Media Watch: infotainment & “balance” – inequality

Written By: - Date published: 10:01 am, January 30th, 2014 - 53 comments
Categories: babies, capitalism, child welfare, class war, cost of living, david cunliffe, david shearer, education, election 2014, greens, labour, news, same old national, welfare - Tags: ,

The infotainment, ratings/sales driven basis of our news media, results in the skewing of political news in various ways: whether or not such skewing is intentional.  One of the things the MSM does with this “neoliberal”-supporting approach to news, is to focus on human interest stories.  Following the party leaders State of the Nation speeches, inequality is currently the main focus.

labour-education-inequality

So, in an apparent attempt at “balanced” coverage of the Labour Party’s Best Start policy, Simon Collins has compared the responses of two couples to the policy: article entitled ‘Labour’s baby bonus: a waste or a boon’.  Simon Collins has written a lot of well considered, fair, and knowledgeable articles about social policies.  However, this one provides a comparison, that while stark, skews the playing field in some unstated ways.

It looks like this is an attempt to compare a relatively high income couple with a couple on a low income, both with young children. The article doesn’t claim the two couples are representative of others in the same income brackets. Nevertheless, in the current context where the income inequality gap is center stage, they will most likely be understood as representative of all the “haves” and “have nots”.

However, neither couple is truly representative of either end of the income inequality spectrum.

The female half of the high earning couple is far from representative, although she may be representative of some of the 1%er  wannabes: Jane Siloway Smith is a high earning woman in an economy where the average female income is lower than that for the average male; and she works for the right wing, anti-welfare think tank, the Maxim Institute. The last two posts on the Maxim’s website blog are:

20-01-014: Jeremy Vargo praising National’s (alleged) education policy, as mentioned in John Key’s State of the Nation speech last week.

24-01-14: Jane Siloway Smith giving praise to some minor statement from David Shearer – a long with a backhander to Labour.  Ignoring Labour and the Greens’ SON speeches, Siloway Smith focuses on Shearer’s private members Bill aiming to feed children in schools.  Siloway Smith refers to an op ed by David Shearer of 20 January 2014.  She claims Shearer is doing a major U Turn with respect to his Bill. Siloway Smith claims that this means Shearer is agreeing with her that welfare is a bad thing. Shearer is NOT arguing against such welfare, but is saying this needs to be coupled with policies aimed at ending poverty in the long term.

In his op ed, Shearer says that his Bill is a start, but that he also wants to include some provisions aiming for long term self sufficiency.  This will include education on nutrition and the acquisition of practical  gardening skills.

Back to Simon Collins’ article.

Dr Jane Silloway Smith, research manager at the conservative Maxim Institute, and her scientist husband Dr Bryan Smith between them earn just under the $150,000 threshold that Labour has set for its proposed child payment for the first year after a new baby is born.

The Smiths, who came here from the United States in 2008, say they would be grateful for the extra $60 a week, but they could do without it.

Not suprisingly, given Siloway Smith’s views on welfare, she is opposed to Labour’s Best Start policy (though supports Paid Parental Leave).  In the course of her comments she manages to get a few words in praising the fact that the economy is (supposedly) heading in the right direction.

There is a quote from Ardern saying that, if this couple is opposed to the Best Start payment, they don’t have to apply for it.

The second couple are are both of the middle class and part of the precariat: Dr Barnett has been made redundant from lecturing at UNITEC, and her partner, Francois Byamana, is an actor and musician.  This couple, though well qualified and with skills and experience, are sometimes in need of social security payments.

The article does, however, show that they are huge differences in lifestyles in New Zealand, and describes the realities of low income living. However, it focuses on the struggles of a couple with more options than many who live on low incomes for long periods.

On the other hand, Bryce Edward’s Wednesday round up of articles and blog posts on the inequality, election focused debates, does give a pretty full coverage of the range of arguments.  The round up ends with reference to Greg Presland’s “pushback” against the criticisms of Labour in two Standard posts.

David Cunliffe state of the nation

These are among two articles, that show that Labour (and to a lesser extent, The Greens), have so far set the agenda for this year’s election.

Turei children

The Maxim blogs in contrast, are doing their best to ignore this as Key tries desperately to regain his momentum through some flag waving.

Meanwhile, the majority of potential voters are more likely to read Collins’ article; that’s if they don’t just watch the even more highly infotainment skewed coverage of the 6pm TV news.

