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Played like a fiddle

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, March 4th, 2009 - 91 comments
Categories: ACC, Media, national/act government, spin - Tags: , ,

Yesterday, when the inquiry came back on whether the shortfall in ACC funding should have been disclosed in the PREFU, Bill English quickly tried to implicate Michael Cullen and Maryan Street as being in breach of the Public Finance Act and told media:

“The previous government knew about the funding hole and effectively hid it. There are systems in place to protect us from this, but in this case they did not work”

These accusations were picked up uncritically by newspapers’ websites and ran all evening, even though Treasury had already taken the rap and the report clearly exonerated the ministers concerned. Everyone bought English’s line, with this NZPA piece even quoting the first few pars of English’s press release directly.

It’s only now that the dust has settled and the story’s narrative has been set in National’s favour that media are starting to ask questions and quietly amend their online stories from last night. Honestly guys, you need to do better. The Nats are playing you like a fiddle, and it’s embarrassing.

[For more on how this works, see Irish’s post on National’s ‘hit and run‘ PR tactics. There’s also an intelligent piece by John Armstrong here.]

91 comments on “Played like a fiddle”

  1. Trevor Mallard 1

    Might be worth having a look at John Armstrong in the Herald. He in this case (mainly) gets it.

    • higherstandard 1.1

      “Labour MPs just laughed. They knew that English knew his case was completely undermined by the report not commenting on the two former Labour ministers’ actions. They were not even interviewed by the inquiry.”

      “The question of whether ministers should be up front about fiscal risks is more than just theoretical. Lack of transparency can potentially have a significant impact on an election campaign – especially when it comes to the affordability of a party’s spending promises.

      Cullen and Street have avoided sanction under the provisions of the Public Finance Act. That still leaves open the question of whether they have abided by the spirit of the act.”

      So Mr Mallard why didn’t your colleagues abide by the spirit of the act ?

      Can you perhaps understand that this is yet another example of why a large portion of the public believe that politicians are among the most mendacious sacks of shite next to failed finance company directors that we have in this country.

      • @ work 1.1.1

        You never have been one to let the truth get in the way of, well any of the shit your spew out here…

        • higherstandard 1.1.1.1

          @jerk – clearly you believe that the behaviour of those politicians was acceptable, this suggests you are an apologist for any bullshit as long as it’s bullshit that is committed by a member of your team.

          lick spittle git …. ps weren’t you having a week off for abuse ?

          • @ work 1.1.1.1.1

            Higherwanker – No, there are certain aspects of what they have done that I dont agree with, how ever I don’t see it as quite the end of the world as you do, and I would ask you to consider the difference between what I say and think, and that you claim I say and think, seems to be quite a disconnect these days. Also of note is how you seem to think that anything Labour did must be wrong, I guess that makes you a lick spittle National\Act apologist git.

            I don’t think I’m ment to be having a week off, though I have been having a busier week than usual, as such I haven’t been going back over old comments much, if you can point out where I’ve been handed a week off i’m quite happy to abide by that

          • Tane 1.1.1.1.2

            Guys, stop the personal abuse eh? You’re bringing the standard down.

      • r0b 1.1.2

        So Mr Mallard why didn’t your colleagues abide by the spirit of the act ?

        HS, have you ever asked a Nat MP why they didn’t abide by the spirit of the act in the case of, oh, say, electoral law in the 2005 election? You know the one way where they laundered their donations through anonymous trusts to avoid disclosing the identity of their donors as they were legally required to do? I think you should ask a Nat MP this question HS, I’m sure you’d find the answer most illuminating.

  2. Tane 2

    Cheers Trevor, good point. I’ll link to it at the bottom of the post.

  3. burt 3

    Trevor Mallard

    (mainly) gets it… is that Labour speak for tows the party line and helps protect the self serving pricks who don’t believe they need to follow the law ?

    The problem the self serving Labour party have is that they declared that there would need to be a mini budget after the election IE: We know some sh1t needs to be managed via an emergency budget BUT we are not prepared to tell you about it before the election .

    How stupid do you think we all are Trevor ?

    Oh, one more question when you were closing down schools and ranting about the necessity of zoning why were your own kids not going to your local school ?

    • @ work 3.1

      No burt, I would say it means he’s actually read the report, something which by your second paragraph you make it quite clear you haven’t. 3rd paragraph, I’d guess Trevor like anyone else here thinks your particularly stupid. And to your last paragraph because they like every one else who wants to go to an out of school zone went in the ballot and got selected (or if it is a private school, because he can afford the fee’s and decided to send his children there)

      • burt 3.1.1

        @work

        As an example of how dim he is .

        I pointed out to him that his little red “Labour’ van was in breach of the EFA about this time last year and he called me an idiot. Funny thing is @work, a few weeks after that it was reported in the media that his van signage was illegal as it had no authorisation statement. The very point I was making when he called me an idiot and told me I had no idea what I was talking about. The authorisation suddenly appeared soon after that .

        • Chess Player 3.1.1.1

          Anyone ever seen Trevor Mallard and David Garrett in the same room together??????

        • Tane 3.1.1.2

          Burt, please show some basic courtesy. Robust debate is good, but we’re not going to have MPs come on here and engage with commenters if it’s going to lead to a list of your own grievances from the last nine years. Stay on topic bro. Same goes for you Chess Player.

          • Chess Player 3.1.1.2.1

            Apologies, I didn’t realise MPs were a protected species. Or is it just the Mallard?

            [Tane: They’re not. Robust criticisms are welcome, so long as they’re on-topic. No one else wants to hear a disgruntled righty’s list of grievances.]

      • burt 3.1.2

        Tane

        I hear what you are saying. However Mallard choose to comment in here on a thread that is about Labour breaching the PFA – surely it’s valid to question the integrity of the man when he is claiming that “nothing illegal occured”. Last time he told me face to face that he had not done anything illegal he was proven wrong – that is relevant to this thread.

        • Matthew Pilott 3.1.2.1

          What’s this thread got to do with schools, and what appears to be a fairly personal attack? Please don’t answer that, I’m fully aware of the danger of giving you a soap-box to rave further about your wee personal crusades. Can I suggest you email Trevor Mallard if you genuinely want an answer to those questions instead of asking them like you are here – it smacks of childish posturing.

          • burt 3.1.2.1.1

            Matthew Pilott

            The school question was out of order. If I could edit that additional question away I would do it now.

            However this still leaves the issue of what Trevor says is not illegal vs what is illegal being two separate thing. I wonder if Trevor can defend calling me an idiot when it was proven I was more knowledge than he was about the laws he voted to pass himself ? (and choose not to follow)

  4. Kevin Welsh 4

    You gotta hand it to National.

    They are playing the perfect propaganda game.

    Because they know the MSM are so bloody ineffective and useless when it comes to asking questions, they know that MP’s can pretty much say whatever they like and the MSM will report it as fact. When the MSM realises they have it wrong, rather than come out with a screaming headline, they brush it under the carpet and quietly amend their websites.

    They are a bloody disgrace.

    Joself Goebbels himself must be laughing his ass off in his grave.

  5. You don’t actually know what reporters do, do you?

    Their job is to REPORT the news. If the government makes an accusation against former cabinet members THAT is news and political reporters are there to communicate the accusation to the public, not pass judgment on it. If (say) Cullen and Street respond then those journalists should publish that response, again without commenting on the merits of the response. It’s not up to the journalist to decide whether or not the accusation (or the response) has merit when they’re writing the story. Some journalists also have opinion pieces in which provide commentary and analysis about the merit’s of MP’s and their actions but in general their job is to REPORT the news, not some highly biased blog-like commentary on it.

