Failure to front up

Written By: - Date published: 6:43 am, July 12th, 2008 - 68 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key, Media, spin - Tags:

When was the last time John Key did an in-depth interview?

Why would a potential Prime Minister be afraid to be exposed through a long interview?

What does he have to gain by keeping his public appearances brief and tightly controlled?

How can New Zealanders get past the mask and have a chance to properly assess the principles, beliefs, skills, and policies of a man who could be our next Prime Minister?

68 comments on “Failure to front up”

  1. Monty 1

    Get over your obsession – it is making you look like fools.

    [Tane: Monty, Key’s refusal to front for interviews has also been noted by several major media outlets, including Radio NZ. It’s a valid point of discussion. If you prefer personality cult to democratic scrutiny that’s fine, but don’t expect others to take you seriously.]

  2. Chlorpromazine 2

    OK guys you’ve convinced me. John Key is evil and I’m going to vote Labour.

  3. This is what David Rockefeller said in a speech at the Bilderberg/Trilateral meeting of 1991 in Baden Baden with Bill Clinton in attendance:

    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practised in past centuries.”


  4. Have you guys considered this – to be read in conjunction with your thread about Key not answering the Standard’s questions – why the heck would Key even bother giving space and credibility to a blog which is fixated on him (dangerously so IMHO), and which attacks him at every twist and turn? I mean heck, it’s not as if he’s likely to win you over eh?

  5. ghostwhowalks 5

    Interesting story the other day in NY Times about Fox news biteback on any journalist who writes anything questioning Foxs credibility or any of its presenters.

    “Like most working journalists, whenever I type seven letters — Fox News — a series of alarms begins to whoop in my head: Danger. Warning. Much mayhem ahead. ”

    Looks like its being replicated by Keys spin doctors who badger and discredit any journalist who has aything negative to say about the the Candy Floss man

  6. Anita 6

    Two mostly unrelated things

    1) I think you mean in-depth political interview, Key is very available for in-depth not political stuff. For example he went fishing with some guy from the Australian Women’s Weekly and they talked a lot 🙂

    2) I haven’t seen an in-depth political interview of Clark in a while either. Have I missed one? The post cabinet press conference provides a ritual forum for pushy questions, which Key doesn’t provide, but it’s also not the same as a serious political interview.

  7. ghostwhowalks

    Thanks for that link

  8. Didn’t she do something on the BBC recently?

  9. Robinsod said “Didn’t she do something on the BBC recently?”

    Did she? Seems like a strange way to reach the great unwashed in New Zealand. Maybe the UN rumours are true!!

  10. vto 10

    If it aint broke don’t fix it. Why on earth would he?

  11. sean 11

    The thing is, for a lot of people, Labour have blown it – all Key/National have to do is be the lesser of two evils and they’ll get the vote. Then you add in the die-hard righties votes’ and you get enough to beat Labour in the polls.

    Until the time comes where they absolutely need to start doing stuff, they can sit tight – Labour are doing their job for them, providing controversy after controversy.

  12. Chlorpromazine 12

    Speaking of fronting up, I expect Clark to sack her Foreign Minister now that his “Cash for Honours” rort has been exposed. Given the Standards rightful distaste for big money in politics, I expect John Key can expect a welcome break as The Standard moves on to Winston and Helen.

    [lprent: The Standard is a program running on a machine – the details are at the bottom of the each page.

    Humans wrote posts on the site. Different writers have different opinions – address it to a human.Otherwise I’ll treat you as a dumb program and act accordingly.]

  13. Doug 13

    What was “Winston’ NZ First Declaration to the Electrical Commission again? Nil.

  14. Tane 14

    Anita, to be fair I haven’t heard of Clark refusing to be interviewed on substantive policy issues in quite some time. For Key it’s becoming his MO.

  15. vto 15

    Look, the nats quite clearly don’t want to release their policy yet. I don’t see any problem with that. After all Clark wont tell us when the election is going to be ffs. And the reason is quite clearly political. Why dont you hassle her for that?

