Media watch – Monday

25 March 2019


Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

Social chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Social only, no politics, issues or debate.

Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

Open Forum – Monday

25 March 2019

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is for you to raise topics that interest you, or you think may interest others.. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts. Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts. Comments from other forums can be repeated here, cut and paste is fine.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some 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.

FIRST TIME COMMENTERS: Due to abuse by a few, first comments under any ID will park in moderation until released (as soon as possible but it can sometimes take a while).

Sometimes comments will go into moderation or spam automatically due to mistyped ID, too many links (>4), or trigger text or other at risk criteria. If they pass muster they will be released as soon as possible (it can sometimes take hours).

World view – Monday

Sunday GMT


For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

Unity of religions, but what about the rest of us?

There has been a big show of unity amongst different religions around New Zealand, but one thing has been missing – being inclusive of those who don’t follow a religion.

However Jacinda Ardern’;s example did quietly demonstrate that the religious and the non-religious can co-exist haarmoniously in New Zealand.

From ‘We are all forever changed’: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflects on the week

“I consider myself to be agnostic, but given I was raised in a religious household, I like to think I’m very open-minded to everyone’s choices and faiths and their ways of life.” 

I’m pleased she has said that. One think missing from a lot of what I have seen, and specifically from the Dunedin vigil, was recognition that many New Zealanders don’t practice and don’t believe in religion. It was good to see the joining of many different religions in a common purpose, but they were not inclusive of those who live outside the religious world. But this is a minor quibble given the circumstances.

The religion question nudged at an even greater one, about how people find a way through dark experiences like this.

“I think if you still have an absolute faith in humanity, and I still have that.”

Many people find strength and support in religious faith, so religion is good for them.

But non religious people can also have faith, without a god, like faith in humanity. The religious and the non-religious could understand each other a bit better and accept each that we have varying belief systems.

With Ardern’s leadership we may move towards better understanding and tolerance of different religions and religious practices, as well as recognising that non-religious people can have faith and humanity like anyone else.

Both the religious and the non-religious can live alongside each other accepting their differences – this is a significant positive of living in New Zealand. There are exceptions, but it is generally the case.


Right of reply

Posted as a right of reply from ‘Mother’.

I avoided providing links to support my statements on your site because it didn’t seem appropriate.

I’m sending you this because
– I care about you, and
– I am annoyed with you.

Got Questions is a site which has helped me but I’m cautious to point people to it because it is strong on Calvanism which possesses an inherent harshness.

I think that the world is moving on from Calvanistic absolutism. However, as usual the Church is slow to keep up.

I think that God is wanting to receive our love. Up until now (since Jesus’ time on earth) followers of Christ have focussed on receiving God’s love. I think He is prompting us  – Do you love me? I long for your love. You have no idea how much I desire your love.

It seems to me that God has a personality too, and His is yearning for love. Our love will complete Him. He’s lonely!

I think that the equality which humanity seeks is in God’s heart too. He doesn’t want to come back until we have made ourselves ready for Him. Christians who hold on to ‘women knowing their place’ are one of the things which hinder His work. Of course there’s a lot more (world issues, esp regarding Israel) and complicated things which I am not confident to understand.

I think that God is as much female as male, but the maleness ascribed to Him by scripture has never bothered me. I’ve read scripture since I was 12 and I always understood that I was equal under Christ. I just never could get out from under the human failings of my clan and church leaders, until now. Some things take time in human reckoning. God sees and protects, and blesses.

I don’t think you could ever know how much you helped me by your willingness to take my emotional turmoil seriously. I know I’ve said thank you. I offer my gratitude again.

In the light of the terrible atrocities occurring everywhere I know my difficulties seem slight. But I think that it is unresolved difficulties like mine which eventually lead to extremities such as abuse of children and murder. My exposing evil in my community has been very hard on our children, but my family recognise that it needed to be done, to break the vicious cycle of cowardice and psychological abuse in our family lines.

My difficulties are not over. Slander can never be removed once leaders in an area decide to attack. This is where I will hold my ground and continue to choose to speak the truth in love, to honour Jesus.

Truth is a very complicated business now days. Nothing is absolute anymore. I think that God is using this fact to raise up those who will satisfy His own great desire for love.

Jesus said that the first will be last and the last will be first. I can’t help wondering if He has a special role for NZ in the end times. Kiwis are special, as we all know!

