Media watch – Friday

23 March 2018


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.

General chat

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

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

Open Forum – Friday

23 March 2018


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. 

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.

Free speech is an important principle here but some people who might pose a risk to the site will have to keep going through moderation due to abuses by a small number of malicious people.

World watch – Friday

Thursday GMT


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

No Māori representation on Public Media Panel

National MP Nuk Korako has criticised the lack of Māori  representation on a public broadcasting ministerial advisory group, and Associate Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson hoped a Māori representative would be elected.

Korako has hit a raw nerve claiming Labour is paying lip service when it comes to its commitment to Māori, with Minister for Broadcasting Clare Curran saying she’s aware of criticisms.

Stuff:  National MP slams Public Media Advisory Board for lack of Māori representation

National MP Nuk Korako is slamming a public broadcasting ministerial advisory group for having no Māori representation.

The group has been established to investigate setting up a public media funding commission to advise parliament on the state of the media and resourcing needs of public media.

It’s a concern that there’s no Māori voice on the Public Media Panel, Korako says.

“Māori Television, Radio Waatea, Te Hiku Radio, all of these are actually reliant on public funds and they have not got a voice on this advisory group.”

Seems like a good point.

Minister for Broadcasting Clare Curran says she’s aware of National’s criticisms.

Curran says the panel of four has only had two meetings. Te Kāea has been told there is the possibility of another panel position.

“We’re open to adding a Māori representative on that panel,” she says.

It looks like someone has slipped up here.

Associate Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson hoped a Māori representative would be elected.

Curran should be aware of more than National’s criticisms.

Labour met last night to discuss the future direction of the broadcasting space.

Curran says “We discussed a range of things- mainly big picture- around how we can work together, what some of the pressures are in Māori Broadcasting and right across the broadcasting sector.  We’re absolutely focused on how we can do things better. It’s still early days.”

Curran says she and Māori Broadcasting Minister Nanaia Mahuta expect to meet to discuss how they can work more closely in this space.

Including Māori input in the Public Media Panel would be a good start.

Ardern fails to muzzle Shane Jones

Shane Jones ripped into Air NZ for stopping flying unprofitable routes to provincial towns, he told the Air NZ to resign and keep out of politics,Jacinda Ardern told him off for ‘stepping over a line’, Jones sort of conceded he shouldn’t have gone that far but didn’t really, Winston Peters supported Jones, leaving the coalition Government looking rocked by a bunch of NZ First cowboys out of control.

Jones says he will still attend an Air NZ sponsored dinner featuring Barack Obama tonight. So baubles aren’t affected by his bombastic barrage.

And it has pointed out that Jones was trying to bully Air NZ into breaking the law.

Andrew Geddis at The Spinoff:  Does Shane Jones want Air New Zealand to break the law?

Yesterday morning, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones went on RNZ’s Morning Report to double down on his earlier claims that Air New Zealand was failing provincial New Zealand. The chair and board of the organisation, Jones said, needed to realise there was a new government in place and it was going to ensure that Air New Zealand properly served the country as a whole.

Air New Zealand is a company, governed by the Companies Act 1993. Despite the Crown’s bare majority shareholding, Air New Zealand is not a SOE or even a MOM. As such, the board of Air New Zealand – its directors – have legal duties under the Companies Act. Primary amongst these are that “when exercising powers or performing duties, [they] must act in good faith and in what the director believes to be the best interests of the company.”

Note that their duty is to the best interests of the company. Not to the nation. Not to the provinces. Not even to the shareholders directly – even where the majority shareholder is an elected minister of the Crown. (Just to be clear, however – Air New Zealand’s shareholding minister is the minister of finance, Grant Robertson. It isn’t Shane Jones.)

So, if the directors of Air New Zealand are of the opinion that the company’s best interests are served by closing particular routes and opening others, then that’s what they legally are required to do.

In fact, if they were to say that, then they’d potentially be committing an offence that is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment or a fine of up to $200,000. Not that I think they’d be prosecuted for making one such route decision, but the existence of this offence provision shows just how important these fundamental director’s duties are.

