Gould on protecting freedom of the press

Written By: - Date published: 8:09 am, January 24th, 2012 - 46 comments
Categories: accountability, democracy under attack, Media - Tags:

The high point of John Key’s popularity came about 3 weeks before the election. Then the tea tapes meant a spectacle that was meant to be a show of his power became a media storm with him at the centre.

National lost 5% in those last few weeks of the campaign – Key went from being able to govern alone comfortably to having a one seat majority for his rightwing policies, including asset sales.

Key blamed the media. Bryan Gould looks at the war he has been waging against the press ever since.

..New Zealand enjoys, of course, an enviable record, in international terms, in matters of freedom of expression. It would be ridiculous to claim that a New Zealand government might pose a direct threat – through censorship or the abuse of executive power – to our press and broadcast media and their freedom to publish what they wish.

But threats to press freedom can come in much more insidious forms – and two recent instances make the point clearly.

Many will recall the extraordinary episode of the Prime Minister’s conversation over a cup of tea with John Banks during the election campaign. The Prime Minister was clearly very keen that the contents of that conversation should not be made public.

When it became clear that a record of that conversation was in the hands of the media, and that they saw no legal problem in publishing it, the Prime Minister’s reaction was very instructive.

He did not go to court to seek an injunction and assert his right to privacy. Instead, he laid a complaint with the police and asked them to investigate what he maintained might be a criminal offence.

The police were quick to comply.

They not only initiated an investigation but also warned the media that they, too, could be criminally liable if they published the recording. This warning was sufficient to frighten the media into silence.

Two months later, we are still waiting for the outcome of the police investigation. No criminal offence, it seems, has yet been established. The only legal outcome so far is that the Attorney-General, acting for the Government, has declared his intention to seek substantial costs from the cameraman who had the temerity to try to establish if he had committed no offence.

The police investigation, while so far inconclusive on the issue of criminality, has nevertheless been successful in another respect; it has fully met the Prime Minister’s requirements by keeping the conversation secret till beyond – well beyond – the election.

The message is clear. The police will support threats issued by the executive to deter the media from publishing material that as far as we know was lawfully obtained and that was of substantial public interest.

And just to make sure, the Attorney-General’s threat to the cameraman is a warning to others that they cross the executive at their peril.

Some of the same features are shown by the issue that became public last week. New Zealand On Air has expressed concern that a programme on child poverty it had funded was broadcast in the days leading up to the election.

It has announced that it may seek legal advice on obtaining a law change that would give it the power to delay until after an election a broadcast that might embarrass politicians.

What is worrying about this episode is that an expression of concern from the Prime Minister (in this case, through his electorate chairman who is a board member of NZ On Air) about a perfectly lawful broadcast was enough to induce the body that has a public duty to fund such programmes to seek to limit the freedom of the broadcasters.

Again, it is not any direct threat or interference that is of concern; rather, it is the threat that the executive is ready to act against anything that displeases the Prime Minister.

Who can doubt that broadcasters will in future make sure their programmes do not attract prime ministerial displeasure and risk losing the necessary funding? And others in the media will also learn the lesson – if they want to get on, they must stay on the right side of the Prime Minister. To make these points is not to attack the Prime Minister. He is doing what many politicians in government around the world would do if they could get away with it. It is, rather, a clarion call to journalists and to the public to stand up for press freedom and the independence of the media…

Unfortunately, Key has a long history of attacking journalists, going right back to the reporter who broke his “we would love to see wages drop” quote. Back then, however, he was the PM in waiting taking on a small-town journo and the big media players decided to side with him and refused to run the story. Now, Key is past his apex and taking on the biggest media outlets in the country. Not a smart move.

46 comments on “Gould on protecting freedom of the press”

  1. Bunji 1

    And now Key’s man McIlrea, not content with controlling the purse strings for documentaries is hoping to be Censor-in-Chief

    Will that finally be so blatant as to get the NBR’s crony-watch back in business? There’s never been political appointees to the chair of NZOnAir (just the board…).

  2. Gosman 2

    Yet many lefties would have us believe the MSM is in the pockets of the right and do their bidding. How are these two, seemingly contradictory, positions reconciled?

    • Easy.  The media is appalling.  Key is insisting that they be even worse.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        Bollocks. You don’t get away with it that easily mickeysavage. You are all going on about how good John Key is as a media manipulator, in fact that is pretty much all you think he has got as a political operator. So why, if the media really does dance to National’s tune, wouldn’t the National party simply have a word in the air of Media Works bigwigs about the scheduling of the documentary rather than make official complaints via NZOA? Why wouldn’t they simply pull strings with the NZ Herald senior management, (who are obviously all pro-National according to many of you lot), instead of going to the police? Much, much cleaner than what actually happened.

        • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1

          His actions have certainly instilled doubt in your mind about his control over the media, haven’t they? Despite the fact that he still got exactly the outcome he wanted…

          • Gosman 2.1.1.1.1

            Ahhhh! So it is part of some complex plan to make it look like National needs to intimidate the media to get what they want to hide the fact that they actually could just get the same result with a nod and a wink to those they are buddy buds with. A classic double bluff play.

            Now you have solved this one you can go and play with Travellerev in open mike and discuss why an orange proves that September the 11th was an inside job.

            • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.1.1

              “Ahhhh! So it is part of some complex plan to make it look like National needs to intimidate the media to get what they want to hide the fact that they actually could just get the same result with a nod and a wink to those they are buddy buds with. A classic double bluff play.”

              No, it’s just controlling the media through any means necessary. Trust you to leap to conspiracy theories.

              It’s the outcome that matters, not the way in which the outcome was achieved.

              • Gosman

                You don’t control the media by getting them offside with you especially if you can manage the same thing via sweet talking them or by using your contacts. All you do by threatening them is make them more likely in future to give you negative press. I believe there was even a post on that very topic on this site when it was stating that John Key’s long honeymoon with the press may finally be over.

            • McFlock 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Gos,
               
              It’s very simple, really. Media are corporate business in NZ. So they like tory politicians, and (to greater or lesser degrees) have an innate bias in that directiction. Even the ones who don’t consciously play favourites look at things from the perspective of corporate and upper middle class priviledge.
               
              In the last few months, Key has spoiled it. By trying to knobble the media to an extent that it begins to impact their revenue and make them look like dicks (collectively as an industry, individually as a company and even personally), he is biting the hand that feeds him. Some in the media are beginning to bite back. That’s what we call “how do you fuck that up?!”.
               
              Personally, I think it is akin to what the imperial Japanese army called “victory disease”. Key and his coterie assumed that their success in the polls was a deserved product of brilliance, rather than largely a gift from the media and the previous Labour govt (if Labour had left the country in the state that the nats left it for labour, the beehive would have a “mortgagee sale” sign in front of it). 
               
              They thought they were invulnerable. It’ll get worse for them before it gets better. The question is how much of the house they’ll burn down around them. But after a while the bickering will cool down and they’ll regain their happy relationship.

              • Populuxe1

                I think almost right. It would be more accurate to say that the people who make the decisions about what gets published – the editors, as chosen by the owners, and the owners themselves – are upper middle class or billionaires and think in terms of upper middle class or billionaire privilege. It would be unfair to cast aspersions on the poor lowly reporters, who even if they break a story, may not see it published. That was one of the reasons for the great explosion of current affairs blogs in the first place – disgruntled, frustrated journos.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Yeah its the owners and editors who are the major problem, not the journalists (in the main).

                  Any journalist who gets blacklisted by stepping out of established editorial line – will never get a job with APN, Fairfax, Mediaworks, TVNZ or National Radio again.

                  So you’re left with writing for the school newsletter.

                  • jbc

                    Journalists are 99% crappy spin artists trying to construct hype where it is not due. Mr Gould included. They would not have a job if they simply told it as it happens.

                    The few direct encounters with journalists I’ve had the misfortune of making led me to that conclusion. You only need to pick up the next Herald to figure it out for yourself.

                    Out of 5 or so encounters since 1996 I have noticed the printed article bears little resemblance to the interview, and the facts (numbers, statistics, etc) are likely to be wrong. This even when the journo is quoting from a factually correct news release.

                    In the last encounter with the Herald I was selectively quoted to suit the journalist’s own idea for his article – along with several other victims. This was all in line with a constructed theme that had been running in the media at the time. When the journalist was later interviewed on radio he admitted that the views he portrayed were not representative of most people – they were anomalous. The patsy interviewer did not ask the obvious question: why did the journalist constructed a series of over-hyped headlines based on a falsehood?.

                    Journalists struggle to tell us straight with something as cut and dried as a car accident. It’s a competitive industry with most outlets falling over themselves trying to spice up ordinariness to make it appealing to their mostly ADHD readers.

                    • Populuxe1

                      “The few direct encounters with journalists I’ve had the misfortune of making ”

                      So you’re an expert then?

                    • jbc

                      Between my own experiences, those of others, and the shoddy crap that poses for news every day I do have some confidence in my conclusions, yes.

