Category: Politics And Media

TVNZ Must Try Harder With Q & A

TVNZ deserved credit for shifting it’s politics show Q & A from the Sunday morning boondocks to primetime. The state broadcaster showed it was not abandoning current affairs and prepared to take a commercial risk. If episodes one to three seemed a little – well – dull – Episode 4 on Sunday was muddled. Studio shots looked flat. The make up on the guests was sometimes poor and some subject matter was poorly handled.

Peter FitzSimons

Rebecca Wright’s interview with former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright was paint-by-numbers stuff, asking nice open question. Albright was there to plug her new book, and that is fair enough.

Alas, she delivered another treatise on how Donald Trump was an abomination. Wright nodded enthusiastically. But there was no attempt to challenge the Democratic Party version of events. or its past oversight of world events. 

Media blaming Trump are dime a dozen. it is available 24/7 on CNN. The other international story on Q & A was coverage of the Liberal Party upheavals across the Tasman. It was a chance dig in with some good analysis of a story that directly affects New Zealand. This week;s show must have been pre-recorded very early, because it did not mention the news that day that Julie Bishop was standing dow from her Foreign Minister post.

It is always an easy to call in journalist, but it is second-hand view. Someone like Michelle Grattan might show the gravity of the story. 

But the Sydeny Morning Herald Peter FitzSimons responses were top the head stuff. He appears to have been chosen for the Rugby connection. He as the wrong person for the job.

Corin Dann even made that hoary old joke about not talking about the Rugby results. 

Corin Dann

I have praised Dann in the past for providing some objectivity, especially when he was head of the TVNZ Press Gallery and competing with Paddy Gower. Objectivity is good, but he seems to make up for the lack of rancour by creating breathless urgency his delivery.

I’ve always preferred Q & A over The Nation on Three, which plays on Saturday Mornings and was repeated opposite Q& A on Sunday mornings. It is good to have politics in prime time. But Sunday night  seems too late for me to catch up on the week’ s politics.

Lisa Owen

With The Nation interviewer Lisa Owen about to leave Three for Checkpoint on Radio New Zealand this may be the time that TVNZ can own the TV politics brand.

Both shows are taxpayer-funded. Owen aside, The Nation has always seemed down at heel to me.

That low rent feel has its use of PR people and lobbyists its panel. But if The Nation is bound to be a dead duck, Q & A is not yet shooting for the stars.

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Why Did Jacinda Ardern Go Soft On Curran?

Labour is pushing ahead with a shake-up of public media – leaving the forgetful broadcasting minister Clare Curran at the helm. This follows the second incident where Curran has forgotten to declare meetings with industry players or nofified staff. Labour’s broadcasting policy is already a mess. We need to look at where its muddy amd strategy is headed. Do want the State more involved in journalism?

On Friday, Prime-minister Jacinda Ardern removed two of Curran’s four portfolios and took her out of Cabinet. She left the errant minister with broadcasting, and associate minister for ACC. Chris Hipkins will take over Curran’s bizarrely inapproriate role as “minister for open government.”  Dr Megan Woods will take over as minister of government digital services, the portfolio that got Curran into trouble when she forgot to declare an interview with a potential job applicant.

Labour true believers and government-friendly journalists have sought to portray Ardern’s move as quick decisive action –  a counter to the  nagging doubt about her leadership skills. Ardern had her concern face on. But PM go easy on Curran after her second failure of the year. 

Ardern says she learned of Curran’s latest transgression on Monday. She chose to announce it at 4pm on Friday, in the middle of big political changes in Australia, and debate source of a leak against Opposition leader Simon Bridges. In my opinion was an old-fashioned news dump meant to avoid media attention and should have been called out as such.

Derek Handley

The latest debacle where Derek Handley, the high-profile entrepreneur Derek Hadley who was interested in a new position of the government’s Chief Technology Officer. In an unusual move  Curran had restarted the search for a CTO, after she was not impressed enough by the applicants,

Handley, by the way. is a director of Sky TV.

Ardern noted this is the second time that the minister’s note keeping and liaison with staff. On December 5, Zaqzigger.com broke the story of Curran’s meeting at the Astoria cafe with Carol Hirschfeld, who headed news at Radio New Zealand. The pretense had been the meeting was accidental. In fact it was pre-planned.