I wouldn’t mind calling God ‘Allah’ if it blessed my Muslim fellow Kiwis. But eventually, in my experience of following Christ, it always ends up the same way – I easily tolerate others talking about their religion (or lack of) but they cannot continue to reciprocate in friendship. They struggle to hear that Jesus is my Saviour. There’s something about free grace which really riles people up. This happened many times lately, even in the churches. (Previously, for decades, I was very quiet.) People get offended by the name of Jesus and by hearing of my hope in Him.

I need Jesus because I am a wretched sinner.

Kiwis are gravely threatened by communism. Communists hate free people. They have no qualms about two faced ness and using free people to their own advantage. They are sneaky and causing division amongst Kiwis. I think this is a bigger threat than we are willing to acknowledge. Meanwhile, our political systems are quietly becoming more corrupt and politics are getting jumbled up with religious confusion.

The churches presently have no antidote to offer. They are becoming part of the political confusion with counterfeits love, joy and peace. In the end, worldwide, there will be a joining of all religions into the one called Humanity. Evangelicals of every religion will be at the centre of this. Charm will be the trick, as it always has been.

Amidst your false accusations you censored my inane comments. You accused me of not coping with other viewpoints which may be ‘slightly different’ to mine, while knocking out (from memory) this –

‘Does it come down to who we choose to follow? Islam’s prophet, or Christianity’s prophet?’

You accused me of waging a them and us war while you yourself suggested that the ‘differences’ are slight. Your behaviour is unfair considering that you are hosting sympathy for the religion of Muslims. If you are comfortable about slight differences, then why censor my comments?

You have been vocal about hosts from other sites being unwilling to receive criticism. It seems that you are now a religious person. With due respect, I suggest you have chosen to be either a Muslim or a Humanist.

I hope you will continue to show your usual integrity by posting this email for YourNZ to see. If you ever desired my input again, I would need an apology for the false accusations. My pseudonym may be ‘mother’ but I’m no fool, except for Christ. He will sort out your indiscretions because your false accusations against me were against Him, and as you know for yourself (through your recent experiences amongst loving sensible Kiwi Muslims) – Allah is great! He will not be mocked.

The people top of mind for me during our national time of grieving are our Maori and all others who feel maligned by society. I am naturally a trusting person, not cynical, but there are warning signs within how our nation has pulled together at this time. There is evil brewing. As usual it is difficult to tell how the majority really feel. Media has it stitched up. When the hype settles, we each have some serious thinking to do. If only social media was a polite place.

Kind regards

Peace prize for Ardern?

Ardern has not just touched the right chord with most New Zealanders her leadership has been recognised around the world.

This has lead to calls to consider her for the Nobel Peace prize, and a petition promoting it.

Nobel Peace Prize for Jacinda Ardern – Prix Nobel de la Paix pour Jacinda Ardern

Following the tragic events of Christchurch and the adequate, open and peaceful response of New Zealand Premier Jacinda Ardern, we wish to propose her as the recipient of the upcoming Nobel Peace Prize.

Suite aux événements tragiques de Christchurch et la réponse adéquate, ouverte et pacifique de Jacinda Ardern, première ministre de la Nouvelle-Zélande, nous souhaitons la proposer comme récipiendaire du prochain Nobel de la Paix.

I generally think that the power of petitions has been greatly diminished due to the easy of staring one – there seems to be a new one every five minutes. They are often little more than PR exercises, contact harvesting campaigns, and activist fodder.

There has only been a modest response to this petition so far – but I think this could have some merit.

This sentiment is shared by others.

Newshub:  Call for Jacinda Ardern to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

The Muslim community is saying she’s been a leader like no other, paying tribute to her at the call to prayer.

Khaled Amlah said: “She is an amazing lady and I think she exceeded everyone’s expectations.”

Tareq Talahma added: “I think it’s how she appeared in an organic way, she didn’t overplay it, she was acting as a human being.”

“We would like to nominate her for a Nobel Prize, she is really a kind of model that we need to follow,” Talahma said.

indy100:  The world is calling for Jacinda Ardern to get the Nobel Peace Prize, here’s 7 reasons why she should

The prize is given to people who have demonstrated exceptional service to the world, and who:

Have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses

Many people feel that Ardern’s actions after the tragedy warrant such an accolade.

Ardern would only qualify in “the best work for fraternity between nations” but could be justified for that.

Should Jacinda Ardern be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? 