 

 

53 comments on “Media Watch: infotainment & “balance” – inequality”

  1. Molly 1

    A couple of thoughts looking at the article.

    The framing, style and background of the photos reinforces the tone of the article.

    Despite the broad mention of income for the first couple, the second couple provides more detail on where the money is spent including $445 for rent. Would it have been too much for the journalist to ask the same detail of the Smiths?

    Auckland housing is notoriously expensive – if you are mortgage free – then you have quite a substantial cushion against financial woes. If you have the use of a company car, or access to Airpoints from business travel – these too provide benefits unavailable to many wage earners.

    “She has a second baby due in April and plans to take six months off this time – 14 weeks on taxpayer-funded paid parental leave, part of the remaining time on leave paid by Maxim, and several weeks unpaid.

    Dr Silloway Smith supports paid parental leave, but she said the Government had a limited budget and giving her family $60 a week would be “a waste of money”.

    Dr Smith benefits from a generous employer – and doesn’t consider their extra maternity leave payments a waste of money for them – even though maternity and early childhood care are not part of their mission. However, she applies this description to our government – where it is one of their core functions.

    Also, working for this think tank – as a research manager – you would assume that she would know that policy works in broad brushstrokes and will always have those on the fringe who are included or miss out.

    • newsense 1.1

      Surely the equivalent in the US is a bit like asking Karl Rove if he is going to get anything out of Obamacare?

      not sure if Baby bonus is bs it has been popular in Aussie…

  2. Bill 2

    Nice one. Also maybe worth pointing out the use of the term ‘dosh’ in the secondary header? Lot’s of connotations to that term. Also…what is it with the headline ‘Baby Bonus’ bullshit? (I know what it is. I’m being rhetorical)

    • geoff 2.1

      It’s a way for them to spin it negatively but also alliteration and that’s what the aussies call their similar system. Except over there, it’s not a dirty word.

    • geoff 2.2

      oops you were being rhetorical, my bad.

  3. just saying 3

    Good points, Karol,

    As a side issue, a quote from David Shearer linked in the post regarding teaching children about vege gardening:

    I want to see parents and communities given the support they need to look after their kids and not simply depend on a government feeding scheme.

    David Shearer is MP for Mt Albert and Labour Party spokesman for Foreign Affairs and Energy and Resources.

    This really pisses me off.
    Does Shearer have any idea how much it costs to set up a functioning food garden?
    How weather/soil/luck dependent the results are?

    The words “feeding programme” annoy me too. I associate “feeding programmes” like “breeding programmes”, with livestock. If people don’t have the resources to buy nutritious food*, we need to provide adequate resources. Does Shearer have any idea how much land, resources, and expertise is required to provide adequate nutrition for a family? – plonker.

    This smacks of victim-blaming to me.

    *Benefit levels were deliberately set below amounts needed to meet adequate levels of nutrition. This was supposed to “incentivise” work.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      NB “Feeding Programmes” are exactly what he helped to organise and manage at the UN.

      Does Shearer have any idea how much land, resources, and expertise is required to provide adequate nutrition for a family? – plonker.

      Thinking of it – he very well might – but hasn’t thought it through.

      I doubt that he’s proposing clearing acres of land in the middle of Auckland suburbs for this. Which is what it would need.

    • Bill 3.2

      Absolutely agree with your comment about set up costs. Took me a long time.

      Not proposed as a complete solution, but what about school gardens? Perhaps a possible component of the Green Party’s school hubs?

      I’m thinking they could be much more accessible than community gardens that often require using a car to get to and the necessary social/community connections already exist to some extent or other in a school context.

      • just saying 3.2.1

        I’m aware that this is a tangent and Karol might want to move this to open-mike.

        Most primary schools have a rudimentary vege garden, and a couple of the community gardens locally, (bigger and worked by community volunteers) are located at schools. However, there is a problem with access in at least some cases. Something about permission to be on school grounds.

        A substantial community garden at each school would be brilliant. It would also be great if food was grown in every park and reserve area. Locals could tend them – fruit and nut trees and berries aren’t necessarily labour intensive. The biggest problem with the community gardens is how few and far between they are (so far).

        Now if Shearer were to talk about significant resources devoted to this kind of thing (without mentioning ‘feeding programmes’ at all)……

        • karol 3.2.1.1

          Not really off topic, js.

