Standard gossip with strong Labour Party links

Greg Presland (mickysavage) has made a very tenuous claim in What is it with Herald Gossip Columnists?

Another Herald Gossip columnist with strong National Party links, Pebbles Hooper, created a stir yesterday on Twitter by suggesting that the tragic death of an Ashburton mum and her three children was “natural selection”.

That was an awful tweet by Hooper and it deserves condemnation.

But unless Presland has far more solid evidence of “strong National Party links” than he has presented then this is dirty politics from him.

And Danyl Mclauchlan too, who’s tweet features on Presland’s post:

Sacking journalists and replacing them with dregs of Auckland National Party clique working as well as you’d think http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/celebrities/69968352/pebbles-hooper-ashburton-deaths-were-natural-selection 

Mclauchlan has strong Green party links, having helped James Shaw in his selection as party co-leader.

In comments Presland was asked: What are the strong National party links?

He points to a link provided by Paul:

Here is some background.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11275169

That points to Twelve Questions: Pebbles Hooper, only one of which makes any reference to National:

6. Are you an Act Party voter?

Practically. I’ve already voted National now and I can’t be a politically out there person on Facebook because I would be killed.

That looks like a very weak link. Linking Hooper’s comment with “strong National Party links” requires far stronger evidence than this, otherwise it is just dirty politics from a Standard gossip with strong Labour Party links.

(And there’s plenty of evidence of Presland’s Labour Party links).

And Presland has added this comment:

mickysavage

I thought about whether or not doing this post. It is just another case of a right winger with strange world views not having the decency to keep them to herself.

But you know what? There is whanau and extended whanau grieving right now. They deserve us expressing outrage.

Using a tragedy like this to launch a dirty political attack also deserves an expression of outrage Greg.

Greg Presland et al versus Helen Clark

Greg Presland has asked for help in researching a post on “all the stupid spends the Government has made lately”:

For a future post I would appreciate some help. The post is about all the stupid spends the Government has made lately. The list includes:

1. $28 mil on the social bonds policy.
2. $11.5 mil on the sheep farm in the Saudi desert where many of the sheep die.
3. $11 mil on McCully’s or Groser’s future New York apartment.
4. $30 mil to Rio Tinto.
5. ??? to Sky City.

Here’s some help on item 3, which has been widely criticised by opposition parties and activists.

Helen Clark backs New York apartment spend-up

Helen Clark says the $11.4 million the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spent on a New York apartment is “definitely money well-spent”.

The ministry bought the apartment at 50 United Nations Plaza so diplomat Gerard van Bohemen, New Zealand’s representative on the Security Council, could be closer to the organisation’s headquarters.

The spend-up prompted criticism from Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First, but Ms Clark – a former Labour Prime Minister and as head of the United Nations Development Programme, the third-most powerful person in the institution – disagrees.

“The current residence is about 45 blocks away from the UN,” she said on TV3’s Paul Henry programme this morning.

“If you’re the ambassador and you’re trying to lobby for peace in the Middle East or some other cause, are people going to get in the car in the middle of the day in the rush-hour traffic of New York and go 45 blocks? Of course not.”

She says it’s more than just a place for the diplomat to stay while he’s in New York.

“This is an entertainment venue, a work venue for the New Zealand mission, and I can tell you there will be lunches – people will be coming over in the lunch break. It’ll be money well-spent.”

But what would she know.

Presland, Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First see far more importance in knee-jerk criticism and attack regardless of common sense and the political and diplomatic experience of someone like Clark.

“Left wing commentator”

I get called many things and I know I’ve been referred to as a right wing blogger – presumably either by people far more to the left, or presumed based on few post or a single post.

It’s odd where I sometimes find references to myself and to Your NZ. I was checking Your NZ on Alexa and found there was a link in from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newstalk_ZB in a section about Cameron Slater on Larry Williams.

 In 2014, he participated in a series of one-hour pre-election panel discussions on the drive programme – retaining the position following the release of Nicky Hager book Dirty Politics amid calls from left-wing commentators for him to resign.[45][46][47]

I guess I must be left-wing-ish relative to Slater and Williams, on some things at least.

