Newspaper sales plummeting

November 28th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Richard Harman writes at Politik:

The number of copies of New Zealand daily newspapers sold over the past five years has plunged by 23%.

Meanwhile Kiwiblog readership is up 18% from five years ago.

According to the media industry website, “StopPress”, Stuff averaged 1,733,000 visitors per months to its site while the NZHerald received 1,315,000 visits.

Averaged out that equates to about 80,000 a weekday on Stuff and 61,000 a weekday on the NZHerald.

Kiwiblog has around 12,000 a weekday. Not bad with no staff, just me and some helpers.

WhaleOil has numbers not far off the NZ Herald, and with again no paid staff.


80 years since the 1st Labour Government elected

November 28th, 2015 at 11:56 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A dinner to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the election of the first ever Labour Government will bring together a potentially explosive mix of people as some of the Rogernomes return to their original home for some reminiscing.

The dinner at Parliament is organised by current MP Stuart Nash, the grandson of the Prime Minister in the Second Labour Government: Sir Walter Nash.

It is to mark the anniversary of the election of the first Labour Government in 1935, under then Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage.

You might not agree with all their policies but at least they were a positive reforming Government.

To mark the 80 years since, I’ve compiled this chart to show how they have done in the 26 elections since.


A long way down from 1935!


Quoting Mao

November 28th, 2015 at 8:59 am by David Farrar

The Telegraph reports:

George Osborne’s Autumn Statement took a bizarre twist when John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, threw a copy of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book at him across the Despatch Box.

The Labour shadow chancellor mocked the Chancellor – who he dubbed “Comrade Osborne” – for encouraging China to invest in British infrastructure projects.

He is thought to be first frontbencher ever to reveal a copy and quote directly from the communist book.

After joking about the sale of public assets to the Chinese government, Mr McDonnell said: “To assist Comrade Osborne about dealing with his new found comrades, I have brought him along Mao’s Little Red Book.”

Mr McDonnell continued: “Let me quote from Mao, rarely done in this chamber, ‘We must learn to do economic work from all who know how. No matter who they are, we must esteem them as teachers, learning from them respectfully and conscientiously. But we must not pretend to know what we do not know’.

“I thought it would come in handy for you in your new relationship.”

Tory MPs roared “more, more, more” at Mr McDonnell.

They really can’t believe their luck.


General Debate 28 November 2015

November 28th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Liberty Fest

November 27th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Students for Liberty have organised:

New Zealand’s inaugural conference on all things Liberty! Hosted by Australia and New Zealand Students for Liberty, anarkiwi, and friends. It will be at Cotton Lecture Theatre 122 (COLT122) at Victoria University’s Kelburn campus, from 10am until 6pm, with drinks afterwards. This is a one day, general liberty conference to be hosted in Wellington on the fifth of December!

Come for speakers, panels, like-minded liberty lovers, and of course stimulating intellectual thought! Info updates on the facebook event at



Cotton Theatre, Victoria University, Kelburn, Wellington, New Zealand – View Map

Speakers include:

  • Tim Goggin, economist on digital currencies
  • Jamie Whyte, former ACT Leader on Transsexuals and capital allocation
  • Richard McGrath, former Libertarianz Leader on immigration
  • Don Brash, former National and ACT Leader on economic freedom
  • Jason Jrupp, NZ Initiative on the RMA
  • Jenesa Jeram, NZ Initiative on productivity
  • Aidan Carter on gaming liberties
  • Andie Moore on marriage privatisation

Sounds a great line up of intriguing topics.


Wellington Airport Assumptions

November 27th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Have been reading the business case for the proposed Wellington runway extension.

As a frequent traveler I’d love to be able to fly from Wellington to North America, Asia etc.

However I’m sceptical that extending the runway will lead to a huge increase in international connections.

The business case in section 3.4 assumes the following additional flights:

  • South-East Asia 4/week
  • USA 3/week
  • China 4/week
  • 3rd Asian 4/week
  • 4th Asian 3/week

Now it is very difficult to know the future. But for me a conservative approach is to look at comparable other airports.