    • Kevin Welsh 5.1

      Thank you Josef. I will take that under advisement.

    • Tane 5.2

      Danyl, I’m never quite sure if you’re being satirical, but it’s not the role of journalists to merely report “he said, she said” or print any accusation uncritically, regardless of its merit.

      That’s a certain model of journalism, one driven by cutbacks to staff numbers that makes journalists heavily reliant on PR to put together their stories. When you’re doing ten or more stories a day you don’t have time to do much more than uncriticaly paste a couple of press releases together and call it news.

      And to be fair it’s also got a lot to do with changing technology and the consequent speeding up of the news cycle. Everyone wants to be in first with the story, and if that means banging up someone’s press release in the guise of news then so be it.

      Journalism hasn’t always been like this – it’s a very recent phenomenon. And I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that this model is broken. As it stands I’d rather read Scoop and cut out the middle man.

  6. roger nome 6

    Danyl Mclauchlan:

    Surely you’re not being satirical?

  7. Journalism hasn’t always been like this – it’s a very recent phenomenon. And I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that this model is broken.

    I suggest you take the time to go and look at the archives in the National Library and see what journalism used to be like in New Zealand 20-30 years ago; government annoucements were published uncritically with no opposition response. There was no commentary and analysis. The notion that there was some golden age of journalism from which we have fallen is a fantasy.

    it’s not the role of journalists to merely report “he said, she said’ or print any accusation uncritically, regardless of its merit.

    This is a straw man – in this case, in which the finance minister has made a serious accusation against former cabinet ministers it is most certainly the job of reporters to alert the public to the fact. If the Labour Ministers involved want to reply then they can do so and the media will absolutely cover that reply.

    I realise you’d prefer to live in a world in which the media spent all their time savagely attacking the National Party for everything they do, just as the Nats (who also think the press are horribly biased against them) would quite like the media to spend all their time attacking Labour.

    But this fantasy is limited to people who carry water for a specific party or ideology; the rest of us just want to hear about what’s going on, from a fairly reliable source.

    • IrishBill 7.1

      Danyl. Are you saying journos have no responsibility to ensure the claims they report are factually accurate? If so, why not?

    • Kevin Welsh 7.2

      What a load of bollocks.

      The report had already established that Treasury was at fault in the ACC funding issue and exonerated the Ministers involved (although , no doubt you see this as a conspiracy and Treasury were just the “fall guys”).

      So as a result I would have expected the reporter in question to bring this to Bill English’s attention at the time of the interview and questioned him as to why he thought it was the then Ministers fault.

      You see Danyl, THAT is what reporters do.

    • Tane 7.3

      No Danyl, I’d prefer a media to read the report and say what the report actually said before running a Bill English press release verbatim.

      If I accuse Bill English of stealing iPods from Dick Smith I’d expect the media to either ask for some evidence or at least state very clearly upfront that I had provided no evidence for my accusations and was putting my credibility on the line. If there was already evidence out there that my claims were bollocks I’d expect the media to call me on it.

      This isn’t an argument about partisan bias as you’re trying to frame it. I don’t think your run-of-the-mill journos are biased one way or the other, it’s the commentators and editors who have bias issues.

      This is a criticism of the way the media is structured and the model of journalism used. It just so happens that the National Party is very good at playing this for maximum PR effect. I’ve seen some left-leaning organisations use it effectively too (though not Labour). But regardless of who’s doing it, I think it’s shit, and so do an increasing number of people.

      • If I accuse Bill English of stealing iPods from Dick Smith I’d expect the media to either ask for some evidence or at least state very clearly upfront that I had provided no evidence for my accusations and was putting my credibility on the line. If there was already evidence out there that my claims were bollocks I’d expect the media to call me on it.

        You are not a senior politician, and thus not particularly newsworthy. If Phil Goff accused English of stealing iPods then that’s a story, whether he can prove it or not because if he can’t then the dishonestly of a party leader becomes the angle.

        All this just seems to be proving my original point, which is that you guys lack a very basic understanding of what reporters actually do.

        • Tane 7.3.1.1

          The “I” was just an example Danyl, I’m aware the news value of a random blogger making accusations isn’t as great as a senior politician.

          I think the problem is you’re taking the current model of journalism and saying that because it’s “what reporters actually do” (a truism) then any criticism of this model is a sign of ignorance of “what reporters actually do”.

  8. @ work 8

    I often wonder if the papers should save the money they spend on having reporters fiddle around with party press releases, and just reprint them as published by the parties, and titled in such a way. Would cut costs and be more informative to the reader (as it would be far easier to judge the direction of the spin)

  9. Danyl. Are you saying journos have no responsibility to ensure the claims they report are factually accurate? If so, why not?

    In political journalism – which is a slightly different breed, and whats under discussion here – no they don’t, because truth in politics is highly subjective. Is there a fundamental truth about, say, the wisdom of suspending payments to the superfund or are there just a whole lot of competing opinions?

    I suspect many Standard authors feel that there is a fundamental ‘truth’, that they possess it and that their political opponents do not. But they feel exactly the same way about you.

    IrishBill: I suspect that many standard authors feel that facts such as crime statistics and the contents of a report might have more factual validity than a politically motivated opinion. Of course we might not be as postmodernly informed as you are. If you want to have that kind of discussion then perhaps you need to visit ‘sod’s place.

    • George Darroch 9.1

      The content of a PREFU has no factual verifiability? Wow. That’s news to me.

      All I’m expecting is that journalists ask for some proof when presented with a claim. A claim that has political significance and either side has an interest in being true or false. You know, using that cynicism they’re famous for.

  10. roger nome 10

    Danyl:

    You need to go back further. In the 19th century most papers were run by political organisations. In the early 20th century, media outlets became increasingly comercialised, causing them to aim at “objectivity” to capture a larger readership. This didn’t stop them being critically analytical however – and it’s only since the age of the “sound-byte” (i.e. mid 1970s onwards) that analysis has been almost removed (i.e. as you only spend 100 words on the average news story you only have room for quotes).

    The internet now offers a return to the critically analytical model – though sadly, as TV is still dominant most people still get their news in sound-byte quotes.

    BTW i’m still not sure whether you’re being satirical. You seem dead serious, but i thought you were a bit smarter than this.

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

    Danyl, you were wrong from your first sentence: Their job is to REPORT the news.

    The focus there is on the wrong word – it should be Their job is to report the NEWS.

    Not a press release.

    Not a sound byte.

    The NEWS.

    They (should) read a press release, and think
    “this is subjective PR/spin. I wonder what the other side says?”.
    *asks for a comment, looks for opposing PR piece*.
    Thinks “Hmm, this is also subjective PR/spin”.
    *Looks for corroborating evidence, or something to substantiate one side or another. Writes story based upon sum of various parts*.

    That’s what news is – didn’t you notice the PR teams from both major political parties seem to fit your description of “reporting”? They just don’t publish it on paper – but I’m sure some of the top Press Advisors will be offended you basically said they were reporters.

  12. randal 12

    what was all the crap from woger duglas about getting the cops onto the labour mp’s.
    is he senile
    is there nnot a test for senility before entering parliament?

  13. I think the problem is you’re taking the current model of journalism and saying that because it’s “what reporters actually do’ (a truism) then any criticism of this model is a sign of ignorance of “what reporters actually do’.

    I think the current situation in New Zealand, and media coverage of the government has little to do with some dire problem with the ‘current model of journalism’ and everything to do with the fact that National’s PR machine is highly formidable and Labour’s is rubbish, and has been for several years.

    It’s not the fault of the ‘mainstream media’ that Labour can’t seem to hire good people to get their message out there (although I rate Kris pretty highly and hope he can make a real difference).

