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Full Disclosure OR Do You Know Where That Journalist Has Been?



(journalism) The disclosure of any connection between a reporter (or publisher) and the subject of an article that may bias the article.

The recent admission of NewstalkZB Breakfast host Mike Hoskings that he was a supporter of the National Party and recommending people vote for the National party is a rare disclosure from a NZ press celebrity of their political connections.

If I asked who the TV political journalist is whose father is a government M.P., would you know who that is? Would you find it strange someone who is covering politics may have a huge conflict of interest?

Would you be a little wary of his reporting?

I know NZ is a small country, but at least if journalists have full disclosure of their connections at least we know they are coming from, and can then decide if we want to accept information as totally above board.

When I was working on ‘Good Morning’ I was surprised to see Barry Soper over the moon after recieving a text from his ‘friend’ John Key. Whilst I am well aware politicians keep journalists as pets to use them to leak stories, I could see no gain for Barry in maintaining a ‘friendship’ with the Prime Minister. He believed I was being far too precious and stated that journalists are always going to be friends with politicians.

I believe this is wrong.

If a journalist gets info on a ‘friends’ political party or an event that will impact on them in parliament, are they going to give them a heads up on the info, or publish? Knowing the politician and journalist are friends totally makes me question the journalists motives in all their dealings with the politician. But I only know about this because I happened to question Barry on why he was getting friendly texts from the Prime Minister, there has been no disclosure of ‘friendship’ to the public.

And what happens when a political journalist is sleeping with an M.P? Is this their ‘private time’ so none of out business? If the journalist is writing about their partners work, and their is no full disclosure of the ‘relationship’, is it possible to accept the journalists work without endless eye rolling and seeing the work as compromised? If journalists are open about who they are ‘involved’ with, I am fine as they have disclosed the fact. But if they have never addressed it in public, and continue to write about their ‘partner’, I find their work easy to dismiss as they are not being honest with their audience with a fact that does change the context of the work.

Oh, and finally to return to Hosking being open about his support of the National Party and telling people to vote for them. I think it is safe to assume he has a bias favouring National and we should maybe take his ‘journalism’, like the Herald, as being pro the National Party. If this was not already quite obvious. And as ‘journalists’ in this country seem unacquainted with the notion of disclosure of connections, ALWAYS be aware of who owns the media.

FULL DISCLOSURE – I have worked with everyone in this article except Brook Sabin.

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PM “confident” 85-90 per cent of Mighty River will remain Kiwi owned – yeah right


key assets

So the first horseman of the economic apocalypse will be Mighty River Power. If you think you are paying a lot for the mismanaged electricity sector now, our current price gouging will seem like a gentle hand massage compared to our energy generation being owned by 49% of the private sector with all the narrow vision of next quarter profitability.

Bingo drinking every time Key says ‘Mum and Dad investors’ this month could cause the greatest loss of life from alcohol poisoning ever recorded.

The insult of asking us all to pay for assets that our Grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters have already paid for becomes an obscenity when you consider that the wealthy will be the only ones who can afford the $1000 share threshold.

The wealthy in NZ have been given hundreds of millions in tax cuts and they will use those tax cuts to buy our once public assets. Adding further insult, those wealthy enough to buy the shares will also be given a bonus bribe if they hold onto them until after the next election so as to not embarrass National in 2014 with mass overseas ownership.

We have effectively subsidized the 1% into ripping off our own assets. Now I know what Maori feel like every day in this country.

What of our money trader Prime Minister’s claims of gold and rainbows about to fall from the sky in the wake of the asset sale program? All the billions Mr Key promises we will make are a nonsense.

Compare if you will all the money John Key claimed the TPPA would generate for NZ. Professor Jane Kelsey was scathing of how Key plucked his claim of billions and billions out of thin air in a press release put out yesterday…

‘Governments often wheel out fantastic projections of an El Dorado to rescue agreements that are withering under intense scrutiny. But $3.5 billion was almost double the figures in previous studies on the TPPA, which themselves used implausible assumptions on the upside and ignored all the potential costs’, according to Professor Kelsey.

‘As the next round of negotiations begin in Singapore today, it is time to debunk his claims’.

An Official Information Act request revealed the Prime Minister was citing an unpublished econometric study in November 2012 by the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics that updated earlier versions published by the East West Centre.

Professor Kelsey says ‘the assumptions that underpin the report’s computerised modelling belong on an alien planet’.

It assumes that all eleven countries – including the US – will agree to comprehensive liberalisation, including zero tariffs and all ‘non tariff barriers’ will be removed. Workers who lose their jobs will simply move on to new ones. The entire deal will be tied up by 2013 and approved by national parliaments and implemented immediately – and by Korea and Japan from 2015.

The report ignores any real world downsides – losing part or all of the $5 billion savings from Pharmac over 12 years, the stifling of innovation through extreme US monopoly rights over intellectual property, the economic and social costs of light-handed regulation, legal fees and compensation awards from investment arbitration suits brought by US firms, to name a few.

