Pellett bails from Scoop

March 5th, 2014 at 4:26 pm by David Farrar

Scoop has announced:

Scoop Media Ltd. regrets that an investment from Sublime Group in Scoop Media Limited will not proceed at this time.

On Monday 24 February operational control of Scoop Independent News returned to the Scoop Media Limited shareholders.

The team running Scoop has now returned to normal, Scoop Co-Founder Alastair Thompson has returned to Scoop as Publisher and Editor, Gordon Campbell continues on as Political Editor & Werewolf Editor and Lyndon Hood remains News Editor.

Scoop co-founder Alastair Thompson said today:

“Scoop Media Limited’s shareholders regret that the investment proposition which we had been working on for the past year has been unable to proceed at this time.

In one sense this is back to the future, with it being back to the status quo of six months ago.

I’m unsure what is happening to Newsroom, that the Pelletts purchased to effectively merge in with Scoop. It was purchased off NZX. Is it now owned by Scoop, going to be managed by Sublime, or close down?

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Scoop, Newsroom and the Internet Party

January 25th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

As many will have read by now, Alastair Thompson has resigned as interim General Secretary of the Internet Party:

Scoop website co-founder Alastair Thompson has resigned as interim general secretary of the Internet Party.

Mr Thompson is not available for further comment.

This is obviously a bad look for the Internet Party, losing the key administrative officer a week into it.

It also leaves Alastair in a vulnerable position. Can he immediately return to Scoop, despite having affiliated with a political party – even if now departed.

By coincidence also out yesterday was this announcement:

Sublime Group Ltd is increasing its presence in the media business by seeking to acquire NewsRoom from NZX, says Craig Pellett, CEO of Sublime Group (www.sublimegroup.net). The NewsRoom acquisition is expected to be formally completed shortly.

“Our acquisition of NewsRoom is designed to support our recent investment in and restructuring plans for Scoop Holdings Ltd, which owns Scoop.co.nz,” says Craig Pellett.

“The acquisition is a clear indication that we are committed to being a serious player in the online media sector in New Zealand.”

“NewsRoom is both separate from but also highly complementary to Scoop’s suite of products and when the two are formally aligned under a common legal and management structure together they will provide a strong foundation for future growth. That is our intention, subject to agreement by the board and shareholders of Scoop Holdings Ltd,” he says.

Scoop was a breakaway from Newsroom over a decade ago, and so it is interesting they have ended up back together again. I suspect they’ll merge at some point.

A related challenge is that both media outlets will now be under the effective control of Selwyn Pellett, a prominent Labour activist and donor. How will they deal with editorial independence?

So interesting times in the online media and political worlds.

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Where to for Scoop?

January 16th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

After it was revealed by Whale Oil that Scoop founder, editor and general manager Alastair Thompson was the proposed Party Secretary for Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party, he has resigned his roles with Scoop. This was a necessity as Scoop was probably facing losing its press gallery accreditation if their editor was also running a political party.

A number of journalists are pretty upset that the involvement was not disclosed earlier. There had already been eyes raised at the extent and nature of questions Thompson would ask at the PM’s weekly press conference.

The resignation of Thompson as editor and general manager is not quite the end of it for Scoop. Alastair is the sole director of Scoop. Also according to the Companies Office, Alastair, his partner and his mother own over 50% of the voting shares in Scoop, which is a controlling amount. So it raises real questions of independence.

Another interesting revelation in this, is a new shareholder in Scoop is Selwyn Pellett. Some reports even say he is now the majority shareholder.

Pellett is a vocal supporter of Labour, and a major donor to their Auckland Central candidate. This means Scoop is linked to two left-wing political parties. Now everyone knows Scoop is left-wing, and I’m the last person to say there is anything wrong with a website having a political leaning, or even affiliation to one or more parties. But they key thing is that the affiliations should be public, and the extent of any involvement must be a factor in whether or not you are eligible for press gallery membership, which gives you significant privileges and access around Parliament.

Scoop used to do the advertising for Kiwiblog, and I wish them well. But they do have a number of issues to work out, for them to retain credibility going forward.

UPDATE: It seems Alastair is not leaving Scoop, but merely taking a sabattical. So this leaves the company controlled by the party secretary for the Kim Dotcom Party and a significant Labour donor. Now I’ve got no problems with that, but it does undermine the claim to be independent. Has Scoop ever published anything negative on Dotcom? Will they now?

UPDATE2: A thoughtful post by Gordon Campbell on this.

The apparent resignation of Alistair Thompson from Scoop – there seems to be some dissent as to whether he has resigned or gone on sabbatical – was triggered by the release of information about his involvement with Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party. If his exit does prove to be permanent, this would be a sad way for Al to end his leadership role at this site. Scoop has been the flagship for alternative journalism in New Zealand for nearly 15 years.

It is unclear whether it is a temporary or permanent departure. At this stage he is still listed as the sole director and his family as majority shareholder.

Because so much of the Internet Party looks like a toy and vanity project for Dotcom, the likelihood is that such a party will function – at best – as only a voter recruitment vehicle that by mid year, will have lost its ability to amuse Dotcom. Especially if and when the polls are indicating by then that the Internet Party hasn’t a hope of (a) winning a seat or (b) reaching the 5% mark that would make its “kingmaker” role anything more than delusionary. At which point, Dotcom may think that he can throw his imagined legions behind Labour or the Greens.

I don’t think the intention of the party is to gain seats in Parliament. I assume the intention is to make it as hard as possible for Dotcom to be extradited. Being a political party leader makes what should be a judicial decision, a political one.