    Or is this yet another application of one standard for labour and another for the rest?

  16. gobsmacked 16

    This is not a complaint confined to Labour and partisan blogs. It is a matter of overwhelming public interest. Opposition to the current government is not a reason to be scared of asking questions of the next one.

    And it’s a widespread concern, e.g.

    “Some of the National Party’s likely post-election allies have accused it of refusing to engage in a proper policy debate.

    ACT Party leader Rodney Hide says people knew where former National leader Don Brash stood on issues but have no idea about current leader John Key.

    Mr Hide says National has a strategy of saying very little and offering no real alternative to the Labour-led Government.”

    (Radio NZ)

  17. Lew 17

    GS: Rodney, on Back Benches this Wednesday just gone, complained quite vocally at the lack of National policy. He refused to accept Sandra Goudie’s waffle, and demanded to know what National’s law and order policy was – and she obliged by listing a bunch of things.

    Another case of a back-bencher revealing policy information on the hoof, or a case of National clarifying policy they’ve already released? I don’t know well enough to say, but their continued silence is clearly getting a bit tiresome for their would-be coalition partner as well.


  18. Anita 18


    That sounds about right, I would’ve been surprised if Clark was refusing interviews at the moment. I’m guessing that as Labour’s policy is (at least mostly) out in the open, the media is not trying to corner her into admitting a policy position.

    I think that all means that the media being frustrated by Key avoiding interviews is actually a symptom of them being frustrated by National not releasing policy.

    Although it also might be that the media are pretty sure that if they got a real interview with Key they could get him off script, and that would be News. They don’t have a history of achieving that with Clark, so it can’t seem as good a prospect.

  19. Oliver 19

    This blog of your is becomming very weak with its pig-headed determination to go after Key and be damned with everything else. I’m sure that if a cat farts in Turkey you’ll have us blaming it on National in general and Key in particular.

  20. dave 20

    What Oliver said. Pig headed. oink oink. Bad tactic. Not working.At all. Will always come back for a laugh, though.

  21. Ari 21

    Pointing out that Key has not made his case to the public in detail, like, ever, is very different from “going after” him in areas where he doesn’t deserve any criticsm.

    It’s the difference between asking a student why they’re not doing any work and demanding a student answer every esoteric question you can come up with on a given topic.

  22. vto 22

    So why does Clark not tell us when the election will be?

  23. Well, Clark speaks to the media for about 50 minutes each Monday and she recently did an hour iterview with BBC, here.

    I don’t hear journos complaining that Clark refuses interviews or even to answer questions.

  24. “If it aint broke don’t fix it. Why on earth would he?”

    don’t look at from his point of view as a man who wants to get elected and nothing else. Look at it from your point of view as a participant in a democracy who has a right to be informed about people who want to be your prime minister.

  25. Blar 25

    When was the last time Clark fronted for an interview on MoonTV’s Late Night Big Breakfast with Lee, Matai and John? Key made at least three appearances to face the tough questions, Clark just couldn’t handle it.

  26. sean 26

    Steve, the only reason you want policy details and interviews is to give you something to attack. I can guarantee, no matter what policy National announces it will be cynically ripped to shreds here. Labour want it released so they can run their discrediting campaigns such as “how many doctors and school teachers will have to be fired to pay for this policy?” or so they can steal any good ones pre-election.

    Apart from wanting to rip them to bits, what other reasons is there for National to release policy when they are so far ahead in the polls?

  27. vto 27

    SP said “don’t look at from his point of view as a man who wants to get elected and nothing else. Look at it from your point of view as a participant in a democracy who has a right to be informed about people who want to be your prime minister.”

    Fair point Mr Pierson. From my own perspective then, I really am not worried. Key is playing the politics game by not releasing policy until closer to the election and so too is Clark playing the politics game by not releasing the election date until closer to the election. They play games. I don’t care. Hence the nature of my posts.

    What I would care about is if the nats actually had no policy at all. But thats just silly and it will come out some time. I will worry about it then. Meantime its all bullshit and pantyhose.