Talking of popping up in other places they don’t seem to be able to let go at The Standard. In Daily Review a few days ago:

Hateatea:

If The Standard only had Open Mike and Daily Review tomorrow, what would PG have to fill up his blog?

mickysavage:

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Funny Greg. You seem to be hiding behind a tree listening often enough.

Hateatea:

I had a quick look just before and it would appear that he is fixated on R0B at the moment but I couldn’t be bothered reading yesterday’s to see what that was.

Sad to say, but absence hasn’t made the heart grow fonder

Who’s fixated on whom Hateatea? I did one or two posts referring to R0b and moved on. I post about many blog posts and bloggers, it’s one of the niche things I do.

The rest of the thread is funny too.

I suspect that few of them there see me as a left wing commentator”.

In the political blogosphere the wings flap around a lot but I try to get to the guts of issues somewhere in between.

This could also apply to politics:

Image result for left wing right wing

This depicts a sentiment I see expressed on both the left and the right. The Tweedlenational/Tweedlelabour despair:

This is a good attempt to show various political inclinations.

I think I’m fairly centrist, except on the issues I’m more socialist, conservative, libertarian or populist.

Presland on ‘Digital Harm Bill’ and ‘Dirty Politics’

At The Standard Greg Presland tries to link the passing of the Digital Harm Bill with Dirty Politics in The Cyber bullying law and Dirty Politics.

I saw this graphic last night online.  It is one of those perfect Crosby Textor focus group graphics that you cannot fail but to admire.

National cyber bullying graphicGet that?  If confronted about Dirty Politics National can now say it is doing something.

Get that? It looks like a long bow to me.

This particular bill is a PR smokescreen to try and reduce the negative effect of Dirty Politics.  We should have seen this and we should have called it for what it is, instead of thinking the best of National’s intentions and trying to improve their bill.  Tim Watkin is right, the law is poorly drafted, will have a chilling effect on media reporting and cartoons, and is an example of cynical politics.

This bill has been in the making for far longer than left wing activists launched the ‘Dirty Politics’ campaign less than a year ago. I’m not sure how the Bill’s origins go but submissions were being made on it in February last year, for example: Harmful Digital Communications Bill submission.

I’ve just checked and it looks like it goes back years. The Harmful Digital Communications Bill 2013 was introduced to Parliament on 5 November 2013 and had older origins:

Background

This Bill implements the Government’s decisions on addressing harmful digital communications, which were largely based on the Law Commission’s 2012 Ministerial Briefing paper Harmful Digital Communications by:

  • creating a new civil enforcement regime to quickly and effectively deal with harmful digital communications;
  • creating new criminal offences to deal with the most serious harmful digital communications;
  • making some small amendments to existing legislation to clarify their application to digital communications and cover technological advance.

To try and slap a ‘Dirty Politics’ motive on this bill looks like, well, a bit like doing dirty politics.

And Presland heaps on the irony.

The left’s desire to engage rationally in the debate about the bill and try to make the bill somehow better is understandable but they should have realised that this was all a PR job and should have opposed it as a threat to the freedom of speech.

Some of the efforts to ‘engage rationally in the debate’ on the Standard thread.

lprent:

 Just a case of Judith Collins masturbating her ego up as she produced a stupid law for publicity reasons (like the rather useless “crusher” law), and then fools in parliament putting in a law that will be used way way outside of the purposes that they recorded in Hansard. I suspect that the instances of its use for the purposes stated in the record will be minimal simply because it will be too hard legally.

maui:

Isn’t the poster meant to say:

“Bully the Government or any of our MPs online and you could face two years in prison.”

Emelia Lovett:

They got rid of John Campbell, now we losing our right to free speech, they already bully people to death, next the pricks will be popping people off!

Our government has so much class!

Judith, John, they come from what you call ‘proper breeding’.

