RNZ beats commercial radio

The biggest surprise for me in this story is that Radio NZ (the now like to be called RNZ) hasn’t been included in ratings done for commercial radio before.

This makes some of Stuff’s stuff a bit strange in Bloody marvellous! John Campbell and Morning Report lead RNZ to a ratings resurgence

The “king of breakfast radio” Mike Hosking has been dethroned by state broadcaster RNZ’sMorning Report programme.

RNZ has attracted the highest national audience against commercial radio news rivals in all key time slots, results from a survey released this week show.

It was the first time in 17 years RNZ has been included in a radio survey with its commercial competitors.

How can they (Stuff) claim ‘a resurgence’ and that Hosking is ‘dethroned’ when there was no previous comparison?

Regardless of that, the survey GfK survey (conducted over 18 weeks and sampled nearly 11,00 people aged 10 years and over) shows that RNZ is a major player on the pictureless airwaves.

Total New Zealand Commercial Radio Audience Measurement

For the first time a Commercial Radio Audience Measurement Survey has been conducted across the whole of New Zealand, giving valuable insights into the strength and scope of commercial radio listening across the country. The survey was conducted over 18 weeks and sampled 10,863 people aged 10+.

Department of Statistics estimated population data at 30 June 2015 indicates approximately 4,010,000 people aged 10+ years live in New Zealand. The Total New Zealand Commercial Radio Audience Measurement Survey shows over 3,134,000 or 78.2% of them listen to a commercial radio station each week.

The survey showed:

  • RNZ’s Morning Report programme, hosted by former TV personality Guyon Espiner and Susie Ferguson from 6am-9am, had about 386,000 listeners.
  • Mike Hosking Breakfast, which runs from 6am to 8.30am, was ‘a distant second’ to Morning Report.

(In May, Newstalk ZB reported that Mike Hosking was the “king of breakfast radio” with 265,000 listeners).

  • RNZ shows Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan, Jesse Mulligan in afternoons and Checkpoint with John Campbell were all leading their time slots against rival stations.
  • The Edge was the top ranked station nationwide with 663,000 listeners each week followed by RNZ with 529,000 listeners. Newstalk ZB was close behind with 504,000 listeners.

So RNZ appears to be working and providing something that many people make use of.

I think that an alternative to commercial radio is worthwhile and adds something different to the radio mix.

Ardern: absolutely no to leadership

For the record Jacinda Ardern has categorically ruled out any aspirations for a leadership role in Labour. Ever. She says that the job looks too tough, too hard.

She rang Tim Fookes on Newstalk ZB this morning to challenge some comments regarding the Labour-Green memorandum – Jacinda Ardern: Defending the Green Alliance.

Fookes asked Ardern about any leadership ambitions she might have.

Fookes: There was an article written by Duncan Garner over the weekend…raising yourself as a possible Labour leader because of the need for Labour to have leaders based out of Auckland.

Have you been approached about this, and is the leadership at some stage something you are looking for?

Ardern: No.

Fookes: Ever?

Ardern: No.

Fookes: So you never want to be Labour party leader?

Ardern: I’ve always been really clear on this. First and foremost there is no question around our leadership in the Labour Party. Absolutely united behind Andrew Little. Secondly…

Fookes: Even though he’s only polling eight or nine?

Ardern: Secondly would I ever consider leadership? I’ve been really clear it’s not my ambition. So there’s no point having any speculation…

Fookes: So, we might save this interview and if it ever comes up maybe in five or ten years…

Ardern: Feel free, feel free.

Fookes: You can categorically say you never want to be Labour Party leader?

Ardern: I can categorically say that, and I always have, this is not new information.

It’s such a, I think politics is probably a place where people make a lot of assumptions about there being lots of ego in it. I guess you know that’s probably a fair assumption, that we make a bit of a guess that everyone who’s involved must want to be the top dog.

But that’s just not the case. There are plenty of us who’ve got into politics and who work in politics…because they want to make a contribution and they don’t see themselves in one of those roles, and that’s me.

I want to be a Minister, and that’s what my goal is, to get Labour into Government. That’s the place I feel I can do all of the things I want to achieve.

Fookes: Can I say to you that by saying no you don’t want to ever be Labour I think is a crying shame, ah because I think someone like you would be someone that would attract votes to the Labour Party.

I think that if Labour is to become, you know to get somewhere back up around those high thirties and early forties, and really on a level playing field with National, someone like you could actually do that job for them.

Ardern: I believe we can absolutely, we can absolutely do it, I do. And whilst that’s, you know very flattering you would take that view but perhaps those who want it the least are probably the sanest.