Christchurch Airport services a larger population base than Wellington. It also is a hub for the entire South Island. And its runway is over three kms long – much longer than even an extended Wellington.

I’ve just checked their weekly flight schedule. The only additional flights they have beyond Australia and the Pacific (which Wellington already does) is a daily to and from Singapore.

So as much as I’d like to think a longer runway to Wellington will get us flights to four different Asian cities and to the US, I ask why would we get these, when Christchurch doesn’t?

In terms of investing in a runway extension, I think there is obviously a level of investment which would be beneficial to the airport owners. But this appears to be far less than the estimated $300 million cost.

I also accept there is a case for some ratepayer investment, on the basis that there is an economic gain to Wellington. The level is another thing.

But the case for taxpayer investment I remain sceptical of.  You need to be convinced that this extension will result in significantly more people flying to New Zealand.

UPDATE: Former Reverve Bank economist Michael Reddell blogs on this also. He notes:

One of the puzzling – or perhaps not so puzzling –  aspects of the report is the complete absence of any analysis of Christchurch airport’s experience with long haul flights.

The traffic forecasts, prepared by InterVISTAS, involve a central scenario in which in thirty years time there would be 56 long haul departures a week from Wellington (eight per day on average).   This is defended with the observation that “Wellington in 30 years time. (FY 2045) will have less than half the number of average weekly frequencies on long haul services as Auckland has now.”  And this was supposed to reassure me?  In addition to having almost four times the population of slowly-growing Wellington (and a larger hinterland), Auckland is inevitably a more natural gateway to New Zealand than Wellington is.  The authors go on to defend their assumptions with the observation that Adelaide has 44 weekly long haul departures (their forecast for Wellington in 2035).  But Adelaide is a city of 1.3 million people.

And still no mention of Christchurch.  Christchurch has about the same population as Wellington.  And if Auckland is one natural gateway to New Zealand, Christchurch is the other, given the much greater tourist appeal of the South Island (and the impossibility of long haul flights into Queenstown).  I couldn’t find an easy reference to how many direct long haul flights there are out of Christchurch at present, but there seem to five weekly flights to Singapore.  A new service to Guangzhou is also starting this month, so perhaps that is another five flights a week.  Other wide-bodied aircraft use Christchurch airport, but to get beyond Australia you still have to stop in Australia.

And it is not as if long haul international flights from Christchurch are relentlessly increasing.  I have distant memories of flying direct into Christchurch from Los Angeles, but that was 10 years ago, and the service is long gone.  AirAsia’s direct flights from Malaysia to Christchurch didn’t last long either.

Surely it is such an obvious comparator that the Christchurch experience really should have been addressed directly? 

I agree. Now there may be good reasons why a longer runway in Wellington may mean we’d get far more flights than Christchurch. Their airport might be run rather badly, and Wellington is not. But to convince sceptics, one really needs to do the direct comparison with Christchurch.

Michael makes many other useful points also – read his post in full if you have the time.


Dom Post editorials dripping with venom

November 27th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Today’s Dom Post editorial is a great example of how they have become the sort of rant you expect to see on some blogs, since their change of editorial writer a bit over a year ago.

I think editorials should generally criticise the Government. That is not my point. But is is the highly emotional language used that really lets the Dom Post down. They differ massively in tone from other editorials such as the Herald, Press, and ODT.

Some quotes:

  • “English and his loyal servant, Treasury boss Gabriel Makhlouf” – so the CEO of the Treasury is now a “servant”
  • “English’s minions” – the staff are minions, all language used to personalise it to English
  • “Treasury has wheeled out another lame-brain excuse”
  • “This is hilarious balderdash”
  • “Bennett’s flummery”

Calling people minions. You pretend to be a serious newspaper and you write like a 10 year old trying to be insulting.

Now to avoid doubt I have no problem with the substance, being that Treasury should be criticised for going over its staffing cap. I agree. But day in and day out, the Dom Post leader writer turns any issue into a personal attack on Ministers. And hey that is their right, but the style of writing is akin to The Standard or The Daily Blog, rather than what was once a good newspaper.

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University bans yoga as culturally insensitive!

