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MEDIA WATCH: Chris Trotter is wrong


It’s a small view of the world when one holds back from speaking out honestly against racism for fear of provoking a backlash from one’s fellow New Zealanders.

Chris Trotter suggests Stuff should not have apologised for the awful racist history of its stable of newspapers in part at least because of a fear it will unleash a backlash such as the recent “political convulsions besetting both the United Kingdom and the United States”. (Personally I think the Black Lives Matter convulsions in the US have been a damn good thing)

Chris explains:

Spit upon the most cherished beliefs and achievements of your “deplorables” and – eventually – they will spit back.

On the basis New Zealanders should never have dared challenge the rugby establishment and the All Blacks, the cultural/sporting/iconic centre-pieces of the country, for playing rugby against apartheid South Africa’s Springbok teams.

It’s always important to believe that people can change racist viewpoints because they frequently do and many come to see a better way forward for us all as New Zealanders. I have personally experienced this thousands of times over the years when people have explained to me how their views on race/apartheid changed though the challenges of their fellow citizens. We should never treat racist views with respect but the people holding those views are “changeables” – not “deplorables” – and deserve our respect as fellow New Zealanders, warts and all.

It is a brave thing for Stuff to have issued a fulsome and sincere apology, after doing the analysis, and being frank and honest enough to speak truth to their own power.

The most important aspect of their analysis has been to reveal how the racism of the past (irrespective of its imperial or colonial context) resonates in the present, here and now, and is reflected in the dreadful social statistics which show such appalling race-based bias.

The other crucial point to understand from the Stuff analysis is that this media bias in reporting continues today. I think we all should read carefully the Stuff analysis which shows “How we made Maori the face of child abuse in New Zealand” through sensationalised national reporting from 2000 on, using incorrect statistics, while similar abuse amongst Pakeha was reported but not sensationalised.

I see the Stuff apology as a natural development in what has been occurring over the last 50 years or so as the country moves towards a genuine Treaty partnership.

I would like Stuff to do a similar analysis on how working-class families and communities have been reported in their stable of newspapers compared to the rich and powerful. Now there is a challenge which would brutally expose the ravages of capitalism on all of us.


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Nothing profound about this statement of fact – to they who read history and absorb what they read.

From Rome to Recent.   No Power, however great thou art, lasts forever. Empires Die

In our time (you and me and other current readers); Dunkirk and Singapore saw the beginning of a rapid end to the British Empire.

And, in spite of the, New Napoleon’s delusional self-promotion as a decision make for the World, (Macron is worse than President Trump in my view), Nazi Germany, Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam and Algeria, spelt the end of France.

Like it or not, America too is on the way out.

Like it or not, China is on the way in.

Bomber appears to have made it clear that he thinks China are on a loser. 

I disagree.

As former Aussie PM, Paul Keating sagaciously foretold: 

“Glug, glug, glug” – that’s the sound a sinking battleship makes, according to Paul Keating, who deployed the sound effect to devastating effect on Wednesday to underline his argument that the United States could not expect to dominate China in the South China Sea.

With Russia recently demonstrating  a  quantum leap ahead of American military, with their hypersonic missile potentially their preferred means of maintaining their position on the ladder, China has demonstrated to Australia  in recent weeks, that rather than the barrel of a gun, they prefer – trade as a weapon.

China v Australia is the current focus of this, ‘trade war’. 

There are heaps of stuff out there which we can all devour, but the bottom line for all but the most addlepated, is that Australia are in deep crap.  From wine exports to crayfish: grain and minerals.

Put aside the bullshit and jellybeans about South China Sea expansion.

America has been serving up the same dish of bullshit – all my life: From the Korean War to Vietnam.  Throughout South America and the Middle East.  America has sought to expand its control over every corner of the globe.   Delivering democracy has been the clarion call – but those who read history and absorb what they read, recognise that the motive for creating chaos around the globe, was always – OIL and LOANS which subjugated devastated states to American banks.