Sable:

If you look any Fascist state this is pretty much the same process they utilize. Legalize spying on people, undermine journalist standards and gag any who step out of line and then take away freedom of speech. Lets see what comes next……

I think there’s valid concerns about how the Bill may be used in practice but playing the Dirty and paranoid cards is hardly a showcase of ‘the left’s desire to engage rationally in the debate’.

One graph says very little

Anthony is on a roll at The Standard today, posting Youth rates and youth employment, which includes this graph.

Remember how National’s youth rates were going to raise levels of youth employment? Turns out not so much. This slide from a talk by CPAG’s Alan Johnson is doing the rounds on Twitter this morning:

That appears to agree ok with NZ Statistics data.

Anthony says:

The red line is employment for the over 65’s. The blue line is 15 – 19’s. The take home message is at the bottom, “30,000 fewer 15 – 19 year olds in jobs today than in 2007″.

Yes, there are fewer 15-19 year olds in employment than a peak in 2007 (the data goes back to 1990 so the starting date for the chart has been selected).

It’s well known that employment, especially for youth, dropped significantly, starting with New Zealand’s recessionary shift in 2008 followed soon after by the Global Financial Crisis.

So National’s “brighter future” isn’t working out so well for a new generation. Since youth rates don’t raise rates of youth employment, all they do is penalise younger workers.

I’m not sure what he means by the youth rates sentence, but I’m sure he doesn’t back his claim that a “brighter future” isn’t working out so well for a new generation.

The graph shows that youth employment rates seem to be recovering, as one would hope coming out of a major financial crisis.

One of the Government aims has been to get more young people into higher education to enable them to get better jobs. That takes time. And if it’s working it will shift employment from the 15-19 age group to higher age groups.

Repeating a simple graph and sating it proves the Government is crap is a bit simplistic.

Unequal posts on inequality

Anthony Robins has posted an unusually detailed economic analysis in Inequality – Treasury reportnot his usual style at all.

Last week Treasury came out with a detailed and interesting report, Inequality in New Zealand 1983/84 to 2013/14. The web page is here, and the full document (pdf)here. From the summary:

The results indicate an increase in the inequality of market and disposable income per adult equivalent person (using the individual as the unit of analysis) from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. Subsequently, inequality has – with some variability – remained either constant or has fallen slightly.

It wasn’t widely reported. What coverage there was repeated the message of the The New Zealand institute, that inequality is supposedly not rising.

Dig beneath the surface however.

Someone has certainly done some digging.

One could almost suspect he could have help from his local MP, who happens to be the Opposition spokesperson for economic development and small business. But they say at The Standard that authors only ever post their own personal opinions without any party or Parliamentary input.

As we all know inequality increased sharply with the neoliberal reforms of the late 80’s – early 90’s. From the report:

It appears that the 1980s reforms – involving cuts in the top income tax rate along with benefit cuts and the ending of centralised wage setting [i.e. the ECA] – are associated with increasing inequality.

The measures level out (damage done) during the late 90’s. They begin to fall with Labour’s increase to the top tax rate in 2001, and Working for Families in 2004. The momentum of this fall continues until 2010, when there is another sharp upturn in inequality following National’s reduction of the top rate and increase in GST.

In short, the last Labour government acted to reduce inequality, the current National government has acted to increase it. Because of the slow (but cumulative) nature of such changes, it is almost certain that the full effect of National’s changes have not yet been measured.

In short, Labour good, National bad.

But there’s an unequal post by David Farrar at Kiwiblog – Despite the rhetoric, inequality not increasing in NZ – this looks at the Stuff article that Robins tried to refute.

New Zealand needs to “change its tune” on , think tank The New Zealand institute says.

The group, which is supported by many leading business people, made the call following the publication of a Treasury paper which found inequality in this country has, with some variability, largely remained constant for the past 20 years. …

The new Treasury report acknowledged inequality in this country did rise from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. But it said that since then inequality had – with some variability – remained either constant or had fallen slightly. (Read the report in full here)

In a statement on Friday, NZ Initiative head of research Eric Crampton said “New Zealand simply has no problem of rising inequality”.

