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The death of comments

Written By: - Date published: 9:35 am, July 15th, 2016 - 47 comments
Categories: blogs, internet, Media - Tags: ,

Earlier this week RNZ announced that they were turning off comments:

Why we’re turning off comments

From later this week, we’re removing comments from RNZ.co.nz.

Comments on news websites are a fraught topic. For a long time they seemed like the way forward, a way to bring the audience into the stories, and let’s face it, comments are still what media analysts like to call “content”. In the social media, mobile-driven world comments are the ultimate in “engagement”.

But for as long as there has been comments, “don’t read the comments” has been a common refrain. If you’ve spent any time in discussion forums, you’ll be familiar with the pedantry and bad behaviour often found there.

And so, news websites began turning off comments sections. Popular Science, CNN, Mic.com, Reuters, Bloomberg and The Daily Beast have all turned off comments in the past couple of years. …

Yesterday The Spinoff announced the same:

The end of comments on The Spinoff

As of today, as of exactly right now, The Spinoff is turning off Disqus, the comments engine we’ve used since we started in September of 2014. The motivations are simple and twofold. First, comments make us no money but have a cost. Second, they have been getting vile at times, a trend I see as likely to worsen as we evolve. I’ve been mulling it ever since I read this excellent summary of The Problem with Comments on, of all ye olde places, Popbitch. And I was spurred into action after reading Megan Whelan’s announcement that RNZ is doing it over on their platform earlier this week.

I wonder if Stuff will go the same way. Back in April:

Comments can be a stain on the web

Comments on stories have irked and entertained readers since they were first introduced. … I both love and loathe them. As a journalist you see both sides. Some readers offer ideas and insight to your stories while others take the chance to abuse you.

Unfortunately, the bad guys appear to be winning as it feels like there are more and more horrible people hovering over their devices waiting to hurt others with their words.

A recent investigation into comments by The Guardian found female writers got the most abuse.

I know that many of our women authors here at The Standard have felt the same about that, and it is one of my big regrets about the blog that we haven’t created a place where women authors feel welcome. Moderating comments takes time and energy – a lot more time and energy than I am able to put in to it for sure. (We’re open to suggestions as to how to improve things!)

I expect that more big sites will shut down comments, one day they’ll be seen as a failed experiment from the quaint days of the early web. Blogs will still exist of course – comments are our raison d’être. Some will deliberately wallow in the mud (certain dirty politics blogs spring to mind). Some will try to maintain standards, with varying degrees of success. It’s not really a very cheerful landscape. All we can do is try and do the best we can with our wee corner of the web.

47 comments on “The death of comments”

  1. Greg 1

    Is this the death of the Fourth Estate,
    its last gasp of breath as it hurtles towards oblivion.
    http://www.drewnickell.com/?p=767

    The reality of news and propaganda of politics, is one of servant and master.
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsequious

    • TC 1.1

      It died decades ago in terms of its original intended objective being independant objective fact based reporting without fear. You want that you need independant blogs and outlets like crikey etc.

      Comments went off many nat spin pieces in granny ages ago so here is further evidence that your opinion is of no value as its all about the message without questioning it.

      The establishment dont like open forums but they love to be able to saturate you with their unchallenged memes.

  2. Anne 2

    There is an orchestrated attempt to belittle and destroy certain online sites including blog sites (mostly centre to left in character) by delivering blistering attacks and abuse on individuals and groups alike. There was a major attack on RNZ when they first opened their site up to comments. The attackers are reasonably well organised and seem to be coming from the “hard right” of the political spectrum. We know Slater and co. has been involved in the past.

    If it wasn’t for lprent’s particularly effective challenges to them over the years they may well have destroyed TS by now. I guess that’s why Slater hates Lynn so much. 🙂

    • Michelle 2.1

      I wouldn’t give up despite the nasty and vile comments. That is exactly what these nasty people like Slater want.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        people like Slater

        Let’s be absolutely clear about this: the National Party and its owner/donors employ Slater and Lusk and Farrar and Hooton and all the other ratfuckers, so when we talk about “people like Slater” we’re talking about Bill English and John Key and Chester Borrows and Chris Findlayson and Wayne Mapp.

