What’s up with Freed?

Very little apparently.

Freed was announced as an online revolution in new media in the middle of last year (July). Cameron Slater at Whale Oil promoted it frequently and loudly. Initially. An imminent launch was intimated on NBR and Whale Oil – Cameron Slater’s next media venture:

[Cameron Slater] will start a news website before this year’s general election.

Mr Slater will not confirm Mr Lentino’s involvement but says one private investor has contributed a six-figure sum for the site.

Last October Slater quoted Martyn Bradbury…

With Slater about to launch next year a new weaponised news media ‘Freed.co.nz’ complete with a drone operator, he will bend and push the boundaries of attack blogs into a whole new realm of horror. How will the left blogosphere compete with a $600,000 right wing attack blog is yet to be seen.

…and responded:

$600,000? That isn’t even 7 figures…WRONG again.

But things have gradually gone quiet. The Freed website was last updated in January:

FreedWebsiteThey’re not live yet. On Facebook they had a flurry of activity in late January:


Nothing since February 2. Twitter is very similar with the same content as Facebook.

FreedTwitterAgain nothing since 2 February.

Cameron Slater frequently promoted Freed, and this was often associated with criticism of old media, especially his nemisis NZ Herald. In this slam of the Herald on March 22 –  WHO ARE THE HERALD WRITING FOR, EXACTLY? - he didn’t mentioned Freed but was asked about it in comments.

I am waiting to be Freed. How much longer do I have to wait?

  • Avatar

    We will launch when we are ready, not a minute earlier.

On March 15 ‘Spanish Bride (Slater’s wife) made a comment about “Freed on the horizon”:

The interview was about his charity work and he spent ages talking about that ( none of which was used ) I believe their intention all along was to get a sound bite about the word Scum. They had no intention of promoting Kidscan. 
We have always know that with Freed on the horizon things would get hostile but it is a pity when they couldn’t at least mention Kidscan in the T.V interview as after all it was the only reason he allowed the ‘ Scum ‘ LOL to interview him.

The last Slater post to mention Freed was over a month ago (February 24) with a passing mention at the end of DID ALISTAIR THOMPSON RIP OFF SELWYN PELLETT TO THE TUNE OF $250K:

As tempting as it is to gloat over their misfortune, we all want online news to be a success. But if Scoop’s old model sucked and was a failure, does that suggest a better way is out there, with people waiting to be Freed from the appalling tactics of established paper based press and unethical people such as Alistair Thompson?

There’s been occasional comments from the fan club in comments included queries about when Freed will be launched but  they usually go unanswered.


 My brand is so repugnant that I continue to build an ever-increasing audience.  But hey, don’t let facts get in thew way of trying to damage Freed by association.

The Dominion Post reaches nearly half of Wellingtonians aged 15 years and over and has an average daily readership of 234,000 people aged over 15.

I just have a little old repugnant blog with a similar following Tracy.  Wait until we start Freed!

I have something on most people Tracy.  The thing is, your colleagues used to quite enjoy it when they phoned me to ask what the ‘latest’ was, and were quite happy to use my “repugnant brand” for their own purposes.  Now that Freed is on the way, I am a threat to media and must be dealt to.

That’s nearly four months ago. And he last post that seems designed to be a promotion of Freed was October 24 – 5 THINGS ABOUT THE US MEDIA THAT THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW AND NZ MEDIA ARE SIMILARLY IN TROUBLE:

I think in New Zealand this number probably isn’t quite that bad.  But the trend is there.  Time for Freed.

Those are fascinating numbers.  It means that the news media are disconnected from their audience.  Time for Freed.

Journalists have been speculating about Freed being New Zealand’s “Fox News” in a pejorative sense.  The problem for them is that the public don’t share the joke.   Time for Freed.

People are begging for reporting.  Real reporting.  And they still want opinion too.  They just don’t want it mixed up.  They don’t want journos that are bigger than the story.  They don’t want the opinion to be more important than the facts.   They want to be Freed.

Blogs like Whaleoil fill a gap.  But what is still missing is a place where people can get the news.  They don’t actually feel they can get the news.   They want to be Freed.

Those links all point to the now stagnant FREED.NZ website (see above).

So promotion of and comments about Freed seem to be fizzling out. Time will tell whether the project is fizzling or they are keeping things under wraps until a big launch. Sometime. Maybe.

Slater’s main project so far this year seems to have been his boxing “journey” which ended up flat on the canvas.

