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Owning the news agenda

Written By: - Date published: 8:20 am, May 24th, 2015 - 47 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, journalism, Media, spin - Tags: , ,

He who pays the piper calls the tune. If you own the news organisation then you determine the news agenda. Not day by day and piece by piece of course, but generally and powerfully. Most recent example:

Campbell’s crusades irked TV3 bosses

Pike River mine victims’ spokesman shocked coverage might have contributed to axing.

MediaWorks management viewed Campbell Live’s crusading journalism as a liability that stretched audience patience, company sources say.

The show’s ongoing coverage of Pike River, where 29 men died in a 2010 explosion at a West Coast coal mine, was specifically singled out by management as having led to viewer “fatigue”.

The review by management – which concluded on Thursday with host John Campbell leaving the network and the show facing replacement within the next six weeks – also considered Campbell Live over-emphasised charitable fundraising and coverage of the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, GCSB spying and child poverty.

Campbell Live focused on issues that annoyed its bosses at Mediaworks, so out it goes, despite its recent surge to (usually) most popular show. Mediawork’s CEO Mark Weldon happens to be good buddies with John Key – which could of course be a coincidence, but probably isn’t. In short:

…the writing was on the wall as the show was rumoured to be too pink in its persuasion by friends of John Key, high up in the echelons of MediaWorks.

This is consistent with National’s track record in manipulating the media from the top. It happens in the context of many other warnings about control of the media both internationally and in NZ, see:

  • Peter Oborne’s description of The Telegraph scandal,
  • David Fisher on the deterioration of media openness in the public service,
  • Fisher again on being manipulated by National’s dirty politics,
  • and Alistair Thompson on the NZ media’s current bloodbath.

The political right are getting more and more open about controlling the shape and the substance of the media world that we all live in. The political left needs an answer.

UK-media1

47 comments on “Owning the news agenda”

  1. Jenny Kirk 1

    Okay then – it looks like more people need to get behind Scoop NZ News and keep that media outlet afloat so that we all have access to some “leftie” comment and statements and facts.

  2. whateva next? 2

    Bang on Anthony.
    It was only when Murdoch changed his mind about the Tories in the UK, in particular Thatcher, that after 18 (long) years, they were out on their arses, and Blair (godfather to his son btw) was in.
    Same now, the media (and Crosby/Textor, also Ozzies) decide who WE vote in. Amazing, ?revenge for ancestors being sent to the colonies, fair enough.
    Main tactic is turning the left on itself, while the Right slash and burn, as evidenced by the Standard comments post election/budget, and in UK.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32858845

    • DS 2.1

      Murdoch switched to Blair (and Obama) because he realised they were going to win, and he didn’t get where he is today by backing losers. He’s evil, not stupid.

      • mike 2.1.1

        When that bastard dies I plan to sing that perfect song from Wizard of Oz: “Ding Dong the witch is dead, Which old witch? the wicked witch”. Then watch his dysfunctional family tear themselves apart over the dough.

  3. Atiawa 3

    The only answer for the political left is for there to be a strong workers movement. The “lefts” industrial arm has become decimated during the last 25 years to the extent that it’s political wing, when in government is relied upon to enact worker friendly legislation supporting & improving minimum conditions of employment.
    Winning four weeks annual leave, five days sick leave and higher minimum hourly pay rates was the domain of unions and their membership. The fifth Labour government – 1999 – 2008, had fertile ground to put in place worker friendly legislation and although they replaced the Employment Contracts Act with the Employment Relations Act they didn’t overly advance the power of workers on the job. Thousands of workers today now rely upon a government to receive a pay increase.
    Of course that government achieved fine things, as previously mentioned and it is difficult to blame them for legislative change that if enforced gave to all workers a better deal then they enjoyed previously.
    The union movement could have used that period of time ( 1999- 2008 ) to consolidate its position by merging together to form NZ Unions Inc.
    A private sector union and a public sector union is all that is required. They should have an industry focus i.e. a transport union would act in the interests of all workers employed in road transport, rail, aviation & shipping. While a health union, for example covers those in the wider health sector – doctors, nurses, lab workers, receptionists etc, as would an education union industry sector act in the interests of teachers, admin, caretakers, teacher asst’s etc.
    The Labour party and the labour movement can’t act in isolation of each other. They have lost their way and need to find each other again. The left can only compete with the might of the msm by organising on the ground. Thats why it’s called the “struggle”.

    • Colonial Rawshark 3.1

      The only answer for the political left is for there to be a strong workers movement.

      Unions and organised labour will be a part of the answer going forwards. But they are a 20th answer for 20th century times. We need new answers in a networked, deindustrialising, financialised, under employment world.

      Also, it was the unions and their leadership who let down NZ in the 1980s and 1990s when there was still time to stop the neoliberal juggernaut in its tracks. Thank Ken Douglas and his ilk.

      • adam 3.1.1

        Trade unions are not working – there are other models to unionise on.

        • Colonial Rawshark 3.1.1.1

          Indeed. They will be civil society organisations of new types, and many won’t be employment unions.

          • Atiawa 3.1.1.1.1

            Good luck with whatever they are.

            If unions weren’t effective why do right wing governments continue to dilute and undermine their relevance?
            They are the only organisation in the world able to deliver for working people. Sure, they aren’t the perfect answer. But I’ll await your reply to find out what replaces them.

