Bill English speaks

The probable soon to be ex-Prime Minister, Bill English, is giving a media conference.

Seems fairly relaxed in his speech. Thanks the usual.

From here he says the National Party will regroup.

Asked if he feels robbed he says it is MMP but smaller parties have the opportunity to form a government.

Did NZ First asked for too much? He avoids answering that directly, just says he thought they proposed a good robust governing arrangement an thinks would have been a successful government.

He says they had satisfactory negotiations.

Moral authority? National were given an opportunity but it’s about being able to form a government.

Humble and gracious, and no sign of bitterness. I think the result wasn’t unexpected to National.

He has not yet decided what he will do about leadership. Far too soon to jump. No rush for National, they are best to take there time and do any leadership change (I expect it will happen) properly rather than hurriedly.

 

Jacinda Ardern’s turn to speak

Jacinda Ardern as the possible next Prime Minister (subject to Green Party approval) will speak at 8 pm.

She is speaking now.

Water quality, housing and child poverty are still top priorities for Labour under a Labour-NZ First coalition.

One of the first things she does is thank Bill English for his campaign and his work as Minister of Finance and Prime Minister. Classy (a big contrast to a previous speaker).

She then thanks NZ First, mentioning the party name several times. No mention of Peters.

She then thanks the Greens for robust negotiations.

She then says that she will wait for the Green decision but says she expects the Greens to approve of the deal as they campaigned to change the government – and she is changing the government.

Later in the week (not much of it to go) she will release policy documents Labour has made with both NZ First and the greens, and also portfolio positions.

NZ First will have four portfolios (Ministers) and one under-secretary. Five out of nine MPs.

She confirms the Greens will have ministerial portfolios (they have been offered them). She doesn’t say if they will be inside or outside Cabinet.

She has offered Peters the Deputy Prime Minister job and he is considering it.

Jacinda Ardern: ‘I thank the NZ First Party and Winston Peters for agreeing to a coalition with Labour’

The PM-elect says the Green Party is now undertaking its internal approval process before final arrangements are confirmed.

 

James Shaw responds to Winston’s announcement

An email just sent from James Shaw – Greens are yet to make a decision.

I want to give you a quick update on the process towards forming a government.

The Green Party has been working constructively with Labour over the past few weeks to form a progressive, stable governing agreement based on the values and goals that we share for New Zealand.

The NZ First leader, Winston Peters, has today indicated his preference is to support a Labour-led government. That government would also need the Green Party’s support to have a majority in Parliament.

This evening, Green Party delegates from around the country will meet via video conference to make a decision about whether we will support a Labour-led government.

These delegates have been chosen by the membership of Green Party branches to represent the range of people and views in our party.

I look forward to sharing more information with you as soon as I can.

So clearly no decision from the Greens.


Media conference – he talks of Ardern as the presumptive new Prime Minister.

He also acknowledges National and Bill English in particular for what they have done for the country.

The Greens are currently considering a confidence and supply proposal with a Labour led government.

He says he is confident they will be able to say soon that they accept the agreement, he is confident it will be a done deal tonight.

Greens will be outside Cabinet, three ministers and one under-secretary.

He says it will be a very good position for the Greens to be in, enabling them to be part of the government but also retain their distinctiveness.

Pointed out it is different to what he proposed last week, a full coalition arrangement, but he’s now happy with confidence and supply.

He says Greens will be able to vote against the government.

Shaw hasn’t seen the Labour-NZ First agreement so doesn’t know what Greens are supporting.

He says it is an extraordinary moment for the Greens – it is.

He overstates how different an MMP arrangement it is, previous governments have had to seek support of multiple parties to progress legislation.

Garner versus Waititi

Duncan Garner has taken issue with ‘treasonous’ comments by Taika Waititi .

Garner at Newshub: Taika Waititi threw NZ under the bus 

Duncan Garner has called out filmmaker Taika Waititi after he said in an interview he’s ashamed of his homeland.

The Thor: Ragnarok director, who won New Zealander of the Year 2017, told Marae the country’s reputation overseas isn’t the reality.

“I’m not very proud of coming from a place that everyone overseas thinks it’s this pure, clean, green country but, in reality, all our lakes and waterways are poison.

That sounds a bit extreme. Garner responded.

“He’s a brilliant guy, a really talented guy.

“But he’s wrong. [The rivers are] not all poison. Some of them are pretty dodgy I agree – but not all poison, and he was New Zealander of the year, this year, 2017. So he’s an ambassador for New Zealand now.

“You cannot be this treasonous about your own country.

You cannot say you’re not proud to be a New Zealander if you’re the New Zealander of the year.

You can if that’s how you feel.

“I’ve got a problem with that. You have to be accurate as well if you’re New Zealander of the year. And I reckon he’s throwing New Zealand under the bus.

“I’m proud of our country and I get more proud when I go overseas. I still get goosebumps when I come back to New Zealand after being away for a long time. I love this place and I would never say I’m not proud of it.”

