Confronting online abuse

I think many people were quite shocked by what they heard.

Much of the contact is anonymous. People use fake names and hide behind their keyboards. A friend of mine calls them ‘keyboard cowards’ and I think that’s quite an apt term.

I’ve had my fair share of abuse as well.

The attacks via twitter that followed were awful. One that sticks in my mind is the woman who tweeted me and said I deserved to die.

I’ve received messages that are too vile to write about here, but most are triggered by those who feel strongly about one political party or the other. I can’t post the most abusive feedback.

For others, it can wear you down, it can make you think about what you do and why you do it, and it can make you worry about who’s living in our communities – so much anger, so much hatred.

The sad reality is that there’s no way to stop it. Not at the moment.

But at the moment, technology is developing at a far greater pace than the checks and balances that should be in place to protect people. Maybe in the future that might change. But I don’t think we should hold our breath.

Those comments could apply to many situations (read this link for specifics).

We shouldn’t hold our breath. Those who care should do something about it, confront bullying and abusive behaviour, and take the fight to the online thugs.

Most people are decent people. If enough of them speak up they will show that the abusers are a small (albeit loud) minority that can be overcome.

There’s no way to stop it but here are ways to reduce it – like more people confronting the abuse and the abusers and not letting them get way with shouting down decent discussion and debate.

There are risks, the bullies often turn and attack when confronted, but if you stay dignified and strong they usually end up backing off. Like any part of society it’s up to good people to stand up and not allow an abusive few ruin our forums.

Local body politics “so damn tedious”

Newstalk ZB’s chief political reporter Felix Marwick is less than impressed with the local body elections -  Political Report: Local body election so damn tedious

The reason people don’t give a damn about local body politics is probably because it’s so damn tedious and so damn nebulous. It appears, on the surface, to be a succession of beige candidates with beige ideals. Figuring out exactly what they stand for is a task beyond us mere mortals.

I don’t mean to dump on those who’ve taken the time to put themselves forward for office. It’s a thankless task and they deserve respect for giving it a go. But for whatever reason, local body politics has all the appearance of being dull, distant, and divorced from the realities of most peoples’ lives.

Yes, mostly thankless. And even more tedious than the national politics that Felix usually reports on.

In the last Local Body elections my sentiments were similar to Felix’s, so I decided to do something about it.

Ironically I campaigned on making local body politics more relevant for people, but no one was listening.

Actually some people did listen and want to do something about it with me, so we will. For those who can be bothered engaging.

No records kept on Parliamentary spy data access!

A journalist has been told by Parliamentary Services that they don’t keep records of what spy data they have handed out.

But this reveals an alarming coverup or an extremely concerning laxity in record keeping.

It was recently revealed that Parliamentary Services gave security card movement data of MP Peter Dunne and journalist Andrea Vance  to David Henry as a part of his Kitteridge report leak inquiry.

Newstalk ZB political reporter Felix Marwick asked Parliamentary Services if they had ever released security card data involving him.

No record of monitoring Parliament access

The agency responsible for running Parliament says it keeps no records on occasions when it has accessed the way people at Parliament have used their security cards.

The monitoring of the cards became an issue in the Henry Inquiry into the leak of the Kitteridge report.

Then it emerged Parliamentary Services had passed on records relating to Fairfax reporter Andrea Vance’s movements, tracked by her security card, to the Henry Inquiry.

Newstalk ZB has asked if its reporters have had their data accessed in a similar way.

Parliamentary Services says it keeps no database of instances where swipe card data is retrieved following security incidents.

That’s an alarming situation where Parliamentary Services hands out what is in effect spy data on journalists but keeps no record of retrieving the data.

Unless it’s a massive fobbing off. Surely they must keep records of when they hand over security data.

If Parliamentary Services don’t keep records of who requests security data, who requests it, why it is requested, and who is given what data we should be very concerned.

In any case any retrieving of data must be logged and recorded. That surely is a basic necessity.

Who in Parliamentary services is able to access data? And what data? On what authority?