                      I see the same ‘making news out of nothing’ regularly when the media decides to jump on a theme and out-do each other in hyperbole.

                      Doesn’t everyone see that?

                      I’ve lost count of the number of times I have read an article in an NZ paper where the body of the report does not substantiate the claims made in the opening paragraph. It is almost par for the course.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Bryan Gould is on the money mate. Further he’s not an MSM journalist.

                      And don’t deflect from who has the power in this industry – the editors and the owners. Journos are just hired labour.

  3. shorts 3

    the media can never be free when profit trumps everything else as the worlds big media companies have shown over and over and over again

    its about time, we, the public caught up and realised they’ve been duped and can never trust the media without fact checking themselves from a variety of sources (including that very same media) and then to determine their own opinion on what is actually factual and what is opinionated poppycock

    I wonder if the herald has a shark story today

    • Gosman 3.1

      So all media should be non-profit?

      Having the BBC as a a largely non-profit media organisation hasn’t stopped it being accused of media bias.

      • shorts 3.1.1

        if thats what it takes for a fair and unbiased media then yes

        unfortunately this wouldn’t be enough for the media to not be corrupt, unfair, biased and very firmly cheerleaders for the side of the fence they sit

        as citizens and humans we deserve better than the current market driven profit model has produced

        and the non profits too as the BBC has shown in the past 10+ years, as you say 

        wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to trust the media – something I was taught to do by both my parents and my educators (me = middle aged) 

        • Gosman 3.1.1.1

          Good to see you acknowledge that even a not for profit media doesn’t automatically remove bias.

          The point is people will see bias in media whatever happens. It is just the nature of the beast.

          • shorts 3.1.1.1.1

            most people don’t pick up on bias and blindly accept what they are feed

            again this is universal, its not a one side trumps the other affair

             

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.2

            Good to see you acknowledge that even a not for profit media doesn’t automatically remove bias.

            The way to remove bias is regulation. Have it so that the media can’t propagate lies or misinformation and bias tends to go away. National won’t like that though as nearly everything they say is either lies or misinformation.

            • Blue 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Come on Bastard, neither will the left, the hysterical tears were flowing every time Goff fucked up during the election campaign and it was, shock horror, reported. You cannot regulate our own perception of bias and truth in politics onto others because it suits you. Its just fucking lame and undemocratic to want it and expect it. Otherwise we will have North Korea style reporting, even Fiji style, but without the unintentional humour.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Goff fucking up is human, John Key saying that people are lining up for free food because of their bad choices is John Key spreading lies and misinformation and should have been reported as such. Instead it was reported as gospel.

                • Gosman

                  Ummmmm… it was reported factually as in ‘The PM stated the following’. To try and argue that it is beholden on the media to determine the accuracy of people’s opinions, (which is what John Key is expressing here), and then to include them in a report is rather disturbing. I am reminded of Zanu-PF demanding any reporting of the ongoing land invasions in that country post 2000 needed to be couched in terms of ‘righting historical injustices’ and were keen on setting up essentially what you are calling for here, a media standards agency.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    If the media don’t report the facts then people are misinformed. So, yes, it was beholden of the media to investigate John Key’s claim especially when the person making such bold and unsubstantiated claims happens to be the PM.

      • Like much of government media, BBC is vulnerable to supporting the status quo, and not rocking the boat in case they upset their funders.

        Have you ever listened to Democracy Now? You can have member-supported media that is only accountable to its audience, which reduces bias to the institutional ethic of the media outlet.

  4. ianmac 4

    “But threats to press freedom can come in much more insidious forms – and two recent instances make the point clearly.”
    That is the essence of the mode of operations of the Key machinations.

  5. randal 5

    what about the piss weak leader in yesterdays dompost about noise from appliances in the weekends.
    now who has a vested interest in selling noisy and basically useless goods to nincompoops?
    think how much worse it is when the whole system of patronage and social control is at stake then you will see the msm at their best.

  6. Uturn 6

    The “media” can combat Key’s clumsy blunderings in the blink of an eye, but as shorts states above, they are too self interested. If one outlet took a stand for freedom of press (and why shouldn’t they have the obligation to stand up for themselves?) the others would do their best to profit from it and the loss of face would be unbearable to them. And why would they take a stand? Drama is their product. Anyone arguing for the poor oppressed Press are arguing for the retention of the ruling classes favourite whore.

    Who here saw an article last week on the news about psychopaths in the workplace where the nation was tucked up in bed by soundbites from a company director assuring us that no companies had psychopaths on their boards. No one had even asked if boards of directors were psychopathic. And besides, they said, doesn’t it sound like the vague description of psychopathy offered describes everyone? Why, it would be ridiculous to even try to do identify anything anywhere. Oh gosh thank god for that.