Here are 7 reasons why the answer is YES!

  1. She led the charge on condemning white nationalist terrorism
  2. She redefined the way we should be speaking about tragedy by shifting the global focus from the culprit to the victim
  3. Ardern unequivocally supported New Zealand’s Muslim community following the tragedy in more than just ‘thoughts and prayers’
  4. Her progressive, decisive politics (When a crisis occurred as a direct result of military-grade guns, she took swift action and banned them)
  5. She isn’t afraid to call out big corporations for their part in allowing dangerous content online
  6. Ardern has a political history of inclusiveness
  7. She has a history of speaking out against injustice

There’s no doubt that Ardern set a new standard with the example she set in dealing with the horrific act and it’s aftermath. I have no idea whether what she has done so far might qualify her for a Nobel prize, but they have awarded them for much less (for example Obama).

She must at least be a candidate worthy of consideration.



Jacinda Ardern – leadership by example, with some wee mistakes

Jacinda Ardern has been widely applauded throughout New Zealand and around the world for the way she has handled the terror attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March. She has deserved this praise – she claimed “I just think I’m displaying humanity”, but she has also lead by example, with most of the country following her lead.

Stuff:  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflects on the week

“I don’t think I’m displaying leadership. I just think I’m displaying humanity.”

Leadership by example is one of the most effective forms of leadership.

“Even off the back of today, you’ve had thousands of people exposed to a faith they may not have been exposed to. It’s really a bringing together of communities. In that regard, I think we are all forever changed. In many ways, but particularly that.”

“In politics we can choose to model behaviour. That’s part of the reason I was very deliberate in choosing to not name the terrorist, and to call it terrorism. But ultimately it will be up to every individual, media outlet and politician to take responsibility for our positions and language.

Not naming the terrorist was strongly symbolic from Ardern, although many had chosen not to name him before that. I had already chosen not to name him, and have continued with that stance for now.

But the media have a responsibility to report facts, and names of murders and terrorists are basic facts, so should be recorded in public.

She was confident she reflected the values of the majority, and the public response would confirm she was right, but while “this attack was brought to us by someone who was not a citizen”, we cannot hide from the fact that the ideology also existed here.

The non-naming was reflecting an already established practice of many. Ardern was perceptive to that, and as a leader amplified what others were doing.

“I genuinely believe that all I am modelling are the values of New Zealanders. On every occasion when I’ve had an opportunity to share words, all I’ve reflected in my mind is ‘what are New Zealanders feeling right now? What are the words I’m hearing expressed around me? How do we all feel?'”

She can’t and hasn’t reflected how we all feel. There have been many feelings, emotions and reactions.  But I think there is no doubt that Ardern captured and boosted the feelings of the vast majority of New Zealanders.

“One of the things we can all do is never allow New Zealand to be an environment where any of that hostility can survive. [But] terrorism doesn’t have borders, we’ve seen that now. So we can do our bit in New Zealand but actually we need to try and play a leadership role too.”

Which she did admirably. If you read comments at Whale Oil and Kiwiblog, some on twitter and Facebook, and some here, not everyone admires how Ardern has done things. Some people will never like her regardless of what she does, that seems to be ingrained in some in politics. And some seem to resent her success at leading the country in a time of real need.

One think in particular Ardern bashers have been going about is her wearing of a scarf. I think criticisms have been misguided and in some cases way over the top. Ardern did not make it compulsory, she chose to do it herself, as did some others. I’m sure she was acting on considered advice.

I presume Ardern will have heard some of the criticisms, but she continued to wear a scarf or head covering on other occasions. She was obviously comfortable that she was in the main doing something that was appreciated by those who mattered the most, the victims of the shootings, which included the whole Muslim community. So I applaud her to sticking with her symbolic gesture.

It wasn’t a mistake to antagonise people who would have found something to feel offended about whatever she did. They are a part of ‘all New Zealanders’, but a small minority.

(It’s interesting to see the predominance of ‘New Zealand’ and ‘New Zealander’ over the past week and a bit).

A separation between Whale Oil and Judith Collins is evident on this issue. Collins in Parliament on Wednesday:

I would like to thank the Prime Minister for the work she did on Saturday. I thought it was outstanding. I know there has been unfortunate comment on the internet about the fact that she chose to wear a scarf. I wear a scarf, and I do whenever I enter other people’s places of worship, where that is appropriate. It is a mark of respect, and I thought it was the right thing to do.