    Twas not always this – back when Clark had her ‘dream team’ media coverage of the party was overwhelmingly positive and Labour crushed the Bill English led National Party. Labour need to go back, look at where they’ve gone wrong and try and recreate that success, not whine about the big bad biased media.

    • Tane 13.1

      We’ve all discussed how shit Labour’s PR is in the past. But the problem is with a model that priveliges PR – and the organisations that can afford good PR* – over the information we need to participate properly in our democracy. You know, journalism that provides some context and cuts through the spin rather than just regurgitating press releases.

      [* in which I include Labour]

  14. burt 14

    randal

    woger must have lost it completely. Imagine thinking that Labour MP’s might be held accountable under the law. He is so out of touch with MP’s in todays parliament.

  15. Matthew Pilott 15

    Burt – first point, fair enough (if a Right MP comes on board I’d better make sure it stays on topic there too huh?). Second point – government makes the law, and then it is interpreted. It seems you may have done a better job with your interpretation in the instance you mention!

    Regarding this topic I suggest it would be an idea here so say how Labour went against the spirit of the PFA, and ask for a defence. HS asserts that Labour did not act within the spirit of the law but did not explain the basis for his asertion.

    I don’t know enough about it to make, or defend, that assertion. Legally they didn’t have to mention that stuff – to do so would they have had to make a specific announcement? If it was legally missed in the pre-election fiscal update thenshould the scope/timing procedure be changed? An easier path opened for amendments?

    Incidentally, that I’m asking you (not because it’s you specifically, Burt, but that I’m asking any blog commentor) this instead of being informed by the media seems to support the original blog post, though…

    • burt 15.1

      Matthew

      It’s not just an “oh well” situation when an “uneducated” member of the public like myself understands the law better than an MP who voted to enact it. This is a serious issue in itself.

      Secondly, it’s almost inconceivable that Mallard didn’t understand his legal obligation with his little red van. He choose to flick me off by denigration as he boldly ignored a law he personally voted to enact.

      This arrogance of “do as I say not as I do” is a bigger issue and undermines the “nothing illegal occurred” inference of Mallard’s post in this very thread.

      • vto 15.1.1

        I’m with you Burt.

        Mallard exemplifies here the exact reason voters turned away from the last labour lot.

        I think they think nobody notices..

        • Matthew Pilott 15.1.1.1

          Mallard exemplifies here the exact reason voters turned away from the last labour lot.

          What, by suggesting an article with some analysis and research in it is better than a reprint of an NP PR piece? That’s what cost Labour the election? Sheesh, you coulda told us a few weeks ago.

          • higherstandard 15.1.1.1.1

            Mat you know that’s not what they’re getting at – my response to Mallard’s comment goes to the heart of the issue and IMO is why a large section of the public distrust politicians – more often than not they are motivated by self service rather than serving the public.

            The public shouldn’t be scared to call them (whichever side of the house they sit on) on their bs.

  16. grumpy 16

    Don’t remember seeing anything like this thread when Labour were in power.

    • Matthew Pilott 16.1

      I think there was one when Labour said they were implementing the EFA and The Herald uncritically ran with it…

  17. vinsin 17

    Danyl, although the opinion you offer of ‘what journos actually do’ is correct at a surface level it’s not actually the problem the post is actually alluding to, which is that the level of journalism in the MSM is particularly shabby these days.
    John Armstrong is a good journalist and that’s why you’ll find his articles have more insight then a lot of others. I don’t particularly like his opinions on a lot of ideas but when reading his articles you at least get the feeling that he has not only checked his facts, found counter balancing views and found more than just one source for a story, you find that he’s actually boiled down the story into it’s most important facts whilst offering some comment.
    This is the quality of journalism journos should aspire to, with the immense amount of sources and information available online these days it’s embarrassing and downright amazing that this doesn’t happen. If i can find the correct information on a story in ten minutes why can’t someone who has actually studied and works as a journalist do it?
    Furthermore, the story in this case isn’t ‘Bill English said this’ – that’s the prologue – the story is ‘Bill English said this. And it happens to not be true. So what does this mean?’ Any journo worth their salt would’ve at least got to the fact that it wasn’t true.

  18. Tom Semmens 18

    So, Danyl, whither the fourth estate then? If the job of journalists is to do no more than report press releases (the word you use – “news” – is so open to interpretation as to be hopeless) like some sort of encounter at Wimbledon then no wonder it is a job now largely for new entrants to the work force with a B-team degree and happy to get paid peanuts in the hope they can use the job as a springboard to something of some actual value to themselves. According to you, we might as well close the journalism schools and simply rely on scoop.co.nz, which is exactly what you seem to think journalism should be.

    But of course we won’t. We won’t because the public has an expectation that the media will do the job it is charged with – bringing context and meaning to the stream of information they receive, and using their skills and experience to collate it, distill it, give it context and meaning and report it to their readers. Otherwise why bother with specialist or experienced reporters, men and women with knowledge and wisdom to see through the bullshit and report in the interest of the public?

    To me, to be able to report the “news’ you have to have in the first place some idea what the ‘news” actually is. You need journalists with the experience and the skill and judgment to actually do the job they are charged with doing. The alternative is an Orwellian state of permanent amnesia, where context and interpretation is replaced by the megaphone and manipulation, and where objective truth is replaced by whatever you can pay for it to be.

  19. Ianmac 19

    Tom: Well said
    Danyl: If that is all that the Journalist are expected to do, why not just have the Chinese form. “Just print what we say mate!”

  20. IrishBill: I suspect that many standard authors feel that facts such as crime statistics and the contents of a report might have more factual validity than a politically motivated opinion. Of course we might not be as postmodernly informed as you are. If you want to have that kind of discussion then perhaps you need to visit ‘sod’s place.

    I’m not sure what ‘Sod’s place’ is (Kiwiblog?) I don’t think I want to google it from a work computer . . .

    I’m not sure how you can claim that crime statistics have ‘factual validity’ – every time they get released there’s a huge political shit fight about what the statistics mean, whether there’s been a rise in real crime or reported crime, what caused the statistical changes ect. Both sides spin crime stats like crazy.

    I have no doubt you guys feel you have the ‘real’ truth on any given political issue and the right are just spinning a bunch of lies, but in my experience the folk on the right are also intelligent, well intentioned people who are convinced that their perspective is ‘true’ and the left are being deceitful, dishonest ect.

    Political dialog is more about how good intelligent people are at picking facts to justify their own pre-existing ideology than any kind of objective ‘truth’.

    • Tane 20.1

      Danyl, no one’s claiming to have the real, absolute truth here. You’re running that argument on your own. The criticism is simply of the “he said, she said” model of journalism and how uncritically it lends itself to spin.

  21. The ‘he said, she said’ model (also known as the fact based model) isn’t perfect and it does lend itself to spin. But it’s better than any of the alternatives that I’m aware of.

    The US media moved away from fact based journalism to the kind of editorializing, opinion based model you guys seem to favor between the years 2001-2005, when they stopped telling people what was going on in the world and turned themselves into cheerleaders for the Bush Administration with disasterous consequences (not least for the long term future of right-wing politics in the US, which became totally divorced from reality.)

    I realise you guys want the media to cheerlead for left-wing politicians instead of right-wing ones, but I suspect the outcome would be pretty similar.

    I’ll stick to the model in which reporters tell me what happened and I get to make up my own mind about events instead of having a media that makes its mind up for me.

  22. IrishBill 22

    I’ll stick to the model in which reporters tell me what happened and I get to make up my own mind about events

    You’re talking about a model in which reporters tell you what was said. Not what happened. In fact just recently the Herald reported a speech as it was given by Roger Douglas. Except it wasn’t given. They just assumed it was because that’s what the media release said would happen.