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Insurance in Wellington

March 14th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Alastair Thompson writes at Scoop:

Sources tell me that insurance chiefs from the biggest reinsurers in the world are now pricing Wellington as “ground Zero for earthquake reinsurance risk” in the world. Not the Asia-Pacific. Not the ring of fire. The world.

And as a result practically speaking earthquake reinsurance cover is not practically available for commercial property in Wellington.

Yes some policies are being written on some buildings (usually ones which are up to code and have blue chip tenants) for 400% to 600% premium increases.

My apartment’s building insurance has already doubled and off memory it is at 80% of code!

In the Wellington commercial property market full insurance is a condition of all the mortgage business. Full replacement earthquake insurance is a standard term and condition.

In NZ most companies which carry business interruption insurance also need to have earthquake interruption cover to satisfy the conditions of the bank credit facilities. These often include warrantees around the quality of the building that business is being conducted out of – including the existence of earthquake insurance cover.

So what does this mean?

It means that the Wellington CBD property market is frozen. The only purchasers are ones which are buying with cash. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of distressed mortgaged unit title and company share owners in the city.

It means rentals are falling and landlords are getting creative.

A good description of the problem.

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Secret snapping

February 1st, 2012 at 8:22 pm by David Farrar

APNZ report at NZ Herald:

A reporter from the website Scoop will resign from Parliament’s press gallery after being caught photographing documents in Labour leader David Shearer’s office.

Lyndon Hood was among a number of journalists waiting in the office for an interview with Mr Shearer yesterday afternoon, and was spotted taking photos of documents on the leader’s desk by a Labour Party press secretary.

That is a real shame – both for Lyndon whose better judgement deserted him, but also for media/politican relations generally.

Just as MPs should be able to have a conversation without worrying if someone has a concealed recorder at their table, MPs should be able to have media come into their office and not worry about if they may photograph any documents on their desk.

I understand Labour have recently removed access for journalists to enter their corridors in Parliament. If this is correct, you can’t criticise them for that.

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Parliament Today

October 28th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Scoop have set up a specialist “Parliament Today” site which has audio summaries, questions, and articles. A great resource.

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Fibre to the Door

April 12th, 2010 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

There is a discussion on Scoop about what people would do with fibre to the home, sponsored by Vector’s fibre to the door campaign.

For me there are four major things it would allow me to do:

  1. Video Conferencing. I don’t mean through a webcam on Skype. I mean full steroids video conferencing through my TV set.  Just as I have 50 TV channels, I want 50 video conferencing pre-sets. I want it so I can push four buttons and be immediately connected to a five-way video conference. That would allow me to work at home far more, and travel far less.
  2. Remote File Access. I can access files on a remote server now. For example I used to be able to remote access the National Party HQ server. But it would take me a couple of minutes to connect, and copying or opening files was deadly slow. What I want with fibre to the home is that files on my office server open as quickly as if I was on the office LAN. Potentially I even want all my files stored on the Internet and I can access them from anywhere almost as quickly as if they were on my laptop.
  3. TV and Movies on demand. With fibre speeds to the home, I want to be able to push a button or two and for (hopefully) $1 or so, a movie will start playing in real time, or maybe the series finale of MASH or the 1963 first episode of Dr Who.
  4. A LAN in every house. With fibre to the door, the logical thing is to wire up the house. So then one can view your security camera remotely. You can switch on or off the power to any heaters or appliances. You can grab files off your desktop PC while travelling. You can even turn on a light to keep burglars away. Over time, most of your appliances will be IP connected.

So they’re my four things I want to be able to do. I’m sure there are many more.

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Blog Advertising

April 24th, 2009 at 9:50 am by David Farrar

John Drinnan in the Herald looks at the Powershop advertising on Scoop and Public Address and Kiwiblog.

People may be amused to know that originally they wanted all three of us to be photoshopped as “Che Guevara“. I said that I didn’t think me dressing up as a left wing torturing and executing revolutionary leader would go down too well here, so they made me Uncle Sam instead :-)

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Humour from Scoop

April 1st, 2009 at 5:34 am by David Farrar

hulkcollins

Lyndon Hood at Scoop has a very funny piece of Judith Collins as The Hulk. Extracts:

Collins ANGRY!

Collins hear car! It loud car!

Collins see boy in car!

Car shiny?

Car shiny!

Him BOY RACER!

Collins fine racer? No! Him not pay fine already!

Collins impound car? No!!

Collins Crush car! Collins CRUSH!

Why Collins impound when Collins can POUND?

Collins Smash! Collins Destroy! COLLINS CRUSH!! Rargh!!

Heh.

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Surviving as a Small Business

February 27th, 2009 at 2:57 pm by David Farrar

Over at Public Address, there are guest posts and discussions on surviving the recession as a small business.

The first post is by Scoop’s Alastair Thompson and a second one by Xero’s Rod Drury. Xero are sponsoring the discussion about business survival strategies, and advertising its existence on this blog, and others.

We also had a discussion at Foo Camp (I’ll explain later what that is) about business surivival strategies, and it is fascinating how many good and practical ideas there might be out there. So if you have ideas, or are interested in the area, go on over to Public Address and join the conversation.

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Final set of Sevens photos

February 11th, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Scoop put up on Monday its Sevens photos – here, here and here. Some favourites below:

scoop1

Pure in white.

scoop2

The Punishers!

scoop3

They should have won a prize!

scoop4

I thought I saw a ….

scoop5

So where’s Tarzan?

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Scoop’s electorate predictions

November 20th, 2008 at 10:27 pm by David Farrar

I blogged the predictions Scoop made before the election for the electorates. Figure one should see how they went. This was the original article. I am only scoring seats which were seen as close.