Is that where Freed is headed, before even making it into the media ring?

For more details further back see my January post Freed from what?

Slater’s new-found respect for boxing

Cameron Slater seems to have changed his view substantially on participating in and losing a boxing bout.

In January:


I still find it amusing that Jesse Ryder has never heard of me.

When I heard he said that, I thought great it seems I’m up against a deaf and blind guy…shouldn’t be too hard.

Training has commenced…I have some weight to shed, and aerobic fitness to improve, along with my punching power.

He has just written up My Boxing Journey: From Fat to Fit where he now states admiration for those who get in the ring.

How hard could it be I thought to myself.

Well it turns out that boxing is very hard. It is technically difficult, and requires a significant effort just to get to the ring.

I have learned a great deal from this experience, but mostly I have learned that fighters deserve an awful lot of respect.

No one should ever diss a fighter who has gone through those ropes and stood in the loneliest of places…a ring 20 feet x 20 feet with nowhere to hide.

Tiberius asks in comments:

Cam, having now been in a charity boxing event, do you have any more respect for Bill English?

This was alluded to by David Farrar when it was announced that Slater was going to try boxing in January:

Good to see Cameron following his political hero, Bill English, into the celebrity boxing arena!

Slater on English in January 2009:

All Bill English has managed to do with his life is father 6 children, lose a boxing match and get the lowest ever party vote for the National party ever.


And I tell you what…sitting in the dressing room at a tournament like the Super 8 and seeing the winners and the losers come back after their bouts is an incredible thing to witness. Those guys are tough,  win or lose they are tough.

I have learned a great deal from this experience, but mostly I have learned that fighters deserve an awful lot of respect. I feel privileged to have shared a changing room, the despair of losing and the ecstasy of winning with a bunch of guys who gave it their all.

Slater on English in October 2011:

Bill English’s shockingly bad campaign in 2002 included 72 policies on all sorts of stuff that no one cared about, no real leadership with anyone who wanted to releasing policy and Bill doing some stupid photo ops like getting the shit beaten out of him in a boxing ring.


And I tell you what…sitting in the dressing room at a tournament like the Super 8 and seeing the winners and the losers come back after their bouts is an incredible thing to witness. Those guys are tough,  win or lose they are tough.

I have learned a great deal from this experience, but mostly I have learned that fighters deserve an awful lot of respect. I feel privileged to have shared a changing room, the despair of losing and the ecstasy of winning with a bunch of guys who gave it their all.

Which includes “some stupid photo ops like getting the shit beaten out of him in a boxing ring”


Here’s English’s bout in 2002, perhaps Slater will now respect him for it:

English looked much fitter then than Slater was on Saturday and managed to last the distance (three rounds) but was also outclassed.

The New Zealand electorate didn’t respect English for it though, National led by him was thrashed in the general election that year.

Recommendation of no retrial for Teina Pora

The Privy Council has recommended that there be no retrial of Teina Pora.


Justice sometimes takes a long time, at great cost to the innocent.

A boxing disgrace

This is a boxing bout that should never have been allowed to happen, any responsible boxing promoter should never have considered it let alone allowed it.

Sometimes stupid people with oversized ambitions and egos need to be overridden by experts. The experts failed in their duty of care in this case.

Jessie Ryder versus Cameron Slater:

Slater should not have been allowed to be an out of shape punching bag.

All that happened was Slater was punched in the head until he fell down. The referee should have seen the mismatch and called it off. But it was allowed to continue.

Then Slater was punched repeatedly in the head some more until he was knocked unconscious. He likely suffered more damage when he hit the floor, hard.

It was promoted by Sky Arena – Super 8.


SUPER 8 is the world’s premier all-action fight night, it’s fast, furious and stacked with knock out action. 

Offering something for everyone, each epic event features an explosive eight man last man standing tournament, world-class championship boxing and enthralling celebrity clashes. 

When you watch a SUPER 8 event – look away at your peril because every fight matters.

This is a disgrace to boxing.

And that this was fundraising for Kidscan is another disgrace, it is a terrible example for kids.

Another stunt? Slater served bankruptcy papers

In what looks like another stunt on the night Cameron Slater was knocked senseless by Jessie Ryder bankruptcy papers were served on Slater just before the fight.

The Whale Oil blogger was served with bankruptcy papers just before taking part in a corporate boxing match last night.