    That’s the result of the kind of journalism you are talking about. Have you actually worked as a journalist or spent any amount of time in a newsroom?

  23. George Darroch 23

    I’ll stick to the model in which reporters tell me what happened and I get to make up my own mind

    But we don’t get that. We get a model in which reporters tell us what Person/Organisation says happened. About things which have actual factual content – like whether longer sentences reduce crime rates. Huge difference.

    I get what you’re saying, but I think you totally misunderstand this post. The media quoted National press releases as if they were statements of fact, rather than opinion. And they’ve got to the point where that’s all they do – and the side with the best, most compelling spin wins. It’s bullshit if you ask me, and harmful to democracy. As people realise, less and less papers will be sold, but in the meantime we all suffer, because the press still has a privileged role in our society.

  24. In fact just recently the Herald reported a speech as it was given by Roger Douglas. Except it wasn’t given. They just assumed it was because that’s what the media release said would happen.

    Oh, you want a new model of journalism in which mistakes don’t happen. Good luck with that.

    • vinsin 24.1

      How about a model where journalists actually do their job! It’s now abundantly clear that you really don’t understand the point of this post – try reading it again, maybe that’ll help.

    • IrishBill 24.2

      So you have never worked as a journalist. That explains a lot.

      • Have you ever worked as Finance Minister? If not then I don’t see how you can have a valid opinion on how the job should be performed.

        I’m not a journalist – my wife is, and so are many of my friends. I think I have a pretty good insight into the profession, certainly more so than any on display here.

        • IrishBill 24.2.1.1

          There’s no need to be so shrill, Danyl. Nobody is saying your opinion isn’t valid, they are just disagreeing with it. If anything it seems you are having difficulty with the fact people with experience in the industry might disagree with you.

          Take a deep breath and ask yourself if you really think that there is no subjectivity in play when a journo decides what facts and/or opinions to put in a story or in what order.

          Now take an even deeper breath and ask yourself whether, when reporting on something like the ACC inquiry, it is “objective” to quote remarks that claim the report says one thing without mentioning the report says something different.

  25. The media quoted National press releases as if they were statements of fact, rather than opinion

    This simply isn’t true – although that’s what Tane rather dishonestly implied. Let’s look at the opening paragraph of the NZPA article linked above:

    A ministerial inquiry into why a $1.5 billion four-year shortfall forecast in ACC’s non-earners account was not revealed before the election has concluded the previous government hid it, Finance Minister Bill English said today.

    They’re not claiming that English’s statement is a fact, merely reporting that he said it. Which is true, he did say it.

  26. Tane 26

    Danyl, you seem to have a naive faith in the “he said, she said” model’s objectivity. This model is just as open to framing, editorialising and privileging certain discourses as any other, the veneer of objectivity is just that.

    Besides, I’m not arguing we want our media to mimic The Economist or Fox News. Just do a bit of research and provide some context. Write your own articles, interview your subjects and inject some facts. Don’t just cut and paste press releases. That’s all I’m asking.

    Your attempts to turn this into some kind of Labour vs National thing is just baffling.

  27. Danyl, you seem to have a naive faith in the “he said, she said’ model’s objectivity.

    Maybe I do. I just think a model in which reporters tell us what is actually happening is going to be more informative than a model in which political reporters rant about how much they hate politician X but love politician Y. I guess I’m just a starry-eyed dreamer.

  28. Danyl. – re: the ‘sod’s place.

    My friend, you are missing out.

    Robinsod is a regular commentor here, banned at present after yet another over-heated exchange. The man’s mad as a hatter but if you want a post-modern debate on the nature of truth, it’s the place to go. http://robinsod.wordpress.com/

  29. That guy! He showed up at my blog out of the blue a week or so ago and abused me. I ignored him and he went away.

    One final point about the peril’s of a shift from ‘he said, she said’ is that it often won’t work in favor of the left. What if the person writing the NZPA article decided that the report did, in so many words, condemn Street and Cullen and wrote an opinion piece instead of an article stating as such? If you don’t think this could happen then you need to pay closer attention to the US media in which blatantly false allegations masquerade as serious news on a daily basis.

    The current model isn’t perfect but it does (by and large) prevent journalists from simply making shit up and passing it off as news.

    [lprent: Feel honoured. I think that he is trying to see how many blogs he can get banned from at present…]

    • Graeme 29.1

      I think some here may be after a news piece about the report, rather than (or in addition to) a news piece about what people said about the report.

      One story about how “A report was released today into blah blah blah … here are some quotes from the report.”

      And they could also have “Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said a report released today into blah blah blah (see story on page 6) proved Michael Cullen blah blah blah.”

      Why is the second better than the first, to the point where we need the exclusion of news reporting like the first?

    • IrishBill 29.2

      The current model isn’t perfect but it does (by and large) prevent journalists from simply making shit up and passing it off as new

      I’ll think you’ll find that’s the role of the press council and the BSA. There’s also a journalist code of ethics. I thought you knew all about the industry.

    • Felix 29.3

      You’re laying it on a bit thick aren’t you? ‘Sod “abused” you?

      Are you sure he didn’t just accuse you of making redundant arguments?

  30. Billy 30

    ‘sod is not here, so I’ll do it.

    Danyl, there is no apostrophe in “perils” as you have used it there.

    It’s what he would have wanted. (But then, of course, he’d have made some inappropriate joke about Danyl’s Mum or something).

    • Felix 30.1

      You should do it. It’s what he would’ve wanted.

      • Billy 30.1.1

        There might be a copyright problem.

        • IrishBill 30.1.1.1

          I think ‘sod would probably sue. I have to confess on days like this I do regret banning him for this long but he’ll have served his five weeks by next Monday.

          • Felix 30.1.1.1.1

            As Billy says below (he hasn’t figured out how to reply yet) the ‘sod has been muttering about not coming back.

            Maybe he deserves a shot at parole – he’s served most of his time.

        • Felix 30.1.1.2

          He would’ve wanted you to take a cavalier attitude to copyright problems.

          • Billy 30.1.1.2.1

            Irish,

            He’s talking about not returning.

          • Tane 30.1.1.2.2

            Maybe he deserves a shot at parole – he’s served most of his time.

            But the Sod’s a recidivist. Folk hero or not, you know he’ll only reoffend if you let him back into the community.

          • Felix 30.1.1.2.3

            …he’ll only reoffend if you let him back into the community.

            But he will be back in the community someday – we can’t just pretend he doesn’t exist. And the longer he’s away the lower the chance of successful integration.

  31. Felix 31

    But Danyl, you’re pretty much arguing that there’s no need for journalists at all.

    If all you require or expect of them is that they put “Bill English said today” at the end, then why not just run the press release and credit it to Bill English?

    • George Darroch 31.1

      Read Scoop, cut out the middlemen. Because, in this age, the job of a journalist is simply to decide which parts of press releases to publish. Apparently.

  32. roger nome 32

    Danyl – if you think sound-bytes serve the democratic process better than rigorous analysis (from multiple points of view) then you truly are lost to the post-modern world of re-presentation. I would prefer to think that you’re actually having a shit day and have come here to wind people up with disingenuous shite (as is your MO at Kiwiblog).

  33. Billy 33

    Another thread that’s all over the place like a mad woman’s shit because of the reply thing. Lyn, can something be done?

  34. roger nome 34

    No Billy – parade your misogyny with pride – don’t let those PC gits curtail your freedom of speech with talk of “human rights” blah blah blah. NZ needs to harden up!

  35. roger nome 35

    Now you’re getting it billy. There’s hope for the allblacks yet!