November 27th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reported:

A Canadian university has raised international eyebrows by cancelling yoga classes over concerns about “cultural genocide”, colonialism and “Western supremacy”. 

In an email from a student representative at the University of Ottawa Student Federation, yoga instructor Jennifer Scharf was told her seven-year-old program would be discontinued due to “cultural issues of implication” involved in the practice.

“Yoga has been under a lot of controversy lately due to how it is being practiced and what practices from what cultures (which are often sacred spiritual practices) they are being taken,” the student wrote in an email exchange that was published by the Washington Post.

“Many of these cultures are cultures that have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy, and we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves and while practicing yoga.”

You have to laugh to stop yourself crying.


A right of reply from Simon Spacey

November 27th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I blogged some months ago on the lawsuit by Simon Spacey against Waikato University regards allegations of cyber-bullying.

Dr Spacey has blogged on his perspective at Linked In, which I’m happy to link to as a right of reply.


More on iPredict

November 27th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

NBR report:

The website says it applied for an exemption from the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT) but Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges denied it on the basis that iPredict was “a legitimate money laundering risk.”

Mr Bridges says the decision was taken on the recommendation of the AML/CFT National Coordination Committee, which is established to consider the policy.

He added the main reason for denial was that iPredict does not identify its customers, “which creates an opportunity to use the iPredict market to launder illicit funds.

And the chance of this? People could use a fruit market to launder funds.

“Deposit restrictions apply but these can be circumvented by setting up multiple user accounts as the customers’ identities are not verified,” the minister (who iPredict says only has a 4% chance to become the next prime minister) says.

Mr Bridges says he recommended iPredict discuss with the FMA how to meet its obligations under the AML/CFT Act such as requiring users to provide their full name, date of birth and address.

And also scans of passports to verify?

All that is needed is for iPredict to agree with the Government that if they detect suspicious activity which could be money laundering, they’ll report it. So if there was a pattern of deposits and withdrawals without any stocks purchased, that would ring a warning bell.

But requiring them to verify the identify of every customer is over the top.

“We are an academic not-for-profit organisation and our agreement with the FMA dictates we place caps on transactions. For example, over the past seven years, we have handled a total of 3,782 withdrawals, with an average trader net worth of $41. Our withdrawal process is lengthy and we are a low risk of money laundering,” iPredict says.

Yes an average net worth of $41. That will fund a lot of terrorism!

The prediction tool says the cost of compliance is too high so it will wind up operations.

A great example of regulatory overkill.


Serco in trouble

November 27th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

NBR reports:

Serco has mounted a legal challenge about a draft report by the Department of Corrections into the way the private prison operator has run Mt Eden prison.

Concerns about Serco’s performance, particularly in relation to the allegedly high incidence of violence at the Mt Eden institution, resulted in Corrections taking over running the prison in Julyand an inquiry being launched.

The basis for Serco seeking a judicial review of the report, which is still being considered by Corrections’ chief executive Ray Smith, is that the company claims it didn’t have sufficient opportunity to comment on and respond to it.

It must be damning if they are going to court.

If Serco are unable to meet the levels of performance they agreed to in their contract, then there are contractual remedies for that. That is the good thing about a contract for services.

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A huge increase in female top public servants

November 27th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The SSC announced:

The number of women in senior leadership roles in the State sector has grown from 16% to 44.2% since 2008, and 38% of current or acting Chief Executives in the Public Service are women – the highest proportion ever

And all without quotas.

the total spend on employing Public Service chief executives has remained similar since 2008/2009 according to two State sector workforce reports released by the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today.



General Debate 27 November 2015

November 27th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Labour only believes in the OIA for itself!

November 27th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Labour have been asking pretty much every entity in the public sector, including SOEs, the following:

Did xxx receive any Official Information Act Requests during 2014/15 from Cameron Slater/WhaleOil, David Farrar/KiwiBlog, Carrick Graham, or Rachel Glucina? If so, for each please provide the text of the request, the receipt date, the final response date, and whether the request was granted or declined. 

This is not the first time they’ve done this. They did much the same nine months ago. They’re obsessed and have sent this question off to hundreds and hundreds of public agencies.