          The post is about media coverage of inequality and political parties policies on it. The post included comments on Shearer’s article, which also suggested a way to decrease poverty/inequalities through development of gardens.

          Some good critical comments here on Shearer’s article.

        • Zorr 3.2.1.2

          With regards this, in my local community there is a well maintained community garden at the local library because it is all council owned and anyone is welcome to call past and grab a head of broccoli or similar… depending on what has been having success…

    • JK 3.3

      I agree Just Saying – and to Karol too. Good post. I’ve only just read the Simon Collins article and Herald editorial (sent a comment into both) and was thinking along the same lines, Karol.

      As to poor people growing gardens – like Bill and Just Saying have said – it takes several years, and quite a bit of input with money as well as whatever you can harvest from your presumably bare land – to build up decent vege gardens. We’ve used access to free manure from local farm animals – that’s not a choice for many people living in urban areas.

      We’re in our sixth year of building our vege garden and fruit trees and only now, are starting to reap a benefit from them. We were given the feijoa trees, they’ve been in and well manured for five years, and this is the first year I’ve seen flowers and now fruit forming – so hoping to at last harvest them later this year.

      And a vege garden takes up a lot of day time. If both parents are working, and have to come home to look after kids, cook meals, do the shopping, housework, etc – there’s not much time left over for them to get a decent vege garden going.

      Its patronising for people in authority or in a better financial situation to suggest that those who are poor should just get outside and dig up a vege garden.

  4. Tracey 4

    Isnt meridian running an ad about 1 in 4 kids going without food? I thought poverty couldnt be measured.

    Anyone who thinks the delving into the 60 bucks waS even handed compare with keys 359m education policy… which schools and when. What criteria. Msm didnt chase those answers

  5. Will@Welly 5

    Expect more of this b.s. as we get closer to the election. National are desperate.
    Let’s assume Labour/Greens/Mana do win, then Cunliffe and the Labour Party must make it abundantly clear to those right-wing M.P.’s that their time in Parliament is limited.

  6. SHG (not Colonial Viper) 6

    What does “40,000 Kiwi kids arrive at school every week without food” mean?

    40,000 Kiwi kids only go to school once a week and when they do it’s without food?

    8,000 Kiwi kids go to school 5 times a week and every time they do it’s without food?

    40,000 Kiwi kids have arrived at school without food on one day out of a week?

    At the end of a week we totalled up every time a kid had arrived at school on at least one day without food and the total was 40,000?

    • McFlock 6.1

      seriously? The problem doesn’t need addressing if it’s only 8,000 constantly hungry kids, or if 40,000 kids miss one breakfast a week because of poverty?

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 6.1.1

        Whether or not it’s a problem that needs addressing is not my point. The headline on the campaign document is shit. It’s vague. It needs explaining. Labour fails at communication, episode 956309.

        • McFlock 6.1.1.1

          No, it’s not.
          The only thing that matters is whether thousands of NZ kids are going to school hungry. That is clear whichever way you want to interpret it. 8,000 or 40,000 should not affect whether or not something needs to be done about it.

          But keep pretending the problem doesn’t exist

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 6.1.1.1.1

            Why doesn’t the campaign say that then? Why doesn’t it just say “THOUSANDS OF KIWI KIDS GO TO SCHOOL HUNGRY”?

            Again, Labour can’t communicate a policy to save itself.

            • McFlock 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Because then you’d argue that the problem’s exaggerated, that only hundreds go hungry. Because then you’d criticise the font, or the pic, or the colour palette. Because then you’d do anything else you can think of to avoid addressing the facts presented in the poster.

              I mean, if you genuinely gave a shit you’d have looked up the report cited in the poster, rather than whinging here.

              • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

                Heaven forbid that Labour get some people who can actually communicate effectively.

                • McFlock

                  I think the words you are looking for are Heaven forbid that Labour get some people who can actually communicate so pedantically and exhaustively that every poster it produces takes the format of Das Kapital, for fear that someone going “LALALALA NOT LISTENING” might be able to wilfully miss the point.

                  the current poster does the job for most people who are not intentionally blind.

                  • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

                    The current poster does the job for people who already support Labour’s policy on child welfare and will be voting Labour anyway. It’s preaching to the choir – a choir that for two elections in a row hasn’t been big enough to get Labour into government.