  28. Anita 28


    As I think I said, the post cabinet press conference is not the same as an in depth interview. It is, however, a lot more than we’re getting from Key. 🙂

    I do wonder, however, why we aren’t seeing in depth interviews of Clark in NZ. Why is the media not asking? Why, so close to an election, doesn’t the media want real leader interviews?

  29. Draco TB 29

    Apart from wanting to rip them to bits, what other reasons is there for National to release policy when they are so far ahead in the polls?

    So the voters can make an informed decision. The most important part of democracy.

    Captcha: serenade consumer – we should be afraid, very afraid

  30. Anita 30

    Apart from wanting to rip them to bits, what other reasons is there for National to release policy when they are so far ahead in the polls?

    I would like to think that National is proud of their policies, are totally sure they are the way the truth and the light, and know that they will make our lives better in many ways.

    Shouldn’t they want to shout it from the rooftops?

  31. The idea that a party should be afraid of revealing its policies is laughable.

    If you’re policies are so bad that you think reveaing them wil cost you votes, you have to question whether you’re in the right game.

    And that’s why National won’t talk to media, won’t reveal policies, they don’t want the public to be informed, they want to be elected by voters who don’t know what National will do but feel (as they have heard hundreds of times in the media) ‘it’s time for a change’.
    It’s anti-democratic to avoid the medi and hide your policies. simpe as that.

  32. Because as long as National is polling 25% ahead of Labour he doesn’t have to.

  33. Anita 33


    He might not have to, but shouldn’t he want to?

  34. Couldn’t put it better, Anita.

  35. vto 35

    Clark takes the cake for playing the politics policy game at the last election for making up a taxpayer-paid student loan policy at the last minute.

    That is the sort of shit that should be harassed out of parliament. Oh, wait a minute it is.. (well soon anyway).

  36. gomango 36

    errm – i’m kind of new to the blog world but it is fascinating to note that today there are two really large issues out there in the NZ political world:

    1. The OIA documents being released by Craig Foss showing that Cunliffe has been handed a hospital pass with HBDB and that somebody King, Hodgson, Cunliffe or all three have been very economical with thetruth, and

    2. Winston looks to have have been caught out in a very very big porky, and this issue is way bigger than just the apparent porky, as it looks as though there a crime may havebeen committed with respect to NZ firsts electroal finance returns.

    And yet there is no discussion on this blog about either issue, just yet another faux outrage about John Key not fronting up, not releasing policy. Well hello, an election date has to be set at least six weeks out. In this period I am sure you will see more head to head debates, more policy releases, more discussion than any of us can bear. And if either (any) party doesn’t frontup with policy or talking heads they will get hammered on poll day. We are in the phony war now, but that will end and Key will be punished by voters if in the real election period he is not prepared to front.

    This continuing whining about “wheres the policy”, “why doesn’t he show up” is just boring, its been done to death and all you get are the same old comments from the same old posters. You’d have way more credibility if you actually reflected what’s going on in the world. We do get the point, National haven’t released much policy yet. If they haven’t by election day I won’t vote for them. If they have and it looks better to me than the alternatives then I will. Its simple. Please stop being so boring.

    [There aren’t posts on the issues you mention because a) it looks like I’m the only one whose looked at the blog today and I don’t know anything about the HBDHB issue, basically DHBs and questions over who said what when in some little government when there’s no suggestion it has had any effect on actual delivery of care bore me to death b) I’ll draw up something on Winnie for you now c) I’ve been working on more important stuff. SP]

  37. Anita 37


    A serious question…

    How long before you vote would you need National to release its policies so that you would be sure you’d had a chance to hear arguments for and against and have had some time to really think about the policies for yourself?

    P.S. Craig Foss, OIA, Cunliffe, HBDHB, huh? Just checked Radio NZ, Stuff, Herald, et al and can’t find anything. Do you have a link so I can figure out if I should be outraged?

