Lessons from the ’30s and 40’s: culture and the left

Written By: - Date published: 2:05 pm, November 10th, 2014 - 70 comments
Categories: broadcasting, capitalism, cartoons, democratic participation, film, greens, labour, Left, news, telecommunications, tv, workers' rights - Tags:

Many of us on the Standard, look back the the first Labour Government (1935-49) as the basis for locating core left wing values, and a political way forward for the left.  In doing this we tend to focus on the policies and legislation that resulted in a massive restructuring of the NZ the economy, the workplace, welfare and housing.  We tend to overlook the accompanying moves to intervene and reconstruct cultural production and its reception by the general public.

Micky Savage crowd

Wikipedia lays out the policies and legislation of the First NZ Labour Government. This includes measures aimed at improving industrial relations, wages, industrial relations, wage increases, working conditions and hours, introduction of state housing, public works, changes to the economy, health service, welfare and education.

Under “education” are listed these provisions, that focused on “culture” in the broadest sense: activities that influenced people’s understanding of every aspect of life, and that are necessary for an informed public to take an active part in democratic processes:

  • A Literary Fund was established in 1946 to subsidise the arts[4] and to assist writers.[5]
  • […]
  • Broadcasts to schoolchildren were extended.[5] 
  • […]
  • A Country Library Service was established (1938) 
  • […]
  • The establishment of the Library Centre and National Library Service 
  • […]
  • The writing of historical books was commissioned (1940) to celebrate New Zealand’s centenary.[5]
  • State support was provided for music, literature, drama, ballet, and the plastic arts, while grants were introduced for students of these fields who wished to undertake further study.[5]
  • […]
  • Social studies, music, and art were included in the secondary school curriculum.[3]
  • […]
  • A National Orchestra was established.[5]

Alongside these initiatives from the Government, was a broader movement of left-wing intellectuals and activists.  This informed and influenced the Labour Government of the time.  In turn, the broader cultural left was informed by events and left wing activities in Britain, Europe and the US.  [see the Introduction to Rachel Barrowman’s 1991 book, Popular Vision: The arts and the left in new Zealand 1930-1950]

The intellectuals and artists included literary people like R.A.K. Mason, Denis Glover, Alan Curnow, Frank Sargeson.  There were lively contemporary analyses and debates in journals and periodicals like the left wing journal Tomorrow, and the Phoenix literary journal.

Both the Labour Government, and the broader left were aware of the impact of popular culture on the wider public.  The popular culture of the time included popular music, movies and comics. The broader left tended to have a fairly patronising attitude to the working classes, and/or the “masses”. They tended to see the “masses” as being brainwashed with capitalist propaganda, particularly that coming from the US.  The rising Hollywood movie system was seen as a degraded form of culture, peddling capitalist propaganda, and having particular appeal to the working classes.

The Government’s solution included state controlled radio (The New Zealand Broadcasting Service 1936-1962), as well as state intervention in the censorship of film, the setting up of the National Film Library (1942), and some of the other provisions included in education policies. PM Michael Savage considered the Broadcasting Service to be so important that he made himself Minister of Broadcasting.

The broader left in the 1930s were impressed by the state interventions by the German Government in popular culture, like film production and distribution.  Prior to Second World War, many on the left were unaware of the dangers of government control of popular communications, media and culture.

The new right in the Western world, since the 1980s, have become increasingly sophisticated in its manipulative influences, which make maximum use of modern commercial systems of communication and media.  They tend to use more covert manipulations, and Dirty (two-track) Politics, rather than direct state control.

newscorp harmful if swallowed

The left of the 21st century, is pretty much aware of this, and thus tends to advocate for a reconfigured public service media, that is supported by, but not controlled by, the state.  Such a public service media would  contrast with the corporate media, be organised in the public interest, and have a direct engagement with communities at the flax roots. This should include the core public service aims to entertain, inform and educate.

Both Labour and the Greens have comprehensive broadcasting policies.  These also need to be extended into the realms of digital media, on and offline, and include both factual content as well as more fictional popular culture. It would need to be done in such a way as to prevent the corrupting and undemocratic influence of the government, state authorities, and corporate or other powerful vested interests.

media-democracy-logo

 

70 comments on “Lessons from the ’30s and 40’s: culture and the left”

  1. Ad 1

    Any suggestions Karol on how to do this? Get ready for tinfoil-hatted slippery slope arguments about the inevitability of totoalitarian messaging.