                    What Labour should be doing is making its messages so clear, direct, and unassailably powerful that even someone who WANTS to go “lalalala not listening” has to concede the point. Labour should be crafting and timing its messages to attract people who currently don’t intend to vote for Labour. It should be communicating effectively. But it’s not.

                    I didn’t see Cunliffe’s speech because he gave it on a public holiday, and I was at the beach. So I watched a recording of it, and then I read Labour’s documents, and they said two different things on an important point so I was confused. Then when I wanted to think about it a bit more I didn’t get a chance because I was swamped with work the day after a public holiday. Then I was distracted by Labour announcing that it considered Facebook a paedophile network and would ban it, which is something I consider retarded, so I was less likely to consider Labour a party with sensible policies. Then I saw a Labour poster about hungry children and while I think that’s an important issue my attention was already lost because I wasn’t sure what the heading actually said.

                    All of these things could have been avoided, and they weren’t because Labour can’t communicate for shit.

                    • McFlock

                      The fact that you were not convinced does not mean that the material was only preaching to the choir.

                      Failing to convince people who follow the catechism “if I don’t know exactly how many thousands of children are going hungry each day, I will refuse to acknowledge that there is even a problem” is likewise not the same as “preaching to the choir”.

                      Try drawing a Venn diagram to figure it out.

                    • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

                      If a sensible reader’s first reaction upon reading your headline is “what does that mean?”, then your headline is shit.

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah, but that was your reaction. Don’t go accusing a sensible person of being in that club.

    • PapaMike 6.2

      I have still not received an answer as to what those children do during the school holidays.
      I am aware that in some lower decile schools they are open for breakfast and some supervision, but only a few schools.

  7. Tracey 7

    Youve nailed it. Those are the most important things to sort out before we feed a single child.

  8. gem 8

    ”One of the things the MSM does with this “neoliberal”-supporting approach to news, is to focus on human interest stories.”
    With so-called ‘hip pocket’ issues, the news media always sought out and highlighted people directly affected. It pre-dates neoliberalism.

    To the wider point, I think the prevalence of the human interest angle (and often this means angling the story on the ‘real’ person but having official comment/statistics in the body of the article) is linked with the Rogernomics era overhaul of the public sector.
    It is incredibly difficult for journos to get straightforward answers from government departments because of their defensiveness about disclosing information, and their legions of ‘communications’ operatives acting as gatekeepers.

    It’s another reason we have personality-driven political news coverage; other information sources have virtually been closed down. From reading the Ombudsman’s annual report, the watchdog does not have the resources to investigate all the complaints that are lodged regarding departments and ministerial staff refusing to comply with the Official Information Act.

    Turning government departments into quasi corporate entities, inculcating an odd mix of public and private values, was driven by a de facto bipartisan consensus between Labour and National that the public sector should be run like a business.

    Should the media become activist in changing the system, or should political parties do something to change it?

    • karol 8.1

      Very good comment, gem.

      Also working with the infotainment approach, is the cut backs on experienced journalists. There’s a lot of quite young journalists, without a strong background in many political areas. Furthermore, journolists are given less time for research, and spend a disporportionate amount of time behind their computers or roaming the corridors of political power.

      Simon Collins is one who actually does get out to demos and interviews people there.

      • gem 8.1.1

        You just about need a private income to be a journalist these days, thus for most it’s become a stepping stone to a higher-paid, less stressful job.
        Journalists used to be on par with teachers when it came to pay, as I understand it, but that is no more.
        The consolidation of ownership also saw the axing of evening papers, which generally held left-leaning political views compared with the more pro-establishment morning papers.

  9. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9

    The Maxim Institute is mentioned in Nicky Hagar’s book “The Hollow Men” (2006).

    A collection of some of the mentions:

    Maxim was set up “based on the model of right-wing United States thinktanks.” [Hagar, 2006, p203]

    and was active in supporting Don Brash’s National party (the one that didn’t get in in 2005) – The head of that Institute at the time supported Brash’s divisive Orewa speech publically in The Herald. [Hagar, 2006, p204]

    for another meeting the head of that Institute ” offered ‘to put together a meeting of up to 1000 “flammable”: parents on the North Shore of Auckland’, so Brash could present National’s education policies to a large and sympathetic audience.” [Hagar, 2006, p204]

    ……..
    ….So methinks providing a voxpop of a woman who is one of that group (a group that has been active in electioneering for a previous Nat party – and I would suspect nothing has changed for this election) is hardly ‘a person off the street’ and this choice of TV3’s can hardly be called ‘balanced’ and certainly not politically neutral in any way, shape or form.