        They cannot separate themselves from the tactics they must employ to get elected.

    • lprent 2.2

      I found that most of the commenters who were a particular problem are curiously susceptible to enhanced and extreme versions of their own tactics being used on themselves. So I usually use that trait offensively with a patronising manner and in conjunction with the usual warning and banning. Seems to work pretty well.

      It helped that I discovered a sadistic strain in my personality that delighted in puzzling out methods of really getting under someone skin with words and behaviour.

      But the place really has been a lot better over the last couple of years.

  3. Ad 3

    Flay my skin off now, but Whaleoil is much better moderated than last year.

    Can’t we have some click bait pleeeeeease? That Japanese cat who climbs into boxes would be good. And 6 puppies in a sink getting washed.

    Like a mental sorbet.

    • infused 3.1

      Comments on whaleoil are the best moderated of all NZ blogs imo.

      I dont comment there, but you wont see any of the crap that goes on here or kiwiblog on whaleoil. It’s shut down right away.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        🙄

        That’s because all the vile hate-speech is contained in the posts.

        • Roflcopter 3.1.1.1

          Says the worst offender on this site.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1.1

            That’s true. The day someone pays me to do it, I’ll have lowered myself to Princess Party Pinko/Matthew Hooton/Slater scum level.

        • Michelle 3.1.1.2

          Vile hate speech and gutless to boot people are much braver when they don’t have to look a person in the eye. The whaleoil site is nasty and so are the people who write all that nasty vile garbage on this site. Slater and his ilk have already been exposed the problem is he has wealthy backers. Funny how some wealthy people are so nasty despite having lots of money they are still never happy with there lot. Thankfully we still have many genuinely lovely, hardworking, kind and fair minded NZers here in our lovely country.

  4. Bill 4

    From one of them thar links.

    An interested, invested group of readers who engage with one another, with writers and contributors, offering up new and thought-provoking perspectives.

    Sometimes, but my impression is that it’s far less frequent then it used to be, comment threads around here did that. Personally I blame the “mememe did a poo” culture of facebook et al for ‘normalising’ a fair bit of the dross…and more general issues around peoples egos.

  5. mary_a 5

    I didn’t realize turning off comments was becoming an international trend. More the pity.

    NZH has had no comment option on some specific (now most) topics, particularly those involving the PM or National, for a while now. However on the odd occasion it does, when we are insulted to have available comments open on fluff subjects!

    My comments on both NZH and Stuff haven’t been published for ages, so I eventually gave up commenting, although it’s interesting to read and hear the opinions of others from all sides of the political spectrum.

    I don’t do social media, same with many others as well, so do rely on comments to keep up with what people are thinking and saying.

    RNZ seems to be the last bastion of a democratic media. But for how long now?

    • Booker 5.1

      I found the same on NZH and gave up commenting some time ago. I can’t think of anything abusive or out of order I’d written either, just seems that if you have a different, ie more left wing, view or point out obvious limitations in their write-up, hands down the comment won’t get approved. So you can only comment if you agree with them, which is just absurd

  6. vto 6

    don’t worry

    its all part of the shaking down of the completely upended world of human communication ….

    it will take time yet

    human communication has never been so upended, ever, so it is hardly surprising

  7. gsays 7

    As an avid reader (both posts and comments) and occasional commenter here, I find the conversations invaluable.

    “moderating comments takes time and energy…” I think this is the crux of the situation.
    A month or two ago Lynn got staunch with a couple of commenters and they copped a lengthy or permanent ban.
    This was a welcome action.

    Sometimes the pedantry in debates gets tiresome: picking a slither from a comment, negating it, and ignoring ‘the vibe’.

    The few petty personality clashes that occur are the inevitable consequence of a bunch of lefties in one environment.