…Key’s claim of billions from the TPPA are as hollow and fake as his claim of 7 billion from the asset sales program yet the latest Roy Morgan Poll has National at 47.5% and Labour at 30.5%.

Who said attacking Maori protestors on Waitangi Day and bashing beneficiaries doesn’t work politically?

Despite Key running NZ in the interests of the rich, by the rich and for the rich, New Zealanders still adore him and believe his vacant aspiration will see them prosper.

With a million dollar sales campaign about to start, few mainstream media outlets will want critical analysis of the sale when eyeing up the advertising candy about to be dished out to their industry.

National’s trick is that they are supported by small business when their political agenda only helps big business. To keep small business voters on side, National appeal to the darker angels of the small business psyche with their welfare bashing and Maori bashing. Even though National do nothing to help the economic position of most of their voting block, National do promote their voters petty bigotries, and that keeps their voters focus off who is actually benefitting from this asset theft.

Key is a dodgy car salesman who is conning NZ into handing our sacred cows over for a handful of magical beans.

Sleepy Hobbits reap what they sow.

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Interview with Russel Norman, co-leader of the Green Party on the economy and politics


Interview with Russel Norman, co-leader of the Green Party on economics and politics

Russel-Norman_0TDB: Thank you for taking the time to talk, Russel. The first thing I want to ask is how frustrating is it to be the co-leader of a political party that is constantly criticized for challenging the orthodoxy, only to be vindicated in that challenge later down the track?

RN:I take the long view and I’m very focused on policy change so in the long run what matters is that good policy happens. That’s the main thing.

TDB: Does it gall you that John Key dismisses your quantative easing debate by waving a Zimbabwean dollar in Parliament? Is that the level of intellectual rigor we should accept?

RN: Yes I do find that irritating, the level of debate around monetary policy in NZ really is the pits. It’s really sad that we can’t have a rational debate about monetary policy.

TDB: Bernard Hickey wrote a column listing the many arguments for quantitative easing, if every other major bank is printing money, where does our inaction leave us economically?

RN: Well The fact is that we are now trading with partners who are all putting downward pressure on their currencies by creating more of their own money meaning our dollar will go high and that means our tradable figures suffer, people lose their jobs, manufacturers go out of business and the current account deficit balloons.

TDB: You have heavily criticized the Government’s role in willfully mutilating Solid Energy, will the Government’s win in the Supreme Court mean the asset sale program is unstoppable?

RN: I can’t guarantee that we are going to win the fight to stop the asset sales, but if we don’t fight I can guarantee that we will lose.

TDB: The Government have banked these sales into the budget before they’ve even happened so what is the knock on effect for our public services in 2013 and 2014 if the value depreciates further than it has?

RN: It will probably more impact on the capital account, I don’t think it will have a huge impact on the money available for public services. The revenue is banked into the capital account and they are supposed to be spent on other capital measures. Now whether they do that or not who knows but that is what they say they will do.

TDB: What do the Sky City deal and Hobbit revelations tell us about the way John Key uses the position of Prime Minister? Is it dignified for the Prime Minister to be effectively pimping for a casino?

RN: It certainly isn’t dignified. I think that he has a fundamental problem which is that he thinks the Government is a company and he is the CEO of that company. And so he behaves like that and obviously that is where he has come from in his career. But in a Democracy process matters and going through proper process is important and he doesn’t seem to realize that because he thinks the Government is his company and that’s just totally out of step with how Democracy works.

TDB: Our currency is being promoted on CNBC as the new gold and Nouriel Roubini is predicting the mother of all credit bubbles which he claims will be catastrophic. How do we prepare for the new economic normal when the new economic normal is as erratic as our weather?

RN:We stay ruthlessly focused on the real economy and the tradable sector because regardless of what happens in the financial sector, whatever financial bubble is about to explode, the real economy and the tradable sector is the way we are going to make our living in the world, so we do whatever we need to do to protect the real economy and tradable sector and if that means doing unorthodox things in monetary policy then so be it because whatever happens internationally we aren’t going to be able to control so we need to protect our tradable sector.

TDB: Speaking of climate, the science is effectively in and it turns out that man made pollution is causing the planet to heat dangerously beyond it’s ability to cope – are we still in climate denial in NZ?

RN: I suspect most people accept anthropogenic climate change but the Government behaves as if it’s not real so its policy is purely window dressing. The ETS is completely ineffectual and their other policy is ineffectual so to some extent the Government’s policies looks like climate denial. It’s kind of like they are saying ‘We acknowledge it might be this real thing but it’s not a serious problem so we won’t have serious measures to face it’.

TDB: I asked the Greens to rank themselves from 1 to 10 on a scale of Marx being 10 and Milton Friedman and Rodger Douglas’s love child being 1. The Greens rated themselves on the economy as a 7. Does this answer suggest that the Greens don’t think we need a far more active Keynesian state during this recession?

