Category: Media

Media Get in Behind With Dog Whistlers, PR and Lobbyists

Awhile back. the National Party election campaign co-ordinator, Clark Hennessy, spent 12 months working at the right-wing website “The Daily Caller,” reporting directly to its owner, the conservative commentator Tucker Carlson. Nowadays, Carlson is on Fox News offering full frontal support Donald Trump. He is a front man for the Right. So far we have not seen a brazen, populist campaign. Far from it. The Nats have been a damp squib so far against a media obsessed by Jacinda-mania.

Clark Hennessy has been press secretary to Deputy PM Paula Bennett, who was this weekend involved in the campaign kerfuffle over the Nats crime policy, where Bennett said P distributors had fewer human rights than others. To me it seemed like populist media tactics were in play,

Bennett’s comments were a dog whistle to National’s core base and to New Zealand First voters who are not fussed on ensuring human rights to criminal gangs. The main dog whistle was to lthe good people on social media and social media, They wanted THE PARTY that they supported human rights to everyone including drug pushers and criminal gangs. Bill English talked it back the next day, and Bennett backed down. But in my opinion it was a success electorally. Nat voters were reminded that in the mind of their followers the Left was the Party of Gangs and trouble makers.


Act gets generous coverage from the TV networks despite its tiny support, . Meanwhile, The Opportunities Party – which has more support in polls is not allowed to take part in TVNZ election debates, because it has no MPs. In theory the TVNZ policy makes sense, But the reality is that it can accused of bias in supporting National – adding fuel to the fire over the Mike Hosking furore,


The late arrival of Jacinda Arden has given hope to Labour activists and zeal for Left activists, Some media seem to have followed suit,  drifting into bizarre identity politics traps with PC hand-wringing like the Lipstick On a Pig Dispute, Zealotry can be fun in an election campaign. But Lord help us if Labour and the Greens get in and we end up with political correctness gone mad.


Broadcasters need to jack up their ideas using about lobbyists and PR people in coverage of the election campaign. Michelle Boag was a shocker on Q and A last week and did not even try to deliver a semblance non-partisan analysis. Lobbying firm Exceltium is represented on numerous media. It is all part of this notion that we must depict the world as the Left versus the Right.

Michelle Boag

Meanwhile, the lobbyist sometime political commentator for The Nation Jenna Raeburn appeared in Facebook item with National Party singalong on Paul Bennetts campaign bus. Is any other country this loose with its TV coverage of elections?





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The Edge FM: Cruise, Crotchgate And Cucumbers

The Edge breakfast crew  – Dom Harvey, Jay Jay Harvey and Chris Randell – are such a big revenue earners for MediaWorks they are even allowed to undermine colleagues at More FM. In case you missed it, last week, The Edge tricked More FM Christchurch breakfast co-host Simon Barnett into thinking he was interviewing Tom Cruise, when it was a Tom Cruise impersonator. Barnett looked silly and sounded devastated. He did not get the joke.

Simon Barnett – tricked.

His co-host, Gary McCormick, was furious and producer Samantha Baxter started sobbing and told her fellow The Edge hosts to “Get a life.  It’s embarrassing. But its hard to be upset for them. Fake celebrity calls are a standard for commercial breakfast radio. But it was surprising they were duped by their own colleagues. In the last survey The Edge had the country’s biggest weekly cumulative reach of 662,300 listeners, ahead of More FM om 517,000.

With The Edge ratings so high Dom, Jay Jay and Chris might feel unstoppable. But there is an old maxim in the media business – be nice to people on your way to the top, because you might meet them again on the way down. They are obliged to be outrageous but they are in the unusual role as husband and wife shock jocks.

Occasionally, the quest for outrage has seen the Edge Breakfast show lose the plot.

In August 2015 the Edge crew had contestants in the  Bachelor competition – women who under contract to Mediaworks – to swallow a cucumber. in my opinion it was demeaning and sleazy at a network that has a lot of kids and teen females innit audience. In April Dom Harvey had published a crotch shot of Bachelorette Chrystal Chenery with a lewd comment.

In October last year the NZ Herald’s Spy reported:

Jay-Jay Harvey disappeared from her morning radio show yesterday morning and hasn’t returned since.

This morning, co-hosts Clinton Randall Dom Harvey opened up about her mysterious disappearance.

“It’s probably time to address the elephant in the room, what is up with Jay-Jay… She was here with us yesterday morning and then mysteriously mid-show she just disappeared.