    • shorts 7.1

      big fan of comments myself – like with the old form of letters to the editors, in the media its the only time you get to read what normal people think…

      I appreciate that it takes time and thus money for commercial entities to moderate comments and thus open to closure cause who wants to invest in something that doesn’t contribute directly to the bottom line – stuff building communities and loyalty – that stuff can’t be measured in the quarterly returns and thus add value to someones KPI’s and bonus structure

      Yet blogs like this manage and do a admirable job (hats off to the moderators)

      Given the openness of the web it seems odd to see doors closing – saying that I am also regularly appalled at how some people use the freedom to comment to attack and demean others

  8. weka 8

    I think a big part of this is that the MSM came to social media late after quite a long period of time of dissing it. When they did, they didn’t always understand how it works. To create an thoughtful commenting community, you have to do specific things. I don’t think RNZ, Stuff or Spinoff did those things. They had the bare minimum of moderation and that was it.

    To get useful commenting you have to create something more than just providing a platform, you have to work with the actual people who are doing the commenting. Some of that is around controlling abuse, but that’s not the main part of it. You also have to have an interface that works well (looking at you RNZ), and you have to support and encourage the commenting culture you want.

    When I read the RNZ and Spinoff announcements I thought immediately of Public Address, which is a long standing place for commenters that maintains a distinct culture of respect of the kind that I would guess RNZ and the Spinoff would want. Yes it takes time to moderate that, but the regulars there also take some responsibility for making sure that the place remains true to its kaupapa around communication and the reason they do is because a certain culture was created initially.

    That’s the main difference as far as I can tell. MSM still want to be putting up their content and not really engaging with the people that are reading it.

    • shorts 8.1

      Public Address is I believe the shining light (locally) of how to create and maintain over a long period a online community

      The feeling I get from the MSM is a general attitude of disdain towards their readers/viewers… the lack of anything even closely resembling an attempt to do anything but farm comments in the hope the engagement can be translated into profit – clickbait articles and headlines has rendered the need to actually engage redundant, now they simply seek the click

      • weka 8.1.1

        This ^

        When the MSM understand about citizen engagement, public service, and journalism’s responsibilities, we might get something better being developped.

    • Lanthanide 8.2

      To be fair, stuff has far too many separate news stories that allow commenting for them to do much more than basic moderation. Trying to foster any sort of community when most news stories drop off the front page within 48 hours, some don’t even last 8 hours, seems impossible.

      • shorts 8.2.1

        Stuff do have the Stuff Nation… as ill conceived and enacted as it is it was at least an attempt to do something

        For a big site community might just boil down to regular contributors – which over time will build themselves into some sort of a community, like those regular writers of letters to the editor the readership get to “know”

        As esoteric pineapples says – the extra links, perspectives and opinions are often really useful, especially for more technical stories where a reporter has neither the time, resources nor inclination to fully cover a topic

        • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.1

          …especially for more technical stories where a reporter has neither the time, resources nor inclination to fully cover a topic

          Which tells us that the reporter is under-funded and that the story shouldn’t have gone to print.

          • shorts 8.2.1.1.1

            as if thats going to stop them… its going to get worse – hence additional content via comments can be very rewarding

      • weka 8.2.2

        You can foster culture though. Via moderation, clear guidelines, and feedback.

        The platform also makes a difference. Where you have a login system where people can easily go back and check their comments and see how has replied, you get people more likely to keep coming back and who have an investment in the thing they are taking part in. This is the bit that the MSM don’t get. They still treat commenters as external pieces, somewhat annoying ones, that have to be controlled and ignored. God forbid they become part of the place.

        • shorts 8.2.2.1

          good points 🙂

        • Lanthanide 8.2.2.2

          That’s true, there is no ‘feedback’ element to stuff comments. Comments are either posted, or not. Very occasionally things seem to get deleted after they were accepted for posting.

          Also a lot of comments don’t seem to get reviewed at all and are never posted.

  9. esoteric pineapples 9

    I’ve found a lot of useful links and perspectives through the comments sections of The Standard. I would miss them. I just gloss over the crappy ones. Newspapers had no problem moderating Letters To The Editor for over a century.

  10. Puckish Rogue 10

    I suspect that a lot of the sites that’re closing down comments are because they’re getting a lot of comments that they weren’t expecting, specifically opposite to the ideas the articles are promoting

    • instrider 10.1

      I think that might be true for blogs – No Right Turn an example.

      For the professional media it’s a cost and exposure issue. I think they are realising they are liable for comments and the risk reward is too high.

