The old TV3 team

July 1st, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

tv3

Tweeted by Russel Norman who saw it at TV3’s Wellington studio.

Three things strike me about this.

  1. Sean Plunket’s hair!
  2. John Campbell has not aged in 20 years. He is obviously genetically modified
  3. Memories of my life-long crush on Anita McNaught
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Seven Sharp soaring

June 17th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

campbell-live-vs-seven-sharp-week-20-2014 Seven Sharp on One is killings its timeslot. Throng reports:

Year on year, Seven Sharp continued to improve on 2013 with a 25% increase on the same period as last year while it was down 33% for John Campbell and his team.

It seems obvious that Mike Hosking and Toni Street are a winning combination. At the rate Campbell Live is going, more people will be tuning into Whale Oil every day than watching Campbell Live!

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The Banks trial

May 30th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

John Banks made every effort to keep “politically sensitive” donations to his failed 2010 Auckland mayoralty bid secret, the Crown says, but Banks’ lawyer argues the politician had nothing to gain from that and is a victim of Kim Dotcom-orchestrated lies.

The nothing to gain is a significant aspect to this. Banks was the loser, not the winner, of the campaign. When he filed the return he was not planning a political future. Revealing the Dotcom donation and the Sky City one would not have damaged him in any way.

Mr Jones pointed out inconsistencies in prosecution evidence ? Mrs Dotcom said she was present when donations were discussed, Mr Dotcom said she was not.

Now the pair were separated, Mr Dotcom couldn’t rely on her to support him so took her out of the picture, Mr Jones said.

But Mrs Dotcom went along with the earlier agreed version of events and that “proves the lie”.

And former Dotcom accountant Grant McKavanagh originally said he travelled down to Queenstown and posted the cheques there, when they were actually deposited into Banks’ account at a North Shore Westpac.

When that was pointed out Mr McKavanagh couldn’t explain his “fairytale” evidence, Mr Jones said.

That piece of evidence is bizarre. How could you get wrong a claim that you travelled to Queenstown to post the cheques?

The Crown had failed to put forward a motivation for Banks to falsely declare donations and Mr Dotcom wasn’t even on the public radar in 2010.

Mr Jones said Banks’ campaign was financially transparent.

His team had chosen not to use a secret trust to channel payments, as was allowed, and on one occasion when Banks was handed a cheque, he banked it and informed Mr Hutchison of the situation.

Banks should have done what Len Brown and David Cunliffe did, and set up a secret trust. However he didn’t, and he should have taken more care with his donations return. It isn’t good enough to rely on someone else, when you are the guy who signs it.

Also of interest is the court judgement against TV3. Extracts:

In the present case, I am in no doubt that the footage of Mr Banks broadcast by TV3/Media Works in the 6 o’clock news bulletin on 22 May 2014 was neither fair, nor balanced. It did not respect Mr Banks’ rights. It was gratuitous and tasteless. The justifications advanced by Ms Bradley were, in my view, disingenuous. The footage broadcast did not show Mr Banks’ reaction to the interview being played in court. Rather, it was a sideshow broadcast seemingly to entertain. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the broadcast was intended to expose Mr Banks to ridicule and/or derision. There was, in my judgment, no news value in the footage at all, and no public interest was served by broadcasting it. In my judgment, TV3/Media Works’ decision to broadcast the footage was irresponsible and it reflects no credit on the organisation.

What makes this worse for TV3 is the decision was not taken by some junior staff member. The decision was made the the general counsel and the deputy head of news and current affairs.

It seems TVNZ may also be in some trouble. They were responsible for the camera and it was meant to be turned off after the first 15 minutes of the day. The Judge has asked TVNZ to also explain why it was left on.

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Latest TV3 exclusive scandal – National is selling access to dead people

May 14th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reported:

The National Party is facing more accusations of systematic fundraising like it does with its Cabinet Clubs.

This time it’s through a trust called the National Foundation, which targets large donations from deceased estates.

I thought the media reporting on fundraising issues couldn’t get more stupid – but this is definitely a new low.

3 News thinks there is something wrong with a political party doing “systematic” fundraising, and specifically that supporters of National are being asked to leave a bequest in their wills.

I’m sorry, but WHAT THE FUCK?

Do they think dead people are getting access to Ministers in return for donations from their estates?

Or are they worried that dead people are purchasing policies to make heaven a nice place to live?

Should we have a law to stop people donating money to political parties in their wills?

This is the moment where coverage of this issue did not just jump the shark, but the shark ate Fonzie.

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The McCully e-mails on 3 News

February 21st, 2012 at 6:55 pm by David Farrar

3 News is fast becoming the place to go with secret or illegal material. The secret recordings in 2008, the secret taping in 2011 and now the McCully hacked e-mails.

The e-mails that appeared on 3 News appear pretty ho hum – in fact I’d argue will help McCully’s popularity.  They are about cost cutting, wasteful “crap” and how someone went to Noumea just to do a 12 minute presentation. I think most people will be glad we have a Minister wanting to reduce waste.

Personally I thought the Cactus Kate version of the e-mails was far better :-)

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Who is the buyer and the seller?

February 19th, 2012 at 6:43 pm by David Farrar

3 News tonight mentioned the Crafar farm sale twice tonight, during their piece on the latest political poll. The words used were:

“the courts stopped the Government selling the Crafar farms to the Chinese for now”

“its decision to sell the Crafar farms to the Chinese”

First of all, why are we describing the company buying the farms as “the Chinese”.

