Public broadcaster funding

At a time when private media is being severely squeezed by shrinking advertising revenue, and they react by sacking journalists and dumbing down the news, there may be more need for publicly funded news and current affairs.

Radio New Zealand has had it’s funding frozen for ‘at least 8 years’. Should more funding boost what they can do?

I have tried breakfast television and largely given up on both TV and TV3. Too bland and padded with pap. So I know listen to RNZ from 6 am, they are much more informative.

I’m not a fan of everything RNZ does – I listen to a bit of John Campbell while driving in the afternoon and while he covers some interesting things he can be over the top with his advocacy and delivery – but I think they are an essential part of New Zealand’s media mix.

A peition that has been running over the last year is being given another push leading up to May’s budget.

Increase funding for Radio New Zealand in this year’s Budget. (Petition still going)

Radio New Zealand Limited, New Zealand’s only public service broadcaster. It delivers high-quality, impartial, journalism and a wide variety of content, including coverage of issues in the Pacific region. This organisation has had its funding frozen for at least eight years.

RNZ deserves a funding increase in this year’s Budget because it needs to be properly resourced, not just this year, but in future years so that it can continue to deliver on its charter and provide the same standard of content that has given RNZ its fine reputation.

Please sign this petition if you care about the future of RNZ and share it with your networks.

Labour’s health petition whopper

This week’s petition from Labour is aimed at fixing our tax system. Perhaps Labour should aim at on fixing their honesty, or their research or maths.

Sign this petition

To the New Zealand Government

Fund our health system properly so New Zealanders can get the treatment they need.

That’s hopelessly vague. More detail:

Sign the petition to fix our health system

In just six years, National has cut a whopping $1.7 billion from our healthcare system.

Every day we hear stories of how these cuts are impacting Kiwis’ lives. Stories of struggling to pay for the GP; missing out on the medicines they need; and health professionals who are exhausted and overstretched. It’s not right and we have to fix it.

To fix our system, we need to make sure Kiwis know this is a vital issue and they need to vote to change the Government at the election next year.

To make sure health is an election issue, we need to build a massive campaign calling on the Government to ensure the health system can provide the services Kiwis need. A huge petition can’t be ignored and together we can make sure health gets the attention it needs.

A petition this vague, huge or otherwise, will be easily ignored. Health funding is a big issue but this won’t do anything to help our health system.

Plus there is nothing from Labour about how they might ‘fix’ our health system.

Has the Government cut a whopping $1.7 billion from our healthcare system?

The Budget Economic and Fiscal Update 2016 (BEFU) published on 26 May 2016, health spending from Treasury’s Core Crown Expense Table (billions):

  • 2011 – $13.753
  • 2012 – $14.160
  • 2013 – $14.498
  • 2014 – $14.898
  • 2015 – $15.058
  • 2016 – $15.635
  • Forecast for 2017 – $16.214

That’s an increase of $2.461 billion, not a decrease of $1.7 billion as claimed in the petition.

Perhaps Labour is using some different numbers, but with no details it’s impossible to tell how they have come up with a whopping reduction.

It looks more like a whopper of a lie.

Medicinal cannabis petition presented

A medicinal cannabis petition was presented to parliament today.

RNZ: Alex Renton’s mum presents reform petition to Parliament

A woman whose son died of severe epilepsy has presented a petition with more than 15,000 signatures to Parliament, urging the government to make medicinal cannabis more readily available.

Rose Renton’s 19-year-old son Alex Renton died in Wellington Hospital last year, after suffering from status epilepticus – an acute, prolonged epileptic seizure.

Part of his treatment before his death was medicinal cannabis, which Mrs Renton said provided him with some relief, but was given to him too late.

A report by Wellington Hospital specialists said the oil had no effect on his underlying seizures, and medical staff never saw any improvement.

There’s a range of products becoming available and it was a gamble that the one chosen may make a difference. There was no time nor any easy ability to try alternatives.

But Mrs Renton said Alex had died peacefully.

