web analytics

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.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Zealand joins global search for COVID-19 vaccine
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Megan Woods, Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Hon Dr David Clark, Minister of Health Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods,  and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, ...
    23 hours ago
  • Budget 2020: Five things to know
    Budget 2020 is about rebuilding together, supporting jobs, getting business moving and the books back into the black. It’s an integral part of our COVID-19 economic response, and our plan to grow our economy and get New Zealand moving again. Here’s a quick look at the five top things you ...
    2 days ago
  • Coalition Government approves essential upgrades on Ōhakea Air Base
    The Coalition Government has approved $206 million in essential upgrades at Ōhakea Air Base.  Defence Minister Ron Mark said the money would be spent on improving old infrastructure. He said safety issues would be addressed, as well as upgrades to taxiways, accommodation and fresh, storm and waste water systems. "This ...
    6 days ago
  • Attributable to the Rt Hon Winston Peters
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First “I am not persisting with this case just for myself, but for all people who have had their privacy breached. Privacy of information is a cornerstone of our country’s democracy. Without it our society truly faces a bleak future. We now ...
    1 week ago
  • Forestry Minister Shane Jones moves to protect sawmills
    Forestry Minister Shane Jones has introduced a Bill to Parliament that he says will "force more transparency, integrity and respect" for the domestic wood-processing sector through the registration of log traders and practice standards. The Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill had its first reading in ...
    1 week ago
  • Green MP joins international call to cancel developing countries’ debt
    Green MP Golriz Ghahraman is joining over 300 lawmakers from around the world in calling on the big banks and the IMF to forgive the debt of developing countries, in the wake of the COVID crisis. ...
    1 week ago
  • Forestry Minister Shane Jones swipes back at billion trees critics
    Forestry Minister Shane Jones says concerns that carbon foresters are planting pine trees that will never be harvested are the result of "misinformation". "The billion tree strategy is an excellent idea, unfortunately from time to time it's tainted by misinformation spread by the National Party or their grandees, hiding in scattered ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget boost for refugee families a win for compassion
    The Green Party welcomes funding in the budget to reunite more refugees with their families, ensuring they have the best chance at a new life in Aotearoa New Zealand. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How Budget 2020 is supporting jobs
    This year’s Budget is about rebuilding New Zealand together in the face of COVID-19. Jobs are central to how we’re going to do that.There’s a lot of targeted investment for employment in this year’s Budget, with announcements on creating new jobs, training people for the jobs we have, and supporting ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters says China didn’t want NZ to go into lockdown
    Speaking to Stuff's Coronavirus NZ podcast, Foreign Minister Winston Peters revealed China tried to dissuade New Zealand from going into lockdown. “Without speaking out of turn, they wanted a discussion as to why we were doing it, because they thought it was an overreaction,” Mr Peters told Stuff’s Coronavirus NZ podcast. He also ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Changes made to Overseas Investment Act to protect New Zealand assets
    The Coalition Government is making changes to the Overseas Investment Act to ensure New Zealand assets don't fall into the hands of foreign ownership in the economic aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Associate Minister of Finance David Parker announced the Act will be amended to bring forward a national interest ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters: Trans-Tasman bubble to help tourism industry make swift recovery
    A quick start to a trans-Tasman bubble could see the tourism industry make a swift recovery, according to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. "I believe tourism will turn around dramatically faster than people think," Mr Peters told reporters after Thursday's Budget. "Why? Because I think the Tasman bubble is [going ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt. Hon Winston Peters: Budget Speech
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First   Please check against delivery https://vimeo.com/418303651 Budget 2020: Jobs, Business and Balance   Introduction Acknowledgements to all Cabinet colleagues, and party ministers Tracey Martin, Shane Jones and Ron Mark, Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau and to caucus colleagues. Thank you for your support, your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Jacinda Ardern’s 2020 Budget Speech
    Read Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Budget 2020 Speech. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2020: Next steps to end family and sexual violence
    The 2020 Budget includes significant support to stabilise New Zealand’s family violence services, whose work has been shown to be so essential throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Investment in housing gives more people access to the home they deserve
    The Green Party says huge new investment in public and transitional housing will get thousands more families into the warm, safe homes they deserve.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2020: Huge investment in green nature based jobs jump starts sustainable COVID recovery
    The Green Party says the $1.1 billion environmental investment in this year’s budget to create thousands of green jobs will help jump start a sustainable recovery from the COVID crisis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Grant Robertson’s 2020 Budget Speech
    Read Minister of Finance Grant Robertson's Budget 2020 Speech. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters tells struggling migrant workers ‘you should probably go home’
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said today the Coalition Government told foreigners at the start of the Covid-19 crisis that if their circumstances had changed dramatically, they should go home. "And 50,000 did," Mr Peters said. Official advice to Cabinet revealed there is potentially 380,000 foreigners and migrant workers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes today’s Alert Level 2 announcement