    Recall Marianne Hobbs in the Clark government tried to impo a Charter on TVNZ, and it was an abysmal failure.

    Can either the Greens or Labour harness the digital activists as a shared network? Not so far. I think the blogosphere is now better suited to reviving a bit of democracy than the MSM will now ever be.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1.1

      I think the blogosphere is now better suited to reviving a bit of democracy than the MSM will now ever be.

      Must disagree. This is a funny little world and most people still pay it no attention.

      • RedLogixFormes 1.1.1

        I disagree.

        While it’s true TS is a small corner of the net – a whole generation of kidz are growing up connected and completely engaged with social media.

        Now while it’s also true that this generation is pretty apolitical at the moment – that may not always remain so.

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1.1.1.1

          They are engaged in social media but not political social media? How will that “revive” democracy?

          • RedLogixFormes 1.1.1.1.1

            Most young people never get engaged in politics. They have bigger priorities in life – defining themselves, finding a mate, sorting career and income, starting families or just having fun.

            Eventually a portion of them will become politically engaged at some later point in their adult lives. And social media will be the tool they turn to.

          • karol 1.1.1.1.2

            My post is about a broad public interest medi, that includes more than news and politics – that includes entertainment and cultural critique.

            The First Labour Government had cultural policies that went beyond the news and politics, to arts, culture and popular culture.

            There were concerns about the way Hollywood films were peddling US capitalist propaganda.

            Journals like Tomorrow, critiqued politics and culture – and tended to treat them as intertwined.

            The idea of the First Labour Government was state sponsored arts and culture, plus public broadcasting and promotion of “quality” films and entertainment.

            Today, the closest we have to that is RNZ and Maori TV – and the key Government seems to be gradually increasing its influence of both.

            I checked some stats.

            Weekly audience for RNZ National = 503,000

            And there’s this:

            Morning Report 374,000 listeners
            Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan 247,000
            Afternoons 247,000
            Checkpoint 225,000
            Nights with Bryan Crump 174,000
            Saturday Morning with Kim Hill 215,000
            Sunday Morning 192,000

            Compare that with the Sept 2014 monthly blog stats.

            For MR that’s 1496,000 per month approx

            For MR + 9-2Noon + Afternoons + Checkpoint + Sat & Sun Mornings = 6,000,000 per month approx.

            Rank Blog —– Visits/month —–Page Views/month
            1 WO ——————– 3716364 ——— ————-5309045
            2 Kiwiblog ————–695190 ————————-1093806
            3 The Daily BloG ——504304 ————————-813779
            4 The Standard ——–429438 ———————868342

            TVNZ7 got a smaller share of viewers – assessed at being 207,000 viewers per week. that’s about 828,000 per month.

      • lprent 1.1.2

        FFS *most* people pay little attention to the news. Perhaps you should qualify your statement just a tad.

        You mean except for the kiwi politicians, their gophers, the younger party members of the left, and much of the political media who seem to know all about it. When I’m talking to most of those people I usually get chapter and verse about how we should change the way we operate.

        Of course most people don’t pay attention to it…. You are raising an impossible strawman goal, one that the TV news and the largest newspapers in NZ fail to meet.

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1.1.2.1

          Have you done that thing where you come in half ay through, lprent? RedLogixFormes’ point was the blogosphere is better suited to reviving democracy than the MSM. It is a direct comparison. So if your point is no-one listens to the news in any form, that’s not really helping.

          • lprent 1.1.2.1.1

            So if your point is no-one listens to the news in any form, that’s not really helping.

            So you just deliberately lied about what I said. What I said was “most” not “no-one”.

            This is a funny little world and most people still pay it no attention.

            I was referring to your gormless stupidity in using something as imprecise as “most”, when by any objective measure exactly the same applies to all media.

            I’d normally have a go at your stupidity. However my alter-ego has already handed out a ban for you doing a blatant diversion at the top of this post.

      • Tracey 1.1.3

        except for the tv news and newspapers who use people like slater and farrar as sources… and thereby bring their lies and smears and deceptions to about a million a day masquerading as fact…

    • karol 1.2

      I would include the blogosphere in the digital media of today, that would be covered.