  11. Craig H 11

    Not surprising really – they can just share the articles on Social Media and get comments there anyway.

  12. D'Esterre 12

    shorts: “big fan of comments myself – like with the old form of letters to the editors, in the media its the only time you get to read what normal people think…”

    My sentiments exactly. I’m very sad to see the gradual shutting-down of comments. I really enjoy reading others’ opinions. Many people are so well-informed: I almost always come away better-informed myself. Happy to challenge differing views; I don’t troll or name-call, not being a fan of that sort of treatment from others.

    • shorts 12.1

      I consider myself better informed and a better person from my years on the net learning how to engage and benefit from the world of online commenting

      I miss forums… and soon will miss comments in the MSM…

  13. D'Esterre 13

    shorts: “I consider myself better informed and a better person from my years on the net learning how to engage and benefit from the world of online commenting”

    Yup. Me too. It’s been an absorbing pastime. It’s amazing over the years what I’ve found out – fairly often, it’s been insider political gossip that one (or I, at any rate!) doesn’t encounter any other way. And which illuminates otherwise obscure beltway issues. I stop reading comment threads that get abusive: I can’t be bothered with that sort of thing.

    I sometimes have opinions that differ markedly from those of an author. I put those opinions out there, and have been called names for my pains: racist! being the most common, though anti-American! is another. People who do this might as well save themselves the trouble and concede that they’ve run out of countervailing arguments.

    I do hope we’re not going to lose the ability to comment here any time soon; I promise to continue my usual pattern of being well-behaved.

  14. whateva next? 14

    Since realising National throw money at everything including trolling articles not supporting their National machine, I tend to skirt the comments these days

  15. Jack Ramaka 15

    Sad we don’t have a balanced educated MSM these days just nasty little journalists and editors preaching and singing from their masters hymn sheet.

  16. weston 16

    I cant imagine a world without comments imagine u tube without comments !! the comments are where you find out things the extra content you find on this site too is invaluable .Theres not much under the heading of abusive comments that bother me and im more likely to be bored than offended .I think its gutless of rnz to can comments after all they are a public radio station funded by us and they might have asked our opinion first .regardless of all the good things about rnz theres still things they could do better and remaining ignorant to differing opinion seems like a pretty crappy option to me .

  17. Rae 17

    Then there is this http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11674502 it appears this a.m. with comments (seemingly) enabled, so I took my opportunity.
    Here we are, Friday night, not one comment yet published, Saturday tomorrow, I expect if any get published at all it won’t be before Monday morning when the article will be several pages down, for all intents and purposes, no longer there.
    Does it not seem a little strange, just as people are waking up and getting pretty damned angry, their voices are muffled? No? Me too.