OK Uncle Sam did not invade ANZAC.   But guess who got suckered into America’s war in Korea and then Vietnam and now Afghanistan – none of which America won – and leaving its allies with the adverse outcomes. i.e. war crimes in each and every one of these crusades to deliver democracy.

Don’t get side tracked over outrage about a caricature.  The issue is war crimes by Aussie SAS and in my view, whether NZ SAS activities should be revisited in light of these determinations of war crimes.

So, why all the paranoia about China coming in with a cheque book?  

Better than bazookas?

“But China will control out country?”

Who controls it now?    Who owns “our” banks?       And who is real piper calling the tune for NZ to take a position against China in the current dispute?


Is it really a good idea to kick sand in the face of a country which we desperately need as an export destination to sustain our primary sector and as a source of students to sustain or education sector?

Feel free to kick the shit out of me in comments below.  But I’ve made up my mind which Emperor is best for NZ to pay respects.


Ross Meurant, graduate in politics both at university and as Member of Parliament; formerly police inspector in charge of Auckland police spies; currently Honorary consul for an African state; Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in NZ and has international business interests.


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China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomacy is making a dangerous miscalculation


The ongoing domestic pressures and resentment against the Communist Party are building as economic growth falls below what China needs to stop going backwards on quality of life.

That is leading the regime to lash out with ‘Wolf Warrior’ dimplacy to inspire Nationalistic fervour to quell that growing domestic resentment.

Australia and NZ are part of that target because our economic dependency on China gives them a free weapon to beat us with.

China are looking to find reasons to manufacture a grievance.

This gives an insight into how paranoid the regime has become and that their successes with soft power can just as quickly be replaced by hard power.

China’s need to whip up Nationalism and push Australia around and force them to acquiesce to Chinese dominance is a terrible miscalculation by Beijing who seem to think these tactics will work.

It will only dig Australian heels in deeper.

We must urgently see economic decoupling from China as a national security issue.


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If this meaningless climate emergency is our ‘nuclear moment’, then Lange has swallowed the Uranium on his breath

I can smell the incremental sophistry on your breath from here

We all feared that Labour’s climate ’emergency’ declaration would be hollow virtue signalling being rammed through to try and inoculate the new Government from progressive criticism that so far Labour have only offered us incremental tepid nothings, but did any of us think it would be THIS pathetic?

Folks, making the Government fleet of cars electric and removing coal powered boilers is something that should have been done 15 years ago! To implement them now and claim this is any use at all in confronting the existential crisis that is global warming is nothing but shallow sophistry.

Being carbon neutral by 2050 is like trying to put out your house fire by mowing your lawn.

By 2030, over 50% of the oceans will be collapsing as bio-habitats.

By 2030, East Coast cities in the U.S. can expect to see two to three-times as many flooding incidents.

By 2030, 122million will be driven into extreme poverty as  direct result of climate change.

By 2030, 100million will die as a direct consequence of climate change.

By 2030, even if the Paris Agreement is actually implemented, we will see a planet warm to 3.4 degrees by the end of this century meaning there will effectively be no future civilisation capable of surviving on a planet that warm.

By 2030, the global annual cost of global warming will be $3trillion.

2030, the number of extremely hot days — classified as maximum temperatures of more than 35C — are tipped to climb in all capital cities.

But don’t fret.

By 2050 NZ might be carbon neutral.


This. Is. Meaningless!

If you think being carbon neutral by 2050 is the solution, you are the fucking problem.

An actual declaration of an emergency triggers the Civil Defence Emergency Management  Act. It means the Government can close roads, can close any business and can take over all private assets and property to fight the emergency – THAT is the response the climate crisis requires not some incremental tepid nothingness.

If this climate emergency declaration is our generations, ‘nuclear moment’, then the US warships are already in Auckland harbour and David Lange has swallowed the uranium on his breath.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Labour and the Greens are hash tagging while the planet melts.