The appearance at the moment is of gross negligence and serious abuse of privacy.

Blog exclusive – Bill English on drought

This is an exclusive for YourNZ – about the media links in a minor story.

TVNZ Q + A:

On Q+A this Sunday, NZ’s in the midst of a drought so how will it affect you and me and our pockets? We speak to the Finance Minister Bill English, and a climate scientist who says we have to no option but to adapt.

(story not yet online)

Stuff (Fairfax):

Finance Minister Bill English says the costs of the drought are headed toward $2 billion.

English said the Government was getting updated advice over the next few weeks from Treasury but the latest estimates indicated ”somewhere between one and two billion will be knocked off our national income”.

English told TVNZ’s Q+A the drought had potential to knock 30 per cent off New Zealand’s growth rate in a year.

NZ Herald:

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Bill English is now saying the estimated cost of the drought has gone up from $1 billion to $2 billion, Fairfax Media reports.

Newstalk ZB chief political reporter in Twitter:

@felixmarwick

just seen a Herald story referencing Bill English comments from a Fairfax story about comments the Minister made on @NZQandA #convoluted

YourNZ: The final convolution?

I watched Bill English on Q + A so didn’t need to read the Fairfax report on that, or the Herald report on that,so knew the story.

But when Felix  Marwick commented on the convolutions I responded “Sounds interesting, I must blog on your tweet on it.”

Felix replied “why? it’s hardly earth shattering. Just a bit quirky”

So here’s a bit more quirk to the convolutions. Exclusive to Your NZ.

TVNZ HAve the English interview online now:

Corin Dann interviews Bill English (13:05)

Political editor Corin Dann interviews the finance minister Bill English about the drought, the Budget

Felix the splat

Felix Marwick is chief political reporter for Newstalk ZB. He thought things were winding down for the year. He reported in late this morning.

All retweets from me today. Sorry. Work capacity have been inhibited by a small matter of car vs bike.

Felix must be a sporty or a greeny.

intersection of chaytor and raroa

small asian man in a van

I’ve had better days

Obviously.

Felix splat

Maybe he’s a sporty greeny. Or a leprechaun on wheels.

every cloud has a silver lining. Today I’ve had some awesome drugs, and injuries mean I’m incapable of nappy duty for 6 weeks

I’ll be at the party, just have to get thru surgery tomorrow. Plus I only need 1 arm to drink

this explains the pic I posted earlier. And why I’ve been off work today

Good journo that he is he had the tape rolling.

Ouch.

I hope he recovers quickly. And bad luck for someone if there were any party stickers on the car.

Shearer and ‘descent’ of wages

Newstalk ZB reports:

Shearer to deliver ‘job crisis’ speech in Chch

Labour leader David Shearer will be in Christchurch today to deliver a speech about what he calls the job crisis in New Zealand.

He says he’ll also talk about Labour’s plans to help create jobs that pay descent wages and ensure young people get the training they need.

He be speaking at Hornby Working Man’s club at 1pm.

Presumably a typo, I doubt Shearer will be promoting the descent of wages.

The Mana plantation owner

There’s quite a bit more to what Hone Harawira has said than a bit of abuse. From a Newstalk ZB interview: Harawira on his ‘house n****r’ comments

Marwick: Now the attendance or non-attendance of both National Party Maori MPs and the Maori Party MPs at the hui organised by King Tuheitia seems to have ruffled your feathers somewhat. What is your objection to them not attending?

Harawira: No, actually I’m not objecting to them not attending, I’m objecting to the fact that John Key is telling them they can’t.

The fact of the matter is, people are jumping up and down about a phrase I used, right, but if people want me to stop using terms from Alabama in the 1950s then they should tell the Prime Minister to stop acting like a plantation owner from Alabama in the 1950s.

There’s a number of Maori MPs in his party, two of whom are high ranking ministers, they have their own mana, and they have their own standing in Maori society, and he should show them the respect that they deserve and allow them to make their own decision as to whether or not they’ll attend the national hui on water.