In contrast, income inequality had risen in may parts of the world and New Zealand seemed to have imported the narrative that the gap between rich and poor in this country had been widening to the same degree.

“The most striking finding in the latest Treasury work is that inequality in consumption is lower than it was before the reforms of the 1980s. While salary-based measures of income inequality have not declined as dramatically, a lot of work ignore the fact that the tax and transfer system already works to equalise incomes,” Crampton said.

“In the end, it’s consumption-based measures that give us a better picture of real differences in how people live.”

Farrar concludes:

So when you take account of the tax and welfare system, there is less inequality in NZ than the early 1980s when for some bizarre reason socialists hark back to as a golden era.

There’s lies, damn lies, statistics, economic analysis, bloggers and political proxies.

If more people get angry how will the world change?

Will getting angry change the world? In some ways it can. There’s been a few angry revolutions that have precipitated major  change. Some of that change has been for the better, eventually. And some to the detriment of the world. The problem with anger is it can work in different ways.

But generally anger isn’t an effective way to change things for the better.

This doesn’t stop some people from trying to talk up anger to promote their politics.

Stephanie Rodgers seems to be often angry online, and she’s just put up an anger promoting post at The Standard – Damn right I’m angry.

In advance of making any points she warns people about telling her to tone things down.

There’s a term: “tone argument”. It refers to the regular pleas directed at feminists, anti-racism activists, indigenous rights activists, trans activists, etc to stop being so aggressive and ask nicely for fundamental human rights and dignity instead ofshouting so much. It’s a derailment, a troll move, a way to undermine and ignore the actual arguments being made.

That’s Stephanie-speak for “don’t argue with me on my post or I’ll shut you up”. Arguments on her post most toe her line or they will  not be tolerated.

The irony is that these voices are already marginalized. Shouting is often the only way to get heard.

Getting heard is not the same as being effective. It’s easy to dismiss angry shouting as angry shouting. I doubt that shouting angrily at politicians in New Zealand has a major record of success.

Stephanie then goes on to detail what politics she’s angry about.

If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.

I’m not angry and I think I pay attention as much as Stephanie. I think she means that if you’re not angry like her you’re not paying attention to what she’s angry about.

And when you’re angry, you can change the world.

As I said at the start, anger can change the world, for better and for worse. But most often it’s not a good way to achieve change, especially in New Zealand.

That’s why anger scares them so much.

I don’t know who would be scared by political anger posted at The Standard, at all let alone ‘so much’.

Acting and claiming extremes suggests to me that Stephanie is too intent on expressing anger to listen and observe beyond her bubble of rage.

She even reinforces her bubble by threatening anyone who might dare disagree with her. She doesn’t want to listen to anything but her angry argument.

Anger is ok at times but level headed determination and persistence are likely to be listened to more by those able to change the world to any extent.

Dickensian

Life in New Zealand is as dire as England in the days as dickens, according to some. Anthony Robins has posted Dickensian which has been the featured post at The Standard today:

Dickensian

WrittenBy: 
Date published:7:23 am, June 25th, 2015 – 59 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, housing, welfare
Tags: , , ,

Step 1: Make welfare assistance almost impossible to obtain.

Step 2: Dismiss the concerns of the poor by telling them they should ask for more help. Done!

And a number of class war warriors actually believe this stuff.

Vto:

Fuck this government and its supporters.

mean
nasty
mean
cold-hearted
mean
inhuman
mean

this is the National Party and its supporters. Nobody else. Just them. Personal to them is this situation. Directly attributable to National Party members personally.

Our community wont even look after its own.

barbaric and uncivilised.

Even Neanderthals had more humanity than National Party members and voters.

I won’t say they’re dicks but they do seem a bit removed from reality. Overstating problems excessively won’t gain much credibility.

