Breaking: news as we knew it

On Twitter today NZ Herald went overboard with ‘breaking’ news about one of their main competitors, Mediaworks :


#BREAKING MediaWorks announces the end of 3News, to be replaced with Newshub Live. More soon

But it was soon pointed out:

.@nzherald They announced it October last year

They linked to this (30 October 2015) – MediaWorks reveals new multi-platform news service.

MediaWorks today revealed its new news service which will launch in early 2016.

Newshub will be a multi-platform TV, radio and digital news service, transforming MediaWorks’ award-winning 3 News and RadioLIVE News services into a combined organisation, beginning with the move to an integrated newsroom later this year.

The service will provide the latest news and in-depth analysis across one of New Zealand’s largest media organisations.

“We are bringing an entire organisation together from the TV, Radio and Digital newsrooms with a clear vision of how we can best serve the evolving New Zealand audience,” said MediaWorks Group CEO Mark Weldon.

The launch date is what was announced today – Multi-platform news service Newshub to launch February 1

MediaWorks’ new multi-platform news service will launch on February 1.

Newshub, an integrated digital, TV and radio news service, will provide breaking news and in-depth analysis across MediaWorks’ TV and radio channels, as well as online through a mobile app and website, the company says.

Newshub Live at 6pm will be presented by Mike McRoberts and Hilary Barry, while Jeff McTainsh will present Newshub Midday.

“Journalism is all about communities, and with our integration our ‘community’ has just got a lot wider,” McRoberts says.

Newsworthy will be rebranded as Newshub Late, and be hosted by Samantha Hayes. The weekend news bulletin will be hosted by Melissa Davies and Tom McRae, both of whom are returning from overseas posts.

The service will also provide news content across other programmes, such as Paul Henry and will place a strong emphasis on digital.

3 News was struggling to retain audience, as are most traditional media in a rapidly changing world. They had already tried a cross platform approach with Paul Henry’s morning television also broadcast over radio as well as promoting online content.

A danger for TV3 is turning off traditional viewers and failing to attract the new breed of Internet and smart phone users.

But the large media organisations have to try something to stay relevant in a diversifying media world where users are very easily distracted or diverted.

One thing that needs immediate attention is how they present their new brand. Newshub was criticised for being easily mis-recognised as…

  • New shub
  • New shrub

…and other things.

Is this Mike McRoberts’ new shub (shower with tub)?

The logo is clearer…


…but as text on Twitter and in news reports Newshub is not clearly defined.


Vague poll on US ship visits

NZ Herald has a vague poll on US ship visits to New Zealand, under a misleading headline:

Kiwis torn on US ship visits

I don’t know whether Audrey Young wrote the headline or not but the article doesn’t support the ‘Kiwis torn’ claim at all.  Kiwis are probably more torn over whether to take the Herald’s silly sensationalist headlines seriously.

I doubt that many New Zealanders think much or care much about US ship visits any more. It’s 30 years since our nuclear ship ban.

The Navy has invited the US Navy, among others in the world, to its 75th birthday celebrations in November and the Pentagon is considering it.

But an acceptance would run counter to the most significant remaining reprisal against New Zealand’s anti-nuclear laws.

The US Navy has boycotted NZ ports since 1986 when New Zealand was effectively expelled from the Anzus security pact with the US and Australia.

Reprisals have eased only in recent years. The ban on the US exercising with NZ was lifted only in 2010. But even then the Kiwis were not allowed to dock in naval facilities at Pearl Harbour but had to dock at a civilian wharf. President Barack Obama overturned that particular oddity for the 2014 Rimpac exercise.

Under New Zealand law, ships may visit only if the Prime Minister is satisfied they are not carrying nuclear weapons.

So under our law there is very little risk of a nuclear ship visit. So there doesn’t seem to be any actual problem.

Prime Minister John Key believes resuming ship visits would be a positive step and extend markedly improved relations between the nations.

“Most New Zealanders can see the relationship with the United States has dramatically improved in recent times,” he told the Herald. “A ship visit that is within NZ law would be a positive step.”

The poll results:

29.4 per cent don’t want a ship to visit at all

50.2 per cent think it would be a positive move

16 per cent displayed a sense of triumphalism by preferring to think it would be a victory for New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy

No details are given of the number of people polled or method of polling.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the 50.2 per cent confirmed that people wanted NZ to have a good relationship with the US. “It is important that we do have a good relationship with them. But what is equally important to New Zealanders is our non-nuclear status. It has defined us as a nation for the past 30 years.”

That implies that Little would have no problem with a ship visit under our current no-nuclear laws.