Legal requirements haven’t deterred this NZ First attention seeking diversion.

But Jones’ attack on Air New Zealand seems to go beyond this activism. He’s effectively arguing that the company should put nation building or community servicing objectives ahead of its commercial interests. That’s a call to change the basic nature of what Air New Zealand is as an entity.

Maybe there are good arguments for doing so (see my earlier reference to how important the Dunedin-Wellington-Auckland route is for my family dynamics!) But if it is going to be done, it should be done openly and following debate in parliament. Put up legislation to transform Air New Zealand into a SOE and then direct the board to include “nation building” in its statement of corporate intent.

That would be the proper democratic way to do things, but NZ First only promote democratic processes when it suits them, and they ignore them when it doesn’t.

Of course, the problem with this course of action is that Air New Zealand does not just belong to the Crown. It is 48% owned by private shareholders, the large majority of whom live offshore. If Shane Jones wants to renationalise the company, they will have to be bought out – which will cost the taxpayer over $1 billion.

Furthermore, any action that the New Zealand government takes that affects the value of these private shareholdings may constitute a breach of investor rights under our various free trade agreements.

So legally and democratically it is a poorly thought through stunt by Jones. NZ First have strong stances policies on democratic processes but that only seems to apply when it suits them. Peters opposed the flag referendums because he didn’t want change, and didn’t seem to care about giving people the choice. And they are trying to get the democratically dubious waka jumping bill through Parliament despite their promotion of referendums on constitutional matters.

But it has put him in the media and Parliament spotlight, which may be all he really cared about.

Given he has $1 billion to dish out for regional development a year an obvious option is for him to give hand outs to regional air services, but this time he chose to bully the Air NZ board.


And what did Ardern say about all  this? RNZ: Jones’ Air NZ comments ‘a step too far’ – PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reined in New Zealand First minister Shane Jones after he called for the chairman of Air New Zealand to be sacked.

Ms Ardern said as a major shareholder in New Zealand, the government had to ensure it did not overstep the mark.

“I’ve certainly explained to him that he is absolutely entitled to an opinion that he has shared, but suggesting anyone from the Board should go, is a step too far.”

It was not a sacking offence for anyone involved, Ms Ardern said.

“Not for any Air New Zealand board member, not for Shane, he’s expressed an opinion, one that I know that some New Zealanders will share some sympathy for, particularly those in the regions but suggesting someone should be sacked is too far.”

Ms Ardern said Mr Jones had listened to her, and “acknowledged” what she was saying.

That’s a very soft reprimand, and it has been virtually ignored by Jones.

Mr Jones is unapologetic over his scathing comments, but he does accept he has no authority to remove any member of the Board.

When asked if he still wanted Air New Zealand chair Tony Carter to resign, Mr Jones said he was aware Mr Carter was “reportedly upset” by his remarks.

“And he’s a powerful man, he’s a director on Fletcher Building… after their $1 billion loss, I accept Tony will take not an ounce of notice of what I say.”

But he accepted what he had been told by the Prime Minister.

“That I don’t have the authority to bring into being the disappearance of the chairman or anyone on the Board.

“But if anyone on that Board believes they are going to muzzle me as a champion for the provinces, then they are sadly mistaken.”

He may as have said that if Ardern believes she is going to muzzle him she is sadly mistaken.

Ardern looks increasingly waffly, and weak.

Texas bomber blows himself up

After a spate of bombings in Austin Texas the police identified the suspect and approached him. It is reported he has detonated a bomb and killed himself.

Reuters: Texas bombing suspect kills self, reported to be unemployed man, 23

An unemployed 23-year-old man suspected of a three-week bombing campaign in Texas that killed two people and injured five others before blowing himself up on the side of a highway was identified by local media on Wednesday.

A series of bombings beginning on March 2 left Austin, a fast-growing city of 1 million people, on edge as the bomber moved from parcels left on doorsteps to one activated by a trip wire to at least two sent via FedEx.