  38. G 38

    As I recall, in 1999 Labour kept its powder dry till the last minute. It’s good strategy: it keeps the other parties guessing and prevents the incumbent from distracting the electorate by picking apart every little detail.

  39. gomango 39

    Anita – fair question. Answer is not that long. Personally I care mostly about just a few things:

    1. Fiscal policy – includes tax policy, spending plans across core government services and sustainability thereof.

    2. More specifically, policy on education (I have kids)

    3. And policy on infrastructure (for me I define that as roading, railways, telecommunications)

    Then a list of things they promise they will do, and promise they wont do and do I find that believable. And finally a view on who is more likely to improve our society (define that any way you like, thereare probably 4 million opinions on whats needed.

    Actually I don’t think any party has satisfied me yet in terms of publishing policy, except for ACT, and while I like a lot of their policy, equally there are some things I really don’t like.

    Its not a very long list for me, and other things do count for me to a lesser degree, but I’m pretty sure I can get my head around most of that within a week or two. Especially with the help of our esteemed 4th estate.

    For the record I have voted in my life for Labour, National and Act. And I’m about to join the Maori Party (but won’t party vote for them) as I like what Harawira and Sharples believe about individual responsibility. Their input is more likely than any one to make a difference to some of our apparently intractable social problems.

  40. gomango 40

    re the HBDHB see

    Interesting to read the documents which were released under the OIA.

  41. dave 41

    Also interesting to note that The Standard has made absolutely no comment on them apart from feigning ignorance “I dont know enough about them. Working on more important stuff” (like fiction) Have you ever thought of FINDING OUT?

    And who was the last party to release some policy – oh that’s right it was National.

    Steve, people are coming to this blog not just to read comments on your posts, but to find out how much you`re losing the plot.

  42. randal 42

    sober up dave. you are embarassing yourself.

  43. Anita 43


    I mostly agree about Education and Infrastructure – a couple of weeks sounds do-able for them, although I would be suspicious of any party that held back their policies for so long, what do they have to hide?

    Fiscal policy however, that’d be tough in only a fortnight IMO. There are so many downstream consequences I’d truly want to understand. It’s fine to say that you’ll claw back so many hundred million by particular caps in the public service, but working out what that would mean for real service provision.

    Taking one of last week’s examples for a moment, rolling back a 12% increase in head office spend in Ministry of Education when front line spend only increased by 3% sounded completely reasonable on the surface. It took a while but someone did the analysis and told us that the head office increase was an accounting shift (and in fact the numbers being used were nominal head office – some of which is actually front line) and that increase was actually continued front line specialist education provision which had previously been accounted for somewhere else. So something which looked sensible at first glance was in fact completely wrong when the analysis was done.

    Similarly pulling back Health monitoring spend to focus on health services made superficial sense, until someone took the time to point out that, for example, we’re only doing three yearly checks on rest homes and we know there are problems which are already not getting picked up which are causing both hurt to people and additional front line costs.

    I guess my point is that if National were to issue a detailed fiscal policy (including detail of where they intend to get savings) a fortnight before the election I honestly don’t think I could get my head around exactly what it meant for real people before I voted.

    Out of interest, how detailed do you want their policy to be? If they say they’ll make a $1.5 billion saving in core public service do you want to know which departments they’ll take it out of? Which parts of which departments? Which programmes? Which services?

  44. G. You recall incorrectly. The pledge card was out by now, the 39 cent tax tracket was announced in 1998. All the major policies were out by now.

    National has two pages of policy.

  45. dave. you’re welcome not to visit. Maybe Whaleoil will give you the level of analysis you’re looking for.

    If you call a one page document a policy, you don’t know what a policy is. And it’s not a game of who released policy last, it’s a question of who has a comphrensive polciy platform for governing New Zealand. National has bullet points.

  46. Hazel 46


    Your breathless excitement about Clark’s supposed “politics game” in not releasing the date for the election may be eased if you read Vernon Small’s article (Stuff, yesterday), “November 8 Election Day Pick”, in which he says “History suggests prime ministers give six to eight weeks notice of election day, so an announcement is likely in mid-September.”

