The Daily Blog Open Mic – 23rd May 2022

Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.


Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

Moderation rules are more lenient for this section, but try and play nicely.

EDITORS NOTE: – By the way, here’s a list of shit that will get your comment dumped. Sexist language, homophobic language, racist language, anti-muslim hate, transphobic language, Chemtrails, 9/11 truthers, Qanon lunacy, climate deniers, anti-fluoride fanatics, anti-vaxxer lunatics, 5G conspiracy theories, the virus is a bioweapon, some weird bullshit about the UN taking over the world  and ANYONE that links to fucking infowar.


  1. Perhaps poor people who can’t get to real entertainment and have to watch tv etc or play endless games on their devices could be interested by joining make your own puppet groups and putting on shows and put the hat out for pocket money.

    (An experience from the past. I was working for a single parents grouip and we were offered some free tickets to a magic show. I got in touch with a mother whose child was the age to enjoy this. She said regretfully that she couldn’t accept them and give her child a treat because she had to stay by the phone in case some work was offered. She was on a casual list and the Department insisted that she put work before child raising and care. The viciousness of these judgmental narrow people who get employed by ‘welfare’ is a poison that spreads over so many in society and mitigates against us ever working our way towards a happy, contented, self-supporting people only needing welfare at particular points in their lives.

  2. Do you trust the New Zealand media? Should you?

    Every so often regular listeners to RNZ National or RNZ Concert will hear a message containing the words “If you think we’ve breached our formal standards, either on air or online, you can lodge a formal complaint ..”. That message may be irritating for its frequency but it is probably reassuring for most people to know (or believe) that there is a “watchdog” which will keep broadcasters and publishers on the “straight and narrow”. That is what RNZ would have us believe, but the reality is a little different.

    The “formal complaints” system is run by an organisation called the New Zealand Media Council, and it is not quite what it seems, or most listeners imagine it to be. The Council, and the system it operates, is far from being an independent watch dog.

    What is the New Zealand Media Council?

    The NZMC website is sparse on detail but the Wikipedia reveals that the NZMC is “a non-governmental organisation which exists to uphold standards in the New Zealand media industry and promote freedom of speech in New Zealand. Founded in 1972 as the New Zealand Press Council, it is enabled to hear complaints against newspapers and other publications, particularly regarding allegations of bias and inaccuracy. …The Council consists of an independent chair, five members representing the public, two representing the Newspaper Publishers’ Association, one representing magazine publishers, and two journalists who are appointed by the E tū union. The members of the public are appointed by an appointments panel composed of members of E tū union, the Newspaper Publishers’ Association, the chief ombudsman and the chair. The council is primarily funded by the News Publishers’ Association with smaller contributions from member fees and E tū union.” I quote Wikipedia not because it is correct in all respects (it is not, as we shall see later on) but because NZMC itself is reluctant to talk publicly about its appointment and adjudication processes. The reality is that the NZMC is the media’s body for self-regulation of the ethical standards of the industry and it is questionable whether the public are genuinely represented when the “public” members are appointed by publishers and the journalists’ union. The NZMC is “non-governmental” but it is not independent and state broadcast media as well as privately owned news media organisations are members of the Council.

    What is the ostensible purpose of the formal complaints system?

    Ostensibly to uphold the ethical standards (principles) of journalism, publishing and broadcasting in New Zealand. But publishers who have a will to behave ethically would not need an outside body comprised of themselves and competing publishers to hold themselves to an ethical standard. They would simply do that without the need for “outside” assistance or intervention. So the NZMC is about more than upholding the principles of ethical journalism.

    What other purpose does it serve?

    The real purpose of the formal complaints system is to maintain or build public trust in the news media. It does that principally by making its existence known to the public through routine broadcast and published messages (of the kind one periodically hears on RNZ), and by occasional broadcast or published rulings of complaints that it has upheld. The messages give the public to understand that there are systems in place to maintain the integrity of news and information systems. The published rulings of upheld complaints give the public confidence that ethical standards are being maintained.

    How does the NZMC complaints system operate in practice?

    The NZMC is a quasi-judicial body chaired by a retired High judge of the Court of Appeal, Justice Raynor Asher. It receives and judges complaints and uses judicial terms such as “Verdict” and “Ruling” in relation to its deliberations but its processes are not strictly judicial. (The judicial procedures detailed in the NZMC Wikipedia page are not followed in practice).

