Category: Politics And Media

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.

× Featured

Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

Who Goes There? – Holt Opinion

Caption: Hayley and the Greens

The United States will soon be run by reality TV star Donald Trump. And in little old New Zealand, we’ve seen wannabe politicians who happen to have been on the telly.

The latest “star” political wannabe is Hayley Holt, a talented snowboarder and a presenter of two niche TV shows “The Crowd Goes Wild” and “Back Benches. Name recognition matters for a party like the Greens and you wonder if there are any more media people waiting in the wings.

But Holt does not have the celebrity power of Tamati Coffey who fronted the weather forecasts for many years and who will be standing for Labour in the Waiariki seat in 2017.

Holt is said to be an environmentalist and have a degree in politics and that means a lot for some Green voters.

She may well be be a brilliant advocate for the Party. Holt had indicated that she was interested in winning the candidacy for the Helensville electorate. Maybe that will be less attractive now that John Key is no longer standing and there would be fewer promotional opportunities.

The Greens insist they will follow their normal practices is selecting her place on the List, . But announcements of star candidates like Holt raise the question whether high profile people have a place ahead non- celebrity candidates,


Tamati Coffey has genuine star appear and is standing for Labour in Wairariki

Holt told the NZ Herald she is not yet sure how many votes her star power could be worth.”I don’t want politics to be boring. It looks boring at the moment and we’ve got some really fresh, exciting faces with the Greens coming through …” she said.

Another recent recruit looking for a place on the Greens list is high profile politician Chloe Swarbrick who had worked with alternative radio station Bfm.

Chloe Swarbrick
Chloe Swarbrick

She has been backed by media on the Left in Auckland and would likely draw votes in the city. Indeed when she recently announced her intentions to stand for Parliament it seemed like the Greens were joining Swarbrick, not vice – versa.



× Featured

Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

Shhh … Secret Squirrel Thank heaven for unnamed sources

The Guardian wrote this week

“Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.

Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.

“The FBI is Trumpland,” said one current agent.

This atmosphere raises major questions about how Comey and the bureau he is slated to run for the next seven years can work with Clinton should she win the White House.”


Secrecy has become entrenched in institutions while they promise transparency. We have come to rely on anonymous sources to tell us what is really going on. They can expose dysfunction at powerful institutions – as it did with the Guardian report (above) about FBI antipathy to Hillary Clinton.  It seems like personal views in influencing the use of state power right on the eve of an election. It could aid the election of a dangerous man, and that sense the secret policing agency is anti-democratic.

Shhh - Secret Squirrel
Shhh – Secret Squirrel

The use of anonymous sources look like increasing rather than shrinking, as institutions claim transparency while taking steps to shut the public out. We know that if people in the FBI and security agencies and big corporates people also leak – about one another and sometimes about private citizens. Media organisations can lap that up as well. It’s the new media world and it requires a lot of faith in journalists at a time the profession is in deep doo doo.

Continue reading Shhh … Secret Squirrel Thank heaven for unnamed sources

× Featured

Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

How Will Media Cover The Class War?

US media covering the election face a troubling task establishing its role in the first battle for a Trump-inspired class war. Many loyal followers have valid beliefs they are being ignored by a corrupt elite aided by a smug, disconnected liberal media. They are partly right, and they are not going to go away if their messiah loses.


Many in the media doubt Trump wants to deliver to his followers or that that he is capable of doing so. A vast swathe of ordinary Americans – a majority of them working class – believe the media and liberal bias. It is basic journalism that Trump’s people deserve a voice and should be listened to, even if you believe they are dead wrong. Media have had to balance the widely held view that Trump is dangerous, egocentric and dishonest against the fact a significant part of the country believes he is right,and so are his views that media are part of the problem.

A classic example of the media dilemma can be seen on CNN and its approach in covering the election. The three main debates have been covered by panels led by relatively independent anchors like Anderson Cooper and political journalists who try to cover both sides objectively – succeeding to a greater or lesser extent.

VaN Jones - Aggresssively pro Clinton
Van Jones – Aggressively pro Clinton

But objectivity is unfashionable. If it is too fair it risks limited the size of the audience. Far better to have a shitfight between Clinton and Trump partisans Its panel for the third debate includes Obama staffer Van Jones and former Obama aide David Axelrod. Both clearly support Clinton Among those boosting Trump we have had former press aide Corey Lewandowski and Right wing commentator Jeff Lord. The format means that CNN actively considers Trump talking points that are clearly wrong. It’s not easy when the candidate blatantly lies. Traditional media are clearly on one side. The issue was covered comprehensively in the Columbia Journalism review on  October 21, after Hillary Clinton got in to trouble referring to Trump’s supporters as “deplorables” which was partly true, but an ill-defined term that summed up her view on a wide segment of the population.

“Journalists have had to grapple with the most consequential questions surrounding the issue: Once you have established what class of people Clinton was referring to, how do you write about them? How do you cover their lives, their opinions, their judgments, their values, especially when their values fall outside the pale of what is socially and morally acceptable? Predictable contrarian takes have emerged in response, arguing that not all of Trump’s followers are economically hard-pressed.

This may be true, but that doesn’t change the fact that many of them are. The idea that a substantial number of Trump voters don’t fit the socio-economic mold of the “deplorables” might satisfy journalists’ ceaseless appetite for new angles on new angles, but the Gallup study by Jonathan Rothwell upon which it is based concludes that the majority of Trump’s supporters are poor, almost poor, or blue collar. The pressing issue here was whether journalists who, regardless of their backgrounds, enjoy a privileged existence relative to the “deplorables”—and often hail from rarefied backgrounds themselves—possessed the sensibility and/or the morality to cover their new subjects without elitist prejudice, elitist condescension, or elitist sentimentalilty.

