Guest Post: Willie Jackson on Radio NZ

April 1st, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

A guest post by Willie Jackson:

What to do about Radio New Zealand?

Last year RNZ cut its last Maori dedicated news in prime time Manu Korihi from its airwaves and not a word of criticism was directed their way in the Pakeha media world.  Politicians irresponsibly also said nothing and a station that gets 35 million in taxpayers funding now not only doesn’t  have one Maori presenter in prime time but it doesn’t have any Maori news.

It’s a story I have tried to get on mainstream media particularly in the main National newspapers but none were interested in doing anything, not the Herald, Dominion or any of the Sunday weekend papers.  Of course I knew the reluctance or resistance to support my request was probably based on the fact that all those outlets have virtually No Maori working for them.

So obviously they were not going to back my call for an examination of RNZ’s Maori policy when their situation is equally questionable.  Still my campaign which is in fact a campaign that we initiated on Radio Waatea which I head and is supported by our iwi radio network has been going well. People are asking the question “HOW DOES RNZ GET AWAY WITH IT?”

My view is that they get away with it because no one bothers to challenge them, mainstream media don’t care and politicians do nothing apart from greenlight the racist strategies that they come up with.  RNZ is one of the best examples of institutionalised racism in this country.  There is no other way to describe how this organisation is operating, they have had generations of tax payers’ dollars and they are meant to be the voice for all New Zealanders yet the Maori voice is silent and to many of our peoples stories are untold.

Recently my team at Waatea carried out an audit of RNZ’s Maori stories over a 12 week period.  The results were alarming but even more alarming was the way RNZ tried to defend themselves.  Our evaluators determined that in the 12 week period only 0.1 percent of stories were Maori focussed. RNZ rubbished our audit and said we missed some stories which was true but when they calculated what we had missed it worked out to a mere one percent.  That’s how stupid and sensitive the defenders of RNZ are they try to defend the indefensible. 

Paul Thompson the RNZ CEO then decided to release their new Maori policy after reluctantly acknowledging that I might have had a point over their lack of Maori content.  Instead of coming up with a plan that would see more Maori stories on RNZ, his main priority for the next few years will be to train his Pakeha journalists to speak Maori.  It is the most stupid and insulting Maori strategy that I have ever seen.  The strategy is born out of ignorance and the belief that anything is probably better than what they have now which is nothing.

RNZ seem to think simply hiring the odd Maori journalist and getting their Pakeha journalists to pronounce Te Reo properly is all they have to do to live up to their public broadcasting obligations under the treaty but they need to come up with a Proper Maori strategy that will see Maori news and programmes go from 2 percent to at least 15 percent and they need to throw away the silly strategy that CEO Thompson has come out with.  They must go back to having Maori specific news, after all they have Pacific Island news, media news, political news and farming news.  In fact it seems sometimes that even native birds might have a better chance of getting a news show before Maori, given how many bird sounds we hear daily.  

Once upon a time they even had Maori language segments on National Radio, but that was cut five years ago, they probably thought their Pakeha announcers who try their best but sadly can’t speak Maori to save themselves were more than capable in the reo to honour their Maori language obligations.  So getting te reo Maori back on air should be mandatory.  And wouldn’t it be great to hear a Maori presenter on one of their frontline shows.  It seems incredible that in the whole 91 year history that we have not had one person deemed good enough to present a daily National Radio show.

Think about all the top Maori radio and TV presenters you’ve heard and seen over the years.  Here’s just a few of them – Henare Te Ua, Derek Fox, Selwyn Muru, Julian Wilcox, Wena Harawira, Scotty and Stacey Morrison, Shane Taurima , Miriama Kamo,  Mihi Forbes  who is now a reporter with RNZ and of course let’s not forget RNZ head of news Carol Hirschfeld has also been a TV presenter and producer.