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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Still Waiting For American Democracy.
    Unfinished Republic: Though the United States' crimes against democracy are legion, most Americans are blissfully unaware of them. The brutal realities of American life: the officially sanctioned violence; the refusal to hold racists accountable for their actions; the seemingly endless tragedy of African-American suffering; of which White America is the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • In Outrage Over Its Bunk Science, Goop Finds Fuel for Growth
    Michael Schulson For years, experts have said that Goop, the wellness and lifestyle brand founded by the actor and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow, markets pseudoscience and overblown cures. And for years, despite the criticism, Goop has just kept growing. Now the company, which was valued at $250 million in 2018, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Tobacco Excise Taxes and the Smokefree 2025 Goal: Some Ways Forward
    Janet Hoek, Richard Edwards, George Thomson, Andrew Waa, Nick Wilson Debate over tobacco tax increases has intensified as research indicates potentially conflicting policy directions. On the one hand, excise tax increases continue to stimulate quit attempts among smokers yet, on the other hand, they may lead to financial hardship for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #2, 2020
    Conflation and how to fix it VIa AMS,  Raul Lejano looks at what in a layperson's thinking would be called conflation— confusion and blending of entirely different topics— when people think about climate change. Ideology and the Narrative of Skepticism  (open access) starts with some arguably frightening false connections between the science and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Cranky Uncle’ smart phone game will show you how to disarm climate deniers
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bud Ward (Image: Courtesy of John Cook) When it comes to climate change, it seems every family has its own version of the proverbial Cranky Uncle. An uncle, cousin, grandparent, in-law, neighbor, whatever. Just think back to the recent holiday season’s large ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Science in the ’20s – part 1
      Outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. That’s a description of the lifestyle of women “flappers” in the 1920s. Could it apply to science (and scientists) in the 2020s? Actually, you could look back at the past decade and see those, or similar terms, used about some science and scientists. Sometimes ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Postscript: Citizenship Granted.
    I am pleased to say that I have been granted NZ citizenship. I need to do the ceremony for things to be official, but the application was a success. I now join my son as a dual NZ-US citizen. To be fair, very little will change other than the fact ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Music: Morales is coming
    It will be no secret to longtime readers that I, Russell Brown, love the disco.   So I'm pretty excited by the fact that one of the greats of the game is returning this summer – and also pleased to say I have tickets to give away.Legendary mixer and DJ ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The WHO Vaccine Safety Summit – from someone who was actually there
    The conspiracy I saw a new conspiracy theory flying around the other day. According to the conspiracy (that seems to originate from Del Bigtree), the World Health Organization have been ‘caught on camera’ questioning the safety of vaccines. Gosh this sounds as though someone was a mole at a ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • The timely death of the British Labour Party
    Below is an article submitted to Redline by Alec Abbott  At its inception, the British Labour Party was a vehicle for the propagation of racist and imperialist views within the working-class. Such views are still widespread in the party, as they are in Europe’s Social-Democratic parties, though, in the case of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Mystery China pneumonia outbreak likely caused by new human coronavirus
    Connor Bamford, Queen’s University Belfast Since December 2019, there has been a cluster of 59 cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, eastern China. The pneumonia is associated with a previously unidentified coronavirus related to the deadly SARS virus. Seven of those cases are thought to be serious, and one person – ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, koalas are cute – but should we bring them to NZ? Errm, no
    It’s been hard to miss the extreme fires raging across Australia and the tragic plight of the animals – human and otherwise – affected by the fires’ insatiable spread. I know I’ve been captivated and concerned by the tales of how Australia’s famous wildlife has been coping. Koalas approaching cyclists ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s negative campaigning
    Anybody who looked into the Dirty Politics saga knows all too well that honesty is often in short supply within the National Party. You would think that after the exposure the John Key government received over their untruthful attack politics, the National Party would learn from its "mistakes" and leave ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending the government’s charade over water
    For the past decade, the government has been responding to the obvious Treaty issues raised by water allocation with the mantra that "no-one owns water". But last year, the Waitangi Tribunal ruled that actually, Māori owned it, and that those rights had never been extinguished. They recommended that iwi bring ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Northern Ireland joins the civilised world
    Same-sex marriage has finally become legal in Northern Ireland. But not through any decision of the Northern Irish Executive or Assembly, which has only just reformed after a three year walkout by the DUP; instead, Westminster made that decision for them. I've talked before about the constitutional impropriety of this, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • I had an intense conversation at work today.
    Claire Cohen-Norris volunteers with Citizens Climate Lobby as a chapter founder and leader in rural New York. Her climate advocacy sprung from her drive to provide a secure, joyful and fulfilling life for her two wonderful children. It has become a life’s mission, shared with her like-minded husband and partner. Claire ...
    2 weeks ago
  • French transport workers take on Macron over pension reform
    by John Edmundson Starting on December 5th, 2019 workers in the Parisian rail network commenced an open-ended strike in opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed changes to their pension scheme. Rail workers in the Metro Underground have, for decades, had retirement conditions that compensate them for the low wages, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • What a difference the decimal point makes
    I’m back at work following a nearly three-week break over Christmas. We were fortunate to be offered a house to stay in for a week over Christmas, which enabled us to have a holiday in Dunedin and see the extended family reasonably cheaply. But the house came with a catch:  ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Who’s Going To Stop Him?
    Blank And Pitiless: Having ordered the assassination of the Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani, President Donald Trump promised to reduce the cultural monuments of Iran’s 3,000 year-old civilisation to rubble if a revenge attack was mounted. A breach of international law? Certainly. A war crime? Indisputably. Who’s going to stop him? Nobody.WHAT ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A worker’s story
    This interview is from Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) and is the first of an ongoing series of interviews they plan to do with workers from various sectors who are having their well being and livelihoods damaged. They begin with an educator in Southland. Due to the attitude and actions ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 5, 2020 through Sat, Jan 11, 2020 Editor's Pick Debunked Australian Bushfire Conspiracy Theories Were Pushed by Alex Jones, Murdoch Media   As unusually intense and widespread bushfires have ...
    2 weeks ago
  • J.K. Rowling, the Seattle Library, and the Issue That Must Not Be Named
    This article was submitted to Redline by Seattle-based activist Lucinda Stoan J.K. Rowling recognizes repression when she sees it.  That’s why the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books recently tweeted in defense of Maya Forstater. Forstater lost her job for stating that sex is real and immutable. A judge ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Rules of Empire: Laws simply do not apply and “National Security” excuses all else.
    Empires rise and fall, and the American Empire is absolutely no different. But while an Empire, in order to further the footprint, it seems to pay to do one primary thing above all else: project that everything – everything – is “simply for the good of the world” at large, ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Indian lessons for NZ workers – the January 8 general strike
                    by Phil Duncan On Wednesday (January 8) another massive general strike took place in India.  Some 250 million industrial workers, white-collar workers, agricultural labourers struck against the government’s economic policies and attacks on the Muslim population through new proposed citizenship rules. This ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The action that counts
    Over on Newsroom, Professor Jacqueline Beggs writes about the action she is taking on climate change. Its the usual list: reduce meat, don't fly, consume less. I'm doing some of this myself, and none of it hurts - but the way our economic system is constructed means the impact of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 weeks ago
  • Fossil fuel political giving outdistances renewables 13 to one
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk Corporations, special interest groups, and individuals inject billions of dollars into the American political system every year. Much of the financial support in politics is concealed from public view, as some rules – and loopholes – allow “dark money” and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Animal response to a bushfire is astounding. These are the tricks they use to survive
    Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity. Australia’s bushfire season is far from ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago
  • Should I ditch my fossil-fueled car?
    Yes. Reducing the number of cars in your household, or switching from petrol/diesel to electric, will dramatically reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. It’s one of the easiest and highest-impact climate steps you can take. New Zealand is being flooded with cars The New Zealand vehicle fleet is increasing rapidly. In ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Planet History: Taking Tea with Quentin
    This interview with Quentin Crisp is part of a series of articles republished from Planet, the independent magazine I edited in the early 90s from a base at 309 Karangahape Road, along with Grant Fell, Rachael Churchward, Fiona Rae, David Teehan, Mere Ngailevu and others.Inevitably, you forget things, and over ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #1, 2020
    Supply Side How are we doing with CO2 emissions? It's an important question, increasingly posed to a mixed bag of CO2 contributors who may or may not provide accurate reportage. Liu et al present a new, additional means of measurement based on satellite observations of nitrogen dioxide co-emitted from ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Donald Trump’s strategic gamble
    There’s a meme going around the Internet at the moment claiming that Donald Trump is a bit of an idiot. To outside eyes it does seem as though the President of the United States thumbs his nose at his own countries laws and administration far too often to be taken ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Is the prostitute the seller or the sold?
    Excerpts from Being and Being Bought, by Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Spinifex Press, 2013. Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book. This is the third part of a synopsis and brief commentary of the book by Daphna Whitmore. Part 1 was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 weeks ago
  • The climate crisis is also a biodiversity crisis
    Dr Andrea Byrom Like many of us, the summer break has seen me transfixed with horror at the scale and magnitude of the bushfire crisis in Australia. As an ecologist, I can’t help but be appalled at the loss of some of Australia’s most beautiful ecosystems and landscapes. And ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago

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

  • Minister pays tribute to journalist, author and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan
    The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, has paid tribute to well-known New Zealand author, journalist and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan, following Mr McLauchlan’s death today. “Gordon held a statesman-like place in New Zealand’s media, which was fittingly acknowledged in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, when he was ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Minister wishes best of luck to those heading back to school
    As Kiwi kids and teachers return to classrooms over the coming weeks, the families of around 428,000 students will feel a bit less of a financial pinch than in previous years, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The Government’s decision to increase funding for schools that don’t ask parents for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Health staff to meet flights from China as precautionary measure
    Public health staff will begin meeting flights from China from tomorrow, to actively look for signs of the novel coronavirus and provide advice, information and reassurance to passengers. Health Minister Dr David Clark says the additional measures are being taken following the arrival of the disease in Australia, via flights ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • National Yearling Sales 2020
    National Yearling Sales at Karaka   26 January 2020    [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here on opening day of the 2020 National Yearling Sales Series. Let us all acknowledge Sir Peter Vela and the Vela family for their outstanding contribution to the New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government and construction industry to build big, lift productivity with Transformation Plan
    Delivering the workforce and productivity gains required to build the houses, schools, roads, rail and hospitals New Zealand needs will become easier with the Government-industry Construction Sector Transformation Plan launched today, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. “The action plan launched today delivers on the Government’s Construction Sector ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Log trains to begin on Wairoa-Napier line
    Log trains are about to start running between Wairoa and Napier following Provincial Growth Fund investment to reopen the rail line, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The Government invested $6.2 million to reopen the mothballed rail line which was closed after significant storm damage in 2012. “With PGF ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister of Defence concludes successful visit with his US counterpart
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark met with United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper today. “This was an excellent opportunity to meet with one of our closest security partners,” Ron Mark said. “The main focus of the meeting was to discuss challenges that New Zealand and the United States share ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand acknowledges ICJ decision on Myanmar
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today acknowledged the ruling of the International Court of Justice in relation to the Rohingya people in Myanmar. The ruling ordered the Government of Myanmar to take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of acts of genocide in relation to members of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ’s trade aims advanced at Davos meetings
    A proposal to cut “trade and production-distorting subsidies” in the agricultural sector by 2030 has set out important measures to ensure a fair agricultural trading system.  Speaking after attending meetings of trade ministers in Davos, Switzerland, Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker welcomed the joint proposal from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Great news for New Zealanders with cystic fibrosis
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says he is delighted that PHARMAC has struck a provisional deal to fund Kalydeco – a medicine which is set to improve the quality of life for about 30 New Zealand children and adults with cystic fibrosis. “While rare, cystic fibrosis is an awful inherited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand least corrupt country in the world
    New Zealand has regained its position as the least corrupt country in the world for the second time under this Coalition Government, says Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealanders can be proud that our reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world has been restored,” says Andrew ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Boost for Rēkohu/Wharekauri/Chatham Islands Community Conservation
    Community conservation in Rēkohu/Wharekauri/the Chatham Islands is receiving a boost, with grants to support local projects announced today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Rēkohu/Wharekauri/ the Chatham Islands are home to 20 per cent of New Zealand’s threatened bird species and 11 per cent of New Zealand’s threatened plant species. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Rātana Pā goes high-tech with UFB
    Iwi, hapu and visitors to Rātana Pā near Whanganui now have access to ultra-fast broadband following its connection, completed in time for annual Rātana celebrations, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The connection and associated hardware were funded from the Provincial Growth Fund’s $21 million Marae Digital Connectivity programme, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s strong financial management acknowledged
    The Government’s strong financial management and plan to future proof the economy with new infrastructure investment has gained further recognition from an international ratings agency. Credit rating agency Fitch has upgraded one of its main metrics assessing the Government’s books, lifting its foreign currency AA rating outlook to ‘positive’ from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Boost in Whānau Ora funding to keep changing lives
    Whānau throughout New Zealand are set to benefit from an extra three million dollars that will go directly to Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, the Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare announced today.  Including previous funding boosts, the Agencies will now receive $87 million this year between them.  In Budget 2019 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More people getting into work
    The December quarter benefit numbers released today show the Government’s plan to get people off the benefit and into work is starting to pay off,” Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said.   “Nearly 19,000 people cancelled their benefit and went into work in the last few months of the year – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Wairoa gets up to $6.1m to rebuild heart of CBD