RN: I think its fair to say that we found that question a little bit too narrow, trying to reduce political opinions to a left right scale like that means we probably don’t agree with the methodology. But obviously as a commentator you are free to rank us as you see fit, but we struggled with the methodology.

TDB: Would it be a fair characterization of your economic policy that you are free market, as long as the market factors in the cost of pollution into a product?

RN: Well, we want a traditionally mixed market approach, so there is a role for markets and a role for Government and regulation and like you say to the extent that markets have a critical role to play and should be making sure those kind of environmental externalities are internalized in prices but that doesn’t mean to say Government don’t have a place as well.

TDB: How regulated and managed is Green Capitalism?

RN: (long pause) Well I think there is definitely a key role for regulation but there is also a key role for markets as well. We believe deeply in peoples goodness and creativity and I think that creating a space where entrepreneurs can come up with great ideas to deal with some of the environmental challenges we face is important and good markets can provide that space. But good markets need good regulation so it goes hand in hand.

TDB: Has neoliberalism had its day as the Global hegemonic structure?

RN: Yeah, it’s dead.

TDB: There is an irony is there not that Aucklanders would benefit most from your robust policies on public transport and affordable housing and yet Auckland hasn’t responded. Out of Auckland’s 18 electorates you only scored a percentage higher than the national result in 4 of those electorates. Do the Greens have a problem in Auckland?

RN: I mean there are some particular electorates where our polling is low and I’m thinking of the South Auckland electorates, there are some where we poll very well, like Central Auckland and there are some where we are not far off the average. But yes we do have some challenges in those South Auckland electorates.

TDB: Which Political Party has over the last decade done the most to restrain green political aspirations – the Labour Party or NZ First?

RN: (long laugh) I don’t know, I mean in some respects, neither of them, it’s kind of National, but then again we’ve crossed swords with a lot of political parties over the years. Labour tried to exterminate us in 2002 and National tried to exterminate us in 2005 when Steven Joyce ran that parallel campaign with the Exclusive Brethren and we’ve survived both of it, so we kind of feel like that we’ve confronted the Devil on all sides and we’ve lived through it to tell the tale and are strong and independent as a result.

TDB: Did it surprise you that Trevor effectively sucker punched you on twitter?

RN: Which particular occasion? That’s politics, we are competing with Labour for votes. I don’t begrudge them their right to compete with us. We are in competition, as well as co-operating we are also competing and I’ve never denied them that right and I keep that right for myself as well.

TDB: What do the Greens need to hit 15%

RN: I think a lot of what we have been doing. I think we have done a lot of things right over the last few years and that’s why our polling has been pretty good. So to move from 11% to 15% at the next election we need to connect even further with a bunch of people who I think are sympathetic to us but we still haven’t got them over the line to vote for us. So that requires getting out credible policy and credible people and getting the politics right in leading up to the next election.

TDB: Russel Norman thank you for your time.

RN: My pleasure.

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The Daily Blog 2pm Bulletin


In the 2pm Bulletin…

Excellent post by Karol at The Standard on Murdoch selling his NZ stake holding in Sky NZ.

Queen of Thorns has warm fuzzies on Monday.

Gareth Renowden points out more Climate Denial lies

The Greens point out how racist our judicial system is.

Tim Selwyn over at Tumeke asks why we need to put our names on a supposedly anonymous Census form.

And Labour MP Sue Moroney points out how the Education Minister’s shopping around consumer view of education is costing parents their 20 hours of free Early Childhood Education.

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Viral Video Showing the Extent of U.S. Wealth Inequality


Viral Video Showing the Extent of U.S. Wealth Inequality

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The reality of what the TPPA means to NZ


Professor Jane Kelsey

I was determined to start my blogging career not talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. But today is the first day of the 16th round of talks in Singapore and the situation is getting serious.

The eleven participating countries – or more accurately, their current and temporary governments – are aiming to draft a new rulebook for the 21st century that locks in and extends the failed neoliberal model. In secret. For the indefinite future. Enforceable by each other and by their corporations in secretive offshore tribunals.

This is no ‘trade’ treaty. When they say it will go further behind the border than any agreement has gone before, they mean its binding and enforceable rules will dictate the processes, participants, ideology and substantive rules for governments to follow when we make our domestic policies and laws. Not just for the term of the governments who are negotiating it, but for the indefinite future.

Last year the political leaders set a self-imposed deadline of October 2013 to get this deal done.

Deadlines usually come and go. But Obama needs this agreement. The corporate lobbies and the Republicans have ridiculed him for not producing any deals during his first term, and he needs a trophy.

Obama is putting the hard word on the other ten countries’ leaders, who are in turn pushing their chief negotiators and their teams to clear the dross out of the way so they can talk about trade-offs.