Hirschfeld had misled her RNZ bosses about the meeting, who had subsequently misled a select committee. She was dismissed from Radio New Zealand and hired at Stuff.

Hirschfeld clearly made a mistake, and paid for it  Curran, apologised,the Government supported herand Hirschfeld was thrown to the wolves.

RNZ chairman Jim Mather

After the latest debacle the CTO appointment has been taken over by the state services Commission – which I where it always belonged all along, not with Curran’s office.

Why Ardern chose to retain Curran as minister of small but sensitive portfolio.

Labour is setting up a structure to more public media. journalists and media love the idea of more public cash. Labour relies on Maori support, and Radio New Zealand is to get closer with Maori TV.  Former Maori TV CEO Jim Mather – was appointed chairman of RNZ.

What is the crossover between Curran ‘s role as the minister of broadcasting, and Ardern’s role as minister for arts, culture and heritage. The PM’s portfolio drifts into media 

The public need to know that the survival of the minister (against the odds) is due to a wider Labour strategy.

We need a clean slate with Labour’s failed media strategy, and an explanation on why the Prime Minister is not prepared to provide one.

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Dog Whistles And Golriz Riding A High Horse It's not creepy to challenge politicians

CAPTION Green MP Golriz Grahraman.

 

I am ambivalent about the Green MP Golriz Grahraman and questions about her refugee background.

Simon Jeans – A high-profile Australian immigration lawyer – has questioned her take on freedom of speech, and her refugee status. It is not my intention to work out what is right or wrong. She should answer the claims.

Golriz and partner Guy claim high ground on moral issues.

 

But if you are going to ride a high horse, you have to be prepared to show you belong there. Some disagreed with Jeans’ claims. The co-editor of Newsroom – Tim Murphy – is one sceptic who is non-partisan.

“That thing by the Australian lawyer about MP Golriz Ghahraman: -tries to be all magisterial on a case built from a few news clippings makes assumptions about assumptions and argues with them to give a verdict no one sought. Odd.”

  Continue reading Dog Whistles And Golriz Riding A High Horse It’s not creepy to challenge politicians

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Freedom From Offendarati Rule

Image Pinterest.

Debates about freedom of speech often lead to academic and legalistic arguments. Important people try to define what mere mortals may listen to, who needs to be protected, and from whom.

It is important and abstract. So it is handed to right-minded activists, lawyers and journalists – and to politicians like Phil Goff. He imposed his view on what political view is acceptable – in public venues at least.  The thing is, freedom of speech is an antidote to authority. And so it is annoying for some.  At heart many of us don’t want to be bossed around by people who are sometimes-irrational, sometimes self- indulgent, virtue-signallers, and zealots. We are capable of making up our own minds without their censoring us.

Phil Goff on Q&A. He decided what you can hear.

I’m weary of being lectured that freedom of speech is not an absolute. We all know that. There are valid restrictions on incitements to violence and personal hatred. Defamation laws are a rich person’s tool, but they also constrain freedom. But in the current weird world, protection from abuse and the threat of violence has morphed into stopping views that offend – halting language that is deemed “unsafe.” We are being protected by people who hate being offended. The Offendarati. 

It’s a white hat- black hat mentality. The Goodies and Baddies, Some groups are involved in white hat groups have special status. Some are beyond the pale and are irrelevant or to be silenced. This is understandable given the viciousness of social media and the partisan wars on twitter.

Some folk on the Left – once advocates for free speech – now insist that “hurtful” opinions must be stopped in the future for the good of Society all and the protection of the vulnerable. White knight social justice warriors have assigned themselves to protect specified minorities from people who are defined – somewhat fanatically – as fascists, Nazis and racists. One new term of acceptable abuse, is to deride Terfs, people who will not accept official institutions proclamations on gender politics. The Goodies and the Baddies, 

It is bizarre that some journalists – who have complained about the restrictions of libel laws an authority – should now actively seek the extend restrictions into the discussion of ideas, religion and politics.

Goff says Southern and Molyneux are beyond the pale.’