    Then last night, the outcome of a trial yet to happen was decided by claims of the defendent living a “lavish lifestyle”. I guess that makes John Key a criminal too. And just this morning, a Herald story used here was so shallow in it’s research that it became lies of omission.

    There is nothing in the media that isn’t about maintaining or forwarding the interests of the status quo.

  7. stever 7

    Here’s an example of where a journalist doing their job would have said, to John Banks’ claim to have forgotten giving a reference to Mr Dotcom, “Surely your office keeps copies of letters you write? Can you ask and let me know whether you sent a copy if you can’t remember?”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10780709

    That’s just such an obvious thing to ask if you’re genuinely curious and want hold the powerful to account. (Why else be a journalist???).

    • Fortran 7.1

      Steve
      A journalist is a person who works for money
      In order to “earn” that money they must sell advertising.
      So facts do not really matter whether they are left or right wing biased or pure crap as usual..
      Sell – otherwise you do not have a job.

  8. randal 8

    anyway the goal is to keep the nashnil party appointees out of the mix and letting them get their grubby little fingers on the programming.
    they have a nastly habit of beleiveing that they and only they know what is good for everybody else.

    • Gosman 8.1

      “they have a nastly habit of beleiveing that they and only they know what is good for everybody else.”

      That actully reads like a lot of lefty people on here. Of course I am sure the people on here saying it think that because it is ‘true’ it is okay though.

  9. Yes now John Key and the men in grey are back they will start making use of all those law changes made under urgency to suppress our freedoms through all forms of media so they are able to carry on with their plans to sell our country with as little opposition as possible.

    Did David Shearer say he would march to stop asset sales, I hope so because I will march as well.

    We saw how they overcame the problem of it being illegal to use a megaphone at marches at the Wall St gatherings, with success in creating great camaraderie, could be an interesting year. I wonder how long before we start seeing the new riot gear appearing to intimidate us, because Our Dear Leader has been displeased.

  10. Anne 10

    To make these points is not to attack the Prime Minister… It is, rather, a clarion call to journalists and to the public to stand up for press freedom and the independence of the media.

    The threat is always there, and it is particularly acute in the case of this Prime Minister – not because he is especially unprincipled or autocratic, but because his very popularity might encourage him to think he can get away with more than he should.

    I think that sums up the reason why John Key thinks he can attack (Gould is being diplomatic) the media and get away with it. Bluntly put, he’s suffering from a badly bloated head. Long may it remain so… because it will eventually bring him down with an almighty crash.

  11. Eduardo Kawak 11

    I love the internet. Many more sides to a story on here than in any brown-nosing, corporatised media outlet. Everybody knows the PM abused his power to stifle the teapot tapes and that now one of his lackeys is suggesting a law change to NZ On Air. But how do we know – unfortunately it’s those brown-nosing, corporatised media outlets that broke both stories.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Not sure if Scoop classifies as being a “brown-nosing, corporatised media outlet” yet.

    • Jum 11.2

      Eduardo Kawak,

      Considering the poor job the media have done from 2004 onwards to research Key properly, and his financial background, it’s about bloody time they were a bit more objective in watching a leader’s behaviour and how he has controlled both media and government to achieve an end that will end in tears for most New Zealanders.

      No instead it was a sickening love-in. I’ve never been so disgusted with the way Key was raised to god status in the media, all the while attacking first Clark, then Goff.

      I suggest you read the newspapers back a couple of decades Eduardo Kawak and realise that when media is privately owned it does the bidding of its owner and the journalists are equally owned. Some of them like it…

  12. Jum 12

    one of the comments: …Key Jong Il’… very appropriate – LOL. Wait for the secret police and the helicopters and the disappearances from blogsights of regular posters…

    Once I would have said I was kidding youse…

  13. Eduardo Kawak 13

    Too true about Scoop. That’s why I love the internet.

  14. Eduardo Kawak 14

    The dumbing down of NZ mainstream media is unfortunate as it the fact that it is primarily owned by foreign entities. But I don’t believe that democracy is at stake here, just quality journalism, which will still be an issue even after JK has left the building for Hawaii.

  15. ChrisH 15

    Here’s a stunningly good Dim Post blog (especially the comments actually) on the suppression of “For the Public Good” back in 1990: http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/bleg-2/ . Le plus ca change in the Banana Dominion.

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    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    5 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    6 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    6 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    7 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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