Some chapters are near that stage. Others have been at stalemate almost since the negotiations began as other countries rejected the basic tenets of US demands. Several of those areas are must-haves for Obama – notably, intellectual property, which impacts on pharmaceuticals, the internet and innovation and disciplines on state-enterprises that could extend to ACC, Kiwibank and the universities.

The way that John Key and Tim Groser talk, all the parties including New Zealand are equals at this negotiating table. But this has always been the US plus the rest.

Which leads us to the planned October meeting. Picture an ego-filled room of prime ministers and presidents while Obama schmoozes, flatters and threatens them to cave in to US demands. Some, like Key, consider themselves consummate dealmakers. But he and the National Party are desperate to have their own trophy, the long-sought-after free trade agreement with the USA, even if claims of economic benefits prove to be a sham. Ultimately, they all know there will be no deal unless Obama gets his way.

This could pan out in several ways. Political leaders could agree to trade-offs irrespective of the practical consequences and order the negotiators to convert that into text. The result will be a legal shambles. Alternatively, it could all prove too hard and too costly and they could fail to agree. The talks would limp on indefinitely, like the Doha round at the World Trade Organization and the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Both outcomes involve political leaders calculating the political risks. A key factor will be the degree of awareness and resistance at the national level.

As I said at the beginning, this is serious. My guess is that Cabinet will start discussing the trade-offs it is prepared to consider no later than May, if it has not done some already.

A new phase of the TPPA campaign, Countdown to May, is about to be launched through the itsourfuture website with activities that anyone do: adopt an MP; recruit local councillors to move resolutions that are critical of the TPPA, or better still make them TPPA-free zones; deluge the talkbacks and blogs; host the cartoon exhibition. Sign up to the bulletin on the www.itsourfuture.org.nz website and you can be part of making this our 21st century, not theirs!

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Muzza Among The Muezzins


MURRAY WILL BE PRESENT at this week’s Executive Council meeting of the League of Arab States in Cairo.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, departed yesterday to bring New Zealand’s perspective to the issues under discussion by Arab leaders. The civil war in Syria; the situation in Libya; on these and other weighty matters, Mr McCully’s insights will undoubtedly be eagerly awaited.

Arab leaders will also be briefed by New Zealand’s Foreign Minister on the many and persuasive arguments for voting to seat his country on the United Nations Security Council.

New Zealand is, after all, one of the many nations contributing to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan where it has expended much blood and treasure in ensuring the Afghan people continue to enjoy the blessings of a modern secular democracy.

The Arab leaders will also be aware that, as the National Party’s foreign affairs spokesperson back in 2003, Mr McCully was politically and personally strongly supportive of the United States invasion of Iraq – an Arab nation with which it was not at war and which constituted no actual threat to its national security.

Arab leaders may wish to question Mr McCully in relation to the strong stands he has taken recently against repressive regimes in the Middle East, and seek to discover whether his enthusiasm for imposing secular democracy by force in Iraq and Afghanistan extends to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – which is, of course, neither secular nor democratic.

Arab leaders may find it difficult to reconcile Mr McCully’s loud condemnation of the repressive actions of Bashir Al Assad’s government in Syria, with his comparative silence in response to the suppression of democratic protests in Bahrain.

Questions might also be asked about New Zealand’s enthusiastic endorsement of foreign intervention in the West African state of Mali – where outsiders have attempted to impose their will on the indigenous Tuareg inhabitants of its northern provinces.

Arab leaders may be curious to know why New Zealand is supporting the efforts of the former colonial power in the region, France, to crush militarily the armed Islamicists attacking the indigenous people of Northern Mali, while the armed forces of the world’s largest Muslim country, Indonesia, are permitted to repress the indigenous people of West Papua – a country much closer to Mr McCully’s home – without the slightest hint of a critical diplomatic (let alone military) response from its neighbours.

Liberation by foreign military intervention for the Malians – but not for the West Papuans. Secular democracy for Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Syrians – but not for Saudis or Bahrainis. Personally supportive of the illegal invasion of Iraq, a UN member, in defiance of the UN Charter and without the endorsement of the UN Security Council – but convinced that he is the best person to lobby the League of Arab States on behalf of New Zealand’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council. These are the confusingly inconsistent and morally contradictory policies being hawked around Cairo by our Foreign Minister.

Wise in the ways of the Western Powers, the Arab leaders will quickly discern in this pompous conservative politician from the picturesque Eastern Bays of Auckland’s North Shore the classic profile of an uncritical apologist for the policies of the US Government.

Programmed by the US State Department, patronised by the Foreign Office in London and firmly wedged under Canberra’s protective wing, Murray McCully has spent his entire time as New Zealand’s Foreign Minister ruthlessly dismantling every vestige of the morally courageous and independent foreign policy of the previous Labour-led Government.

The representative of a country whose former Prime Minister steadfastly refused to follow the Americans, British and Australians into Iraq, and whose former Foreign Minister’s movements on the West Bank were tracked by the gun barrel of an Israeli tank, could be well placed to persuade Arab leaders that this little nation has something to contribute to their cause.