    [n.b. I do not consider Karol is attempting to make the point that TV3 is managing balance, I am merely adding some detail for those that hadn’t heard of this ‘Institute’].

    • Tracey 9.1

      Thanks blue

    • gem 9.2

      +1 At least the fact she is a staff member of a right-wing thinktank makes her less credible to the public (the word ”conservative” was used as description in the Herald piece).
      Maxim must have waning influence; surely it could have organised a ”flammable” parent to ring the Herald to volunteer their views who did not have such an obvious link to itself.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.2.1

        @ Gem,

        Yes I agree re at least they introduced her as “research manager at the conservative Maxim Institute”[the exact words] – It did give a lead. I was thinking of adding that point to my comment, so am glad you did!

        I still get concerned about the use of a member of that particular group, however, because had it not been for my having just happened to have picked up “The Hollow Men” last night and recalled the name mentioned in the first chapter of that book – I wouldn’t have known the extent of their involvement with the Nat party and that puts a different slant on the comment she made and the choice to quote her.

        I do agree, though, that at least they mentioned the name of the Institute and that it was conservative.

        • gem 9.2.1.1

          ”I do agree, though, that at least they mentioned the name of the Institute and that it was conservative.” And ideally the story would mention Maxim’s involvement in the 2005 pre-election machinations, because as you said in your original post, some people won’t know what it is.
          The Hollow Men is a great resource, a book every Kiwi should read, and re-read in an election year. Thanks for the page refs.

    • karol 9.3

      Thanks, bl. Some very good background.

      In this case the article was from NZ Herald, not TV3.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.3.1

        Thanks for the correction, my apologies for the error – The Herald not TV3 argh!

        [I had TV3 in my mind having just read Micky Savage’s post, whom mentioned your comment about Maxim and separately mentioned TV3 – have made a similar error before – the mainstream media outlets are all lumped into the same ‘read or watch with severe scepticism’ section of my mind and so I will have to take care not to commit this error again for that reason!]

    • RedBaronCV 9.4

      Assuming they are not returning New Zealander’s how did they manage to emigrate here. Being a RWNJ is probably not on the skill’s shortages list?

  10. Olwyn 10

    This piece from the Herald, while it does allow Cunliffe to clear up misunderstandings around the Best Start policy, is illustrated with not one, but four, unflattering photographs. Four photos of the same subject hardly seem necessary to such a short piece. He is not smiling in any of them, and in one the shadowing lends his face a purplish hue. A subtle addition to “balanced” reporting.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11194159

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 10.1

      +1 The bias in this choice of pictures is shocking

    • Xtasy 10.2

      Simon Collins has been stopped from writing as he used to, because his “paymaster” wants him to “tow the line”, that is behind all this. If he does not tow the line, he will join others on the damned “dole”!

      That is the way power plays in this country, and under Key and Nats more so than under any other government!

      Do as you are told, and you will be “fine”, if you raise issues, hey, we got some “news” for you, it may be worth to rethink, what you just said!

      Make no damned doubt about it, this society is controlled and manipulated with pressure plays 24/7, and as the society has been divided into endless fearsome, mindsome, worried and also mercenary individuals, nobody dares to rock the boat. Nobody dares to even discuss certain things with work mates anymore, as the boss may hear, and then it is “down the road”.

      Yes, they have done a thorough job, the Natzies, and I hear and see it every day. But where is the “guts” that is displayed by some on the rugby fields? Where is the guts of people here to take a solid and firm stand, and to bring about change? I am waiting!

    • mickysavage 10.3

      Aye Olwyn. We should think about a special “The Herald is trying to make David Cunliffe look bad” post and put all of them up.

  11. BM 11

    there will always be haves and have nots food and accommodation is not a human right kids are a life style choice they shouldn’t have them if they cant afford them.