“A lot of those drugs that were so heavily layered over the months leading up to his death were taken off and drastically reduced and the [cannabis] oil doses were increased.”

The process to acquire the oil and get approval to use it was drawn out and far from easy, Mrs Renton said.

Medicinal cannabis was only granted after a long battle with medical staff for backing, and after 43 other drugs had failed.

Keeping pressure on Parliament, along with overseas moves to more freedom to use medicinal cannabis overseas, may eventually get our Government to move with the times and for the needs of people who suffer.


Petition to ban petitions used as news sources

Mark Reynolds has started a petition calling for a ban on petitions being used as the source of a “news” story.

The demands of “modern news rooms” means they will do anything to fill the gap in the news cycle, including latching onto any silly petition that gets launched on

As a result everyones news feed is getting clogged with banal stories to ban, close or shutdown most things in the world. 

Stories like this

If we can stop this we will win back our news feeds. 

We therefore need to shutdown and stop its stupid petitions being used for stupid news stories.

I agree with the point being made even if it’s tongue in cheek.

Online petitions and online polls are very dubious sources of ‘news’ at best.

I thought of signing the petition for the hell of it but it also signs you on to’s email list so decided it’s not worth getting more junk mail.

Who else should be dumped?

Taking the lead of Dan Wayman and his attempts to have Mike Hosking dumped from TVNZ’s Seven Sharp – see The Hosking petition – why stop there? Who else should be dumped?

Why not have petitions to shut up other people in media and social media?

Suggestions please on who you think should be shut up, gagged, put in their place (in the silent naughty corner).

Perhaps we could have a whole bunch of petitions and see who are the most despised media presenters, the most hated journalists, the most despised Tweeters and Facebookers and bloggers.

Why not have a bloody good shake up of who is allowed to speak in public.

Then we could have discussions and petitions on who should present Seven Sharp, The Story and run Whale Oil and The Daily Blog etc.

Wayman provides a template:

“The ultimate goal is to have a more appropriate face on the national broadcaster in the 7pm slot,” he says. “That’s the ultimate goal.

Shouldn’t The People decide who has an appropriate face for television?

The ultimate solution for free speech.

The Hosking petition

There has already been discussion here about the petition directed at TVNZ to ‘GET RID OF HOSKING’.

I don’t like watching Mike Hosking on Seven Sharp so I hardly ever watch him or any of the show.

Anyone has a right to start up a petition about anything they choose, but I think that campaigns to try and force television presenters out of their jobs is stupid. If I thought it might be an effective way to shut down voices that people didn’t like I would condemn it as anti-free speech.

But the petition is just as likely to boost interest in Seven Sharp and Hosking so he and TVNZ may actually benefit.

Petitioning Minster of Broadcasting NZ Hon Amy Adams MP and 3 others

Get Rid of Hosking

GET RID OF HOSKING. [ It is our opinion ] TVNZ broadcaster Mike Hosking is an offensive and thoughtless media personality who continues to arrogantly and ignorantly disregard the struggles of everyday New Zealander’s. Hosking’s attitude and comments continuously cause offense, upset and disdain to reasonable and innocent people ; both viewers and non-viewers of TVNZ. Supporters of GET RID OF HOSKING expect that TVNZ acts as a responsible and mature public broadcaster and respects this request from thousands of New Zealanders – That is –  We no longer wish to see or hear any more from Hosking on our TV screens.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Minster of Broadcasting NZ
    Hon Amy Adams MP
  • TVNZ
    Kevin Kenrick CEO and Jeff Latch Director of Content TVNZ
  • Broadcasting Standards Authority
    Broadcasting Standards Authority
  • ASB BANK Executive General Manager Marketing & Communications at ASB
    ASB BANK – Roger Beaumont

There are currently 18,115 supporters.

I guess it’s ok that the petition is aimed at TVNZ. It’s up to them whether they take any notice of it.

Although it depends on to what extent pressure is put on TVNZ to dump a presenter. If it goes to the extent of a campaign to boycott TVNZ I would be concerned.