And I say that because it is such a hard job. I’ve watched from Helen Clark in the leadership role, I’ve had admiration for every single one of our leaders because it’s a really tough job, maybe even harder when you’re in opposition.

So huge admiration but I’ve just also learnt that it’s not a job I would ever want.

EXCLUSIVE: media/party collusion

This post isn’t an exclusive nor a scoop, it’s an observation of public behaviour that shines a light on how politicians and media promote ‘exclusive’ stories and collude to promote their own interests.

We have far from an open even playing field in new Zealand politics, with media often complicit in the game playing and choosing what they will promote as news based on what will benefit themselves rather than working for the public good.

An interesting exchange on Twitter yesterday emerged from the promotion of a Green story about trusts, John Key and his (ex) lawyer.

Some background here: The PM/lawyer/trust story

A Frances Cook opinion at Newstalk ZB (also NZ Herald) – PM’s trust issues not a good look – mostly covered the awkward look for John Key that the Green sourced story had stoked. But she concluded:

But problems with trust go across the political spectrum. It was the Green Party which uncovered the story, after some excellent investigation. Less good is that they then spoke to several media outlets, leaving at least three with the impression that they had an exclusive story.

It’s not the end of the world, and it’s still the Prime Minister who will face the most questions over this. But the Green Party might find media wary of them the next time they uncover dirt on their opponents.

Cook also tweeted:

When about five different news outlets are fed an “exclusive”, you gotta wonder about bridges being burned. #KindaExclusive

Details on John Key’s links to foreign trust lobbying – the ‘exclusive’ the Greens tried to shop to everyone.

Rachel Stewart@RFStew 

If you promise a scoop to 1 journo don’t piss ’em off by going to 3 others. Environmentalists are particularly bad at pre-media ejaculation.

I refer here to @FrancesCook‘s ‘take down’ of the Greens comms people at the end of this article.

Put simply, it’s bad manners.

A number of Green supporters expressed dismay at this criticism., including co-leader Metiria Turei who tweeted:

Metiria Turei@metiria

Frances is wrong. Only one had the exclusive. Hei aha, the story is whats important

Cook responded:

Are we doing this? Ok, I guess we’re doing this.

Newshub promised an exclusive first. Then Herald. Then confusion reigns as both Herald and Newshub try to protect exclusive. @metiria

Then RNZ and TVNZ given story, but asked to respect “embargo”, so their competition can have the glory.

I’m not mad, I don’t really care, but it’s certainly noteworthy and will inform interactions in future. Hopefully everyone learns

Rob Hosking@robhosking
@FrancesCook @metiria hmm. Some things I said about embagos on @MediawatchNZ just got more relevant.

Metiria Turei@metiria
@FrancesCook call me if you want to talk through why you think this.

metiria had a lengthy chat with Andrew last night. Happy to talk to you on Monday when I’m back at work.

And it was two lines at the end of a lengthy opinion piece. Want to focus on the bigger story? Focus on it. Like I did.

So things got a bit tetchy.

But Turei admits that one media outlet were given an ‘exclusive’ story by the Greens. It seems that some other media were also given the story but that was embargoed until the chosen outlet had got the glory of an exclusive, albeit delivered to them by a party with a motive of maximum bang.

That the Greens play political and media games like everyone else won’t be a surprise.

But this puts a spotlight on the reality that not all news is equal.

Some news is far more equal than others, especially if one outlet thinks they have exclusive rights to first publication.

News outlets are chosen by politicians and their media managers based on what might best achieve their aims, either of promoting good news about themselves or scoring a hit on opponents.

Openness and equal opportunity news is a low priority. Winning by any means is what drives both parties and media organisations.

Media have become the deciders of what will make the news, and what will be given prominence. And this is often based on what deals they can make with politicians and parties about exclusivity.

Some media even ignore newsworthy stories if they were out-scooped by competitors – or ignored in preference to other media.

So a lot of what the public is fed on politics is based on games, egos and self interest of both politicians and journalists.

The ‘fourth estate’, the media, has sometimes been portrayed as or claimed to be an independent watchdog that is essential in keeping politicians and those with power honest and accountable.

But as the power of the media grew the lines between the estates became blurred.

Now media are as likely to abuse their power as much as politicians, whether they are consciously trying to influence the outcome of political issues, including elections, or they are corrupted by their own egos and drive to be in the spotlight.

This is exacerbated by the move in media first towards celebrity coverage (it sells copies, online eyeballs and the all important advertising) and then towards making themselves the celebrities – with a degree of power that should be concerning.