Unfortunately, the representative in question is a man almost entirely lacking in the intellectual and diplomatic subtlety required to leave any lasting or favourable impression on the leaders of the Middle East.

What’s the bet that upon being awakened by the muezzins’ call to prayer from the minarets of Cairo, Murray McCully’s first instinct is to complain about the noise.

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Aotearoa responsibilities around indigenous rights 

 “Idle No More”


Marama Davidson

The Idle No More movement is an indigenous uprising movement that grew from First Nations peoples in Canada in November 2012. Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honours and fulfills indigenous sovereignty to protect the land and water. The movement was a response to the Canadian government’s Omnibus Bill C-45 which effectively weakens environmental protections and Indian reserve land rights.  

Around the world groups of people have pledged their support to Idle No More. It is an indication that more and more people are aware of our current exploitative approach as being short term and unsustainable for our planet. The support for Idle No More is also a recognition that indigenous sovereignty includes being accountable to our Earth Mama and the protection of all people through that. Centuries of otherwise exploitative and competitive greed has facilitated the ongoing colonialism, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, oppression, inequality and and all the poison that pervades the planet and has privileged only certain groups.

In Aotearoa the Idle No More movement provides a vocal platform to keep our combined sovereignty issues to the forefront. This includes linking Treaty of Waitangi and indigenous rights to our current political challenges such as:

. Constitutional Review and what transformations are essential in governing our nation
. ensuring environmental accountability from our government and demanding transparency in their relationship with any extraction industry moguls (mining, deep sea oil-drilling, fracking etc)
. sustaining and caring for our living system including our responsibilities around water
. free market trade agreements including the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement
. calling for accountability from the government as a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
. the partial sale of our State Owned Assets
.current ‘Treaty Settlement’ deals being negotiated

Through each of these issues facing us we must pro-actively, staunchly and without compromise continue to place hard pressure on our government. The work of dissecting every single proposal that seeks to overstep indigenous authority must continue for the benefit of all peoples in Aotearoa. It is in upholding the true status and leadership of Tangata Whenua that a longer term vision for valuing our place and our all our people exists. So far in post-colonial Aotearoa this has not happened despite the Whakaputanga Declaration of Independence and the partnership agreement of the Treaty of Waitangi. Idle No More is a global indigenous solidarity movement that aligns indigenous resistance happening everywhere, and calls for a better approach to living together for all humans not just those indigenous to that land.

In Aotearoa and certainly around the world, indigenous people have never been idle. But global indigenous solidarity through Idle No More is a support system to strengthen each respective grassroots action happening across the seas. Our history of resistance in Aotearoa and our ongoing struggle for tino rangatiratanga is clear and continues in communities, whānau, hapū and iwi on a daily basis. What we can do more effectively is weave those actions into a collective mat so that each action supports the other as a foundation for a brighter Aotearoa.

I want to acknowledge the many tauiwi people and groups who have always been staunch supporters of affirming indigenous independence. This includes Pakeha and certainly migrant/ethnic groups. Read Dr Ruth DeSouza’s blog for an example of “Migrant support for Idle No More”. There are many more examples of such tauiwi solidarity and more of this will be needed as we ponder living together in this corner of the planet.

The following plan of action below has been suggested by the Idle No More movement in Canada and I think gives some great starting points for us here in Aotearoa.

In the meantime, thank you to those who have fearlessly kept the issues of Tangata Whenua sovereignty to the forefront and may we continue to do so!

Plan of Action:
• Support and encourage grassroots to create their own forums to learn more about Indigenous rights and our responsibilities to our Nationhood via teach-ins, rallies and social media.
• Build relationships and create understanding with allies across Canada (and Aotearoa and the world).
• Take steps to contribute to building relationships with international agencies such as the UN to raise awareness to the conditions Indigenous people have been subjected to and assert our sovereignty in the international arena.
• Acknowledge and honour the hard work of all grassroots people who have worked, and continue to work towards these goals – you are our inspiration.

Marama Davidson front indigenous rights movement, Idle No More

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The Award for Best Supporting Actor in a corporate negotiation tactic goes to…



So now we all know that the crisis at The Hobbit was a manufactured one, who is going to apologize to the Union movement of NZ first? Will it be the Herald? TVNZ? ZB? The Dom Post? Will it be the Government? Will it be Q&A? Will it be The Nation?Will it be the NZers who got swept up in anti-Union hysteria?

Let’s not pretend that there weren’t voices immediately critical of this farce and called it for the manufactured crisis it always was. Tumeke called it on the day of the astro-turfed protest march in Wellington.

I noted how amazing it was for this petty Hobbit squabble to eclipse the first major Union protest against National’s labour laws. There were 1500 at the fake protest march in Wellington and 20 000 on the streets around the country protesting against the Government.

How convenient that all the news oxygen was sucked out of the Union protests by a Machiavellian Government who showed all the divisive brutality of Muldoon’s Springbok Tour tactics.