We have seen examples of over-eager outrages recently like the attacks on Israel Folau – and Phil Goff’s “captain’s call” intervention into the Lauren Southern Stefan Molyneux event. I find Southern too much of a careerist and Molyneux tedious, but they are not so frightening they should be banned from Council venues. “Who is next,” Corin Dann asked Goff on Q&A,” Donald Trump”? 

We see the same intervention by authority in the gay community with attempts by media and politicians to shut down individuals – people who disagree with the new orthodoxy,  transexuals self identifying as women – many of them penises. They argue that biology is irrelevant to gender. It has become mainstream thought, but quite mad/ These are vexed issues. There is no doubt about that.

Minister. “Terfs” must treat transexuals with penises as women.

But in the current environment, activists and media followers believe discordant options are to be shut down. People who disagree with authority from so called “Terfs” can be shut down.

Last week on Q&A Woman Affairs Minister Julie Ann Genter chided feminists who did not accept transsexuals with penises were women.Should the state be policing these matters?

It is part of the continued breakdown into cultural niches under identity politics, where authorities will define what is and what is not acceptable.

The Human Rights Commission should be a haven of fairness and rationality in these debates. Alas, the publicly funded body has taken sides and become a home for state sponsored activism. 

The Commission has brushed off its’ scandal over an executive harassment of an intern and privately it is working to expand a push for more restrictions on free speech.

During nine years of a National governments there have been growing signs of ideological biases were ignored and promoted in media.

Radical feminist Renee Gerlijh has been attacked by trans-activists – but that is allowed by authorities

Now with a Labour government – and despite the Human Rights Commission dysfunction –  pressing ahead with controls on what it calls “disharmonious speech”  for likely new hate speech rules at the end of the current Labour term. 

 

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RNZ Folding Liberal Wireless Into Main Website Is RNZ changing for the better?

Radio New Zealand is folding its struggling youth website “The Wireless” into RNZ.co.nz.

Partly this is because “The Wireless” has been superseded by commercial media like “The Spinoff” and Vice.

Three’s 7pm show “The Project” is also aimed at the young urban liberal audience. It is a well trodden path, and that is fine for private media companies.

That new competition was inevitable. it makes you wonder why the state broadcaster continued travelling down this path.

It was first cab off the rank.

Now it is pushed out by commercial competitors who see an attraction for advertisers.

Wireless alumni Megan Whelan has been made RNZ head of digital

Merger of “The Wireless” into the growing rnz.co.nz main website is a prelude to the government’s creating a new funding set-up for RNZ.

As part of the change, New Zealand On Air has said that as of November, it will no longer provide a $200,000 annual subsidy for Wireless content, 40 per cent of its claimed $500,000 budget.

So the Wireless was becoming unsustainable, and RNZ have had to dig in to its other taxpayer funding.

The transition is already underway for “The Wireless” into the vastly more popular mainstream site is already underway.

In a memo to RNZ staff on May 31, the head of news and digital, Glen Scanlon, who recently replaced Carol Hirschfeld as head of news, said that “The Wireless” content will remain accessible,

The technical transition is expected to happen in the background over the next three months. “The Wireless” team will be the foundation of the new long form investigative unit,” said the RNZ head of news.

“The Wireless” was launched in October 2013.

Support for the website was good in the first years. But a source familiar with the situation said it’s numbers have diminished substantially over the past two years.

Glen Scanlon

Nielsen figures for May 2018 show The Wireless had 44,534 unique browsers compared to 584,483 for its” commercial competitor “The Spinoff” and 1.7 million for the mainstream rnz.co.nz website.

So the change makes sense.

RNZ played down the May results from Nielsen, saying that unique results varied month by month. RNZ declined to provide requested details for specific dates.

On dates selected by RNZ “The Wireless” delivered 66,000 unique browsers, 82500 and 101,400. There was no need to announce anything publically, because the change was not yet apparent to the public.

There is no shame in trying and failing to reach a young demographic, All media are looking ways to tap into millennials and their media habits.

Former RNZ digital boss Glen Scanlon has replaced Carol Hirschfeld.

