GUEST BLOG: Alex Stone – A letter to the Listener



Low, low, low

The Listener reached a new low point in the editorial “I spy a by-election’ (March 21).

A sustained personal attack on a respected investigative journalist, from an anonymous page, is hardly honourable.

Nor is the adolescent shonky logic the writing displays. The editorial implies that because something is not popular, it is not morally relevant.

By way of analogy: many thousands of New Zealanders are not fully into the arcane nuances of tax law – but that does not make tax evasion any less illegal.

So you (whoever you are) may say “most new Zealanders are complacent about their civil rights.” Indeed. But that does not allow for the breaching of them.

The editorial also claims that “Such vigilance scarcely makes the GCSB the tool of self-interested political forces.” What do you now say about the news that the GCSB spied on National MP Tim Groser’s competition in a job application?

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The anonymous writer also makes some incredible assumptions; one of which is that Hager cynically schedules his revelations to precisely fit the New Zealand electoral cycle, or in this case, the surprise Northland by-election. Hager – who has never been proven substantively wrong in his writing – has repeatedly said he releases information as it is revealed by his research. Surely the Listener knows that good journalists must take time to check allegations and the veracity of their sources.

Shame on you, Listener. You’ve lost another subscriber.


  1. That Listener editorial was indeed a politically-motivated steaming pile of drivel. If they’re going to spout propaganda they should at least have the courage to put their name to it.

  2. Putting a name to ones drivel ? That’s an interesting one actually . I don’t personally put my name to my drivel because I fear what the state might do to me . It’s that simple . And why that is, deserves closer examination .

    What might ‘ The State ‘ do to me ? Well who knows ? I doubt I’m much of a threat to anyone really but then one can never know in these heady times .
    It was argued in the book ‘ Paradise Conspiracy ‘ by Ian Wishart that the State murdered Paul White to shut him up re the Citi Bank/ Big Business/ corrupt politicians / Cook Islands debacle .
    I personally remember a journalist telling my father that he’d been threatened with the loss of his job from Wellington if a particular interview between him and my father went ahead as scheduled .
    If it were not for the internet , Nicky Hager , Edward Snowden ( In hiding ) Julian Assange ( In hiding ) Paul Smith ( RIP ) Aaron Swartz ( RIP ) we’d still have no idea about just how far reaching and insidious the Spooks we pay for can reach into our lives and fuck our shit up .
    Perhaps the Listener article was a double jeopardy attempt to show just how ‘ The State ‘ has taken over what was once a respectable magazine known for its journalistic integrity and turned into a trite rag down there with Women’s Weekly and other twinkle sparkle gibberish featuring bony Stepford Women showing more hair than a tom cats vomit .
    Don’t get me started on Radio NZ National .

    In case you missed it .
    Ian Wishart :

    • ‘I don’t personally put my name to my drivel because I fear what the state might do to me …?’

      Do you mask your IP?
      Bounce your data from eastern Europe to Asia via anon server?
      TOR? (even though designed by the US Navy)
      Are you at a internet cafe?
      do you use your home computer?

      If you think the ‘state’ cant work out who you are if they wanted to… you may need to have a little re-think.

      All your points here I agree with just not so sure that I (or you) are truly anonymous!

      That is why I find this whole debate on espionage so relevant right now as we are possibly living in that time of the ultimate dictators.

      Be strong – be yourself – Look em straight in the eye when you say “fuck you!”

      oh and great book – I recommend it too

    • I’m amazed that anyone pays for the Listener too. I get mine from a friend just for the crosswords. Since its a weekly it should be possible to pass it round several times before it loses its currency (or all the crosswords are completed). Recycle and revenge all in one go.

  3. Once Paul Little left, it was all downhill from there. Now they’ve pretty much joined Granny Herald as a glorified Tory PA system.

  4. the listener used to be essential reading..

    ..for a very long time..

    ..but that was a long time ago..

    ..i can now pass by it on the news-stand – with barely a twitch/sniff of interest….

  5. I’m canceling my subscription too…….it came free with the Herald (for about a 10 weeks deal), which is also getting cancelled. They’re BOTH comics written for the National party.
    I always thought it, and now after 2 weeks of ‘reading them’, I KNOW for sure it’s pure propaganda.

  6. From formerly being an independent voice, the Listener has now become a typical commercially-run magazine, with staff appointed by a board responsible to capitalist shareholders, and editorial policy slanted accordingly. The prevalence of this system constitutes a form of political censorship.

  7. The good old fashioned kiwi personality is being ripped out of all publications in New Zealand and is being replaced with commercial boringness ( is there such a word?).
    Sad, we seem to be progressing backwards in all things, so many promises of a great future…seriously if I had the opportunity I’d wind back the clock in an instant!

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