It’s part of an ongoing legal feud with businessman Matt Blomfield, who’s suing him for defamation.


This has already been done or attempted by Blomfield. I posted about this two months ago in Standard sucked into Blomfield versus Slater dirt.

An image of the bankruptcy notice shows it is Matt Blomfield versus Cameron Slater. It was originally posted with both addresses but they have been redacted. There is ongoing court proceedings between the two. I don’t know if this is a reasonable course of action by Blomfield or a stunt or an attempt at harassment. I won’t take sides between Blomfield and Slater except perhaps the opposite side to both of them. It’s not unusual for them to be going hammer and tongs and both have records of playing dirty. What is unusual is that Prentice has allowed the Standard to play such a part. It’s not the first time, in a previous slanging match The Standard posted a statement from Blomfield. It would appear that this time Blomfield has gone to Prentice to set up this publicity. And Prentice has obliged boots and all.

I’m not sure why it’s taken two months to serve the papers. The timing seems like a publicity stunt to me, ironically at the same time Slater is doing a publicity stunt of his own.

Slater’s wife Juana posted a comment in response (in January):

I realise your blind hatred of Cam prevents you from looking too closely at the hand that feeds you the info ( Matt ) but sorry to burst your bubble but he has neglected to tell you some pertinent facts. 1. The court costs are in a Trust account and will be released when the Appeal process is complete IF Matt wins. If he doesn’t Matt will owe Cam court costs. 2. Cam has the money but has no legal obligation to pay the money until the appeal has been completed and Matt knows this. 3. Matt is trying to serve papers as part of his ongoing campaign of harassment.Something I know you all enjoy as you are his mate but nevertheless harassment is what it is.

Regardless of the merits of Blomfield’s action last night Slater is going to have a sore head this morning now the distraction of preparing for the boxing bout is over,

Air travel – no perfect protection against calculated malice

It’s shocking when there’s a major air disaster, despite air travel being one of the safest modes of travel for the majority of us.

It’s especially shocking when one nutter can deliberately cause the deaths of 150 innocent travellers as seems to have happened in the French Alps. It’s been reported that the co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cockpit and then aimed a Germanwings Airbus at the ground.

It’s now also being reported that the co-pilot failed to reveal a sick note to the airline: Co-pilot Lubitz ‘hid illness’

The co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a Germanwings airliner into the French Alps hid details of an illness, German prosecutors say.

Torn-up sick notes were found in the homes of Andreas Lubitz, they say, including one for the day of the crash, which killed 150 passengers and crew.

A German hospital confirmed he had been a patient recently but denied reports he had been treated for depression.

And in BBC’s Investigation Latest:

Markus Wahl from the German Pilots Association has been reacting to the news that Mr Lubitz had been issued with a medical note by doctors, but chose not to share it with his employers.

He said: “If a colleague was signed off sick then I have to be very clear, someone with a sick note has no business being in a cockpit. He should have stayed home. I cannot comprehend that.”

Preventing pilots from ignoring regulations and protocols is very difficult, pretty much impossible.

The same report asks “Could the Germanwings crash have been avoided? James Fallows, at The Atlantic, says probably not”.

He reflects on the problem of cockpits that have to be impregnable yet accessible in emergencies – an “unavoidable dilemma” – and he questions whether better screening is necessarily the answer.

“This is a terrible episode, all the worse-seeming because it was intentional. But even as we absorb its horror and extend deep sympathies, it is worth resisting the temptation to think that some new regulation or device can offer perfect protection against calculated malice. Unfortunately, none can.”

There will always be risks with flying – small risks, but unavoidable risks. Checking the mental state of every pilot before every flight would be totally impractical, and not infallible.

Flying is a risk that most of us will survive.

Living is a risk that eventually none of us will survive. It’s sad when lives end ‘prematurely’ but unfortunately shit happens.

There’s no perfect protection against calculated malice.

There’s no perfect protection.

GCSB oversight seen to be working

Better oversight of the GCSB was introduced a couple of years ago. It is seen to be working.

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, will commence an inquiry into complaints over alleged interception of communications of New Zealanders working or travelling in the South Pacific by the Government Security Communications Bureau (GCSB).

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data.

“I will be addressing the specific complaints that I have received, in accordance with the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996. But there is also a clear need to provide as much factual information to the complainants, and to the wider public, as is possible.”