Marwick:: Do you think it was right to use such a pejorative term thought, because I know if I used it people would probably thump me and they’d be right to do so.

Harawira: Ah look Felix, you have to live with the things you say and I’m comfortable with the things I say.

My comment was about how the way in which the Prime Minister showed an appalling lack of understanding of the mana that his Maori MPs have. It’s an insult to them, (they should) make up their own mind.

What’s the point of having ministers that you want to rank highly in your cabinet, if you’re going to do all their thinking for them, particularly Maori ones.

And understand this, they’re not being invited as National Party MPs, they’re not being invited as Cabinet Ministers. It’s a national hui on water for Maori. It’s not an Iwi Leaders hui, it’s not a claimants hui, it’s not a Maori Council hui. It’s an open hui for Maori. They are Maori. They should come.

Marwick: Why should they?

Harawira: Because the issues that are going to be discussed there will probably lead to some of the most important decisions that Maoridom will make in my lifetime, and your lifetime for that matter. That’s why. It is that important.

Water, and the status of water to Maori and to the nation are at stake here, and it’s important that everybody’s point of view is heard. They bring a different point of view to the table, like everybody else. They should come, and John Key should not be telling them not to.

Marwick: What impact then do you think this hui could have on government policy, given the position that the Government’s already put out there?

Harawira: I’m really not sure. All I want to see is that Maori see water as an important issue, to make a decision on, that they set a timeframe on which that decision can be made with as wide a participation as possible from Maori people, and that they not be locked into a timeframe gerrymandered by the Prime Minister to facilitate the sale of assets that most New Zealanders are opposed to.

Aside from important issues like:

  • what 1950′s Alabama has got to do with slavery or New Zealand?
  • why “some of the most important decisions that Maoridom will make in my lifetime” will come from a hui organised at very short notice
  • if water is such an important issue for the country why is the hui so maori dominated
  • on what basis Harawira speaks for the hui
  • how representative of Maori as a whole the hui will be
  • how representative of the whole country the hui will be

…there’s a key point to take from this.

Harawira’s main objection regarding the National Party Maori MPs seems to be that “the fact that John Key is telling them they can’t“.

So he says “They should come, and John Key should not be telling them not to.

As Harawira says, “they have their own mana“. Maybe they can decide for themselves what they do and who they listen to. Why should National Party MPs take their orders from the Mana plantation owner?

Interviews with Hone Harawira

Felix Marwick’s interview with Hone Harawira yesterday:

Harawira on his ‘house n****r’ comments

Chief political reporter Felix Marwick talks to Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira about his use of the term ‘house niggers’ in a Facebook post in relation to Maori MPs and the issue of a national hui on water rights

Online report: Harawira denies calling MPs ‘n*****s’

TV One on Breakfast (video):

‘I didn’t call anyone a house n*****’ – Harawira

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says he “didn’t call anybody a house n*****”, and New Zealand needs to “mature”.

News report: I have ‘nothing to apologise’ for – Harawira

TV3 Firstline (report and video):

Hone claims win for Sharples’ hui u-turn video

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says his “house nigger” comment on Facebook yesterday led to the Maori Party’s u-turn on attending a hui on water ownership.

Despite admitting his choice of words was questionable, Mr Harawira is claiming victory for convincing Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples to attend.

Campbell Live (Thursday – report and video)

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira says his ‘N-word’ slur was never directed at his former Maori Party colleagues.

Harawira backtracks and contradicts

After starting yesterday in attack mode Hone Harawira ended up with a different story which contradicted earlier statements.

This is what he has said on Facebook and via media, in time sequence, starting late on Wednesday night:

(as at 5.30am Thursday timing the comment late on Wednesday)

(as at 6am Friday so posted about 7am Thursday 6 September)

Next he was reported on NewstalkZB (after a radio interview):

Harawira denies calling MPs ‘n*****s’

Hone Harawira denies he called other Maori MPs ‘house niggers’.

But he now disputes the phrase was directed at other MPs saying journalists can’t make the assumption and name people that they think he is talking about.

Mr Harawira says he’s not going to play that game.

