Plunket comments cleared

June 30th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A talkback host’s comments describing award-winning New Zealand author Eleanor Catton as an “ungrateful hua” and a “traitor” were not in breach of broadcasting standards.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has declined to uphold two complaints about RadioLive host Sean Plunket’s comments about Catton speaking critically about the National government at a literary festival in India earlier this year.

Plunket called Catton an ‘ungrateful hua’ and a ‘traitor’, amongst other things.

The BSA received complaints that Plunket’s comments constituted “bullying” and a personal attack on Catton.

The authority’s decision said that “the severity of [Plunket’s] attack and the hostility and aggression of the language used? raised the question of whether this attack went too far”.

However, Plunket’s comments did not breach broadcasting standards, it ruled.

Catton was “powerfully exercising her right to freedom of expression and has had to suffer the responses including those from the broadcaster”, the BSA said.

“Conversely, the broadcaster has exercised its right to freedom of expression and it will have suffered consequences from those who objected to what Mr Plunket said and the way in which he said it.”

The decision from the authority considered that “?different views have been expressed and have been evaluated and those who have expressed or broadcast these views have been judged accordingly”.

“This is how we think things are meant to work in a liberal democracy.

“We do not think that our society would be better off if views such as those of the radio host were staunched.”

Another defeat for the opponents of free speech.

Fisher on Radio Live on the Warners e-mail

September 16th, 2014 at 10:59 am by David Farrar

Listen to David Fisher on Radio Live talking about the Warner’s e-mail. Some quotes:

He did not present it at the Town Hall. I think that is extraordinary that we have two and a half years of this … conspiracy theory against me and I’m going to present this evidence. Initially it was going to be at the extradition hearing and then he said it will be on September 15 … Dotcom spent two and a half years saying I’ll show you the evidence, and then not. …

I’ve been following thsi case right from the outset Sean and the feeling I’ve had, the belief I’ve had, my honest belief is that there is not a conspiracy theory. I don’t believe there is any evidence that shows Key knew about Dotcom prior to the raid in January 2012

Fisher is the author of Kim Dotcom’s biography.

Another interesting discussion is whether the Internet Party should declare the cost of the Moment of Truth as a campaign expense, and would this push them over the spending limit? Their expenses return is going to be very closely scrutinised and I’d be very nervous if I was the party secretary.

David Fisher said he has no doubt it should be treated as an expense for the Internet Party.  Plunket also interviewed Andrew Geddis on this issue.

“Prime Time with Sean Plunket” Friday 9.30 P.M.

August 6th, 2014 at 8:58 pm by Kokila Patel

It’s one of the BIG election issues and this Friday night on Prime,  Sean will chair what is certain to be a key election debate. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett will confront Green Co-Leader Metiria Turei on inequality and poverty in NZ. They will be joined by two experts with very different perspectives, Alan Johnson from the Salvation Army, author of The Growing Divide. A State of the Nation Report from the Salvation Army 2012  . And from the faith based Venn Foundation we have its CEO, Greg Fleming, the former CEO of the Maxim Institute.
This will be the first of a series of weekly debates running right through the election — and after. We have some of the country’s top politicians lined up and with Sean’s extensive experience chairing election debate broadcasts, these are going to be must see shows.
And we’ll have a different way for you to win a book each week!

You can also catch up with us on Facebook.
And very shortly we’ll be going live with a  new political news website.

Plunket on positive Wellington

December 22nd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Sean Plunket writes:

Christmas came early for Wellington this past week with the announcement that the next three Avatar movies will be made here.

According to Treasury James Cameron’s apparent largesse might well come at a cost but I haven’t met a single Wellingtonian who doesn’t see it as a positive for this city.

It is a boost for Wellington.

So while this city prepares to turn blue and grow a tail Aucklanders are learning to live with their slick willy mayor and council that can do little to control him and Christchurch finds the kitty for its rebuild isn’t quite big enough to do everything it wants. Take note, John Key: in comparison to other large municipalities this capital city is hardly dying.

To be fair the PM was referring to corporate head offices leaving Wellington, and that is still happening.

We have a second-term mayor who seems to be using the word economy more often and a bunch of councillors who, if not unified, are at least pretty experienced and represent in a positive way our diverse population.

