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Tapping the media: subverting democracy

Written By: - Date published: 11:16 pm, August 25th, 2014 - 32 comments
Categories: blogs, capitalism, David Farrar, democracy under attack, election 2014, news, spin - Tags:

In the wake of the publication of Dirty Politics, I have been pondering on the urgent need for a revitalised public service broadcasting and online media.

vision_real_democracy

Our media largely works within a corporate context, driven by commercial considerations.   This provides a context where dirty operators, with limited ethics and underhand methods can too easily subvert the democratic potential of the media.

For democracy to thrive, the people need to be well informed of the issues. Here the media has a role to provide in-depth reporting: by researching, examining the truth behind the political spin, and explaining diverse perspectives the issues of the day.

The media should also be a vehicle through which people can talk back to power, and which stimulates well-informed discussions and knowledgeable voters.

Our news media are dominated by commercial interests.  The demise of public service media means that coverage of politics, current events and social issues is ultimately driven by the need to catch the attention of as many eyes and ears as possible.

media-democracy-logo

It’s the sales of newspapers and advertising that drives the whole show.  And as it is becoming increasingly hard to run such enterprises for profit, entertainment, drama, conflict and sensationalism often trumps in-depth coverage.

Journalists may well have the best intentions, but they need to produce copy for the latest stories, quickly and relatively cheaply.  So an on-tap source of insider information from someone with significant political contacts would seem likely to provide an advantage.  And this leaves an opening for those who aim not just to be vehicles of information, but to use that role in such a way as to manipulate the media coverage of politics.

Today David Fisher of the NZ Herald, published an insightful and brave article about his contacts with Cameron Slater.  He also provides some clarity to something that has often been discussed by commenters on The Standard: how is it that for a long time right wing bloggers (like Slater and David Farrar at Kiwiblog) seem to get mentioned in the mainstream media? In contrast left wing blogs and bloggers have largely been ignored?  The answer seems to be that it’s partly in having the contacts and connections, and the ruthless and vicious will to manipulate, not just the media, but the general public.

Fisher explains both the attraction to using the likes of Slater as an information source, as well as how he came to realise that he was probably being manipulated. Consequently Fisher turned his back on the Slater connection. The result was that he was then subjected to vicious smears and misinformation on the Whale Oil blog.

Fisher’s article begins:

Cameron Slater was a contact of mine – Nicky Hager made this clear in Dirty Politics.

What also became clear is how politics is little more than a game to Slater. He says: “I play politics like Fijians play rugby. My role is smashing your face into the ground.”

The media are just players in the game, and bit players at that.

Looking back, Slater kept journalists like he would have kept hunting dogs – hungry, leashed and fed with morsels until they are ready to be unleashed after whatever game he was hunting.

To Slater, it all part of the game of Dirty Politics. About the time I felt I was being gamed, I decided to have nothing to do with the blogger.

This is how it happened.

Part of Fisher’s story includes the changing nature of Slater’s relationship with John Key.  A while back Key wouldn’t communicate with Slater.  Then, in 2012, that changed:

At some point after April 2012, Key went from blocking Slater to talking and texting with the blogger, and posing for photographs at his side.

It was also about this time I stopped dealing with Slater.

Fisher writes of the balancing act journalists need to perform when using sources who have some particular line to push. A journalist needs to maintain some critical distance, so as to be able to, not just report the information received, but to critique it.

Fisher goes on:

Information has power. Those with the greatest access to information are those in power. Slater’s links inside National meant he had access to good information.

But as 2012 got underway, I began to wonder who was manipulating Slater and whether I was in turn being made to do another’s bidding.

It caused a feeling of great unease.

Fisher describes some of the nasty treatment he received once he cut Slater off:

He launched a personal assault with what I believed were threats of violence and created an atmosphere in which I was personally and professionally denigrated. Those who post comments on his website made awful slurs. It is as horrible an online environment as you will find anywhere.

Our news and political media need a big clean-out: not so much a change of people as a total change to the system.  We need a section of the media that is free from commercial bottom lines. We need a better public service media, primarily operating in the interest of the public.

This is a very important election issue.