If say Walmart was purchasing something in NZ, would the news bulletins describe it as selling to “the Americans”. The whole phrase “the Chinese” reeks to me of portraying them as one amorphous group. Shouldn’t the sale be described as to “the China based company Shanghai Pengxin”.

But not only do they get the buyer wrong, they get the seller wrong also.

The Government is selling nothing. The receivers of the Crafar farms are selling them, so the creditors will get some of their money back. Twice on TV3 it was portrayed as a Government sale.

So the overall impression is the NZ Government selling state owned land to the Chinese Government.

An accurate wording would be “the Government’s decision to approve the receivers sale of the Crafar farms to the China based Shanghai Pengxin company”. I won’t hold my breath hoping that media use an accurate description though!

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Espiner to TV3

December 15th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

TV3 has confirmed it has poached TVNZ’s political editor Guyon Espiner.

He will work as a journalist for current affairs show 60 Minutes, starting in February.

Espiner has been TVNZ’s political editor since 2006 and also hosted the Sunday morning programme Q+A for the state broadcaster.

I can remember Guyon starting in the press gallery in the 1990s, but that just makes me feel old!

Certainly a coup for TV3 to pick Guyon up, and good to see them beefing up 60 minutes. I suspect Guyon will appreciate a less hectic lifestyle as his two roles of press gallery in Wellington and Q+A every weekend must have been draining.

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Karl du Fresne on TV3

November 24th, 2011 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Karl du Fresne blogs on TV3:

In a post on this blog site yesterday I mentioned my reluctance to accuse media organisations of political bias. I have seen those allegations hurled about far too often and far too loosely, invariably by politically aligned people frustrated that their side wasn’t the only one getting newspaper space or air time. But in the past couple of weeks I have begun to wonder seriously whether TV3 is running some sort of political agenda.

Karl gives several examples of what he sees as a political agenda:

  • Scare-mongering over the PM meeting the boss of a global oil company
  • Making a meeting with Lord Ashcroft sound sinister
  • Coverage of Labour’s welfare policy
  • General commentary on the election
  • The TV3 debate where every issue chosen was a negative one for National
  • The Inside Child Poverty Documentary, being the last straw

For my 2c I don’t think TV3, or its political staff, are deliberately biased against National.

The criticism I would make is more the tendency to sensationalise stuff such as the Ashcroft meeting. The impact of the tendency to sensationalism tends to end up as more anti-Government stories because most events are about the Government. This applies no matter which party is in Government.

I agree with Karl on the so called documentary that had no balance at all and was propaganda. Showing this in election week was an appalling decision.

On the topics for the TV3 debate, I think that is also a valid point. In fact the TV3 commentators even acknowledged that after the debate. Why was there no topic on the health system? National has a great story to tell there, so naturally not chosen. Why now law & order? Labour is pledging to repeal the three strikes law. Let’s hear Phil Goff explain why someone who rapes for a third time should be eligible for parole after just a few years? But no that wasn’t chosen either. Last night’s TVNZ debate was far better balanced with topics.

Now again this may not be bias. It is probably more that they don’t see any ratings in having the Government able to talk about areas where it has been a real success story. But in terms of balanced coverage and a balanced debate, I don’t think it qualifies.

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So much for a panel of undecided voters

November 21st, 2011 at 8:04 pm by David Farrar

The panel/studio worm has been pretty consistent all night. If Phil Goff says anything it goes up. I joked on Twitter that Goff could confess to the Crewe murders and the panel worm would go up.

I wondered why, as this was meant to be a panel of undecided voters.

Then I saw this tweet from John Kingi, about being a worm panelist. A couple of friends of his seem to be there also.

Now John Kingi is a vocal Labour Party activist. He is about as undecided a voter as Phil Goff is.

TV3 have had their panel infiltrated by one or more Labour activists. Either TV3 failed to ask people if they were genuinely undecided voters, or they were lied to. I hope the media investigate this thorougly before reporting on the results of the worm.

UPDATE: And looks like a second panelist is a Labour voter – see here.

UPDATE2: I have a report of a third panel member (and remember there were only 65 and they are meant to all be undecided) who tutors at Auck Uni politics and has publicly declared she is a Green voter and supporter.

UPDATE3: And we have a third Labour person identified. There may be a fourth.

So also Nive Sharat there, and if we check her out.

This is a major credibility blow to the panel/studio worm.

UPDATE: John Kingi phoned and e-mailed me to say that he in no way misrepresented himself to those selecting the panel, and I take him at his word. His e-mail:

In regards to your post on Kiwiblog, it is implied that myself, amongst others, somehow “inflitrated” the TV3 panel. This is simply not true. I have not been a Labour Party member for some time, and the page you linked from Grassroots Labour was one I haven’t seen or used in over two years. The picture you paint is not an accurate reflection of my current political position. The questions raised in the selection of the panel included:

Who did you vote for at the last election? My answer: Labour

Who do you plan to vote for at this election? My answer: Undecided, but definitely on the centre left. 

Amongst other gender/age/electorate questions. I at no point lied about my political positions or intentions and I gave Key and Goff equal treatment in my response to the debate. In fact I even voted that Key actually won the debate in my view at the end! I hope that with the full facts established, you can clarify on your blog.

