The Law Commission can take this blog from my cold dead hands



I’ve watched the attempt by the Law Commission to renegotiate the regulatory framework for NZ media in the 21st Century with some interest as I have complained to the ASA and the Press Council and found their decisions gutless, timid and more focused on defensive arse covering than any pretense of journalistic standards.

This sudden desire to regulate opinion online occurs in the shadow of the TPPA, a 29 chapter national security leash the Americans are trying to force NZ to sign. 5 of those chapters have to do with trade, the remaining 24 chapters are to do with re-regulating NZ for the convenience of American corporations and control of the internet is central to that philosophy.

What the Law Commission has come up with is a nothing short of an attempt to expand the very same corrupt corporate news media values and superimpose them upon the blogging community. The Law Commission may have the tacit approval of the aesthetic left in the form of Russell Brown and the far right bile of Cameron Slater by sucking up to them, but they sure as hell won’t have my support.

Brown is good when you want to legitimize Union bashing hysteria (as his role in manufacturing the crisis at the Hobbit can attest) but beyond helping Warner Bros exact larger corporate welfare from NZ taxpayers, his simpering acquiescence for corporate news control of the blogosphere should be seen for what it is. Slater on the other hand craves the legitimacy of joining up to the NMSA (New Mob-Same Arseholes), and to paraphrase Groucho Marx “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have a far right hate merchant as a member”.

While I live and breath and remain as editor here at The Daily Blog, TDB will never sign up to this corporate attempt to control the NZ blogosphere.

To pay dues to a corporate news body who will drive their agenda through blog take downs and censures is one thing, but being forced to comply with the Orwellian named ‘Communications Commission’ is nothing short of a garrote around the throats of any online opinion they disagree with. Expect corporations to quickly start using this to shut down any opinion that damages their reputations.

You don’t like what I write, don’t read it. If I defame you, take me to court.

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I don’t need to pay corporate news media for the right to be considered part of their little old boys club network and I don’t need their bullshit consent to demand journalistic privileges.

I fight for those privileges and I earn those privileges.

You want to talk online ethics? Let’s talk online ethics.

Back in 2008, a source came to me with a folder they claimed an associate had found from Corrections which listed all the parole details of every major prisoner about to be released back into the community.

After I blogged the loss of the file, I had two detectives and a ‘friend’ from ‘The Ministry’ (I could never work out if their ‘friend’ who showed no ID after I requested it was GCSB or not) turn up at my place of work making all sorts of threats regarding the file. It was made clear to me that if I didn’t hand over my source they would throw the book at me.

I told them they could certainly try.

I made it clear to those Officers, as I would to any cop, that I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever (etc etc) turn over a source. That as a blogger, I would prefer to face prison for contempt of Court than turn over a source.

What I told the two Detectives and their ‘friend’ from the Ministry in 2008 was that while I would never turn a source over to them, I would hunt down and get the file back because I agreed with the Minister in charge at the time, Phil Goff, that these prisoners could never expect any real chance of rehabilitation if they were identified and their parole conditions exposed.

I told the two Detectives and their ‘friend’ from the Ministry that I would write a blog about what I saw in the folder, minus any of the personal details that could identify any of them, the post is here.

I explained that I believed in certain principles of justice and journalism, that I would report on what I saw and trace where the file was and have it returned.

I traced the file to the offices of the NZ Herald, and the Police raided them the night before the Herald on Sunday was about to publish ALL the details in their next edition.

The HoS in their ratings driven desire to sell more Newspapers didn’t give a damn about responsible journalism, they were going to name and shame every prisoner and delight in the orgy of details they could release. There were legitimate questions about how Corrections were releasing these people, and I believe the post published on Tumeke at the time addressed those issues, but that level of journalistic standards was utterly absent in what the HoS were caught doing by the Police when they raided their offices.

I refused to turn my source despite threats from the Police and reported on the lost file with far more integrity than the bloody NZ Herald – so I won’t be lectured to by the Law Commission about what they think my journalistic standards should be and I sure as hell won’t be paying corporate news media money to allow them to decide for me either.

Real bloggers are here to dismantle the corporate news gatekeepers, not reinforce them and it will be a freezing day in hell when I hand over my editorial sovereignty.

The NZ Law Commission can take this blog from my cold dead hands!


  1. Good on you mate. But in my view the stance taken by the Law Commission (i.e. the Government) is not only a vicious and gutless attack upon purveyors of news and editorial opinion, it is asavage and pusillanimous assault upon the readers’ and respondents’ rights to read and see news and opinion that has not been predigested by secretive and mendacious governments.

    If the Government wants to arrogate to themselves the power to enact any such curb to free speech, free thought, free opinion, then I’ll return the compliment with this question. By what right do my intellectual and moral inferiors have to dictate what I want to read, to see, what opinions I will listen to, and in consequence thereof, what judgments I will form.

    I call this Government a kleptocratic idiotocracy, and so it is. Attacks upon our basic freedoms is of a piece.

    Ben Franklin once observed: ‘Who will sacrifice a freedom for a little security deserves neither the freedom nor the security.’ If we can accept that premise, what, then, are we to make of the sort of people who will sacrifice your freedoms for their security?

  2. A legitimate point of view Bomber and I completely concur on your protection of sources (risked jail myself to protect them). I would like to see another post that addresses those elements of journalism that don’t lead to legal challenge (eg defamation) but still warrant some form of redress. How would you handle a situation where someone demands a correction but you dispute you were in error (let’s just assume that it is possible that you were, in fact, wrong)? How would you resolve that impasse? Personally I think that some form of independent arbitration is helpful. There are other areas where performance can be legitimately challenged by those directly involved and by concerned members of the public. I would be interested in your view on how sites like The Daily Blog would hold themselves accountable. Another column?

  3. If you defame me I should take you to court? That’s a pretty bourgeoisie comment. I’d expect a left wing blogger like yourself to understand that the ability to go to court is more or less limited to those who have tens of thousands of disposable income. Everyday people have no such ability. A communications tribunal would give a free way for people who can’t afford to go to the courts to obtain justice, which they cannot achieve via the courts.

    I say this as a law student too.

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