Waititi also said:

“We’ve got a lot to learn about our depression rates, our suicide rates, teen suicide rates, child poverty numbers and the housing crisis.”

Fair comment.

Garner says Waititi’s “heart’s in the right place” by addressing mental health and poverty – but believes the filmmaker didn’t paint a full picture, including the country’s merits.

Should a public figure always ‘paint a full picture’ when being interviewed, even when just commenting briefly?

Diversity and Chinese Language Week

This week is ‘New Zealand Chinese Language Week’:

New Zealand Chinese Language Week  (16-22 October) is a Kiwi-led initiative aimed at encouraging New Zealanders to discover Chinese language and culture. 

Be inspired by our supporters and meet our  “Mandarin Superstars” as they share their exciting experiences.

Check out what events are taking place in your region 16-22 October.

Find out how you can get “Asia ready” in 2017 by checking out our language learning resources.

But ‘Chinese language’ is not one thing, it is a diverse range of languages and dialects.

We don’t often refer to Romance languages, but instead to Italian, Spanish, French, plus the language that’s a derivative of these and has become widespread, English.

And some dialects of English can be nearly or wholly unintelligible to other English speaking people.

Bevan Chuang points out Chinese Language is more diverse than Mandarin

Chinese Language Week is the one week that I get very patriotic about how unilineal and narrow focus this week is.

Chuang details a number of reasons why she is frustrated that people ask her to write something in Mandarin – she is a native Cantonese speaker.


1. Mandarin is only one of many Chinese languages

The Chinese language we know are associated with ethnic Han Chinese. Within the Chinese community there are more than one ethnic group though Han Chinese make up 92% of Chinese in China and 97% in Taiwan.

Linguists note that the Chinese language is as diverse as a language family, like those of Romance languages.

There are between 7 and 13 main regional groups of Chinese, with majority speaking Mandarin (including Standard Chinese, Pekinese, Suchuanese, Dungan) but followed by Wu (including Shanghainese, Suzhounese, Wenzhounese), Min (inlcuding Fuzhounese, Hainese, Hokkien, Taiwanese, Teochew), Yue (including Cantonese and Taishanese), Gan, Xiang and Hakka.

Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible though they may share common terms. They also varies in tone and anaytic.

The Mandarin that we now know in the Western society is the Standard Chinese, which is derived from the term guānhuà (官话/官話), or “official speech”, to refer to the speech used at the Court. The term “Mandarin” is borrowed directy from Portuguese, mandarim, which is derived from the Sanskrit word mantrin, Conselor or Minister.

Before the 19th century, the standard was based on the Nanjing dialects, but later the Beijing dialect became increasingly influential, and with the dying of Qing dynasty, Beijing dialect was established as guóyǔ (国语/國語), or the “national language”.

With the Communist-ruled country, Mandarin became increasingly influential because it is seen as the standardised language, and people seems to only identify Mandarin as the only Chinese language.

2. Disrespectful to the Chinese forbearers to New Zealand

Early Chinese immigrants to New Zealand are Cantonese speakers from South China. They came from the Pearl River delta area in Guangdong province. Most (67%) were from Panyu county; the rest were from Siyi, Zengcheng, Dongguan and Zhongshan. These counties are located around the city of Canton (Guangzhou).

New Zealand was one of the three countries that place a poll tax on the Chinese immigrants. In 2002, former Prime Minister Helen Clark formally apologised to the Chinese Poll Tax descendents and subsequently the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust was formed.

One of the key focus of the Trust is to promote learning and the use of the Cantonese language, the language of the forbearers. Supporting the descendents to hold on to their language and culture of their ancestors.

Very different to the many Language Weeks we have in New Zealand, the Chinese Language Week is not about ensuring the language of our ancestors will live on, but this is purely about increasing trade.

3. Not celebrating diversity

Chinese, both the language and the people, are very diverse. We are not able to address and celebrate the diversity and yet lumped together as one. This also helps support the Chinese government’s plan to diminish dialects by only promoting Mandarin as the only Chinese language.

The United Nations have acknowledged that the Chinese language is becoming less diverse, and over 100 languages are in danger of dying out. Even Shanghainese, one of the many “Mandarin” dialects, is in fear of dying out. Just Google “Dying Chinese Language” and you will find pages of search results related to the concern that the Mandarin policy is killing the other languages. The killing of these languages are more than just a language, but the culture and history.

What can we do

One day, I hope, that the Chinese Language Week actually celebrates the history and diversity of all Chinese language and promote the use of Chinese as a whole, not focusing only in Mandarin. Even here in New Zealand, there are two main dialects.

According to the last Census, 52,263 people spoke Northern Chinese which includes Mandarin, 44,625 spoke Yue that includes Cantonese and 42,750 spoke a “Sinitic” language.


New Zealand is becoming increasingly diverse, and ethnic Chinese are becoming a larger part of our mix.

And within the ethnic Chinese population there is also diversity beyond simply immigrants and those born here and with as long a connection to New Zealand as many of us.