While the most prominent, Ardern is not the only politician who has shown leadership over the Christchurch terrorism. Most other Members of Parliament have also stepped up and shown leadership. Collins in that same speech:

One of the things I know is that Muslim New Zealanders have been with us since 1850. Islam is part of New Zealand, as all other religions are that are here, and those who don’t have religion, because it is something that people have as a belief system and it is part of who they are.

We are very lucky in New Zealand that with our 220 ethnicities, we have not had anything like this before. I hope that when we get to the bottom of what could be done in the future to help stop this happening again, I think that we will have a much safer and a much better community from it.

Another issue that Ardern showed leadership on was addressing our inadequate firearm laws. She ensured that we acted quickly, and she made sure she had the other party leaders working with her on making changes. Credit to all of them on that.

I think Ardern did make some mistakes in the heat of the moment. She delved into legal and procedural issues that are not her place to be.

Newshub: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern considering deporting alleged gunman

The Prime Minister is considering legal options to deport Brenton Tarrant, but says the alleged gunman will face justice in New Zealand.

“In cases where you have seen deportation, it’s generally at the conclusion of a sentence being served,” she told media. “He’s not going anywhere until he’s faced justice here”.

“Absolutely charges and the trial itself will happen in New Zealand. As for the remainder, I’m seeking advice. He will certainly face the justice system of New Zealand.”

I don’t think deportations are the Prime Minister’s call to make.

Ardern also made comments about how the trial of the terrorist might bee run to deny him publicity, and she also tried to influence the media on how they would cover the trial.

From NZ Herald:

This raised the prospect of Tarrant conducting his own defence at trial and using the high-profile prosecution to promote his beliefs, which were detailed in a manifesto before Friday’s shootings.

Speaking to media this morning, Ardern said this was “something that we need to acknowledge and do what we can to prevent the notoriety that this individual seeks”.

This is not an area she should be involved in.

“Lifting his profile was one of them. That’s something that we can absolutely deny him.”

But when it comes to the alleged gunman’s court appearances, Ardern said the media had a part to play in preventing the wider public from hearing his extremist views.

Neither this.

Asked what could be done to prevent the accused from having a platform, Ardern said this was something that was “very early on” in her thinking.

“I’ve only had beginnings of conversations – that’s something I think we really will be looking to the media around its kind of coverage.

“Of course, people will want to know what is happening with the trial. But I would hope there are ways that it could be covered without adding to the notoriety that this individual seeks.”

She should not be getting herself involved in how the police and how the courts conduct the trial. There should be a clear separation between that and politicians. At least she acknowledged this.

She said any decisions about having the trial behind closed doors was not up to her.

“That’s why, as I say, this is a conversation I think really the media can play a strong role in.”

The media will do things as they see fit – and some journalists also made statements in the heat of the moment that may be put aside when the reality of responsibility of covering the trial goes.

Ardern should play no part in either how the media covers the trial, or how the trial is conducted – that is up to the prosecution and the court, ultimately primarily the judge.

I’m sure she understands that and will back off from this.

But in general she has done a very good job of leadership and promoting humanity.



The rise, fall and defeat of the Islamic State caliphate

It is claimed that the last bit of territory taken and held by Islamic State has now been recovered. Islamic State, often referred to as ISIS, has effectively been defeated. This doesn’t mean they have been completely wiped out, some of them will have survived and dispersed, but with no territory, no caliphate, they are nothing but a scattered bunch of terrorists.

Reuters has a timeline of their rise, fall and defeat. Timeline: The rise and fall of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

Islamic State fighters have been defeated at the final shred of territory they held in eastern Syria, marking the end of jihadist rule that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Saturday.

  • 2004-11 – In the chaos following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, an al Qaeda offshoot sets up there, changing its name in 2006 to Islamic State in Iraq.
  • 2011 – After Syria’s crisis begins, the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sends operatives there to set up a Syrian subsidiary.
  • 2013 – Baghdadi follows in 2013, breaking with al Qaeda and renaming his group “The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”.
  • 2014 – Its sudden success starts with the seizure of Fallujah in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria at the turn of the year. The jihadists take Mosul and Tikrit in June and overrun the border with Syria. At Mosul’s great Mosque, Baghdadi renames the group Islamic State (IS) and declares a caliphate.