Celia’s performance, so far, has been better this term. Getting rid of some costly CCOs has been welcomed, and the Council seems more harmonious.

We’ve got parking wardens back under the control of our council which will hopefully curb some of the more market-driven excesses of those who patrol the pavements and the council’s living wage policy shows our elected city officials can get together and do the right thing.

On top of that we are building up to the International Festival of the Arts next year and the first sod has been turned on Transmission Gully.

Don’t agree on the living wage but do on the others.

In fact I’d argue there is actually more silver lining than cloud around the harbour capital right now and to repeat my exhortations from earlier in the year I just hope more of us realise that in 2014.

Yep, life in Wellington is pretty good.

Colin Craig needs to stick to the real issues

November 29th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by Jadis

I’ll put it upfront that I am unlikely ever to be a Conservatives voter.  I am far too right wing economically and am a social liberal (most of the time).  However I will take it upon myself to assist the wider public and ask Colin Craig to please get some discipline.  The man who fronted so much of the pro-smacking brigade has a real problem with discipline himself.

The latest is an interview this morning with Sean Plunket Sean asks a simple question about Chem Trails and Colin gives a pretty poor answer:

“I don’t know and when I don’t know I am quite happy to say I don’t know – and apparently this is not the standard Party line that you are expected to know an have a definite view on this.

“I feel it is very honest to say I don’t.”

I don’t have a huge issue with this response.  When he was leader of the Nats Don Brash was well known for saying he wasn’t sure on an issue and that he would get back to a journalist.

The difficulty is Colin then answered Sean’s question about the Twin Towers and said

“it may be more possible (that terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers instead of a government conspiracy)”.

Interesting that he entertains the possibility of a US government conspiracy to kill thousands of Americans.

Colin then goes on to say:

“the real issue if we are talking Monsanto and other very large food corporates is that there is a real issue about food supply, about food labelling about renewable resources about food. I have some concerns about bioengineering, modification of food – I’m not absolutely opposed to it but I think it is a risky track to go down.”  I do not think our food industry should be controlled by one or two big players.”

My issue with Colin is this.  Stop talking about this fluff.  Start talking about the real Conservatives policies, learn to move a question away from the sensational to the sensible.  Please, please start looking credible.  There is a range of issues and policies that Colin should and could be talking about. Here, Colin, I will help out – try this link to the Conservative Party’s web page

And please don’t get all snippy and think Liberals (even fiscal conservatives and social libs like me) are picking on you.  We’re not… you have created all of this all by yourself.  You actually have some important stories to tell and issues to highlight but you keep missing them because, like a magpie, you keep going for the flashy stuff.

Ignore the silly fluff and focus!  You should be challenging Winston.  Instead Winston is biding his time and has no need to comment at all because you are creating vacuums and filling them with stuff that is so, so unnecessary.  When was the last time you even touched an issue that crosses over Winston’s territory?  You simply haven’t because you are asleep at the wheel.

A friend overheard an interesting comment from a neighbouring table in a café the other day “If there’s ever a time to make me vote National, it’s Colin Craig. We need to make sure Nats get 50%”

That sort of comment above  is being said not because the electorate cant take you seriously but because you don’t take yourself seriously.  Time to look like a leader and focus on the real issues, Colin.


* this post is written by Jadis so please don’t lynch poor DPF



Plunket on call for Maori sentences to be shorter

November 25th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Sean Plunket writes:

According to his online CV, lawyer James Rapley specialises in criminal defence litigation and has appeared as counsel in the District and High Courts on numerous high-profile trials involving serious fraud, drug, murder, sexual crimes and other crimes of violence. In May 2004, he began practice as a barrister after working as a senior prosecutor for the Serious Fraud Office and Crown Solicitor’s Office for nearly 10 years. …

He reckons Mika should get a 10 per cent reduction in his manslaughter sentence because he is a Maori.

Most New Zealanders, including most Maori, probably think that is complete bullshit.

I am sure most Maori would.

The High Court judge who sentenced Mika appeared to do so, for while he acknowledged Mika’s personal circumstances, he rejected Mr Rapley’s plea for leniency with these words: “in my view, however, the law in this country is clear that no special discount for race, culture, or ethnicity matters alone is appropriate”.

Sometimes judges can be really sensible.