    What are the allowed grounds for a complaint?

    The principal criteria for a complaint are that a report or article was lacking in “fairness”, “balance” or “accuracy”. Fairness and balance are clearly subjective criteria, as is accuracy, strictly speaking. This means it can be difficult to prove and easy to reject a case.

    Can a member of the public complain that a report was false or untruthful?

    “Fairness” and “balance” are important, but I would suggest that the truth is more important. For both publishers and the public, the truth should come first. Although the words “untruthful” and “false”, which are objective criteria, do not explicitly figure in the allowable grounds for a complaint, in practice the NZMC will consider whether a report was untrue. However, in order to uphold a complaint the Council requires the complainant to prove that the report complained of was untrue, and does not require the publisher to offer evidence sufficient to reasonably conclude that the report was or could have been true. For example in Case 3233, McCoskrie v New Zealand Herald, the NZMC argued “The Media Council does not accept the complainant’s case. The story has not been shown to be inaccurate. There is nothing to indicate that Lal did not receive the note or that Lal’s word on this is in question. The fact that something cannot be corroborated does not prove it to be false or preclude it from being reported or put in a headline.” (Lal had claimed to have received a death threat and then destroyed the evidential note. The complainant had unsuccessfully argued that bearing in mind that Lal was not an impartial witness the Herald should have approached this situation with caution, rather than reporting Lal’s claims as unquestioned fact). The NZMC thus puts the onus on the listener or reader to “prove .. false” any uncorroborated claim made in the New Zealand media. This is the consistent position of NZMC in all its rulings. That sets a very low bar for the publisher, and in many cases an impossibly high bar for the complainant, so that whether the complaint is based on subjective or objective criteria, the chances of a complaint being upheld are minimal.

    What is the problem with requiring a complainant to prove that a report was false?

    Ironically, the New Zealand media works to exactly the same standard as a Q-Anon conspiracy theorist. An inherently improbable claim from an anonymous source claiming official connections will be deemed factual without benefit of any material evidence, identified witness, other corroboration or rational explication. This was how the notorious RNZ “faeces throwing” allegation made its way into the national and international media, bringing New Zealanders into global disrepute, and this travesty of reporting was subsequently endorsed by the New Zealand Media Council. News media should not be required to follow the strict evidential rules of a court of law, but they should not be allowed to state as fact claims for which they have no material evidence and no identified witness. In the McCoskrie complaint there was at least one named witness, even if that witness was not impartial and even though he claimed to have inconveniently destroyed the material evidence that might have backed up his claim, but in other cases the New Zealand media is content to hang a report on the alleged word of a single anonymous informant. That is simply not good enough.

    What kinds of complaint are made by members of the public?

    Members of the public frequently seem to be bothered by a perceived bias in the media despite the fact that “bias” is not a specific ground for a formal complaint. The New Zealand public, for whatever reason, seem to work on the presumption that the media should not be biased, when it clearly, steadfastly (and arguably justifiably) maintains its right to have a bias in favour of or against certain values (notwithstanding the Wikipedia statement), so long as it is also “fair” and “balanced” in its reporting. When a single article shows bias it is no big deal. When an entire publication shares the same bias we need to be alert, and when the national media as a whole exhibits that same bias we should be alarmed. It is extraordinarily difficult for any person or any institution with a strong bias to be “fair” and “balanced”. The mere fact that all the major state and private media institutions can come together to form the NZMC or what is worse, the Media Freedom Committee, is a sign that the common bias of the New Zealand media has allowed it to form relationships which are much too cosy for the comfort of the public. In New Zealand personalities and prejudices are shared between state and private media organisations and across the range of platforms. When the common bias becomes overwhelming (as with the vaccine mandates, the Ukraine war, or gender identity issues) the very concept of what constitutes “fairness” and “balance” fundamentally changes. That, unfortunately, is the current situation with the New Zealand media.
    Because the media almost invariably follows (or leads as the case may be) the general trend towards secular liberalism many complaints come from moral conservatives who believe that their own point of view is not fairly or adequately represented in the media. However the media does not feel itself beholden to represent anachronistic or highly unpopular points of view and this means that from the outset a large volume of complaints from moral conservatives are doomed to fail.
    Despite the fact that the system is stacked against a complainant, RNZ for one has shown itself ready to be duplicitous in an attempt to thwart complaints from proceeding. For example RNZ Complaints Coordinator Maggie Hedge wrote in response to one troublesome complaint “Unfortunately this complaint falls outside the 10 working days required by the Media Council terms and conditions to proceed.” while knowing full well that the time limit is one calendar month. RNZ uses subterfuge to avoid having to deal with the flood of complaints against its reporting standards, which further lowers the moral character of the organisation.