I chatted with John and he also confirmed to me that he was not undecided between a centre-right and centre-left party, but between parties of the centre-left. I do not believe this is how the panel was sold. As I said before the debate even begun they would have been better to use “swinging” voters, ie those who have previously voted both CL and CR.

I understand Clint Woolly has also said he is undecided, however it is his own tweet where he describes himself as a Labour voter.

Back to John, I stand my my point that I don’t think someone who was so passionate about their political beliefs that until recently they were an activist for political party, is suitable to be a panelists of “undecided voters”. Take the photo below of John:

This is obviously taken since the last election, and I suspect since Jacinda moved to Auckland which makes it even more recent. I don’t think having once been a political activist for a political party means you can never be seen as “undecided”, even decades later. But at a minimum I don’t regard such activism (and membership) within the same parliamentary term as being compatible with being on a panel which is portrayed to the public as “undecided voters”. I once voted Labour, but that doesn’t make me a swinging voter.

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The worm

November 21st, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Expect even more relentless repetition of upbeat language than usual from Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader Phil Goff as the worm returns for tonight’s leaders’ debate on TV3.

The debate will use the Roy Morgan Reactor, more commonly known as “the worm”, to measure the response of a studio audience of undecided voters selected for a balance of gender and age.

TV3 and Roy Morgan invite viewers who have an iPhone, Android mobile, iPad or tablet device to participate.

You can download the reactor or worm here.

Personally I think such things are gimmicks that distract people from the substance of the debate. My hope (a forlorn one probably) is that the media don’t make the worm the headline the next day, but actually you know listen to the debate themselves and form their own opinions as to the strengths and weaknesses of the the leaders arguments. The result of the worm should be a mention in the story, but not the core focus of it.

The fact that anyone can download the worm, means that the results may have nothing to do with the debate, and everything to do with people’s pre-extsing opinions. I really can’t see a lot of undecided voters caring enough to download the worm – the partisans will.

And even the studio audience of undecided voters can be less than balanced. They may be undecided between Labour and Greens, or between Maori and Mana. In my opinion they would be better to have the studio audience comprised of “swinging voters”, being voters who have voted (for example) for both a CR and a CL party in the last few elections. An undecided voter tends to be anti-Government because the Government is the known quantity, and they are deciding which of the alternatives to vote for.

So my point is, yes the worm may be a lot of fun. But please do not let the results of the worm be represented as a scientific poll, and do not let it replace your own judgement about the debate. Tune into TV3 and watch for yourself, rather than rely on second hand reports.

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When are the televised MMP debates?

October 25th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

TVNZ has announced that One News will host three election debates. They are:

  1. Mon 31 October – major party leaders
  2. Wed 16 November – minor party leaders
  3. Wed 23 November – major party leaders

Now it is great that we have three debates scheduled to help people make informed votes on who governs New Zealand for the next three years.

But where are the televised debates on the electoral system referendum, which will decide our electoral system for the next 50 years or so?

Surely if we have 270 minutes of prime time devoted to the election debates, we should have at least that much time on TV for debating the electoral system?

I hope TVNZ and TV3 announce a number of electoral referendum debates. It is only 32 days until we vote on whether or not we keep MMP or have another referendum in 2014. Radio NZ has led the way with a high level debate, I hope they will not be the only broadcaster to do so.

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Most misleading story of the week

October 3rd, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Go to 3 News and read this story:

Labour leader Phil Goff will be clinging to the unexpected results of a new poll in which his party has picked up twice as much support as National.

But he is well behind John Key in the preferred prime minister stakes, according to the TVNZ Marae Investigates Digipoll, released today.

Labour’s on 38.4 percent support in the poll, followed by the Maori Party on 22.2 percent, while National’s on just 16.4 percent.

That is in stark contrast to other media polls, which put National above 50 percent support, with Labour rating at 30 percent or less, and the Maori Party on around one percent support.

It is in stark contrast to other polls, because the moron who wrote this story did not realise, and did not check, that it was a poll of Maori voters only!!
How did this get past a sub-editor and get published? The 3 News political staff will be or should be embarrassed this story made it onto their website.
UPDATE: 3 News have commented that the story was from their wire service, but they apologise for not checking it.
The wire service is called NZN. I’ve not heard of them before. Are they one of the replacements for NZPA?
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A horrendous own goal

June 24th, 2011 at 11:14 am by David Farrar

The original comments by Alasdair Thompson were unwise and stupid (and I will detail why further down) but his dual performances on TV3 are the stuff legends, or nightmares, are made of.

Watch his interview with Rachel Morton and then with Mihi Forbes.  I don’t think I have ever seen such sheer awfulness before. Lew at Kiwipolitico has done an initial list of 10 things the EMA did wrong.

This has gone from just being an issue about Alasdair to an issue about the EMA Northern. I can imagine employers all over Auckland quietly removing from their office walls their certificate of membership before anyone notices it. They’d be embarrassed to be associated with the last 24 hours.

This may have been the most effective brand destruction we have seen since Wellington Airport tried to rename Wellington into Wellywood, or the CTU declared war on hobbits.

Before we come back to the interviews let’s focus on the substance of the issue, as a couple of people think this is just about political correctness – far from it.The issue is why do women on average get paid less than men.