  • Despite the pandemic lockdown, the CO2 in our atmosphere keeps going up.
  • It has been 650 000 years since it was that high.
  • 1 in 5 NZ Children live in poverty.
  • Entire generations are being locked out of home ownership.
  • Our Suicide rates continue to soar.
  • In 2010, the 388 richest individuals owned more wealth than half of the entire human population on Earth
  • By 2015, this number was reduced to only 62 individuals
  • In 2018, it was 42
  • In 2019, it was down to only 26 individuals who own more wealth than 3.8 billion people
Despite their unprecedented MMP majority, the Labour + Greens have nothing to offer other than low hanging sick leave that won’t kick in until after the pandemic passes, climate emergency empty gestures and ensuring the kids of the middle classes can take MDMA at expensive summer festivals without getting busted.
Elections change Governments, Revolutions change the State.
We need revolution via an election.

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The Last Thing Working-Class New Zealanders Need is “Stability and Certainty”.


THERE IS SOMETHING quite seriously out-of-kilter with the universe when I find myself agreeing with Richard Prebble. Commenting in this morning’s NZ Herald, Prebs states with unnerving accuracy: “Labour won the election but we elected a conservative government. Gone from the government programme announced in the speech from the throne is any promise of ‘transformational change’. Instead we have the false promise of every Tory, ‘stability and certainty’.

Many conservatives will disagree with Prebble’s analysis. In their eyes, Jacinda Ardern is still “a pretty communist”, and her party a collection of fire-breathing “Cultural Marxists” hell-bent on transforming New Zealand into the Venezuela of the South Pacific. [No, I’m not really sure what a “Cultural Marxist” is either – but the term is very big right now in right-wing circles!] The conservatives’ confusion is understandable, however, given how common it has become for radical ideas about culture and identity to be conflated with the ideology of the “Left” in general.

Prebble is not so easily distracted. He won his political spurs in the days when leftism was mostly about the economic, social and political consequences of being born into a particular social class. The Labour Party he grew up in took as its starting point the condition of the New Zealand working-class and how it could be improved. The point of Prebble’s admirably acidic column is that this “Labour” government has begun its second term from a very different starting-point: namely, the condition of the New Zealand middle-class and how it can be protected. Hence, its very public commitment to “stability and certainty”.

The problem, of course, is that keeping conditions stable and certain for the middle-class more-or-less obliges the Government to refrain from implementing policies likely to produce significant improvements in the condition of the working-class. Most especially, it obliges Jacinda Ardern and her colleagues to do next-to-nothing for the poorest and most vulnerable members of the working-class. Improving their lives would simply be too costly. It would require precisely the sort of new taxes and tax increases that Labour has already ruled out of contention.

Not that Prebble is the least bit interested in tax rises. His big worry is New Zealand’s woefully low levels of productivity. Like any good Rogernome, he sees the solution to this country’s poor productivity in terms of upping the rate of exploitation: i.e. making the nation’s employees work harder and longer for less. He’s all about further deregulating an already comprehensively de-regulated labour market. Yes, he would start by undoing Labour’s minimal improvements to paid leave and minimum wages, but it wouldn’t stop there.

The funny thing about Prebble and his ilk is that the solution to our low rate of productivity has always been staring them in the face. The fastest way to lift productivity is to force employers to substitute innovative technology for the absurdly cheap and indifferently-skilled human labour that has, since the 1990s, been permitted to take its place. By dramatically lifting wages and improving working conditions, a reforming government would require inefficient businesses to either find a way to work smarter or close down. The inevitable rise in unemployment would be met with a massive state programme of upskilling and employment creation.