    How many complaints are upheld?

    Relatively few. These could be taken as evidence that all is well with the system, and that the majority of complainants are either misguided or out of touch with the public mood or it could indicate that the media itself is the one out of touch. Given the distrust of journalists and the media evidenced in social surveys, the latter could well be the case.
    Over the past decade it appears that only 120 odd complaints out of approximately one thousand have been upheld by the NZMC, and many of these are not unique complaints, that is to say, there may be multiple complaints about a single published item. It is also notable that many successful complaints are against articles written by non-professional journalists, and many of the successful complaints are from government bodies, companies, large organisations or eminent persons. None of that is surprising in itself. Professional journalists could be expected to proceed with more care and knowledge as could government bodies, eminent persons and such like on the other side. But given that so much of the material that comes before the council is subjectively assessed it remains open to conjecture that the council has an implicit bias in favour of colleagues in the media and the institutions which ultimately fund the media through advertising revenues or provide it with funding and access to information through government bodies.

    How does the NZMC process complaints?

    A large body of complaints (roughly 90%) are judged to have “No grounds to proceed” or “Insufficient grounds to proceed”. This category of complaints never make it to a hearing from members of council, being dealt with and eliminated from further consideration by the Executive Officer of the Council. One can see why this might be necessary. If 90% of complaints are baseless then the fourteen members of the Council would waste an equivalent proportion of their time on cases which should never have come before them. But it also means that all cases are in reality judged by the Executive Officer who is sitting in judgement upon those institutions which pay her salary. The quasi-judicial apparatus of the NZMC, the former Court of Appeal judge the eminent journalists and business consultants who make up its membership are largely there for show. Yet the NZMC is less than frank about this aspect of its operation. For example the Executive Officer wrote that she was in the process of “formating the decision of council” on a complaint when in reality it was a decision that she was writing herself. Dishonest? Perhaps not. Misleading? Definitely.

    Is the system transparent?

    It is not. The NZMC website has nothing to say about its adjudication processes or the way in which its members are appointed. Wikipedia does, but the information on Wikipedia is not correct. The Council does not respond to enquiries from the public regarding the processes it follows. The latest annual report available on the NZMC website is from 2017. Anyone outside of NZMC wanting a statistical overview of NZMC decisions will have to compile it themselves by making an analysis of past rulings.

    Is the system achieving the purpose of instilling trust in the public?

    Public trust in the media is so low as to be a cause of concern to media organisations in general so we cannot say that the formal complaints system has achieved its ultimate purpose of creating broad public trust in the media. The number of formal complaints being laid by members of the public is high and increasing. This indicates a degree of public awareness of and confidence in the formal complaints system, but at the same time it indicates a level of public dissatisfaction with the performance of the media.

    Is the system achieving the purpose of maintaining ethical standards in the media?

    No. The failure of the system to call out unethical reporting has encouraged a cyncial attitude towards the truth among journalists, publishers and broadcasters. Standards are not being raised or even maintained. They are rapidly deteriorating.

    Can anything be done to remedy the situation?

    If even one percent of the $50m which the government put in to support a corrupt industry had been spent on setting up a genuine, independent and transparent complaints authority working to objective standards and judicial procedures then some good might have come of it. I say “might” because now that corruption of the truth is endemic and ingrained in the New Zealand media it will take a massive effort to turn the ship around. But however we do it, we need to do it. We need to have a means of distributing information to and amongst the public that is reliable and trustworthy. The NZMC says “In dealing with complaints, the Council will give primary consideration to freedom of expression…” That is the nub of the problem. Freedom of expression for publishers and journalists should be a given, but a responsible media would put the truth first. A free media which does not tell the truth is of no earthly use to the New Zealand public.

    • I am surprised that the National Council of Women in NZ is not looked to for part of the members of public for the Council… The organisation is formed of responsible citizens and has existed since 1896 with very serious and responsible intelligent women leaders. Why not one of this worthy group?