  36. roger nome 36

    Dad – billy’s misogyny is grand, but sexual harassment is NEVER ok. Get it?

  37. Graeme 37

    Danyl – I guess my question can be put…

    Why is this acceptable:

    After the election, the new government accused the previous government of hiding an ACC shortfall, in breach of its legal obligations. The previous government has denied hiding an ACC shortfall and states that it abided by its legal obligations. A review was ordered, and its report was publicly released today: the new government says that the report has determined that the previous government did hide an ACC shortfall in breach of its legal obligations; the previous government says the report determined that it did not hide an ACC shortfall in breach of its legal obligations.

    While this would be laughable:

    An opposition MP has accused a government minister of punching him on the floor of the House of Representatives. The minister denies punching the MP who made the allegation. A copy of the video tape of Parliament’s proceedings was made public today: the opposition MP says it shows a government minister punching him on the floor of the House of Representatives; the minister says that the video does not show him punching the MP.

    • Greame: Yes, your second example is laughable, but I’d add that similar stories were actually published many times last year, all involving Winston Peters (remember the thing with the helicopters?).

      In cases of outright and demonstrable falsehood I think its appropriate for journalists to state any facts that disprove the lie (for example, just before Obama passed his budget the Republican Party started referring to a budget office document critiqing the policies – no such document existed and (some) media outlets said so.

      But politicians are rarely as crazy as Winston or the Republicans; they deal in nuance and ambivilence. If we look at English’s press release, it says:

      The report found the shortfall in the Non-Earner’s Account was known to ACC, the Department of Labour, Treasury, ACC Minister Maryan Street and Finance Minister Michael Cullen in time for it to be disclosed as a fiscal risk in the Pre-election Fiscal Update.

      All of which is completely true – what they’ve done is leave out Treasury’s responsibility for the disclosure (which the PA story does not).

      And if you talked to English and his PR staff I have no doubt that they believe that ‘the truth’ of this matter is that Labour did hide the shortfall but set Treasury up to take the blame and that the inquiry confirms this and it was thus appropriate for them to issue their press release, and that they would be able to argue ‘the truth’ of their viewpoint very persuasively. (I’m not saying I endorse such views, just that it’s easy to guess what they are).

  38. Snail 38

    DM — Labour need to go back, look at where they’ve gone wrong and try and recreate that success, not whine about the big bad biased media

    Looks very prescriptive to me. Opinion yes, a non-journo yes(by admission above) yet somewhat damning of your goodself insofar as it relates the likelihood of success (for Labour) to the past as model for its future.

    Now I’d like put it to you (and via your partner and many journo friends) that reporting something or other on the face of selected facts(which may be read as available facts on occasion) is not what good journalism is about. Whereas SALIENT facts is/are the material of good reporting.

    And that salience requires a journalistic value-system. Of great merit to readers and the public at large..

    PR releases are, after all, PR.. or more unkindly, spin.

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  • Week That Was: COVID-19 Alert Level 4
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  • SPEECH: Green Party Co-leader James Shaw – Ministerial statement on State of National Emergency an...
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  • Ground-breaking abortion law passes, giving NZers compassionate healthcare
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  • Winston Peters: COVID-19 rescue package ‘more significant’ than any worldwide
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  • ‘Demerit Points System’ will address youth crime
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  • Investment in kingfish farming
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  • 1BT grants for Northland planting
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  • New Zealand reaffirms support for Flight MH17 judicial process
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  • PGF investment in green hydrogen
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  • Coronavirus support for Pacific
    Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, Minister for Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand is partnering with countries in the Pacific to ensure they are prepared for, and able to respond to the global threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19). “There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Green Party passes landmark law to ensure deaf and disabled voices heard equally in democracy
    Chlöe Swarbrick's Members Bill to support disabled general election candidates has passed into law. ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
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  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
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  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
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    3 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
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  • COVID-19 updates
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  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
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  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
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    5 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
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    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
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  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
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  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
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  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
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  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
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  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
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  • Government working to keep air freight moving
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  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
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    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
    JOINT MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY SINGAPORE AND NEW ZEALAND AFFIRMING COMMITMENT TO ENSURING SUPPLY CHAIN CONNECTIVITY AMIDST THE COVID-19 SITUATION  The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis.  As part of our collective response to combat COVID-19, Singapore and New Zealand are committed to maintaining open and connected supply chains. We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
    The Government has allocated $100 million to help redeploy workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, with the hard-hit region of Gisborne-Tairāwhiti to be the first helped, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford, Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today. Phil Twyford ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More support for wood processing
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is ramping up support for Tairāwhiti’s wood processing sector to bolster the region’s economy at a time of heightened uncertainty, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Following earlier announcements today of a regional support package for Tairāwhiti, Minister Jones has also announced a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt steps in to protect Air New Zealand
    The Coalition Government has stepped in to protect Air New Zealand with a significant financial deal that protects essential routes and allows the company to keep operating. The Government and Air New Zealand have agreed a debt funding agreement through commercial 24-month loan facilities of up to $900 million*. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Stronger border measures to protect NZers from COVID-19
    The Government has taken further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively stopping all people from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm today, except for returning New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.  New Zealanders’ partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Action on indoor gatherings and events to protect public health
    The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people.  “Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas
    The New Zealand Government is advising New Zealanders not to travel overseas due to COVID-19, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced. “We are raising our travel advice to the highest level: do not travel,” Mr Peters said. “This is the first time the New Zealand Government has advised New Zealanders ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt announces aviation relief package
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today outlined the first tranche of the $600 million aviation sector relief package announced earlier this week as part of the Government’s $12.1 billion COVID-19 economic response. The initial part of the aviation package aims to secure the operators of New Zealand’s aviation security system, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