      I would rather have diverse community reps on the boards of public service media, than government-led appointments.

      Hobbs’ Charter was a half-hearted effort, that tried to compromise between a TVNZ as commercial and public service organisation.

  2. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2

    organised in the public interest

    Who decides this, and can we send him or her to Chile right now?

  3. Ad 3

    Karol, If you were feeling particularly gung-ho and socialist, what would your Christmas list be to add or replace some of these efforts:

    •A Literary Fund was established in 1946 to subsidise the arts[4] and to assist writers.[5]
    •[…]
    •Broadcasts to schoolchildren were extended.[5]
    •[…]
    •A Country Library Service was established (1938)
    •[…]
    •The establishment of the Library Centre and National Library Service
    •[…]
    •The writing of historical books was commissioned (1940) to celebrate New Zealand’s centenary.[5]
    •State support was provided for music, literature, drama, ballet, and the plastic arts, while grants were introduced for students of these fields who wished to undertake further study.[5]
    •[…]
    •Social studies, music, and art were included in the secondary school curriculum.[3]
    •[…]

    • karol 3.1

      I actually didn’t include all the cultural measures from the first Labour Govt – it was making the post too long.

      But I would update it to include digital media and online access. I’d also do some of what the Clark Govt did – subsidised more popular culture – music, film & TV making (NZ productions not Hollywood LOtR type stuff).

      And I’d also restructure the control of the likes of Maori TV & RNZ – The Key govt has been gradually getting more of their people in charge. it needs a controlling organisation that is totally separate from govt influence.

      And I’d promote (largely non-commercial) platforms for discussing and critquing popular culture – TV, radio, blogs, online, etc.

      • Murray Rawshark 3.1.1

        That’s one good thing the Clark government did – supported popular culture, as well as science. We can make great little tv programs and films – stuff like Outrageous Fortune and Goodbye Pork Pie, which not many in the world can do. Most of them might have a small market, but they’re ours, unlike that LOTR type stuff. She was much more of a KIwi than the Hawaiian overstayer.

    • karol 3.2

      And I’d return TVNZ7 or something like it, and entrench it so it’s Nat-proof. It is affordable, as Peter Thompson argued when TVNZ7 was axed.

  4. Colonial Rawshark 4

    Encouraging participation and appreciation of the broadest scope of art, literature, history and the performance arts is a must for any left wing movement. Having a true public service broadcaster does play some role in that. But to be something society changing, talented people must be able to make a decent living in these fields.

    That is rarely ever possible nowadays.

  5. RedLogixFormes 5

    @karol.

    Superb OP. Well worth the effort in putting that together.

    • karol 5.1

      Thanks, Red. It relates to some stuff I’ve been reading lately – for me, uncovered some interesting aspects of the 30s & 40s & the left.

      There’s more than one post in my head from this.

      • swordfish 5.1.1

        Yep, interesting stuff, karol. I read Barrowman’s book (and her original thesis) back in the 90s. My grandmother was a long-time member of the Left Book Club. She was involved in a whole range of Labour/Left/socially liberal/Feminist activist groups of one sort or another. All of these books by international Left-leaning writers and academics greatly influenced the thinking of this mid-century generation of campaigners – whether it be Equal Pay, Social Housing, Progressive Town Planning, Penal Reform or whatever.

        I’d take slight issue, though, with the idea that the broad Left “tended to have a fairly patronising attitude to the working classes” and that they “tended to see the “masses” as being brainwashed with capitalist propaganda…..the rising Hollywood movie system was seen as a degraded form of culture, peddling capitalist propaganda, and having particular appeal to the working classes.”

        That sounds more like the patronising, disapproving, finger-wagging, culturally-austere Upper-Middle Class British intellectuals of the Left – key figures like Sydney and Beatrice Webb for instance. It doesn’t sound like New Zealand Labour Party politicians and activists – most of whom were (or had emerged from) the skilled and unskilled working class and were pretty down-to-earth. Some of the mid-Century artists and writers, of course, may have been a different kettle of fish. Certainly my grandmother and her friends and family always greatly enjoyed American, British and Australian popular culture (albeit in a discerning way, mind you).