Now I do not think the gap between the average hourly rate for men and women is due to discrimination. Sure there may be the odd employer who is an old bigot (and they generally are old) and actually thinks women are inferior. But they are dying out.

Part of the gap is because men and women tend towards different jobs. More men are police officers and more women are teachers for example and police officers get paid more on average. But that doesn’t explain all the difference as there is a gap within professions also. On average male lawyers get paid more than female lawyers and male teachers more than female teachers.

There are a couple of factors at play here. One is historic – until 20 years ago men far outnumbered women at university in the high paying professions such as law, medicine etc. So most of the senior ranks are still men. Fortunately at entry level the numbers are now more balanced, so over time the gender mix may get more balanced at the senior or higher paying levels.

The other factor (which Alasdair correctly pointed out) is that more woman than men take a break from the workforce to be the primary caregiver, and when they return are more likely to be part-time so prospects for advancement are not so good as the person who has stayed working full-time throughout.

Even this doesn’t fully explain the gender gap, as there has been a recent study that even early on in a profession, men are being paid more than women. Now one has to be careful about a study over a profession, rather than just one employer, as differences between employers may account for the gap. However if one accepts the study at face value, a possible answer is that generally younger men are more assertive than younger women in pushing for pay rises and generally in salary negotiations.

So I tend to reject the thesis that women get paid less because evil employers discriminate against women and think they are inferior.

The possible factors I have laid out above are all about individual choice. You may choose to enter a less well remunerated profession, because it isn’t just about the money. You may choose to take a break from the work-force. You may choose not to be aggressive in your pay negotiations and take whatever is initially offered. These are all individual choices. Sure there are issues around societal expectations, but that is a debate for another day.

But here is why what Alasdair Thompson said is so stupid and counter-productive. he listed something women have no choice over (having a menstrual cycle) and cited it as a reason why women get paid less. He basically said that women are less productive because they are women. It undermined all his other (generally sound) arguments.

This reinforced every prejudice unions and others have about employers – and worse this comes from the head of EMA Northern.

And I can only imagine how women feel, to have to put up with having a menstrual cycle is I suspect bad enough by itself, so to have some employer bigwig come out and say oh yeah and your monthly cycle is also why you get paid less would be beyond infuriating.

It is possible of course that some women do have a high use of sick leave due to their menstrual cycle. But I do not believe, and have not seen a shred of evidence in support, the notion that the prevalence of this is significant enough to actually affect average pay rates.

Now the original comments by Alasdair were survivable. All he had to do was to say something along the lines of “A couple of employers had anecdotally mentioned to me this was an issue for them, but I was quite wrong to link it to average pay rates between genders as it is not a factor, and I apologise for mentioning it in the interview”.

But instead we got the Tv3 interviews where he could not have made a worse impression of himself. If Helen Kelly could invent a wicked caricature of an employers boss, she couldn’t have done better than what we saw. Rambling justifications, instructions to the cameraman as if he was the producer, demanding no interruptions, walking out, patronising the female reporters, constantly referring to his own staff members in a way which I found demeaning, standing over Mihi Forbes and angrily remonstrating with her, calling her a liar, demanding previous footage be declared off the record retrospectively and the list just goes on.

I don’t know how professional media trainers like Brian Edwards, Judy Callaghan, Bill Ralston and Janet Wilson even managed to watch a few minutes of the video without their heads exploding in despair that someone could come across so badly in what is meant to be a damage control setting.

EMA Northern need to consider what they have to do to repair the damage. My only advice is that it does not involve Alasdair doing another round of TV interviews.

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How to make good news sound bad

February 2nd, 2011 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Not everything that Governments do is controversial. While most of the focus and debate goes on the areas of disagreement, often a Government announces things that most would regard as near universally good news.

The announcement at the weekend that the Government had established three huge marine reserves around the Subantarctic Islands, would be one of those you expect. Announcing the protection of 435,000 hectares of marine territory is not one likely to generate negative coverage.

Most media reported it fairly straight, but as a wonderful example of how a determined media outlet can turn the best of stories negative, look at how it appeared on Tv3 with environmental reporter Sam Hayes. I suggest you view the item yourself – it is 3 minutes 15 secs long.

Here’s how the item goes:

  1. 15 second intro from anchor
  2. 40 seconds on not this announcement, but about a decision taken last year not to make Akaroa Harbour a marine reserve.
  3. Then a mere 25 seconds on this announcment, with the reporter introducing it by saying it was done to save face over the previous Akaroa decision
  4. They give 15 seconds for WWF to complain that the marine reserves should be larger
  5. Not content with that, then they tie into the story a 40 second piece on a change in air pollution standards. They have the Minister defending it, but no mention (for example) of the fact even the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment supports the new standards (as the old ones were unachievable and unfair). A far more balanced take on the new standards comes from Claire Browning at Pundit.
  6. They then give Russel Norman a free swipe to say the Blue Greens are just abut “greenwash”
  7. Then for good measure the reporter adds her views that with National the economy will win out over the environment
  8. And finally just so there is not doubt left with viewers that National are evil planet destorying heatherns, they spend 35 seconds talking about how a few weeks ago the Minister let a farmer continue, against official advice, grazing by a polluted lake – without any balance at all about why (which is the officials fucked up by inviting the farmer to apply when they should have told him he was ineligible)

So the actual announcement got 25 seconds of around 200 seconds, and almost all the rest of it was spent beating up on National. And this was all in relation to a pretty non controversial announcement.