About 30% don’t want a a US ship visit but about 66% are either positive about a visit or ‘displayed a sense of triumphalism’. Little:

He said the three options were not exclusive and there might be people who thought a ship visit was positive, but might doubt an assurance.

He’s right, the questions (as phrased by Young) are not clear cut and there is probably overlapping sentiments. And they exclude other reasons for and against supporting visits.

Mr Little believed the almost 30 per cent who did not want the US to visit would be those who, despite any assurances from the Prime Minister, would have doubts about whether any visiting US ship was actually non-nuclear.

There’s likely to be a number of reasons for the 30% against visits, including people who are simply anti US or anti military. From the polls results given it’s difficult to determine much.

The poll suggests that most people won’t have a problem with a US navy return to New Zealand.

There will probably be a small number who are stridently against any visit and we may get symbolic protests, but my guess is that most Kiwis aren’t ‘torn’ won’t care much if at all.

Piles of pile-on palaver

There’s been ongoing angst and other discussion about a so-called pile-on on Twitter.

Last Wednesday there was an article in the Herald by journalist Kirsty Johnston. After a lot of Twitter reaction Johnston was said to have “rage quit Twitter”.

This was still simmering yesterday. In reaction to a post and discussion at Dim-Post plus presumably more tweeting another journalist announced they were having a break from twitter after criticising Danyl.

I haven’t had a close look at the rights or wrongs in all this but it seems to be a mix of Twitter swarms meeting with a slow news time of year.

The Dim-Post post was mainly aimed at pointless feuds involving “progressive activists”.

A note on pile-ons

Second day back at work and NZ Twitter is already the site of pointless feuds, the latest one causing one of the best journalists in the country to delete her account so she doesn’t have to engage with progressive activists any more.

Online progressive activists tend to have a high regard for what they do: they’re educating people, speaking truth to power, changing the world, etc. But mostly the result of this education and challenging via social media pile-ons and call-outs seems to result in the subjects hating progressive activists and identity politics and/or deleting their social media accounts. These don’t seem like big wins for the cause. It often feels to me like the real goal here is to have fun shitting all over people while feeling sanctimonious about it.

But now Danyl has been accused of doing the shitting on because of attempted explanations as the comments continue in parallel to the twittering.

There seems to be a lot of immaturity and over-angst on Twitter in particular, but it can be very hard to separate that from genuine concerns and collateral damage.


Race Relations Commissioner popular?

A NZ Herald poll shows that Race relations Commissioner Susan Devoy is more popular than unpopular, but I wonder how many of the public know much about what she does.

A Herald-DigiPoll survey asked people to rate Dame Susan’s performance:

  • Had done a satisfactory job – 58%
  • Her performance was “good” – 17%
  • She had done a “poor job 0- 16%

Devoy’s appointment was controversial but I wouldn’t be surprised if only a small percentage of the poll pool have much knowledge to judge her performance on.

Dame Susan’s popularity defies critics

Responding to the poll, Dame Susan said the result was interesting but her job was not a popularity contest.

“No matter what I do or say, some people will remain opposed to me and the work I am doing with our team at the Human Rights Commission. I just hope that they will take on the broader messages and think about the issues.

“New Zealanders don’t like being told what to do so that’s why we try to focus on highlighting real-life incidents and encouraging Kiwis to think about the issue and to do the right thing.”

She said she truly believed New Zealanders were fair-minded people, but race relations was a work in progress and Kiwis had to keep challenging themselves to be better people.

“It’s not something we can rest back on our laurels over.”

I was aware of Devoy’s appointment in 2013 and saw public criticism of it. I’ve seen her criticised on blogs. I’ve seen the role and the Race Relations Commission criticised.

But the poll suggests that those vocal about and critical of Devoy’s appointment may be a smallish minority.

How many people really know what the Race relations Commissioner does and how effective she is?

I don’t think it’s possible to judge from a few controversial media stories and a bit of blog bitching..


New Year’s Resolution: spelling

I make a few mistakes here, including in headlines sometimes. In a hurry, lax, no editor to check things before publication.

I don’t know what the Herald’s excuse is for this:

NZH Catoon

Maybe they could make better spelling a belated New Year’s resolution.

It looks like catoon is a common mistake, I get 3,190,000 results from Google. But that’s exaggerated,  there are multiple hits (six) from this one Herald mistake due to it appearing on different pages linking to the cartoon page.


Another call for bridge flag comparison

Today’s Herald editorial adds a call for the fern flag to fly alongside the current flag on Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Let’s see fern flag on harbour bridge

This is a serious and urgent request of whomever is running the Government in the Prime Minister’s absence. Please fly the proposed new flag from the Auckland Harbour Bridge, either on one pole alongside the existing flag, or on both poles.