If there are still genuine journalists out there (I’m sure some of them must be conflicted by the political media games now played, apparently like Frances Cook)  then I think this dangerous trend in the democracy playing field should be examined more and exposed.

What has become apparent is that the corruption of power is not confined to politicians. Journalists and media companies have become a willing part of the problem they were supposed to hold to account.

More digging in a dirty hole

Cameron Slater has often boasted about playing dirty, and he continues to live down to his standards making insulting and nasty comments about Jacinda Ardern.

On Whale Oil yesterday:

Yeah, here’s the gay man going: “look!  this barren woman cares about kids, even though neither of us are in a family situation that anyone would recognise as mainstream New Zealand”.

And on Newstalk ZB’s The Huddle yesterday afternoon:

Susan Wood: Let’s talk about this Labour Party leadership and Jock, Gracinda is what I see the social media is calling Grant and Jacinda, the only I guess leader who has declared who would be his preferred running mate. Do you think they’ve got what it takes?

Jock Anderson: Well they obviously do, um bearing in mind that some of the constituents they are clearly hoping to attract, um when i say some of the photographs I just wondered if they’ve sort of entered into some kind of a civil union or something…

Cameron Slater: It was like New Idea type stuff wasn’t it John…

Anderson:Yes, and…

Slater: The wedding of the year…

Anderson: Maybe it is…

Slater: …the gay man and the barren women…

Slater remains barren of decency, further isolating himself from anyone in politics wanting to avoid association with someone who has dug a dirty hole and keeps on digging.

It’s not a good look for Newstalk ZB to be still giving airtime to this sort of nastiness.

Key on possible election alliances

John Key talked to Newstalk ZB’s Leighton Smith today about possible alliances with other parties.

Leighton Smith: The post election alliances, the parties you’re prepared to work with, when are you going to announce that and let’s do it now.

John Key: So what we did at the start of the year, which is probably more than anyone else has done, we sat  there and we said look, we’ve got some parties we can work with, we’ve worked well with United, Act and the Maori Party over the last six years and we’re happy to work with them again in the future.

We think we could work with the Conservatives if they make it, and we’d be prepared to have discussions with Winston Peters if he wanted to.

So that sort of gives people an indication of who we can and who we can’t work with.

You know what sort of accommodations we may or may not so, look we’ll make some decisions on that a bit nearer the time.

Obviously the particular issues are Epsom when it comes to Act, Ohariu when it comes to United, and whether we find some way of accommodation Colin Craig

Leighton Smith: It would appear as far as Colin Craig is concerned that you’ve run out of options…

John Key: Not necessarily…

Leighton Smith: …according to Mark Mitchell…

John Key: yeah, yeah well no I don’t think that’s right, in the end, National obviously believes that we’re the best party to be the governing party of this country, and MMP’s a system that causes, that forces you to find coalitions.

So you know in the end New Zealand’s got a chance to test that out in 2011. What they said overwhelmingly like it or not was that they wanted to keep that system and it’s a system that drives coalitions.

So what I’ve tried to do and am keen to do is treat the electorate with some maturity and respect and say look rather than play games here’s roughly the combinations and you guys decide.

Now when it comes to the Conservatives, they’re in a bit of a different position to United and Act. You’ve got to remember both of those parties won their seat in their own right at times where National pretty heavily contested those seats. That’s not the case with the Conservatives but that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t find a way through but I wouldn’t necessarily guarantee that we would.

Leighton Smith: When you say they won their seats where National contested them fairly heavily, you’re talking about about the original time or…

John Key: Yep. yeah I mean I accept that in 2011 we gave a very strong signal in Epsom for people to give their electorate vote to John Banks and the act Party and their party vote to National. Similarly in Wellington and Ohariu the same thing with United a pretty clear sort of view.

But I mean at the end of the day there’s nothing new about this, you hear David Cunliffe saying oh somehow there’s something odd about this. Well go back and trace  the history of it. Labour’s done the same thing with Alliance, they did the same thing with the Greens. there’s nothing new and in fact you’ve got you know Mana doing that with that Internet crowd at the moment.

Leighton Smith: So where would you think if there was a hole for Mr Craig, where would it most likely be?

John Key: Ah well I don’t honestly know because I haven’t really thought about it in great detail, but what I would say is look, in the end if we had to try and do some sort of deal, um then I’m sure we could find one, because in the end if, if, any member of our caucus will want the Government, National to be a part of the Government,  and in the end if that is what was required I’m sure they’d do it.