Yet not one of those people have ever been given an opportunity to front a regular national daily show.  RNZ has a colonialist BBC mind-set which discriminates against Maori presenters. Surely as we debate the merits of removing our colonial relics from the flag it’s time to do the same with RNZ.  All people should be outraged by this shutout of Maori on our National network. I implore politicians to act, Maori are 15 percent of this country’s population and we currently get 2 percent of the action on our National station that purports to be the national voice that is not how the treaty partner should be treated.

If it’s not a breach of Radio New Zealand’s charter then it should be and if we get a zero response which is highly likely then Maori seriously need to consider a Waitangi Tribunal claim against RNZ and the government similar to the Te Reo Maori claim of 1986. I have spoken to Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell about this issue and he has asked the right questions.  However Te Ururoa needs help and asking questions isn’t going to do it, this lot need to be given clear directions in terms of their Maori strategy or they will continue with the current nonsense.

The Minister of Broadcasting Amy Adams has to act, she must recognise the discrepancies here, talk with the RNZ board and demand that RNZ change their Maori strategy to one that will see Maori properly reflected in their programming, the aim has to be 15 percent.  Anything less will mean that Maori stories and Maori announcers will remain tokenistic and an afterthought.  Go to the RNZ National radio website right now if you don’t believe me and count how many Maori presenters they have.  It is a disgrace but what will be even more shameful will be if our politicians and the RNZ Board do nothing, let’s see what happens.

Jackson calls for inquiry into Radio NZ

February 17th, 2016 at 6:50 am by David Farrar

Willie Jackson has written:

The Chairman of the Maori Radio Network Te Whakaruruhau, Willie Jackson, called for an inquiry into the embarrassing level of Maori content on Radio NZ.

Radio Waatea, the National Maori language current affairs and news provider conducted a 12 week audit of National Radio which revealed that out of 1440 hours of content Monday to Friday, RNZ played a mere 99 minutes of Maori content (0.1%) between November 2015 and January 2016.

The audit came about after Jackson challenged the Head of Content for Radio NZ Carol Hirschfeld over the cancellation of their Maori dedicated news Manu Korihi in October of 2015. Ms Hirschfield said there would be even more Maori news after the cancellation of the news show, but the 12 week audit of daily news posted on their very own website reveals something that is substantially different to what she promised.

Willie Jackson says that Carol Hirschfeld’s response was to predictably rubbish the audit. She said Maori are also mentioned on their national, political and regional web pages.

He says “sadly, Carol has fallen into the trap that others have in the past, who think that just because Maori are mentioned that this constitutes a Maori story, a little bit like the time when it was said that when Maori were on Police Ten 7 that constituted a Maori story. Maori being mentioned as part of other stories cannot be used in RNZ’s calculations of Maori stories.”

“We looked at Maori-specific news over the 12 weeks and used the facts that they provided on their website Monday to Friday, but even if we were to include the stories that Carol’s talking about, the percentage would still be less than 2%.”

0.1% seems extraordinarily low. Radio NZ gets $35 million a year specifically to be non-commercial and reflect New Zealand. I’d say Willie Jackson has a point.

Former Alliance MP applies for charter school

September 18th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Opening a charter school in Mangere is a “strategic decision” that will help turn around Maori achievement, Willie Jackson says.

The Manukau Urban Maori Authority chief executive welcomes the Government plan to open four new charter schools next year, including two in South Auckland. The schools will cost $15.5 million over four years.

Jackson’s organisation will sponsor Te Kura Maori o Waatea, a primary school based at Nga Whare Waatea Marae.

Good to see more applications for charter schools, as run properly they can make a real difference with some kids who are not succeeding in the current system.

Tamihere and Jackson off air for the rest of the year

November 11th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Willie Jackson and John Tamihere will be off air after today.

The RadioLive hosts have announced on air that today’s will be their last show for the year.

On the show, Mr Tamihere said they would be taking the next few weeks to review what happened last week with management and agree what action needs to be taken.

“We do not condone rape in any way and did not intend to blame the victims.

“Rape is a terrible crime and the victims who come forward deserve support and respect.”

The pair said they “deeply regret” the comments they made last week in an interview with Amy, the 18-year-old friend of a Roast Busters victim.