We will be voting on them in just two months and it is vital to see the proposed alternative in action before we can decide.

Until we see how it looks fluttering in a breeze, lying limp and performing in various conditions, we cannot know whether its design really “works”.

We also need to give it a test of time. A design that is striking at first sight, and even at subsequent sightings for a week or two, can lose its appeal later. A new national flag would need to hold our affection for a lifetime. We need to test it for as long as possible before we face the decision. That’s why this request is urgent.

They say that the Government has sent “samples of the alternative flags to individuals and organisations that had two flagpoles and undertook to fly both of them as directed” – has anyone seen both flags flying together?

People cannot be expected to go looking for them. On the harbour bridge, the Government’s transport agency has the most visible poles in the country. Why are they not being used for this important exercise?

Surely a decision need not await John Key’s return. Better that he not be involved. Put the flag up there, please.

There’s a petition running asking the Minister of Transport, Simon Bridges, to Fly the Silver Fern Flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

We the, people of New Zealand who support the Silver Fern Flag, ask that the “alternative” flag flown from the Auckland Harbour bridge. Starting immediately and flown until the end of the second flag referendum.

I support that but I think they have made a mistake (as well as the misplaced comma) referring to “people of New Zealand who support the Silver Fern Flag” – anyone who supports a good democratic contest in the referendum should consider supporting having both flag options flying together wherever possible.


‘US the place for Dotcom to argue case’

While some online still defend Kim Dotcom and make unsubstantiated and outlandish claims about New Zealand’s justice system main stream media have had a good look at the evidence presented in Dotcom’s extradition hearing and there seems little dispute about the weight of evidence.

Today’s NZ Herald editorial does further, saying US the place for Dotcom to argue case:

Judge Nevin Dawson has found prima facie breaches of copyright on a massive scale in Dotcom’s operation. It is important to note that prima facie findings are not proven guilt; they mean simply that the evidence offered by the prosecution is strong enough to support his extradition. Dotcom and his co-accused offered alternative explanations for the alleged offences but these can be considered only at a trial.

To avoid extradition, their lawyers had to show that the evidence against them was unsound, or the application faulty. They did not do so.

Dotcom and his co-accused should now take their explanations to a trial in the US.

It has taken nearly four years for the case to come this far. We may expect years more to pass at each stage of appeal. And all the while it is costing this country a fortune in court time and expenses.

The district court hearing took nine weeks and it followed countless procedural hearings since Dotcom’s arrest in an almost paramilitary police operation in January 2012.

New Zealanders ought to be able to find Judge Dawson’s 271-page decision online as easily as they can download movies and music and other copyrighted material.

Here it goes:

It explains the methods allegedly used by Dotcom’s Megaupload site to store such material and even reward those who did so. It is said to have provided multiple URL links to the same material and when it received a take-down notice from a copyright owner, it is said to have removed only the offender’s link, not the material.

It may be that these sort of practices are technically legal but it is in the interests of content providers and users that we find out. We cannot find out until Dotcom goes to the US and faces trial. He should go now.

It’s looking inevitable that Dotcom will have to go to the US to face the charges, eventually. He has the financial resources to fight extradition in every way possible, and he even went as far as pouring millions of dollars into the Internet Party to try and engineer a change of Government. That was unsuccessful. In fact it may have strengthened support for the governing party, National.

But it looks like Dotcom is prepared to pour money into legal delays.

Not so one of those originally accused along with Dotcom. Andrus Nomm decided it wasn’t worth living with the charges hovering over him and gave himself up to the US. He was convicted and has just been released from prison.

Dotcom: ‘Inside man’ told of copyright concerns

Detailed testimony from the FBI’s “inside man” in the Megaupload case has been released, with evidence from within the company about how copyright rules were broken, according to court documents.

Former Megaupload programmer Andrus Nomm told the FBI “his co-conspirators were aware that they were making money directly from reproducing and distributing copyright infringing content”.

The details are now able to be reported after a decision in the extradition case of Kim Dotcom and three others triggered the release of court documents filed by the United States.

Nomm has just been released from a US federal prison after serving less than a year in prison after making a plea deal to testify against his former colleagues at Megaupload.

Documents filed with New Zealand courts by the US stated Nomm would testify that Megaupload’s content auditing team in the Philippines was “not very effective and that many of the auditors did not even know what copyright was”.

The court document stated: “Nomm specifically advised Dotcom and (co-defendant Mathias) Ortmann about the legality of the files being hosted. At some point after he was hired, Nomm realised the group’s reliance on and benefits from illegal copyright infringement and yet he continued to work with them. He believed they were likely to be sued civilly at some point.”