They seem to think that the OIA is only for people whose politics agree with them. Do they think I shouldn’t be able to use the OIA?

As it happens I use it very infrequently. As Labour will now have discovered after causing hundreds of public servants to check their files, I do maybe two or three OIA requests a year.

I’m going to do another one next week – to OIA the documents around the Government refusing iPredict a waiver from the money laundering regulations. I hope Labour approve of this. Do they think I should seek their approval in advance before I do an OIA request?


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Dunne on Labour

November 26th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Peter Dunne writes:

Later this week I will join current and former Labour MPs to celebrate the 80thanniversary of the election of one of New Zealand’s most reforming and innovative governments – the first Labour Government under Michael Joseph Savage. No doubt there will be much reminiscing and catching up with former colleagues, particularly those from the equally reforming and innovative fourth Labour Government in which I was privileged to serve.

Amidst the banter and inevitable backslapping, there will assuredly be reflection on the remarkable Labour Prime Ministers New Zealand has had over the years. Savage, Fraser, Kirk, Lange and more recently Clark come to mind.

For me, the remarkable thing about the Labour Party, which attracted me to join it while still at school, was its ability to continually adapt to the circumstances of the time to promote a new vision for the New Zealand of the future. Savage and Fraser expanded the incipient welfare state Seddon’s Liberals had ushered in during the 1890s to meet the needs of a society recovering from the 1930s Depression. Kirk and subsequently Lange captured the yearning for national identity of the restless baby boom generation and beyond. Lange and Clark oversaw the painful economic adjustment necessary to shift New Zealand from Muldoon’s Gdansk shipyard of the 1980s to the modern dynamic economy of today. Differing circumstances and differing challenges, but the constant was the capacity to develop responses attuned to the time.

And now:
Sadly, today’s Labour Party is but a shadow of its bold predecessors. There is no sense of future direction or purpose, and even in its rare positive moments, the Party’s best offerings seem to be a hankering for yesteryear. The boldness in politics is now coming from the National Party – formed primarily to oppose the first Labour government – with no more striking example than its Budget decision this year to lift basic benefit payments, the first such upward adjustment in over 40 years(including the 3rd to 5th Labour Governments). Labour, the traditional friend of the beneficiary, was left gasping in its wake.
Labour’s challenge today is to recover its soul and its place. In this post market age, there is a still a role for a radical reforming party of the left, if it is prepared to be bold. There is the opportunity to pull together the threads of the Labour heroes and promote a new commitment based around strengthening New Zealand’s national identity through constitutional and social reform, and encouraging diversity. There is still a place for a progressive party promising a new, more co-operative economic approach in today’s globally digitally and free trade connected world. And there is still a place for a progressive party to promote new, innovative approaches to education and social services.
But rather than grasp these opportunities, Labour has become predeterminedly negative.
The latest is Little attacking John Key for talking about domestic security risks. Little said Key was scaremongering! He really should turn on a TV at some stage!
Its approach to economic policy is stalled because it cannot make up its mind on the Trans Pacific Partnership. Its stigmatising of people with Chinese sounding names buying property in Auckland has robbed it of any credibility in the diversity stakes, and its capacity to champion meaningful education reform is zero while it remains the plaything of the PPTA.
This is from someone who served as a Minister in the 4th and 5th Labour Governments.
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Jacinda in Women’s Weekly

November 26th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

TV3 poll this week had Jacinda Ardern climbing higher in the Preferred PM poll, and closing on Andrew Little rapidly.

Not by coincidence she had this multi-page spread in Women’s Weekly a few weeks ago.

Now Jacinda defended her women’s magazines profiles on Q+A a few months ago:

KATIE You also get criticism for doing soft media, for appearing on Next Magazine’s cover and things like that. Why do you feel it’s important to do those sort of interviews?

JACINDA Yeah, as I said, you know, in the current context, do people watch Parliamentary TV? Do they seek out political ideas in the old traditional forms? No. And we have to be realistic about that. And if someone offers an opportunity for me to take issues like child poverty into another format and reach perhaps a different audience, then that’s an opportunity I’m going to take.

Now I agree with Jacinda. It is quite legitimate to do soft pieces as a way of connecting with voters on political issues. Many politicians do it.

