New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media

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I’M NOT SURE, after today, if we’re going to come through this global pandemic in one piece. I just don’t think this government contains enough decisive individuals to guarantee that what emerges on the other side of this crisis will still be recognisably “us”. Where, for example, was the outrage; the cold fury; the swift and ruthless response to the reckless cultural vandalism of the German media conglomerate, Bauer’s, decision to destroy the New Zealand magazine industry?

This government has voted itself almost unlimited emergency powers to protect the people of New Zealand from the worst effects of the Covid-19 virus. That mandate must go beyond simply looking after their physical well-being. If it is to mean anything at all, it must extend to emotional and cultural well-being also. If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating the virus, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders’ simply because it improves their bottom line.

Where were the Prime Minister, the Minister of Heritage and Culture, the Finance Minister, and the Attorney-General when we needed them? Where was the cease and desist instruction to Bauer? Where was the threat of instant nationalisation if it failed to heed the Government’s clear directive? Where was the reassurance to all of Bauer’s New Zealand employees that this nation’s most venerable and beloved periodicals would not be permitted to simply blip-off the nation’s radar screen like so many downed airliners?

The answer, of course, is that none of these responses were in evidence. It impresses me not one whit that Kris Faafoi released a media statement clearly signalling his displeasure at Bauer’s decision. It might have made him feel better, but it did nothing to preserve The Listener, North & South, Metro, and the NZ Woman’s Weekly – or the jobs of the journalists, artists, designers and administrators involved in their publication.

New Zealanders are now entitled to know why the need for a functioning national airline (however shrunken) was accepted by this government, but the need for a functioning media industry (without which no democracy can long survive) was not. If close to a billion dollars could be diverted more-or-less instantly to the preservation of Air New Zealand, then why wasn’t $100 million made available to purchase – at the very least – the mastheads and the archives of Bauer’s New Zealand operation?

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The preservation of these iconic magazines’ archives is especially vital. The NZ Woman’s Weekly’s first issue came out in 1932, the New Zealand Listener’s in 1939. The files and back issues of these two, and all the other magazines in Bauer’s possession, contain a priceless and irreplaceable record of this country’s cultural, social and political history. To let a boardroom of foreigners living on the other side of the planet consign these taonga to the skip would be a crime.

A truly New Zealand Government would have grasped these issues immediately and moved decisively to stop Bauer in its tracks. But then, a truly New Zealand Government would never have acquiesced in the almost complete deregulation of their country’s news media in the first place. It may have been a National Party cabinet minister, Maurice Williamson, who oversaw this process in the early 1990s, but in the nine years that the Labour Party was in control of the country’s fortunes not the slightest effort was made to re-regulate the media industry.

Had they done so, New Zealand would never have ended up in the situation where a roomful of German businesspersons could, in one fell stroke, eliminate a swathe of its most iconic publications. Nor would it be in a position where the fate of its second television network rested in the talons of a bunch of vulture capitalists. Or, where the future of all its daily newspapers south of Auckland and north of Dunedin depended on the whim of a cabal of Aussie media moguls who really couldn’t give a rat’s arse whether the Kiwis’ daily press lives or dies.

What sort of country behaves like this? The answer, sadly, is the sort of country which agrees to lend its national carrier $900 million, but then lumbers it with an interest rate roughly twice as high as the current bank rate. Yes, that’s right, Air New Zealand is being charged 9 percent on its majority shareholder’s loan. Why? Because, that way, it will be incentivised to follow only the most cold-blooded and ruthless path to recovery. If the private shareholders in Air New Zealand wish to avoid a complete government takeover of the airline they will demand nothing less.

Nothing could illustrate with more clarity the neoliberal strangle-hold Treasury still has over government decision-making. Even when the market fails; even facing the fallout of a global pandemic; the Treasury boffins are there to ensure that the logic of neoliberalism marches on regardless. Like the American commander in Vietnam, they will not flinch from the necessity of destroying the village in order to save it. Any New Zealand Finance Minister looking to Treasury for support as his cultural heritage goes up in flames – will look in vain.