The question is why a cash-strapped public broadcaster targeted a specific social demographic, ignoring the mainstream youth audience. It appears to have misjudged its role as a public broadcaster.

Internally, some RNZ staff have neen antsy about the resources RNZ has pumped into The Wireless – and its video venture – while cutting costs on primary services such as news. and sound radio.

RNZ bosses insist that “The Wireless” met the same journalist standards as its main operations.

But three RNZ journalists who have worked in system said that was not the case. There was less scrutiny for content on The Wireless and lower expectations of a younger audience, they said.

Certainly, “The Wireless” appeared to have a greater concerns of identity politics, immigration, and human rights.  more than the challenges for Palmerston North twenty somethings getting a job

Which is not to say that these were relevant to a young urban liberal audience.

Maybe the hoi-polloi the non-politically correct audience does not consume online media, so there is no point in focusing on them.

There has been an overblown cliché about RNZ promoted by Right Wing – that it is Red Radio, divorced

Glen Scanlon

One event during the election campaign illustrated how The Wireless saw its role.

The Wireless commissioned a Green Party Young Greens co-convenor Meg Williams to interview Chloe Swarbrick.

The Spinoff had a similar schmooze fest. But it is a private company that had promoted Labour and the Greens in the run up to the election, Don’t we expect better from public radio? 

The Wireless perception was that the younger demographic was urban and liberal, like its staff.

Glen Scanlon – now the overall head of news – would not rule out similar items where activists get to interview allied politicians. Beyond that RNZ is in the midst of major changes that saw the departure of Carol Hirschfeld and a new push to develop more Maori content and closer ties with Maori TV

RNZ spokesman John Barr said “The Wireless” has broken new ground when it was launched and contributed some “strong journalism.”

The Wireless was feeding into and contributing the big growth in viewership for the main website, rnz.co.nz website.

He agreed the new competition had been a factor in the challenges,

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Dysfunctional HRC Targets Hate And Disharmony Streamed session A Fig Leaf For Commission Push

Green MP Golriz Grahraman is a high profile advocate for controlled speech,

A ministerial report from retired Employment Court judge Coral Shaw was a damning indictment of the Human Rights Commission, which was described as “dysfunctional” and “toxic”. Justice Minister Andrew Little is working with the State Services Commission to resolve problems which he said had been apparent to him, before media reports about its errant handling of a sexual harassment complaint. “Problems at the Commission came to me previously from a number of sources,” Little says. ”I made the judgment that the failure with the sexual harassment complaint was a product of a dysfunction at the Commission,” he says.

RNZ community engagement editor is in the media – but is expected to support restrictions on speech.

There have been other examples of mission creep at the Commission – with a focus on development of its own profile and what AUT history professor Paul Moon sees as evidence of an “ideology” developing at the Commission. In my opinion the Commission human sometimes act like a state-sanctioned activist, a role that is even more problematical with Labour and the Greens in power. The activist tendency is playing out in a nascent debate over “hate speech” – or “disharmonious language” as the Commission calls it. Two meetings on the topic held in Wellington, tomorrow, Tuesday May 22. One – led by Internet NZ – is being streamed and includes Golriz Grahraman amongst speakers. None of the speakers are promoters for free speech. It is chaired by Dr Paul Spoonley, an academic tipped for the role of Race Relations Conciliator. 

 

HERE IS THE FULL LIST OF SPEAKERS: https://internetnz.nz/event/hate-and-internet

 

The Internet NZ session is attached  to a closed and private meeting of NGOs organised by the Human Rights Commission.  a source familiar with the planning said that the streamed speakers was a public shop front while in the private meeting led by the Commission.

“ This is a fig leaf for what is going on at the HRC closed meeting,” the source says,

Internet NZ has acknowledged tomorrow’s session was linked to the controversial comments by Israel Folau, who responded to queries and said that under his religious views, homosexual people would “ burn in hell” if they did not repent.

Andrew Little sees problems at the Human Right Commission but sees a review hate speech rules in the future,

Attempts to pin down expectations for the HRC- organised meeting were fraught. The Commission insisted it was not working toward new hate speech legislation. Internet New Zealand initially wouldn’t discuss the allied meeting,

The upshot is that renewed debate about hate speech – at a time when the world is  obsessed with the notion of fake News – appears to be  being led by a Commission that is organisationally dysfunction. In my opinion the is taking too little stock of the importance for freedom of speech.