“It turns out Jay-Jay was in one of the toilet cubicles crying at the time,” the hosts explained.

“Jay-Jay is a sufferer of depression and exhaustion I guess as well. She takes a lot on and she gets to the point where things can get a little bit too much,” said Dom, who said there was “a lot of family stuff going on” in their lives.

Jay Jay cancelled a book tour at the time which described her battle with depression. Media have rightly g0ne out of their way to respect Harvey’s condition and its challenges. It can’t always be easy being a shock jock.



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JT’s Quiet Hunt For A New Maori TV Studio Reprised: June 2 2016.

The selection of a new base for Maori TV coincides with the departure of CEO Paora Maxwell. This article shows that the board has been looking for a new building for more than one year. There was an intense push to keep it in Auckland after a push to move to Rotorua. John Tamihere was appointed to the Board of Maori TV in March 2016.

Time is starting to run out for finding a new studio for Maori TV. The lease on Newmarket studios doesn’t run out for nearly a year – but there are a lot of requirements for a TV studio. The foundation CEO Derek Fox chose the present location back in 2004 and it has served the channel well, but the building is expensive and the five-year lease runs out in May 2017. (The lease has since been extended)

Continue reading JT’s Quiet Hunt For A New Maori TV Studio Reprised: June 2 2016.

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The Shifting Sands of Maori TV

CAPTION: An artist’s impression of the new Maori TV building in East Tamaki.

Paora Maxwell

Paora Maxwell has resigned as chief executive of Maori TV just as the channel moves to a new base in East Tamaki. Maxwell’s resignation comespart way through his contract and is attributed to unspecified “changes in his personal and business circumstances,”  Maxwell said.

Maxwell had previously been head of the Maori unit at Television New Zealand and the process for his appointment – championed by chairwoman Georgina te Heuheu  – was the centre of controversy. This week Maori TV sources linked his resignation to tensions in the relationship between management and Maori TV board over the selection of the leasehold building in East Tamaki. the source said. The building has required substantial spending on a fitout and has limited studio space.

Chairman and former National cabinet minister Georgina te Heuheu

Maori TV head of corporate affairs Rick Osborne declined requests to speak to the retiring chief executive or the chairman. He declined to discuss the departure of the chief executive. Asked about the status of the new building, Osborn said.

“I can confirm that the official opening of our new premises in East Tamaki will take place on Thursday 24 August. The news studio will be fully operational at the same time. The construction and design teams have been working hard to transform the existing building into a modern vibrant working environment. A production studio A production studio build at the new premises has been deferred at this time.The executive team is working through the operational impacts of this and will keep Maori Television staff and stakeholders informed and updated on developments,” he said.

A source said that said that delays in the board reaching a decision on a new location had complicated the arrangments. There were limited options given the deadline for leaving the current building. Owners of the Newmarket site had planned to develop it so Maori TV had to move. Maxwell had initially supported the idea of moving Maori TV to Rotorua using land supplied by local tribal interests for free.

The current building in central Newmarket.

This was opposed by many staff who would have had to move. It was also seen as identifying Maori TV with one tribal group – Te Arawa. Subsequently the Government had indicated it did not support the additional move south. Board member John Tamihere was called in to help find an Auckland location. In the past Maori TV said the said the aim was to utilise Maori land and own its own property and give it a permanent home.

The choice of East Tamaki may provide that. But it is leasehold. provides limited studio space, and requires substantial spending to use it as a TV station.

MTS issued a statement yesterday.

The Chief Executive of Māori Television Paora Maxwell has announced his resignation from the broadcaster. Maxwell said it has been a tremendous privilege to have led Māori Television through a challenging era for the entire industry.

“This has been a difficult decision but changing family and business circumstances has led to the need to dedicate my time to other commitments. Iwillalwayssupporttheimportant kaupapa of Māori broadcasting and am proud of Māori Television and its people who have worked very hard for the revitalisation of the Māori language,” says Mr. Maxwell.

Chair of the Board of Māori Television, Georgina te Heuheu acknowledged Mr Maxwell’s resignation.

“On behalf of the board we thank Paora for his work and commitment to Māori Television and wish him all the very best in his future endeavours. The Board will begin the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief later in the year,” says Mrs te Heuheu.

Maxwell has spent three decades in broadcasting – in governance, senior management, executive producing and directing roles. He has led MāoriTelevision through the rapid and fundamental technological changes in the broadcasting industry.