            • Colonial Rawshark 3.1.1.1.1.1

              You need to examine the history of the Great Depression to understand that employment unions were only one of many civil society organisations which forced the US Govt to deliver the New Deal.

              In the US the unions have been complicit in destroying terms and conditions for newer younger workers in order to preserve the privilege of senior workers.

              And it hardly needs to be said – but a lot of people aren’t “working” or “employed” any more.

              • Sacha

                Local examples of some new forms of mass organising are Generation Zero and Action Station, neither based around employment relationships.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  And notice how Grey Power putting the boot in helped remind Labour that trying to cut back on NZ Super was a no-go.

                  • Atiawa

                    Grey Power is just another collective.

                    Maybe we start calling unions Future Grey Power. You know, the same as young Labour or the young Nats or Greens.

  4. Brendon Harre 4

    The cost of setting up ‘media’ due to developments with the internet and social media is at an all time low. Yet kiwis access to quality debate/discussion is also at an all time low. This suits our current government which is not interested in ideas or progress. John Key job is to be the laid back selfie taking public image of a status quo government that only makes changes to reward its mates or to spin and twist the situation to maintain its grip on political power e.g. the compassionate conservative budget.

    The left being the progressive ideas part of the political spectrum need the oxygen of public debate. So this issue is critical for the lefts long term future. I think what the left needs is some centrist websites that do good audio, video and written media where left wing politicians can engage with the public in an intelligent way. This place should also welcome debate from experts in civil society as part of this ‘ideas’ debate. These websites should be accessible from multiple forums -facebook, twitter etc and devices -smartphone, laptop, work computer etc.

    An example might be Julie-Anne Genter on Transportblog

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/05/22/submit-on-mill-rd/

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.1

      The Standard represents a fraction of what is needed in NZ. Yet the Left has not got together to create anything more, yet. A miniscule budget of $500K pa would go a long way to setting up an independent left wing volunteer media, one which also helps to support the activities of Scoop and others.

      • Brendon Harre 4.1.1

        500,000 union members @ $1 a year would give you an annual budget of $500K.

  5. joe90 5

    But.. but.. impartial arbiters of the truth…
    /

    So far in the election campaign, 95% of the columns in the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid the Sun have been anti-Labour. This is a new record for the rightwing paper, long known for virulent attacks against Labour.
    But this paled in comparison to the Daily Telegraph, a respected conservative broadsheet, which sent out a mass email to its readers urging them to vote Conservative and included a link to the Telegraph’s editorial backing the Tories. (The Guardian has endorsed the Labour party.)

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/07/david-axelrod-uk-media-most-partisan-fox-news

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.1

      Which of these newspapers forced Ed Miliband to unveil his Limestone Policy Tombstone days before the election? Or to back the Tories on opposing Scottish independence and then not follow through on its pre-referendum promises to the Scottish people?

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.2

      I mean, Rupert Murdoch has been a major problem for the Left of politics for decades now. And decades on the Left still have zero answer to him? It’s worse than pitiful. Are we all still going to be bitching about how biased and right wing his media is come the 2020’s.

      • joe90 5.2.1

        And decades on the Left still have zero answer to him?

        While consumers of the news continue to be in thrall of free shit I doubt there is an answer CV.

        • Colonial Rawshark 5.2.1.1

          Then we stay stuck in this loop of deriding the Murdoch media decade after decade after decade.

          • Bill 5.2.1.1.1

            Murdoch backed Blair. Murdoch backed the SNP. Murdoch backed the Tories.

            Murdoch then, supports his back pocket. Again, where people drive the narratives, the Murdoch’s of the world lose their influence and are reduced to publishing purile crap in a desperate attempt to increase sales by publishing stuff that the general populace has already moved way beyond.

            I’ll throw the Sun’s backing of the SNP in its Scottish editions as an example. Did they get a bump in sales? I doubt it. Would their backing have had much influence in an electorate where almost all major media (TV and newspaper) backs Labour? Not really. And look at what happened in spite of the otherwise blanket media support for Labour. One MP.

      • whateva next? 5.2.2

        Right wing made sure there are no Woodwards and Bernsteins these days, and sorted any potential ones by getting rid of John Campbell, despite his popularity. Utterly corrupt now.

  6. Sable 6

    The MSM are a lost cause which may prove to be no bad thing if enough people like myself and others defect to sites like this one and those mainstream outlets not influenced by Western neo cons.

  7. Melanie Scott 7

    I presume everyone commenting here has read Nick Davies’ “Hack Attack”. It is an ABC of political, governmental and big business manipulation, control and disruption of journalism that is deemed critical of them. Welcome to the brave new Murdoch world.
    If the UK with its huge population and supposedly wide political spectrum of able, journalists and commentators and it’s long tradition of vigorous political commentary, can be neutered by one multinational outfit, then what hope has little old NZ?

    • Bill 7.1

      England and Wales, not the UK, is neutered. And there’s a reason for that. The general population in England and Wales are still in the position of being mere spectators. That’s not the case for the entire UK.

  8. Bill 8

    You can’t so easily spin and bullshit people who are engaged.

    NZ society needs a conversation that will engage people. AGW would, I believe, engage people. Engaged people formulate political and cultural narratives that can’t be so easily manipulated or controlled.