  • ICYMI Business: Chorus and Stride hopeful
    ASB sees 6 percent GDP fall in 2020; Chorus, King Salmon and Stride reassure their profits are still on track; Augusta withdraws fund on rent relief fears; US stocks slide again; US jobs data looms ...
    13 mins ago
  • The Bulletin: When are we getting out of lockdown?
    Good morning and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Conditions for leaving lockdown explored, nation’s first death from Covid-19 reported, and Australian govt continues to discriminate against NZers.When will the Covid-19 lockdown across New Zealand end? Short answer – when it’s actually safe to do so. Officially, the current state ...
    The SpinoffBy Alex Braae
    30 mins ago
  • Covid-19 live updates, March 30: Australia bans gatherings of more than two as it nears 4,000 cases
    For all The Spinoff’s latest coverage of Covid-19 see here. Read Siouxsie Wiles’s work hereNew Zealand is currently in alert level four. The country is shut down, apart from essential services. For updated official government advice, see here.The Spinoff’s coverage of the Covid-19 outbreak is funded by The Spinoff Members. To support this work, join The ...
    The SpinoffBy The Spinoff
    49 mins ago
  • Coronavirus: PM backs families battling to keep seniors in their bubble
    People over 70 and those with underlying health conditions faced the lockdown four days before the rest of the country - but some of the elderly still aren't taking any notice. ...
    49 mins ago
  • A photo essay on the one thing to keep you sane in the lockdown: bookshelves
    Steve Braunias presents a photo essay of the one thing that New Zealanders are holding close to their hearts during the Lockdown: their bookshelves. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's bookcase at Premier House in Wellington. The photograph which she posted this weekend on her Instagram page reveals two novels by Elizabeth ...
    1 hour ago
  • Glimmer of hope for Lake Alice victims
    Police start “initial” investigation into abuse at a notorious psychiatric hospital. David Williams reports The Government has missed a 90-day deadline for responding to a United Nations committee over torture at Lake Alice’s child and adolescent unit in the 1970s. However, in a move that might represent a glimmer of ...
    1 hour ago
  • Emma Espiner: Sunday at Countdown
    Emma Espiner makes a slow and deliberate trip to the supermarket yesterday, where she finds we are approaching social distancing in a very New Zealand way  It took me three attempts to go to the supermarket. Two days ago I saw the cheerless conga line snaking around the car park ...
    2 hours ago
  • Society’s ‘invisible bonds’ come into the light
    Dr Neal Curtis looks at all the points of implicit trust within society, and how Covid-19 is revealing how important this trust is As I stood in the queue to get into our local supermarket it was encouraging to see how carefully people were engaging in social distancing to minimise ...
    2 hours ago
  • Practise, practise, practise: The Black Fern and the law
    From growing up on the remote East Cape to becoming a Black Fern and a lawyer, Ruahei Demant wants to show young Māori that anything is possible. In the long run, Ruahei Demant wants to be a sports lawyer. But in the short term, the Black Ferns first-five is juggling her ...
    2 hours ago
  • Like being randomly pricked with a pin … and worse
    Having toughed it out alone with Covid-19 and survived, one Kiwi man learned the hard way how self-isolation really can save lives, writes Jill Herron Choosing to self-isolate early with only Sophie the spaniel as company led to a lonesome, rough ride through Covid-19 for a Christchurch asthmatic – but ...
    2 hours ago
  • Love in the times of Covid-19
    As we begin what could become a long period of self-isolation, we encounter a dilemma. On the one hand, epidemiological research and recent global events show us the dangers of not responding swiftly to Covid-19. With community spread now within our shores, it is critical that we follow government orders ...
    2 hours ago
  • The fears of community health and care workers
    Community health and care workers talk of their fear of infection  -  for themselves, their vulnerable clients and New Zealand Over the last few days, Newsroom has written several articles about the fact that thousands of home and community health care workers, who care for elderly, disabled and sick people, have ...
    2 hours ago
  • Covid-19: Petitions launched demanding ‘hazard pay’ for essential workers
    Calls are growing for extra payment for those who continue to head out to work every day, including many on very low wages.The Spinoff’s coverage of the Covid-19 outbreak is funded by The Spinoff Members. To support this work, join The Spinoff Members here.Two petitions have been circulating over the weekend ...
    The SpinoffBy Toby Manhire
    2 hours ago
  • History, hope, and Covid-19
    Covid-19 will transform society, just as the plague and smallpox transformed nations centuries ago. This time, however, we have something they didn’t, writes historian Ayelet Zoran-Rosen.Throughout history, epidemics and pandemics have been a threat to people and states. They strike societies with little or no notice, upend their social and ...
    The SpinoffBy Ayelet Zoran-Rosen
    2 hours ago
  • Christchurch, coronavirus and the ‘new normal’
    The Covid-19 epidemic is only the second time New Zealand has entered a state of national emergency. Newsroom’s Sam Sachdeva had first-hand experience of the first  - the devastating Christchurch earthquakes - and tries to make sense of how the two compare. There is so much that is new about New ...
    2 hours ago
  • The virus as a Vector for power use switch
    In another of his interviews with key industry CEOs on their response to the Covid-19 crisis, Rod Oram talks with Simon Mackenzie of lines company Vector, who expects permanent changes in where and why people consume electricity even once the lockdown ends At mid-afternoon on Wednesday, nine hours before New ...
    2 hours ago
  • Facebook hires AAP for NZ fact-checking
    In the lead-up to the general election, Facebook has launched a fact-checking service for New Zealand and the Pacific, Marc Daalder reports Facebook has contracted the Australian Associated Press' fact-checking division to serve as a certified agency to review content pertaining to New Zealand and the Pacific and rate its ...
    2 hours ago
  • Govt’s ComCom Covid-19 directions illegal and irrational
    The Consumers' Union of Aotearoa has issued a challenge against Kris Faafoi's ministerial press statement which instructed the Commerce Commission to relax its standards for supermarkets and telecommunications companies[*]. ...
    3 hours ago
  • Public gatherings restricted to two people and all foreign investment proposals scrutinised, in new ...
    Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra No more than two people are to gather together in public spaces, and playgrounds will be closed in the latest restrictions in the coronavirus crisis. Meanwhile the government will now scrutinise all foreign investment proposals ...
    Evening ReportBy The Conversation
    7 hours ago
  • Give people and businesses money now they can pay back later (if and when they can)
    Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Linda Botterill, Professor in Australian Politics, University of Canberra The novel coronavirus sees Australia facing major unprecedented health and economic crises. The key to preventing a downward spiral of the economy is to avoid a collapse in incomes of newly laid-off workers ...
    Evening ReportBy The Conversation
    9 hours ago
  • How Ardern’s coronavirus kindness theme can become contagious
    The South African ‘Don’t Panic Buy’ jingle. Video: ENCA/PickNSave PACIFIC PANDEMIC DIARY: By David Robie, self-isolating in Auckland under New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown as part of a new Pacific Media Watch series. A South African celebrity jingle that has gone viral at the end of this week could easily ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    11 hours ago
  • Government says Australia’s coronavirus curve may be flattening
    Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra The federal government says there are signs the coronavirus curve may be flattening in Australia. Scott Morrison told a Sunday news conference the rate of increase in cases had fallen to about 13-15% a day ...
    Evening ReportBy The Conversation
    13 hours ago
  • Broadband and data usage surges as New Zealanders reach out
    Whether to connect with friends and colleagues, catch up on news, or stave off the boredom with bingeable TV, we’ve all been on our devices a lot more than normal.Vodafone has released a summary of its traffic stats for the past six days, which compares phone calls, broadband, and mobile ...
    The SpinoffBy Michael Andrew
    15 hours ago
  • Rushed Vaping Bill During Covid-19, Grossly Unfair
    New Zealand vaping representatives have joined forces to condemn the Government continuing with its plan to rush legislation through Parliament to regulate vaping despite the Covid-19 lockdown. The Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ), ...
    15 hours ago
  • Locked down and locked out in Australia
    Celebrated Kiwi author and expat Ian Brodie adds his voice to pleas for the Australian government to relax welfare rules and help more than half a million vulnerable New Zealanders, writes Jill Herron. Brothers in arms, we are not. That’s the call from award-winning Kiwi author, photographer and film tourism ...
    16 hours ago
  • Review: Netflix’s addictive Tiger King will leave you feeling grubby for watching