  12. Camryn 12

    I thought Dr Barnett and Mr Byaman were a fairly poor choice to represent those who might need the $60 because she was not laid off. It says she left her job voluntarily to study further. Therefore, if the child was planned, she chose to be studying (and lowering her income) at the time she was having a child. Her desire to extend herself in her field is great, but lecturing Art History is one of the few ways to earn a living with an education in Art History and she was already doing that… her timing in furthering her education was her choice and so it opens up the criticism of the policy that it only makes it easier for people to make personal choices without having to fully appreciate the consequences.

    • Olwyn 12.1

      You are right insofar as they are not minimum wage workers, so are not in the most desperate need. But Best Start, as I understand it, is intended to take the pressure off families, and they too would have benefited from having less pressure on them when their child was born. And you are drawing a long bow in suggesting that their example opens the policy up to the criticism that it encourages ill-considered personal choices. It is quite usual to juggle financial needs, personal development and so on, in order to include a child. We are not automatons. Moreover, Dr Barnett’s PhD makes her more employable in her chosen field, and she is working at the moment.

  13. Anthony Blomfield 13

    John key is a cunt. I’m shamed that I voted once for him.

    • mickysavage 13.1

      I do not suffer from that sense of regret but it is good that you acknowledge it Anthony.

    • gem 13.2

      fair enough. My mother says she won’t vote national this year for the first time in her life.

  14. Xtasy 14

    “One of the things the MSM does with this “neoliberal”-supporting approach to news, is to focus on human interest stories.”

    KAROL, thank you, another good contribution to expose what goes on. Yes, the MSM (mainstream media), they “love” those individual stories. They just love to “personalise” and “individualise” everything, because it is “VERBOTEN” to challenge the main reasons for the malaise, the SYSTEM!

    So they continue to personalise, individualise, trivialise the issues at stake, and because the MSM (being mostly large corporate, or similarly minded “competing” media organisations, even in public hands) does not want to force any issues, or even “bite” the hand that feeds them (advertisers and agencies that do the expensive brainwashing work for them).

    New Zealand is in this regard the same as Australia, the same as Canada, and ultimately the same as the United States of America, as that is where the major influences on our economy, our economic and social realities come from. New Zealand maybe doing great trade with China, Japan, the EU, and others, and be quite a lot dependent on this, but in its “spirit”, tradition and “culture”, it is the US and the UK that have shaped and thus control New Zealand and the people’s psyche here.

    The powerful lobbies behind the media, the payers of the advertising, the lobby groups and major economic participants in this society, they DICTATE, where the journey goes, and what is “allowed”. Make no damned doubt about this!

    That is why we have NO “independent” media, apart from a few blogs catering for a few tens of thousands at best, that is why we have NO democracy. The spin is always favouring the government, and since at least the early to mid 1980s, ALL governments in NZ have been influenced, if not been “determined” (through basically “rigged” elections by manipulated media serving the interests of certain “contenders” and their lobbyists), by forces other than the people who voted.

    When you have a manipulated, poorly or even misinformed public, then you will end up with totally biased, thus irresponsible, and “bought” voters. That is what we are heading for again, with that, what I have observed the last two or three weeks.

    It appears that anything Labour, Cunliffe, the Greens or New Zealand First, let alone Mana or others, say, that is instantly “rubbished”, and anything that “the government” says, it gets taken up with a statement from “officialdom”, and thus with credit and respect.

    Karol and others, I cannot believe, how patient, long suffering and patient so many of New Zealanders are, you are taken for a damned ride again. It is not helpful, this “New Zealand way”, to not speak up, to not protest, to endure, and to somehow sort things out without standing for firm positions and principles. No, that is NOT my way, I fight, I stand for principles, and I will never make rotten, or half rotten deals, with what this government, the rotten media and whosoever tries to promote.

    Having shopped again in todays Auckland supermarket in an inner suburb, where it is push and shove now, like anywhere else in the world, I know, the traditional “New Zealand way” is dead, as that was allowed to happen. Better wake up and start fighting, for the remnants of what this country may still stand for!

    Amen!

  15. tricledrown 15

    Blinkered Mysoginist
    So Natures drive to reproduce should be repressed by poor and uneducated…
    Laws of the jungle only the strongest should be allowed to reproduce what do you suggest forced abortion alah China.
    Compulsory birth control .
    Or just leave children of the poor starving cold sick.
    Remember We Johnny Key he would have been on your eugenics list.

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  • 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 ...
    1 day 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
    1 day 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 ...
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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 ...
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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