This was aided and abetted by a willing mainstream media and populace who whipped each other to frenzy.

Meanwhile the executives of Warner Bros must have been laughing all the way back to Hollywood on their private jet, popping champaign corks at the obscene corporate welfare they had managed to extract from the NZ taxpayer.

You just know at 45000 feet they toasted the ‘Shire Folk’ for being so easy to dupe. I imagine they followed that with a rendition of the ‘MonoRail’ song from the Simpsons before collapsing into fits of cocaine induced laughter.

So when we are looking at who should be awarded the best supporting actor in a corporate negotiation tactic, we must consider the nominees…

The Mainstream Media:
Not since the 1951 lockout have we seen union hysteria so whipped up by the media. The amazing thing is that for a media who were all so happy to breathlessly roar in such unison against the unions, they are universally quiet in the role of their own unquestioning complicity now the full details are out. If Helen Clark had been caught out lying to the public about Warner Brothers taking The Hobbit offshore & cutting smelly deals with Sky City, the NZ Herald would be publishing her home address alongside molotov cocktail recipes.

Remember the atrocious Paul Holmes interview? Remember calling Robyn Malcolm ‘damaged goods’ on TV? Remember countless letters to the editor, talkback calls and editorials all baying like a lynch mob?

Our media can be trusted to get it wrong and then quietly pretend that never happened. If the corrections column in the Herald was honest it would take up the entire Business and Sports sections. Who knew flag blinded patriotism over a movie could justify rewriting our Labour law for a foreign corporation with such ease?

Peter Jackson:
The over acting Jackson portrayed from the very first TV interviews and his utter lack of ability to actually pin point what the hell the issue was should have warned seasoned broadcasters and journalists right from the start. The only one who came close to it was John Campbell who pushed Jackson on his real motives, and I remember Jackson’s eyes come alight like Gollum when he sees his precious, “I just want to make my movie”, he lisped.

Russell Brown at Public Address:
Russell is the seasons indie hit favorite for Best Supporting Actor in a corporate negotiation tactic. The great doyen of the aesthetic left let rip with a blindside king pin blog attack on the internal ruptures of Actors Equity and the MEAA. Once the Bishop of the Ponsonby Intelligentsia had sounded off against the Union, it was a greenlight for the msm to go feral. There would be no tsk tsking from Radio NZ Mediawatch types. It’s a pity Russell didn’t do an equally critical analysis at the time of Jackson and Key’s motives.

John Key:
How good is John Key at spin? Even when presented with all the proof that the Government and Peter Jackson misled the public about Warner Brothers taking the film offshore because of the Unions, people are so emotionally invested in defending Key that they claim, ‘Well the Australian Union pushed too hard and got what they deserved’. Isn’t that extraordinary? The Australian Union, by pushing too hard for a collective agreement against a film industry that has near exploitation powers over its acting workforce deserved/brought about/were responsible for/to blame for/Australians-bowled-under-arm-against-us-once-upon-a-time/JetsStar-customer-services-complaint anti-Australian, anti-Union style logic that totally exempts Key and Jackson from willfully misleading the country. Surely Key has to be this years front runner. His acting made Daniel Day Lewis look like a Seven Sharp Host.

The Public of NZ:
Remember the death threats to Union bosses, the abuse Robyn Malcolm, Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Helen Kelly faced? Remember it got so bad they had to hire security? That was an enraged NZ public who were whipped up to foaming by a media who were onto a ratings winner. At no point was the voice of reason even asked to the table, the chance to have a go at the Unions was too mouth watering for some within the public.

More 100% Muddled Earth than Middle Earth.

And the winner for the Award for Best Supporting Actor in a corporate negotiation tactic goes to…


…the one, the only. John Key. His willingness to manipulate Warner Brothers negotiating threat of going offshore into bashing the Unions right after they had 20000 protesting his 90 day right to sack employment laws is deceivingly sadistic.

His willingness to turn one segment of society falsely against another is curiously Springbok Tour-eske for a Prime Minister who can’t remember what side of that debate he was on.

Instead of the monstrous vision of Muldoon’s General Woundwart from Watership Down, we have Key’s “I’m-khomfortable-with-that’ nonchalance, dorky Dad routine which makes the menace far less easy to detect.

He’s not a vicious, vacantly aspirational, multi-Millionaire money trader with Hawaiian Mansion who pimps for Casinos and has overseen the highest level of inequality recorded in NZ. Oh no, he’s a jokey, non political, Gangnam style dancing, big gay red shirt joking, David Letterman Top 10ing social media clip.

It’s difficult to engage the PM about 270 000 children in poverty when he’s lighting his farts with a match as stunt he’s filming for Max’s Facebook page.

So what the hell was this manufactured crisis all about? Put simply, the media were nudged by the Government into their natural inclination to hate on unions. The media in turn manipulated the NZ public who in turn were played for political effect by the Government who paid Warner Brothers a fee for the excuse they provided to commit broad daylight grievous bodily harm on the Union movement.