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Better Public Broadcasting has been running a series of events around the country, making broadcasting an election issue. They have an event planned in Auckland this weekend. I will be interested to see what the MPs have to say, as there is not a relevant policy for broadcasting/media on either the Greens of Labour websites.

AUCKLAND – Sunday 31 Aug at 6.30pm (Doors open 6.15pm)

The CBB presents the AK Broadcasting Debate.
Come to the Pioneer Women’s Hall on High St, Auckland City to see speakers:
Maggie Barry – National
Kris Faafoi – Labour
Julie Anne Genter – Greens
moderated by Guy Williams
and asked pointed questions by you the public
 There are similar debates planned for Christchurch and Dunedin next week – details at the link.

32 comments on “Tapping the media: subverting democracy”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Yes. As time goes on I’m less and less inclined to waste energy on Slater himself – rather all the other people around him who thought they could make use of this mad dog.

    When Slater came out with the ‘feral who did the world a favour by dying’ line, it was just him being his usual sociopathic self. At the time I didn’t waste a moment thinking about it.

    But discovering that Key himself phoned Slater to commiserate about the backlash, to support, encourage and validate what he had done – leaves me gobsmacked. When this conversation became public Key should have been made to resign in disgrace within minutes. His own Party and family should have disowned and shunned him. The media should have made his name a pariah and a byword for shame for a generation to come.

    Slater was always known as a sociopathic slug – but we damn well expect more from our Prime Minister. Far more. And for years Key has pretended he was better – but in private he is not. He turns out to be no better – arguably worse – than Slater himself.

    And yet John Key remains Prime Minister. He’s being allowed to campaign on like business as usual. Suddenly we see a much wider circle equally complicit in this shame. A whole layer of media enablers who are pretending that nothing too much is wrong.

    David Fisher’s article is helpful and he deserves some credit for writing it. But even in this effort to redeem himself he’s failed to understand that this is not all about him. That there is an entire media industry who have some very hard questions to answer.

    • emergency mike 1.1

      Do bear in mind RL, that the evidence presented for Key having made that phone call in Dirty Politics is merely Slater saying so to a mate on facebook. It is possible he was just talking shit, not something I’d put past Cameron Slater.

      I’ve also been wondering differently about the wider MSM in since reading the book…

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        I agree it could be Slater shit. But we do know for certain Key does routinely talk with Slater.

        Now I may have missed it – but has Key denied this particular conversation?

        And if he has the mere fact that the Prime Minister has put himself – and the Office he represents – into a position of having to deny this otherwise plausible statement from Slater is a problem in itself.

        There should have been zero possibility of something like this happening.

        • Phil Tate 1.1.1.1

          I think I know the answer to the question. It wasn’t Key that spoke to Slater, it was his office…;)

  2. swordfish 2

    Just one or two examples of Slater on Fisher from 2013:

    ‘David Fisher’s Fat Fetish continues to Fester’ : “Kim Dotcon’s staff reporter, David Fisher, has crawled right up Dotcom’s massive rectal crevice this week in the Herald. He really does seem to have a man-crush on the fat German….”

    In another Whaleoil post, we learn that “David Fisher wrote a scurrilous article about Judith Collins on Saturday”, apparently relying on “a real scumbag” as his source.

    We also learn on Whaleoil of ‘The Unhinging of David Fisher’, that “we all know how low David Fisher has previously stooped”, that he’s “Kim Dotcon’s PR maestro and embedded journalist” , is “desperate to get the stench of compromise off his own career” and that Fisher is the ‘Cry-Baby of the Day’.

    I stopped searching at about that point…..

  3. the pigman 3

    I have to say, reading Fisher’s article, I feel very little sympathy for him finding himself on the receiving end of Slater’s (and his readership’s) bile.

    The lame attempt to cast the National Party as the unwitting victim of a hijacking by Lusk and Slater and the “fiscal conservatives” is the narrative card that Key should be playing now, alongside sacking Collins and her sycophants in caucus… instead Key is letting this weeping sore of a corrupt bully continue on as his Justice Minister… his fucking Justice Minister!!!

    And speaking of inoculation, I would think the closing paragraphs purportedly quoting Slater are prescient: “Remember I still have my emails. Not sure David ‘Tainted’ Fisher is going to like those making their way public. Because the very thing he complains of in his stories he has participated in.”