They also said they regret the impact their actions had on their wives, children, grandchildren and communities.

If they had said that in the original apology, then they’d still be in air. As Alan Martin says, it’s the putting right that counts.

It will be interesting to see who fills in for them for the next two months.

A political talk show with no politicians?

November 9th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Prime Minister won’t appear on Willie Jackson and John Tamihere’s radio show again this year as pressure mounts on their bosses to take action against them for their treatment of a young woman on air.

Labour leader David Cunliffe also confirmed he would decline an appearance if invited.

It caps off a mostly horror week for RadioLive parent company MediaWorks as several major advertisers withdrew from the station amid the furore, and the broadcaster lost some of its most popular US television shows. The furore shaded to a degree the work of TV3 in leading television coverage of the story.

John Key has appeared on the show on occasion but a spokeswoman said he would not do so again this year and no further appearances were scheduled.

Mr Key would continue with his regular interview slot on Marcus Lush’s breakfast programme.

Mr Cunliffe said he would not appear on the show “at the moment”, with some party members unhappy with Tamihere’s comments.

John Tamihere is a Labour Party member, former MP and Minister, and aspiring candidate. Cactus Kate points out in an open letter to Cunliffe the hypocrisy that she is deemed unsuitable for membership, yet Tamihere is. She writes:

I have never accepted there may be any defence or explanation to gang raping girls as young as 13 years old.  Girls that young cannot by law even give consent and Mr Tamihere as a lawyer should know that and he seems incapable of accepting this publicly without attempting to justify it or blaming the girls in some way.

Mr Tamihere is aiding discussion with his fan club of neanderthals, not of grown women but girls only young enough to be my niece and your daughter.  He entertained the thought they may be asking to be raped by a pack of sweaty, nose-ringed, want to be gangster ferals due to what they wear.  He invoked what  Miley Cyrus wears and commented on what is written on girls Facebook pages.  Every educated adult seems to understand apart from Tamihere and his radio partner that these girls have made allegations of intentional, violent and publicly humiliating pack rape which is an entirely different matter to mature adults having consensual group sex.

On the same show on Thursday Mr Tamihere suggested that a person challenging his views was imparting “middle class” values as if it explained away that girls from working class or poor backgrounds should just accept pack rape, underage sex and sexual assault from older boys and men as a normal activity in the suburbs he claims to be at the “coalface” and a Leader of.

I might have to wear the eventual rejection of my membership as a badge of some honour such is the reported rarity of the action.  In light of this however I expect some consistency and that you step in as a Leader before your more vocal and active female members demand it of you and remove Tamihere’s Labour membership completely before even entertaining he may stand for Labour in 2014.

Will anyone in Labour take action? Will Cunliffe?

Back to Radio Live, you now have a political talk show that no MP from National or Labour will go on. I expect no Green MP would either. So will any MP still go on the show with them? I can think of just one – Winston. Inquiring media should ask Winston what he thinks of what Willie and JT said, and whether he is still happy to go on their show.

Hooton vs Willie and JT

November 7th, 2013 at 4:09 pm by David Farrar

Matthew Hooton lets loose to Willie and JT about their previous shows on the Roast Busters. He gets thrown out.

Well done Matthew. Making excuses for the men involved on the basis of where they live or how the girls dressed is just wrong. The girls were 13. That is the end of it.

Matthew has Facebooked:

 I don’t want to be all moralistic about this, because I have behaved terribly from time to time.

But I have two daughters, aged 6 and 8. I hope not, but I expect that if they follow the example of their parents they will behave appallingly when they are teens. I expect they will dress in ways I find reprehensible, hang out with friends I disapprove of, and might get shamefully pissed at what was meant to be a wholesome 15th birthday party.

To some extent, this will be my fault for not being as a good a parent as I should be. 

However, when my 14 year-old girls do behave badly, I expect that any 17 year-old men nearby will, at worst, ignore them or, at best, look after them and get them home safely.

My daughters are entitled to rebel and behave badly, without being raped.