You just got chumped NZ.

Which is why I decided to launch The Daily Blog. After seeing the Hobbit spin and the manufactured leadership ‘coup’ by David Cunliffe at the Labour Party conference, I just believed there needed to be a counter weight to this fish bowel of a media landscape.

To paraphrase the ever inspiring Hunter S Thompson, ‘I put the bastards of this country on notice, that I do not have their interests at heart. I will try and speak on behalf of the underdog, that is my promise.

And it will be a voice made of blogs and sarcastic rage.’

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Auckland Fringe Festival Review: …HIM


I LOVE THE FRINGE!!!! Everything I see becomes my new favourite. And, …HIM is no exception to that. Oh it’s so clever and intense. It’s funny, and sad and unsettling and beautiful and hopeful.

I blogged about my excitement for newspapers as props the other week. Well, little did I know at the time that tonight my mind was going to be BLOWN with newspaper creativity. The walls are plastered with newspapers, as are the chairs and benches upon which people are spread throughout the room. The show starts with Barnie Duncan bursting from newspapers. He creates newspaper shoes, meatballs, wings, flowers and clothing.

The 55 minutes is not tied together by narrative so much as it is a series of striking moments. These are often inspired by something in the papers- a line from a story or weather report or ad. With a frantic energy, he makes connections between the content. He bounces from calculations of article content to a crossword answer to advice from a relationship column, back to the crossword on the wall and then on to falling in love with Pippa Middleton.

Throughout, there is a growing realisation that although the man is a recluse, his newspaper obsession is an obsession with the outside world. There is longing, but there is overwhelming fear and uncertainty.

The turning point is when the man tears the paper from a window and creates a little paper bird which he flies around the room, before it leaves through the window again. It’s a slow and delicate sequence that leads to the frantic creation of a beautiful pair of wings that span the room. The man rocks back and forth, the wings slowly flapping and I am filled with awe. It is so beautiful. And then, in a flash, it’s over and he’s furious. For dreaming? for being conscious of his longing? It shakes me out of the trance I’m in and I feel really uncomfortable. He hugs his only companion, his jacket stuffed with paper. And my heart breaks a little.

I’ve told you enough so I won’t tell you how it finishes, but it is uplifting and heart warming. I also became conscious that my mouth was hanging open in awe at this point, but I didn’t want to move so it stayed like that until the play ended.

Sunday 3rd – Thursday 7th March, 8.00pm. The Audio Foundation. Adults $15, Child $12, Conc $12, Group $12.

If you’re involved in anything cool please drop us a line with details and we’ll include it in our weekly round-up.

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What has ASB done to Ira?



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Rule Britannia: Key keeps ban on Catholics in Royal Succession Bill



What is it about the monarchy that makes people abandon their critical thought? Crown Counsel Jane Foster is a case in point. She has advised Attorney-General Chris Finlayson that the Royal Succession Bill, currently before ours Parliament, is “inapt for detailed [NZ] Bill of Rights scrutiny” because “a shared, hereditary monarchy is a core feature of our constitutional arrangements” and “the rules that govern succession are historically and politically complex.” She justifies the “differential [discriminatory] treatment” embodied in the Bill as justified by its “unique context”.

Let’s look at this “unique context”. It goes back to the contestation between Protestants and Catholics in 17th century Britain and the passage of such laws as the Act of Settlement 1700 which excludes from the Throne any who “shall profess the Popish religion or shall marry a Papist.” Generously, the Royal Succession Bill before our Parliament removes the phrase “or shall marry a Papist” but retains the prohibition on a “Papist” King or Queen. In fact, practicing Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists – and even atheists – are excluded from the Throne, because both the Act of Settlement 1700 and the Bill of Rights Act 1688 – both on our Statute Books – require a Protestant monarch.

We could easily legislate an end to this discrimination. It would require a simple amendment to the Royal Succession Bill making null and void all the provisions in these ancient Acts requiring a Protestant monarch and banning a Catholic one.

This is not going to be allowed to happen for a reason that has nothing to do with New Zealand. It’s simply because the British government wants to keep the Monarch as head of its own church, the Church of England, in the tradition of Henry VIII. Our New Zealand Parliament shouldn’t go along with this.

Instead, John Key has been acting as David Cameron’s ringmaster to make sure all of the 16 “realm” countries which recognize the English monarch as their head of state proceed with succession law amendments which are identical to Britain’s.

Any deviation could be highly embarrassing. Just imagine if New Zealand allowed a non-Protestant monarch and Charles converted to Catholicism – or Buddhism. Our tolerant law would then allow Charles to be King of New Zealand, while Britain, with its more sectarian legislation, would by-pass Charles and install William as King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Simultaneously, there would be two different English Kings.

