Death knell for print media?

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, March 16th, 2009 - 13 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.

13 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.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Cancer
    Turn awayIf you could, get me a drinkOf water 'cause my lips are chapped and fadedCall my Aunt MarieHelp her gather all my thingsAnd bury me in all my favourite coloursMy sisters and my brothers, stillI will not kiss you'Cause the hardest part of this is leaving youI remember the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why we shouldn’t buy new planes for the PM
    Its not often that one has to agree with Judith Collins, but yes, it would indeed cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” (at least) to buy replacement aircraft to fly the Prime Minister on his overseas missions of diplomacy and trade. And yes, the public might well regard that spending ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    7 hours ago
  • The Stadium Debate – What About the Transport Options?
    A few weeks ago, Auckland Council took another step in the long-running stadium saga, narrowing its shortlist down to two options for which they will now seek feasibility studies. The recommendation to move forward with a feasibility study was carried twenty to one by the council’s Governing Body for the ...
    9 hours ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 20
    Social Development Minister Louise Upston has defended the Government’s decision to save money by dumping a programme which tops up the pay of disabled workers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: It has emerged the National-ACT-NZ First Government decided to cut wages for disabled workers from the minimum wage to $2 an hour ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    10 hours ago
  • Where the power really resides in Wellington
    The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the department’s role as the agency right at the centre of power in Wellington. Ben King, formerly a deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    12 hours ago
  • Climate Adam: Why we're still losing the fight against Methane
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Carbon dioxide is the main culprit behind climate change. But in second place is methane: a greenhouse gas stronger than CO2, ...
    23 hours ago
  • Climate Change: More ETS failure
    A few weeks ago, I blogged about the (then) upcoming ETS auction, raising the prospect of it failing, leaving the government with a messy budget hole. The auction was today, and indeed, it failed. In fact, it was such a failure that no-one even bothered to bid. Its easy to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • The Return of Jacinda.
    Oh, take me, take me, take meTo the dreamer's ballI'll be right on time and I'll dress so fineYou're gonna love me when you see meI won't have to worryTake me, take mePromise not to wake me'Til it's morningIt's all been trueEarly morning yesterday, well before dawn, doom-scrolling.Not intentionally, that’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 day ago
  • How good is the interim NW busway?
    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 day ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    2 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    2 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    3 days ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    3 days ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    4 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    4 days ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    5 days ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    6 days ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    6 days ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    7 days ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    1 week ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    1 week ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-06-20T05:25:05+00:00