listener. We have read it for decades, but in the last 2-3 years it has turned into a populist frothy thing with a right wing bias. (Current Listener Editorial:” ..Cullen who spent $1 billion of taxpayers money in a failing railway company that….English says is worthless. Has Cullen sufficient entrepreneurial acumen to run a business.” Or chair a business?)
    Typical of the denigration over recent years. Subscription now cancelled.

    • BLiP 6.1

      Absolutely spot on with your comment in regard to “The Listener”.

      I actually have more respect for “Investigate” than I do for the “The Listener” – Wishart is an off-the-edge raving fundamental but he doesn’t hide it, he doesn’t pretend his ill considered, pre-Christian Old Testament, and biased diatribes are anything else, where as The Listener . . .

  7. Peter Wilson 7

    I’d like to offer a dissenting view from the common idea amongst bloggers that one day they will become the pre-dominant media. Two things – most people still obtain their news and knowledge from traditional media sources, especially for political news. Most of us here probably read The Standard for ideological reinforcement – to feel better when National launches another attack on something we hold dear. It’s about being reassured.

    The second thing is that the internet is hugely energy-intensive. Unless we re-engineer the internet (particularly the long distance links) to use *far* less energy, having it as an information medium won’t be sustainable. Newspapers have less embodied energy per page than say, this blog.

    My model of the future sees multiple competing and complementary newspapers, many of which are produced and printed locally.

    So, it may well be that bloggers just change their medium, and actually get their message out to a non-techie crowd 🙂

    I live in hope

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      I think you’ll find that a blog uses far less energy per read than a newspaper. I also suggest that you re-read the article – especially the bit where it hypothesizes why bloggers didn’t exist before the internet.

  8. Jum 8

    Peter Wilson

    I agree with the written word continuing to be important. There is a certain security of holding words in your own hands.

    BUT, living in a fundamentalist right electorate, the local complementary newspaper is biased and bad enough, especially when it comes to getting Labour Point of View into print, but the glossy free local magazine is a dangerous doozy. The Act writer pretending to be a one of you columnist but spreading the gospel of money is more important than people; the man of the people MP columnist who blames women for daring to want equality in the 50s/60s and the 2008 pre-election anonymous writers who blamed the ills of the world on Helen Clark – you don’t wanna live in my town.

    It’s nasty.

    The written word is only worth continuing if it encompasses all viewpoints, especially in narrow-minded authoritarian little towns like mine. We’ll probably get sherriffs next. I’d put nothing past this JKeyll gummint especially with Hydra in charge of local government.

    • lprent 9.1

      That was the point of the post. It was demonstrated doing a few keystrokes. We’re keenly aware of the issue, which is why we keep raising copyright issues.

      Normal usage is to link to other sites content, that is an even more interesting legal quagmire.