A similar campaign was waged against TV3 over their axing of John Campbell. That appeared to affect their ratings, which in turn could impact on their viability.

I would be disturbed if a TV company or public broadcaster was shut down because of campaigns against them. This would significantly reduce options for free speech.

Why has the Minister been included? I would be appalled if a Minister intervened in TVNZ decisions on how presents their shows.

Why is the Broadcasting Standards Authority included? I would be appalled if they tried to tell TVNZ who they should or shouldn’t have as presenters.

The ANZ Bank being included has an insidious angle. Attacking a major sponsor could potentially have a significant effect on the financial viability of part of TVNZ’s operation.

A couple of contrasting blog views on this.

Kiwiblog: The haters of freedom of speech

I’m tempted to call these people cultural fascists.

First of all do they really think the bloody Government should decide who is and is not allowed to appear on television as a broadcaster?

Secondly they seem to hate views they disagree with, and want Hosking gone because he says things they don’t like.

I think NZ is better when it has diversity of views on air – I think it is good both Hosking and Campbell are broadcasters.

But these cultural fascists hate views that are not their own, and think the Government should decide who is allowed to be on air. They can get f****d.

The Standard: Dirty Politics Farrar and freedom of speech

In another fine example of the Streisand effect, poor wee Dirty Politics Farrar doesn’t like it.

Not being one for self-reflection, DPF hates views that are not his own and thinks they shouldn’t be expressed. Or perhaps he just doesn’t understand what free speech is.

It’s good that both Farrar and ‘Natwatch’ have the freedom to speak about this as they see fit.

Should Mike Hosking be shut up because many of us don’t like what he says? I don’t think so.

Who is Dan Wayman? He is a lawyer, sometimes from Wellington. Stuff has some information on him and his motives:

Wayman, who describes himself as a New Zealand-enrolled barrister-solicitor who divides his time between New Zealand and Shanghai, where he works at the British Consulate, says he started the petition because he “just felt something needed to be done really”.

“[Hosking’s] socially irresponsible comments are damaging to the New Zealand public, and especially as the face of the national broadcaster in the 7pm timeslot, being a family show, I think it’s harmful for the next generation to receive those types of sentiments from Mr Hosking.”

Seven Sharp is a family show? I can’t imagine that many young people would watch it. An increasing number of young people watch little or no broadcast television.

Wayman said comments made by Hosking over the crowdfunding purchase of the Awaroa beach and over the New Zealand flag debate as examples of why the broadcaster should be removed from TVNZ.

Wayman said: “It’s the constant lack of empathy and dismissive comments of New Zealanders struggling, even following stories on Seven Sharp – he just does not get it, and I think it’s harmful.”

“The ultimate goal is to have a more appropriate face on the national broadcaster in the 7pm slot,” he says. “That’s the ultimate goal. I’m not worried about his radio career, but I think the platform that he’s got (with Seven Sharp) – he’s not the right person for that platform.”

TVNZ said:

“We welcome feedback on our programmes, which we get in the form of daily audience ratings, quantitative and qualitative market research, and direct feedback from viewers. Given we engage with around 2.5 million New Zealanders per day, we typically get a broad range of views expressed about our on-air and online content. There are a number of viewing options.Seven Sharp is the most watched show at 7pm.”

There are a number of viewing and doing options at 7 pm Dan. As a lawyer don’t you value free choice and free speech?

Petition overdrive

Politics by petition seems to have gone into overdrive with frequent campaign petitions being churned out now by both the Greens and Labour.

They are trying to be seen to be working together more but seem to be keen to do their own petitions.

It’s hard to see that online petitions of the week would be taken very seriously by select committees. They are more likely to be used as a means of contact harvesting as email addresses are requested.

The @NZGreens are calling for a wider inquiry into tax avoidance. If you agree, please sign on and share.

One Less Tax Haven

To Michael Woodhouse, the Minister of Revenue,
We need a transparent review of tax avoidance in New Zealand.