    So no need for a vertical take-off on this issue just yet!

  47. Anita 47


    Re the Craig Foss stuff – the reason the media aren’t running it is that it isn’t news. It looks entirely like a inconsequential srcew up in the Minister’s office, embarrassing and someone will have been told off, but not a conspiracy and not news.

  48. dave 48

    National has bullet points.
    It also has its hand on the trigger while Labour cant find its gun when it needs to and when it does find it it fires it the wrong way.

  49. vto 49

    Hazel, “breathless excitement” and “vertical take-off”. Great calls (notwithstanding their incorrect application).

    So anybody, (lest silence be taken as acquiesence) how does SP’s question/post compare to the taxpayer-paid student loan policy announcement at last election? Surely the same moral outrage can be applied there.

  50. darryl p 50

    “G. You recall incorrectly. The pledge card was out by now, the 39 cent tax tracket was announced in 1998. All the major policies were out by now”

    Was the election date set after these policies came out or before? If after then you have a fair argument. If before, you probably don’t.

  51. G 51

    Fair enough SP – and Darryl – if the election date wasn’t set then I stand corrected.

    And SP, don’t you mean the 39 cent tax racket? 🙂

  52. Felix 52


    It’s sad that for you (and others) there’s no dimension to politics other than “the race”.

  53. > The idea that a party should be afraid of revealing its policies is laughable.

    This must be the 100th time I’ve heard a complaint that National hasn’t released any policies.

    So here’s my complaint: the election date hasn’t been announced. I would like to be in NZ for it, and need to work out what trips I can go on without missing it.

    Tell you what – if you guys have a word and get the election date set, then I’ll add my voice to the cries for policy.

    For National, at the moment I’m just curious, but once the election is announced I expect to see some real meaty stuff.

    Having said that, wasn’t there a policy about childcare today? Didn’t seem any different from Labour’s. Perhaps if Labour releases all its policies National will just adopt them. Would that be good?

  54. max 54

    Well said mango. Not a very good reply stevie.

    July 12, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    errm – i’m kind of new to the blog world but it is fascinating to note that today there are two really large issues out there in the NZ political world:

    1. The OIA documents being released by Craig Foss showing that Cunliffe has been handed a hospital pass with HBDB and that somebody King, Hodgson, Cunliffe or all three have been very economical with thetruth, and

    2. Winston looks to have have been caught out in a very very big porky, and this issue is way bigger than just the apparent porky, as it looks as though there a crime may havebeen committed with respect to NZ firsts electroal finance returns.

    And yet there is no discussion on this blog about either issue, just yet another faux outrage about John Key not fronting up, not releasing policy. Well hello, an election date has to be set at least six weeks out. In this period I am sure you will see more head to head debates, more policy releases, more discussion than any of us can bear. And if either (any) party doesn’t frontup with policy or talking heads they will get hammered on poll day. We are in the phony war now, but that will end and Key will be punished by voters if in the real election period he is not prepared to front.

    This continuing whining about “wheres the policy’, “why doesn’t he show up’ is just boring, its been done to death and all you get are the same old comments from the same old posters. You’d have way more credibility if you actually reflected what’s going on in the world. We do get the point, National haven’t released much policy yet. If they haven’t by election day I won’t vote for them. If they have and it looks better to me than the alternatives then I will. Its simple. Please stop being so boring.

    [There aren’t posts on the issues you mention because a) it looks like I’m the only one whose looked at the blog today and I don’t know anything about the HBDHB issue, basically DHBs and questions over who said what when in some little government when there’s no suggestion it has had any effect on actual delivery of care bore me to death b) I’ll draw up something on Winnie for you now c) I’ve been working on more important stuff. SP]

    [lprent: As SP says. It is a voluntary effort writing posts. It depends on who has time to write a post and what they want to write about. This is a commentary site, not a news site. If you want a news clipping service, then go and find one. Scoop is good at it, so are whoar, kiwiblog and a number of others]

  55. gomango 55

    Re the fiscal policy. There is one very obvious thing that that both parties could do. And that is increase levels of domestically issued debt. Part of the problem (perhaps a minor part to be fair) is that we no longer have a functioning government bond market in NZ which makes long term funding of businesses and banks much more difficult here than it is in any other OECD country.