But the Court of Appeal, which in legal terms is more important than, and senior to the High Court, was convinced by Mr Rapley to rehear his argument for a reduction in Mika’s sentence.

Three Court of Appeal judges considered that appeal this week and rather than reject it as bullshit as most people would, they have reserved their decision.

This may not be significant. I think almost all their decisions are reserved. My worry would be if it goes to the Supreme Court and what Dame Sian might try and convince her peers to find!

I am fairly certain that Mika wasn’t thinking about post-colonial oppression when he boosted a car and left his fatally injured passenger to die on the side of the road back in February and I’m pretty sure he was unaware of the disproportionate number of Maori in prison when he admitted his crimes in the High Court.

We can also safely assume that a 10 per cent reduction in his sentence will do nothing to reduce his chance of reoffending or encourage him to live a less antisocial life.

A 10% reduction in his sentence will I am sure be a 10% reduction in the time taken until he reoffends!

Plunket on jailed activists

October 12th, 2013 at 7:32 am by David Farrar

Sean Plunket writes in the Dom Post:

I’ve never been held in a jail cell but it is, I imagine, not a very pleasant experience. I also imagine Russia would be one of the worst places to find yourself incarcerated, along with North Korea, Myanmar, El Salvador and China.

Certainly the 30 Greenpeace activists from 18 different nations currently held at the pleasure of Vladimir Putin’s government are finding the going pretty rugged.

Among their various complaints is the fact that it is cold, there are some nasty people in jail with them and the guards do not speak English. Well what did they expect – Sky and a sauna?

One cannot imagine that the crew of the Arctic Sunrise headed to the Arctic circle to illegally board an oil drilling rig with the expectation that a country with a long history of state repression and brutality was going to welcome them with open arms, put up its hands and cease drilling for black gold because a bunch of well-intentioned foreigners are worried about global warming, polar bears and whales.

The outcome was rather predictable.

It would have been the height of naivety for the world’s largest multinational protest group to think it could out run or out-manoeuvre a nuclear-armed ex-superpower with one of the largest navies in the world. So we can logically conclude that the Arctic Circle 30, including two Kiwis, set off on their protest with the expectation and indeed the intention of being arrested, quite legally, for breaching the laws of Russia.

In those circumstances the faux outrage Greenpeace is now expressing around the globe can be seen only as part of a carefully planned and executed campaign in which the 30 jailbirds were either willing participants or unwitting pawns.

They would probably have been disappointed if they were not arrested!

Plunket on conspiracy theorists

November 24th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Sean Plunket writes about the complaint to the Press Council (which I blogged about) that he and the Dom Post has to respond to, alleging the moon landings were fake. He notes:

Those who claim the 9/11 attacks were a neo-conservative plot to wrest control of the world’s oil supplies, that no plane ever crashed into the Pentagon and that the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled explosions are (in my honestly held opinion) at risk of being described as nutters.

They are the sort of people who believe fluoride in water is a global conspiracy when it’s actually designed to reduce tooth decay; that the Freemasons are an ancient order seeking global domination when they are actually secular apolitical community clubs like Rotary and Lions; that energy and car companies are deliberately hiding the existence of alternative engine technologies, when they are actually spending millions to develop them; and that our entire society is based on some intricate web of global conspiracy when it is actually just as chaotic, unpredictable and random as it has ever been.

Most conspiracy theorists I know (and I stress I have not met the Moon-landing complainant and so cannot speak to his motivations) are fundamentally unhappy people, often quite intelligent, for whom life has not worked out as they might have hoped.

I think this is very true. Both truthers and birthers for example are very unhappy people, in my observation. Yes, even Donald Trump.

Plunket to replace Laws

October 24th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Dom Post reports:

Broadcaster Sean Plunket will be taking over Michael Laws’ Radio Live show next year.

Laws made the announcement on his talk back show this morning.

The former Whanganui mayor said his replacement was to be Sean Plunket, who would take over the show after March 31.

‘‘I have decided to pursue something new, something, exciting and something that I’ve always wanted to do.’’

Become Deputy Leader of NZ First? 🙂

Radio Live will be interesting with both Plunket and Garner taking up shows there.

A near miss

February 3rd, 2012 at 3:18 pm by David Farrar

Was on Face Off this morning on Wellington ZB hosted by Sean Plunket. The other panelists were Josie Pagani and Greg O’Connor.