        I’d also mention the fundamental importance of the National Film Unit in contesting the views of the Right-leaning Press.

        And, on a related note, don’t forget the cultural importance of some of the more progressive/radical/internationalist Unions like the Watersiders. The Wharfies’ Debating Club started in Wellington during the Second World War (and probably in Auckland and other port cities around New Zealand). They organised proper, formal debates on politics and culture, often inviting guest speakers to debate with them. Guests, for instance, included National Party politicians (this is both in the years before and after the ‘Big Blue’ of 51). These were really dynamic affairs and they sometimes attracted quite large audiences (my grandmother, mother, aunts and uncles would occasionally go along – particularly if there were high-profile or compelling speakers).

        And last, I’ll mention the Art Deco buildings built by the First Labour Government in Wellington and elsewhere specifically to house new Government Departments. Apart from the post-quake Napier rebuild, New Zealanders had only ever seen Art Deco in American movies and they considered them highly attractive and ultra-modern, especially the interiors with their rounded corners and pastel colours. Suddenly in the later 30s and 40s, we started having our own built and it caused quite a sensation. The Griffins Biscuit Factory out in the Hutt Valley was an exemplar (and what particularly impressed my grandmother was that it also included a pre-school crèche for the staff’s children). All very progressive.

        • karol 5.1.1.1

          Thanks, swordfish. Yes, I remembered a while after I published the post, that I had left out the National Film Unit. I will mention it in a future post.

          I may have been too sweeping about the patronising attitudes of the broader left. I was thinking particularly of some of the writings in Tomorrow – and that did include a load of left wing intellectuals, poets, artists, etc. So possibly I should say the intellectual and artistic left – a lot of those poets, novelists, artists, etc, were strongly influenced by the classical culture of Britain and Europe – so tended to be a bit condescending to the new media, communications and popular culture of their time – especially that coming from the US.

          My grandparents from working class backgrounds in Scotland, gave talks at places like the WEA. They also tended to favour the older forms of creativity: literature, poetry and art, over the newer forms like film and comics, etc.

          But I do think some of the intellectual left of the time provide a cautionary tale about being too dismissive of people who consume some of the more populist, popular culture today. Sometimes, for instance, movies and songs that promote the dominant ideals of the land of the free and the home of the brave, can inspire some people to be more politically active and critical.

          I do think it is partly about how discerning people are about popular culture.

  6. The lost sheep 6

    “The broader left tended to have a fairly patronising attitude to the working classes, and/or the “masses”. They tended to see the “masses” as being brainwashed with capitalist propaganda…”

    Some things haven’t changed then.
    Current left wing blogs are absolutely awash with the attitude that the ‘average’ NZ’er only votes Right because they have been ‘brainwashed’ by the ‘MSM’.
    And the further left you go, the more dismissive and patronising the comments…

    Yup, treating people like idiots and dismissing their intellectual Independence is a sure fire way to get them back on your side!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      There isn’t any nice way to put it: low IQ predicts for right wing political beliefs, so it’s not so much that I believe wingnuts are stupid, as that I’ve seen the evidence with my own eyes.

      Of course, I am not the NZLP or The Green Party, and you will struggle to find any statement from them that says anything of the sort.

      Speaking of patronising, sneering, smearing and dismissive, have you met our resident right wing commenters?

    • Tracey 6.2

      ever wondered why companies spend billions annually on advertising if it doesnt sway people subconsciously and or consciously? the right employ similar strategies and tactics.

      🙄

      • The lost sheep 6.2.1

        And the Left don’t?

        • Colonial Rawshark 6.2.1.1

          Your comment marks you as a disingenuous, thoughtless troll. Nevertheless, I will answer it.

          Corporations and oligarchs control the flow of trillions of dollars of financial assets and monies.

          The Left has nothing in comparison. Ordinary people just trying to get by day to day. Ordinary people who do not control banks, who do not control media corporations, who do not control legislators. What the Left does have has been systematically destroyed through co-ordinated and very successful austerity and union-busting efforts of the right wing.

          • Tracey 6.2.1.1.1

            yup, the unsubstantiated “but the left do it too” line, unusual in the intellectually independant.

          • The lost sheep 6.2.1.1.2

            “Your comment marks you as a disingenuous, thoughtless troll.’

