I love the OIA

April 28th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Have just received this response from Television New Zealand in response to an OIA request I made:

Dear Mr Farrar


I refer to your request under the Act dated 8 April 2010.

Following an exhaustive search, and enquiries to the usual suspects, it appears that only one pair of pink handcuffs was purchased by Television New Zealand during the period of 1 March to 7 April 2010.

As I am sure you are aware, the handcuffs were purchased as a novelty prize for Back Benches. They were purchased from an undisclosed location in Wellington, and cost $24.99. I cannot confirm whether this represents a fair market price, or whether we paid over the odds for them.

Yours sincerely

Brent McAnulty
General Counsel/Company Secretary

I am intrigued by the reference to “the usual suspects”. Does Damien Christie make a habit of purchasing such items for TVNZ?

The John Key for Movember campaign

October 29th, 2009 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Damien Christie has set up a campaign to convince John Key to grow a moustache for Movember. Now personally I am not sure it is a good look for NZ to have a PM who looks like a paedophile (I think most men with moustaches look that way) and that it is a bit undignified, but Damien has made the point that going on Letterman wasn’t exactly dignified, and this is for a good charitable cause.

Anyway Damien has set up a Facebook group called I’ll (at least consider) voting for National if John Key grows a Mo’

So if you want to join the campaign to have John Key do Movember, join the Facebook group and promote it to your friends.

New official TVNZ t-shirt

October 28th, 2009 at 9:21 pm by David Farrar


Damien Christie from TVNZ7 models the new official t-shirt for Television New Zealand 🙂

Progress on copyright

September 25th, 2008 at 1:18 pm by David Farrar

I blogged last week on the new copyright law, and how the provision about ISPs having to terminate Internet access for repeat infringers was causing huge problems.

The good news is the Government seems to be listening. IT Brief reports:

The government has bowed to unprecedented ICT industry pressure, announcing a four-month moratorium on Section 92A of its new Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act.

Communications minister David Cunliffe revealed the back-down during the InternetNZ TVNZ7 Internet Debate held on Tuesday night, saying the delay would give the industry and content providers time to come up with an alternative approach to controlling copyright on the internet.

The debate incidentially went really well I thought. Possibly could have been a bit shorter, but we had a good mixture of politics and policy. There was some generally good natured sparring that kept it interesting, but also some useful and interesting policy discussions around broadband, copyright, filtering etc.

From a technical point of view it was pretty seamless as we took questions from journalists, from the studio audience, from the online chat channel and also video questions through Skype. The InternetNZ staff and TVNZ staff and contractors did very well making it happen. Several people said they would like to see more debates with that interactive format.

Damien, Russell and Fran were all good at challenging the MPs, quite aggressively at times.

The funninest part for me was Maurice WIlliamson saying he had no idea why he voted for the new copyright law, as it is such a stupid law. I thought Maurice did very well, but in fact all four MPs did well with strengths in different areas.

You can view the video of the whole thing at debate.net.nz.

Anyway back to copyright. The Dominion Post also reports:

Paul Moreno, a spokesman for Justice Minister Judith Tizard, said a delay to regulations required to put the cut-off clause into force was being considered, and that the delay might be “endless”.

“Judith is of the mind that Internet access is almost a human right now, similar to water and electricity.”

But Ms Tizard then appeared to toughen her stance, stressing that the Government was concerned to protect copyright holders.

And it is important to protect copyright holders. But look at the gap between the possible interpretations:

Ms Tizard would not say whether the intention was that the cut-off threat should apply only to people who had been repeatedly convicted of copyright offences, or to those who had been accused of infringements by bodies such as the Recording Industry Association – indicating it had been left deliberately unclear.

“The intention of this provision is to provide a framework for the ISP industry and rights holders to develop an efficient and effective mechanism that is workable for both parties.”

Telecommunications Carriers Forum chief executive Ralph Chivers said if the former definition was used, that might be one solution.

But Recording Industry Association chief executive Campbell Smith said that would not be acceptable as it would require copyright holders to sue infringers to prove their guilt. “That is just impractical and ridiculous. I don’t think that is what was intended.”

Instead, ISPs should cut off customers who infringed copyright after notifications from rights holders, he said.

Losing your Internet access on the basis of unproven accusations is not a goer for me.

Back Benches

April 3rd, 2008 at 7:41 pm by David Farrar

I popped into the Backbencher last night to observe the live filming of the first episode of a new TVNZ 7 show – Back Benches.

It will be on every Wednesday at around 9 pm, and features Wallace Chapman hosting a panel debate between (mainly) backbench MPs. Damien Christie and Mary-Anne Ahern produce it.

The MPs last night were Maurice Williamson, Louisa Wall, Jacqui Dean and Hone Harawira. There were many dozen people watching – a big crowd from TVNZ (whose account my meal almost got charged to), other press gallery members, a few Vic Uni students, some ACT and Green supporters, plus a few MPs and staff from National.

It was a fun occasion, and I’d recommend locals go along when they can. They debated party pill bans, free trade with China and Peter Brown’s comments.  Lots of clapping for various MPs.  Hone was funny, with a fair bit of grand-standing. Louisa Wall was pretty good, with a good command of the issues for a new MP.

The comment I liked most of all was Maurice Williamson who said that his ideal free trade deal would be one page, and would simply say “You can sell anything you like to us, and we can sell anything we like to you”. Sounds good to me.