    If you think of the Government balance sheet like a family, the same sort of disciplines and habits should apply. Show me any “mainstream” family that is not prepared to prudently borrow in order to improve their lives (student loans, education generally – at the private school one of my kids goes to you’d be amazed at how many “working class” people are working two or jobs in order to pay fees) – housing, buying a small business etc.

    There is nothing wrong with debt taken on for productive purposes, the problems arise when debt is used for consumption or just wasted.

    I personally believe Cullen missed the boat big time in not taking on debt. Rqther than go to a debt neutral position (which isnt a hard achievement when you are taking tax from a growing economy) he should have earmarked explicitly government debt to productive and specific uses (roading projects, AIR NZ, railways etc). The right may argue with the left about whether they are useful projects but at least there is discipline about where the money came from, how much it costs and what its being used for. Explicit linkage would take a lot of the heat out of the argument.

    No family in NZ would ever save 100% of the purchase price of their family home – they save a deposit, carefully look at their income versus home ownership costs and then take the plunge to borrow. Why should the government act differently?

    I think I can form a view pretty quickly on whether overall fiscal policy and direction makes sense to me, but then I work in that world. I also believe that the starting point for any analysis is does the policy make sense in terms of desired outcome, risk of unintended consequences, alignment of interests and not ignoring basic economics. Human nature and self interest always drives the macro response to something offered. There will always be some individuals who respond after thinking altruistically but the vast majority vote with their back pocket.

  56. Draco TB 56

    The government should never sell bonds or take loans as it has absolutely no need to do so. All it has to do is print the money and then change the tax rate up or down depending on what is needed to contain inflation. The major advantage of this method to the country is that there won’t be any interest saving a huge amount of money.

  57. gomango 57

    Oh my god – next thing you’ll be suggesting social credit.

    Which economy has tried the system you are suggesting? Was it Romania or East Germany? Maybe North Korea? Zimbabwe?

    There’s nothing wrong with interest if its being created from the productive use of resources. Go back and read Adam Smith like you claim to have done.

  58. Draco TB 58

    But what’s wrong with not paying interest on money paid for by the productive use of resources?

  59. gomango 59

    explain how you would allocate resources in your “economy”. To each according to his needs, to each according to his means?

  60. max 60

    Com’mon mango, your not surpised the standard resembles 101 socialist studies are ya? all mouth and no trousers.

    [lprent: Turned up in moderation.. Looks like the short meaningless waffle filter is working]

  61. vto 61

    I hope all you silly nincompoops who complain about a lack of Key watched the Fishing Show late yesterday afternoon on tv3. He was there in all his glory for a whole half an hour. And he talked about all sorts of things including politics!! (I kind of get the feeling you guys aren’t the fishing program watching types tho. I was going to tell you all when it started but I had shut the lappy and opened a beer by then)

    So there we have it – satisfied now?

  62. gomango 62


    Yes…… there are some pretty dopey people on blogs – for instance I’d love to understand how Draco is able feed and dress himself. I’m guessing he exists on OPM. (Other Peoples Money). I suspect he’ll be a member of some extreme faction of 7 people who sit around dreaming up visions of a socialist workers paradise and how it would work if he was in charge as lifetime benevolent leader, doing all this while living on OPM.

    The best ideas come out of debate, and talking with those who have an opposing view. I regard myself as centre on most things but opinions on blogs where the opinion giver doesn’t have to take personal responsibility for their opinion moves the extremes a long way out. Its hard to have a sensible debate with someone from a different planet.

    [lprent: So I could describe you as an illiterate cretin because you don’t have the technical skills to run a blog. My value system says that people that cannot put million line programs together can barely tie their own shoe laces. Generally I don’t, because I realize that other people don’t have that particular talent.

    Draco is a respected commentator on here because he engages in dialogue (as he has done in this thread by my standards) and seldom descends into personal attacks. I don’t think I’ve ever had cause to leave a note on his comments.

    You don’t get to set the moderation levels on this blog – I do. Be warned that if I see another comment of this type from you, then I’ll class you as flamewar starter and remove you. Your comments to date have generally been constructive which is the only reason I didn’t just boot you now for some timeout.]

  63. gomango 63

    errr thats it from me then. My wife already tells me what to do, I don’t need somebody else wearing her trousers too. And I can’t abide the kind of stupidity and intolerance embodied in your comment. I’ll go and spend my time more productively. Just be aware of the dangers of groupthink and only talking with people of the same view as yourself. Your standards appear to to be defined by how much you agree with the object of your attention. Go and read some Eric Blair.

    I’m not going to comment here any more, its a waste of my time.

    [lprent: I presume you are making a sexist comment there with a lot of quite incorrect assumptions.]

  64. Anita 64


    I think the point was that Key isn’t doing in-depth political interviews. As I already pointed out way up there *points further up thread* he’s doing lots of personality pieces (including fishing) with politics once-over-lightly.

    Key, a decent political journalist, 1 hour (less ad breaks *sigh*), that’s what I’d love to see! I’d settle for 30 mins even.

  65. gomango 65

    ok one last comment before i really do go, i have chickens to feed. it wasnt a sexist comment just an alleged joke about having someone else (of any gender) in my life telling me what to do. More fundamentally though, i think the last few days have illustrated to me what a waste of time blogging can be, the amount of productivity I have wasted is emabarrassing. I should have listened to my wife when I had the chance and cleaned out the garage. And I refer again to the moderators comments – how about moderating stupidity? Some of the comments on here from both left and right fail any objective stupidity test. And explain to me again the correlation between computer programming skills and tying shoelaces?

    auf wiedersehen.

  66. vto 66

    ha ha gomango, it can definitely be a waste of time. One of those addictive wastes, like space invaders when they first came out.

  67. lprent 67

    gomango: Yeah it takes time. I keep looking at my pile of other tasks and flipping back and forth. But the moderation role is critical at keeping the site readable.

    Moderating stupidity – that becomes more of what people perceive as being stupid. Which is what my note referred to, because I find it hard to consider other people as not being stupid if they cannot code.

    But in this political issues forum that isn’t the focus of the site. I viewed your comment as having the same inherent bias from a different angle. Plus it was making assumptions about the people you were talking to.

    I don’t moderate daft opinions. Just certain behaviors that are largely listed in policy. It isn’t comprehensive and deliberately slightly vague because I’m not interested in people lawyering the rules. They reduce discussion and get very tedious rapidly.

    It is seldom that people change their minds (or rather that they admit to it happening). But the discussion is often interesting, simply because of the different viewpoints applied to issues. I find that I’ve learned more about the range of opinions in NZ in the last 6 months than probably the last 5 years. Some of the comments in particular on all sides have been seriously illuminating.

    I do find that productive in other areas, but it is a difficult balance.

    But those are the choices I made when I decided to host the writers and commentators for this site, and subsequently decided that moderation was required.

  68. max 68


    You are 100% on the money mate, its a navel gazing festival of mediocracy and groupthink here with any disent replied to with some meaningless comments about guru level programming or 1000000 lines of code or other idiotic comments meant to elevate the moderator along with her ego above all others, and the faux ‘you sexist bastard’ afronts are laughable, akin to using ‘holocaust denier bastard’ jibes to smear someone.

    Obviously one approach is to moderate less and accept that debate and different points of view even if they get a bit stroppy are healthy, and are not flame wars or trolling, as they are labelled here to justify ‘god like retribution’.

    Your wee community shrinks again.

    Oh, and pretending that I fell into an AI natural language trap rather than admit you like to review anything I say because you dont like my politics is quite dull.


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