            Er, really?
            I thought I was merely stating the obvious – that all sides in modern politics are using all the available avenues to reach and influence the voting public.
            It would actually be quite stupid not to? To know where the opposition was gaining an advantage and not attempt to compete in that area?

            But isn’t there another little logic link missing here? The assumption that you can successfully sway the voting public through spending money?
            How did that work for Craig and Hone and Kim?

            I come from the middle ground, and have voted Left most of my life, and so let me assure you that we retain our critical faculties and intellectual independence. I can also tell you that among the large number of people I know who are naturally left leaning but have voted National this time round, there was no especial zeal for the Nats.
            The real issue was a disquiet about the state of the Left.

            The increasingly loud note of conspiracy theory thinking on the Left, (as nicely displayed in this posts’ comments), is certainly a major factor in the rejection of the Left by the middle ground.

            You’ll laugh, oh and sneer, but here’s an alternative narrative.

            Most NZ’ers are reasonably well educated people who have a critical faculty and a mind of their own.
            At this time a significant % that used to vote Left no longer do.

            Maybe the Left should stop sneering and start listening?

            • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.1.2.1

              The assumption that you can successfully sway the voting public through spending money?

              Not an assumption.

              I come from the middle ground, and have voted Left most of my life, and so let me assure you that we retain our critical faculties and intellectual independence.

              You probably need to read what Puddleglum said.

              Most NZ’ers are reasonably well educated people who have a critical faculty and a mind of their own.
              At this time a significant % that used to vote Left no longer do.

              Voting National would indicate the complete lack of critical faculties. If they had critical faculties then they would never, ever vote National as National does nothing but lie and they failed to pick up on those lies despite the fact that they’re well documented.

        • Tracey 6.2.1.2

          well john key apparently pays crosby textor ten grand each time he needs that kind of advice. i know the greens dont have that kind of money.

          so my answer is yes, the left dont. go read dirty politics unless your mind is completely closed and you are scared of intellectual independence. peter dunne was so scared of intellectual independence he refused to read it and its evidence.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.2

        Yep, advertising actually needs to be banned because it’s pure psychopathic manipulation of the populace.

    • karol 6.3

      Well, there is no doubt that the corporate world, and many on the right wing of politics, use very sophisticated politics of deception.

      But, I also think the left should not under-estimate the ability of the general public to be critical of the media, if they are given the information in a way that cuts through, or goes around the media spin.

      I also think some popular culture is Hollywood & US propaganda, but there is other stuff that is critical of the status quote – music, films, TV programmes, online videos, etc.

      The aim of a left wing policy on culture and the media, should be to provide a diversity of views and productions, and stimulating open enquiry.

      John Key’s government has been doing everything to closed down the options – close TVNZ7, pricing community TV channels out of the freeview platform, turning the screws on RNZ and Maori TV, making it harder for working people to be critical of the employers and the government, etc. And WO & KB had a role in some of that.

      • Tracey 6.3.1

        and currently when you speak to nat voters about why they voted that way they tend to repeat all the oft repeated, often deceptive smartly rehearsed lines used by key et al and regurgitated by msm… and, presumably to their friends and colleagues.

        • karol 6.3.1.1

          And the things friends and colleagues say can influence how critically we look at the mainstream media. Word of mouth is important.

          • Colonial Rawshark 6.3.1.1.1

            Successful propaganda propagates itself. Usually via the specific people in social circles who have more sway or standing. And people want to be seen and heard to be ‘in tune’ and ‘up to date’ with the prevailing political and economic sensibilities, as described via the MSM.

            • karol 6.3.1.1.1.1

              I guess that’s why some political parties go for celebrity endorsements.

              Back in the 30s and 40s influential artists, poets and novelists were writing for the left wing journal Tomorrrow.

              I guess the equivalent today would be an NZ left wing blog which has among its authors, Don McGlashan, Eleanor Catton, Anika Moa, King Kapisi, Robyn Malcolm, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Toa Fraser…etc.