    Sometimes, it seems, it can take a long time to pick up the most obvious of lyrics even when the record’s stuck…

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      AGW has had prominence for 20 years now. Its a discussion which will keep rolling on but it remains at far too abstract a level to really engage many more people. That will only change if the focus switches to strong proposals for concrete change, project by project.

      • Bill 8.1.1

        Yup. That would be right enough if it was true.

        Thing is, I can’t think of any msm – newspaper, magazine or TV article – from the past 20 years that has been honest about AGW. Today, the Guardian’s hand wringing AGW project is awash with falsehoods and pulled punches…everything’s going to be fine duntyaknow?

        meanwhile, there’s nothing abstract about stacking an atmosphere to deliver +2 degrees C…it fucks up just about everything to one degree or another and is easily explained. There’s the climate/biology etc of about 20 million years ago when the atmosphere was last sitting at around 400 ppm that might give us a heads-up of what thrives in that climate.

        But all we hear is that 2 degrees is do-able and that we have no record of these conditions from the past 800 000 years, implying that maybe 900 000 years ago the conditions we have set up now existed. No-one mentions that ice core samples only go back 800 000 years. No-one mentions the seabed samples from 20 million years ago that record, as far as we’re aware, the last time there was a concentration of atmospheric CO2 sitting at 400ppm.

        We went from denial in the msm to celebrating the North West Passage and grapes being grown in SE England or whatever to Carbon Capture and Storage is on the horizon (it isn’t) and how 2 degrees is a realistic target (it isn’t), all washed down with sensational, sans context, reporting of 1 in 100, 1 in 50 year weather events.

        For the past 20 years AGW has been buried and trivialised.

        If you want ‘abstract’ and shrugged shoulders, then tell people all about peak oil as they fill their tanks with $2 a litre petrol. Or tell them about the impending non-availability of rare metals when those rare metals are oozing from their throw-away computer devices and phones.

        Even if ‘peak’ comes, as it must in an economy predicted on growth, it’s way too late in arriving to impact on anything we’re doing to the climate.

        • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1.1

          It’s easy to explain to people about $2/petrol. Oil is cheap at the moment because the global economy is slow and although demand is low, oil production remains high. But don’t be fooled, that’s just like leaving the taps full on even though the water tank is close to empty.

          But forget about that.

          By concrete change and concrete projects I mean things like the electrification of rail. Free public transport. A popular campaign to ask people to keep using their electronic gadgets until they break before getting another one. Requirements for food to be labelled with ‘food miles.’

          Not comparisons with what climactic conditions were like 800,000 years ago. That’s what I call “abstract.”

          BTW I agree that we’ve long shot past 2 degrees. I won’t see the worst of climate change within my lifetime, but today’s primary school kids are stuffed.

      • weka 8.1.2

        AGW hasn’t had prominence for 20 years. It’s really only in the past 5 or so years that most people accept the reality of it and that it gets regular MSM attention outside of the politics pages and beyond the denier distractions. I think we are at a tipping point now where enough people are concerned that it will spread into the population at large. Bill is right about it being something that can engage people and the time is ripe. Problem is, we don’t have a plan for making that happen. Maybe it will just keep building around social media and MSM coverage.

        • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.2.1

          AGW hasn’t had prominence for 20 years.

          Funny, I remember the hooplah around the Rio Earth Summit well. That was 1992. The Kyoto Protocol was all agreed and signed by 1997. That was headline news.

          So I think 20 years is a fair statement. Time flies, eh.

          • weka 8.1.2.1.1

            Yep, and I know people that were concerned about CC in the 1970s, but that’s not prominence. Rio was a specific event that people (your average NZers) moved on from once it wasn’t in the news, if they took any notice of it at all.

            Have a look at the following links from the Guardian, where in 2015 there are multiple articles on CC every day. That’s relatively new. And then compare it to their last page date from the 90s and work your way forward in time. Even allowing for the fact that they weren’t online as much in the 90s, it’s still a good indicator. It’s not until about 2008 that the articles start increasing, and even then it’s until later that they get really serious about it.

            http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-change

            http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-change?page=449

  9. Red delusion 9

    Ever consider people don’t want to be engaged, don’t want to be in a union, a political party, a community group. They just want to get on with their life without interference by government or busy bodies who know best, we go on about Msm, most people don’t even give a toss about most of the topics that so enrage the extremes of left and right. they vote once every 3 years as such to maintain status quo barring crisis and not manufactured ones

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      They just want to get on with their life without interference by government or busy bodies who know best, we go on about Msm, most people don’t even give a toss about most of the topics that so enrage the extremes of left and right.

      Ah, the usual RWNJ BS.

      The people are the government and if they don’t get engaged then they get bossed around by those that think they know best – the RWNJs such as National and Act.

      • Grantoc 9.1.1

        ‘The people are the government’

        Are they? What people? Your statement seems illogical and meaningless.

        Approximately 40% of voters voted for Labour and the Greens, and they are not the government.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          if you think about it, it becomes very clear: without the support and aquiesence of the people, the government is nothing.

    • Bill 9.2

      Ever consider…

      Yup. And I’ve a fair idea as to why. As you say, the status quo is boring and relentless. People just don’t want it impinging on their time and just want to be left alone to get on with their life.

      Throw a spanner in the works; something that people do give a shit about and things change. That doesn’t mean that people suddenly rush out and join all those institutional structures that contribute to the current deadening of society.