  • Waitakere: This considered, it is difficult to predict for whom the Waitakere bell is likely to toll. Be ready to see a close result within 1000 votes either side. Prediction: Wins for National’s Key,and Labour’s Cunliffe, Carter, and Pillay. Wrong. Score 0/1
  • Auckland Central: Prediction: Tizard will lose Auckland Central by around 2000 votes. Correct. Score 1/2
  • Maungakiekie: Look for National to win Maungakiekie by around 1500 votes.. Correct. Score 2/3
  • Hamilton West: Prediction: Too close to call. Incorrect – Macindoe by 1,500. Score 2/4
  • Taupo: Prediction: As credible and affable as Mark Burton is, his political days have already peaked and Taupo looks set to become blue. Correct. Score 3/5
  • Tauranga: Prediction: Look for Pankhurst to poll third behind Winston Peters, who in turn will lose to Bridges by at least 3000 votes. Correct even though was over 10,000 votes. Score 4/6
  • Rotorua: Prediction: Look for National’s Todd McClay. And he did. Score 5/7
  • New Plymouth: Prediction: Do not be surprised if the result in New Plymouth is closer that one would expect. Harry will be back, but National will comfortably outpoll Labour here in the all important party vote. Incorrect – Harry’s gone. Score 5/8
  • Palmerston North: Prediction: Polish the shoes Iain, you are Parliament-bound.. Correct. Score 6/9
  • Otaki: Prediction: Don’t worry Darren, you’ll lose your support-base but at 19 on the Labour list, you’re back in with a grin. Correct. Score 6/9
  • Wellington: In Wellington there will be no change worth getting excited about. Labour is heading for comfortable wins in Rongotai (Annette King), Wellington Central (Grant Robertson), Mana (Winnie Laban), Hutt South (Trevor Mallard), and Rimutaka (Chris Hipkins). Correct for WC and Rimutaka so 8/11
  • WCT: Prediction: Damien, you have a slim chance thanks to Auchinvole. Damien lost. Score 8/12
  • Waimakariri: Prediction: Cosgrove by a whisker thanks to Waimak still being a bloke’s kind of place. Correct. Score 9/13
  • Chch Ctl: Prediction: Too close to call but if the Cantabrians are not feeling too parochial, then Duke, you might just get the nod! Correct. Score 10/14

10/14 isn’t too bad, and Scoop also gets big kudos for actually making hard predictions.

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Scoop’s predictions

November 4th, 2008 at 7:35 am by David Farrar

Scoop have done a very long and superb article focusing on the election and individual electorates including predictions of  who will win what electorate. Also some insights into how Clark will keep Goff from becoming Leader:

Publicly and within the media, Phil Goff is seen as Helen Clark’s most likely successor.

Clearly he has prime ministerial and leadership qualities. Politically, he’s savvy. He’s young enough to progress the country forward to a new level. He is more of a pragmatist than most National MPs, but sounder on human rights and justice. Once free to display to the public the leadership talents that he currently keeps clothed, Phil Goff would likely counter the populist lures of National’s leader John Key. Surely, Labourites would fall in behind to assure a chance at challenging National’s rise – albeit post-election and after Helen Clark…

But the factional whispers talk of a different future for Labour. Sources suggest earlier this year the feminists and unionists forged a pact. Scenarios were shaped. The rainbow block was pulled in close. The word was: Helen Clark would be secure until she chose to leave – irrespective of whether Labour was in government or opposition. Seems fair and only right considering the talent she offers.

But a plan was sprung.

First off, the unionists moved to have Mark Gosche become Labour Party president after Mike Williams departs after the election. After-Clark, the unionists and feminists and the rainbows will move to block the Goff-camp from taking leadership. They will shuffle David Cunliffe as a contender. The feminists move Maryan Street forward as a contender for deputy leadership. Ruth Dyson and Street will be the powerbrokers and the unionists will want to fast-track Andrew Little into parliament and then through the ranks. Phil Twyford would be a front runner for the Mt Albert electorate – again should Helen Clark eventually step down.

Read the full thing, but this is the summary of their predictions. Seat changes are bolded:

  • Northland: National holds Far North, Whangarei and Rodney
  • West Auckland: Key holds Helensville. Carter and Cunliffe hold Te Atatu and New Lynn. Waitkaere to be close with Pillay holding on with under 1,000
  • North Shore: National holds East Coast Bays, North Shore and Northcote whose majority will be at least 4,000
  • Auckland City: Clark holds Mt Albert easily. Goff holds Mt Roskill by around 4,000. Peachey holds Tamaki by 10,000 or more. Hide to retain Epsom. They predict Nikki Kaye to win Auckland Central by 2,000 votes. Also Pesata Sam Lotu-Inga to win Maungakiekie by 1,500 votes.
  • South Auckland: Labour holds Mangere, Manurewa and Manukau East – with Field losing by a large number in Mangere, Hawkins by 4,000 and Robertson by his largest ever majority. Williamson to win Pakuranga and Pansy Wong to win Botany with over 60% of the vote. Collins to win Papakura even though it should be a Labour seat. Hutchison to win Port Waikato
  • Waikato: Ardern to hold Taranaki-King Country. Tisch to win Waikato by 10,000 or more. Goudie to hold Coromandel. Hamilton West too close to call between Gallagher and Macindoe.  Hamilton East to return Bennett by 5,000 or more. Louise Upston to win Taupo. Simon Bridges to beat Winston Peters by at least 3,000. Ryall to hold Bay of Plenty by 12,000. Tolley to hold East Coast by 6,000. In Rotorua Todd McClay to win by 3,000 votes.
  • Central North Island: In New Plymouth Duynhoven will hold on but result may be closer than one would expect. Borrows to retain Whanganui by 5,000 votes. Iain Lees-Galloway to hold Palmerston North for Labour. Nathan Guy to beat Darren Hughes in Otaki. In Napier Tremain to win with Labour distant second. Foss to extend his majority in Tukituki. Hayes to extend majority also in Wairarapa. Power to increase majority by 20% in Rangitikei.
  • Wellington: Labour to retain Rongotai, Wellington Central, Mana, Hutt South and Rimutaka.  Dunne to hold Ohariu.
  • South Island: National to hold Kaikoura, Nelson, Selwyn, Rangitata, Waitaki, Clutha-Southland and Invercargill. West Coast-Tasman very close but O’Connor with a slim lead.  In Christchurch Labour holds Port Hills and Christchurch East easily. Brownlee romps home in Ilam and Anderton rettains Wigram for life. In Waimakariri they predict Cosgrove will hold off Wilkinson – but only by a whisker. For Christchurch Central they say it is too close to call but suggest Burns comes through if voters are not too parochial. Hodgson and Curran to win Dunedin North and South respectively.
  • Maori Seats: No predictions, just reported poll results