It reminds me of the old saying that if John Key walked on water, then the headline would be “John Key can’t swim”.

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Harawira on The Nation

October 23rd, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

No transcript yet but a really fascinating interview with Hone Harawira on The Nation on Tv3. Hone sometimes often gives an impression that he mouths off without thinking, but the interview showed that a lot of what he does is more calculated. He talks about his role being to push the limits, and how the MP needs to differentiate itself from National rather than abandon them.

He also showed some political deftness at not giving straight answers (at one point Duncan had to remind him that it is his role to ask the questions), but he did make one thing very clear. He said that if Pita Sharples retires as co-leader, then he has recommended that Te Ururoa Flavell become the new co-leader. Flavell is gaining a growing reputation as an effective MP, and I agree he is the natural successor to Sharples.

Harawira also showed some quite good insight into how a leader needs to be diplomatic and able to compromise, and that those are not his skills.

This was shown by him talking about his comments on how he would be uncomfortable with his daughters dating Pakeha, and he went on to say that one of them is dating a Maori boy at the moment, and how he doesn’t approve of that. I don’t recall the exact words but Duncan asked him if he thought his daughter’s boyfriend was no good, and Hone replied “Yeah that’s right”. Can’t imagine his daughter will be thrilled to have Dad diss the boyfriend on TV!

For  those who missed it today, would be worth watching it tomorrow.

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Carter says Jones would be a better leader

October 15th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Chris Carter has finally named an MP whom he says would be a better leader for Labour than Phil Goff – Shane Jones. The NZ Herald reports:

Yesterday on Radio Live, Mr Carter also mentioned Shane Jones as one of those he believed could be a better leader than Mr Goff. He has previously refused to name them.

By coincidence Matthew Hooton writes in the NBR:

Which brings us to Mr Jones.  Just as Mr Brown was ridiculed after his head-banging incident, Mr Jones suffered public humiliation from his penchant for porn.  But time heals, and Mr Jones is the latest manifestation of the Maori leader who can appeal across racial lines.  He’s the Labour man business thinks it can work with.

Moreover, his ambition is great, having been the golden child of his hapu from the day he was born.

Unpopular with Labour’s rainbow and feminist wings, securing the leadership would require him to produce polling showing him as capable of transforming Labour from a possible to a probable.  Even then, he would face opposition from party president Andrew Little, who needs Labour to lose in 2011 if his own leadership ambitions can be fulfilled.

Nevertheless, having decided to stick with politics despite his porn humiliation, Mr Jones is not there to muck around.

He’s already raising his profile and briefing journalists about his comeback.  The time for him to act is now.

And again, by coincidence, TV3’s Patrick Gower blogs:

Watching the miners in Chile, I can’t help but think of the Labour MPs – stuck down a dark hole, with an incredible effort needed to get them out.

It’s leader Phil Goff’s job to get them out – now he’s finished burying Chris Carter.

And one man who needs a lifeline is Shane Jones.

This call is never going to resonate as much as “Bring Back Buck”. But someone has to say it – Goff should “Bring Back Shane Jones”.

Is Jones Labour’s saviour in waiting?

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Edwards v Garner

June 28th, 2010 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

One of the amusing blog fights of recent times has been between Brian Edwards and Duncan Garner regarding an alleged incident between Garner and Chris Carter. Some extracts – first Brian:

But first a little history. It is no secret around Parliament  that, roughly 11 months ago,  Garner and Carter had a verbal stoush in the Auckland Koru Club.  Following the release of the report detailing the 2008 travel expenses of Labour Ministers, Garner had run a TV3 story alleging that Carter was a big-spending Minister whose travel could not be justified in what was essentially a domestic portfolio – Education. The story also referred to Carter’s long-time partner and travelling companion, Peter Kaiser, and included the name of the primary school of which Kaiser is principal.

Not surprisingly, there was bad blood between the two men. Carter and Darren Hughes were in the Koru Club waiting for their flight to Wellington to be called when Garner approached them. He is reported as having said, ‘Travelling on the fucking taxpayer again, Chris.’ Carter told him to ‘fuck off!’

Carter had already taken his seat on the plane when Garner, who had boarded later, stopped next to him, jabbed his finger into Carter’s chest and said loudly, ‘I am going to fucking get you, Carter. If it takes me to Christmas I am going to fucking destroy you.’ Sitting directly behind Carter was Dame Margaret Bazley. Appalled by what she had heard, she commented loudly, ‘What a disgraceful man. You don’t have to put up with rubbish like that on a plane, Mr Carter.’ Garner moved on down the plane. …

‘If I am wrong, I invite Duncan Garner to respond to this blog and,  providing nothing in it is defamatory, I undertake to publish that response unedited.

‘If I’m right, TV3 should be considering whether their Political Editor is fit to hold the job.’

Duncan responded on the blog:

I have never denied there was an incident between myself and Chris, indeed I told everyone about it at the time because I was shocked that Chris would call me by a four letter word – that your version of this story doesn’t reflect.

So Carter called Garner a c**t first? Might be some other four letter word.

Unfortunately your version of it is very, very wrong and you do yourself no favours.