But if you read the article, there isn’t a single mention of a political issue. It is 100% about holidays in Niue (where her parents live and work). It could almost be a travel advertorial for Niue.

So yes it is legitimate to do interviews and profiles with soft magazines, to connect to voters on issues. But is it legitimate when there is nothing at all about politics in there?

I wonder how many more months it will be until Jacinda is polling ahead of Little as Preferred PM?


Government thinks iPredict is a money laundering risk!

November 26th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Hamish Rutherford reports:

Prediction website iPredict is to be closed down, with the Government deciding it represents a money laundering risk.

The site, run by Victoria University of Wellington, issued a statement to its website on Thursday and on Twitter.

According to the iPredict statement, Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges refused to grant it an exemption from the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act, declaring that it was a “a legitimate money laundering risk” because of the lack of customer due diligence.

The Government must be joking. Or high.

I really don’t think Islamic State are funding their operations by laundering their money through iPredict by investing $50 on the likely level of interest rates in 2016.

Although iPredict said that most of its transactions were small, three traders hold portfolios on the website worth in excess of $10,000.

One of the site’s higher profile traders, Kiwiblog author David Farrar said the decision was hard to fathom.

“Their turnover is teeny. You could only money launder a few hundred [dollars], maybe a thousand, because their’s just not enough people,” Farrar said, adding that the requirement to give bank accounts or credit card details meant the money should be traceable.

“You could money launder many times larger amounts and much more effectively by going to gaming machines,” Farrar added.

“It just seems like such an overreaction.”

It really is a nuts decision. Most stocks have tiny liquidity. It would be the hardest way to launder money you could think of. Plus unless the terrorists were experts on NZ politics and economics, they’d probably lose most of their money.

So much for being a Government that believes in small Government and proportionate regulation!

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US views on how institutions affect the country

November 26th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Pew polled US citizens on whether various institutions have a positive or negative effect on the country, The net positives for each were:

  1. Small businesses +69%
  2. Tech companies +54%
  3. Colleges and universities +35%
  4. Churches +33%
  5. Energy industry +7%
  6. Labor unions +5%
  7. Banks -7%
  8. Obama Administration -10%
  9. Large corporates -23%
  10. Entertainment industry -24%
  11. News media -40%
  12. US Government -42%
  13. US Congress -61%

Amazing that the media rank even lower than the entertainment industry!

No tag for this post.

Fonterra board should take heed

November 26th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The ODT reports:

A proposal to slash the size of the Fonterra board from 13 to nine came in for hot debate by shareholders at the co-operative’s annual meeting yesterday in the small Waikato town of Waitoa.

Former directors Colin Armer and Greg Gent put forward the suggestion for a smaller board in order to make a ”fitter, leaner, more agile Fonterra”, saying the move would improve board efficiency and decision-making. The pair said boards with double-digit numbers were rare and having six elected board members and three appointed would ensure there were ”no passengers on board”.

The resolution received 54% support from postal and electronic voting and a resounding applause from shareholders at the meeting but to succeed, it needs to achieve 75% support from voting shareholders along with 50% support from shareholder councillors.

The proposal may not have met the constitutional threshold, but the fact a majority of farmers backed it should not be ignored by the board.

There is much research that shows the best size for a board is from five to nine members. Fewer than five means you may not get a strong enough exchange of views. More than nine and it gets fragmented, and the risk is a sub-set of the board start making the real decisions.

The resolution was opposed by the board and Shareholders’ Council, which both said a governance review already under way was a better option. Shareholders have been told the review means an information booklet is sent to them early next year, farmer consultations in February, and a May-June vote at a special meeting.

A smaller board won’t life the international price of dairy. But it is worth doing.


I was wrong on Ahmed Mohamed

November 26th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

In September I blogged on the case of Ahmed Mohamed who was arrested for making a clock and bringing it to school.

I was on his side and slated the school and authorities.

I’ve now concluded I was wrong, and I think he did this deliberately to get a reaction. The Herald reports:

The Muslim teenager arrested when a teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb threatened to sue his school and the town of Irving, Texas for US$15 million ($23 million), his lawyer said yesterday.