Standard: banning dissent and behavioural control

Some typical irony and hypocrisy at The Standard as Lynn Prentice promotes their wonderful qualities in A short history of The Standard – Maoriland Worker. He promotes Standard ideology:

And the policy statement that starts as

We encourage robust debate and we’re tolerant of dissenting views. But this site run for reasonably rational debate between dissenting viewpoints and we intend to keep it operating that way.

And:

Commenters can write what they like provide they stay within the bounds of our very liberal behavioural policies.

But that’s not how ‘the Labour left’ and Prentice operate, as demonstrated before long in the comments thread.

Maui:

We need workers engaged in their politics like they appear to have been one hundred years ago. We need to ban celebrities, ban Hoskings and get people thinking about the society they live in again. If people were engaged we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now, with workers being treated as slaves, profits going into private and fewer and fewer hands, and the environment being treated as a toilet.

Banning whoever you don’t like may not be a great way to engage workers. Ian responded:

wow. A 1 way ticket to North Korea and you get your utopia. You will probably be dead within a few months but too bad.

[lprent: if You want to troll then please avoid doing it on my posts – use OpenMike. Next comment in this troll vein on my post and I double your last ban. ]

A typical Prentice ban threat to someone not toeing the groupthink line. Not only is he demonstrating his usual intolerance of debate and dissenting views, he makes a mockery of “the bounds of our very liberal behavioural policies”.

As an acceptable comrade in the collective Maui continues:

It’s funny you don’t realise the country you live in now looks more like North Korea than what I’m proposing.

Yeah, right.

You live in a country where a third of voters chooses our ruling Government, where corruption is king, referendums are ignored and where parliament isn’t used to vote on important issues.

Complaints about ‘a third of voters chooses our ruling Government’ are not uncommon but complainants ignore the fact that 100% of voters have a choice whether they vote or not. The likes of Maui seem to think if the ‘missing million’ were made to vote it would be for them.

Transparency International rates New Zealand at 2/175 at the least corrupt end of their index, compared to North Korea at 174/175.

There’s good reason for our flawed Citizen Initiated referenda to be ignored. There is a comprehensive binding double referendum process under way right now.

But debate on this nonsense is not tolerated at The Standard.

I wonder why you didn’t bring up the 1st Labour Government either, could it be you don’t want to attract attention to a winning hand.

Odd comment. The 1st Labour Government ruled from 1935 to 1949, just after the Great Depression and through World War 2. Very different times to 2015. The last Labour Government lost power as we went into a local recession followed by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Labour history is interesting, but it isn’t a recipe for success well into the 21st century. Neither is banning dissent and imposing behavioural controls.

Rule of Standard Farm: We encourage robust debate as long as you’re a compliant comrade (except Bomber).

Prentice, Bradbury and Slater feuds interspersed with Standard history

There seemed to be a bit of a lull in the Lynn Prentice (The Standard) versus Martyn Bradbury (The Daily Blog) feud but it has flared up again with the two trying to demonstrate who is the most bitter and obnoxious. The ongoing Prentice versus Cameron Slater (Whale Oil) feud is also in the bizarre mix of history and hissy fit.

In an otherwise interesting history of the origins of The Standard – A short history of The Standard – Maoriland Worker – Prentice managed to lace it with vitriol aimed at Bradbury and Slater.

In fact he made his attacks on Bradbury the main focus of the history.

There were some ridiculous statements by Martyn Bradbury at The Daily BlogBombast earlier this month continuing his snide comments about this site. His claims that the Labour activists founded the original Standard back in 1936 are bullshit. He gets there by ignoring the history of parent publications and where they formed from.

Clearly the bombastic author of that post was written by someone who spent his education in obtaining a master of  ill-informed juvenile ranting rather than learning much of history of the local labour movement (or much of anything else). So I dug around to see what I could find on the net about The Standard 1.0 and it’s parent publications to give that Mr Bombastic some remedial education in the local history that he is so clearly lacking.

Why the hell Prentice laced what could have been a great historical reference with feud fodder is hard to fathom.

A bit of history about The Standard follows, then a shot at Slater.