You have relied on the word of Chris Carter and even Phil Goff can’t rely on that.

Yes Darren Hughes was there and he will confirm what happened if people wish to approach him.

Darren may even wish to write on this site?

But why rely on my word? Surely the Chief Whip, Mr Hughes will launch a defence of the incident for Mr Carter. Or will he?

I bet he doesn’t. Because Carter behaved disgracefully in the Koru Club that evening and provoked the incident.

So far Darren has (wisely) not said anything.

I will consider posting the full version on the 3News website tomorrow. I certainly won’t do it here to satisfy former broadcaster and Labour Party raffle ticket seller Brian Edwards.

Oh I hope he does.

Brian then responded:

Duncan, the post you complain of, was headed ‘Incident on an Air New Zealand Flight’. What the post was about is your allegedly having said to Carter, ‘‘I am going to fucking get you, Carter. If it takes me to Christmas I am going to fucking destroy you.’ If I were in your shoes, I would consider this the more damaging allegation made about you. Yet not only is there no denial of this event in your reply to me, it is not even mentioned. I would consider that admission by omission. If in fact Carter ‘behaved disgracefully’ to you in the Koru Club before the flight, then you may well feel that what you are alleged to have said to him on the plane was understandable. But it is no less unacceptable from the political editor of a major television network.

To which Duncan responds:

I ’swear’ I did not say to Chris; “I am going to fucking get you, if it takes me to Christmas I am going to destroy you.”

And I certainly did not touch Carter – that’s not my style. If I touched Carter why doesn’t he lay an assault charge? Because it simply did not happen.

Brian you have taken the Carter version and you have taken it hook line and sinker. It is wrong. Simple.

As I have always said there was an exchange. I was first to talk about it. Carter never said anything about it for months.

It’s Carter who is now running to you almost a year later still trying to make excuses for his behaviour.

As I have said Darren Hughes was there – he saw it – he may wish to put his version on the website. But I totally refute and reject your version.

Then Richard Harman joins the fray:

I have the privelege of producing Duncan on “the Nation”. I have questioned him about your allegations. I am satisfied they are substantially wrong. I thought his reportage of Chris Carter’s indulgent travel was excellent. I can testify that both Duncan and “The Nation” continue to have excellent relations with the Labour caucus. I think Duncan did journalism proud with his journalistic pursuit of Mr Carter.

However I would not expect Duncan to get any credit on this blog which seems to have a vendetta against him — and any programme he is associated with.

Brian responds to Duncan:

We now have a ‘conflict of evidence’. You claim you did not use these words to Carter; I have approached Carter and asked him whether he stands by his version of events on the plane. He says that he does. I wasn’t there, but I do know for certain that what you said to Carter on the plane was overheard and that it was extremely unpleasant.

Brian also responds to Harman:

Absolute rubbish. Your defence of a colleague is admirable, but I suggest you read all the posts on Garner. If, having done so, you decide that he was not engaging in a personal campaign againt Carter, your judgement is less than I would have expected from you. In my review of your first edition of The Nation, where I thought Garner did a particularly poor interview with Steven Joyce, you will also find this sentence: ‘I have grown to respect Duncan Garner’s down-to-earth, no-nonsense analysis of politics. His interviewing improved significantly in later programmes. Judy thought he was very good. I don’t think this amounts to a vendetta.

Gordon McBride joins in:

Brian ….. I work with Duncan. I can tell you he isn’t a homophobe (the sauna shot was to illustrate Carter’s use of his credit card to pay for a sauna in Berlin). He doesn’t play favourites in his coverage; nor does he use his position in the “Get Carter” way you perceive. He’s certainly a robust character though and I can believe he’d give as good as got in any exchange.

For my 2c, Duncan is not at all partisan. He went after National with the “secret tapes”in 2008 with as much glee as he went after Carter with his excessive travel.

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Fair call on network car parking

June 18th, 2010 at 7:22 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

TV3 and Television New Zealand have been punished following breaches of Parliament’s rules, including one cameraman entering and filming inside Labour MP Chris Carter’s suite of offices in his absence and without his permission.

Lockwood Smith withdrew parking entitlements for their networks in Parliament’s basement carpark after they failed to get permission to film in the corridor and stairwell. However he also noted a cameraman had entered an MP’s offices without permission – a clear breach of parliamentary rules.

This is a fair call. MPs are publicly accountable, but it doesn’t mean their offices are public space.

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Cactus on Whale

May 30th, 2010 at 6:44 pm by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday had a story on Whale Oil today, and his wife was on TV3 news tonight. It’s difficult to see someone’s personal life and challenges laid so bare.

Cactus Kate has done a post on this, which says things so well, I’m going to do something I almost never ever do, and quote it in its entirety.

HoS appears to have been reading the sad plight of my mate and the mate of many bloggers, Whaleoil aka Cameron Slater.

Today is probably the most truthful article yet on Whaleoil because it was written with cut and pasted words from his wife and best mate aka Spanish Bride from his blog.

I’ve only known Cameron for a few years and all the time I have known him has been under the mantra of Whaleoil. Unlike SB, I have not known him as Cameron, before his spiral into depression.

I don’t know all the background of his fight with Fidelity and what led up to his depressive state, because I wasn’t there. SB was. She remarks that he was a different man before the events leading to his illness. I believe that now totally.