Over the next few weeks more bad news is almost certain to emerge from New Zealand’s collapsing media organisations. What’s needed is a comprehensive rescue plan: something along the lines of a government takeover of the entire industry pending a more considered re-organisation when the pandemic has passed. Is there no one in the Labour-NZ First-Green Government with the vision and courage to step in and save the single most important guarantee of our democratic political system?

I know there are tens-of-thousands of New Zealand workers who also need help from their government. I know that many of them will forcefully object that there are more important things to save that a handful of magazines with weak balance-sheets and dwindling readerships. My answer to them is simple: “You’re right! And I will be just as loud in my criticism of this government if it fails to protect your jobs. But, I also know how fragile a nation’s culture becomes in moments of crisis. That’s why I am so vehement in my objections to the seeming unwillingness of Jacinda and her colleagues to save New Zealand’s daily newspapers and its very best periodicals.

Our country is on fire. The first priority is to get its people safely away from the flames. The next most important move, however, is to save as much of the people’s house and its contents as possible. To just stand there and watch it burn to the ground, especially when the hoses and water necessary to save it are at hand, would be an unforgiveable dereliction of political duty.

 

52 COMMENTS

  1. Slow it down. This announcement took place earlier today and clearly took the government off guard.

    This government is feeling its way in very uncharted territory and to suggest we go full communist and nationalise a media company forthwith is fantasy. Just like that, nationalise this that and the other, boom, years of neo lib and next minute Fidel Castro all in one day? Come on.

    And what about every other that falls by the wayside? Why on earth would the taxpayer want Mediaworks so loyal to its ex owner and the Nats after that bail out which is on very thin ice? Why not the Herald? Why not Penthouse?

    You do not have to look back too many years to watch the gauling complicity of our corporate media in respect of their unquestioning lovefest with John Key to be put off them for a lifetime. His cheer leaders remain prominent today.

    I do not disagree that a temporary way forward is explored to save quality journalism, perhaps like these brands from going bust. But in respect of Bauer media maybe the lesson learnt is banning foreign investors from gobbling them all up and ever going near them in the first place!

    • Well said.
      I made a similar comment 10 days ago about bomber going off the rails. He has changed his tune I do not claim responsibility but thank god he has.
      Now is the time for cool heads not personal vested interests railing.
      There are opportunities galore for the left.
      Make the most of them.

    • Good comment, I felt like being a bit more unkind in my suggestions but you have managed to call out Chris for his wayward suggestion with dignity.

    • There’s enough money to bail out every single person in New Zealand, worker, single moms, who ever. There is enough money if society deem it necessary. How and when the government steps in determines the bail out package.

      So Bauer owns or did own some kiwi magazines so if we bailed them out then the lions share of the bail out will likely go offshore.

      But if the workers, Yknow the cleaner, the journo, the editor, the whole lot gets one vote and they voted for the government to step in with a rescue package, then from that point on who ever invests in those companies would be restricted to minority shareholder until each worker votes to give up their veto powers.

      • Agree Sam, the government should support the NZ workers not the overseas workers and shareholders. It is up to overseas governments to prop up their own and NZ governments to prop up their own.

        NZ increasingly props up overseas individuals and governments at the expense of our own people and every statistic, from 2nd biggest exports in NZ is now profits to overseas shareholders, to how a massive amount of the working poor need food parcels prior to Covid-19.

        The fact they are now housing the homeless in hotels shows that we had the housing for the homeless all along. It was just foreign tourists and workers were taking up the accomodation because they are more important to neoliberalism than the current folks having a place to stay. (And I bet the hotel chains are profiting handsomely from it too, from the government).

        We have the houses and accomodation for all that live in NZ, it is just that when you have 4 million tourists and 300,000 new residents coming to reside in NZ each year to prop up bad degrees and sunset business, then you have a massive problem with demand for everything. Covid-19 shows how precarious a strategy that is.

      • An excellent opportunity for Govt to support the setting up of a workers take over of some of the production of weekly magazines to fill a need.
        Perhaps they would have more local and educational content instead of fashion and socialite gossip.

    • Agree, Bauer were somehow partisan and capitalist until they stopped making money and then transformed into socialist needing cuddles? No, they just buggered off. Thank goodness we didn’t sign up to CPTPP because then there would be all manner of foreign owners treating NZ and it’s people as a balance sheet. Wait, whaaat?