“For that reason, I have decided not only to investigate the complaints but also to bring forward and expand the relevant parts of my ongoing programme of review and audit of GCSB procedures and compliance systems. That review programme operates at a systemic level and doesn’t, of course, scrutinise or second-guess every day-to-day aspect of the GCSB’s operations: what it does allow for, as in this instance, is a focussed review of a particular area of GCSB or New Zealand Security Intelligence Service practice.”

This in part has been initiated by the Greens who are being effective as an opposition party.

It’s ironic that the Greens strongly opposed the law changes that amongst other things introduced this much better oversight.

One aspect of this though is that the Hager claims are all historic dating prior to the legislation changes. The inquiry may find that things have changed for the better adequately.

About the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security is an independent statutory officer, appointed under warrant by the Governor-General to provide oversight of the GCSB and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, to assist responsible Ministers in ensuring that those agencies act lawfully and with propriety, and to undertake independent investigation of complaints.

The powers and functions of the office were expanded by legislation in late 2013, and its resources significantly increased, with provision for the appointment of a Deputy Inspector and a standing investigative staff. The Inspector-General’s functions and powers include a requirement to conduct an ongoing programme of review of procedures and compliance systems of the intelligence and security agencies. That review work involves scrutiny of warrants and authorisations that have been granted to each agency by responsible Ministers and the Commissioner of Security Warrants and also more focussed review of particular operational activities and the agencies’ governing procedures and policies.

The inquiry will be very interesting.

Semi-final – New Zealand versus South Africa

The last game of the Cricket World Cup in New Zealand will be played today at Eden Park – probably, it’s been raining in Auckland this morning and the current forecast is:

Cloudy with showers, clearing afternoon. Light northeast.


If the game can’t be completed today there is a reserve day tomorrow (“Long fine spells. Light winds.”)

This will be the last game for either New Zealand or South Africa, with the winner going to Melbourne for their first world cup final on Sunday.

South Africa is slightly favoured in odds at the TAB, that’s justified on their ranking with the top four playing off in the semis – Reliance ICC ODI Ranking:

  1. Australia 121
  2. India 116
  3. South Africa 113
  4. New Zealand 108

New Zealand has climbed the rankings over the last few months and has just got ahead of Sri Lanka.

On recent form the odds have evened somewhat with New Zealand having beaten South Africa in a pre-tournament warm-up game and won all seven games through the tournament while South Africa lost two pool games.

So it could easily go either way, depending on which team makes the least mistakes and most hits with both bat and ball.

Cricket games can ride on one great performance, like Martin Guptill’s supreme innings in the quarter final. Or on one weak link – New Zealand look likely to bring in a bowler who hasn’t participated in the tournament so far which raises the risks.

The Cricinfo preview says it’s too close to call in Who will be the World Cup’s newest first-time finalist?

Nine World Cup semi-finals, zero World Cup finals. New Zealand and South Africa are no strangers to the last four, but neither has ever experienced the ultimate shoot-out. That will change for one of the teams as Melbourne beckons for the winner.

Six months ago if you had asked for a prediction of this fixture it is likely that South Africa would have been favoured. Now the hosts can rightly be considered the smart money. At the very least, it is the too-close-to-call match-up that the contests should be at this stage of the tournament.

It’s a bugger about having to go to work today but at least it’s a day-night game starting at 2 pm so I’ll be able to watch the second innings.


“Any game you play, some get more nervous than others but the general feeling is that we can’t wait to get out there and test our skills against a very good South African team and in a crunch game. The way we dealt with the expectations of the last game should hold is us in reasonable stead.”
Brendon McCullum isn’t worried if some players are nervous

“It would be silly to focus too much on the cricket they’ve played. They’ve played really well but if we play to our full potential, no one is going to stop us. I need to make sure they are confident mentally and fresh physically.”
AB de Villiers keeps his focus on his own team rather than New Zealand

Back in action

I had most of the weekend off line due to being away at a school reunion. The most non-blogging for quite a while.I’m sure the on-line world carried on without me ok.

I’ll be back in action this week. Not sure if I’m refreshed yet or not.

I did get to watch Q&A yesterday morning which featured a sort of debate between Mark Osborne and Winston Peters. One kept repeating what are now rehearsed lines, the other kept promising things he won’t be able to deliver. And the other none candidates were excluded, the media having made up their minds who should be covered in what’s supposed to be a demcratic election.

Open Forum – Monday

23 March 2015

Otago Anniversary Day

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some basic ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
  • Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
  • Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised.


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