The last CNN debate saw Jones and Lord going g hammer and tongs where Corey Lewandowsky blatantly made false claims.

Chris Wallace
Chris Wallace -immaculately fair

These issues about representing voters opinions will become more important after the election, whether Trump is elected or not. His threats to media freedom and civil discourse are a warning to the media to be careful and to not dismiss distrust against them. Trump supporters are not going to go away and primed up by Trump there may be a lot of disgruntled people about. Several factors make this relevant to New Zealand politics. The media is only now coming to grips with a wide level of dissatisfaction at a time when the media is struggling to survive financially. There is no revolution happening her, but the country is ancy. Real issues such as poverty and housing are getting a lot of attention n in the volatile echo chambers of social media. New Zealand is small enough that local media might be able to see the writing on the wall and make the necessary changes.



× Featured

Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

More Taxpayer Cash For Expanding Digital Video Firms Includes Official Release


New Zealand On Air has released plans for a big shake-up in the way it hands out public money to producers and it allow digital media a bigger share of the funding pie. The New Zealand Herald media column this morning previewed the proposals which gives expanding digital media firms digital businesses such as  as NZME and The Spinoff. Currently digital video players are at a distinct disadvantage to established broadcasters. Under NZOA proposals the networks will still control big budget projects and allocations more than $500,000. That means the big dramas.  Networks have the ability to deliver on linear TV platforms (the main TV channels) and digitally through On Demand platforms. Combined these two provide big audiences. The focus on the number of bums on seats will also mean that they have big advantages for accessing the next run of allocations for taxpayer allocations of $100,000 to $500,000. The fundamental change to allocations has been inevitable for some time and TV networks have accepted the change. But two TV producers I spoke to were wary. Some believe it will open the door to content with lower production values and said thatNZ ON Air needs to improve its oversight on quality. Others reject that view as self serving and believe change – while substantial – is a stopgap measure, and more expansive change to the role for NZ ON Air will be needed the future. The new proposals are planned to take effect in mid 2017

The Herald media column speculating correctly on changes and is attached below:,





× Featured

Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

Housing Market Is Not Broken – Its “Going Gangbusters”

How do business media report a major problem like housing inflation when it has become a foundation stone for the economy? It turns to the major players in the economy. But sometimes the major players are beneficiaries of the problem. When bank economists talk in the media, they are independent from the people who pay their salaries. In my opinion. they will give a view that reflects the values their sector, and common sense tells you that will be from the perspective of banks. Banks have earned strong profits during the crisis in housing affordability in Auckland.

Continue reading “Housing Market Is Not Broken – Its “Going Gangbusters””

× Featured

Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

Labour, ComCom And the Monster Media Mash Up

Unknown-31There is an implausibly little government leadership on how this small country survives in the media revolution. National sees the matter, ignores it and seems to be letting the chips fall where they may.

Labour seems focused on its old touchstones of unions and public service broadcasting advocates. However, it needs to concentrate on the bigger structure of a global battle between NZ companies and international players like Google and Facebook. Labour is at interested in the current media upheavals and the danger for consumers of journalism and local content.

Continue reading “Labour, ComCom And the Monster Media Mash Up”

× Featured

Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

Jock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels Chalk and Cheese Council Candidates

Legal eagle journalist Jock Anderson has taken a leaf out of Bill Ralston’s book. He is standing for the Timaru District Council in local body elections. Both are standing on an independent right of centre ticket. Ralston is a media commentator and PR man standing, a former liberal hero, standing for the famously liberal Waitemata ward on Auckland Council. Anderson – who has taken on the mantle of a conservative commentator – and will be be standing in the proudly illiberal capital of South Canterbury. He said that he and his girlfriend Lorraine moved from Auckland at the end of last year. He says he enjoys the area and the opportunities for keeping up his longtime hobby, shooting game.

Bill Ralston
Bill Ralston

Anderson says he stands for innovation, careful planning, community consultation, sustainable development, transparency, encouragement, progress and prudent financial stewardship. All of those things. He writes profiles for the New Zealand Law Society, writes a column for Cameron Slater’s InCite website, makes the occasional appearance on Waatea 5th Estate and is a regular commentator Larry Williams on NewstalkZB and for RNZ’s The Panel. He says he is also about to re-launch his popular CaseLoad website ( – saying  enigmatically: “It’s time the cat gave the pigeons a hoozle-up.”


× Featured

Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

RNZ Can’t Succeed Too Much Govt does not want RNZ to undermine commercial radio

Caption: Morning Report has improved.

RNZ is damned if it rates poorly and damned if it rates well. RNZ did well in the latest second radio ratings survey from new research firm GfK recently, including growth in Morning Report and Checkpoint. It appears that online growth has resulted in an increase in the radio audience, which suggests a strategic success. Yet you will not see RNZ heavily promoting the win by rubbing it in noses of individual commercial radio stations in promotions

Continue reading RNZ Can’t Succeed Too Much Govt does not want RNZ to undermine commercial radio

× Featured

Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

For The Love of Mike Guest Opinion: Mike Farman on what we expect from "current affairs" hosts

CAPTION: Bill O’Reilly. Fox has changed New Zealand TV

The role of radio and television presenter talent emerged as a major talking point recently, with often-abusive social media outbursts aimed at Mike Hosking, the breakfast host at NewstalkZB and presenter of the TVNZ show. Seven Sharp. An attack also came from a former TVNZ Breakfast colleague, Liz Gunn. Some people also petitioned for his removal altogether from row current affairs and opinion show Seven Sharp. They perceived his views to have come from his unashamed support for Key and National views and its policies. And they are pretty much right of course.

Continue reading For The Love of Mike Guest Opinion: Mike Farman on what we expect from “current affairs” hosts

× Featured

Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