True, the Royal Succession Bill removes gender bias from the succession laws. But if Kate has a baby girl she will still have to get the Monarch’s permission to marry, under a new discriminatory provision in the Bill. In the 21st century New Zealand is going to legislate for compulsory arranged marriage!!

It’s all rather farcical. Perhaps we should detach ourselves from the English monarchy and have our own New Zealand head of state.

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4th March – 11th March


The big news this week is obviously the Auckland Arts Festival kicking off on Wednesday. My picks for the festival are here. What a phenomenal line-up.


The Auckland Fringe obviously continues. My picks this week include Oh is for Opera, …him, and Home / The Hilarious Comedy About How I Nearly Killed Myself / A Play About How I Nearly Died But Didn’t Then Learned A Lot About Life Afterward (yes, that is one play). All of which will be reviewed this coming week. It’s the last week and if you haven’t been along to anything, you really should. There is a lot of things on that are free or koha as well, see: spit.it.out, Après Ski, Collision, and The Finger Family Tent Revival Tour.


On this weekend is the Pasifika Festival at Western Springs Park. If you’re planning on going, this year the Sunday will focus more on fellowship and spiritual values, with a church service happening at 9.00am. The Festival is divided up into villages representing the 10 different nations. Expect markets, cultural performances, music and fooooooooooood. If that is not enough Pacific for you, you’re in luck- it’s the last of the Pacific Showcases down at the Cloud on Saturday too.

My call is to head along on Saturday and then your Sunday will be free to go to EcoDay. If you want to live a more sustainable lifestyle but find yourself um-ing and ah-ing about how exactly your meant to go about that then this is the place for you. I for one could definitely do with a bit more know-how in this area. And, if you are an eco-champion already, you might find some neat products here to help you out-not to mention there will also be a market place with sustainably made products and yummy food and drink.

If you’re involved in anything cool please drop us a line with details and we’ll include it in our weekly round-up.

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Auckland Arts Festival Picks



I started off by marking everything that interested me. But when I began putting little asterisks next to each line I decided I needed a new tactic. So I was very selective and highlighted only what got me really excited, but that was still well over 50%. So in the end, the criteria to make this list has been ‘would I get chronic FOMO if I was not at this?’ ‘yes?’ on the list then.

For what it’s worth, here you have my top 10:

1. En Route

Ah so cool! Participants use their mobiles and special MP3 players to go on magical mystery  tour of Auckland. A backing track of local musicians accompanies you through your 90 minutesish stroll. An excellent way to discover/rediscover some gems.

2. The Magnets

I could tell you about The Magnets, or you could check this out…

Yes, that is an a cappella Poker Face. Pow! They arrange all instrument versions of a massive range of songs. Seriously skillful. Take the family, looks like a lot of fun.

3. Cantina

A vaudevilley, cabaret-ey, circusey melting pot of AO goodness. Highly skilled performers push the limits of what is anatomically possible.

4. Everything Is Ka Pai

Classic waiata redone by contemporary musicians? Sounds like the perfect way to celebrate New Zealand’s musical history. One night only, in the Town Hall.

5. Hugh Masekela

I fell in love with Afrobeats in Harare. It is groovy and spirited and a heck of a lot of fun. You’ll be boogying in your seats, no doubt. Possibly for the rest of the evening too. Possibly the next morning also. I mean, just listen to this and try not to dance…

6. Ruthie Foster

Ruthie is soul and blues and WOMAN! She’s up opening night, and it’s hard to think of a better way to open the festival.

7. I (heart) Alice (heart) I

A true life story about life-long love! Spotted kissing in a grocery isle, by a director, Alice and Alice were asked to tell their story and this play is the result. Warm fuzzies!

8. One Man, Two Guvnors

If you love British comedy, then this is for you. Commedia dell’arte inspired slapstick with singalongs. It has been raved about wherever it’s been.

9. Urban

Urban is Circus with attitude. The performers are young, and all graduates of the worlds first  professional circus school for disadvantaged youth in Colombia. The music is reggae and hip hop, and the show promises powerful and raw.

10. The Breath of The Volcano

Fireworks for big kids! This is another excellent one for the family. Take a picnic along to the Domain and check out Groupe F’s light extravaganza.

Aaaaaaand my top 3 free options are:

1. Dominion Road Stories

If ever there was an Auckland street to tell the stories of, it would be Dominion Road. A range of events, some free and some ticketed, will happen over the weekend of 16th/17th March. Check out the ATC website for details about them all. The free family picnic on the Saturday looks like a highlight.

2. Fly Me Up To Where You Are

A celebration of childrens’ hopes and dreams, created by Auckland’s children themselves. Dream flags, inspired by Tibetan prayer flags will flutter colourfully through Aotea Square throughout the Festival.

3. White Night

Auckland becomes one gigantic gallery/museum from 6pm-12pm on the 16th March. Free busses will shuttle you around Auckland’s best spots. Magical.

Should keep you out of trouble for a bit!

If you’re involved in anything cool please drop us a line with details and we’ll include it in our weekly round-up.

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