But I just wouldn’t jump to conclusions there because we’re a long way away from that position really with the Conservatives.

Leighton Smith: Right, but we’re not that far away, you are starting to run out of, well getting close to the wire…

John Key: Yeah we’re ninety nine days…

Leighton Smith: …it’s not that long, it’ll be gone in a flash.

John Key: Correct. But I mean don’t forget we’re in the position where we’re saying that. Labour on the other hand is saying well, you know, we’re going to work with Mana and Internet or whatever, um, Winston won’t tell you who he’ll work with and who he won’t, so  half the political parties are going to talk to you after the election, half of them will try and tell you one thing and do another, at least we’re going to be transparent.

So look, before the, well and truly before people are going to go to the polls they’ll have a sense of what we think makes sense.

Leighton Smith: Let me ask a question that’s been asked many times before and there’s a standard answer but, but, the possible combination of National and Labour. Is there any set of circumstances you could envisage where that could happen?

John Key: Well it’s happened in Germany, that’s ultimately…

Leighton Smith: I mean here though.

John Key: Yeah I know. Ah well I think no, um, but you look in a lot of ways, ah at times in the  history of the two parties they’ve been more similar, you know National’s been centre right and Labour’s been centre left.

This election is actually very unusual because you’ve got the Labour Party tracking a long way left and us staying very much in the centre, but I just don’t see that happening.

I think New Zealanders fundamentally want to have a choice, and I think they’d rather, they will probably, they’ve had a very canny way of making sure that there’ve been plenty of alternatives, or at least some alternatives to the um, ah, you know for the part that they’ve wanted to govern.

Leighton Smith: Just briefly cover this off for me. The election’s over. National is the biggest party with the most votes, marginally short of being able to pull together a coalition naturally, simply. We’re now into negotiations.

John Key: And that’s a very real possibility.

Leighton Smith: You’ve got, and you’ve got one or two parties that are sitting there, the mini parties that are sitting there hunting for the best deal that they get. Is it a case of government at any price? Or could you imagine a situation, literally imagine a situation where you would say no we’re not paying, we’re not going that far, we’re not paying that penalty. For instance let’s say that um Winston  wanted a Prime Ministerial sharing.

John Key: Ah yes, so there’d certainly be circumstances  where we’d just say no. And I think actually it’s be in the interests of the National Party to say no, because in reality if you did a deal that was so toxic that at the end of that three year period you unwound what I think has been the good work we’ve done in the last six years, ah then I think you’re failing the country and you’re failing your supporters.

For me it’s not Government at any price, um and I don’t think it’s practical to be starting to say well the Prime Ministership is something that we share around a bit like, you know, they player of the day.



Confronting online abuse

I think many people were quite shocked by what they heard.

Much of the contact is anonymous. People use fake names and hide behind their keyboards. A friend of mine calls them ‘keyboard cowards’ and I think that’s quite an apt term.

I’ve had my fair share of abuse as well.

The attacks via twitter that followed were awful. One that sticks in my mind is the woman who tweeted me and said I deserved to die.

I’ve received messages that are too vile to write about here, but most are triggered by those who feel strongly about one political party or the other. I can’t post the most abusive feedback.

For others, it can wear you down, it can make you think about what you do and why you do it, and it can make you worry about who’s living in our communities – so much anger, so much hatred.

The sad reality is that there’s no way to stop it. Not at the moment.

But at the moment, technology is developing at a far greater pace than the checks and balances that should be in place to protect people. Maybe in the future that might change. But I don’t think we should hold our breath.

Those comments could apply to many situations (read this link for specifics).

We shouldn’t hold our breath. Those who care should do something about it, confront bullying and abusive behaviour, and take the fight to the online thugs.

Most people are decent people. If enough of them speak up they will show that the abusers are a small (albeit loud) minority that can be overcome.

There’s no way to stop it but here are ways to reduce it – like more people confronting the abuse and the abusers and not letting them get way with shouting down decent discussion and debate.

There are risks, the bullies often turn and attack when confronted, but if you stay dignified and strong they usually end up backing off. Like any part of society it’s up to good people to stand up and not allow an abusive few ruin our forums.

Local body politics “so damn tedious”

Newstalk ZB’s chief political reporter Felix Marwick is less than impressed with the local body elections –  Political Report: Local body election so damn tedious

The reason people don’t give a damn about local body politics is probably because it’s so damn tedious and so damn nebulous. It appears, on the surface, to be a succession of beige candidates with beige ideals. Figuring out exactly what they stand for is a task beyond us mere mortals.