Labour may be wary of the HRC currently. But Little indicated he is prepared to limit freedom of speech.

Paul Moon has long questioned the lack of transparency at the Commission and an unwillingness to discuss its position on hate speech.

A July 2017 Commisssion report referred to concern about a more nebulous concept, “disharmonious” speech.

Moon says the Commission refuses to spell out what that means. Disharmony is not necessarily a bad thing.

Moon detects a mood at the Commission to introduce more controls over speech. akin to greater state oversight like those in Canada and in the UK.

Israel Folau and his comments that homosexuals would “ Burn in hell. The notion of hell – let alone that of a fiery tempest – seems olde world. How many people take his views so seriously they should be banned,

Yet numerous celebrities -including All Black TJ Perenara – and Newshub political editor Tova O’Brien – exercised their outrage and said Folau’ comments were beyond the pair. There is no room in my world for people who think gay people are going to hell” O’Brien said.

Many people did not like what Israel and Maria Folau said – but should they be silenced?

Freedom of speech does not exempt Folau is exempt from consequences and he got a sound whacking on mainstream and social media.

Views were expressed. People had an idea of the competing freedoms,

The HRC has been active in this space for a long time and regularly holds forth on perceived racism sexism, and transphobia 

We have now come to expect interventions from the state agency with chiding of people who break unstated moral rules, 

Dr Paul Spoonley is chairman of the Internet NZ speaker series and is tipped to be the next Race Relations Conciliator/

The Commissioners wax lyrical about Christchurch everything from utterances or the N word – which it had pre-arranged, a Chinese restaurant which used crass phrases on its menu and tweeting transexual former male who competed as a woman. Itmis not so much these views are advances, but that alternative opinions ar being shut out.

There is now an expectation that the Commission will make statement on any perceived example of what it calls disharmonious speech. What we know nowise that the state agency now comments on all incidents that involve race, gender or even tenancy problems.

 Little defends its media activities, but suggests problems may be due to a lack interest by National over the past nine years.

Andrew Little points out that the Commisssion has a role to promote understanding of human rights.

He said that in two or three years there may be a review so that New Zealand Human Rights laws are consistent with those overseas.

“It may well be that is the time to consider whether there has to be a beefing up over the coverage of hate speech,” he said.

“I am acutely aware that is an area that has the potential to seriously infringe on freedom of speech.”We need to find a line that is beyond obnoxious butclearly harmful and damaging” the minister said. 

The Internet NZ event is a shop front window with the real activity behind the scenes involving the Commission and lobby group. The most disturbing aspect is that the discussions are taking place in the name of diversity, where some opinions – on the importance of freedom of speech – does not have a champion.

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Can Radio New Zealand Trust Labour?

CAPTION: Clare Curran and Carol Hirschfeld.

Labour Party plans for big changes at Radio New Zealand are in a deep hole, after the Broadcasting Minister’s errant breakfast meeting with RNZ news boss Carol Hirschfeld.
Revelations about the encounter sparked a political storm, but Clare Curran has kept digging, and said this week that “this is a democracy” and she can meet with whomever she likes.
Th upshot is that Labour should consider abandoning its broadcasting policy, or the minister. There has been a breach of trust.

Can Labour implement its transformation of RNZ + ?

Curran’s breakfast with Hirschfeld, at the Astoria cafe on Wellington’s Lambton Quay, came two days before the minister was due to meet RNZ chairman Richard Griffin and chief executive Paul Thompson. Both men are known to be sceptical about Labour’s plans.

We don’t know the topics the two women discussed. It beggars belief, though, that either of them thought the breakfast date was acceptable.
The issue of most concern, however, is not that Hirschfeld attended an inappropriate meeting with a Cabinet minister. (There are strict rules against ministers trying to influence state-owned media.) It is that she repeatedly misled Thompson, her boss, by insisting that she had merely bumped into Curran at the Astoria. He, in turn, assured a parliamentary committee that the encounter had not been not pre-arranged.