Not that this government would dream of implementing such a solution. Not only would it outrage the small-business sector, but it would unnerve the professional and managerial classes. Those who work for salaries are extraordinarily sensitive to what we old trade unionists used to call “the relativities”. Put simply, any appreciable rise in the income of the “lower orders” unmatched by a corresponding upward movement in the income of their “betters” will be construed as a direct attack on their social prestige and position – which, of course, it is. Maintaining the yawning gap in the life experiences of wage workers and salaried professionals is one of those unspoken and unbreakable laws of capitalist society that “reformers” ignore at their peril. Fortunately for the class that dominates Labour’s caucus, Jacinda doesn’t do peril!

But, if the Sixth Labour Government is unwilling to follow either Prebble’s path, or the path of uplifting the working-class, then how can it hope to escape the latter’s anger and disillusionment when they realise that in spite of all her “kind” words, Jacinda is not going to help them? Tragically, my gut instinct tells me that she and her colleagues are going to try and distract them.

For quite a long time now it has been clear to those who make it their business to keep an eye on such things that most of this country’s blue collars are to be found around brown necks. So many of this country’s most poorly paid jobs are being done by Maori, Pasifika and immigrant workers. They make up the bulk of the “working poor” and they are represented disproportionately in the ranks of beneficiaries.

These are the people who struggle to pay the rent, or, far too often, struggle to find a landlord to pay rent to. Theirs are the schools that are failing. Theirs the hospitals that are underfunded. It is their mothers, daughters, sisters and wives who are abused for wearing the hijab. It is their fathers, sons, brothers and husbands who are pulled over by the cops. Most of all, they are the New Zealanders for whom the daily injuries of race are experienced much more directly and painfully than the injuries of class.

What could be easier than to portray racism as the root cause of their misery? Especially when it is so much cheaper, politically, to persuade people that their problems arise out of the personal failings and prejudices of their fellow citizens, rather than from the structures of economic exploitation and social subordination in which they are trapped. As an explanatory tool, race has the added advantage of being something we cannot do anything about. Those who are born poor, on the other hand, are not bound by their genetic inheritance to remain so. To make race the problem is to choose a war that can never be truly won. Healing the injuries of class, however, is something human-beings have done before – and can do again. What’s more, the great thing about combatting the injustices of class is the way it renders racial differences increasingly unimportant.

When an injury to one is treated as an injury to all, the only colour people tend to see is red. It’s a colour that has bugger-all to do with “stability and certainty”, but it used to have a whole lot to do with Labour. Even Richard Prebble knows that.


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Waatea News Column: NZ – where we can talk about ties in Parliament but not have the Maori Party talk in Parliament?


It’s interesting that we can waste time on debating if neckties should be banned in Parliament but no one bats an eye when the Māori Party were banned from talking in Parliament.

The symbolism of the Māori Party storming out of Parliament last week was lost on most commentators and condescendingly written off as the Māori Party not understanding the standing orders of Parliament.

I beg to differ.

What the storming out was really about is how the Māori Party interpret their role in Parliament.

They don’t see themselves as merely another minor Party, they see themselves as the political embodiment of the other Treaty Partner, and as such, demands the respect of the other Treaty Partner.

This confidence in their Tino rangatiratanga swager will infuriate the Pakeha establishment, but for Māori, it will set a benchmark of respect in the ongoing dialogue of the Treaty.

The Māori Party are looking like a resurgent political force, not a Party confused by Parliamentary standing orders.


First published on Waatea News.

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Political Caption Competition

National are having a bad come down

If Sleeping Beauty was an insomniac.

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The Daily Blog Open Mic – Thursday – 3rd December 2020


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, 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.

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Christmas TDB contributions drive

TDB wishes you a surreal Christmas

Comrades – 2020 was a god damned shit of a year that turned our entire world upside down.

It’s been hard, it’s ben scary and it’s made us all vaccine and virus experts.

It was the best of cliches and the worst of cliches.

The word unprecedented was used unprecedentedly.

There was also an election in there somewhere.

Here at TDB, while many woke activists were claiming Covid criticism was xenophobic, we called the Pandemic early for the public health emergency it became.