      • Chooky 6.3.2

        +100…”John Key’s government has been doing everything to close down the options”…make NZ a closed society

  7. Chooky 7

    +100 Great Post karol…thanks…a reminder of a more socialist and idealistic New Zealand…a society that was more caring for everyone within it

  8. Ecosse_Maidy 8

    A reminder of a more socialist and idealistic New Zealand…A society that was more caring for everyone within it….tis to be applauded. ok dokey in the 30s and 40s all sorts of media was in its infancy and that a True Labour Socialist govt didn’t manage to nail it all in respect of cultural issues/arts/media etc etc could be forgiven.
    However given what the 1930’s 40’s Socialist Labour achieved a wee blotch in respect of cultural issues is regretable.
    So from the Flax Roots up I have a suggestion for you, If you wish to learn from history, Join True Labour and some of your points and criticisms, can be put right in due course.

  9. Chooky 9

    …who is “True Labour” ?….Mana/Int or the Greens …or both?

  10. Ecosse_Maidy 10

    True Labour is Labour minus the Greens and other parties ( no disrespect to the other parties)
    …It exemplifies Labour in is purest form not undiluted .not New Labour..It is what Labour should always stand for..the People in this nation..not the few but all and is what Labour should be concentrating on right now

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Incorrect. Labour hasn’t been True Labour for thirty years.

      The real problem though is that even Labour is, and always has been, a capitalist party and capitalism just doesn’t work.

      • Chooky 10.1.1

        DTB +100….although imo…capitalism can possibly work in Scandinavian countries but with the lasisez faire cronyist brand severely shackled by the State

        …and with high corporate and wealth taxes and also high State social welfare spending

        • chris73 10.1.1.1

          Bollix

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_rankings_of_New_Zealand

          Much as you lefties don’t want to admit it NZ is doing well and will continue to do better

          Could we be doing better well certainly but the party to deliver that is the party in power

          • Paul 10.1.1.1.1

            Ignore the tr***

            • chris73 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh I’m sorry, is pointing out (with links) that NZ is not doing anywhere near as bad as posters on here say now considered trolling?

              • BassGuy

                Tell you what, when I’ve worked five hours without a break for minimum wage this coming Wednesday, you try and convince me that I am better off under National.

                There’s always Wednesday next week, when I’ll have worked seven hours, again without a break.

                But why wait? Do it now. Try and explain to me how working shifts without a break for a pathetic wage is beneficial for me. Go on.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Here’s the point that you seem to be missing: NZ is doing as bad as we expected. The ‘Rockstar’ economy is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

              • framu

                who wrote that wiki?

                while wikipedia is a good starting point you would be somewhat foolish to claim it as 100% robust and honest truth.

                and chirs – ahem, right at the top of the damn page

                “This article is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (February 2011)”

                nice try champ but you should have read your own link first

          • miravox 10.1.1.1.2

            Income Equality – 54th most equal, at 36.2 (Gini Index) and
            Unemployment rate – 48th lowest (and the 4% quoted is just plain wrong ) bother me a lot and I reckon they’re related to:

            Economic Freedom – 4th freest, at 82.1 and
            Ease Of Doing Business Index, ranked 3rd overall in 2013 out of 185 countries, 1st in the sub-categories of Starting a Business and Protecting Investors.

            And as for literacy rates…

            While the rest of the world’s literacy rates have been improving, New Zealand’s have flatlined for more than a decade, education experts say.

      • Ecosse_Maidy 10.1.2

        Well that’s the point isn’t it Draco?..Thank you for making it for me..I want the Labour Party to represent its core values like it did, back in the day.They weren’t wrong then and they aren’t wrong now..

    • greywarshark 10.2

      I hate purists. They will carry on refining and cleansing until there is nothing left – or just a homeopathic remedy.

  11. Aerobubble 11

    Its the economy stupid. The amount of complexity for the economy is directly proportional to the energy inputs. Also the economy gets stuck, like the wharfs in the 30s and 40s. Technology came along and undermined the bargaining power of wharfies. So what can be learned. Well we are currently stuck, over paying executives. Just like the wharfies of the past they have a market advantage. Some say we don’t have enough nurses, we have an oversupply, this is why we don’t pay them enough. This misses the point, given Ebola, where nurses are asked to put their lives on the line, they get more pay as the job changed. Deregulation pushes up CEO pay because you have to pay more to keep them honest… …or have greater oversight of companies, more transparency. Strong unions therefore come about from legislating, or not, the society, in the 30 and 40s technology broke union power. Now the left needs to break CEO power.