Remember, this breakfast was back in December. Hirschfeld was then RNZ’s head of news and New Zealand was in the full flushes of Jacinda euphoria. The Labour Party, in its broadcasting policy, was dangling a $38 million funding carrot in front of RNZ.

But staff say that apart from Hirschfeld, RNZ’s top management was treating the policy – for a full-scale TV channel, RNZ Plus – with caution.

RNZ was right to accept Hirschfeld’s resignation. The incident has damaged the state broadcaster, which has long tried to overcome the overblown claims that it was biased in favour of the Left.

But RNZ staff I spoke to said Curran was getting off scot-free. Given the tensions between Curran and RNZ, should the PM step in to ensure Labour’s policy can be implemented?

eGriffin and Thompson have been wary of Labour’s plans for an RNZ TV channel. But in light of the Government’s belligerence on the issue, they couldn’t ignore the policy, and Hirschfeld was appointed to a new job overseeing the development of video, with a particular focus on Morning Report and Checkpoint.

Hirschfeld – who has a background in television – is said to have been a big supporter of the Labour proposal.
Staff I spoke to shared the concerns of Griffin and Thompson. They viewed the policy as unsustainable and feared it would take resources away from RNZ’s core skill base – radio.

The number of people watching video is so tiny that the cost cannot be justified. As one staffer said: “Ever since she [Hirschfeld] got here, it has been about putting in TV everywhere.”
More video content is seen as inevitable, but television is expensive and the proposed $38 million is a drop in the ocean.

Richard Griffin Inadvertantly lied to a select committee.

Now seems a strange time to be moving into the challenging TV business.
Labour’s policy rightly addresses a need for public broadcasting that is ignored under the present commercial-focused broadcast system.
But turning RNZ into a TV channel while ignoring Television New Zealand seems irrational.
Maybe with a minister cooperating with the RNZ board, such a move could be made to work.
But Curran’s action has severely threatened the trust relationship with RNZ. It is hard to see how RNZ Plus can proceed, under this minister at least.

 

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Genter Talks Like An Activist, Not A Minister

CAPTION: It is Activism 101. But dismissing citizens as “old white men” indicates Julie Anne Genter has not adjusted to her new role.

Green Party activists have been slow to adjust to the New World Order: a Labour-led government where they are part of the ruling coalition and not just agitators looking for attention.

Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter epitomised the mismatch this week with her comment that “old white men” should stand down to make way for more diverse corporate boards.

Stuff reported:

Women’s Minister Julie Anne Genter says old white men need to “move on” from company boards to help close the gender pay gap. Speaking to students at Christchurch’s Cobham Intermediate School on Thursday, Genter said the private sector needed to address the low level of female representation on New Zealand company boards if more businesses were to be led by women.About 85 per cent of board members were male, and many were “old white men in their 60s”.“Some of them need to move on and allow for diversity and new talent,” she said, later clarifying she had “no problem with old white men” on company boards generally.

It was a minister of the Crown talking to kids. It seems that “pale, stale males” ― as some other critics call them ― are ruining it for everyone again. It’s a bad call to dismiss a whole section of the population like that. It shows that she still hasn’t got to grips with her role.  Identity politics are not going to help resolve the equal pay issue. 

Genter is trying to be co co-leader of the Greens

I am ambivalent about the older male dominance of corporate boards. I can see the logic of encouraging more diverse people with diverse backgrounds. More worker involvement in business certainly works in Germany.

But whatever happens, the focus of corporate boards is going to remain on delivering profits to investors. Women directors will still make the same harsh decisions that men sometimes make. More-diverse boards will include clever people, but still include racists and sexists on occasion.I worry about the language used by Genter and the activist media. I’m not sure I want activists ― especially those who use terms like “old white men” ― telling businesses who they should not have leading them.

Removed from the double-speak of justification, the term “old white males” is ageist, racist and sexist. It is unnecessarily alienating.To her credit, Genter engaged with her critics. But she has an unfortunate tendency to think she knows better than everyone else and does not try to convince people she is listening. Her reaction does not generate optimism for the future. Genter is making her own bid to become joint leader of a party where deriding “old white men” and “pale, stale males” is acceptable. 