      For those ‘old’ political vehicles, they either adapt and move with the times or die.

      Meanwhile, life for an energised, informed and hopeful populace moves away from that bogged down reality where people are nothing beyond vaguely grumpy spectators to a tedious politics that resembles a run down traveling circus coming around every three years.

      • Tracey 9.2.1

        “the status quo” is safe. Fear is used as a political weapon to get people to want more of the same. People fear change cos it means risk. Look at how Labour and National use fear to defeat the Greens, far more than they use fact or proper discussion/debate.

    • Tracey 9.3

      I consider it, but have you considered that your picture might be a tad patronising?

  10. Mike the Savage One 10

    Owning the news media is just one thing to be concerned about, even if a media outlet or forum is independently owned and run, and tries to be balanced in reporting, there are other challenges and problems to be worried about.

    A program that raises serious issues, that could cost private business, or on the other hand also government departments or so, a loss of reputation, loss of credibility, loss of income and whatsoever, does often “invite” legal experts of the criticised party to knock on the doors of the program’s producers.

    That is another thing many in the media are too mindful of these days, besides of their own commercial interests, based on getting good ratings and thus being a sound vehicle for businesses to advertise on.

    Large corporations, also often being the more generous, large donours to political parties, they do not take lightly any critical reporting, that disturbs their vested business interests, nor do representatives of government agencies.

    So what do they do? They instruct their lawyers to send letters, containing some warnings, that if certain claims are made, the media may have to face them in court. How else can you explain what happened following some revelations about ACC a few years ago, where they exposed their “exit strategy”, designed to get rid of certain costly claimants, on ’60 minutes’? After that program there was no further reporting on the matter, and the public were instead kept busy with getting media report on “privacy breaches”, nothing else.

    So far blogs still have a bit more freedom and leeway, but the day will come, where we will have to be careful with what we write and comment on here.

    Perhaps also that has something to do with Campbell’s loss of favour at Mediaworks?

    • Pat 10.1

      “So far blogs still have a bit more freedom and leeway, but the day will come, where we will have to be careful with what we write and comment on here.”

      that day has been and gone….think back a few weeks when an Aussie DJ was sacked for online comments about ANZAC day….am sure if we looked hard enough there would be similar examples closer to home….1984 revisited

  11. Clemgeopin 11

    Re-posting here as this is a more appropriate thread for my comment:

    Three points:

    (1) I think most of us know/sense that our major big-business-owned newspapers and the media works (TV3), is directly beholden to Steven Joyce and his government for bailing them out of debt. I also suspect that their management appointments, such as Key’s personal friend, Mark Weldon, former NZX boss, etc has been due to the plan/influence executed by this government behind the scenes. Same trick was played for country’s spy chief for GCSB with Key’s childhood friend, Ian Fletcher. The push to get John Campbell out, the country’s ONLY journalistic voice for the voiceless who was holding this crooked government for the wealthy to account was uncomfortable for the National Government’s untrustworthy ‘leaders’. Have you ever noticed or wondered that in the time that Paul Henry has been on the morning breakfast show, Key has gone on his show regularly, probably a half a dozen times or so (I am not sure about the exact number, as I don’t watch it, but from anecdotal or cross news accounts) while Key has not gone to Campbell Live for a very LONG time in spite of many invites to front up! I wonder why not! A coward or does he think John Campbell is a bad journalist or does he think that his government is just not answerable to tough questions?

    (2) I am not sure why the independent blogs as well as the publicly owned TVNZ, RNZ can not hold this dodgy government to account more strenuously? Surely, they need not be afraid?

    (3) Don’t we have any very wealthy but ethical straight up good and honourable fair minded individuals in the country who can start or own some MSM to allow a parallel pro-progressive voice for the common people and the country in competition to the myriad of primarily one sided pro wealthy RW rogue outfits running as media but really constantly playing dirty politics against the progressive parties and their leaders? Time to take the country back from the RW rogues.