  12. Gosman 12

    If you wish to beef up public service broadcasting you will need to make a better case than just ‘ It is to counter the influence of the right leaning corporate controlled private media’. This is because you will likely require Taxpayers funds to support it and much of these funds will be sourced from people who are likely to be voting for right leaning parties. They will not look favourably to taxpayers money being used to support what they perceive to be left wing propaganda. Hence you need to convince enough people on the left and on the right that public broadcasting will not be politicised.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      I figure quality broadcasting without adverts would probably do it.

    • karol 12.2

      I certainly would like public service media to be politically neutral, and stated that in my post. I do not want government appointed or government friendly people appointed to senior positions in public broadcasting, the way it has been happening under Key’s watch.

      This means that public service media needs to have a structure whereby people are appointed to senior positions from diverse community roles are seen to be disconnected from government. And this means transparent processes of appointment and management.

      There are various funding models as outlined by Peter Thompson.

      The first would entail rebalancing the asymmetrical relationship between the pay-tv sector and the free-to-air sector by the introduction of ‘must-carry-must-pay’ rules. This would require pay-tv providers to carry free-to-air channels and pay a modest retransmission licence fee. This would redress the current set-up whereby Sky pays nothing for carrying FTA channels, even though their absence would detract significantly from the appeal of its own platforms.
      […]
      The other key funding option is the introduction of a marginal levy on all subscription service media, including pay television, telecommunications, telephone and internet services. A 1% levy on all these services could raise, at a conservative estimate, around $50-60m per year.

      That would be sufficient to save TVNZ7 twice over and still put additional funding into Radio RZ, NZ on Air’s platinum fund, Maori Television, or community radio. It could also be used to support regulatory services such as the Broadcasting Standards Authority, Office of Film & Literature Classification, and the Telecommunication Commissioner. Alternatively, such a levy could support a new stand-alone public service television channel to take up TVNZ7’s place in the media ecology.

      • Ecosse_Maidy 12.2.1

        You’re not going to get them fulfilled by waiting for a green administration or influence.
        Why not send of your suggestions/criticisms to Bryan Gould whom is part of TVcak….maybe he can include your thoughts in his enquiry that he’s conducting on the results of the last election..where no doubt he’s looking into media and any bias they may have…orrrr..perhaps you’d like to drop a line to NZ on air or the BSA?
        Yet if u sent your suggestions to him or others to actually do something, you would have to stand by them, outside of the standard on a wider platform.Your choice.
        Yes you would have to stand by your suggestions and take ownership and responsibility of them. I look forward to you sending them to Gould or another T.V execs.
        I am sure they would love to hear your suggestions.

        • karol 12.2.1.1

          These suggestions have already been submitted to campaigns into broadcasting. Labour MPs have also looked into it. These aren’t originally my suggestions.

          I learned from other campaigners, and from Peter Thompson of Vic Uni. He is pretty much the NZ expert on public broadcasting, and is also involved with the Coalition For Better Broadcasting.

          CfBB people.

          I have been supporting them for a long time – have added my voice/printed words to various campaigns – have given the donations, etc.
          Went to a media debate they organised during the election, which had reps from the main parties – Internet-Mana, Labour, Nats, Greens, NZF, etc.

          There were better informed people than me there providing their views to the MPs/candidates.

          I’m just letting some people here know a bit of what’s happening and some of the background.

          Both Labour and the Greens have fairly strong and detailed broadcasting policies.

    • karol 12.3

      And see here for various ways to ensure there is no political interference in public service media. Putting various, and if necessary, mulitple buffers between the broadcaster and the government:

      http://global.asc.upenn.edu/fileLibrary/PDFs/PSB_in_Transition.pdf

      Examples given from public broadcasting places liek Aussie, Canada, France.

      Managers reporting to board in detail. board reports to govt dept in general. Having an independent watch body who the managers also report to in detail – transparency all round.

      And possibly an ombudsman that the public can complain to or raise questions with.

      It’s also a myth that there is no political interference in the commercial media. And that kind of influence is most often far from transparent.

  13. DS 13

    The other thing about the First Labour Government: this strategy was consciously trying to get around the problem that the newspapers (the major source of news at the time) were universally right-wing.

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