Her role as associate transport minister makes sense given her expertise in transport planning.

Genter is not alone in being stuck in the activist rut. Golriz Ghahraman and Chlöe Swarbrick have not moved on from being in election-campaign mode. Swarbrick has been accomplished as a new MP. But Genter and Swarbrick gave Parliament a firm ticking off when a majority of MPs did not back the Greens’ bid to partially legalise cannabis.

James Shaw doesn’t talk activist jargon.

They lost the vote, they screwed up. A politician’s job is to get people on their side, and they failed to do that. Likewise, the collapse of the Greens’ vote in the election after Metiria Turei’s confession about her questionable welfare and electoral issues is not blamed on a shambolic party, but on an errant media. The Greens are backed by whiny journalists and media commentators who target the hip activist audience to sell ads.

But she is a minister of the Crown and needs to talk to all New Zealanders – not just her pals on protest marches.

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UPDATED: Opinion is entrenched in the state TV newsroom TVNZ HAS NO EXPLICIT WRITTEN POLICY ON ITS JOURNALISTS WRITiNG OUTSIDE COMMENTARY

UPDATE, Sometime TVNZ 1 news presenter Miriama Kamo wrote an article of The Spinoff, 

TVNZ News managers said through a spokeswoman: “A number of our journalists and presenters contribute to other media outlets –  be it as radio hosts, as print columnists or panel guests. Some of these roles require personal opinions to be offered.

“We’re realistic about the fact that our journalists and presenters are people who hold personal viewpoints and there are occasions where these can be expressed and healthy debate can be engaged in.  While we don’t have an explicit written policy for our people taking on these roles, additional media responsibilities are assessed in a case by case basis to ensure the editorial strength of our newsroom, said spokeswoman Rachel Howard.

Do you remember the days we did not know the personal politics and opinions of newseaders?

Today in “The Spinoff” the sometimes TVNZ One News newsreader, Marae and Sunday host opined that people were wrong to comment about there being less animosity at Waitangi.

“Why do we praise ‘peaceful’ Waitangi Day celebrations? It suggests that agitators behaved, that they weren’t naughty, that they towed the line to allow everyone to have a ‘nice’ day.” she asked.

I tend to agree with her. But I was surprised to see that a high-profile and ostensibly independent newsreader and current affairs like Kamo presenting her personal views on politics. 

I imagine Kamo views her role as an interviewer on the current affairs programmes Marae and Sunday as justification for her taking a position. But I think news reading is special and there has never been a time when neutrality is more important. Its an old-fashioned view but her opinions in Spinoff queer the pitch for her newsreader role, in my opinion. Maybe its a one off But it’s a worrying trend at TVNZ and state broadcasting in general,

Kamo said in Spinoff

I find praise of a peaceful Waitangi Day jarring. The absence of protest is not the indicator of a successful Waitangi Day. Whether protest occurs or does not occur is not the measure of anything other than the mood of the marginalised. And if it is the measure, then it is for Māori to decide whether Waitangi celebrations were ‘successful’…. Every year, Waitangi Day is approached with trepidation – how much protest will there be, what form will it take? National leader Bill English was spooked by it, suggesting to RNZ that his decision not to attend Waitangi last year saw marae trustees organise themselves this year to see ‘dignity restored to that event’ – read, no protest. In his view, this is why the new government received a warm reception.

… the onus is not on Māori to smooth the path for others to come into their home; a home that has been, figuratively and literally, systematically dismantled and destroyed over decades. Labour too has a lot of ground to make up, so it’s good that Jacinda Ardern spoke with verve and hope for a more equitable partnership. Her warm reception reflects the historic grassroots support by many Māori for the party, the ongoing excitement around the prime minister’s leadership, but also her pregnancy.

It was a strong articulate opinion. But if she continues to be a pundit it queers the pitch for her reading the new.  I’m hoping this is not a sign of things to come. 

Hosking was never sold as being neutral – Kamo is.