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  • Controversy? Or Manufactroversy?
    A few days ago, New Zealand’s Minister of Education announced the wider release of a resource on climate change, which was initially trialled at a Christchurch school during 2018. According to the Minister, children will learn about “the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    6 days ago
  • The emerging coronavirus outbreak in China
    By now you’ve probably heard of the new virus causing an outbreak of severe pneumonia in China. The question on most people’s minds is, how worried should we be, especially as hundreds of millions of people will soon be travelling across China and beyond to visit family for the Lunar ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • How did climate change get so controversial?
    An excerpt from the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, released Feb 25. Our human brain is poorly equipped to deal with a threat like climate change. Over millions of years, we’ve evolved to avoid life-threatening dangers like predators jumping out of bushes. We’ve survived by quickly detecting and avoiding immediate, short-term ...
    6 days ago
  • Farmers are ruining Canterbury’s rivers
    Its summer, so people naturally want to go for a swim. But in South Canterbury, you can't, because the rivers are full of toxic goo:As of Monday, the Waihi River at Wilson Street footbridge, Geraldine, the Waihao River at Bradshaws Bridge, and three spots on the Opihi River - at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Sack Shane Jones
    Late last year, NZ First was caught trying to enrich itself from public office, with a dodgy forestry company linked to a number of NZ First figures sticking its hand out repeatedly for government money. Regional Economic Development Minister shane Jones' "explanations" were patently unconvincing, and his recusal from deciding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • BIG idea physics
    This morning I’ve been having a quick look through some documentation from The Ministry of Education on proposed changes to NCEA Level 1 Science. For those not familiar with the NZ secondary education system, a typical student would complete NCEA level 1 at the end of year 11.  In this ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    7 days ago
  • Revolution in New Zealand? Not Even Close!
    No Fires Thanks, We're Kiwis: For the moment, in those close-to-home places where revolutions are born, there may be tetchiness and resentment, frustration and complaint, but nowhere is anybody uttering the cry that will bring a New Zealand revolution into being: “We have found the way to make tomorrow better ...
    7 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #3
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... 'It's heart-wrenching': 80% of Blue Mountains and 50% of ...
    1 week ago
  • Britain exits the European Union and takes a sharp right turn
    by John Smith  Britain’s exit from the imperialist bloc known as the European Union (EU) is now irreversible. The crushing electoral defeat of the Labour Party has dismayed many workers and youth who had placed their hopes in Jeremy Corbyn, its left-wing leader. This article assesses these historic events, neither of which ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 12, 2020 through Sat, Jan 18, 2020 Editor's Pick The Past and the Future of the Earth’s Oldest Trees Bristlecone pines have survived various catastrophes over the millennia, and they ...
    1 week ago
  • How climate change influenced Australia’s unprecedented fires
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections, and has been adapted into a new myth rebuttal on climate-wildfire connections with the short URL sks.to/wildfires Australia’s frightening bushfires, which kicked off an early fire season in September 2019, have already had cataclysmic effects, and the continent is still just in the early ...
    1 week ago
  • Gender Identity Ideology – A Partial Bibliography of Online Coverage
    This great resource has been contributed to Redline by Janie Doebuck. Janie made some notes on the bibliography: 1) It is by no means exhaustive. There are tons more gender critical posts, essays, articles, podcasts, youtube videos, etc. online. 2) There are links in the bibliography that are behind paywalls. There ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • About those biased Oscar Nominations
    There’s been a lot written about the 2020 Oscar Nominations and their apparent lack of diversity. It’s true, there are in fact no women nominated for the Best Director and very few nominees of colour across the board. But is this a result of a biased process or a symptom ...
    1 week ago
  • How New Zealand media reports chronic pain
    Hemakumar Devan Around three million New Zealanders access news media (both paper and online) every week. Yes, you heard that right! So, the potential for news media to shape public health beliefs is common sense. As chronic pain affects one in five New Zealanders, we wanted to find out how ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Still Waiting For American Democracy.
    Unfinished Republic: Though the United States' crimes against democracy are legion, most Americans are blissfully unaware of them. The brutal realities of American life: the officially sanctioned violence; the refusal to hold racists accountable for their actions; the seemingly endless tragedy of African-American suffering; of which White America is the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • In Outrage Over Its Bunk Science, Goop Finds Fuel for Growth
    Michael Schulson For years, experts have said that Goop, the wellness and lifestyle brand founded by the actor and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow, markets pseudoscience and overblown cures. And for years, despite the criticism, Goop has just kept growing. Now the company, which was valued at $250 million in 2018, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Tobacco Excise Taxes and the Smokefree 2025 Goal: Some Ways Forward
    Janet Hoek, Richard Edwards, George Thomson, Andrew Waa, Nick Wilson Debate over tobacco tax increases has intensified as research indicates potentially conflicting policy directions. On the one hand, excise tax increases continue to stimulate quit attempts among smokers yet, on the other hand, they may lead to financial hardship for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #2, 2020
    Conflation and how to fix it VIa AMS,  Raul Lejano looks at what in a layperson's thinking would be called conflation— confusion and blending of entirely different topics— when people think about climate change. Ideology and the Narrative of Skepticism  (open access) starts with some arguably frightening false connections between the science and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Cranky Uncle’ smart phone game will show you how to disarm climate deniers
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bud Ward (Image: Courtesy of John Cook) When it comes to climate change, it seems every family has its own version of the proverbial Cranky Uncle. An uncle, cousin, grandparent, in-law, neighbor, whatever. Just think back to the recent holiday season’s large ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Science in the ’20s – part 1
      Outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. That’s a description of the lifestyle of women “flappers” in the 1920s. Could it apply to science (and scientists) in the 2020s? Actually, you could look back at the past decade and see those, or similar terms, used about some science and scientists. Sometimes ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Postscript: Citizenship Granted.
    I am pleased to say that I have been granted NZ citizenship. I need to do the ceremony for things to be official, but the application was a success. I now join my son as a dual NZ-US citizen. To be fair, very little will change other than the fact ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Music: Morales is coming
    It will be no secret to longtime readers that I, Russell Brown, love the disco.   So I'm pretty excited by the fact that one of the greats of the game is returning this summer – and also pleased to say I have tickets to give away.Legendary mixer and DJ ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The WHO Vaccine Safety Summit – from someone who was actually there
    The conspiracy I saw a new conspiracy theory flying around the other day. According to the conspiracy (that seems to originate from Del Bigtree), the World Health Organization have been ‘caught on camera’ questioning the safety of vaccines. Gosh this sounds as though someone was a mole at a ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • The timely death of the British Labour Party
    Below is an article submitted to Redline by Alec Abbott  At its inception, the British Labour Party was a vehicle for the propagation of racist and imperialist views within the working-class. Such views are still widespread in the party, as they are in Europe’s Social-Democratic parties, though, in the case of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Mystery China pneumonia outbreak likely caused by new human coronavirus