We called the election and called out Labour for their lack of progress after they won the election, we provided insight on issue after issue that shaped the narrative in the mainstream media,  but as we enter the final month of this dreadful year, if you have any money down the back of the couch, we’d love for you to flick some our way otherwise Santa won’t be visiting us!

You know what we do, and we do it better than anyone else.

Increasingly having an independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever before, so if you value having an independent voice going into 2021, and are in a position to contribute – please do so here.

You can pay directly to TDB account:  12-3065-0133561-56

Or you can contribute to TheDailyBlog via Paypal:

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MEDIA WATCH: Stuff’s apology – Pakeha have been lied & manipulated into blaming Māori for issues that impact us all


One of the most angering parts of NZ politics for me is the pig ignorance of reactionaries who scream whenever the media play to their resentments.

I look at the horror that is Oranga Tamariki and I trace that directly to media who waved dead brown babies in our faces and screamed ‘something must be done’ DESPITE THE FACT that just as many white babies get beaten to death by their white parents but we never hear about them so the perception is that it’s all a ‘Māori problem’ and we weaponise  social agencies to deal to them.

I look at the counterproductive madness that is our punitive prison industrial complex and link that directly to the way crime gets breathlessly reported and the focus is always on Māori offenders because that clicks so well with the ingrained bias of the readers.

I look at the way those racing away from Police during the deeply flawed police pursuit policy gets covered and see how the race of the fleeing drivers helps cements that deeply flawed police chase policy into place rather than challenge it.

I look at the way the media covered the largest confiscation in NZ history – the Seabed and Foreshore issue, and how unbelievable the debate became.

I look at the way the media covered the Feed the Kids Bill and ignored that most children in NZ are white who go hungry yet the perception that it’s a Māori problem seems to justify needless ongoing punishment of those hungry kids.

I look at the way Don Brash’s Orewa Speech was covered, the way the Urewera Terror raids were covered, the way domestic violence gets covered – time and time and time again the ability to blame Māori, to ‘other’ the problem has led to weaponised social agencies  and an avoidance of a debate that must desperately be had so that we can all own the problems to find solutions.

Pakeha have been lied to and manipulated by mainstream media to blame Māori for issues that impact us all as human beings and as citizens.

The media framing of Māori as the problem in this country has justified counter productive social policy and total avoidance of the root causes of the problems.

This bigotry isn’t just a myth making exercise, it actually informs social policy that creates worse outcomes! That’s not intelligent design, that’s a self inflicted social cancer.

Comrades, let’s not actively mutilate ourselves needlessly.

Stuff’s acknowledgement of their role in this myth making bigotry is welcome and should be celebrated.


Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

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Middle class drug safety, low hanging sick pay fruit and meaningless climate change emergencies – but no houses sorry 


As Labour and the Greens face a tsunami of criticism from the Left at the total lack of transformative change (despite an unprecedented MMP majority), Labour and the Greens are going on a blitzkrieg of ramming through incremental tepid nothing laws before Christmas to counter the perception they can only pass incremental tepid nothing laws.

Working class people who smoke cannabis can go fuck themselves, but the precious wee middle class kids who gobble down the Party Pills at expensive summer festivals MUST COME HOME SAFE so we are legalising Pill testing so Bruschetta and Charlie can get back to mummy and daddy without over dosing and getting kicked out of Kings.

By the way, won’t the Police just hang around the pill testing tent?

The low hanging fruit of doubling sick pay won’t take effect until halfway through next year when the worst of the pandemic will be behind us and a meaningless climate emergency declaration that doesn’t actually trigger the Civil Defence Emergency Management ACT will be rammed through Parliament as if that means something.

So, protecting middle class kids chewing E, doubling of sick days after the pandemic has passed and a Climate Emergency declaration that is an empty gesture, that’s the best the Labour and Greens can come up with to counter criticism of their incremental and tepid policy platform?