Kamo objected to Mike Hosking over his arrogant utterances about the former mayor of New Plymouth Andrews Judd, It was a low point for Seven Sharp, in my opinion. TVNZ producers became too loose handling Hosking’s opinions. In some ways Hosking was less problematical. Seven Sharp was not a bulletin and there was no pretence that he was neutral, 

The state broadcaster hired Hosking to rark with a right wing viewpoints that he had promoted in other media for ages.. admittedly, she did not express her views on TVNZ. If TVNZ really valued her opinion, its surprising they don’t appear to have run them on TVNZ.co.nz website.

I’d argue that the neutrality is more important now than it has ever been

TVNZ would’ve had to give Kamo the go-ahead. I asked spokeswoman Rachel Howard about the approach. She  said that presenters giving their personal opinions has been around for years.

That is true. Paul Henry was very opinionated on Breakfast. TVNZ did not mind that while ratings kept up. Hilary Barry has liked to promote her feminist sensibilities to the world.

Now Hilary has been moved from Breakfast to Seven-Sharp, she is being replaced by Hayley Holt, the former Green Party candidate, though TVNZ says she knows her politics can’t intrude on the show,

Kamo has some strong and well- articulated views.

But I am pleased that Simon Dallow and Wendy Petrie keep their opinions to themselves, as do Samantha Hayes and Mike McRoberts on Newsbub.

It would-be worrying in the current environment if TVNZ decides that newsreaders don’t need to be neutral. 

 

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Lordy Lordy, Lorde What were her managers thinking?

CAPTION: The Israeli bombing of Gaza, July 2014.

The debacle over Lorde playing in Tel Aviv says a lot about the sorry state of music industry marketing. Way back, somebody in Lorde’s management team decided the Devonport songstress should have an  image far beyond her ‘making fun’  danceable original music. She has been clever enough to support the idea, in a uniquely Kiwi kind self confidence.  She is the millennial with a mind of her own -a hero to the young, and to young women especially.

Peace !

 

Now, her managers have announced she will be playing in Tel Aviv in June, and there has been debate in the media whether this is smart amidst growing international tension of the issue of Israel’s approach. Others aligned with the Palestinian side insist it is not moral at any time and that Israel’s actions have been beyond th4e pale.  Indeed, New Zealand has played a key role in challenging Israel’s past action,  sponsoring a reprimand ion Israel n the UN, and infuriating the Israelis. The decision to juxtapose the Lorde brand with Israel at a time of growing international tensions and warnings of n infitada is strange timing. It may prove to be be another example of the flawless and deft-marketing. But, at the moment. it looks more daft than deft.

 

Stuff wrote: Fans of Lorde are calling her out for choosing to perform in Israel’s major city of Tel Aviv while the country is subject to an organised boycott movement.Lorde announced on her Twitter page that she would also perform in the Russian cities of Moscow and St Petersburg in mid-2018.The pro-Palestinian movement, called Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), calls for the “freedom, justice and equality” of Palestinians under Israeli controlWhile some fans were pleased with the news, others weren’t shy to show their disappointment.”Don’t play in Tel Aviv while they have the Palestinians under a brutal occupation! 

The decision to visit Tel Aviv follows that the US government to move its Embassy to Jerusalem. Donald Trump’s decision has been a boon for Israel. Now amidst other musical boycott. the Lorde concert is – on a very small scale – another win. I’m sure her managers will have rationale. An experienced old musician is one thing. But Why do they put a 21 year old from Devonport in that position?

Lorde might see her appearance as healing. rather than incendiary. Certainly her biggest fans will agree with her decision , no matter what it is. Fan is short for fanatic after all..

Some Palestinian activists have complained she should play on the West Bank as well as Tel Aviv. But Tel Aviv will have a lot more wealthy fans than Ramallah. The best thing to hope for is that she finds somethining that turns marketing clufootedness into a smart dance move.

In any case, where is the line regarding musical boycotts? If you boycott musicians visiting Israel, should you do the same boycott of Sydney because of allegations about Manus Island? There is a danger boycott become censorship.

Nick Cave says musicians should not be bullied.

There have been other issues over musicians boycotts of Israel.Australian Nick Cave criticised the boycotts and said he was going to going ahead with his Israel concert, despite opposition from musical activists.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-peacemaking-power-of-lorde/

 

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