      • johnkey and blinlish wouldn’t give a stuff as their pockets would be full after a CPTPP implementation.

    • xray
      “foreign investors from gobbling them all up ” Yes we seem to have no protection from offshore capital taking over. We just let them.

      “communism” “Fidel Castro” – Where did that come from – . Shades of McCarthy – I hope not.

      Socialism has a string and important thread in NZ and being scared of it is very much an imported mindset.

  2. Well said Chris. At the very least ‘The Listener’ should be saved. Maybe it could be re-nationalised by the new broadcasting entity as it was once part of the NZBC before it was hocked off to private enterprise. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage should be doing its job instead of aiding and abetting the hijacking of RNZ Concert.

  3. Well said Chris. At the very least ‘The Listener’ should be saved under new management. Maybe it could be re-nationalised by the new broadcasting entity as it was once part of the NZBC before it was hocked off to private enterprise. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage should be doing its job instead of aiding and abetting the hijacking of RNZ Concert.

  4. Well said Chris. At the very least ‘The Listener’ should be saved under new management. Maybe it could be re-nationalised by the new broadcasting entity as it was once part of the NZBC before it was hocked off to private enterprise. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage should be doing its job instead of aiding and abetting the hijacking of RNZ Concert.

    • Gerald, on this website just press ‘post comment’ once. and ignore what you see afterwards. Otherwise you will post it multiple times.
      To my mind the sad thing is that all our magazines were so corrupted by the neo-liberal creeps even before this happened. The Listener became right-wing biased about the time Pamela Stirling was granted top job.
      Every crisis results in crashing values, cheep buy-outs by the rich of what is worth anything, and then once again the poor are exhorted to be enterprising, build small businesses, etc, until next crisis when values crash again, and the rich scoop the pool again… Ongoing process.
      For all our good, I hope that a real politically unbiased Listener will re-emerge. But then it will get put on the market, bought out by right-wingers, and the same degradation will reoccur.
      Sorry if I sound pessimistic …

      • I thought it was Joanne Black with her ties to Key and English but I think you are right about Stirling. I too was distressed at its direction but I’m sure it can be salvaged. Chris Trotter would make a good editor!

  5. I cant believe that anyone in a democracy would openly want privately owned media to be nationalised. That’s just one short step from dictatorship. It is sad that this situation has arisen but nationalism is not a solution. Presumably these titles are up for sale as separate entities and can be bought at a low price, so the solution lies there. How much will Kiwis pay to keep the Listener? In the answer is “Not much,” that ends the argument

    • bonash – “nationalisation” can be interpreted many ways. It would be highly desirable that a mag like the Listener be owned and run by NZ folk no matter how that is achieved. The Govt may be involved in making this happen.
      Dictatorship is many long steps away and is practiced by the finance industry and foreign banks in NZ. They dictate to our Govt.

    • The Listener was set up by the government and owned by the government through the NZBC. There is no reason why they can’t own it again. You are too tied to neo-liberalism bonash.

  6. I’d go with one of Bauers ex employees Kerry McIvor whom stated today that she was disgusted that Bauer used the Corid-19 virus as the excuse to fold the N.Z. branch. Kerry stated they always wanted this as it was a diminishing market, that of written media.’ Whereas the very right wing Bill Ralston blamed the Government with his point of view. Given Bauer refused the Governments help, I’d suggest Bauer had no intention of keeping the N.Z. arm alive.

    • Apparently Bauer offered the NZ government these publications for one dollar. It should buy them. Editorial independence can be built into legislation. Or it could hand them over to workers-the journalists etc, for them to own and run as workers cooperatives.