As Chief Executive, Maxwell prioritised the development of multi-platform audience engagementincludingthetransitiontoHighDefinition. Heintroducedanumberofcrucial research initiatives to ensure stronger and informed decisions were made across programming.

In 2016, Maxwell guided the launch of the successful Matariki Awards which honoured New Zealanders. He has also managed the relocation to new office premises in East Tāmaki.

Maxwell said he takes pride in the ongoing initiatives for staff development which have taken place at Māori Television during his leadership.

“I have confidence in the senior executive team and all the kaimahi. It has been a privilege to see the positive changes they have achieved for the kaupapa.”

Maxwell will remain with Māori Television as Chief Executive until the end of August 2017 and will remain with Māori Television till the end of 2017 in a consultation role.

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Who Would Buy TV3?

Chief executive Greg Hywood: What does he mean by “the end game ” for Fairfax?

Rejection of the Fairfax-NZME merger has revived speculation about the future of Tv3. In the past, Fairfax was tipped as a possible buyer for the MediaWorks Group, including TV3 (+HR=E)  and half the country’s radio stations. Eighteen months ago it made some sense. Fairfax-owns some big newspapers and the Stuff website. Mediaworks owns TV3, but the radio network is much more commercially successful. It has an under-developed digital arm. But the main plus for Fairfax would be there are none of the market dominance issues that bedeviled the NZME deal.


Media industry sources say that the media landscape has changed. Fairfax has bigger fish to fry back home. Does it want really want to hang around and buy into a difficult market in this country?

Advertising has slumped and television ad spend is particularly vulnerable. During merger hearings at the Commerce Commission, Greg Hywood said that rejection of the merger would be “the end game” for Fairfax.

Continue reading “Who Would Buy TV3?”

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Wendy Palmer Exits RadioWorks Updated by press release

Wendy Palmer resigned today as chief executive of the MediaWorks radio operation, signaling more big changes ahead for New Zealand media. Yesterday, Jeff Latch resigned as TVNZ director of content after 23 years.  Both have been major players in New Zeland media. Palmer has been a leading light of MediaWorks and she has maintained market leadership against NZME radio operations.

Jeff Latch is exiting TVNZ as well.

The stability and strength in Mediaworks radio – especially in Auckland – has balanced the major problems facing TV3. Sources say that Palmer has become frustrated with the ructions during the troubled era when Mark Weldon was CEO of MediaWorks. Weldon was more interested in TV, but sources say it was a challenging time for Palmer as well. Amidst persistent rumours of potential sales for MediaWorks there have been suitors for radio alone, but few when TV is included in the sale, sources say. In August last yea, Michael Anderson took over as CEO. His profile on the MediaWorks website highlights a background radio. “Michael spent seven years as CEO of one of Australia’s largest commercial radio groups Austereo (now Southern Cross Austereo) and before that as their Group Director, Sales. “Under Michael’s leadership, Austereo’s performance in both revenue and audience grew significantly – in a time of huge change to the industry.” MediaWorks has previously rejected several requests to speak to Anderson about the strategy and future of the firm.

Continue reading Wendy Palmer Exits RadioWorks Updated by press release

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Journo Cuts After Building Blowout Opinion

Television New Zealand’s answer to the collapse of journalism has been a $6o million refurbishment. That and a restructure of the news with fewer journalists. Don’t we deserve better from the state broadcaster and the politicians who control it?

TVNZ will not specify the number of journalist jobs that will be lost from the restructuring of news. My sources suggest that maybe 20 editorial positions will go, representing around 10 percent of its news staff. The Christchurch and Wellington bureaus will be cut back with more processing of video from Auckland.

Bill Ralston: TVNZ restructuring claims are bullshit

A few reporters will be moved to smaller provincial centres such as Queenstown and TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick says that new technology will make the news management more efficient and that will make up for the loss of staff. Some people – such as former TVNZ former head of news and current affairs Bill Ralston suggest there will be a loss of quality. Another former TVNZ news executive who would not be named said restructures are inevitable in media, but they seldom lead to the efficiencies they claim. Ralston points out that the first stop for TVNZ cutbacks is the news, while it retains a weighty middle management, As the old TV reporters sign off would put it. “Only time will tell.” But these latest cutbacks aimed at news illustrate the short-sighted thinking of TVNZ and the government.