There is no one else I have ever met quite like Cameron as Whaleoil. His behaviour is outrageous. Friends compared notes and said that this is just him. It is not. What makes me astonished though with Fidelity’s conduct is that they do not seem to have at any stage lead him to get help. That is medical help and counselling for rehabilitation. It used to be humourous watching Whaleoil be outrageous. It is now not so fun anymore once everyone has worked out he has a genuine problem.

The answer with Doctors has always been to prescribe more bloody pills. Whaleoil is on more pills than patients at mental homes. I know this because unknown to him I checked his dosage on his pillpackets and asked someone I know who works at an actual mental hospital. He is sedated by a cocktail of these pills which leave him tired, moody and disconnected with the world. When I realised his dosage, I knew the seriousness of the black hole he had fallen into. He’s tried to come off the pills, that too has had bad consequences.

I hate pills as a solution for depression. They are not and they are over-prescribed. I hate watching all too many friends zombie around on them. They are not real people while sedated under the latest and greatest profit minded cure to make everyone “happy”. The underlying problem still remains and I can’t see any joy on being reliant on a pill to be happy, or even stable enough to get out of bed. It takes away the human nature of being happy and sad and managing both states.

Whaleoil does not think consequences, SB has highlighted that all too clearly. He will be fine sitting with you in a bar watching you drink (contrary to popular opinion he does not drink regularly and I’ve only seen him drunk once) then the slightest irritant across the bar and he will be talking about smacking another person’s head in. Change the topic and his attention away and he’s forgotten five minutes later of even being angry.

While medicated and unassisted emotionally with any form of therapy, he simply cannot work. The easiest question for doubters that he can be integrated into the workforce for a 40 hour week is this: would you want Whaleoil working in your office? Five minutes with him and any HR representative would instantly dismiss his job application. Fidelity’s treatment has turned an otherwise creative, intelligent mind into a zombie who now firmly believes he cannot work. At the moment I am on the side of stating that he cannot.

Whaleoil is a great friend because he cares about his friends, but an unreliable one. That is, even the slightest task you know he may not do it on time. As the reliable party in the relationship you have to organise everything around Whaleoil not being able to perform his part. This frustrates him when he realises what has happened.

Insurance companies are not paid to care. I feel however they are paid to follow contracts and assist their clients back into the workforce so they are not made to rely on payouts. There’s no doubt in my mind that Cameron Slater as Whaleoil is one of the most clinically depressed people I have ever met. While the original event leading to this depression may have been minor in the scheme of things Fidelity and the medical professionals who treated him from that point in time have failed miserably and created Whaleoil as we all read him today on his blog.

Fidelity created the monster that is Whaleoil. There is no doubt about that after watching him the past few months. Even when Fidelity were still paying him, the posts were written when he wasn’t actually getting better. On a few good days, a Whaleoil post can be brilliantly coherent, well-reasoned and rational. On a bad day a Whaleoil post can be the most offensive thing on the internet.

There is only so much that friends and family can do for Whaleoil. The frustrating thing is that no one can wave a magic wand and make him better. It has gone past that and I’ve seen everyone try. His close family we can see have tried everything. His wife and kids are amazing in the circumstance, their love is unconditional.

Whaleoil needs serious medical attention from medics without a conflict of interest from working for an insurance company or more medics who border on being criminals in my view – the depression script writers. They should be given Oscars for their script writing abilities. He needs a time out, away from the stresses of modern life getting back to basics of routine and normality. But most of all he needs help and therapy to re-connect with himself, his old self. The one that his wife speaks of but most bloggers would never have seen.

Cameron Slater.

Heard that he is a fucking great bloke.

If Fidelity Insurance found that bloke, I’m sure they would have a case closed and not look like the bunch of cunts they will be made to look like when it is disclosed they haven’t done a single thing, other than medication, to try and find him.

Cactus has said it all.

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PM and the Vineyard

May 26th, 2010 at 7:36 pm by David Farrar

TV3 had as their lead story tonight an item on how the PM had said at a dinner he is a part owner of a vineyard, yet how all his assets are meant to be in a blind trust.

On the face of it, there seems to be a contradiction between the two. The PM’s Office put out a press released saying:

“As is well known, after becoming Prime Minster I established a blind trust,” says Mr Key.

“The trustees of that blind trust have full control of the management of all the assets not listed in my pecuniary interest register.

“I am not aware of any of the assets contained in the blind trust.  I have no rights to either acquire assets, dispose of assets, or to instruct those who manage them.  Nor am I able to be informed of what is in the trust.

“Quite appropriately, this continues to be the case.

“I set up the blind trust after becoming Prime Minister so I didn’t have any conflicts of interest through my investments, and that is the case because I don’t know what my investments are.

“To the best of my knowledge, the only people who can be certain what assets the blind trust owns are the trustees, and anything else is mere speculation.”

However this didn’t quite answer in my mind how then did the PM seemingly know the blind trust owned a vineyard. So I e-mailed the PMs Office asking for more info. They gave me a call, and this is the situation as I understand it:

  • Nov 2008 – Key wins election as PM
  • Dec 2008 – Key had the blind trust set up and existing assets transferred into it. This included the part-share in a vineyard.
  • Jan 2009 – this is when Key was at a dinner and mentioned he has part-shares in a vineyard – just three weeks after he transferred them in. So he was assuming that in the three weeks since the blind trust was set up, the shares had not been sold

The PM correctly says today he has no idea if the blind trust still owns a part-share in the vineyard. I don’t really see what the story is then. If his dinner comments had been made a year or two after the blind trust was estblished, that might suggest an issue, but it was a reasonable assumption to make just three weeks later that the shares were still there.

