Why NZ dropped 8 places in the World Press Freedom Index


The World Press Freedom Index is out and after 9 years under National, NZ has dropped 8 places from 5 to 13. Here’s what the report had to say

Media freedom thrives in New Zealand but is not entirely exempt from political pressure. The media continue to demand changes to the Official Information Act, which obstructs the work of journalists by allowing government agencies a long period of time to respond to information requests and even makes journalists pay several hundred dollars for the information. In August 2016, the government revealed a grim future for whistleblowers, announcing a bill that would criminalize leaking government information to the media and would dramatically increase the surveillance powers of the intelligence services. Journalists, bloggers, and civil society representatives would be among the potential targets of the proposed law, which could be adopted in 2017.

…that’s right. Strangulation of official information requests, mass surveillance, police abuse of powers against journalists like Nicky Hager and bloggers like me on top of draconian legislation that will allow the Government to imprison any whistle blower who alerts the media to illegal mass surveillance by the state are legacy abuses of power by the National Party. The new Government must make the Official Information Act meaningful again, dump the whistle blower legislation and demand better protocols over the Police spying on journalists and bloggers.

The Human Rights Review Tribunal must be better funded so that there is a better counter weight to police power abuse, my case has still not been given a date for prosecution against the Police and it happened in 2014!


  1. The worse things get, the more important it is for governments to lie to the masses and repress the populace. .

    Has the Adern government got the guts to speak the truth and facilitate proper public debate? I doubt it. More likely we will be subjected to more of the same.

    • Frank,
      your assessment is, as usual, unfair.

      I am not a Troll and I suspect in my personal dealings with people I am at least as socialist as you.
      The figures I gave are correct and it rankles me that the Key government fell off the perch ( for the reasons given) and plummeted us from 5 to 13 – behind Costa Rica, Jamaica and Eastonia.

      The fact that the Clark government had a lower ranking one year is both fact and history as it’s not relevant going forward.

      My hope is that the current regime will roll back that legislation and return us to where we should be at 5 or better.

  2. Heer Joyce has had a strategic hold over the Media along with Crosby Textor, and their physcophantic choir boys/girls like Mike Hoskings, Adrian Burr, Corrin Damm, Fran O’Sullivan, Audrey Young and Paddy Gower.

    Hopefully Adern and Winston have got the balls to sort it out otherwise they will be already sharpening their knives for the next Election in 2020 ?

  3. Hardly surprising, considering NZ msm has for nine years worked its guts out to appease National giving it, (through spreading dirt and lies), three consecutive terms as government, despite the perverted behaviour of a former PM, along with his constant lying and cover-ups!

    There is nothing objective at all about NZ msm’s distorted delivery of information. Even now, the untruths and BS published and broadcast as headline news every day in this country gives reason to suspect msm is still working for National, assisting the Opposition in a nasty vindictive attempt to bring down the present Labour led coalition government!

    NZ media is definitely not acting in its capacity as the proxy of the people by reporting fact!

    Given this country’s msm’s gutter press history of the past 9/10 years and still going, I would have thought it might have slipped more than eight places!

  4. Not surprised. The decline in decent journalism has been very noticeable over the past decade and even back to the previous Labour Government.
    It is a worldwide trend. The internet does offer alternatives – but this is not the ideal solution.
    Let’s hope the new coalition government takes up some of Winstons ideas with regards to an ad free public channel for New Zealanders made by New Zealanders.

  5. Information about what the government does must be public information. The public need it so that they can make informed decisions about their governance.

  6. Yes , – come on Jacinda, come on Winston , … this is not Saudi Arabia , China , North Korea or the United States , – although John Philip Key tried his best to ape the United States, – and this IS NOT the way we do things around here.

    This is New Zealand.

    And the same govt led by John Philip Key that was voted out recently for its Victorian treatment of the working poor , the unemployed , its callous indifference to the tens of thousands of homeless while giving tax cuts to the extremely wealthy was the same govt that introduced legislation that was designed to stonewall attempts at calling that govt to account through the OIA.

    And that govts inner core members had a lot to hide – and still do.

    The people of this country have EVERY RIGHT to know what govt and its members are doing and that govt has NO RIGHT to hide it from them.

    John Philip Key has gone and so has his deceitful corrupt government.

    There is now no need for a new , fresh and honest government to try and mimic them.

    That is not what we voted you in for.

  7. Yes Frank,

    The previous National Government was so ‘repressive’ against free speech.

    They placed widespread ‘surveillllence’ over as all, worse than being under the “Iron Curtain”.

    I feel the weight off my shoulders now and am learning to relax again after 12 yrs of torture and silence of our voices under the last government.

    “Good riddance to bad rubbish”.

    • Cleangreen,

      I respect your feelings and agree with quite a few points you make but I do wonder sometimes if you are really seeing both sides.

      “worse than being under the iron curtain” Really?

      This post is about press freedom. We have plummeted from 5 to 13 but consider the the other side.
      Cuba, who welcomes tourists and received praise from this blog when Fidel died stands at 172 out of 180. Other totalitarian regimes post similar figures.
      Do you really think we are the same as them?

      Hate the previous government if you like, but see the positives of being so near the top in the press freedom stakes and ENCOURAGE, the current regime to take us to where we should be – up there with the Scandinavians.

      There is so much from the positives of the Clark and Key regimes that the current one can pick up and improve.
      Call me a “cock eyed optimist ” ( South Pacific) but my glass is half full.

      Lets not focus on the lower ( but still excellent) rankings of Clark and Key – but encoruge Lucinda to do better and take us to where we should be.

      • There was nothing good about John Key or his govt.

        It was the Key govt that this article is mainly about. That and their insidious effects on our democracy .

        We don’t like liars and manipulators around this part of the world and we certainly don’t like them in our government. And we don’t take too kindly to having foreign spies in our elected govts , either.

  8. I am surprised we rate that well at all with press freedom, given the years of strangulation of official information flows in New Zealand, and how Nicky Hager and a few journalists have been treated.

    And the watch dogs we have are at times barking a wee bit, but they have NO teeth, so it is in the end mostly meaningless what the Ombudsmen and other so called ‘watch dogs’ say and do:



    Sometimes it seems they are more concerned with protecting each other AND government agencies, than stand up for ordinary citizens filing fair and reasonable complaints.

  9. I do wonder if Paula Bennett or whomever the offending National MP was remembering(or had conveniently forgotten) when information was leaked to the NZ Media about Winston Peters’ pension overpayment? I am referring to this part “the government announcing a bill that would criminalize leaking government information to the media”. Or was it a matter of what applies to NZers do not apply to the government of the day especially as from 2008 through to 2017?

  10. MSM in NZ are the mouthpiece for the Neoliberal Agenda which the oligarchs are pursuing here in NZ. Key, English & Joyce are/were integral parts of the Network.

    Come on NZ wake up smell the flowers and open your eyes.

  11. I hope the findings of this index make it on to the cabinet agenda.

    It is serious enough to warrant action and send the message to those who may have doubted the serious decline in this most important area of our democracy and freedom of speech.

    Jacinda Adern and her colleagues have an opportunity to make NZ number one in world press freedom if they have the courage to do the right thing for the country.

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