I can’t comment in detail on what seats I think will change hands but will say there isn’t too much I disagree with Scoop on – however I do certainly differ in three or four seats, so will be interesting to see.

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MPs survey of the media

September 29th, 2008 at 3:20 pm by David Farrar

Last week I set up an online survey for MPs, asking them to rate various media organisations and senior gallery journalists on a scale of 0 to 10. Just under one quarter of MPs responded, and the results are shown below.

As the media often rate how well MPs are doing, I thought it appropriate to reverse this and ask the questions in reverse. The media are a hugely powerful filter, and it is appropriate (in my opinion) to have some focus on how well they are perceived to be performing.

The questions were:

  1. For each media organisation please give them a rating from 0 to 10 for how well you think they do in their parliamentary reporting. This should take account of all relevant factors – accuracy, fairness, thoroughness, relevance, substance etc.
  2. Now for some individual senior members of the press gallery, please rate from 0 to 10 how well you think they perform at proving fair, accurate, unbiased and informative reporting on Parliament. You can skip any that you do not feel able to rate.
  3. Finally can you indicate your party grouping as National, Labour or Other. Your individual identity is not sought by us, and we have no way or interest in identifying individual respondents. However we would like to summarise results for all MPs and by the three groupings to see if they vary by party grouping.

It is important that these be read in context, so make the following points:

  1. This is the opinion of MPs only. It does not set out to be an objective rating, and should not be seen as such.
  2. MPs get reported on by the gallery. While this makes them the group of NZers potentially best able to have an informed opinion on the media (which is why I surveyed them), it also gives them a conflict of interest. MPs may score journalists lowly due to personal run ins with them, or the fact they are too good at their job! This should be borne in mind.
  3. I only e-mailed the survey to the 121 MPs, but it is possible that one or more responses was filled in by a staff member who has access to the MPs mailbox. I think this is unlikely, as most staff are very professional. However MPs were not required to prove their identity to vote, as confidentiality of individual responses was important. You need to know the Survey URL to be able to vote.
  4. National MPs made up 43% of responses, slightly above their numbers in Parliament. Minor Party MPs were also slightly over-represented, Labour MPs under-represented and some MPs did not give a party identification.
Media Mean Median Mode Minimum Maximum Range
NZ Press Assn 6.1 6 6 4 9 5
Newsroom 5.8 6 5 1 10 9
Trans-Tasman 5.5 6 6 0 8 8
NZ Herald 5.3 6 6 0 8 8
Scoop 5.2 5 5 0 10 10
Newstalk ZB 5.1 6 7 1 8 7
Listener 5.0 5 3 1 8 7
NBR 4.9 4 4 1 8 7
Radio NZ 4.8 6 3 1 9 8
Radio Live 4.4 5 1 1 8 7
Sky/Prime News 4.3 5 5 0 7 7
The Press 4.2 5 1 1 7 6
TV Three 4.1 5 6 0 8 8
Dominion Post 4.1 4.5 1 1 7 6
TV One 3.9 5 5 0 6 6
Maori TV 3.7 4 5 0 6 6
Herald on Sunday 3.5 3.5 7 0 7 7
Sunday Star-Times 2.7 3 3 0 5 5

NZ Press Association tops the rankings with a mean or average 6.1 rating – and received no very low ratings from anyone. The two Internet agencies were in the top five, indicating MPs like the fact their releases are carried in full. Trans-Tasman also does well.

Television generally gets ranked lowly with all four stations in the bottom half. Sky News actually ranks highest.

Radio is middle of the field with NewstalkZB being the highest ranked radio broadcaster.

The newspapers range the spectrum. The NZ Herald is up at 5.3, Press at 4.2 and Dom Post at 4.1. I would have them all higher, but this is a survey of MPs, not of my views.

Now the sample sizes are of course very small (but of a limited population) but let us look at how National MPs ranked media compared to all the other MPs:

Media All Mean Nats Mean Others Mean Difference
TV One 3.9 6.3 2.2 4.2
TV Three 4.1 6.2 2.6 3.6
Maori TV 3.7 5.2 2.5 2.7
Sky/Prime News 4.3 5.5 3.3 2.2
Sunday Star-Times 2.7 3.5 2.1 1.4
Radio Live 4.4 4.8 4.2 0.6
Radio NZ 4.8 5.0 4.6 0.4
Dominion Post 4.1 4.2 4.0 0.2
Herald on Sunday 3.5 3.5 3.5 0.0
Newstalk ZB 5.1 4.8 5.4 -0.6
The Press 4.2 3.8 4.6 -0.8
NZ Herald 5.3 4.2 6.1 -1.9
NBR 4.9 3.3 6.1 -2.8
Listener 5.0 3.3 6.3 -3.0
NZ Press Assn 6.1 4.3 7.4 -3.1
Trans-Tasman 5.5 3.3 7.1 -3.8
Scoop 5.2 2.8 7.0 -4.2
Newsroom 5.8 3.0 8.0 -5.0

National MPs ranked the four TV channels much higher than other MPs did. Maybe this is minor parties upset that they do not get on TV much?