Josie and I got there early and went into the studio. Sean had the news break, so left the studio to have a nicotine break.

Josie and I started our normal chatter, which as you can imagine is not always as carefully phrased as when speaking in public. A short time into this, Josie then goes “Does that red light mean we are broadcasting?”.

Yes, Sean had forgotten to turn the microphone off. Very fortunate that Josie noticed the red light in time, as I suspect five minutes of our conversation accidentally broadcast would not have helped either of us!

Plunket in Metro

January 17th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

A hilarious column by Sean Plunket in Metro on the National-ACT negotiations after the election. Worth getting Metro just to read the whole thing. Some extracts:

Banks: Golly it was close, wasn’t it? Great to be back in Parliament as a National… oh, sorry… Act MP. No, no tea, thanks Prime Minister. Anyway boss, what am I here for?”

“So what is it you want Banksy?” queries Key.  “I know you are going to drive a bloody hard bargain, mate”

“Not really,” says Banks. Then adds quizzically, “What do I want?”

“You are one wily old fox, aren’t you, Banksy? Pulling the old I-don’t-know-what-I-want-trick, when I know and you know that you want charter schools.”

“Charter whats?” says Banks.

“Charter schools, Einstein. You know schools where we can blow away the national curriculum, give those pinko teachers the boot and say it’s all in the cause of improving outcomes for kids like you and me who climbed their way to the top despite a failing state education system.”

“Sounds good, Leader. We’ll take it”

One can’t be sure that isn’t how it went, which is what makes it so funny. Then he carries on:

Banks moves towards the door. “If there is nothing else, I’ve got an optician’s appointment to replace those silly glassses.”

“You’ve got me again Banksy!” says Key as he mimes being shot through the heart and falling dead. “The old that’s-all-I-want-and-I’m-on-my-way-trick! You weren’t really just going to walk out the door without even asking for a departmental spending freeze that would require any minister wanting a budget increase to have it approved by Parliament?”

“Yes I was, actually” Banks looks increasingly confused.

“Okay, you can stop twisting my arm now, Banksy. It’s yours.”

And the conclusion:

“I’m happy with that. Is there anything else I want?”

“Oh, there are a couple of other issues you’ll be wanting to hold my feet to the fire on, but why not just sign the agreement here and I’ll get Steven Joyce to fill in the details.”

“Righto, boss. I’ll see you in a couple of years, then.”

Plunket must have been in the room 🙂

Goff savaged

November 24th, 2011 at 1:08 pm by David Farrar

Listen to Goff being savaged on NewstalkZB over his false claims over the Police, where he claimed “all recruitment” for 2012 was canceled due to budget cuts, and in fact the truth is that the January intake has been delayed two months because the attrition rate of Police leaving the force has halved under National (which is great as experienced cops are better than rookies) so they do not need to recruit as quickly.

It is absolutely brutal. You see Goff at his absolute worse – unable to admit he is wrong on anything at all. He would argue black is white. It is just like when he argued the SIS never briefed him despite documented proof they did.

John Key does make mistakes. But when he does, he generally will concede he stuffed up. A great example is over the Israeli backpackers where his initial refuse to comment gave the story massive legs. He conceded to media that in hindsight he should have started with the position he ended up with.

But this is Goff’s awful weakness. He never ever admits he is wrong on anything (except the entire 1980s). To this day he maintains his handling of the Darren Hughes saga was first class, when everyone knows it was an absolute disaster.

A few weeks ago in relation to the S&P comments, Phil Goff said:

Goff said the Prime Minister has “lied to Kiwis” and if the source is credible then he should name them.

“John Key should stop trying to squirm out of it, front up, admit he got it wrong, and say sorry,” Goff said today.

So will Phil Goff take his own advice? Will he name his highly reliable source (my pick is its Trevor Mallard)? Will he “front up, admit he got it wrong, and say he is sorry?”

I suspect this is not the ending that Labour wanted to their campaign.

Make Happy Feet the Grass Roots Ambassador for NZ

August 18th, 2011 at 2:42 pm by David Farrar

Jack, aged 85, rang Sean Plunket’s show today on Newstalk ZB with a great idea. He proposed the ideal Ambassador for the Rugby World Cup. A devoted fan who swam 4,000 miles to be here for it, came dressed in the All Black colours, and has been enjoying first class Kiwi hospitality.