While those meaningless gestures pass, the property speculators Labour gave a $100billion to continue to price entire generations out of home ownership, 100 people a month are still getting arrested for possession of cannabis, people on welfare are stretching food banks to snapping and inequality is being cemented into place.

Not the transformation we were all hoping for.


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On National’s Unsafe Attitude Towards Drug Testing

National are having a bad come down

Earlier this week, the Government announced that it was going to pick up one of the loose threads from the previous Parliamentary term – and pass measures to allow the testing of drugs at music festivals and the like, so as to reduce the risk of … well, serious harm occurring.

It’s a robust, evidence-supported policy that’s utterly uncontroversial in other parts of the world (although not Australia) – and therefore, it’s perhaps no surprise that the National Party remains bitterly opposed thereto. Because they assert that it “sends the wrong message”.

Which leads me to ponder whether the “right message” is young people dying or being injured in order to “scare the others straight”.

Last Term, it wasn’t alone in this. New Zealand First also blocked the bill that’d been put forward – and so it was defeated. But with the makeup of the House having changed considerably since then, it’s been brought back for another go. Where it shall pass.

And predictably, the Nats are somewhat aggrieved about that.

Partially, it’s because the legislation has been brought forward under Urgency – with noted afficionado of Things Young People Like, Simeon Brown, taking issue with the Government’s apparent “priorities” as a result. Which, on paper, might sound like a semi-reasonable objection … up until you consider that it’s already early December with the House rising for Summer very shortly, during which time no legislation is passed – and that most of the drug-taking at music festivals etc. tends to take place, likewise, over the Summer.

Or, phrased another way – it actually makes sense to ensure that legislation that will be most relevant over the summer is in place before the summer.

However, leaving aside the Parliamentary process side to things (and I’m sure we could find any number of .. curious things the Nats had used Urgency to pass, previously) – it’s Simon Bridges who makes the most concise case for why the National Party remain resolutely opposed to seeing sense upon this matter.

Quoth Bridges: “National isn’t supporting the pill testing bill because it sends the wrong message on hard drugs to our young & it gives them a false sense of security. This law may result in more illicit drug use & more harm.”

These claims are, substantively, incorrect. Evidence from overseas does NOT show a greater use of drugs as the result of pill testing.

Indeed, it’s not hard to see how the converse is often more likely to be true: after all, what’s going to be more effective at getting somebody NOT to consume a pill they’ve bought. The ‘just say no’ message that’s already evidently failed? Or pointing out that the pill in question tested positive for rat poison – or the delightfully sobriqueted “Dr Death” [less commonly, but more accurately known as ‘para-Methoxyamphetamine’].

Meanwhile, the “false sense of security” is that which recreational drug-users currently may enjoy – by telling themselves that whatever they’ve bought is, in fact, what they’ve been told it is. Pill testing can actually help to re-inject not a “false sense of security” … but a “real sense of danger” – especially when, as is the case in some overseas jurisdictions, drug-harm information for various substances is also given out with the test results.

Bridges’ claim rests upon the reasoning that drug-testing may lead to an increase in drug-harm. It is difficult to see how such a claim can be supported, in light of the fact that drug-testing does not appear to lead to an increase in drug-taking – and also, as its actively intended purpose, keeps the more- and most-harmful drugs OUT of people’s bodies in the first place.

It’s simple – if we genuinely want fewer people taking harmful drugs … we should be making clear which ones the (more) harmful ones are.

I do appreciate the argument that allowing drug-testing to go ahead may seem like it’s providing some sort of moral stamp of validation to the otherwise-illicit conduct in question – but I don’t really see it that way; certainly not much more than seat-belts in cars provide a moral stamp of validation for driving fast or drunk and getting into automobile accidents [and I was … very surprised to find that these sorts of arguments were actually being made against seatbelts becoming mandatory, half a century ago].

The simple truth is that whatever one feels about the morality or the legitimacy of young people (and older people, for that matter), taking drugs at a festival – I don’t think many would be prepared to agree that this is a crime that ought carry a potential death sentence to it.