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the decision today to go to Alert Level 2 from midnight Wednesday, says Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. Alert Level 2 will mean a return to work for the vast majority of New Zealand’s businesses. A return ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nurses to be protected after amendment to First Responders Bill
    Nurses now look set to get more protection from violence at work, under a proposed new law. This after NZ First MP Darroch Ball's "Protection for First Responders Bill", which introduces a six-month minimum sentence for assaults on first responders, will now also cover emergency department healthcare workers. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nurses to get more protection, added to ‘First Responders’ legislation
    Darroch Ball MP, New Zealand First Law and Order Spokesperson An amendment to the ‘Protection of First Responders Bill’ is being tabled which will see emergency department healthcare workers included in the legislation. “During this COVID-19 crisis we have seen reports of violence and specifically increased incidents of spitting towards ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones: Northland port could be economic haven
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is breathing new life into the proposal to move Auckland's port to Whangārei to help in the economic recovery post Covid-19 pandemic. If New Zealand First was returned in the September general election, Minister Jones said a priority would be development of an "economic haven" at Northport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF grant for Ventnor memorial
    The plan to build a memorial to the SS Ventnor, and those who were lost when it sank off the Hokianga coast in 1902, has been granted $100,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund. Originally planned for a site near Rāwene cemetery, the memorial will now be built at the new Manea ...
    3 weeks ago
  • 75th anniversary of V.E Day
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader Leader of New Zealand First, Rt Hon Winston Peters said: “Today is the 75th anniversary of VE Day – marking the end of World War II in Europe." Millions died in the six years of war, and families were torn apart. 75 years ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting the job done
    From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Government has committed to providing calm, clear, and consistent communication, including regular press conference updates from the Prime Minister. While New Zealand is at Alert Level 3, we're making sure that New Zealanders are kept informed and up-to-date with all the latest ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters responds to Simon Bridges’ ‘my sweetheart’ comment
    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay. A day earlier, National Party leader Simon Bridges was on the radio show and referred to the Deputy Prime Minister as, "my sweetheart Winston". Mr Peters swiftly dismissed the question of whether Bridges had changed his mind about ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Milestone in cash flow support to SMEs
    Almost $1 billion in interest-free loans for small businesses More than 55,000 businesses have applied; 95% approved Average loan approx. $17,300 90% of applications from firms with ten or fewer staff A wide cross-section of businesses have applied, the most common are the construction industry, accommodation providers, professional firms, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government protects kids as smoking in cars ban becomes law
    Thousands of children will have healthier lungs after the Government’s ban on smoking in cars with kids becomes law, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. This comes after the third reading of Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill earlier today. “This law makes it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Parliament returns to a safe normal
    The special Epidemic Response Committee (ERC) has successfully concluded its role, Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said today. The committee was set up on 25 March by the agreement of Parliament to scrutinise the Government and its actions while keeping people safe during levels 4 and 3 of lockdown. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Foreign Minister makes four diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced four diplomatic appointments: New Zealand’s Ambassador to Belgium, High Commissioners to Nauru and Niue, and Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. “As the world seeks to manage and then recover from COVID-19, our diplomatic and trade networks are more important than ever,” Mr Peters said. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • New Bill to counter violent extremism online
    New Zealanders will be better protected from online harm through a Bill introduced to Parliament today, says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin. “The internet brings many benefits to society but can also be used as a weapon to spread harmful and illegal content and that is what this legislation targets,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Mycoplasma bovis eradication reaches two year milestone in good shape
    New Zealand’s world-first plan to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is on track the latest technical data shows, says Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two years ago the Government, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand and industry partners made a bold decision to go hard and commit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • New payment to support Kiwis through COVID
    Further support for New Zealanders affected by 1-in-100 year global economic shock 12-week payment will support people searching for new work or retraining Work programme on employment insurance to support workers and businesses The Government today announced a new temporary payment to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PGF reset helps regional economies
    The Provincial Growth Fund will play a vital role in New Zealand’s post-COVID-19 recovery by creating jobs in shorter timeframes through at least $600 million being refocused on projects with more immediate economic benefits, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The funding is comprised of repurposed Provincial Growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents
    Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector to fire back up quicker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Concern at introduction of national security legislation for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong.  “We have a strong interest in seeing confidence maintained in the ‘one country, two systems’ principle under which Hong ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Samoa Language Week theme is perfect for the post-COVID-19 journey