  7. Letter to the NZ Heralc posted today April 2 2020
    Luckily there is safe water in abundance. But to be really safe we must stop the brash time-consuming supermarket food model right now.. Animals and humans survived and survive extremely well on foods that never saw a factory, example: farm animals eat grass, not sugared refined grass, Japan makes rice its mainstay, and so on. In this perilous emergency our masters are too hidebound and blinkered by convention and lured by profits and food taxes. We urgently need to set up outside tables in the fresh cleaner open air, with awnings to keep off the rain to supplant the present thoughtless fiasco of food buying which cannot stop the virus overcoming us. There is presently far too much touching by bared customer hands .Then supply bags of healthy satisfying brown rice, say, distributed speedily by well gloved properly masked staff (N95 standard masks with air vents only to be used since these save the eyes. The others do not.) This is a much safer food delivery model, that also ensures healthier bodies to fight and beat the virus. Learn from centuries old Japan not brash America.
    Brian John Evans Mt Eden Auckland
    April 2 2020
    But will they print it or not Chris? Aye there’s the rub. Always Bottom Line with Media which got us of course to this impending doom.

  8. I do not believe they are worth saving using our very rare Govt. resources. Burn,Burn and then some.
    Most are trash that are not worth propping up

    • Fashion glossies, celebrity gossip and who who in the ultra wealthy meat market: are all crap we can do without.

      • John W. Yep. The Listener deteriorated so much that I’d stopped buying it. My first thought about the women’s mags vanishing was poor Simon Bridges – I gather that he gathers his fan base by showing off his family pix for dear old ducks’ clucks.

        Query. Can we sustain a “celebrity” culture without the glossies? Probably not. Good.

        The whole sleb thing is vacuous and pointless, but worse, it imparts to its followers a sense of values totally at variance with those which we need for a well-functioning,
        reasonably cohesive, and healthy community.

        I used to buy one glossy featuring a relative, to post to another one overseas, and the articles were invariably pointless crap about people taking themselves seriously for being little more than well-dressed and striking dumb poses.

        “Delphinium has finally broken her silence about what she thinks of Jester’s latest antics, saying that she has no opinion to offer concerning Jester’s behaviour.”

    • Given the grand scale of things, Clark was stupid. Anymore stupid than Brownlee bulldozing his way through Chrisrchurch airport, an infringement with a penalty of $5000?
      Clark was dumb Brownlee was arrogant.

  9. I have not heard anyone question (except myself through the RPRC and CPAG) the on going contributions to the NZ Super fund– a cool $2 billion a year. There is plenty of money to bail out, the Listener at very least as it is a precious national icon. Storing up treasure to help us somewhat in 30 years time seems out of kilter with the reality of todays problems

    • @Susan St John Listener is full of wokie propaganda, now. They went under because less and less will pay for that dribble. So if they ‘save it’, in a few years they will need to ‘save it’ again and again…. Rio Tinto and Media Works shows that once you prop up a business they just get used to it…. and expect it.

      Personally I pay taxes to go to people that need it for hospitals etc, not Bauer media and Rio Tinto.

      They are better to fund a collective approach or UBI for creatives aka like I suggest below. That will put the money and power to the people not the overseas organisation that clearly has not the interest anymore in saving the publication.

    • SStJ.
      Neglecting future needs by spending now to bail out a mag would be short sighted indeed.
      Listener versus the pension is not what we should ever look at.

  10. Cry me a river .. the likes of Metro Magazine and Woman’s Weekly are hardly cultural touchstones – anyone believing they link generations together needs to wake up. NZ isn’t the NZ of 10 years ago, or even 5.

    If anything these magazines are a post Level-4, covid-19 biohazard found at your local fish-n-chipper. A relic people flick through in vein, trying to find something worth reading.

    But that too has past – we have data packages now! They deserve to go out of business. Go subsidies the cassette tape industry. As for those out of a job .. band together and start your own thing .. but I doubt they have any original thoughts.

    Harsh I know.

    • correct who gives an actual fuck about womans day,weekly etc full of self-promoters promoting their bull shit lifestyles and look at me crap, anyone that actually indulges in that kind of media you know are twot heads literally. Good bye. Fuck em let them burn.

        • Well, Rosielee, she could stand in a window to give everyone walking past the best laugh that they’ve had for weeks. Wearing her bear skin of course, instead of her usual spotted acrylic made-in-China hearth rug. Smile and wave at little kiddies.

          On second thoughts – maybe she should pull the blinds down first. For the sake of those little kiddies.

          Third thoughts – maybe go to Amsterdam, and dance double Dutch in a window there.