Despite the generally accepted lean to the left of Radio NZ, National MPs ranked Radio NZ higher than other MPs did. And while some on the left attack the NZ Herald at favouring National, National MPs actually ranked them lower than other MPs did. The Listener and NBR also get accused of leaning right, but again get ranked lower by National MPs.

The Nat MPs also rated the online media very lowly.

Now the journalists. I decided not to list all members of the press gallery, but only those who are relatively senior, and are more likely to have a reasonable number of MPs have formed opinions about them. Looking back I could have included more.

If any journalist is unhappy about being missed out, happy to include you next year. Now again it is worth remembering these are only the opinions of those MPs who responded to my survey – it is not an objective rating.

Journalist Mean Median Mode Minimum Maximum Range
John Armstrong (NZH) 6.4 7 2 2 10 8
Peter Wilson (NZPA) 5.8 5 5 3 8 5
Audrey Young (NZH) 5.7 6.5 7 0 10 10
Ian Templeton (TT) 5.6 7 7 0 9 9
Jane Clifton (Listener) 5.6 6 6 2 9 7
Barry Soper (Sky & ZB) 4.9 5.5 7 1 9 8
Ian Llewellyn (NZPA) 4.9 5 5 1 8 7
Vernon Small (DP) 4.6 5 6 1 8 7
Colin Espiner (Press) 4.5 5 6 0 8 8
Guyon Espiner (TV1) 4.4 5.5 7 0 7 7
Tim Donoghue (DP) 4.1 4.5 2 1 9 8
Brent Edwards (RNZ) 4.1 4 4 0 7 7
Tracy Watkins (DP) 3.8 4.5 6 0 7 7
Duncan Garner (TV3) 3.7 3.5 3 0 8 8
Gordon Campbell (Scoop) 3.6 5 5 0 7 7
Ruth Laugeson (SST) 2.7 2.5 2 0 6 6

John Armstrong tops the ratings, followed by the NZPA Political Editor Peter Wilson. Generally MPs ranked journalists slightly higher than media organisations. As can be seen by the minimum ratings showing, some MPs were very harsh handing out zeroes. Did WInston multiple vote? :-) (Note I have no idea if Winston did vote)

And once again we compare responses between National MPs and other MPs.

Journalist All Mean Nats Mean Others Mean Difference
Laugeson 2.7 4.2 1.6 2.6
Clifton 5.6 7.0 4.5 2.5
Soper 4.9 6.2 4.0 2.2
Campbell 3.6 4.8 2.8 2.0
Edwards 4.1 4.8 3.5 1.3
Llewellyn 4.9 5.2 4.7 0.5
Young 5.7 6.0 5.5 0.5
Garner 3.7 3.5 3.9 -0.4
Espiner G 4.4 4.2 4.6 -0.4
Wilson 5.8 5.5 6.0 -0.5
Armstrong 6.4 6.0 6.8 -0.8
Watkins 3.8 3.0 4.4 -1.4
Donoghue 4.1 3.2 4.9 -1.7
Small 4.6 3.2 5.6 -2.4
Espiner C 4.5 2.8 5.8 -3.0
Templeton 5.6 1.8 8.5 -6.7

Again very interesting. The SST is generally seen as hostile to National, but Ruth Laugeson is ranked much higher by National MPs, than by other MPs. Likewise the Gordon Campbell and Brent Edwards (both left leaning) are ranked higher by National MPs than other MPs.

Also for some reasons National MPs ranked Ian Templeton very lowly. Maybe they don’t like his weekly chats with Clark and Key, ignoring the lesser MPs?

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Scoop’s Campbell on Privileges

September 10th, 2008 at 2:13 pm by David Farrar

Some good analysis from Gordon Campbell at Scoop:

With hindsight – or even you’d think, with foresight – it was not a great idea for Michael Cullen to be leading the Labour bloc’s attempt to dent Owen Glenn’s testimony to the privileges committee. It only made Cullen, Russell Fairbrother, and Paul Swain look like they were doing legal work for Winston Peters pro bono, by challenging Glenn’s powers of recall. That is not the position the Clark government should be taking, right now.

Yes the pro bono legal team for Peters, I like it.

Wheeling up Cullen, Labour’s big gun and deputy chair of the privileges committee for the task of trying to trip up Glenn’s recall and command of detail only had a vague chance of triggering a meltdown – or boilover – from the billionaire witness. Tackling Glenn about who phoned who and spoke to whom back in 2005 also never looked like overturning the basic issue of whether Peters had gone out actively soliciting the money. The Labour effort just looked like nitpicking, or worse.

Cullen spent minutes obsessed over whether Glenn called Peters back or Peters called again in relation to an earlier phone call (not the one that triggered the donation).

Being faithful to the laws of natural justice and due process is all very well. Yet the government’s fidelity to Peters is starting to look suicidal and willful. Leave it too late – and we have probably gone past that point already – and sacking Peters will just look like rats leaving a sinking ship.

The Government could have established the truth about this issue many months ago. They have no one to blame for dragging it out, but themselves.

That was why the Glenn appearance in person, was so crucial. Before then, there was still an outside chance that the committee could be plausibly uncertain on the issue of credibility between Peters and Glenn. If so, the committee’s findings would have split along party lines – thus leaving Peters an escape route with the voters. Not any more. The balance of credibility has tilted decisively, in Glenn’s favour.