Instead he says his comment was a challenge to John Key.

Harawira said “he can tell his little house niggers what to do” and then only referred to Maori Party MPs Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples by name in his comments. When he says “journalists can’t make the assumption and name people that they think he is talking about” they don’t need to make assumptions, he made the comments.

And another report, in Stuff on Thursday afternoon:

Harawira’s N-bomb directed at National MPs

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira was talking about National’s Maori MPs when he referred to Prime Minister John Key’s “little house niggers”, he says.

Harawira was responding to Key’s refusal to let National MPs attend a hui on water rights to be hosted by the Maori King, next week.

Harawira took to Facebook and said they would likely have to go, or at least send the party’s third MP Te Ururoa.

“What’s the bet that Tari and Pete cop so much flak from Maori for saying that they’re not going to the hui on water – that they find some reason to change their mind and say they’re gonna go now (or send Te Ururoa). Knowing how the Maori Party works, they’ll have to clear it with John Key first though,” he wrote.

“Time John Key realised a few home truths like (1) he can tell his little house niggers what to do, but (2) the rest of us don’t give a shit for him or his opinions!”

Harawira told Stuffthat the later comment was not a reference to Turia and Sharples.

“What’s that got to do with Tari and Pete?”

He said he was referring to National’s own Maori MPs; such as Paula Bennett, Tau Henare, Simon Bridges, Hekia Parata.

“You’ve got to be careful about trying to draw dots here… I made a very clear statement about John Key and the way that he treats his MPs.”

In his Facebook comments he did refer “his Maori MPs” but he then referred solely to Maori Party MPs, and no mention at all of National MPs. So his Stuff claim is very clearly at odds with this.

Then he was interviewed on Campbell Live and his story had changed some more.

Hone Harawira: ‘N***er’ slur not directed at Maori Party

Speaking on Campbell Live tonight, Mr Harawira denies his comments were directed at the pair.

“I didn’t call anyone a house n***er, I’m challenging John Key in the way in which he’s treating his Maori MPs. He’s treating them that way and I don’t think he should.”

Mr Harawira says Mr Sharples and Ms Turia should have been given a choice on attending the hui.

He clearly did refer to MPs as house niggers. He then refers to ‘his Maori MPs’ and then goes on to name Sharples and Turia again.

He says all Maori MPs have “mana in their own right” and should not have to follow the Government.

Mr Harawira says he doesn’t regret his choice of words.

“If people don’t want me to use a phrase from Alabama from back in the 1950s, maybe they should say to the prime minister ‘stop acting like a plantation owner from Alabama in the 1950s’.”

That’s a bizarre anology with no connection to the issue or to New Zealand.

Mr Sharples office told 3 News this afternoon he is now looking to attend the hui, a move Mr Harawira is claiming credit for.

“I’m glad that this has actually forced Pita to say he’s going to come, I’ll enjoy him being there. I’ll just say to Turi I never accused her of being that, and I don’t think she should read into it anymore then what was actually in the email.”

So again he claimed he wasn’t referring to Maori Party MPs, but claims credit for having “forced Pita to say he’s going to come”. That clearly indicates his intent to target the Maori Party MPs.

“It was a criticism of John Key’s actions and I think that he should resile from them”

John Key is out of the country so can’t respond, as Harawira knows.

Harawira made outlandish and inflammatory statements – his Facebook page is now available again minus the ‘house nigger’ comment. He then made a contradictory retreat, refusing to take responsibility for his abuse and diviseness.

UPDATE: Harawira on Frontline

Once again he referred to National’s Maori MPs and then immediately went on to talk about Sharples and Turia. He doesn’t seem to differentiate from both as John key’s MPs.

He acted surprised the ‘nigger’ would be viewed as offensive and tried to downplay it’s offensiveness by saying someone said fuck on ‘The Block’ last night.

He has to know how offensive and attention seeking the use of ‘nigger’ would be. His innocence must be feigned.

He said he may have chosen better words (saying he didn’t have much time to think it through) but doesn’t regret saying what he said.

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