The Shewan Inquiry into tax avoidance is currently being led by a single industry insider. We need a much fuller review with a panel of local and international experts, including those from the anti-corruption sector, and the opportunity for public submissions.

But they are trailing Labour on this:

Demand action on tax dodging

Sign this petitionWe, the undersigned, request that the Government:

  • Close the loopholes that allow foreign trusts in New Zealand to hide tax avoidance, money laundering and fraud
  • Crack down on tax avoidance from multinational companies operating in New Zealand
  • Launch an urgent inquiry into tax avoidance, particularly by multinational companies and the use of New Zealand as a tax haven.

Do these online petitions have any influence in Parliament? Should they?

Labour on tax dodging

Labour are promoting a petition on their website: Demand action on tax dodging

Big multinational corporations are exploiting our weak tax laws to shift the profits they make in New Zealand offshore and avoid paying their fair share of tax here.

A serious accusation.

The Tax Justice Network estimate New Zealand could be missing out on up to $7 billion a year as a result.

Does Labour agree with that estimate? It would appear so.

And just this week it’s been exposed that New Zealand has become a tax haven for the world’s mega-rich to hide billions of dollars, launder money and hide stolen assets.

The government is refusing to act to stop this.

More serious accusations. Does Labour have anything to back these claims up with?

We’ll deliver this petition to Parliament where a Select Committee will consider it. The more of us who sign the petition, the more likely it is the Select Committee will launch an urgent inquiry.

Should a Parliamentary Select Committee take a party promoted petition like this seriously?

Sign this petition

To the House of Representatives:

We, the undersigned, request that the Government:

  • Close the loopholes that allow foreign trusts in New Zealand to hide tax avoidance, money laundering and fraud
  • Crack down on tax avoidance from multinational companies operating in New Zealand
  • Launch an urgent inquiry into tax avoidance, particularly by multinational companies and the use of New Zealand as a tax haven.

How do they suggest the Government does all this? Wave a tax wand?

Currently 9,513 “supporters”. Can they authenticate all of the online signatures? Does that matter?

This seems a very odd way for a major party to try to conduct Parliamentary business.

The petition is authorised by Labour’s general secretary Andrew Kirton, and Andrew Little’s social media details are provided.

Labour: ‘Say no to the TPPA’

Has Labour been convinced enough by Jane Kelsey and Lori Wallach that the US will not ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement to swing to all out opposition to it, punting on it not going ahead anyway? If so what if the US pulls out but the rest of the countries go ahead?

Labour have now jumped on the petition bandwagon. Political petitions are not designed to achieve change, they can’t.

They are aimed at proving a level of support for a stance.

And they are a means of email address harvesting.

There’s at least one other anti-TPPA petition running. Splitting them will split the numbers to an extent, and due to the possibility (and probability) that some people will sign both petitions the number of signatures added together will be meaningless.

But this cements Labour’s definitive opposition to the TPPA.

Sign the petition: Say no to the TPPA

The TPPA undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty and is a threat to our democracy. National has overestimated the benefits to New Zealand and negotiated it in secrecy.

Under the TPPA:

  • Our Parliament would not be allowed to ban overseas speculators from buying up Kiwi homes. Other countries, including Australia, negotiated an exemption from this clause but National failed to do so for New Zealand.

  • Foreign corporations could sue the government over policy changes seen as affecting their businesses.

  • New Zealanders’ access to life-saving drugs could be restricted as our laws are tilted in favour of US pharmaceutical companies.

Labour cannot support the TPPA as it stands and will seek to renegotiate it in government to get a better deal for New Zealanders — one that doesn’t undermine our sovereignty.

Are you with us? Add your name.

The petition:

To John Key and Cabinet:

Protect the democratic rights of New Zealand citizens. The TPPA is an attack of New Zealand’s sovereignty and democracy. That’s something that should never be traded away.

Claiming “the TPPA is an attack of New Zealand’s sovereignty and democracy” is both strongly claimed and strongly disputed.

Current number of signatures: 15,786


TPPA petitions

There are two separate petitions trying to stop the New Zealand Government from signing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, an online petition and a more traditional paper petition.