We are familiar with recognising distinct differences between English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish even though they share a common language.

In New Zealand they share many things in common, while some retain some cultural practices as well. That is usually celebrated.

Ethnicity, culture and language have never been simple and separable.

The same should apply to the diversity of ethnic Chinese now living here. They accept aspects of our culture (actually cultures) while retaining some of there own if they wish. Language is one part of that.

Food is another – Chinese options have become much more diverse here in my lifetime. I don’t know where I could still find chicken, rice and mixed vegetables – with buttered bread soaked in Worcester Sauce for an entree.

We may have no interest in learning one of the Chinese languages, that’s a lot more challenging than scoffing sweet and sour wantons or egg foo young, but we can at least recognise the diversity of Chinese language as well as cuisine.

 

Have the Hollywood abuse floodgates opened?

The allegations of sexual harassment and rape against movie producer Harvey Weinstein (who has admitted bad behaviour and committed himself to a ‘clinic’ but denies ‘non-consensual sex’) has raised an issue that has been swept under the red carpet for a long time.

A number of big name actresses have now spoken out, adding attention and weight to the issue. It has also spread much further than Hollywood stars, with online actions pointing out how widespread and insidious sexual harassment is.

There is a danger that it could go too far, with complaints ranging from rape and professional coercion to leering. And there are also valid concerns about making accusations public and ostracising people who have not been found guilty.

But while there will inevitably be overreach, exaggerated and possible false allegations, and potentially unfair consequences for some, this is a dirty secret that is long overdue for a big clean up. Some collateral damage may be unfortunate but it’s necessary to lance the boil.

That’s if the publicity is sustained and it results in major attitudinal and behavioural changes.

New York Times: Harvey Weinstein’s Fall Opens the Floodgates in Hollywood

Harvey Weinstein is certainly not the first powerful man publicly and credibly accused of sexually harassing or abusing women in recent years.

Since 2015, the Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, the Fox News prime-time host Bill O’Reilly and the comedian and actor Bill Cosby have suffered professional, financial or reputational setbacks after numerous women told stories of their sexual misconduct.

Those stories dominated news cycles, to be sure, but the outcry accompanying Mr. Weinstein’s downfall seems louder and more impassioned — perhaps because Mr. Weinstein’s accusers include stars like Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.

“I think this is a watershed moment,” said the producer Gail Berman, who had top jobs at Paramount Pictures and the Fox network.

That became clear on Sunday, when Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were flooded with messages from women who used the hashtag #MeToo to acknowledge that they had dealt with sexual harassment or assault.

There is no doubt it has been a widespread and serious problem.

The Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow applauded the movement. “The democratization of the spread of information can finally move faster than a powerful media mogul’s attempts to bury it,” she said by email.

Powerful forces have been largely able to sweep things under the red carpet until now.

Kicked off by reports on the allegations against Mr. Weinstein, the outpouring came a little more than a year after The Washington Post published leaked excerpts from an “Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald J. Trump, then a candidate for president, boasted of groping women.

Melinda McGillivray, who stepped forward last year to accuse Mr. Trump of groping her at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida in 2003, told BuzzFeed last week that Ms. Paltrow and Ms. Jolie had an impact her accusation did not because of their star power. (Mr. Trump has denied harassment accusations.)

The problem goes right to the top.

Mr. Trump’s election had put some women here on guard against a return to male misbehavior that was more common 40 years ago. And one list circulating among ranking female executives in the industry has tracked a string of promotions of men to senior jobs — at Apple and AMCSony and HuluFox and CBS — amid fear that progress for women has stalled since November.

“Most of the available senior management television jobs this year have gone to men,” said Katie O’Connell, a chief executive of Platform One Media, and formerly the chief executive of Gaumont Television. “While those men were all qualified, it does highlight diminished access for these highest-level positions for women in 2017.”

It’s difficult to know how much is merit, and how much may be prejudice and punishment for not being promiscuous.

At issue now is whether or not Hollywood can continue its old way of doing business, with self-styled “outlaw” executives and auteurs getting away with sexual misconduct as lawyers and publicists protect them.

“I think it’s upsetting and devastating, all of the stories that have come out,” said Nina Jacobson, a film producer who was formerly the president of the Walt Disney Company’s Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group.

“But I think the floodgates being opened is something that had to happen and that finally brings a subject to the surface that has sort of gone unchecked for countless years.”

Ms. Jacobson, the film producer, said, “There’s an importance to a careful vetting and a careful reposting and not just a free-for-all.”

Some care needs to be taken to be as fair and just as possible, while still enabling victims to come forward without fear.

There doesn’t seem to be much chance of a leading example being set from Trump to confront this problem, but along with Weinstein the president could become a public example of an insidious problem that needs to be once and for all dealt to.

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.

Media watch – Thursday

19 October 2017

MediaWatch

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.

Open Forum – Thursday

19 October 2017

Forum

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 – Thursday

Wednesday GMT

WorldWatch2

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