    The new true crime documentary sensation shares many of the flaws of its own subject, writes Sam Brooks.Joe Exotic, the man at the centre of Netflix’s new documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, is a star. There’s an unnerving charisma that burns through the tattooed eyeliner, the sickly ...
    The SpinoffBy Sam Brooks
    16 hours ago
  • NZ lockdown – Day 4: First death in New Zealand from coronavirus
    By RNZ News New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have confirmed the country’s first death from the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Dr Bloomfield said New Zealand had its first death today, after a woman who was initially diagnosed with influenza died. The woman ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    16 hours ago
  • Covid-19 in NZ – Sunday’s numbers charted
    How is Covid-19 spreading within the country? Newsroom is collating information as it's available to paint a picture of what's happening. There were 63 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, down from the previous day's 83 new cases. Details of how many tests have been completed are now being released ...
    16 hours ago
  • PNG’s Health Minister Jelta Wong ‘sidelines’ Kramer in virus briefings
    Papua New Guinea will have only one press release in the afternoons at 4:00pm daily to give updates on the Covid–19 in the country in a reshuffle of information briefings. Health Minister Jelta Wong announced this when visited the office of the PNG Nurses Association accompanied by his department’s ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    17 hours ago
  • First Covid-19 death in New Zealand
    New Zealand has had its first death linked to Covid-19. The patient, a woman in her 70s on the West Coast, was admitted to hospital with what was thought to be influenza complicated by underlying health conditions. She was later diagnosed with Covid-19. The woman's family has asked for privacy ...
    18 hours ago
  • President Lú-Olo declares Timor-Leste state of emergency over coronavirus
    Pacific Media Watch The President of Timor-Leste, Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, has declared a state of emergency to enable the government to address the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. The state of emergency started last night at midnight and it will run until the night of April 26. Timor-Leste’s National Parliament ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    18 hours ago
  • Cut Traffic Speeds To Reduce Pressure On Hospitals, Say Cycling Advocates
    It’s time to lower traffic speeds to reduce crashes and free up hospital beds, say cycling advocates. "This will reduce harm and ease the burden on our health workers and emergency services," says Patrick Morgan from Cycling Action Network. ...
    18 hours ago
  • Pacific coronavirus: French Polynesia Covid-19 tally rises to 34
    By RNZ Pacific The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in French Polynesia has risen by four to 34. The update from the government said the hospitalisation rate is unchanged with one person in care. Last night a curfew was declared for the first time, forcing residents across ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    19 hours ago
  • Ohura Medieval Market Day, and the fight to keep a small town standing
    It’s a town where people often feel the rest of the country has given up on them, in the middle of a region where every place feels isolated. So how did Ohura become an unlikely centre of Medieval Combat sports in New Zealand? Alex Braae spent three days there finding ...
    The SpinoffBy Alex Braae
    20 hours ago
  • Coronavirus – analysing the data makes you think we could do with more of it
    If you want to understand some of the thinking behind the policy response to the spread of coronavirus, you might want to read the paper from the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, which is credited with accelerating the introduction of the current lockdown measures in the UK. The paper builds ...
    Point of OrderBy xtrdnry
    20 hours ago
  • The Pink Jumpsuit: An essay about the bubbles we live in
    ‘It seems like someone else’s dream of my past.’ For Emma Neale, the painting ‘Wanderlust’ by Dunedin artist Sharon Singer stirs memories of her childhood, and new understandings of guilt and forgiveness.There were gifts from my father when he came home from overseas trips. Love offerings; a bit like those ...
    The SpinoffBy Emma Neale
    20 hours ago
  • Māori Party delay launch to fight Covid-19
    The Māori Party is delaying the launch of its new-look party to fight Covid-19 in Māori communities. ...
    21 hours ago
  • Resuscitating a virus-ravaged economy – the answer lies in the soil and the exports it generates
    Westpac is forecasting 200,000 jobs will be lost in NZ as a result of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.  Chief economist Dominick Stephens estimates economic activity during the four week lock-down would decline by a third, despite the government and the Reserve Bank having “done a lot to calm ...
    Point of OrderBy tutere44
    22 hours ago
  • Renée, the Lockdown Letters #3: Help yourself to my rhubarb
    In our new series The Lockdown Letters, some of New Zealand’s best writers tell us what they’ve been up to in the days of Covid-19 alert level four. Today, Ōtaki author Renée.I have a wild tomato flopping all over the path down the back of the veg garden. I picked a ...
    The SpinoffBy Renée
    22 hours ago
  • Covid-19 live updates, March 29
    For all The Spinoff’s latest coverage of Covid-19 see here. Read Siouxsie Wiles’s work here. New Zealand is currently in alert level four. The country is shut down, apart from essential services. For updated official government advice, see here. The Spinoff’s coverage of the Covid-19 outbreak is funded by The Spinoff Members. To support this ...
    The SpinoffBy Toby Manhire
    24 hours ago
  • Covid-19 scams: Here’s what you need to look out for
    Online criminals have been making the most of Covid-19 by preying on people’s fear and doubt. Here are some of the calling cards of these con artists.With most New Zealanders tucked up at home, digital devices are proving to be critical tools for staying connected with each other, making good ...
    The SpinoffBy Michael Andrew
    24 hours ago
  • A visit to the supermarket
    Author and illustrator Sarah Laing draws a rite of passage in The Lockdown. Reprinted with the permission of the author from  Let Me Be Frank, Sarah Laing's blog devoted to "Reading. Writing. Parenting. Angsting." Let Me Be Frank is also the ...
    1 day ago
  • Life on paws: How to deal with your pets during lockdown
    As New Zealand adjusts to a month of lockdown, many pet owners have questions about their furry friends. Alex Casey had a chat with the SPCA – here’s what she learned. AC: My cat had a disgusting abscess on his tail and now has to get his stitches out. ...
    The SpinoffBy Alex Casey
    1 day ago
  • No shops, no launches – but the NZ book scene is finding new ways to reach people under lockdown
    Books editor Catherine Woulfe takes an energising walk around the lockdown block of New Zealand books. When the bubbles settled over us they settled over the books too. Libraries were the first to shut down, then the physical bookstores and finally, the hammer blow: online sales and indeed any notion of ...
    The SpinoffBy The Spinoff Review of Books
    1 day ago
  • Fiji: A paradise under pandemic rules
    Convincing its citizens to take lockdown seriously will be a major challenge for Fiji’s government, writes Mandy De Vries. My husband, Howie, and I are lucky enough to live on the beautiful Coral Coast in Fiji. We started a tourism operation here two years ago which was, until recently, booming. ...
    1 day ago
  • We’re better placed now than GFC or 1987
    New Zealand’s businesses and government are far better prepared for the rapidly escalating global health and economic crisis than they were for the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09 or the stock market crash in 1987, says Rob Campbell, one of the country’s most experienced corporate leaders. “Executive teams and boards ...
    1 day ago
  • Gavin Ellis: Time for adversity journalism
    Journalism commentator and former editor Gavin Ellis says media organisations play a vital role in keeping the community informed and, if possible, safe. They also have a crucial part to play in the maintenance of public order and morale, ­ just as they did in the 1940s. With the country in ...
    1 day ago
  • We’ve been forgotten: midwife
    The country has millions of protective gowns, gloves and eyewear – midwives ask: Where are they? David Williams reports Two days into a national lockdown some midwives didn’t have any protective equipment, adding to concerns about safeguards for frontline health workers. On Friday, announcements were made by the Health Ministry ...
    1 day ago
  • What lockdown could do for your business idea
    Covid-19 lockdown provides valuable time for planning a new business, as Dr Mary-Ellen Gordon explains You have a great idea for a business. You’ve been working to get it up and going. Then, just as you were starting to gain traction, the entire country and much of the rest of ...
    1 day ago
  • Covid-19: A catch-22 for our most vulnerable
    Low-income workers whose jobs have disappeared thanks to Covid-19 will increasingly need to access benefit income. When this happens, however, they lose a tax credit for their children. As a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis, the Government has improved its rescue policies for business. We now need to see urgent ...
    1 day ago
  • First boredom, then fear
    The strange energy of preparing for level four is over, now the dystopian reality has kicked in. Danyl Mclauchlan writes an essay about home life during a ‘cosy catastrophe’.We start by setting up our home workspaces, covering the kitchen table with such a thick mass of black cables and USB ...