    Perhaps Fisher fears being outed by @whaledump (indeed, we are told that the Herald has also been provided with everything from whaledump already). In this context the whole article looks like a sad attempt to deflect criticism that he was one of Slater’s collaborators.

  4. Jrobin 4

    Pigman, totally disagree with your judgemental assessment of Fishers situation. Anyone who has been the target of this sociopath will have sympathy for Fisher as Slater has no bottom limit and is a complete liar and slanderer. Journalists have been in a difficult situation and instead of targeting individual journalists you should be looking at a Systems Theory critique. The ownership by partisan and Mafioso media magnates has undermined the security and ethical position of journalists who have had to make the sort of choices that Fisher has described. He has my full sympathy and good on him for his article. Public Broadcasting needs to be reinvented for our democracy to function again.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      Well said.

      Please consider employing paragraphs for extra clarity 🙂

    • RedLogix 4.2

      Thank you Jrobin.

      I read that article with considerable interest and could not make up my mind about some aspects of it. But that fleshes it out nicely for me.

      Part of me wanted to credit Fisher for having the guts to write it, part of me wanted to condemn him for having anything to do with Slater in the first place.

      But you are correct – the real story is nowhere near as black and white as that – and your comment concisely explains why.

    • adam 4.3

      I think you raise an important point Jrobin, that Slater is somewhere on the sociopath spectrum. These people know and have all the right skills to charm the pants off most people. They are generally charming when you first met them, they make people feel really good, whilst they fell nothing – either way.

      So folks, future proofing of the left

      http://www.wikihow.com/Spot-a-Sociopath

      http://www.naturalnews.com/036112_sociopaths_cults_influence.html#

      I do feel somewhat sorry for Fisher, as having been in the grip of this type of personality myself in the past.

    • Rich 4.4

      Well I did condemn him, but then put in those terms I can see that he has no freedom to act in a way that reflects his own interests let alone the wider community’s. He just reflects our slavery.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    Speaking of the media, first Patrick Gower and now Andrea Vance advancing the notion of Paula Bennett as Prime Ministerial material.

    I wonder whose story they’re telling.

    • Yes. The only good thing to come out of all this is that now, instead of wondering whether the journo’s been manipulated into running someone’s propaganda for them, you can just take that part as read and skip straight to trying to figure out who it is.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1

        Whoever it is, they’re running out of time. The succession clock is ticking 😈

    • karol 5.2

      Andrea Vance says Bennett is going up against Carmel Sepuloni in Kelston this election – major fail there, Andrea.

      • Tracey 5.2.1

        and in her timeline leaves out the state assistance ms bennett formerly of wellington, taupo, westie and niw uppity harbour, received to get wherever it is she has got.

  6. “..We need a section of the media that is free from commercial bottom lines. We need a better public service media, primarily operating in the interest of the public..”

    yeah..it’s called whoar.co.nz.

  7. Peter 7

    What would a media analyst make of Key’s refusal to go on Radio NZ over the last six years, and his love affair with talkback radio? Who has been killing public broadcasting and why?

    • tc 7.1

      That he only attends friendly compliant media outlets and never fronts bad news thats for bill etc.
      An analyst should have more to say about the medias absence on holding him to account over any of his many porkys, this is where the real key emerges and its not a pretty sight.

  8. tc 8

    It has been a systematic and planned subversion of the MSM since early 08 when it became obvious a certain bias was underway.

    Its made all the more simpler as there is no public broadcaster holding aloft a standard the public can access if required. The way the nats have got their puppetts on air has been all too easy.

    you only have to look across the ditch and see the moves being made on abc and sbs by abbott as a payback to rupert whose other business subsidise the papers, a fact some leaked financials laid bare last week making the lawyers busy to stem to publication via crikey.

    Its about controlling the message so murdoch needs that pesky public broadcaster neutered, an issue the nats didnt have here so it was very easy indeed.

  9. philj 9

    xox
    Than you Mr Fisher, for coming out as a prestitute I hope you are doing well with your rehabilitation. The importance of this issue of media quality and independence is essential to saving our democracy from the big money interests. Mainly bankers and economists, oh! and Forex dealers!