          Fourth thoughts – Can Paula do double Dutch ?

          Fifth thoughts – Is this fair on the Netherlands ?

          Sixth thoughts – Paula could buy a bicycle, and bike all over Auckland just like all those lovely leggy young girls do in Amsterdam. Wearing shorts.

          Problem solved.

    • Zack ‘If anything these magazines are a post Level-4, covid-19 biohazard found at your local fish-n-chipper.”

      Don’t be rude. My local fish’n’chipper has wonderful out of date ‘National Geographics’ which they very kindly sometimes let me borrow. They trust me. I think that I must have a very honest aura – Filipinos can see auras, and, with due respect, I’m not sure if you could- considering.

      My dentist has the ‘Guardian Weekly’, but between you and me, he could be showing off a bit, or compensating for keeping charging me for new keys for his boat-house which his wife loses inbetween painting delicate scenic water colours and ringing him at work to tell him.

      For some reason, my doctor also goes nautical with mags about sea sort of stuff – whatever people do in and around the sea besides fishing and evilly polluting.

      So Bauer’s gap has been filled, and she will have to really pull her socks up if she wants to return and have another go at further dumbing down New Zealand.

  11. I loved the Listener all of my adult life, but cancelled my subscription 2 elections ago given the editorial love affair with jonkey. NZ icon to scrap heap under one editor, what a Stirling job.

    • +1 Keith Simes – exactly – their kind face version of big business friendly neoliberalism is like vomit to many, as is the lack of depth in articles, and their readership is declining because of it. It’s sad, because they were a good mag, at one time.

  12. To look at it in a wider context.
    Perhaps I am being over optimistic but could this be the start of some kind of media revolution?
    So many of us on this blog complain about the quality of the MSM – its general political right-wing bias and its determination to provide us with chaff rather than wheat.
    But it might be a case of reality catching up with technology. Printed matter – particularly glossy magazines is an incredibly expensive and wasteful way of entertaining or informing.
    Perhaps these kind of productions might be limited to the internet in future.
    Myself I won’t be shedding a tear for the end of publications like Woman’s Day and the Listener because I regard the former as soft pornography for women; and the latter as a sad example of how a publication that once revelled in challenging our opinions descended into merely a National Party newsletter.

  13. Media were collapsing long before Coronavirus, because for 20 years most big media have served as

    propaganda for business,
    paid for content and advertorials,
    trivial content that is cheaply created and can generate large volumes of traffic with headlines like “man survived by eating his own arm’, “Queen angry at Harry’

    removing the most experienced and investigative journalists from the sector and putting them on zero hour type contracts/self employment so that they can lower wages for the majority of those is media (not the executives of course, like Mark Weldon who had zero experience in media before taking over and making many professionals in media redundant MediaWorks https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/303042/mark-weldon's-mediaworks-legacy).

    This has sought to control journalists and content to produce the ‘right’ ‘commercial’ news and neoliberal propaganda. However consumers have rejected the new fake media, and are increasingly tuning out of the ‘commercial’ offerings from big media.

    I used to listen to news on TV, now I don’t. Increasingly most people are agreeing.

  14. As for the crowing about radio success with many media organisations, the majority of people in NZ listening to radio tune into The National Program, which is so threatening to media that they remove the The National Program from the listenership ratings to pretend everyone else get more viewers.

    As for modern content for TV news and newspapers I remember about 20 years ago when the Thatcher/Rogernomics changes started in media, a journo, writing about what sort of quality news you get when your budge it $17 per news article.

    ….20 years later that $17 per news article for modern media is not content that a huge amount of people are prepared to keep consuming, or if they do, not take it seriously as news. Having big budgets only for content that is created entirely around advertisers is decreasing viewers as well.

    Big Business approach and lack of integrity in the mainstream media, is the killer of the sector.

    Long before changes to technology (that media never used properly with poor technology understanding and a price gouging, arrogant approach to customers (Sky TV vs Netflicks). Even now those in media think they have good technology and good content. The reality of viewers leaving them in droves seems to not compute.