As reported yesterday by Radio NZ: TPPA petition gets thousands of signatures

A petition against New Zealand signing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement has gathered over 11,000 signatures in just two days.

Barry Coates from the ‘It’s Our Future Coalition’ set up the petition and said he expected more people to sign it.

“If we continue at that rate we’ll be in the hundreds of thousands of signatures. This petition particularly says to the Government ‘don’t sign the TPPA’. It’s a crucial point when our government signs it and we don’t think that they have a mandate to sign the agreement and this petition gives people a chance to say no.”

Barry Coates said the deal was designed to serve the interests of large corporations rather than those of people or the planet.

The petition doesn’t actually say to the Government ‘don’t sign the TPPA’. It says:

We, the undersigned, do not consent to the Government of New Zealand signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

It currently has 15,000 ‘signatures’.  It will probably get a lot more signatures over the next week or two.

Online petitions have been used to campaign against a number of things but they have generally been ineffective.

It’s confusing who is behind the petition. Here Barry Coates is named as having set it up.

But on the It’s Our Future website (that Coates is involved with) it states:

Our friends at ActionStation are hosting a petition opposing the signing.

Perhaps that’s because Action Station has the facilities to run the petition – and collect email addresses.


Action Station have been active in a number of social media campaigns.

ActionStation is here to enable the large community of Kiwis with shared progressive values to take powerful, coordinated action on urgent issues we care about.

They claim to be independent:

Independent and member-led, we are affiliated with no political party, and answer only to our members.

But people involved in establishing Action Station were also involved with the Green Party.

And Coates is also closely associated with the Greens. He was placed at 17 on the Green list in 2014 which was a position thought to have had a good chance of making it into Parliament. Should another Green seat become vacant Coates is next in line to become an MP.

Coates was a candidate for the Mt Roskill electorate and is still listed as a Green candidate on their website.

The paper petition was launched last month:

TPPA Free and Action groups petition the Governor General – “Save our Democracy”

TPP Free Wellington today launched a petition calling the Governor General to Command the government to put the question of proceeding with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to a binding referendum.

This petition press release was posted on the It’s Our Future website. Signed paper petitions take a long time and a lot of effort, so it’s possible Coates and It’s Our Future and Action Station decided to try the much simpler and faster online approach.

The online source for this petition seems to be here:  No Mandate Do Not Sign TPPA – GG Petition

We’ve launched a petition calling the Governor General to Command the government to put the question of proceeding with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to a binding referendum.

We have produced a number of resources to support the No Mandate – Do Not Sign TPPA campaign. 

The petition available here:

I think there’s no chance of this petition getting sufficient signatures before the signing which is in early February (possibly February 4).

Petitioning the Governor General is a novel approach but it would be a major change in how we do democracy if the Governor General became involved in Government processes due to a petition.

Here’s the explanation of why we take this approach.  

The Governor General is the appointed Guardian of our representative democracy.

The petition asserts that the Government has no democratic mandate for TPPA. The Government kept the text secret from voters at the last election.1 Without information, we have not mandated our elected representatives.2
Treaty negotiations Minister Tim Groser in July 2012 stated: “trade agreements involve concessions over the sovereign rights of countries”3
The enormous and unprecedented scale of TPPA requires a democratic mandate.4
Once in force, withdrawal might be impossible in practice, so the deal could not be undone.5
The petition states as follows:
We, the UNDERSIGNED citizens and residents of Aotearoa New Zealand, PETITION Your Excellency:
  1. to COMMAND the Government to put the question of proceeding with, or withdrawal from TPPA to a BINDING REFERENDUM; and
  2. to PROHIBIT the Government from signing any final agreement, or taking any binding treaty action UNLESS the People vote in favour; and
  3. to REFUSE Assent to any enabling legislation UNLESS the People vote in favour.

Our petition requires that the Governor General use his Reserve Powers6 to protect the democracy.

 That looks bizarre as far as democratic process goes.