By Sunday, bewildered investigators had publicly asked the serial bomber to reach out to them. By Tuesday they had identified a suspect, Texas Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News.

Police tracked him to a hotel about 20 miles (32 km) north of Austin and were following his vehicle when he pulled to the side of the road and detonated a device, killing himself, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters near the scene.

“We’ve known for a couple of days who the suspect likely was,” Abbott told Fox. “Law enforcement is at his house in Pflugerville where we are learning whether or not that was the location he was making his bombs.”

The governor added that the suspect is believed to have lived with two roommates, who are not currently considered suspects, and was not a military veteran.

Manley said the suspect was believed to be responsible for six bombs around Austin and in Schertz, near San Antonio, all but one of which detonated. He said the motivation for the bombings or whether the suspect had help was not yet known.

Residents of Austin will be relieved the bomber has been disabled, but…

Manley warned residents to be cautious since it was not clear whether any more bombs had been left around the city.

So unease for a while longer in Austin, but otherwise this will now probably quickly fade away as just another example of internal violence in the US, with the only difference this time being bombs instead of firearms being used.

Tobacco retailer safety

With the continually rising price of tobacco and cigarettes, and a presumption (mine) that people inclined towards committing crime and those associated with them  also tend to be inclined towards smoking, the number of robberies related to tobacco have increased. These robberies are often violent, and dairy owners and staff  are often the victims.

Dairies can choose whether to stock tobacco products or not, but it is a major source of revenue for the small businesses. Who should be responsible for their safety?

Of course the police have a duty to protect any retailer of legal products from theft and violence – to an extent. They cant be at every dairy all the time.

ACT MP David Seymour is suggesting that the Government direct more of the substantial amount of tax and duties they get from tobacco into paying for retailer safety.

Another suggestion is to admit that escalating taxes and prices have created an unintended consequence, and lowering the taxes would alleviate the theft and violence problem but that is debatable.

Today’s ODT editorial looks at the problem, and comes up with what should have been an obvious answer – tobacco product suppliers should protect their retailers.

ODT: The smoking gun of tobacco taxes

Dairy owners are again starting to worry that the next person who enters their shop may be a thief who could turn violent as he or she demands cash and, increasingly, tobacco products.

A search of media outlets shows a pattern of increasing crime against sellers of tobacco products, as their price has escalated through increased excise taxes.

The New Zealand tobacco industry says it makes a significant contribution to the New Zealand economy in terms of government revenue, retail sales and employment. It pays more than $1.8 billion in total taxes each year.

Tobacco products make their largest financial contribution to the economy in the form of excise taxation. The industry also says tobacco is an important source of revenue for about 5000 New Zealand retailers, the vast majority of whom are small, independent retailers and dairies.

A debate has again broken out about who should pay for the protection of the retailers selling the tobacco products. Fewer outlets are now selling tobacco and communities celebrate the success, believing fewer people are smoking as outlets reduce.

However, aggressive cost-cutting has helped some of the largest tobacco companies retain their profits, despite falling sales.

One of the arguments being made to help protect dairy owners is to just stop selling tobacco, of course ignoring the fact tobacco is a legal product and a genuine part of a service dairy owners can offer their customers. Unless another high-margin product emerges to replace it, dairy owners will still sell tobacco.

Act New Zealand leader David Seymour is at the other end of the spectrum, saying after two violent robberies in less than a week, it is only a matter of time before someone is killed.

The money collected by the Government each year in tobacco tax revenue is blood money, obtained by putting the lives of people at risk, he says.

But Mr Seymour is somewhat off the mark when he calls for the Government to direct 10% of tobacco tax revenue to protect vulnerable business owners.

Surely it is time for the tobacco companies themselves to start protecting the people they want to sell their products? Revenues from global tobacco sales are estimated to be close to $965 billion, generating combined profits for the six largest firms of $67.5 billion.

That’s a good point. If tobacco companies want to protect their sales and profits perhaps they should do more to protect their retailers.

Media watch – Thursday

22 March 2018


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.

General chat

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

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