This can be seen quite clearly in the distortions that are the history of the Whaleoil blog. Because of its obsessive need by a broke (after his insurance disappeared) Cameron Slater’s need to please his larger funders of money and influence, the site would wind up getting into trouble doing the types of stories that please those funders. This is why Cameron Slater spends too much time in court. They’re still doing it today as far as I can tell.

Then a blast at both Bradbury and Slater.

The Standard 2.0, was deliberately designed by authors and myself who run it to be more like the early Maoriland Worker than Whaleoil or The Daily Bombast.

We haven’t taken money from any organisation including the PR industry, political parties or even from unions like the Daily Bombast does.

The repeated references to ‘Bombast’ in relation to someone else are ironic.

A bit more history and back to the feud.

We can do it with no tolerated external interference apart from obeying the current law (something Cameron Slater apparently has issues with) and the odd polite request from organisations we respect like unions or leftish parties.

And his conclusion includes a double barrelled blast.

Having learnt the lessons of the past (and those of other blogs in the present), that is what we intend to continue to do. That is what having sense of the history does for you. You don’t fall into the same operational organisational traps that the Bombast (set up and still supported by union funding) and Whaleoil (apparently mainly arsehole funding) appear to have tripped into.

That’s a bit of a shame because it would have been a good historical reference without the vitriol.

And it seems to have provoked a vitriolic response from Bradbury:

Your magnificent pettiness Lynn helps explain why the Labour Party had such a pitiful election last year. You have the social skills of a cancerous tumour.

When I say ‘The Standard is a Labour Party Blog’, I don’t mean that MPs feed Standard Bloggers information for black ops purposes. They are in no way shape or form similar to how the Nats use Slater. I’m sure there is pressure and terse words at the way the Standard conducts itself at times, but nothing more than that. When I call The Standard a Labour Party blog, I mean in the sense that…
-the original Standard in the 1930s was set up by Labour activists
-the latest incarnation in 2007 was seeded by the Labour Party
-And like the Labour Party, the Standard can be an alienating, tantrum throwing, bitter pus pit who can’t play well with others.

Grow up

Bradbury has a valid albeit overstated point saying “the Standard can be an alienating, tantrum throwing, bitter pus pit who can’t play well with others” but he obviously has a bit of difficulty playing well with others too. He could follow his own advice and ‘grow up’ but it doesn’t look like happening.

Prentice has achieved quite a lot with The Standard, but respect of himself and of the Labour left are not part of his successes.

Prentice and Bradbury represent the largest two political blogs on the left in New Zealand. Slater represents the largest on the right.

We are poorly served in political debate online by the three of them. No wonder the general voting public is turned off by politics.

UPDATE: And Prentice blasts back.

You have said that before in the post that I responded to. Is that all that you have? Parroted slogans?

You are wrong in all of your final three assertions. As I said in my post, you could do to learn some actual history rather than making up silly myths.

– The original Standard was setup by unionists, and run by them for 50 years from the Maoriland Worker to The Standard 1.0. Sure there was Labour party activists involved throughout (once the Labour party got formed). You’d kind of expect that to happen because they were also labour movement activists. People don’t fit neatly into the discrete labels that simple fools want to slogan them into.

– The current Standard was similarly set up by labour movement activists. Some were Labour party members, many were unionists, some had no party or union affliations. This is also not unexpected in a site from a labour movement that was pretty damn diverse back in 1910 and has been diversifying ever since.

– We tend to respond to your pettiness and snideness with pointing out the facts, in this case in 2000 odd words. If I creep a little terseness in because I doing it to educate a lazy fool, then you can hardly blame me. Fix your own stupid attitude and you’ll get less attitude from me. I’m getting really tired of having to respond to your stupidity.

“Fix your own stupid attitude” could equally apply to Prentice.

Where exactly is the backing for any of of your assertions. When did you invent these? Or are you just parroting someone else’s opinions – like Cameron Slater? Because that appears to be what you are becoming.

Ironic. The three of them can be as bad as each other.

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