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, says the theme for the 2020 Samoa Language Week is a perfect fit for helping our Pacific communities cope with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, and to prepare now for the journey ahead as New Zealand focuses on recovery plans and rebuilding New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Adult kakī/black stilt numbers soar
    A nearly 40-year programme to protect one of New Zealand’s most critically endangered birds is paying off, with a record number of adult kakī/black stilt recently recorded living in the wild, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “Thanks to the team effort involved in the Department of Conservation’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Waikato-Tainui settlement story launched on 25th anniversary of Treaty signing
    The story of the Waikato-Tainui Treaty process and its enduring impact on the community is being told with a five-part web story launched today on the 25th anniversary of settlement, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “I am grateful to Waikato-Tainui for allowing us to help capture ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Taita College to benefit from $32 million school redevelopment
    Taita College in the Hutt Valley will be redeveloped to upgrade its ageing classrooms and leaky roofs, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “The work is long overdue and will make a lasting difference to the school for generations to come,” Chris Hipkins said. “Too many of our schools are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Redeployment for workers in hard-hit regions
    The Government is allocating $36.72 million to projects in regions hard hit economically by COVID-19 to keep people working, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Projects in Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Rotorua and Queenstown will be funded from the Government’s $100 million worker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $35m to build financial resilience for New Zealanders
    A $35m boost to financial capability service providers funded by MSD will help New Zealanders manage their money better both day to day and through periods of financial difficulty, announced Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “It’s always been our position to increase support to key groups experiencing or at risk ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Dunedin barrister Melinda Broek has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Rotorua, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Broek has iwi affiliations to Ngai Tai. She commenced her employment in 1996 with Scholefield Cockroft Lloyd in Invercargill specialising in family and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $206 million investment in upgrades at Ohakea Air Force Base
    The Coalition Government has approved a business case for $206 million in upgrades to critical infrastructure at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea, with the first phase starting later this year, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The investment will be made in three phases over five years, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Review of CAA organisational culture released
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today released the Ministry of Transport’s review of the organisational culture at the Civil Aviation Authority. Phil Twyford says all employees are entitled to a safe work environment. “I commissioned this independent review due to the concerns I had about the culture within the CAA, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Board appointed at Stats NZ
    Ensuring that Stats NZ’s direction and strategy best supports government policy decisions will be a key focus for a new Governance Advisory Board announced today by the Minister for Statistics, James Shaw. The new Governance Advisory Board will provide strategic advice to Stats NZ to ensure it is meeting New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Principal Environment Judge
    Environment Judge David Kirkpatrick of Auckland has been appointed as the Principal Environment Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  Judge Kirkpatrick was appointed an Environment Judge in February 2014. From December 2013 to July 2016 he was Chair of the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel. Prior to appointment he ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Digital connectivity boost for urban marae
    A programme to connect marae around the country to the internet has received $1.4 million to expand to include urban marae in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. The funding for the Marae Connectivity Programme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt increases assistance to drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay farmers
    The Government will provide $500,000 to the Hawke’s Bay Mayoral Drought Relief Fund to help farmers facing one of the worst droughts in living memory, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Yesterday afternoon I received a letter from Hawke's Bay's five local Government leaders asking me to contribute to the Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Investment in New Zealand’s history
    Budget 2020 provides a major investment in New Zealand’s documentary heritage sector, with a commitment to leasing a new Archives Wellington facility and an increase in funding for Archives and National Library work. “Last year I released plans for a new Archives Wellington building – a purpose-built facility physically connected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Driving prompt payments to small businesses
    Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. The Ministers of Finance, Small Business, Commerce and Consumer Affairs have written to more than 40 significant enterprises and banking industry representatives to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rotorua tourist icon to be safeguarded
    Maori Arts and Crafts will continue to underpin the heart of the tourism sector says Minister for Maori Development Nanaia Mahuta.  “That’s why we are making a core investment of $7.6 million to Te Puia New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, over two years, as part of the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $14.7m for jobs training and education
    The Government is funding more pathways to jobs through training and education programmes in regional New Zealand to support the provinces’ recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson have announced. “New Zealand’s economic recovery will be largely driven by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Is it time to further recognise those who serve in our military?
     Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced the launch of a national conversation that aims to find out whether New Zealanders think there should be a formal agreement between service people, the Government, and the people of New Zealand. “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Paving the way for a fully qualified early learning workforce
    The Government’s drive to improve the quality of early childhood education (ECE) is taking another step forward with the reintroduction of a higher funding rate for services that employ fully qualified and registered teachers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “Research shows that high-quality ECE can improve young people’s learning ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Sport Recovery Package announced
    The Sport and Recreation sector will receive a multi-million dollar boost as part of the COVID-19 response funded at Budget 2020.  Grant Robertson says the Sport and Recreation Sector contributes about $5 billion a year to New Zealand’s GDP and employs more than 53,000 people. “Sport plays a significant role ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major boost in support for caregivers and children
    A major increase in funding and availability of support will improve the incomes and reduce the pressure on 14,000 caregivers looking after more than 22,000 children. Children’s Minister Tracey Martin says that caregivers – all those looking after someone else’s children both in and outside the state care system – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Great Walks recovery on track for summer
    Vital conservation and visitor infrastructure destroyed by a severe flood event in Fiordland earlier this year is being rebuilt through a $13.7 million Budget 2020 investment, announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.   “This investment will mean iconic Great Walks such as the Routeburn track and the full length of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Māori – Government partnership gives whānau a new housing deal
    The Government is investing  $40 million in a partnership with Māori to get more whānau into warm, dry and secure accommodation, Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Hon Nanaia Mahuta says.. “We are partnering with Māori and iwi to respond to the growing housing crisis in the wake of COVID-19. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders Safe In The Water
    Keeping New Zealanders safe in the water Our lifeguards and coastguards who keep New Zealanders safe in the water have been given a funding boost thanks to the 2020 Budget, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Poto Williams has announced. The water safety sector will receive $63 million over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Legal framework for COVID-19 Alert Level referred to select committee
    The COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, which set a sound legal framework ahead of the move to Alert level 2, has been referred to a parliamentary select committee for review.  Attorney-General David Parker said the review of the operation of the COVID-19 specific law would be reported back to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand condemns shocking attacks on hospital and funeral in Afghanistan
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand condemns the targeting of civilians in two terrorist attacks in Afghanistan earlier this week. “The terrorist attacks on a hospital in Kabul and a funeral in Nangarhar province are deeply shocking. The attacks were deliberate and heinous acts of extreme violence targeting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to close tobacco tax loophole
    The Government will close a loophole that allowed some people to import cigarettes and loose leaf tobacco for manufacturing cigarettes and ‘roll your owns’ for sale on the black market without excise tax being paid, says Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. The legislation, which doesn’t affect duty free allowances for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • $62 million package to support families through the Family Court
    The Coalition Government has made a significant $62 million investment from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to start the reform of the Family Court and enable it to respond effectively to the increased backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Today Justice Minister Andrew Little introduced the Family Court (Supporting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tailored help supports new type of job seeker – report
    The Government’s expanded services to support people into jobs will help an emerging cohort of New Zealanders impacted by COVID-19. The impacted group are relatively younger, have a proportionately low benefit history and have comparatively higher incomes than most who seek support, as captured in a report published today from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • A modern approach to night classes
    New funding to boost Government-funded Adult and Community Education (ACE) will give more than 11,000 New Zealanders more opportunities to learn, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This includes a modern approach to rebuilding night classes, which were slashed in the middle of our last economic crisis in 2010,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago