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Why is there a media honeymoon?

Written By: - Date published: 2:53 pm, November 25th, 2008 - 41 comments
Categories: labour, Media, national/act government - Tags:

Why do new leaders get honeymoons? When you think about it, there’s no objective reason why a leader should get an easy run at first, not be asked the hard questions, be served lavish praise. So why does it happen?

Well, I asked around a few people who’d been there and done that, and the only credible answer I got was that it’s because the press gallery and the new leader are building relationships. It works like this: gallery journos need access, that means they have to get the new leader and his ministers to trust them, and that means no critical articles. To protect their ability to gain information for writing stories, the media have to only write nice stories. The new government has the power to shut them out, so they’ve got to protect their own arses. The new leaders are also building relationships. Flush with victory they are in an open, welcoming mood and with the media being so nice to them, they are minded to be even more open and friendly toward them. When you’re getting to be friends with people, and when your job prospects depend on good relations with them, it’s easy to have a honeymoon.

It’s not until one of the half-dozen people who essentially control our political discourse starts writing critical articles and others follow them that the honeymoon ends. That never really happened to Key during his time in opposition. Sure the political editors all got in their pro forma critical pieces but all were afraid of getting offside with someone they were certain would soon be PM. Moreover, some of them have a career change to consider. Watch over the next few weeks for at least one, possibly more, of the top political journos to join Key’s office.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – ‘this sucks, the people meant to hold our politicians to account are too busy trying to keep their jobs or get new ones’. Yeah, it does suck but there’s no changing the lay of the land. Instead, the Left, and Labour in particular, needs to do a much better job working with the media than they have done.

There is a tendency for the Left to view the media as an enemy to be fought, which is a big mistake. While the old media still control how the public perceives politics, Labour needs to work with them. In particular, they need to turn away from this paralysing ‘risk avoidance’ model and, instead, work on building personal relationships with the media.

The journos are just people, treat them with distrust and they’ll treat you badly back; be friendly and they’ll be nice back. And it’s not hard – they’re, most of them, genuinely nice people in person – just make friends. That’s something smiling John and National know all too well. It’s something Labour needs to learn, and quick.

41 comments on “Why is there a media honeymoon?”

  1. Well of course Steve but then you get pricks like Hooton who are so blinded by their own ideology that they wouldn’t say a nice thing if Clark somehow managed to save the world.

    CAPTCHA: Nothing critical

  2. Tane 2

    tiger, I think Steve was referring more to the gallery journos proper. Hooton’s more of a freelance dickhead and muckraker.

  3. insider 3

    It’s also a practical recognition that because they have yet to properly take the reins of power a story like today’s increase in emigration to Aus cannot be reasonably laid at the feet of the new govt. Once they introduce their policies and those start causing ripples, stories will flow. The story today on tree planting being hit by the ETS review is an example. And of course Labour will be able to seed bad news because they will know where bodies are buried.

    Yes of course Duncan Garner and Fran Mold were soooo scared of getting offside they never ran anything negative on Key and his party.

    [the fact that you can only list two journos who have done embarrassing stories on Key’s National says it all. SP]

  4. Tane 4

    Exhibit A, today’s article by Audrey Young:

    John Key’s extraordinary first week as Prime Minister continues today with a visit to London where he will meet for the first time an older half-brother – just before his meeting with the Queen and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown…

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10544851

  5. bobo 5

    It’s all a bit too chummy for my liking and if the media are just there to be a PR firm for either party the public is the loser. As they say never do business with friends and I would think that keeping a professional objective relationship is hard enough with NZ being a tiny country where everyone knows everyone. The MSM acts in an adversarial way swinging from friend to foe at the expense of well researched journalism reporting the actual news of the day.

  6. Steve, as a lefty my biggest gripe with the media is that they are not impartial and lean heavily towards the right, when they have a duty to represent both sides fairly. While I realise that no news service can be truely impartial the current state is unacceptable.

    It feels like the media have too much power and influence over voters which is undemocratic. If we work to get them onside arent we just giving them more power and influence?

  7. Lukas 7

    “…but then you get pricks like Hooton who are so blinded by their own ideology that they wouldn’t say a nice thing if Clark somehow managed to save the world.”

    You could easily substitute Hooten for SP and Clark for Key into that sentence too… I love it how both the Left and the Right on the blogosphere claim that the media is biased against their particular view… often the truth lies somewhere in the middle. One would imagine it would be a proverbial cold day in hell before SP said something nice about Key though.

  8. Jem 8

    Remember too what happened to Rod Oram when he wrote a piece critical of Don Brash he was forbidden to interview the leader ever again. And then exactly the same thing happened with John Key during the election campaign. Rod was effectively blacklisted.

    I wonder if Smiley Happy John will keep up the ban on one of the country’s most respected economic journos.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    My biggest gripe with the media is that HS Thompson is dead, and so is Molly Ivins. And Exiled is broken again. Though those aren’t local problems… and we do have GC at Scoop, who is above the bs.

    The honeymoon is as SP says, about establishing access, and working out a narrative and generally being polite, like Americans doing that ‘dating’ thing.

    Edit: Lukas, let me know when SP gets the same access to journalistic real estate that Hooten gets, and I’ll agree there’s equivalence.

  10. gingercrush 10

    What a load of tripe. Anyone thinking the mass media has an obvious right bias are kidding themselves. How strange to see the right believing there is a left bias and the left believing there is a right bias. Neither is true. There are some where that bias is clear. That being NBR or something like that. I’ll even hand you the NZ Herald. But you cannot claim the whole media has a right bias. Especially when every media for five years plus were rather pathetic in their total admiration for Helen Clark. Not to mention for years the Sunday Star Times had a clear left bias. Radio New Zealand has always carried a rather bias to the left. TVNZ for years showed a real lack of bias towards the right and pushed to the left. TV3 has largely showed a left wing bias.

    You want real bias. Move to the United States. Otherwise treat the media in New Zealand as rooting for winners and losers. When National was a bunch of losers and Labour was riding high in the polls aka 1999-2003/4 they backed Labour. When that changed and National got some momentum the media changed and became more or less balanced. With the media being critical of both the left and right. Since Brash went and Key went into office.The media has on the whole been rooting for Key. Though there’s been many critical articles etc as well.

    Blatantly right wing bias? lol hardly. More just the media backing someone who right now is a winner. Things change and watch that same media back Labour again sometime in the future.

  11. higherstandard 11

    Meanwhile on the right leaning blogs commenters were seen to be screeching about the left wing media.

  12. Ianmac 12

    Insider:”a story like today’s increase in emigration to Aus cannot be reasonably laid at the feet of the new govt. ”
    I don’t think that that is so. Since the popular belief for the last year or so has been that Labour was going to be evicted, and that National would be the boss and would clean things up, you could reasonably expect that from a year or more ago, there would be an arrest of the outflow and indeed a flood back into NZ. It fact the rate has increased????
    Of course the flow may have nothing at all to do with who is in power, but the National spin is that it was Labour’s fault. (Nat spin might have actually put ideas in people’s heads!) So! How will our Nats deal with future outflows??

  13. Scribe 13

    Tane,

    So you wouldn’t characterise John Key’s first week as PM as “extraordinary”? I would. How many New Zealand PMs have met the leaders of the UK, US and China — as well as countless other world leaders — in their first week in office?

    Answer: One.

  14. Tim Ellis 14

    I very much doubt John Key will have the extraordinary five-year honeymoon that Helen Clark had. As for the motives, I very much doubt it is about getting a job: the Labour Government tripled the number of press people in ministerial offices over its nine years. Yes, a bunch of media ended up in ministerial offices, but I’d say of the senior media–the six or seven who “control” the media now as you say–wanted a higher paying job in a ministerial office they would have made the jump long ago.

    I think there’s an element to building good relationships when journalists write their copy, but Helen Clark was a master at keeping in contact with media. Senior gallery journalists used to boast of getting phone calls and texts from her to talk through issues of the day. Goff is no slouch on media matters either.

    Of course there’s a honeymoon. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it’s just a feature of democratic political systems everywhere. Whenever the public have clearly expressed their voice, there’s an element of celebration that a new government representing the public will is in power. I think part of the role of the fourth estate is to ensure that the public will is being adequately expressed by government. A lot of the anti-government media positions that have been taken in the past–from Palmer 1989-1990, Shipley from 1997-1999, and Clark from 2007-2008 seem to be when an old, tired government has taken the public for granted.

  15. Righties – there’s a lot of the media themselves talking about the honeymoon period –

    http://news.google.co.nz/news?hl=en&tab=wn&ned=nz&q=%22john+key%22+honeymoon&btnG=Search+News

    But what would the media know about what the media think??? Damn the Standard and it’s partisan belief in a slanted media!!!

  16. Aunty Helen had a none year honeymoon with TVNZ.

    [lprent: Hey Brett – is re-edit not working for you? I’m absolutely sure that wasn’t what you meant to say??]

  17. Opps that should be NINE year honeymoon.

    [lprent: ok – same question though. I pushed re-edit out to 8 minutes a few weeks ago. You should have been able to edit that bo bo in place.]

  18. gingercrush 18

    Yes we know there’s a honeymoon period it always happens. It happened with Labour and as Tim Ellis pointed out, that one lasted five years. Whats your point. That doesn’t make the media bias. That means the media is giving John Key and his government a honeymoon. You can talk about bias when that honeymoon ends up two years or more.

  19. Scribe thats just good timing.

  20. Scribe 20

    leftrightout,

    Yes, and good timing can make for an extraordinary week. Audrey Young calling it extraordinary is not evidence of a media honeymoon, which is what Tane suggested.

  21. As far as the NZ Herald is concerned, National’s ‘media honeymoon’ began in 2004 and never ended.

  22. Scribe 22

    If The Herald was so in love with National in 2005, why was the Exclusive Brethren story on page one and the Taito Phillip Field story, which broke on basically the same day, on page five (or thereabouts)?

    Allegations of bribery and corruption are a pretty big deal — far more important than a group telling the truth about Labour and the Greens, albeit with a fake address on the information.

    And the recent study on the media coverage leading into the election from Victoria University (?) shows that Labour got a better deal from the media than National.

  23. QoT 23

    Seriously, Lukas? When SP gets to sit next to John Campbell on election night and tell provable lies about That Nice Mr Key, then your comment might be slightly plausible.

  24. Ag 24

    Half the problem is that being bland and brainless seems to be mandatory for New Zealand political journalists. It would be nice if they could occasionally say something outside of the tired and incoherent narratives that pass for political commonsense in our country.

    But then again, the point of political journalism is no longer to inform voters of necessary information, but to confirm their pre-existing prejudices. Who cares if the Emperor has no clothes.

  25. Oli 25

    Hooton is no worse than Trotter or Bryan Edwards.

  26. scribe,
    So you wouldn’t characterise John Key’s first week as PM as “extraordinary’? I would. How many New Zealand PMs have met the leaders of the UK, US and China — as well as countless other world leaders — in their first week in office?

    How about trick of the calendar..?

    Else we might assume that the writer of ‘I would’ above holds coincidence to be by intelligent design ro some other fanciful phenomena..

  27. Ian Llewellyn 27

    It is interesting how both the left and right wing blogs see the media (and in particular the gallery) as part of some organised movement out to get their side.

    I think this is probably due to the fact that those who care for a cause with a passion, tend to stew over stories they don’t like or perceive are not being written and forget the ones they agree with.

    A couple of points… I think the honeymoon idea is a more a nice turn of phrase than an active concept.

    The idea put forward by the writer that the gallery don’t attack ministers of an incoming government for a period in order to build contacts does not stand up..

    One of the dynamics between the gallery and politicians when the opposition moves into the treasury benches is that they have had years of building contacts.

    Being the opposition there tends to be a less formal relationship and it takes a little while for the walls to go up.

    In 1999 when Labour came in I was able to to talk directly to Clark, Cullen, Goff etc for some time, but over time ministers withdraw from direct contact.

    So the building contacts theory is just not true.

    Also last week some in National were very unhappy with the reporting of the ETS, they did not feel like they were in a honey moon period.

    There is also the fact that while it may seem a long time ago, the election was quite recent. The Beehive is a picture of chaos at the moment and ministers are still being briefed on portfolios… any answers to questions at the moment are referrals back to the election policy or “not been briefed”.

    You might also notice that there have been little or no attacks by Labour (and the ones they have made seem to be instantly regretted) as there is little point politically.

    Also many gallery journalists are taking stacked up leave from the last year. I am about to get six weeks off (does that count as a honeymoon)

    Just one more little point, there seems to have become this idea that Labour under went years of a honeymoon.

    I do not recall it being like that. They were very active in the first months and came in for both negative and positive reporting and I also recall a host of bad headlines around the “winter of discontent” though I can’t remember if that was 2000 or 2001.

    But anyway I am certain that both right and left blogs will be equally delighted and disgusted when the gallery journalists write stories in 2009, because actually that is the point, most journalists just like good stories

    That’s my 10 cents worth anyway

  28. mike 28

    “There is a tendency for the Left to view the media as an enemy to be fought”

    Much the way an arogant and out of touch labour govt saw the mainstream public as an ememy to be fought eh SP.

    Also – did you not see the research into political media coverage that had National copping by far the most of the bad press?

  29. lprent 29

    mike: Who did the research? What was the methodology? Where is the link?

    captcha: polls bored
    🙂

  30. RT 31

    A lot of that bad press came from leaked tapes of Bill English and co. John Key pushed it as a Labour dirty tricks campaign, all the time knowing Labour had nothing to do with it.
    It worked I suppose. Make yourself out to be the victim. Yeah right

  31. Carol 32

    Ian, seeing the MSM as leaning to the right does not mean we all see this as the product of an organised movement or conspiracy. IMO, this bias exists, but is partly due to the shoddy state of our news journalism: focused more or ratings/sales and entertaining, than on providing news that informs people of the main sides of significant political issues. The lean to the right is a dominant tendency, but is not cut and dried. There is more tendency to lean to the right in the most popular news media, the NZ Herald (which is probably a bit concious on the part of the NZH editor/s), and TVNZ (probably less conscious). And there is more of a tendency for some journos to lean right than others (eg Guyon Espiner).

    As this tendency is not total, or always concious, I think maybe journalists, editors etc may not be able to objectively assess how biased their news is.

    The fact that both left and right claim a bias against their POVs, is not necessarily evidence that the news is in fact fairly balanced. For instance, in the US during most of Bush Jr’s presidency, it has been fairly widely thought that the US MSM has leaned towards supporting and promoting the Bush government’s views and policies. Meanwhile, the right/Republicans have claimed that the US MSM is too biased towards liberal perspectives. I think you may be right that this discrepance has to do with the particular items or aspects of items that people from each political perspective pay attention to. But it is not evidence of a balanced news media.

    In NZ, even with a tendency for some media to lean right, they also produce some items/articles that take a more left perspective, esecially in the comments section. It is in the most visible items (top of the news hour, front page headlines) that there tends to be the strongest right bias. And these are the items that a large section of the population take as their main news source, without thinking too deeply or critically about it. There is also a tendency for a right bias in the selection of issues and events that the media highlight most strongly. This is not asily quantifiable by counting the number of items taking a left or right perspective or presenting parties in a positive or negative way.

    I stopped going to the NZ Herlad site regularly a while back because I got sick of its blatant skewing of the news to the right and/or against Labour (and also often the Greens). This week I switched from mainly watching TVNZ 6pm news, to TV3. I am particularly fed up with the tendency for a right bias from Guyon Espiner, and his superficial analysis. There are other political reporters who do a better job at TVNZ IMO (most of them women). When Guyon leaves, I may consider going back to watching TVNZ news. I have always supported the idea of a state broadcaster, and do think TVNZ produces some good reports.

    As I said above, I think the shift towards infotainment and commercialisation of news has had a big influence on the tendency for the MSM news coverage being skewed to the right. I think National’s consultants (Crosby Textor) have become very skilled in exploiting this in favour of the parties they support (think how the babies overboard story helped Howard during his election campaign a few years back).

  32. Scribe 33

    How about trick of the calendar..?

    Northpaw (et al.),

    I’m starting to wonder if you know the meaning of “extraordinary”. Timing worked in his favour, but a a first week as PM with so much packed into it — including meeting a couple of dozen world leaders and a half-brother he’d never met — is without a doubt “extraordinary”.

    captcha: end praising

  33. lukas 34

    mike: Who did the research? What was the methodology? Where is the link?

    It was done by a team at Canterbury Uni from memory…the full data should be released next month. I’ve seen some of it in the December edition of Investigate.

    [lprent: Oh hell. That does explain why I haven’t heard of it.

    That means that regardless of the actual quality and results of the research, it is probably useless for any debate. Wishart has touched it and it will have gone through with a fine proof comb looking for a couple of quotes to support his pre-determined argument. Then all of the jerk-off trolls will keep saying the same crap over and over again on all of the blog sites when you can guarantee that it is wrong. They will troll over any debate.

    Frankly anything that Wishart/Investigate touch invariably turns to absolute crap for debate. Frankly the guy should be jailed as being a blogosphere public nuisance.]

  34. Chris G 35

    In the tug-of-war over who the media is bias towards I’ve only got this tidbit of interesting info.

    Dom Post Today:

    “New Zealand Herald political reporter Paula Oliver, who was confirmed yesterday as joining Prime Minister John Key’s office.

    Mr Key’s chief press secretary is another former Herald staffer, Kevin Taylor.

    Former TV3 political reporter Stephen Parker is also being lined up as Gerry Brownlee’s press secretary”

    That could mean very little, as it would seem sensible to hire press secretaries with journo backgrounds. I just thought it was a bit of a laugh that 2 herald staffers and the supposed Left Wing TV3 landed a press secretary. I wouldnt want to be a press secretary of a party I didnt like, unless I was of course performing an insane mole maneuver. Props if they are, but its very doubtful.

    I will agree in part, however, with ginger saying that the media in general supports the winners and goes with the pendulum. Plus if the right keep saying the medias so left wing and we say the opposite, I can only think the medias doing a Reasonable job.

    exception: Herald and Dom Posts continued reference to Richard Long as an objective editor. Bah!

  35. gobsmacked 36

    Open bias doesn’t bother me. Editorials, commentators etc generally make it clear where they’re coming from. No, it’s the hidden bias that damages the reputation of a “free and frank” media, a vital part of our democracy.

    Paula Oliver’s last story for the Herald was on Friday. Now she’s on John Key’s team. It’s inconceivable that her new job came out of the blue, without talks, “feelers” from Key’s office (probably Taylor), while she was still reporting on John Key.

    Ditto the documented previous conflicts of interest for Paul Holmes, Bill Ralston, etc. They arrogantly claim the right to privacy while having an influential role in framing the political debate. Sorry, but the public interest comes first.

    Full disclosure should be mandatory – it’s basic professionalism. But if you wonder why the journos’ employers don’t insist on it – well, guess where their political leanings are.