Even if some, apparently, do implicitly believe this to be the case. I can only presume that they don’t say so openly and overtly out of a fear that it would “send the wrong message” to the electorate about their values in practice.

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Waterstone 2020 Political Review podcast with special guest Simon Bridges

2020 – It’s been the worst of cliches. It’s been the best of cliches.
The word unprecedented was used an unprecedented amount. 
and everyone suddenly became an expert on viruses and vaccines.
Tonight we review the political parties and we award 
Best politician 2020
Worst politician 2020
Worst political assassination 2020
Worst political mutilation 2020
Best Leadership 2020
Worst Leadership 2020 

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GUEST BLOG: John Tamihere – Stuff’s apology to Māori


The editorial stand taken by Stuff over future Māori issues and its historic Māori reporting must be applauded and acknowledged.

It is never too late to do the right thing, and the leadership shown by Sinead Boucher – owner and CEO of Stuff – is both outstanding and courageous.

In this day of digital, it’s all about the clicks. In July Sinead withheld all advertising on the Facebook platform. It reassessed its relationship with Facebook – where they had just under 1 million followers – and Instagram where it had 134k followers – after the free speech v right to express an opinion debate raged.

That decision was based on conscience and not dollars.

At the time it was described as foolhardy and fanciful.

That’s why Sinead’s new editorial direction and apology to Māori must be admired and encouraged.

“Our coverage of Māori issues over the past 160 years ranged from racist to blinkered. Seldom was it fair or balanced in terms of representing Māori,” Stuff wrote as part of a five-page editorial.

As a Māori and as a community leader, I am interviewed a lot. When I see the finished article or TV interview, it is often skewed to portray Māori in a bad light. That’s how most media view Māori – negative statistics, always wanting handouts.

You are portrayed as ill-disciplined, erratic, a maverick, untrustworthy in the NZ Herald and Talkback ZB.

The reason for that portrayal is because the editorial lens overseeing the news flow is neither Māori nor a fair assessment of an issue.

So I salute Stuff for this bold editorial stance, but on the other hand, I am frustrated and tired of the privilege that allows for such self-reflection because while it’s wonderful to make this historic apology for the appalling Urewera terror raids coverage, the inflammatory Foreshore and Seabed coverage and early formative settler editorials calling on Māori to die or be assimilated aside, it is the current injustice that befalls Māori because of those historic wrongs against us that bites most in the community I represent.

Homelessness, poor health services, inequality, and the housing crisis, the ongoing poverty: These are where focus from people with platforms must turn if they are serious about combating those historic cultural wounds.

Otherwise, this is a navel-gazing exercise to alleviate guilt and isn’t part of the solution.

Stuff will no doubt be described as woke and PC media gone mad and feed the feral talkback switchboards for days. But today let’s congratulate Sinead and her Stuff colleagues who have put their own Pou in the ground and will start rewriting Māori history and addressing real Māori issues in a new light.

Shine the light on racism in all its sophisticated forms – call it out.


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Temporary migration system is broken – time for a reset with a path to residency