    Connor Bamford, Queen’s University Belfast Since December 2019, there has been a cluster of 59 cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, eastern China. The pneumonia is associated with a previously unidentified coronavirus related to the deadly SARS virus. Seven of those cases are thought to be serious, and one person – ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, koalas are cute – but should we bring them to NZ? Errm, no
    It’s been hard to miss the extreme fires raging across Australia and the tragic plight of the animals – human and otherwise – affected by the fires’ insatiable spread. I know I’ve been captivated and concerned by the tales of how Australia’s famous wildlife has been coping. Koalas approaching cyclists ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s negative campaigning
    Anybody who looked into the Dirty Politics saga knows all too well that honesty is often in short supply within the National Party. You would think that after the exposure the John Key government received over their untruthful attack politics, the National Party would learn from its "mistakes" and leave ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending the government’s charade over water
    For the past decade, the government has been responding to the obvious Treaty issues raised by water allocation with the mantra that "no-one owns water". But last year, the Waitangi Tribunal ruled that actually, Māori owned it, and that those rights had never been extinguished. They recommended that iwi bring ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Northern Ireland joins the civilised world
    Same-sex marriage has finally become legal in Northern Ireland. But not through any decision of the Northern Irish Executive or Assembly, which has only just reformed after a three year walkout by the DUP; instead, Westminster made that decision for them. I've talked before about the constitutional impropriety of this, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • I had an intense conversation at work today.
    Claire Cohen-Norris volunteers with Citizens Climate Lobby as a chapter founder and leader in rural New York. Her climate advocacy sprung from her drive to provide a secure, joyful and fulfilling life for her two wonderful children. It has become a life’s mission, shared with her like-minded husband and partner. Claire ...
    2 weeks ago
  • French transport workers take on Macron over pension reform
    by John Edmundson Starting on December 5th, 2019 workers in the Parisian rail network commenced an open-ended strike in opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed changes to their pension scheme. Rail workers in the Metro Underground have, for decades, had retirement conditions that compensate them for the low wages, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • What a difference the decimal point makes
    I’m back at work following a nearly three-week break over Christmas. We were fortunate to be offered a house to stay in for a week over Christmas, which enabled us to have a holiday in Dunedin and see the extended family reasonably cheaply. But the house came with a catch:  ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Who’s Going To Stop Him?
    Blank And Pitiless: Having ordered the assassination of the Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani, President Donald Trump promised to reduce the cultural monuments of Iran’s 3,000 year-old civilisation to rubble if a revenge attack was mounted. A breach of international law? Certainly. A war crime? Indisputably. Who’s going to stop him? Nobody.WHAT ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A worker’s story
    This interview is from Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) and is the first of an ongoing series of interviews they plan to do with workers from various sectors who are having their well being and livelihoods damaged. They begin with an educator in Southland. Due to the attitude and actions ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 5, 2020 through Sat, Jan 11, 2020 Editor's Pick Debunked Australian Bushfire Conspiracy Theories Were Pushed by Alex Jones, Murdoch Media   As unusually intense and widespread bushfires have ...
    2 weeks ago
  • J.K. Rowling, the Seattle Library, and the Issue That Must Not Be Named
    This article was submitted to Redline by Seattle-based activist Lucinda Stoan J.K. Rowling recognizes repression when she sees it.  That’s why the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books recently tweeted in defense of Maya Forstater. Forstater lost her job for stating that sex is real and immutable. A judge ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Rules of Empire: Laws simply do not apply and “National Security” excuses all else.
    Empires rise and fall, and the American Empire is absolutely no different. But while an Empire, in order to further the footprint, it seems to pay to do one primary thing above all else: project that everything – everything – is “simply for the good of the world” at large, ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Indian lessons for NZ workers – the January 8 general strike
                    by Phil Duncan On Wednesday (January 8) another massive general strike took place in India.  Some 250 million industrial workers, white-collar workers, agricultural labourers struck against the government’s economic policies and attacks on the Muslim population through new proposed citizenship rules. This ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The action that counts
    Over on Newsroom, Professor Jacqueline Beggs writes about the action she is taking on climate change. Its the usual list: reduce meat, don't fly, consume less. I'm doing some of this myself, and none of it hurts - but the way our economic system is constructed means the impact of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fossil fuel political giving outdistances renewables 13 to one
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk Corporations, special interest groups, and individuals inject billions of dollars into the American political system every year. Much of the financial support in politics is concealed from public view, as some rules – and loopholes – allow “dark money” and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Animal response to a bushfire is astounding. These are the tricks they use to survive
    Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity. Australia’s bushfire season is far from ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago
  • Should I ditch my fossil-fueled car?
    Yes. Reducing the number of cars in your household, or switching from petrol/diesel to electric, will dramatically reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. It’s one of the easiest and highest-impact climate steps you can take. New Zealand is being flooded with cars The New Zealand vehicle fleet is increasing rapidly. In ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Planet History: Taking Tea with Quentin
    This interview with Quentin Crisp is part of a series of articles republished from Planet, the independent magazine I edited in the early 90s from a base at 309 Karangahape Road, along with Grant Fell, Rachael Churchward, Fiona Rae, David Teehan, Mere Ngailevu and others.Inevitably, you forget things, and over ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #1, 2020
    Supply Side How are we doing with CO2 emissions? It's an important question, increasingly posed to a mixed bag of CO2 contributors who may or may not provide accurate reportage. Liu et al present a new, additional means of measurement based on satellite observations of nitrogen dioxide co-emitted from ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Donald Trump’s strategic gamble
    There’s a meme going around the Internet at the moment claiming that Donald Trump is a bit of an idiot. To outside eyes it does seem as though the President of the United States thumbs his nose at his own countries laws and administration far too often to be taken ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Is the prostitute the seller or the sold?
    Excerpts from Being and Being Bought, by Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Spinifex Press, 2013. Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book. This is the third part of a synopsis and brief commentary of the book by Daphna Whitmore. Part 1 was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 weeks ago
  • The climate crisis is also a biodiversity crisis
    Dr Andrea Byrom Like many of us, the summer break has seen me transfixed with horror at the scale and magnitude of the bushfire crisis in Australia. As an ecologist, I can’t help but be appalled at the loss of some of Australia’s most beautiful ecosystems and landscapes. And ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago

  • Week That Was: 2020
    We are back for 2020! From changes to Family Funded Care, to a record high number of Kiwis in construction in the trades - we're already back making progress on those long-term challenges. Read all about it and more ...
    4 days ago
  • Winston Peters: “Ihumātao deal still a long way off”
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told Mike Hosking that a settlement deal regarding Ihumātao in Auckland is still a long way off. The Maori King's flag was lowered at the site near Auckland Airport yesterday, sparking suggestions an announcement of a deal could be made by Waitangi Day. Pania Newton, ...
    5 days ago
  • Winston Peters accuses Gerry Brownlee of ‘politicising’ Holocaust memorial
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is accusing Gerry Brownlee of "politicising" a Holocaust memorial event after the National MP questioned the lack of Kiwi representation there. The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, Israel, is holding the World Holocaust Forum on January 23 to mark 75 years since ...
    5 days ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to help Waipukurau Pā sites attract thousands of tourists
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna - Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project is receiving $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. It is is expected to boost the town's employment and tourism, creating sixteen new jobs once completed and attract up to 15,000 visitors a year. Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development ...
    6 days ago
  • “Common sense will prevail, not extremism” Winston Peters backs Shane Jones’ pro-meat stance
    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing his MPs who have spoken out against a new climate change teaching resource that advises students to eat less meat to save the planet. The new teaching resource, announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, tells students ...
    7 days ago
  • Violent assault on paramedic highlights need for law change
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Justice Today’s horrific violent assault of an on-duty female paramedic which rendered her unconscious is truly unsettling. “Our thoughts are with the paramedic, her loved ones and the St John’s team at Warkworth Station,” says New Zealand First Justice Spokesperson Darroch Ball. “Harsher penalties for perpetrators ...
    1 week ago
  • Acting PM Winston Peters confirms NZDF troops in Iraq not hit by Iranian attacks
    Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters called for calm and diplomacy following Iranian missile strikes on bases housing United States troops in Iraq, but confirmed New Zealand's base in the country was not hit. The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) was earlier today investigating claims New Zealand's base in Iraq had ...
    1 week ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive ...
    1 week ago
  • Delivering a stable water supply to Wairarapa
    Hon. Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in Wairarapa The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $7.11 million to create a sustainable water supply for the Wairarapa. The PGF will provide a $7 million investment to Wairarapa Water Limited to progress the Wairarapa Water Storage Scheme towards procurement, consenting, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing consents hit highest level since 1974
    Housing consents have hit a 45-year high, as Statistics NZ data shows a total of 37,010 residential consents were issued in the year to November --- the first time they have breached the 37,000 mark since the mid-1970s. Statistics NZ said the trend had been rising since late 2011, when ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Darroch Ball MP: “Violence against first responders is a problem on the rise”
    New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball says that a paramedic being kicked unconscious last night in an attempted burglary in Warkworth, north of Auckland, is a symptom of a larger problem. "Incidents like this are becoming more and more frequent...and it’s getting worse," Mr Ball said. The MP is pushing for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Ron Mark asks NZDF to conduct fire risk assessment from defence point of view
    Defence Minister Ron Mark said there was nothing to prevent similar large-scale bushfires seen in Australia from also happening in New Zealand, and has asked the New Zealand Defence Force to conduct a nfire risk assessment from a defence point of view. The defence assessment would help prevent a disaster ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Defence Minister Mark expresses “absolute confidence” in NZDF forces stationed in Iraq
    While feeling worried about increased Middle East tensions, Defence Minister Ron Mark said he had "absolute confidence" in New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) leadership. His statements come as the fate of Kiwi troops stationed in Iraq comes under intense scrutiny. Forty-five Defence Force personnel were thought to be in the ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Minister pays tribute to journalist, author and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan
    The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, has paid tribute to well-known New Zealand author, journalist and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan, following Mr McLauchlan’s death today. “Gordon held a statesman-like place in New Zealand’s media, which was fittingly acknowledged in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, when he was ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Minister wishes best of luck to those heading back to school
    As Kiwi kids and teachers return to classrooms over the coming weeks, the families of around 428,000 students will feel a bit less of a financial pinch than in previous years, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The Government’s decision to increase funding for schools that don’t ask parents for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Health staff to meet flights from China as precautionary measure
    Public health staff will begin meeting flights from China from tomorrow, to actively look for signs of the novel coronavirus and provide advice, information and reassurance to passengers. Health Minister Dr David Clark says the additional measures are being taken following the arrival of the disease in Australia, via flights ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • National Yearling Sales 2020
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government and construction industry to build big, lift productivity with Transformation Plan
    Delivering the workforce and productivity gains required to build the houses, schools, roads, rail and hospitals New Zealand needs will become easier with the Government-industry Construction Sector Transformation Plan launched today, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. “The action plan launched today delivers on the Government’s Construction Sector ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Log trains to begin on Wairoa-Napier line