    Poor technology removes consumers. Aka Apple music which was cheap and easy for consumers and is a commercial success and rescued the music industry from piracy, vs the ‘Warner Bros’ approach which was to decrease the quality of DVD’s and put in country origin region codes to try and fight piracy. Well I for one, got sick of buying a DVD only to find out that the country of code did not work in NZ or that the anti copy protection mean’t your legally bought DVD did not play properly. Well after 3 return trips to get my money back I did not buy DVD’s again.

    I also used to have SKY TV but after 1 year of subscription which went up every 6 months in their price gouging arrogant strategy, they then would recycle the same content each year! Again left the way for Netflicks to come and take over when they failed to move with the times on technology and pricing and new content.

    Consumer is king, and business that try to manipulate consumers with poor technology and content, find their offerings are rejected.

  15. If the government is going to do anything they should be funding good journalists themselves, and a central place for them to contribute to local news.

    This would not cost a lot and the collective should be paid a living UBI wage.

    The Netherlands pays artists a living wage for example, and this sort of approach is where government money should be spent on allowing creative individuals a voice, not on propping up the shareholders of the old guard that increasingly people do not want to read/listen to.

    Imagine if media/visual/musician/ artists in NZ do not have to go on benefits but just have to prove they are a professional artist to get paid a wage for their creative craft.

    This would be a great approach by government than propping up shareholders of Rio Tinto and Fletchers and MediaWorks and Air NZ that have been on the taxpayers teat for far too long and getting worse! Let shareholders fall on their swords with their bad decisions, and NZ taxpayers support the actual employees themselves that live in NZ not the shareholders profits that fly out of NZ!!!

    Investing in creative people creates a healthy society and also contributes a massive amount to the economy. Sadly creative arts have been squeezed out of NZ and that also why our productivity is so low and why we have so many sunset polluting industries flocking here and expanding.

    Some of the best individuals in NZ in their field of media are

    Nicky Hager for investigative journalism
    Rod Oram for business news
    Chris Trotter for political opinions
    Brian Bruce for documentaries

    (All these people have an integrity and have been around for a long time. There are probably many other quality media journalists in NZ , but having been repelled by modern media I am not up with the new journalists coming up. )

    Best new mainstream media in NZ is
    Newsroom

    And in my view the best alternate blog is
    The daily blog.
    Aka the daily blog, with (highly) limited resources has managed in many ways what big media didn’t, aka investigative journalism, a range of journalists, and a following of people who interact with that news/opinion which is less censored than many other sites.

    Remember how The Herald tried to have interactions with public comments. They couldn’t sustain it, as their propaganda views were exposed by the comments of people who did not agree with their content and they had to censor everything. They quickly closed public comments down which is a joke in modern media.

    Plus The Herald have a ‘top down’ view so why bother to allow the public a voice! sarcasm. Media like The Herald will not be around that long the way they are going. No wonder they give out free subscriptions now. They failed to move with the times, and it is their own fault their readership will not pay to view them and they give away free papers to pretend they still have a view ship.

    Pundit is worth a look, at least has opinions and is independent.

    Chris Trotter has a decent insight on many political issues in NZ . The reason being is that he has an understanding of both NZ and world history and an insight into his own identity and motivations which makes his work authentic.

    What I despise about the woke journalism, is that they are often highly privileged middle class individuals who are in fairyland about their own identity (so identity becomes a colossal issue for them) who have never had a day of real poverty or serious issue in their lives. They then get readership and an income by their opinions on the poor and vunerable, advocating (with other middle class individuals, organisations and businesses sucking off the poor) the kind face neoliberalism while killing quality of life for the poor/vunerable in NZ faster than Covid-19. Housing is an excellent example.

    In addition, the woke in spite of pretending to believe in freedom of speech are some of the worst people at shutting down alternate views (generally on personal identity attacks not facts).

    Right wingers at least own their own opinions, so there is something more disturbing about the woke, sucking and making a living off the poor’s teat while pretending to help and represent them.

    Sadly previously decent media in NZ has lost it’s way and gone into some sort of twilight zone, of woke propaganda. Aka RNZ, The Listener.

    Does not surprise me The Listener went under, as we used to buy it, but stopped when their woke views and less investigative journalism started.