Kevin Kenrick. Job cuts after blowout

There is so much happening with journalism and media – the only thought from the government is about trimming cost to keep TVNZ afloat I wonder if the TVNZ news operation should be broken away from its struggling Mothership. There is precious little love for news at TVNZ – even though it is largely kept afloat by it news audience. The main point of TVNZ nowadays is the survival of TVNZ.

TVNZ’s big initiative of late has been to undertake a $60 million upgrade of the network centre, after a $23 million blowout. Kevin Kenrick says it is wrong to link the cost overrun. Problems became apparent during work, he said.

Kenrick insists the restructuring cannot be juxtaposed the blown out cost for the refurbishment.

It was the first in 25 years. Maybe. But in my view the result from the taxpayers investing in the flash new building will be the further diminishing of a once proud newsroom, Once shows like Holmes played an active role in the news eco-system.  Nowadays TVNZ news is risk-averse. Of course it rates. And that is what matters for a management team focused on the short term.

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Put Some Oomph Into The Project

Caption: Maybe Jeremy Corbett or Paul Ego could help The Project cut through with the audience.

I am hoping that the core audience for The Project sticks with the show and gives MediaWorks time to fix it. Lord knows, audiences nowadays are not patient allowing new shows to settle in. But there is clearly a good idea there. It might just mean changing the line-up.

Continue reading “Put Some Oomph Into The Project”

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Labour, Willie And The Future Of Maori Media Opinion

CAPTION: Willie Jackson and Labour’s Matt McCarten.

What happens to Auckland’s Waatea Maori Radio if Willie Jackson wins a place in the Labour caucus? As it stands he controls Waatea along with John Tamihere who head the urban Maori authorities for Manukau and Waipareira, though Jackson has an editorial role as well.  He heads the National Urban Maori Authority and is chairman of the Iwi Maori Radio Association representing 21 stations. He has a significant influence on Maori broadcasting, and indirectly on Maori TV. Labour is expected to announce soon he has been given a high place on the Labour list raising questions about how the independence of these bodies is maintained.  In my opinion that will need to be redoubled if Labour ends up leading the next government.


Continue reading Labour, Willie And The Future Of Maori Media Opinion

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Hoping For A News Edge On TV3’s 7pm Project

CAPTION: The main team on the new TV3 show, The Project. They look like a nice bunch.

MediaWorks needs more firepower on “The Project” if it is going to take viewers away from SevenSharp and Shortland Street. Commercially Tv3 is probably doing the right thing abandoning current affairs for comedy at 7pm. But there needs to be an edge to a prime time comedy news show. You assume they are thinking about that.

CampbellLive maintained 7pm ratings a long time,

News producers know the challenge of providing 22 minutes of content each weeknight at 7pm. But I hear the news people have very little involvement. You assume the entertainment people who are largely running The Project are fully aware of the challenges providing 22 minutes of humorous content each night live in prime time. Not only do they need to please the news-magazine audience that has been watching Story, they also have to attract a new audience. THe new show is expected to start next month.

TV3 looked at The Project format back in 2015 when it was looking at a replacement for Campbell Live.

Story was TV3’s last attempt at 7pm current affairs.

They would have looked at the TVNZ attempt at copying the format for the ill- fated first series of Seven Sharp to find what not to do. I am told that, back then, TV3 was frightened off by cost and scale of the Aussie format show. It was tenable for the Ten Network in Australia – it went on to win awards and good ratings – but back then it would not have been economic for TV3. Instead TV3 went for the traditional current affairs magazine format of Story, hosted by Duncan Garner and Heather du Plessis-

The Project in Oz has a news edge.

Allan. Of course that never made financial sense, either. Perhaps they should have stuck with comedy.

Named hosts for The Project are Jesse Mulligan, 7 Days regular Josh Thomson, and popular TV presenter Kanoa Lloyd. They are quite likable but its not apparent where the show will get the energy to carry off a prime time comedy show-Jesse Mulligan cut his teeth on Seven Days and was one of its main writers in the old days. Thompson can be genuinely funny. Its all very nice.

TV3 is said to  have very high hopes for Kanoa Lloyd – the Tv3 reporter and cheery weather woman. Lloyd is personable and is said to be very comfortable in front of the camera. Away from the weather map she may well turn out to be sharp-witted and energetic and will lead the crew into a new era of commercial success at 7pm. Fingers crossed Paul Henry pops in quite a bit – in the early days at least.




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