So if you are sick of all the corporate brands trying to associate themselves with the Rugby World Cup, lend your support to making Happy Feet the Grass Roots Ambassador by liking the Facebook page.

Plunket signs off

September 8th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

NZPA reports:

Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report co-host Sean Plunket, who has been with the show from September 1996, signed off this morning.

He is reported to be considering joining Newstalk ZB, replacing Justin du Fresne as the new Wellington region talkback host.

He also has a new job presenting TV3’s weekend political show The Nation as well as writing a column for monthly Metro magazine.

“It has been an amazing 13 years and lasted longer than I expected it would,” her said on air this morning.

“I would hope that notwithstanding some massive development in the field of genetics, I will be the longest ever serving co-host with you on Morning Report,” he told long-serving colleague Geoff Robinson.


Who is the interim host, starting tomorrow? And anyone know when RNZ plans to announce the permanent replacement?

Editorials 24 June 2010

June 24th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald focuses on the topical Afghanistan:

Tensions between generals in the field and their civilian masters are a fact of life. Armed forces chiefs are able to focus solely on battlefield strategy and having the necessary manpower and resources.

The purview of politicians must be wider, not least in considering the popular appetite for war.

Not surprisingly, generals often become impatient at what they consider interference in the prosecution of a war. In moments of candour, they might convey their annoyance to well-trusted aides. Otherwise, they keep their counsel.

They know that if such sentiments become public knowledge, their position becomes untenable. Such is now the case with General Stanley McChrystal, the United States commander in Afghanistan.

And he has paid the price.

General McChrystal’s blunder is the more unfortunate in that his strategy is the best chance of achieving a stability in Afghanistan that will pave the way for an orderly exit.

His approach has eschewed lofty goals, such as embedding a model democracy, and concentrated on “Afghanising” the conflict through the rapid training and arming of Kabul’s forces.

He also understands the importance of gaining a settlement with more pragmatic elements of the Taleban, thereby creating a political consensus. The present “surge”, which has achieved mixed results, is an attempt to accelerate that outcome.

The eminent sense in General McChrystal’s strategy means he has not been without his defenders. One of the more interesting was the much-maligned Afghan President.

A spokesman for Hamid Karzai said he believes General McChrystal is “the best commander the United States has sent to Afghanistan over the last nine years”.

A sad end to a fine career.

The Press looks at the breath testing of spectators for a school by rugby match:

The scene outside the front gate of Christ’s College on Tuesday was extraordinary.

Eight police officers were lined up administering breath tests to spectators arriving to watch the annual Christ’s College-Christchurch Boys’ High School rugby match. The police were required to enforce a zero alcohol policy imposed by Christ’s College for the match in an attempt to stop the drunken yahoo off-field brawling that has, over the last decade or so, become a feature of the encounter.

The policy seems to have been a success. For the first time in years, the game passed off without an outbreak of violence or indeed any untoward incidents at all. No-one was arrested or ejected from the ground, in a striking contrast with last year’s event which was, as Inspector Derek Erasmus observed, notable for “baton charges and multiple arrests”.

Something we have seen recently is that a huge amount can be done within the current Sale of Liquor Act.

The Dom Post opines on the departure of Sean Plunket from Radio NZ:

Broadcaster Sean Plunket has finally made good on his threats to quit Radio New Zealand National to seek fresh fields. Though his willingness to ask hard questions will be missed, his decision – a long time coming, given his testy relationship with his masters – will be good for him and might even be good for the company. …

Plunket’s departure, alongside suggestions that Robinson will retire within two years, gifts RNZ’s chief executive, Peter Cavanagh, and the board a rare opportunity. Does today’s three-hour mix of hard news and the odd joker work as well now, in a multi-media environment, as when the hour-long programme launched 35 years ago?

And the ODT finally comments on the China protest:

According to the police, a number of witnesses were spoken to after Green Party co-leader Russel Norman complained of assault by Chinese security agents attending the visit to Parliament by China’s Vice-president, Xi Jiping, last week.

Presumably, these included members of the force stationed at Parliament Buildings.

Police also studied film footage and photographs of the incident, and had sought, to no avail, to speak to the Chinese alleged to be involved.