Employers in the agriculture sector who are screaming for help to pick their crops deserve to suffer a bit of pain. They’ve spent years excluding local workers and creating an economic sector totally reliant on temporary migrant labour, a vulnerability which the pandemic has now realised.
These employers have used temporary migrant labour to avoid training Kiwis to do the job and paying a genuine market rate for the hard work involved.
Over the past decade, the number of working holiday visas  have increased from 20,000 to 70,000 a year. A special category of visa called the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme was created to bring in Pacific agricultural workers, and has grown from 5,000 a year to 14,500. We had another 100,000 students with the right to work and 150,000 on various other renewable work visas.
Workers from the Pacific have become more and more skilled at the work but employers continue to keep most of them on minimum wage—or less—once accomodation costs and other expenses are deducted.
Many Pacific island villages have become dependent on the regular income these visas are able to provide even if they had to return home each season. It is good that 2000 workers have been approved to return. The employer must pay their quarantine costs and at least the living wage of $22.10 an hour compared to the current minimum wage of $18.90 an hour.
The Covid crisis has exposed how dependent the New Zealand economy has become on cheap labour from across the globe. We discovered that around 300,000 workers, 15% of the workforce, were in the country on one type of temporary visa or another with the right to work. Temporary visa holders have become dominant in entire sectors of the economy from agriculture to aged care.
Many of those on working holiday visas and about half those on Recognised Seasonal Employer visas have returned home already. But at least 250,000 remain and many want to stay. The total is probably twice the number from a decade ago.
This system gave employers the power to exploit the workers dependent on them for visas, and employers used this power to suppress wages in their sectors.
Pre-Covid New Zealand might have expected to have been able to continue recycling cheap temporary labour to service of our major industries.But that system has broken into a thousand pieces, and will never be put back together until the world is free of Covid and no other pandemic threatens.
This is a good thing. It allows us to do the right thing by the people now stuck in New Zealand. Many of these workers were brought here and kept here on essential work or student visas with the false promise of one day being able to transition to permanent residency.
Instead, while the number of migrants being brought here on various temporary visas have more than doubled over the past decade the number of those being granted residency has been kept at around 40-50,000 a year. This simply increased the competition for places and Immigration New Zealandconsistently raised the bar on those seeking permanent residency.
The Jacinda Ardern-led government in 2017 imposed a radical cut to the number of people granted permanent residence. It went from 47,682 to 37,947 in the year from June 2017 to June 2018 and dropped further to 34,992 for the September 2019 year – a ten year low.
This simply broke the back of any coherent policy being able to be applied. The points needed to gain residency are now off the charts and nurses, teachers and other professionals can’t qualify.
The only way to fix the broken system is to grant those who have made New Zealand their home a pathway to residency. This could begin with everyone on a visa who has worked here five years or more an immediate offer of residency. They also don’t need language tests that most Kiwis wouldn’t pass. This could then be extended to other categories who want to stay but could be offered incentives to earn useful points by studying particular subjects or working in particular occupations or regions.
The previous National Government from 2014-17 under John Key and Bill English, implemented a proposal for a group of workers in the South Island as a one-off pathway to residency for around 4,000 temporary migrant workers and their families.
In the words of the then Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse:
“Many of these migrants are already well settled in New Zealand and make a valuable contribution to their communities.”
”[The proposal] will also enable employers to retain an experienced workforce that has helped meet genuine regional labour market needs.”
All workers in New Zealand who want to make New Zealand their home should have the opportunity to do so.
This is a humane and sensible proposal in the post-Covid world that meets the needs of the workers.Many bosses will be thrilled to be able to keep the workers they have invested time and money into training, even without the workers being kept in a  bonded relationship. The workers will be freed from dependency on a single employer and will be able to  stand up for their rights as full and equal members of New Zealand society. The union movement will have up to 300,000 more potential members who can join the fight for equality, fairness and justice in their new home.
Fixing this issue is one of the most important issues before the union movement today. We have an opportunity to seize the once in a generation chance to use the Covid crisis to bring an end to the abusive system of mass temporary work migration. If we succeed it will be a huge benefit to working people as a whole.
The way to achieve this goal is to provide permanent residency to all those currently living and working in New Zealand who have made New Zealand their home and want to stay.
The same principle should be applied to those stuck overseas who have also made New Zealand their home before going overseas and have been stuck there since Covid hit. They should be treated as fellow Kiwis with the right to return and not be forced to wait at the back of the queue.
Implementing such a policy will end once and for all the disgraceful over-reliance on workers forced to come to New Zealand on temporary visas and then trapped in exploitative bondage to an employer. Several hundred thousand workers will then be free to join the fight for a new New Zealand that cares for all its residents with respect and dignity.
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