    Other new sites with issues are The spinoff. (However at least they are being honest about their paid content) and doing something, even though their mostly woke journalists vomit business friendly propaganda to the detriment of society.

  16. Let those who say the ‘market will decide’ fight the battle. Let the market decide. Let the people whose mantra that is get in to make a quid.

    It won’t make a quid? But it’s important for other other values? Hell, next thing we’ll be hearing about ‘social capital.’ I thought things like that along with ’emotional’ capital and ‘intellectual’ capital had been flushed down the dunny. The only capital to consider is the one in black ink at the bottom of the $$$ column. That has been drummed into us for years.

    The world had changed and we apparently won’t sit on that same dunny reading the Women’s Weekly we’ll just have look at the TV on the door facing us.

    • Brilliant Peter!

      Yes let those on the right follow their own advice, leave it to the market to keep the magz alive.

  17. ” the Listener at very least as it is a precious national icon ”

    The Listener WAS a national icon until it deviated away from being an unbiased credible read with some very good stories and journalism into another ” look John Key can walk on water he is the new messiah ” approach that is still shared by most of the MSM.

    I am not in the least bit upset with their hopeful demise as they have found out what the downside of Neoliberalism is that they all so enthusiastically supported with their rose tinted glasses on.

    A real reality test that many victims of this market economy can attest too.

    Different when the shoe is on the other foot.

    Ralston blaming the government is a bit rich considering Bauer WAS in trouble before the lockdown.

    I wager his criticism would have been muted had the National -Act government had still been in place.

    I hope there is a media revolution that takes away the opportunity for a trusted publication like the Listener too be taken over and used as another right wing corporate broadcasting tool like just about every other form of media in New Zealand.

    But that change can only come if encouraged by the government and they don’t seem as the Clark government before them even remotely interested in credible independent public broadcasting and print media that does not have a political agenda , just truthful factual reporting.

    ‘ Let the market decide ” is no longer acceptable.

  18. For fucks sake Chris at least led the market speak and allow bankrupt organisations to go down the drain. #nobailouts
    We need new media where the people speak without a paywall. #freespeech
    Lets’ see what comes out of this crisis. #revolutionnow
    We have two possibilities. #socialscience
    Either, the collapsing Western regimes will eliminate all democracy and create corporate/fascist regimes to compete with China burning and drowning the world. #extinction
    Or, the working people will rise up and unite across borders to throw out their parasitic ruling classes, create a true socialist democracy and sustainable economy. #liberation
    So the media will reflect this. #mediaisthemedium
    Do we want a corporate/fascist/warmongering media #burnthebooks
    Or a democratic, critical, science-based media #thetruthwillfreeus
    Just look at the media response to the Covid-19 and draw your conclusions about what should come and what should go.

  19. So much misunderstanding, so little time.

    Here are the facts.

    Bauer Media, accepting that their business model was beyond repair, seized upon the Government’s extraordinary decision to ban magazine production and distribution to pull the plug on their NZ operation.

    They informed the Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, of their intention to wind up their NZ involvement by letter. The company explained that the Government’s assistance package might, at best, delay their operation’s collapse, but could not prevent it. Accordingly, they declined to take it up.

    In the same letter, however – and this is the kicker! – Bauer offered their whole NZ operation to the Government for $1.00. They never heard back from the Minister.

    Just think about that for a moment. The New Zealand Government could have taken possession of The Listener, Metro, N&S, NZ Woman’s Weekly – the whole kit and kaboodle – for $1.00. At the very least that would have meant those iconic mastheads and historically invaluable archives would have been protected. More generally, and with an eye to the future, the NZ people would have acquired, effectively free of charge, a very solid foundation for a publicly-owned print media operation to place alongside their public radio and television assets. With it becoming clearer every day that the private, profit-driven news media is unlikely to survive this crisis, that would have been a very good thing!

    If we value a vibrant, functioning democracy, we must have a vibrant, functioning news media. What I have found most disappointing in the above commentary thread so far is the almost total lack of anything approaching a bold or imaginative response to the crisis gripping NZ journalism and media.

    Schadenfreude we have here in abundance; a sense of democratic socialist possibilities – not so much.

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