TV3 also tied into the story the bottles of Pinot he gave away at Xmas time, and had branded JK Pinot. However this wine did not come from Highwater (the vineyard that he previously (and the blind trust may stll currently) but another vineyard.

I really can’t see anything at all the PM has done wrong. He correctly put his assets into a blind trust, and to this day doesn’t know whether its investments have changed or not from two years ago.

At worse he may have been imprecise in his response to the question “You’re a vineyard owner yourself aren’t you,” in January 2009. Instead of saying “I am”, he would have been more precise to say “I probably am, but I transferred the shares three weeks ago into a blind trust, and I am not sure if the trustees have sold them or not“.

No doubt Labour though will get terribly excited and demand a commission of inquiry or some such.

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The Bennett story

May 1st, 2010 at 10:39 am by David Farrar

TV3 ran a story on Thursday night that claimed Paula Bennett had offered money to Natasha Fuller. The basis was a couple of Facebook messages.

Bennett denied she had offered any money, yet TV3 still run the story purely on the basis of the Facebook messages.

It then transpired that Natasha Fuller has also said there was no offer of any sort. Her Facebook messages to a friend (and she should choose her friends better in future, as the friend went straight to TV3) were bullshitting about an offer.

Why didn’t TV3 talk to Fuller before they ran the original story? Given the Minister had denied the allegations, that would be the sensible thing to do.

I also note that the Herald and Stuff both ran the original story with allegations, but I can’t find anywhere on their site a follow up story carrying the details that the allegation of a proposed payment is totally false.

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Why Sunrise really failed

April 9th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

There’s been lots written about why Sunrise failed. The most humouros involve the powerful Rick Giles. The most modest theory though comes from Bomber Bradbury:

TV3 never set out to offer an alternative to what was already being offered, which is why initially the appointment of Oliver Driver (after his amazing work doing 30minute political interviews on Alt Tv) had such a ratings reaction, finally a liberal alternative to Breakfast. Sadly once I stopped writing the questions for Oliver, he quickly fell back into the dumb TV that saw Sunrise bleed away to nothing.

So there we have it – why TV3, Sunrise and Oliver Driver all failed.

I watched the farewell episode today. Lots of good humour, and was a good send off. While Oliver’s politics would frustrate me, I don’t regard it as a good thing to have less choice and competition in news.

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TV3 axes Sunrise and ASB Business

April 8th, 2010 at 10:01 am by David Farrar

Dan News reports:

TV3’s morning shows Sunrise and ASB Business have been axed.

Sources tell Dan News that staff were informed of the decision this morning and the decision is effective immediately, the last shows went to air this morning.

Condolences to the staff who lose their jobs as a result. Not a surprise decision though – they just couldn’t compete with the pulling power of Paul Henry and co on TVNZ’s Breakfast.

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The powerful Rick Giles

April 2nd, 2010 at 11:51 am by David Farrar

Heh, I have just caught up with this. Act on Campus President Rick Giles has become a media sensation.

It started with this interview on Sunrise with Oliver Driver where he was advocating Edison Hour over Earth Hour.

The talk turned to climate change, and Rick was trying to say that his arguments against Earth Hour stood up, regardless of whether or not you thought man-made climate change was happening. However his exact use of words was:

I think my argument is so powerful, it’s not necessary to talk about it

He meant of course that you don’t need to debate whether climate change is happening to talk about whether Earth Hour is a good thing or not, but the phrase has become one of legend.

The “I think my argument is so powerful that it’s not necessary to talk about it” Facebook page was born shortly thereafter and is now up to an impressive 3,400 members.

TV3, knowing when they are onto a good thing, gave Rick the opportunity to submit a home video where he makes his case without interjection.

I especially like the part about the communists, the Islamists and all of Ghengis Khan’s hoardes.

I understand there is already a competition between certain MPs for who can be the first in the House to use the phrase “I think my argument is so powerful that it’s not necessary to talk about it” :-)

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Minimum Wage lies

January 28th, 2010 at 9:30 am by David Farrar

Throng blog:

Ok, so I’m not 100% sure on the math here (need to check up the tax rules) but both bulletins can’t be right here in their calculations.  Using IRD’s website, currently for a minimum wage earner, they pay $2.27 in total for their tax and ACC levies.  I’m trying to double check these figures quoted, but I think 3 News is wrong – it can’t be right thatminimum wage earners are taxed 40%!

ONE News: $10 – $2.10 in tax – $0.20 in ACC levies = $7.70 in the hand
3 News: $10 – $3.00 New ACC levies in April – $1.00 PAYE tax = $6.00 in the hand

Note: Trevor Mallard also said about $6 in his 3 News interview.

Trevor Mallard is of course wrong, and if TV3 relied on him, shame on them.

One News had is absolutely correct. The marginal tax rate for a FT worker on the minimum wage is 21% and the ACC levy for next year will be 2%, so a $10 gross increase will be a $7.70 net increase.

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