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing up to $6.1 million to revitalise business and tourism opportunities in Wairoa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF is funding: Up to $4.8 million for the Wairoa Integrated Business and Tourism Facility Up to $960,000 for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major Events support for creative and cultural events
    Creative and cultural events that highlight New Zealand’s diverse culture and build national pride are set to get a funding boost through the Major Events Fund, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. The new Creative and Cultural Events Incubator, which is funded through the Major Events Fund, will open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Classroom internet in hundreds of schools to get a boost
    The Government has begun a massive IT upgrade to provide more seamless internet access to 200 schools around the country. Te Mana Tūhono – Technology in Schools work programme will launch with a pilot of 10 smaller state schools early this year. IT equipment that gives students access to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Construction workforce, apprenticeships hit record highs
    Working with industry and committing to rebuild New Zealand’s infrastructure has produced a record high number of Kiwis working in the construction industry and learning trades, says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. New figures available today from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Tertiary Education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ concludes digital economy trade talks with Singapore and Chile
    A new trade agreement concluded today helps New Zealand exporters and consumers take advantage of opportunities from digital trade.    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker together with Chile’s Vice Minister of Trade Rodrigo Yañez and Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, have announced conclusion of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to fund Waipukurau cultural development and tourism
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna -  Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project will receive $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to create an authentic cultural tourism experience, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today “The project will inform visitors about the history of six pā sites in Waipukurau with a combination ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • 21 new judges boost diversity, improve access to justice
    Twenty-one new District Court judges have been appointed in a move that will improve access to justice and boost diversity on the bench. The new judges include replacements for retirements and 10 new positions. Attorney-General David Parker today announced the 14 judges who can immediately be named, with the remainder ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Puhinui to Auckland Airport in 10 minutes
    Aucklanders are another step closer to getting rapid transit to the airport, with the start of construction to upgrade State Highway 20B to the airport, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. SH20B will be upgraded with additional lanes in each direction, dedicated to bus and high-occupancy vehicles between Pukaki Creek ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Advancing New Zealand’s trade agenda focus of Europe meetings
    World Trade Organisation reform, agricultural trade and a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom will be the focus of Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker’s visit to Europe this week. David Parker leaves on Tuesday for a series of meetings in the UK and Switzerland that aim ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit counterparts in US and Canada
    The Minister of Defence, Ron Mark, departed today for the United States and Canada where he will meet with his counterparts.  While in Canada Minister Mark will meet with his counterpart, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.  “New Zealand and Canada are close friends, and share an instinctive like-mindedness on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to deliver family carers $2000 pay rise, expand scheme to spouses this year
    The Coalition Government is delivering this year the changes to Funded Family Care the disability sector has long-asked for, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. “Today we are announcing the details of our big changes to Funded Family Care, including an annual average pay boost of $2,246.40 for funded ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ko te reo kua mū: Piri Sciascia
    Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta joins te ao Māori in their sorrow as they learn of the loss of one of the great orators and spokespersons of a generation – Piri Sciascia.  “The son of Pōrangahau was a staunch advocate for Māori development and served his people for over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister opens new ecosanctuary at Cape Farewell
    A new ecosanctuary with a predator proof fence on Golden Bay’s Cape Farewell, which will restore a safe home for sea birds, rare native plants, giant snails, and geckos, was officially opened today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “There has been a fantastic community effort supported by the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific partners work together to provide additional support to Australia
    The NZDF continues to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles fires in Victoria and New South Wales, including by transporting Republic of Fiji Military engineers from Nadi to Australia, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark. On Saturday morning a NZDF Boeing 757 will depart New Zealand to uplift ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive PGF funding: A $9.88 million investment to begin the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt accounts in surplus, debt remains low
    The Government’s books are in good shape with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown accounts for the five months to November. The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above forecast by $0.7 billion resulting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Auckland focus for first Police graduation of 2020
    The number of Police on the Auckland frontline is increasing with the graduation today of a special locally-trained wing of new constables. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of eighteen officers from Recruit Wing 333-5 means that more than 1900 new Police have been deployed since the Coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Wairarapa gets $7.11m PGF water boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund is putting $7.11 million into creating a sustainable water supply for Wairarapa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The following two projects will receive Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding: A $7 million investment in Wairarapa Water Limited for the pre-construction development of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Progress with new Police station in Mahia
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