Dotcom has previously said Nomm had decided to make the deal after years of unemployed isolation in the Netherlands, away from his son in Turkey. “I can understand why Andrus did it. But it doesn’t change the fact that he is innocent.”

But Nomm admitted guilt and was convicted.

Dotcom is obviously not prepared to admit guilt. He is not yet prepared to test this in a US court. If he was convinced of his innocence he may not be so reluctant to out that to the legal test.

But if he keeps fighting his extradition he may be putting off the apparent inevitability of a trial.

The evidence as presented – including evidence supplied by Nomm – certainly seems strong enough to justify a trial. That doesn’t mean a conviction will eventuate, but as the herald editorial says, it’s important that it tested in a US court.


We just call it the ‘copy/paste’ or ‘get this off my desk’ judgement. A struggle to avoid any real legal or context analysis. Easy appeal.

Appealing may be easy for someone with his financial resources. Winning an appeal may not be so easy.


Dotcom decision due

A decision on the extradition of Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato will be delivered tomorrow (Wednesday).

USA v Dotcom & Ors decision will be delivered tomorrow Wed 23 Dec by DC Judge Dawson

After that it will go to Justice Minister Amy Adams who will decide if the extradition will go ahead.

Early last year I asked then Justice Minister Judith Collins how many extradition requests were considered ( 22 in three years) and how often  requests were refused (none in three years).

See Extradition requests made and refused – and Collins explains how the process works.

For requests from most countries, once the court has determined an individual is eligible for surrender, the matter is referred to me, as Minister of Justice, for the final decision on the surrender. As Minister I decide whether to issue a surrender order, taking into account humanitarian considerations and other factors contained in the Extradition Act.

After that there are still a couple of avenues for appeal after that.

In very strange coverage NZ Herald, in Kim Dotcom court decision coming tomorrow said:

Embedded image permalink

They have since removed the Merry Christmas quip, but not before Dotcom justifiably complained about it on Twitter (the above graphic is from there so may not be exactly as published by NZH)..

Herald New Zealander of the year

NZ Herald has named Lecretia Seales as their New Zealander of the year.

Courageous woman who sparked euthanasia debate New Zealander of the Year

She was brave and inspiring, sharing something as personal and private as her death for the advancement of a human right.

Instead of spending her last months quietly with family and friends, she spent them in a legal battle – fighting for the right to choose how she died.

For that courageous effort, the late Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales is the Herald‘s New Zealander of the Year.

She died, aged 42, on June 5 from brain cancer. Her death came just days after learning she had been unsuccessful in her High Court bid for the legal right for a doctor to help her end her life. She wanted the right to not die a painful death.

As the result of the debate she prompted, Parliament began the first public inquiry into the issue of medically assisted dying.

It’s a good choice.

The finalists were:

  • Richie McCaw and Steve Hansen
  •  broadcaster Rachel Smalley
  • spy boss Rebecca Kitteridge
  • road safety campaigner Sean Roberts
  • cot death specialist Ed Mitchell
  • Teina Pora advocate Tim McKinnel
  • activist architect Julie Stout;
  • Lisa King and Michael Meredith for feeding hungry kids;
  • Tania Billingsley, who stood up to sexual violence.

Other awards:

  • Sporting Achievement of the Year – All Blacks
  • Business Leader of the Year – IAG chief executive Jacki Johnson


National high in Herald Digipoll

The Herald has National remaining over 50% in an end of year Digipoll, with Labour+Greens+NZ First strugggling to make progress on a collective 45%.

  • National 51.3% (up 0.5)
  • Labour 31.1% (up 0.1)
  • Greens 8.2% (down 1)
  • NZ First 5.7% (down 1.2)
  • Maori Party 2.1% (up 1.1)
  • ACT Party 0.8% (up 0.6)
  • United Future 0.3% (up 0.3)

While movements are small both Labour’s essential support partners have lost  support while all National’s current support parties gained.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • John Key 65.2% (up 1.5)
  • Andrew Little 16.2% (up 2.9)
  • Winston Peters 7.9% (down 3.7)
  • Jacinda Ardern 2.8% (down 1.1)
  • Helen Clark 2.5% (down 0.1)

Little won’t be happy with the lack of gain for Labouir but his own rise will give him a little cause for hope.

I think the decline in support for NZ First and Winston Peters is of note. Peters was ranked by some as politician of the year.

He was certainly politician of the first couple of months with a huge win in the Northland by election. But since then he has hardly fired. Add to that the negatives of one of the least liked and worst behaved MPs in Parliament , Ron Mark, and NZ First could be heading for some problems.

Source: NZ Herald National steady at year-end




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