Yep. Even Helen is backing away her preposterous “innocent explanation” stance.

Barring miracles from Peters in his rebuttal testimony tonight, this episode is all but over. What Glenn produced was a timeline fleshed out by email and telephone records. While those records were incomplete on certain fine points – as in, was it Peters ‘or someone from New Zealand First’ who contacted Glenn in late November 2005 ? But from then on through the crucial period in December 2005, Glenn’s oral evidence and supportive email/telephone records were credible, and utterly damning to Peters.

Yep.

By way of collateral damage, the Glenn testimony has heightened the prospect of Clark being asked to appear before the privileges committee.

She should be asked to appear, so she can testify whether or not Mike Williams had any discussions with her at all in 2005 over the desirability of Owen Glenn helping out NZ First and/or Winston Peters.

The Glenn testimony also achieved what the partisan politicking by National could not do. It has linked the Peters affair to Labour in detail and in spirit, and has made the government’s behaviour towards one of its main party donors look desperately shabby. As Glenn told John Campbell on TV3, these are not the sort of people you’d want alongside you in the trenches. Because they would push you out.

And probably gnaw on your bones afterwards!

In December 2005, Williams may have given a green light for the donation only in general terms, and was almost certainly not privy to the subsequent transaction – but this happened in circumstances where he would have been fairly sure the transaction would proceed The nature of the nine floor gossip mill also makes it inconceivable that the upper echelons of the government’s parliamentary wing would not have subsequently known informally about the Glenn donation to Peters …

Of course. Williams hold back on details of donors to Labour, but something affecting a parliamentary partner would be notified to the leadership.

… the subsequent tactical choice by Labour to try and denigrate Glenn is unfortunately, all too typical. Someone, someday may make a list of the people the Labour government has abandoned over the course of this decade in the name of expediency, and its own survival. Karmically, one of those people who was being fitted for the dud parachute has now struck back. Winston, barring miracles, will be the next to be jettisoned.

That would be a long list.

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The Immigration Bill and torture

July 10th, 2008 at 10:23 am by David Farrar

I’m actually supportive of most aspects of the Government’s Immigration Bill. The current system is explited by lawyers so that simple cases takes the best part of a decade to resolve.

However there are some worrying aspects, ably covered by Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn and Gordon Campbell at Scoop.

In a welcome move, the Immigration Bill does enshrine various UN conventions – including the Convention Against Torture – in our domestic law. However, in my earlier post, I outlined how the Immigration Bill violates key provisions of that same UN Convention Against Torture – by, for instance requiring ( see clause 122b ) an asylum seeker to prove they would face a worse risk of torture if returned home, than would be usual in their country.

The test should not (and is not under the UN convention) a worse risk of torture than other citizens, but whether there is any significant risk at all.

Ironically it means the more despotic a regime is, the more easily one could deport people back there as if they torture and maim everyone with impunity then you are at no worse risk.

I am sure that this clause will be changed, but you do have to worry about how it got in there in the first place.

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Campbell interviews Dunne

June 17th, 2008 at 12:16 pm by David Farrar

Scoop’s Gordon Campbell continues his series of interviews with party leaders. This one is with Peter Dunne.

Campbell: The evidence for the prosecution would be the story that you started reading Hansard when you were twelve –

Dunne : Fourteen.

Good God, I didn’t start until university!

Campbell: Do you think any of the Christian-based parties will cross the 5 % threshold this year?

Dunne : No. United Future is not in that camp, not any more.

Campbell: You’ve been through your prayer meeting phase ?

Dunne : Well, we were never really in it. I certainly wasn’t. But we had some people who imagined that United Future could become New Zealand’s version of the Taliban.

Harsh rhetoric, but similar to what Mark Blumsky said, based on his experiences there also.

Dunne: Yes, and my own view is, that in today’s circumstances for a whole variety of reasons, technology being amongst them, the procedure of a woman, her doctor and two certifying consultants is somewhat cumbersome. I think probably, you should be looking at the woman, her doctor and informed consent. I have a very strong view that – and I appreciate the moral issue involved here – but the moral issue is actually the individual’s morals. I don’t think it’s a matter of the state imposing a moral code. I mean, there is a moral dimension as to whether you should have an abortion and that issue is still there – but that’s not a call that the state should be seeking to make on behalf of the people involved.

A pretty sensible view in my opinion.

Campbell: You’ve governed with Roger Douglas before. Would you like to again?

Dunne : No.

Campbell: Why not?

Dunne : Roger was dynamic to work with in the circumstances of the 1980s, which was big ideas, bold change et etc. The problem with Roger and the whole Act Party is that they’re trapped in a time warp, at the point when Roger was sacked. The world has moved on. The implicit mantra is that if we all went back to 1987 and picked up where we left off, things would be different. Its rubbish.

ACT people won’t like this, but Dunne does have a point here. There is sometimes a lack of reality about where NZ is at today, as compared to 20 years ago. The sense of crisis of the 1980s is not the same challenges we face today.

Campbell: If the Emissions Trading Scheme involves any extra costs whatsoever to taxpayers, would you oppose it?

Dunne : I want to know what those extra costs are, for a start.

Campbell: Understood. But from your statements, it sounds as if there is anything at all extra on household costs. you will oppose –

Dunne : If there’s anything extra that is not properly compensated then yes, we would oppose it.

Pretty clear.

Campbell: Is there one thing left that you want to achieve before you leave Parliament ?

Dunne : My personal biggest ambition in whatever time remains to me is the whole question of national identity, constitutional change and the path towards a republic. On the weekend I set out a timetable by which we could, if not get there, at last resolve the issues…. by 2017.