    The SpinoffBy Danyl Mclauchlan
    1 day ago
  • All Australians will be able to access telehealth under new $1.1 billion coronavirus program
    Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra Scott Morrison will unvieil on Sunday a $1.1 billion set of measures to make Medicare telehealth services generally available during the coronavirus pandemic and to support mental health, domestic violence and community services. The “Medicare ...
    Evening ReportBy The Conversation
    1 day ago
  • Covid-19 in NZ – Saturday’s numbers charted
    How is Covid-19 spreading within the country? Newsroom is collating information as it's available to paint a picture of what's happening. There were 83 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, down from the previous day's 85 new cases. Details of how many tests have been completed are now bing released ...
    1 day ago
  • NZ lockdown – Day 3: PM Ardern chats with followers on Facebook
    By RNZ News New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke to her followers on Facebook today from her office in Premier House. Her chat lasted about 15 minutes and garnered more than 310,000 views. She discussed wage subsidies for full-time and part-time workers, personal protection equipment (PPE) supplies for ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    1 day ago
  • Effective coronavirus messages and fake news: Can we do better?
    COMMENTARY: By Bob Howarth (self-isolating in Australia after his latest trip to Timor-Leste) After days of web surfing for Covid-19 coronavirus news around the Asia-Pacific, two areas that appear to need improving in some countries are official communication and fact checking. So here’s my two cents, rupiah, kina or ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    2 days ago
  • The best binges on NEON for these extraordinary times
    Whether it’s a robot uprising, a woman catfishing into the publishing world or a bunch of lovestruck islanders, NEON has you covered. Here’s what we’re bingeing on NEON for the foreseeable future.WestworldJust in time for lockdown, there’s a buzz-worthy show with endless discussion points coming out on a weekly basis. ...
    The SpinoffBy The Spinoff
    2 days ago
  • Covid-19: Who really needs to be wearing protective gear?
    There’s been a lot of talk about PPE of late – do we have enough, is it getting to the right people, and who exactly are the right people, anyway? Here’s the latest official advice.The Ministry of Health has now circulated updated advice on the appropriate use of PPE (personal ...
    The SpinoffBy Leonie Hayden
    2 days ago
  • The face of the Covid-19 response: Who is Ashley Bloomfield?
    A month ago, not many had heard of Ashley Bloomfield. But as the Covid-19 response has ramped up, the director-general of health has become a calm, reassuring presence in a time of uncertainty and fear. Rachel Thomas profiles him, in a piece first published on RNZ.Today, Saturday, director-general of health ...
    The SpinoffBy Rachel Thomas
    2 days ago
  • To fish or not to fish – that is the question
    Jim Kayes tests the waters of social media to see how people are coping with being told to avoid their favourite pastime. “There is something ridiculously exhilarating about catching a fish. The thrill might have faded for the salty angler, but for this rookie, the novice still snagging fish hooks ...
    2 days ago
  • New PPE plan leaves community care workers without masks
    The Government yesterday reassured us there are plenty of masks for front line staff dealing with the public. Yet it seems home care workers, who provide up-close personal care for tens of thousands of people every day, won’t be given them. Yesterday two documents hit my inbox. One was a ...
    2 days ago
  • Don’t fret, folks – Hone’s sweet with the mayor so long as he sets up checkpoints and doesn’...
    Hobson’s Choice spokesman Don Brash (a former leader of the National and ACT Parties) is not alone in challenging the justification for tribes claiming to have closed roads to protect their people against Covid. Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters – his remarks apparently ignored by ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    2 days ago
  • Manaaki Key For Getting Though COVID-19
    Preliminary results from a survey investigating how well-equipped Māori whānau in the South Island are to stay at home for extended periods show that the majority are prepared to manage their short-term needs, but have increasing anxiety about ...
    2 days ago
  • Parliamentary Monitoring And Reporting Is Critical In Dealing With COVID-19 Responses
    "The risk of fraud and corruption is compounded during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. When quick decisions are necessary to move vast amounts of resources, bribery, fraud and corruption abound," says Suzanne Snively, Chair of Transparency International ...
    2 days ago
  • Pacific coronavirus: Guam still region’s hot spot with 51 plus cases
    By RNZ Pacific Guam remains the Pacific pandemic hot spot with the number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases climbing above 50. On Friday six people tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to 51. Thirteen of the cases are currently in hospital. READ MORE: Al Jazeera live updates – ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    2 days ago
  • Outrage after Indonesian politicians get priority testing for Covid-19
    By Mong Palatino Many Indonesian internet users have expressed anger over the decision of the House of Representatives (DPR) to test its 575 members for Covid-19. Indonesia has a population of more than 260 million. As of today, the country has 913 Covid-19 positive cases with 87 deaths. But ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    2 days ago
  • Latest numbers: 83 new cases, two in ICU
    New Zealand has 78 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 and five probable cases, the Government has announced today, taking the total to 451. Civil Defence Emergency Management director Sarah Stuart-Black said 12 people are in hospital and two are in intensive care, including one on a ventilator. Twelve are in ...
    2 days ago
  • Covid-19: Total tops 450
    New Zealand has 78 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 and five probable cases, the Government has announced today, taking the total to 451. Civil Defence Emergency Management director Sarah Stuart-Black said 12 people are in hospital and two are in intensive care, including one on a ventilator. Twelve are in ...
    2 days ago
  • ‘We’re ready,’ says NCD chief Parkop with Port Moresby locked down
    By Michelle Steven in Port MoresbyPacific New Guinea’s National Capital City Covid-19 Task Force team is preparing ahead should there be a possible coronavirus case during the 14-day lockdown. NCD Governor Powes Parkop told a media conference that the capital city would be in total lockdown with no public ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    2 days ago
  • Automatic 3-month Visa Extension Granted For Every Migrant
    Leading immigration lawyer Aaron Martin assesses the impact of the announcement of the epidemic notice for migrants. Immigration New Zealand announced that the government epidemic management notice relating to immigration matters comes into effect on 2 ...
    2 days ago
  • Government rules magazines and community newspapers aren’t an essential service
    Just a tiny handful of print publications will continue through the lockdown, with only daily newspapers specifically identified as being able to continue. Duncan Greive spoke to publishers of magazines and community newspapers about the impact on them and their communities.Publishers of magazines and community newspapers are reeling, after a ...
    The SpinoffBy Duncan Greive
    2 days ago
  • Magazines and community papers aren’t an essential service, leaving some small towns and elderly w...
    Just a tiny handful of print publications will continue through the lockdown, with only daily newspapers specifically identified as being able to continue. Duncan Greive spoke to publishers of magazines and community newspapers about the impact on them and their communities.Publishers of magazines and community newspapers are reeling, after a ...
    The SpinoffBy Duncan Greive
    2 days ago
  • Coronavirus: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says no change in Australia’s stance to New Zealand...
    Jacinda Ardern has pleaded with the Australian Prime Minister to make an exception to the rule that bars many of the 650,000 New Zealanders there from receiving a benefit. ...
    2 days ago
  • Morgan Godfery, The Lockdown Letters #2: I’m never sleeping
    In our new series The Lockdown Letters, some of New Zealand’s best writers tell us what they’ve been up to in the days of Covid-19 alert level four. Today, political commentator and essayist Morgan Godfery.I’M TWEETING AT 2AM.The responsible part of my brain is sending sleep signals. Inconvenient yawns. The ...
    The SpinoffBy Morgan Godfery
    2 days ago
  • A review of Attraction, the road trip novel we need right now
    Take a vicarious roadie via Attraction, the novel by Ruby Porter that was longlisted for the country’s biggest fiction prize. Released last year, it’s now a slightly eerie snapshot of Aotearoa as we were. Attraction is a New Zealand road trip novel with a heavy dose of postcolonial guilt. Whitewashing, cultural ...
    The SpinoffBy Emma Gattey
    2 days ago
  • Iwi do their thing: helping those in need
    Iwi everywhere put support plans into action, focusing on their  kaumātua, writes Kayne Ngātokowhā Peters. Iwi are ramping up support services to assist their people in need following the closure of Ministry of Social Development offices and the move to online and phone assistance from Work and Income. Central North Island ...
    2 days ago