That is the point.

An appalling interview

November 6th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

RadioLive hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have been accused of supporting rape culture and “victim blaming” after their treatment of a female caller who is a friend of an alleged victim of the Roast Busters group.

The 18-year-old woman, who called herself Amy, called the RadioLive show yesterday to talk to the pair about the Roast Busters, only to have the hosts describe the group’s online bragging about sexual encounters with drunk underage girls as “mischief”.

Amy was asked “how free and easy are you kids these days?” when she told Jackson and Tamihere she had attended parties the teenagers involved in Roast Busters were at, and she often saw them, sober, providing drinks to girls as young as 13.

The hosts discussed underage drinking, and why the girls were at parties without their parents’ consent. “Girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?”

The segment at the link is an appalling interview. It appeared to all be Willie Jackson, than JT – I presume there is a fuller version somewhere. But talking about whether a 13 year old girl has been drinking totally misses the point – they are 13, and they’re drunk. Even worse, it isn’t that both parties are drunk – this is young guys being stone cold sober and plying girls with alcohol.

Good on Amy for speaking up against the predatory behaviour of these students.

Ansell v Jackson

March 8th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Willie Jackson labeled John Ansell a racist and a fool in Truth. He said:

Treatygate is a nonsensical racist campaign where Ansell and a few rednecks go around the country spouting about what they perceive as inequality and Maori privilege.

I met Ansell by accident in Waitangi. He is a more than cordial type of bloke. I said to him I thought he was a racist, and so he challenged me to have him on our RadioLIVE talkback show.

Ansell spent two hours with me and John Tamihere last week and absolutely confirmed my view he is a racist and a liar.

Ansell has responded in Truth saying Jackson is a “chronic liar” who fools no-one:

Maori bully boys and extortionists like Willie Jackson like to get down in the sewer and call critics like me racist.

It’s just a trick, and it doesn’t work on me.

So why does Jackson throw mud instead of facts? Because he knows he  can’t compete on the history. He hasn’t got a clue about what happened between the Crown and Maori in the nineteenth century. So he just spits out an endless stream of half-truths and lies, and hopes you’ll believe him. He’s a chronic liar.

There is, of course, a big difference between criticism and racism. I’ve never said anything racist. That’s not me.

But I’m very critical of Maori leaders who have a financial interest in keeping their people at the bottom of all the bad stats. That way they can keep claiming the big bucks – most of which they keep for themselves…

The debate continues!

Jackson calls on union to be more violent and intimidatory

March 12th, 2012 at 6:09 pm by David Farrar

Hayden Donnell at NZ Herald reports:

Radio Live host Willie Jackson has called for striking wharfies to mount violent “militant action” in their ongoing battle with Ports of Auckland bosses.

Mr Jackson, a former trade union organiser and Alliance Party MP, supported the striking port workers’ calls for eight hour shifts and job security on his Radio Liveafternoon slot today.

He called Ports of Auckland bosses “greedy, filthy, right wing fundamentalists” who were led by a “gutless wonder” mayor.

Intimidation or violence was needed to stop non-union workers being called in to do the striking workers’ jobs, he said.

We first saw some violence on the protest, against counter-protesters. Then there was damage done to at least one car this morning. And now a former MP is advocating there needs to be more violence and intimidation.

Will the CTU and/or the Maritime Union condemn Jackson’s remarks, and say they support peaceful protest only? Or will they implicitly condone them, by remaining silent? For they are the ones who have organised the picket line, so they can’t say it is nothing to do with them.

UPDATE: Jackson now says he only wants the union to be more militant and use greater intimidation, but not use violence, after his earlier remarks were highlighted.

Mana selections

September 16th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Danya Levy at Stuff reports:

Former Greens MP Sue Bradford today confirmed she will stand for the Mana Party in the Auckland electorate of Waitakere against Social Development Minister and sitting National MP Paula Bennett.

That is great news for Paula, as Bradford will split the left vote with Carmel Sepuloni.