And that would be good. Labour’s shattering on the constitutional conventions over electoral law have pushed me 100% towards supporting a written constitution, to safeguard fundamental rights.

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Kiwiblog Advertising

June 12th, 2008 at 11:33 am by David Farrar

I’m pleased to announce that advertising on Kiwiblog is now handled by Scoop Media. They do advertising for their own news site, plus Kiwiblog and Public Address, so online advertisers can easily advertise on all three sites, or pick individual ones.

Kiwiblog is not cheap to run. Putting aside my own time, Inspire Net spend may hours supporting the site, doing upgrades and providing a grunty server to host it. Oh yeah plus 100 GB or so of traffic a month. So they now get a portion of the advertising revenue as compensation.

Please do support the advertisers, if you are interested in their goods or services.

And anyone interested in advertising should contact Chloe at Scoop.

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Scoop interviews Russel Norman

May 20th, 2008 at 3:16 pm by David Farrar

I am enjoying the series of party leaders being interviewed by Gordon Campbell for Scoop. Last week it was Russel Norman. Campbell used to work for the Greens in Parliament, but he was very fair in my opinion:

Campbell: So what do the Greens think is a realistic price per ton for carbon?

Norman: I think $30 per ton is realistic for the moment. But its highly likely it will go up. Its an international market, and there are no guarantees around it.

$30 a tonne is higher (off memory – Treasury website is down) that what the NZ Govt is using. I suspect it will go much much higher.

Campbell: At the moment the cost of the first part of Kyoto 1 is either half a billion or double that. By paying whichever it is, by how much will we reduce global warming?

Norman: Our emissions are obviously a small part of the emissions, so we’re a small player. The true role for New Zsdaland is in contributing to a global system. And even the entire Kyoto system if everyone meets their targets, it won’t make a massive contribution at all. It’s the first step. What makes Kyoto important is establishing a system. And that’s the danger. If Kyoto goes down, we can’t make it better.

In fact even if every single country makes it Kyoto targets, the impact on world temperatures by 2050 will be just 0.07 of a degree.

Campbell: Given the contribution New Zealand taxpayers will in all likelihood be making, you’re saying it won’t affect the rate of global warming…would it say, make a 1 per cent difference ?

Norman: No, it won’t make anything like 1 per cent. We’re only O.2 percent of all emissions globally. The two things that are difficult about this is one, the time lags involved and two, that it requires global co-operation – and the Kyoto system is the first step towards global co-operation.

That means that us making our Kyoto target will by 2050 lead to the average world temperature being 0.00014 of a degree lower than otherwise would be the case. So if the average temperature was going to be 19C, it would instead by 18.99986C. The good people of Naaru will thank us.

This is not a reason to do nothing, but a useful reminder that a scheme without China and India in it will have limited effect.

Campbell: Politically, do you see the difficulty in asking New Zealand families and households to pay half a billion at best into this, or three or four times that figure at worst? For something that will make precious little difference if any to the fate of the planet and whose main effect will be to foster global co-operation?

Norman: Well, I don’t accept your premises. I don’t think New Zealand households should pay. I think the polluters should pay. And the prime polluter that is getting off is the agriculture sector. Dairy should pay its share.

Is there not just a small possibility that those costs might end up being passed on to households? You know with higher petrol prices etc? It is a nice slogan, but not the reality. In some areas like dairy extra costs may not affect prices as there is a global market at play, but in many it will be passed onto households.

Campbell: So from what you’re saying, if the Greens are in government after the next election, it will be asking farmers to pay the full costs of its emissions much sooner ?

Norman: : Yeah…and its actually in a good position to reduce its emissions. The technology already exists. Its just nuts. They’re half of our emissions, and we’re saying the sector doesn’t have to do anything.

Campbell: Excuse me, but the technology to reduce methane emissions doesn’t exist at the moment.

Norman: The technology to reduce nitrous oxide emissions exists at the moment, with nitrification inhibitors.

Campbell: But they don’t work so well on hill country terrain. You can’t extrapolate from the success of nitrification inhibitors in low country farming and say the technology to reduce agricultural emnissions currently exists. It doesn’t deal at all with the methane.

Norman: Yeah. That’s right. What we’re trying to do here is reduce emissions back to 1990 levels. We’re not trying to reduce them to zero. Different components when put together, produce a reduction in greenhouse emissions. Organic farming for instance, produces a lot less greenhouse emissions. A price signal to agriculture will help people to adopt them.

One advantage of being a former Green staffer is Campbell clearly knows his facts in this area, and was able to challenge Russel’s assertions on technology. All too rare in the media.

Campbell: What do you think the main priority for centre left voters will be – to get Labour back, or to ensure the Greens are there to keep them honest?

Norman: I think there’s 10% per cent of the population who are very sympathetic to the Greens, and want to make sure the Greens are there. There’s a significant proportion who will make sure the Greens get back. I think we’ll do better, actually.

This is what amazed me – they are so unambitious in terms of the vote. They have actually been up to 10% in some opinion polls, so should be setting a far bigger target. If they don’t want to be a perpetual doormat for Labour they should be aiming to gain enough votes so that it is impossible to form a centre-left Government without them.

But they seem not to want this. They just want their 6% – 10%, which will mean they can be marginalised again.

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Rodney Hide interview

May 9th, 2008 at 10:41 am by David Farrar

Scoop has an in depth interview with Rodney Hide. This is what I like about online media – one can see a full transcript. Some interesting extracts:

Campbell : So you consider yourself a libertarian?

Hide : Yeah.

Campbell : But you don’t regard taxation, in principle, as theft ?