In Iraq, IS slaughters thousands of Yazidis in Sinjar and forces more than 7,000 women and girls into sexual slavery. In Syria, it massacres hundreds of members of the Sheitaat tribe. IS beheads Western hostages in grotesquely choreographed films.

In September, the United States builds a coalition against IS and starts air strikes to stop its momentum, helping the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia turn the militants back from Kobani on the border with Turkey.

  • 2015 – Militants in Paris attack a satirical newspaper and a kosher supermarket, the bloody start to a wave of attacks that IS claims around the world. Militants in Libya behead Christians and pledge allegiance to IS, followed by groups in other countries, but they stay operationally independent.
    In May, IS takes Ramadi in Iraq and the ancient desert town of Palmyra in Syria, but by the end of the year it is on the back foot in both countries.
  • 2016 – Iraq takes back Fallujah in June, the first town IS had captured during its initial blaze of success. In August, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG, takes Manbij in Syria.
  • 2017 – Islamic State suffers a year of catastrophic defeats. In June it loses Mosul to Iraqi forces after months of fighting and Baghdad declares the end of the caliphate. In September the Syrian army races eastwards backed by Russia and Iran to relieve Deir al-Zor and re-extend state control at the Euphrates River. In October, the SDF drives IS from Raqqa.
  • 2018 – The Syrian government retakes IS enclaves in Yarmouk, south of Damascus, and on the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The SDF advances further down the Euphrates and Iraqi forces take the rest of the border region. The United States vows to withdraw troops.
  • 2019 – IS fighters are defeated at their last enclave on the Euphrates at the village of Baghouz, the SDF says.

In March 2019 the SDF declares the “caliphate” eliminated.


caliphate (Arabic: خِلافة‎ khilāfah) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islamic steward with the title of caliph (/ˈkælɪfˈk-/Arabicخَليفة‎ khalīfah), a person considered a religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire ummah (community).

That sounds like it would be like someone claiming to be a religious successor to Jesus.

Islamic state:

An Islamic state (Arabicدولة إسلامية‎, dawlah islāmiyyah) is a type of government primarily based on the application of shari’a (Islamic law), dispensation of justice, maintenance of law and order. From the early years of Islam, numerous governments have been founded as “Islamic”.

However, the term “Islamic state” has taken on a more specific connotation since the 20th century.

Like the earlier notion of the caliphate, the modern Islamic state is rooted in Islamic law. It is modeled after the rule of Muhammad. However, unlike caliph-led governments which were imperial despotisms or monarchies (Arabic: malik), a modern Islamic state can incorporate modern political institutions such as elections, parliamentary rule, judicial review,  and popular sovereignty.

Today, many Muslim countries have incorporated Islamic law, wholly or in part, into their legal systems. Certain Muslim states have declared Islam to be their state religion in their constitutions, but do not apply Islamic law in their courts. Islamic states which are not Islamic monarchies are usually referred to as Islamic republics.

So there are many variations.

So no territory, no caliphate, but there will be still some supporters scattered around the Middle East.

Vox: Trump just declared ISIS’s caliphate 100% defeated. But ISIS still remains.

That was last month. Trump was a bit premature.

President Donald Trump has just declared that ISIS’s so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq is “100 percent” defeated, touting it as one of his administration’s biggest foreign policy successes and one his predecessor wasn’t able to achieve.

The problem is that top US officials say there are still thousands of ISIS fighters active in those countries despite their loss of territory. In other words, the caliphate is defeated — but not the terrorists.

That ISIS has lost all of its territory is certainly a major accomplishment, since in 2014 it controlled an area of land the size of Britain. But “losing territory does not mean a group is defeated,” says Shanna Kirschner, an expert on Syria at Allegheny College who spoke to me in early February.

Earlier this month, Gen. Joseph Votel, who leads US troops in the Middle East, told CNN that ISIS will still have the ability to terrorize. The group “still has leaders, still has fighters, it still has facilitators, it still has resources,” he said. “So our continued military pressure is necessary to continue to go after that network.”

According to reports by both the Pentagon and the US intelligence community, ISIS still has thousands of fighters spread across Syria and Iraq. One estimate from last August found that ISIS had as many as 17,100 fighters in Syria, and about 30,000 total between the two countries.

So ISIS is still a threat, as are other groups like Al Qaeda, but they have suffered a major defeat as far as territory goes.






Media watch – Sunday

24 March 2019


Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.