It was concluded – quite swiftly in the circumstances – there was insufficient evidence to substantiate a prosecution.

This should be no surprise.

The prospect of the police mounting a sufficiently strong case was weakened as soon as it became clear that Dr Norman had apparently moved from his initial location at the foot of the steps to Parliament’s main building to the entrance of the Beehive to be very much closer to the point at which the vice-president passed, thus himself contributing to a degree to the predictable response by Chinese security guards charged with protecting their leader. …

The fact remains that he was allowed to have his protest – his “free speech” action was not suppressed and could be heard loud and clear, although it must be considered a certainty the Chinese security guards had not the faintest notion who he was.

Successive New Zealand governments have in the past decade or more routinely expressed concern – on behalf of Dr Norman and other protesters – to Chinese visitors about the infringements of human rights in China, while successfully maintaining a relationship that has resulted in China becoming our second largest trading partner.

That relationship is hardly to be jeopardised on the strength of one MP’s needless behaviour.

Working out rules for MPs (or others) protesting should not be difficult.

Should they be allowed in an area where they can be seen? Yes.

Should they be allowed in an area where the target of their protest can hear them? Yes.

Should they be allowed close enough to a VIP that they could seriously humiliate them by grabbing them, spitting on them, throwing or squiriting something at them – no.

So the question is merely how wide should the corridor be, which they can’t cross into. I’d say around 10 – 12 metres. You can protest very effectively still at that range.

Plunket resigns

June 15th, 2010 at 9:24 am by David Farrar

A little birdie tells me that Sean Plunket resigned from Radio New Zealand this morning, or more correctly took up CEO Peter Cavanagh’s long standing offer to resign.

This comes ironically just after he finally got permission from Radio NZ to do the long contested column for Metro.

I guess Sean’s departure from Radio NZ means he will be a full time columnist. I am sure he will cope going from 60 hours of live broadcasting a month to one column 🙂

So why all the taxpayer dollars spent in court?

June 13th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Radio NZ will allow its well-known and sometimes fractious star Sean Plunket to write a magazine column, despite having battled through the Employment Relations Authority to stop him.

The cash-strapped state broadcaster had won a ruling from the authority, allowing it to ban Plunket from writing the political column while he was on the public payroll.

I’m glad Radio NZ have decided to allow Sean, but at mystified about why they didn’t just say yes in the first place, and avoid all these court battles.

I could understand any reluctance if Sean wanted to spend his weekends hosting talkback on Radio Live. But this was a monthly column in a magazine!

Who dun it?

December 11th, 2009 at 2:48 pm by David Farrar

All the talk around the city is speculation on who is the real author of the Sean Plunket blog. After much detective work Kiwiblog can reveal the shortlist of suspects.

Noelle McCarthy
Peter Cavangh, Radio NZ CEO
The new Mrs Plunket
Matthew Hooton
Mark Unsworth
Peter Cavangh’s lawyer
Geoff Robinson
Lynne Snowden
Beven Rapson, Metro Editor

UPDATE; We now have a prime suspect and unlike the others this one has strong circumstantial evidence pointing to Mikey Havoc.

Plunket v RNZ

October 20th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Radio New Zealand Morning Report host Sean Plunket was “distressed” at being told to find another job if he didn’t like his employer’s decision he could not write a column for Metro magazine, he told the Employment Relations Authority.

Plunket took RNZ to the authority after he was refused permission to write the column, along with being refused permission to moderate two televised debates, for TVNZ and TVNZ6.

The TVNZ6 debate was one on Internet issues, and probably had a viewership of a few thousands. I was amazed that Radio NZ could somehow think this was a threat to them.

Plunket disagreed with RNZ’s claim that the secondary work was a conflict of interest, saying his employer was not in competition with the other media, and the work would have helped raise his profile, and, in turn, RNZ’s.

Exactly. As a taxpayer who funds Radio NZ, I object to their behaviour to act as if they were commercial radio. They are not. They are funded by the taxpayers to provide a public service, and locking their staff up does not serve the public interest.

At a meeting with RNZ’s chief executive Peter Cavanagh earlier this year, Plunket was told he was part of the broadcaster’s “brand”, as though “anything I said or did anywhere would reflect on Radio New Zealand”.