Meanwhile, Maori broadcaster Willie Jackson has decided not to stand for Mana in Tamaki Makaurau against Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.

And that is good news for Sharples. I think the risk of him losing was much greater if Jackson stood as Jackson would be competing with Sharples for votes.

He was also concerned he would split the vote in Tamaki Makaurau and enable Labour candidate Shane Jones to win the Maori seat.

And Willie knows Shane is the most right wing Maori MP in Parliament (after Jami-Lee Ross).

Willie Jackson on National Radio

July 12th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Willie Jackson writes in the NZ Herald:

Radio Waatea was contracted to provide daily news bulletins during the week of approximately two and a half minutes in duration four times a day. For that we were paid $280,000 a year which covered four journalists and our admin costs. And that was our national broadcaster’s commitment to the indigenous people of this country during the working week.

Let’s do the sums on this. 10 minutes a day times 250 days a year is 2500 minutes a year of headlines, or around 42 hours of news bulletins. For $280,000 that is an hourly rate of $6,720 an hour.

Now that has to cover reporting, editing etc but I’m pretty sure that that hourly figure is higher than most broadcasters.

With no more than 10 minutes of Maori stories a day, that equated to 0.1 per cent of National Radio air time. That’s about as close as you can get to nothing, zero, bugger all. But, hey, they were giving us 0.8 per cent of their $36 million annual budget, so I guess that’s something!

Well yes, it suggests to me that if they bring it in house, they may be able to afford to do more than 0.1%.

But even that figure is misleading. National Radio is not 24/7 news stories. Most of it is interviews, talk etc.

Their actions and attitude towards Maori is nothing short of shameful. Successive Governments have allowed National Radio to treat Maori in this way. And, sure, they can pat themselves on the back because Simon Mercep and Katherine Ryan are able to pronounce a few basic Maori words, but the Government really needs to intervene to ensure that a Maori voice is heard on a station that is meant to reflect this country’s identity.

Surely National Radio giving Maori only 0.1 per cent of the programming time requires some response from the Government?

This is presuming that Maori are not interested in any of the other programming,. It would be interesting to see what Radio NZ’s listening demographics are.

Goff lowering expectations for Mana

November 15th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

Labour leader Phil Goff has admitted National’s Hekia Parata could win the Mana by-election if turnout is low.

His press secretary, Kris Faafoi, is standing for the seat, traditionally seen as a Labour stronghold. But yesterday Mr Goff said a low turnout would “jeopardise Labour’s hold on the seat”.

Goff is trying to do two things here. The first is to motivate Labour supporters to turn out and vote. He is right – turnout is important.

The second is he is trying to make the seat sound marginal, so that if Labour’s majority is slashed, it does not reflect so badly on them.

Mana is one of their safest seats. It (and its predecessors) have never been held by National. Mana has a larger majority than Lianne Dalziel in Christchurch East, Trevor Mallard in Hutt South and Jim Anderton in Wigram.

A few people point to the party vote margin at 2,500 and say this means it is not safe for Labour. But they make a fatal mistake. The releveant comparison with the party vote is between right and left, as both right and left voters will vote tactically on the electorate candidate (many green voters vote for a labour candidate and many ACT voters vote for a National candidate).

So what was the party vote for the right in 2008 in Mana? 39%. And the left vote? 53%.

In the median electorates, the right is 8% ahead of the left on the 2008 party vote. In Mana the right is 14% behind the left on the party vote.

Now this does not mean Hekia can not win. She has been winning endorsements from some non traditional National voters. Even Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have come out and said people should vote for her or Matt McCarten (partly because they fronted up onto their radio show).

But the reality is that no Government has ever won a seat off an Opposition in a by-election. I’ve checked back over 90 years. If Hekia wins, or even comes close, it will be a seismic event.

Loosehead Len

June 20th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

After his display of head slapping, Len Brown should perhaps be known as Loosehead Len – and this is one of the kinder things being said. I’ll start with Kerre Woodham:

Just when I didn’t think things could get any worse for Len Brown, he goes and does it again.