  10. philj 10

    xox
    Nearly forgot the dismal dismissal yesterday In Advance! of David Fisher, by Michelle Boag, attack dog, on RNZ Panel. Come On RNZ! I know it’s called ‘National’ Radio, but really….!

  11. crocodill 11

    If anyone thinks corporate interference in news media is the negative opposite of political interference they need a doctor, quick. The “infiltration” of journalism started way before 2008, way before 1990, even before the cold war, even before 1917. It’s been been going on since people figured they could write things down. To solve it, everyone would have to give up their belief systems and pretty much give up journalism. Sounds extreme huh? Nobody wants that, all anyone wants is to hear what they like to hear from time to increasingly frequent time instead of the opposing view? Yeah, that’s about right and as admirable as a sign that says “real” democracy – as opposed to “unreal” democracy. Can no one remember the Clark Regime and its influence in media matters? No? Ok we’ll just flick the blinkers back on and shove the earplugs back in and dream of real democracy where our team makes the rules and only the approved party news is distributed resulting in approved party outcomes. Real democracy, where reality is whatever the party says it is and news is whatever we want it to be.

    • karol 11.1

      That just reads like a lot of smoke and mirrors, crocodill.

      Sure the current problems with the media didn’t happen overnight. That’s part of the point of my post. But the whole Dirty Politics malicious, Slater-Nats’ two track system is a new low in NZ political media coverage.

      • crocodill 11.1.1

        Oh please, you talk of research? Why haven’t you asked Nicky Hagar, now darling of the left, what happened to him? Want a link?

        http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:gKYiR6yNUlEJ:www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm%3Fc_id%3D1%26objectid%3D2098367+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=nz

        Oh but wait, Cunliffe’s Party is different. Like I said, earplugs, blinkers, party ideology, no historical knowledge, no idea about what journalism is …and that’s the real basis of democracy?

        • karol 11.1.1.1

          Crododill. You really haven’t read/understood what I am saying.

          Yes Cunliffe’s party is different from the Slater-Nats smear machine.

          Labour also have colluded with the infotainment neoliberal shift in the media. But the problem has come from the shift away from public service media that has happened over recent decades.

          Saying they are all as bad as each other is not helpful.

          • adam 11.1.1.1.1

            Crocodill, you need to either attack the conservative elites or the liberal ones, not a blanket brush.

            With a blanket brush you miss the small battles that need to won. Yes the liberal elites are in bed with a propagandist system and have self interest running. But, they also have different things which trigger reactions and get results. They also have a different set of ideals they aspire to.

            Conservatives on the other hand are a brick wall – moaning just adds a brick or two to that wall. So differentiate, see the differences, fight the small battles, extenuate the differences.

            Indeed for both groups, being lumped together just means they can ignore you. It also makes it harder for those trying to win the small battles to have victory in anything.

  12. grumpystilskin 12

    “moderated by Guy Williams”
    Really, on such a serious subject he’s the best you can do?
    I don’t want one liners but a discussion, if he starts behaving as he usually does on the tv/radio I’ll be the first to start interjecting.

  13. disturbed 13

    ++++++100% Karol.

    As soon as Key/Joyce closed down real public media TVNZ 7 we all knew control of our free media was gone….
    Kris Faafoi has already targeted that a new Labour lead Government will return TV7 again.

    It was a true example of investigative information Journalism service with a balanced perspective.

    We have now lost all this and suffer under a shallow tabloid press that simply repeats second hand information with a commercial interest only spin.

    Our complaint to TV 1 Q+A was ignored as they said they are not doing anything wrong and are “impartial” Ha, Ha, Ha.

    • grumpystilskin 13.1

      “As soon as Key/Joyce closed down real public media TVNZ 7 we all knew control of our free media was gone….”

      TVNZ 7 was never supposed to be a long term channel, it was to appear to be doing something about the terrible state of broadcasting and get someone in management to stop harping on about it. The expected life was around 18-36 months.
      …as told to me by a former management level tvnz staffer who moved into production.
      disclaimer: I’m a freelance tv tech in my day job.

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    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    5 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    5 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    6 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    7 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
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    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    2 weeks ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago

  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 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. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 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. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week ago