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    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    22 hours ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    22 hours ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    23 hours ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 day ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 day ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    1 day ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 days ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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. ...
    3 days 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 ...
    3 days 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 ...
    3 days 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
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • The freshwater mussel housing crisis: eviction by invasive weeds?
    Tom Moore Traditionally a food source and cutting tool, freshwater mussels/kākahi are now widely valued as water filters that help clean our waterbodies and maintain ecosystem health throughout Aotearoa. The improvement they provide in water quality can make it easier for other animals to live in streams and rivers, as ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Back it up Luxon: endorsing the destructive past is not actually the way forward
    And to think he gave all the potential goodwill away with that moronic, cult-like statement (repeated ad nauseam by many National hardliners) that Key is quite simply “the greatest PM we ever had”… Installation complete: this was nothing ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Good riddance
    National MP and former Conservation Minister Maggie Barry will not seek re-election next year. Good riddance. Because in case anyone has forgotten, barry is a bullying thug who terrorised both public servants and fellow MPs. She is one of the people who makes Parliament a toxic workplace, and our country ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: D-Day
    The Zero Carbon Bill is back in the House today for its second reading. While this isn't the final stage, its still effectively D-Day for the bill. Because today, at around 5pm, is when we're going to find out if it has a majority, whether National will support it or ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Winston is right
    Winston Peters is in court today, suing a bunch of former Minister and civil servants over their pre-election leak of his superannuation repayment. He's characterised the leak as malicious, and said that it is repugnant that his information was passed on to Ministers to use for political advantage. And he's ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Media impartiality
    Sky's economics editor, Ed Conway has posted a Twitter thread responding to a claim that - as far as I can see - Labour never made:
    Are NHS operation cancellations at an all-time high? That's the impression you might have been left with if you read this story from the ...
    1 week ago
  • Finish what’s on your plate
    Murray Cox Do I have to finish my favourite genome? That’s an often-asked question. Geneticists generally strive to produce high-quality genomes that sequence every last gene, making full use of the state-of-the-art technologies coming on stream. Sequencing DNA means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks – called ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Gainful Employment: A Cautionary Tale.
    Transformative Politics: The idea is to turn each recipient into an unwitting accomplice in their own transformation. From interested observer to hyped-up activist, sharing our messages promiscuously with ‘friends’. You’ll be part of an ever-expanding circulatory system, Jennifer, for the ideas that will win us the election.”JENNIFER SKITTERED her chair ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand should not fund bigotry
    Two years ago, the Cook Islands government announced that it was planning to join the civilised world and decriminalise consensual homosexual sex between men. Now, they've reversed their position, and decided to criminalise lesbians into the bargain:Two years ago, in a step welcomed by many people including the gay and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More tyranny in Australia
    The boycott is a fundamental tool of protest. By choosing who we buy from, we can send a message, and hopefully change corporate behaviour. Historically, boycotts have been effective, for example over apartheid in South Africa and Israel, in forcing divestment from Myanmar, and in ending bus segregation in the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Submission for rationality and science against the assaults of pre-modernism and post-modernism
    Jan Rivers spoke at the Abortion Legislation Select Committee in favour of the bill, but in opposition to calls from other submitters to exchange the word ‘woman’ for ‘person’ throughout the bill. Jan is a supporter of the feminist group Speak Up For Women and has recently written an excellent ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • My loyal readership of … Cam girls and Pornbots?
    I checked my traffic stats:I was intrigued by 'monica29' - who was this very dedicated individual?  I clicked on the link, to be greeted with ...Ho, hum.Spreadin' the word, spreadin' the word.  Doesn't matter who hears it, as long as it gets out there. ...
    1 week ago
  • Worth repeating forever
    There have been three polls since the election was announced, and I will shamelessly steal YouGov / UK Polling Report's Anthony Wells' summary of them:Survation – CON 34%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19%, BREX 12%, GRN 1% Ipsos MORI – CON 41%, LAB 24%, LDEM 20%, BREX 7%, GRN 3% YouGov ...
    1 week ago
  • Lutte Ouvriere on the explosion in Chile
    The following article is translated from Lutte Ouvrière, the weekly newspaper of the organisation usually known by the same name in France. When, for the second time this year, Chilean President Piñera announced an increase in the price of Metro tickets from 800 to 830 pesos, students in the high ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Wage theft – I’m fucking over it.
    Today, a worker contacted me asking if she could go to the police over her employer stealing thousands of dollars from her in unpaid wages. The employer also did not pay this worker’s taxes or student loan which amounts to tax fraud. As a workers rights activist, who founded the ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago
  • On The Rebound.
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered, They're Yours: Is there any person more vulnerable than a jilted lover on the rebound? Or, anything more certain than that the charmer, the predator, the glib spinner of lies and promises will seek such broken people out? Yes, of course, he will love every one of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rabbi urges congregation to vote against Corbyn
    Though Jonathan Romain is a fairly high profile Rabbi, writing in several papers and popping up on TV and the radio, this story doesn't seem to have made it to the Guardian yet, so I'll take the unusual step of linking the Stephen Pollard edited Jewish Chronicle:Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • My absurdly optimistic prediction