I don’t mean to dump on those who’ve taken the time to put themselves forward for office. It’s a thankless task and they deserve respect for giving it a go. But for whatever reason, local body politics has all the appearance of being dull, distant, and divorced from the realities of most peoples’ lives.

Yes, mostly thankless. And even more tedious than the national politics that Felix usually reports on.

In the last Local Body elections my sentiments were similar to Felix’s, so I decided to do something about it.

Ironically I campaigned on making local body politics more relevant for people, but no one was listening.

Actually some people did listen and want to do something about it with me, so we will. For those who can be bothered engaging.

No records kept on Parliamentary spy data access!

A journalist has been told by Parliamentary Services that they don’t keep records of what spy data they have handed out.

But this reveals an alarming coverup or an extremely concerning laxity in record keeping.

It was recently revealed that Parliamentary Services gave security card movement data of MP Peter Dunne and journalist Andrea Vance  to David Henry as a part of his Kitteridge report leak inquiry.

Newstalk ZB political reporter Felix Marwick asked Parliamentary Services if they had ever released security card data involving him.

No record of monitoring Parliament access

The agency responsible for running Parliament says it keeps no records on occasions when it has accessed the way people at Parliament have used their security cards.

The monitoring of the cards became an issue in the Henry Inquiry into the leak of the Kitteridge report.

Then it emerged Parliamentary Services had passed on records relating to Fairfax reporter Andrea Vance’s movements, tracked by her security card, to the Henry Inquiry.

Newstalk ZB has asked if its reporters have had their data accessed in a similar way.

Parliamentary Services says it keeps no database of instances where swipe card data is retrieved following security incidents.

That’s an alarming situation where Parliamentary Services hands out what is in effect spy data on journalists but keeps no record of retrieving the data.

Unless it’s a massive fobbing off. Surely they must keep records of when they hand over security data.

If Parliamentary Services don’t keep records of who requests security data, who requests it, why it is requested, and who is given what data we should be very concerned.

In any case any retrieving of data must be logged and recorded. That surely is a basic necessity.

Who in Parliamentary services is able to access data? And what data? On what authority?

The appearance at the moment is of gross negligence and serious abuse of privacy.

Blog exclusive – Bill English on drought

This is an exclusive for YourNZ – about the media links in a minor story.


On Q+A this Sunday, NZ’s in the midst of a drought so how will it affect you and me and our pockets? We speak to the Finance Minister Bill English, and a climate scientist who says we have to no option but to adapt.

(story not yet online)

Stuff (Fairfax):

Finance Minister Bill English says the costs of the drought are headed toward $2 billion.

English said the Government was getting updated advice over the next few weeks from Treasury but the latest estimates indicated ”somewhere between one and two billion will be knocked off our national income”.

English told TVNZ’s Q+A the drought had potential to knock 30 per cent off New Zealand’s growth rate in a year.

NZ Herald:

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Bill English is now saying the estimated cost of the drought has gone up from $1 billion to $2 billion, Fairfax Media reports.

Newstalk ZB chief political reporter in Twitter:


just seen a Herald story referencing Bill English comments from a Fairfax story about comments the Minister made on @NZQandA #convoluted

YourNZ: The final convolution?

I watched Bill English on Q + A so didn’t need to read the Fairfax report on that, or the Herald report on that,so knew the story.

But when Felix  Marwick commented on the convolutions I responded “Sounds interesting, I must blog on your tweet on it.”

Felix replied “why? it’s hardly earth shattering. Just a bit quirky”

So here’s a bit more quirk to the convolutions. Exclusive to Your NZ.

TVNZ HAve the English interview online now:

Corin Dann interviews Bill English (13:05)

Political editor Corin Dann interviews the finance minister Bill English about the drought, the Budget

Felix the splat

Felix Marwick is chief political reporter for Newstalk ZB. He thought things were winding down for the year. He reported in late this morning.

All retweets from me today. Sorry. Work capacity have been inhibited by a small matter of car vs bike.

Felix must be a sporty or a greeny.

intersection of chaytor and raroa

small asian man in a van

I’ve had better days


Felix splat

Maybe he’s a sporty greeny. Or a leprechaun on wheels.

every cloud has a silver lining. Today I’ve had some awesome drugs, and injuries mean I’m incapable of nappy duty for 6 weeks

I’ll be at the party, just have to get thru surgery tomorrow. Plus I only need 1 arm to drink

this explains the pic I posted earlier. And why I’ve been off work today

Good journo that he is he had the tape rolling.


I hope he recovers quickly. And bad luck for someone if there were any party stickers on the car.