And before his fans leap up and down and say I’m part of some spooky right-wing conspiracy, I’m not.

He had my vote before the events of the last couple of weeks. Not for any particularly compelling reason. I just thought that if we had a centre-right government, it balanced things up a bit to have a centre-left mayor. …

Then came the claims of persecution and the protestations of being victimised. That was unattractive, but what really turned me off was the performance Brown gave to the Manukau City Council on Tuesday night.

When I say performance, I don’t for a minute think he was acting. Far from it. I think he believed every word when he cried out passionately that he’d risen from his hospital bed after a near-fatal heart attack for the love of the people.

That when he walked in the door, looking like a bloody skeleton, it was because he cared, not because he could put a few more cups of coffee on the mayoral credit card. I’m sure that’s true.

But emotional blackmail is hardly a rational response to requests for financial accountability. Nor is beating yourself about the head and face.

That was weird. In his soliloquy, Brown repeatedly hit himself in the face and chest, saying if people had a problem, they should come and see him.

That was enough for me.

You need somebody a little less … overwrought … as mayor of New Zealand’s first super city.

And that is from a Grey Lynn liberal who was planning to vote for Len Brown.

Next Matt McCarten. Matt is as left as you can get:

This brings me to the parallel universe of local government politics in which Labour Party-backed mayoral hopeful Len Brown has credit card problems of his own.

His use was careless at best and, as many Aucklanders don’t know much about him, his misuse will worry them. But it was his response, like Carter’s, which is more revealing.

The cutting up of his credit card on television was a cheap stunt. Was he saying he can’t be trusted with a credit card to do his job?

Well perhaps he was, as he seemed incapable of keeping proper receipts and he outright refuses to comply with his Council’s own policy to identify who was at a dinner.

His explanation on why he used his card to buy personal items was because his wife had their joint card raises more concerns. Everyone knows couples can get a card each on joint accounts.

And as they are signature cards, you can’t borrow each other’s card. That one had porkie all over it.

It’s good he apologised but his emotional presentation to his council was disturbing. His opponents can’t believe their luck and are predictably using it as evidence Brown is unstable and loose with ratepayers’ money.

But Len explained away his actions as being the Maori way to do things. Fortunately the SST has talked to some actual Maori on this claim:

But broadcaster Willie Jackson rejected that. “The spin about it being a Maori gesture is rubbish. I’ve never heard anything like it.”

Jackson said Brown’s team had made a poor decision in claiming a cultural element to the antics.

“I don’t know what the hell they were talking about, having been a Maori every day of my life,” Jackson said. “Len needs to harden up or he’s going to gift this campaign to John Banks.

“This campaign was his to lose and he’s doing a good job of that.”

Willie is also of the left. This is hardly the vast right wing conspiracy. Willie was also backing Brown over the credit card before his display at Council.

Once Were Warriors star Temuera Morrison said what Brown did was “more like caveman stuff”.

He said haka participants slapped their chests and thighs “to get unison with everyone and feel the rhythm”. The gesture to invite people to “come and get me” usually involved poking out the tongue.

“I don’t know what this guy was doing,” Morrison said. “This guy is on another planet.”


Auckland University Maori studies expert Dr Ranginui Walker was also unconvinced. “In the old days widows used to cut their breasts and chests when their husbands died or when warriors were slain.

“But I’ve never heard of men doing any such thing.”

Well we can at least be relieved Loosehead Len didn’t start cutting himself on live television.

A new method of broadcast complaints

April 27th, 2008 at 8:34 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday reports on a novel new method of complaining about a broadcaster. After she was cut off on talkback, a woman called Margaret turned up to see John Tamihere and WIllie Jackson, along with a “dangerous looking dog”.

Now imagine what fun radio it would have made if she had managed to get inside the broadcast booth with said dog. You’d hear barking, running, growling (probably from Willie!), screams (from JT), and general mayhem. It would be a wonderful boost to ratings. And eventually people would hear the sirens as the Police turn up to shoot the dog, and the ambulance turns up to patch up the hosts.