    There's an election afoot, and that is when noted opinion formers such as myself get to make wild fools of ourselves by pretending we have the faintest idea what will happen.So, here is my absurdly optimistic prediction:Labour - 285Conservative - 262SNP - 53Lib Dems - 20PC - 5Ireland - 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • October ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image Credit: Increase Social Media Traffic & Website Traffic I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A mountain of a challenge in banning glyphosate
    Belinda Cridge I was reading my son a story last night. A great tale of derring-do of five mountaineers scaling the Matterhorn for the first time. One in the party had tried six times previously and failed, this was the last attempt before winter closed another season. They tried a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • This government has a problem with secrecy
    As introduced, the Zero Carbon Bill included an expansive secrecy clause, which would have covered virtually all decisions by the Climate Change Commission over our most important policy area. The Ministry for the Environment admitted this was a mistake (or as they put it, an "oversight"), and the select committee ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A small New Zealand songbird that hides food for later use provides insights into cognitive evolutio...
    Rachael Shaw, Victoria University of Wellington When we think about animals storing food, the image that usually comes to mind is a squirrel busily hiding nuts for the winter. We don’t usually think of a small songbird taking down an enormous invertebrate, tearing it into pieces and hiding these titbits ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Referenda on Euthanasia – NZ First’s Victory – or a Major Miscalculation?
    . . NZ First’s success in putting the euthenasia bill to a public referenda may not be the victory they believe it to be. They may even have sounded the death-knell for a second Labour-NZ First-Green coalition. On 23 July this year, NZ First MP, Jenny Marcroft, submitted a Supplementary ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn the Mighty vs BoJo the Clown
    Interesting contrasting pictures in the Guardian:Corbyn gets the classic positive shot - low angle and a clear background, making him look authoritative (of course, being Corbyn, he doesn't do authoritative very well).Where as Johnson gets pictured with children at some sort of mad-hatters' tea party:Begging the question, who is the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Public health, externality, and vaccination
    Paternalism is contentious. Arguments for state action to protect us from ourselves are fraught. I come down pretty heavily on the anti-paternalism side of the argument, but I’ve heard respectable defences of paternalism. But policy around vaccination is hardly paternalistic. There’s a clear market failure that could be pointed to ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Happy Halloween
    Its Halloween, so its time for annual pumpkin trepanning and chocolate eating ritual. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Twenty thousand leagues under the sea
    I’ve been reading Jules Verne’s novel Twenty thousand leagues under the sea, considered as one of the very earliest science fiction stories. In brief, Monsieur Aronnax and a couple of sidekicks are taken prisoner by Captain Nemo and his mysterious crew and treated to an underwater voyage around the world ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Disclosing the risks
    The climate crisis is going to mean some pretty big changes in our country, both from its impacts and the policies required to address them. Most obviously, whole suburbs are going to be underwater by 2100, meaning people and businesses are going to have to relocate to higher ground. But ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • MPI fails again
    Yesterday a dairy company was fined $483,000 for repeatedly failing to report listeria in its facility. Its a serious fine for a serious crime: listeria is a serious disease, and they were effectively trying to kill people with it. But there's another story hidden in there, and its not a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks 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 ...
    3 hours 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 ...
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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 ...
    6 days 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 ...
    1 week 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! ...
    2 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.   ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Otago to lead digital creativity
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • M. Bovis eradication progress welcomed
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is pleased to have received the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report on the Coalition Government’s Mycoplasma bovis eradication efforts, which shows significant progress in the fight against the disease. New Zealand First Spokesperson for Primary Industries, Mark Patterson, says the report’s findings ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF boosts Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sector
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development Hon David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing to support economic growth opportunities for Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sectors, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Trade and Export Minister David Parker announced today. Almost $20 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Peters discusses Pacific challenges and denuclearisation in Seoul
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Minister Winston Peters and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, discussed in Seoul today opportunities to work more closely in the Pacific and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Mr Peters and Minister Kang confirmed New Zealand and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF supports high speed broadband for marae at Parihaka Pa
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development  Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development The three marae in the historic Parihaka Pa complex in Taranaki have been upgraded to high speed broadband with the support of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Connecting the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 launched
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence Minister of Defence Ron Mark will today launch the Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 Defence Assessment  during a speech at Te Papa.  The Assessment outlines how Defence will partner with our Pacific Island neighbours and invest in Pacific regional security architecture. The Plan aligns with the Coalition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF funding could transform Gisborne company into “beacon of employment” in two years
    A new Provincial Growth Fund investment could create about 80 new jobs in Gisborne over the next two years, turning a local small business into a “beacon of employment” in the process. Regional Economic Development Parliamentary Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau said the PGF’s Te Ara Mahi funding stream would provide $1.6m ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Two years of progress
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