Hide : I don’t see that argument helps. Saying that something is theft. Because technically. it isn’t. I understand that taxation is a compulsory taking – but its not theft in the sense that…however you look at it, Parliament has made it legal. It doesn’t make it right.

Campbell : So it is wrong in principle, but OK in law?

Hide : Having excessive tax of course is wrong in principle. But I don’t think saying that taxation is theft is correct. Our definition in New Zealand of what is theft is : what is against the law. And amazingly, our Parliament makes…you know, tax legal. I don’t think its on the cards that we could live in a totally voluntary society, where there is no tax.

Don’t tell Lindsay Perigo that Rodney called himself a libertarian, but I think he gets it right when he says some tax is okay, but excessive taxation is wrong. Taxation is a privilege, not a right!

Campbell : I’ll re-phrase. Do you see human beings as being responsible for the global warming that the IPCC sees as occurring right now ?

Hide : OK, that’s a better question. Um… whether its anthropogenic. I think there is an influence. I think its arguable how much. And that’s not clear. We do not know the exact influence that humans have had on the world’s climate. It requires a theoretical understanding largely based on models. If we accept the IPCC – which isn’t a bad starting point, right? The political question is what then do we do? I think that has two components. The first is that we have to worry seriously about our trade, and our international standing because we could find ourselves very easily shut out of the world. Which would be horrific. So we’ve got to be, to use the phrase, ‘ global citizens’ on this one. I think Kyoto One was a mistake.

It is worth reading the full exchange. Like the religion it has become, Rodney was asked if he “believes” in global warming. He refused to play ball and kept pointing out the wrong questions were being asked until a sensible question was asked.

Campbell : Some people use private schools and healthcare. Would Act give them a tax break for doing so, and why?

Hide : Better than that, we would actually provide the full amount for everyone. So we think the state shouldn’t have a preference for state schools over private schools. So we think we should fund every child and that means essentially a scholarship for every child. So those who are already sending their child to an independent school would basically receive the money they are saving today, by sending their children there. Parents currently sending their children to a state school would have the option of sending their child to an independent school, without the financial burden that’s there at present.

Campbell : Isn’t that just education vouchers by another name?

Hide : Sure.

Nice to see an MP not try and do an Orwellian spin.

Campbell : Can you tell me exactly how educational vouchers would lift everyone’s boat, and raise educational outcomes nationwide?

Hide : Sure. This is the experience since 1992 in Sweden. Which is hardly a shining bastion of libertarianism. Or freedom. But they adopted Act’s policy in 1992. To show you how effective its been, all the political parties in their Parliament now support it. The only party to oppose it are the former Communists. Why they found was…only a small percentage, and I forget the number of students, took advantage of the opportunity to shift schools, But as soon as schools were in danger of losing their roll, they actually lifted their game and they took parents seriously.

Where new schools most appeared were in the disadvantaged areas – most obviously amongst the new immigrant areas. Which is quite logical. Where people are sort of well off, well heeled and well incomed even within the state school system they get schools that are, you know, good. Where you find poor areas you find it harder to maintain even a decent state school, And where you have minority cultural groups that don’t necessarily reflect their requirements for education….and so, that’s what happened in Sweden.

This hits the nail on the road. When you get stronger incentives to perform, then performance lifts. Anyone who argues that incentives don’t influence behaviour, has little experience outside a textbook.

Campbell : Could you clarify for me – is Sir Roger intimating to you that he’d like to be in an electable position on the party list?

Hide : Yes.

Campbell : So one could expect him to be two or three – not nine or ten?

Hide :Well, I’m thinking and not because I disrespect Roger…but I’m thinking five or six. Because I want people…if they want Roger in Parliament, to vote for the party. And I also want Roger to come back into Parliament and have some influence. And that requires we get more MPs. But that will be a decision for Sir Roger, and for other members in the board, not for the leader to dictate the list.

I have long suspected he would be placed at around No 6, to encourage people to give ACT 5%. Whether they will, is quite another matter.

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Two new blog features

April 28th, 2008 at 11:06 am by David Farrar

Firstly one can now “Scoopit” each post.

If you like a particular post, you can click on the Scoopit button at the bottom right of each post, and it will place it on Scoop’s Scoopits page, which will bring it to the attention of Scoop readers. It’s sort of similiar to the karma for comments, in that the mroe people who click on scoopit for a post, the higher up it goes in Scoops’ ratings.

Secondly the blog now displays after your name, the number of comments you have made. Some of you are prolific!

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Text Adventures in Politics

April 24th, 2008 at 10:30 am by David Farrar

Lyndon Hood has a very amusing feature at Scoop where NZ Politics is a text adventure. Extracts:

There is a small mailbox here.

> open mailbox

Opening the mailbox reveals a leaflet.

> get leaflet

Taken.

> examine leaflet

I see nothing special about the leaflet.

> See if leaflet breaches electoral finance act

I don’t understand that.

> You’re not the only one. …

A HUGE GREEN FIERCE SNAKE BARS THE WAY!

> kill snake

WITH WHAT? YOUR BARE HANDS?

> slap snake with ‘slippery’ tag

THE TAG STICKS TO THE SNAKE. YOU HAVE INJURED THE SNAKE.

> slap snake with ‘slippery’ tag

YOU ALREADY DID THAT

> slap snake with ‘slippery’ tag

NOTHING HAPPENS

> slap snake with ‘slippery’ tag

NOTHING HAPPENS

> slippery slippery slippery slippery …

and then the conclusion:

NOTHING HAPPENS

> slip-slip-slip-slippery

YOU HAVE BEEN EATEN BY THE SNAKE.

NEW GAME? (Y/N)

> explain snake was suffering from confusion

Read the whole thing. It should become a regular series.

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