  3. Is this misleading the public? What would be thought to be a trade name is not. People short of bread should not apply to these people who are not interested in their problems.

    “The effects of bracket creep are becoming more obvious as more Kiwis receive pay rises,” Baker Tilly Staples Rodway tax director Mike Rudd said.

    Bread problems? Too much loafing around is likely to be the diagnosis from Robertson Adern Davis Parker Clark Mallard Sepuloni Faafoi and find al who would add more.

    Of interest about Labour are:
    Undated – Our Priorities:
    Undated – Party Information:
    Blurb: Labour wants to make New Zealand a better place to live in by providing opportunities for all, jobs, strong public services, quality education, and affordable healthcare
    We believe this can be achieved by keeping assets in Kiwi hands, taking care of our environment, and ensuring we get our economy back in the black without compromising the wellbeing of hardworking Kiwis.
    Hardworking means 14 hour days apparently, anything less and you’re loafing! …strong public services means,
    I think, strong-armed.)
    (On a site with date May, 19 2022 News and Achievements)

    Interesting note about google’s order of presentation.
    I ask for info on Clark Minister Labour Party as in keywords:
    nz Labour party minister Clark – last month
    I get this order – first not about Minister Clark.
    Instead at top from Facebook – Angie Warren-Clark List MP (4 day old info)
    but 5th and 8th down the page I get at last the info that I requested (and 8th is also 4 day old info it says)
    * 5th – Ultra-Fast Broadband extends up West Coast |
    1/05/2022 — … now available in Haast, one of New Zealand’s most remote West Coast towns, Minister for
    the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark
    * 8th – 4 days ago — Hon Dr DAVID CLARK (Minister of Statistics…)
    (Why wasn’t that at top before facebook Warren-Clark? Seems that the information delivery from these giant repositories is becoming very fuzzy and shaped by others’ decisions as to priority.)

    Today, payphones are one of the most puzzling paradoxes of our time. Thousands of them exist around New Zealand but whether anyone actually uses them is a question that seems to pervade my mind just now.

    With almost everyone, from primary age schoolchildren to tech-savvy pensioners, having a phone in their pocket, the demand isn’t exactly what could be described as taxing. So, why are they still dotted around our high streets and residential areas?
    This is first part of a short on-going commentary I am thinking on Martyn, the tely short, about the withdrawal of cheap public aids in communication and our enslavement of our minds, and lives really, by our wonderful technology! It makes me wonder for sure.

    • After deep thought I have dedcded they should stay as we live in a comic situation, and hopefully Superman will turn up after having changed from Clark Kent in one of the phoneboxes. I live in hope, that’s near Nelson hah – but I lie.

  5. Oh come on – do Maori and racist-oriented people get up every day determined to find something else wrong to complain about? (I have read about the wide net of the UK hate legislation and I would be afraid to look or speak to anyone there without rehearsuing it silently first. Could someone object to it and I be charged!)
    Enough already!
    …It has attracted complaints for mispronouncing kupu Māori and celebrating colonisation.
    Anahera Clarkson (Kāi Tahu, Ngā Ruahinerangi) said she found the ride distasteful and embarrassing when she rode it in 2020.
    “It was quite a shock to me, and even though it was so long ago it feels like it was yesterday, like it’s still there and it’s still hurtful,” she said…

    The Emma Maersk, above, especially commissioned by Walmart to transport its goods from China to the US, carries 15000 containers and, travelling at 31 knots, it can cross the Atlantic in five days, half the time taken by other such ships. But on every return journey its containers are empty, and that’s the reason we’re being seduced to war.
    That this huge ship, and two even bigger just built, should sail one way full and the other way empty is an entirely predictable consequence of the flaw inherent in Western Capitalism, the particular form of Capitalism which governs our lives!…

    Malcolm Evans being thoughtful again. Me being thoughtful – I am interested in the speed of this ship for freight. Are we able to access a fast service like this?

    Has anyone ever attempted a nationwide count of thoughtful people in NZ? It would be more useful than running from North Cape to the Bluff or swimming the Strait, or even climbing Everest. Perhaps we could raise some money for some worthy cause by giving something to someone to research vital info not in the mainstream flow, or not that which has to be washed in a stream before sighting.

  7. “When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are being ruled by criminals.”
    – Edward Snowden


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