    (My disclosure of interest: I have none. But I could do with a nice fat bribe before Xmas, if anyone’s offering … )

  36. Jum 37

    Wasn’t Paula Oliver one of the 3 reporters who gave us the steamy past of Key – not.

  37. lukas 38

    Iprent… given the research is independent I don’t think Ian can take too much of the blame that the left will no doubt throw at him for this article.

    Yes his editorial base is right wing, but he does write stories about National also… from memory just before the 05 election he wrote a story that was not at all flattering to the Nats. When any of the authors of The Standard write a piece speaking out against something Labour or the Greens have done you might have a leg to stand on in the bias debate.

    [Tane: Lukas, we’ve criticised both Labour and the Greens in the past. Speaking of legs to stand on, you might want to do your research before mouthing off.]

  38. scribe,

    quit wondering, start thinking… the only likely ‘extra’ to make your term of “extraordinary” was the personal aspect.. half-brother (like long lost son) and family and political preferences as the case may be.. the rest belonged as I said to another’s organised calendar.

    If such things are to find acclaim by and among the new PM’s adherents and supporters then how on earth can folks discern the fellow’s merits.. as and when they come to light.

    Or maybe that’s the idea—a barrage of triviality to blot out serious interest/s and observation..?

  39. gobsmacked 40

    The contest for Idiotic Analogy of the Day is always fiercely contested on teh internet discussings, but Lukas has made a strong bid there..

    We must stand firm against Idiotic Analogies, like we did against Hitler.

  40. Matthew 41

    I wonder if there couldn’t be a more sensible reason for a media honeymoon ( and this applies whether the government is left or right). Its simply this, that we shouldn’t be quick to criticise and condemn another, rather we should wait to see what they do and even if they don’t rise to the occasion immediately give them some chance to before one gets excessively critical.

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  • Should we all be wearing face masks to prevent Covid-19 spread?
    Maybe you’ve seen the graph that says those countries where everyone wears a mask are the ones that have managed to keep Covid-19 under control? The first thing to say about that claim is that those countries also did lots of other things, too – they acted fast, with intense ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    3 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests Research into ocean’s plankton likely to lead to ...
    3 days ago
  • The Americans are trying to kill us all again
    The Treaty on Open Skies is one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing war curently in force. By letting countries make surveillance flights over each others' territory, it eliminates fears that they are secretly preparing for war. So naturally, the US is planning to withdraw from it: The Trump ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 11
    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
    As the lockdown has gone on, disquiet about what the rules were and the police's enforcement of them has grown. On Friday, Police admitted that they were abusing routine traffic stops to effectively set up illegal checkpoints, and on Saturday Stuff revealed internal police advice saying that they actually needed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    3 days ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    5 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    6 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    7 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    7 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    7 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 week ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • Prime Minister’s remarks halfway through Alert Level 4 lockdown
    Today is day 15 of Alert Level 4 lockdown. And at the halfway mark I have no hesitation in saying, that what New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge. In the face of the greatest threat to human health we have seen in over a century, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Licenses, WoFs and regos extended under lockdown
    All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after 1 January 2020 will be valid for up to six months from 10 April 2020, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced. “People shouldn’t have to worry about getting fined for having an expired document if driving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Inquiry report into EQC released
    The Government has today released the report from the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright.  Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Grant Robertson says the Government wants to learn from people’s experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes and other recent natural disasters. “Dame Silvia’s report documents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • More time for health workers and elderly to get flu vaccine
    The Government has extended by two weeks till April 27 the amount of time priority groups, such as health workers and those aged over 65, have to get their flu vaccine before it is made available to the wider public. This year’s vaccination campaign is a key component of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government supports air services to offshore islands
    The Government has stepped in to support vital air links to our offshore islands, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and Motiti Island, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. “As part of our $600 million support package to minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation sector, the Government has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
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  • Advance payments to support contractors
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