Far from suffering damages he became a celebrity and  got invited to the White House, Facebook etc. He got to talk to the International Space Station. The world was his oyster.

His family moved to Qatar after Mohamed was offered a generous scholarship.

I still think the school and authorities over-reacted, but I now think he played them.



Herald seems to blame security services for terror

November 26th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

Governments will also be aware that each time public fears are heightened, the political climate becomes more difficult for some immigrant communities. In Australia, three-quarters of the population believes a large-scale terrorist attack is likely within the country and a quarter believe one is imminent, according to a poll at the weekend.

Australia has had two terrorist attacks in recent months, and several more attempted. So it is quite rational to believe more are likely.

New Zealand is not immune to these fears and tensions, or indeed the threat that causes them. But so far, our Government has not seen fit to raise the level of alarm. The Prime Minister says one or two of about 40 people under watch are under fulltime surveillance. No country should have cause for terror if its security services are doing their job.

I profoundly disagree with that sentence. It is blaming the security services of terrorist attacks succeed.

Think if one wrote

No country should have cause for fear of crime if its Police are doing their job

Just as the Police can not stop crime in advance, security services can not stop all terrorist attacks. It is impossible. Hopefully they stop most. But if one or more people are determined to kill unarmed members of the public, they will often succeed.

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474 fewer government staff

November 26th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Government is trumpeting a big reduction in back office staff over the past year, with the number of core administration staff now at the lowest level since the current “cap” was put in place in 2012.

That comes just a day after it was revealed that the Treasury had blown its 390 staff cap by 64 to reach a payroll of 454 full time equivalent (FTE) employees.

State Services Minister Paula Bennett said “ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services” had seen the number of core Government employees fall by 474 in the past year to 35,632 – 843 fewer FTEs than the cap set by the Government in 2012.

Good. And how does this compare to the past:

Back office staff numbers climbed by close to 10,000 to over 45,000 under the previous Government, she said.

And no doubt will again once they are back in office. Labour has never found a problem to which the solution isn’t more staff and more spending.


General Debate 26 November 2015

November 26th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

I thought it was funny

November 26th, 2015 at 6:54 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

When Jimmy Carr warned The One Show his jokes might get them into trouble, the presenters probably took it as another quip.

But yesterday the BBC1 programme found itself at the centre of a formal probe by the broadcasting watchdog, after a risque comment about dwarves backfired.

Carr, who was on the show to promote his Greatest Hits tour, told viewers that he had once come up with a two-word gag.

He said: “I tried to write the shortest joke possible. So, I wrote a two word joke which was: ‘Dwarf shortage’. It’s just so I could pack more jokes into the show.”

He then looked directly at the camera and added: “If you’re a dwarf and you’re offended by that, grow up.”

Heh I thought that was pretty funny.

But whether you think it is funny or not, one should be able to tell jokes on TV.

Now two viewers have complained to communications regulator Ofcom, which is looking into whether the programme on November 4, broke television rules.

“We’re investigating whether potentially discriminatory comments in this programme met generally accepted standards,” a spokesman said.

It is unusual for Ofcom to launch an investigation against a broadcaster after only two complaints, prompting speculation among insiders that the watchdog wants to make an example of the incident.

Ofcom need to get a life.


Little wins big in Australia – gets an invitation for us to become a state

November 25th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

As Andrew Little flew to Australia yesterday to address politicians today about Kiwis’ lack of rights in their adopted country, an Aussie senator made a suggestion that would likely make the average bloke in his stubbies choke on his tinnie.

Ian Macdonald, who chaired the parliamentary committee that recommended a new law leading to the detention and deportation of NZers, said New Zealand could become the country’s seventh and eighth state.

He said Labour leader Little’s calls for, among other improved rights, access to citizenship for Kiwi expats would not be controversial to most Australians.

“The issue of closer ties with New Zealand is one beyond any limited expertise I might have, but as an observer … I would love to have New Zealand join us perhaps as the seventh and eighth state.

A huge diplomatic victory for Andrew Little. Kiwis who are criminals can stay in Australia for as long as they want, so long as New Zealand gives up being an independent country.

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