    Log trains are about to start running between Wairoa and Napier following Provincial Growth Fund investment to reopen the rail line, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The Government invested $6.2 million to reopen the mothballed rail line which was closed after significant storm damage in 2012. “With PGF ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister of Defence concludes successful visit with his US counterpart
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark met with United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper today. “This was an excellent opportunity to meet with one of our closest security partners,” Ron Mark said. “The main focus of the meeting was to discuss challenges that New Zealand and the United States share ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand acknowledges ICJ decision on Myanmar
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today acknowledged the ruling of the International Court of Justice in relation to the Rohingya people in Myanmar. The ruling ordered the Government of Myanmar to take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of acts of genocide in relation to members of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ’s trade aims advanced at Davos meetings
    A proposal to cut “trade and production-distorting subsidies” in the agricultural sector by 2030 has set out important measures to ensure a fair agricultural trading system.  Speaking after attending meetings of trade ministers in Davos, Switzerland, Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker welcomed the joint proposal from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Great news for New Zealanders with cystic fibrosis
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says he is delighted that PHARMAC has struck a provisional deal to fund Kalydeco – a medicine which is set to improve the quality of life for about 30 New Zealand children and adults with cystic fibrosis. “While rare, cystic fibrosis is an awful inherited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand least corrupt country in the world
    New Zealand has regained its position as the least corrupt country in the world for the second time under this Coalition Government, says Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealanders can be proud that our reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world has been restored,” says Andrew ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Boost for Rēkohu/Wharekauri/Chatham Islands Community Conservation
    Community conservation in Rēkohu/Wharekauri/the Chatham Islands is receiving a boost, with grants to support local projects announced today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Rēkohu/Wharekauri/ the Chatham Islands are home to 20 per cent of New Zealand’s threatened bird species and 11 per cent of New Zealand’s threatened plant species. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Rātana Pā goes high-tech with UFB
    Iwi, hapu and visitors to Rātana Pā near Whanganui now have access to ultra-fast broadband following its connection, completed in time for annual Rātana celebrations, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The connection and associated hardware were funded from the Provincial Growth Fund’s $21 million Marae Digital Connectivity programme, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt’s strong financial management acknowledged
    The Government’s strong financial management and plan to future proof the economy with new infrastructure investment has gained further recognition from an international ratings agency. Credit rating agency Fitch has upgraded one of its main metrics assessing the Government’s books, lifting its foreign currency AA rating outlook to ‘positive’ from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Boost in Whānau Ora funding to keep changing lives
    Whānau throughout New Zealand are set to benefit from an extra three million dollars that will go directly to Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, the Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare announced today.  Including previous funding boosts, the Agencies will now receive $87 million this year between them.  In Budget 2019 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More people getting into work
    The December quarter benefit numbers released today show the Government’s plan to get people off the benefit and into work is starting to pay off,” Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said.   “Nearly 19,000 people cancelled their benefit and went into work in the last few months of the year – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Wairoa gets up to $6.1m to rebuild heart of CBD
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing up to $6.1 million to revitalise business and tourism opportunities in Wairoa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF is funding: Up to $4.8 million for the Wairoa Integrated Business and Tourism Facility Up to $960,000 for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major Events support for creative and cultural events
    Creative and cultural events that highlight New Zealand’s diverse culture and build national pride are set to get a funding boost through the Major Events Fund, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. The new Creative and Cultural Events Incubator, which is funded through the Major Events Fund, will open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Classroom internet in hundreds of schools to get a boost
    The Government has begun a massive IT upgrade to provide more seamless internet access to 200 schools around the country. Te Mana Tūhono – Technology in Schools work programme will launch with a pilot of 10 smaller state schools early this year. IT equipment that gives students access to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Construction workforce, apprenticeships hit record highs
    Working with industry and committing to rebuild New Zealand’s infrastructure has produced a record high number of Kiwis working in the construction industry and learning trades, says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. New figures available today from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Tertiary Education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ concludes digital economy trade talks with Singapore and Chile
    A new trade agreement concluded today helps New Zealand exporters and consumers take advantage of opportunities from digital trade.    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker together with Chile’s Vice Minister of Trade Rodrigo Yañez and Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, have announced conclusion of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to fund Waipukurau cultural development and tourism
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna -  Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project will receive $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to create an authentic cultural tourism experience, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today “The project will inform visitors about the history of six pā sites in Waipukurau with a combination ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • 21 new judges boost diversity, improve access to justice
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