He said Mr Cavanagh later told him “you might find the offers stop coming if you don’t have the profile of Morning Report” and “if you don’t like it, get another job”.

And this was over a once a month column in Metro. Sure if Plunket wanted to go on NewstalkZB every week, I could understand some reluctance – a but a Metro column?

Plunket said he believed he was being treated differently to other RNZ reporters and presenters, who were given permission to do similar secondary work.

RNZ journalists Chris Laidlaw, Kim Hill and Brent Edwards gave evidence this morning that they had done work for other media while employed by RNZ.

But RNZ said Hill and Laidlaw were entertainment presenters, whereas Plunket was a news presenter, so there were different ethical responsibilities in their roles.

Kim Hill is entertainment? Wouldn’t want to tell her that.

Political editor Edwards had appeared on TVNZ’s Agenda, but said he understood he was representing RNZ in that role and had not been paid.

And this is the bizarre argument from RNZ. They claim it is about ethical issues, but then here they claim it is about whether you get paid. Are they saying Plunket could write the column if he did it for free?

Vic Election Debate 2008

October 1st, 2008 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar
The Victoria University Debating Society Election Debate 2008
That we need a centre-right government
Stephen Franks – National candidate for Wellington Central
Christopher Finlayson MP – National List MP and Rongotai candidate
Stephen Whittington – champion Victoria student debater
Grant Robertson – Labour candidate for Wellington Central
Sue Kedgley MP – Green candidate for Wellington Central
Polly Higbee – champion Victoria student debater
Chair: Sean Plunket
Monday 6 October, 6.30pm – 8pm
Lecture Theatre One, Rutherford House, Victoria University of Wellington
Gold coin entry. Questions after the debate, then tea and cofffee.
Also debating fans may wish to check out this footage of Jen Savage on Breakfast. Savage was judged best speaker at the Secondary School World Champs, and you get some idea why with her performance on Breakfast. Someone to watch out for – she has declared she wants Paul Henry’s job 🙂

Plunket on leaving Radio NZ

September 28th, 2008 at 9:31 am by David Farrar

Sean Plunket expounds on why he is looking to leave Radio New Zealand:

Frosty relations between Plunket, 44, and his Radio New Zealand bosses came to a head when they refused to allow the broadcaster to host an election debate on TVNZ7.

An election debate on Internet issues of all things. Hardly a commercial threat to Radio NZ.

He believed appearing on the TVNZ show as a public broadcaster would only enhance the brand of Morning Report and Radio New Zealand.

Exactly. Exposure is good, if done in a complementary way. And this would have been very complementary.

Then in the full interview we get:

It’s not the first time he’s left a job on a matter of principle. In 1995 he quit the Holmes show over stories he was doing on New Zealand First allegedly using parliamentary staffing money to run the party.

Well some things do not change.

Plunket’s favourite fable is The Emperor’s New Clothes. The role of the journalist is to point out that the emperor is naked, he says, not to “weave the cloth that makes someone nude. The worse censorship is self-censorship within an organisation”.

Indeed, and within a country. Read this article in The Australian about losing the battle for free speech.

Join the debate tonight

September 23rd, 2008 at 3:20 pm by David Farrar

The TVNZ7 debate with InternetNZ between four parties on Internet and ICT issues in on tonight starting at 9.10 pm. The first hour is on TVNZ7 and the second hour (plus the first hour also) is webcast at

It is a fully interactive debate and you can ask questions online, vote for the party (via website or text) with the best policies and have fun discussing it in a chat channel.

The MPs taking part are David Cunliffe, Maurice Williamson, Rodney Hide and Metira Turei.

The two journalists on the panel are Fran O’Sullivan and Russell Brown. The moderator was to be Sean Plunket but he has been replaced by Damien Christie.

The Herald reports on why Sean will not be doing the debate. Despite it being as small and un threatening as you can get, the Radio NZ Chief Executive refused permission for Sean to do it. This has led to Sean announcing he is planning to leave Radio NZ and is looking for a new job after 11 years there.

Damien will do a very good job, but I am annoyed Radio NZ has refused to let Sean do the debate – are they not meant to support public good broadcasting? I suggested Sean as the moderator, and never had any idea that it could lead to problems with Rado NZ.  Some questions should be asked about whether Radio NZ are being too precious here.