A change in approach by political media?

Here’s a sign of at least recognition that political media coverage should improve.

Tracy Watkins (Stuff): The election is nearly here – let’s strip it back to what really matters

So what’s the moral of the story? That so much of the political discourse these days is seen to be more focused on the game playing and the sport of politics, rather than the substance. And that is contributing to the sense that politicians are increasingly out of touch with voters.

We in the media can cop some of the blame. In our drive to explain the “why” and “how” of politics it can look like we’re focusing on personalities rather than policies.

It’s also no secret that there is a voracious appetite for personality-driven political coverage, while the appetite for policy-driven stories is more niche.

Is there really a “voracious appetite” for personality-driven political coverage? It is very click driven, but that is often through misleading and inaccurate headlines.

I don’t condemn that; to an extent, I’ve always believed that we vote for our politicians as much on character or judgement as the policies they hawk.

Their credibility is central to whether we believe in their promises.

But in the hot house of Parliament – where politicians and the media collide regularly on the chaotic weekly caucus run, or “on the tiles”, which is where MPs stop for journalists on their way into the House – it’s all too easy to lose perspective.

It’s also a chicken and egg thing. Politicians pay armies of spin doctors to churn out policy positions in soundbites, and the leaders spend hours being coached by their media minders on how to answer questions.

If this was all about enabling a substantive policy debate, or holding their opponents to account, fair enough.

But that’s not it, of course. It’s mostly about framing the narrative, and staying on message. It’s about winning the game in other words.

But does it win the game? I think that many people are unimpressed by PR framing and words that don’t match action s and behaviour, some to the extent of being turned off the politician, party or politics in general.

The stakes are high so it’s not surprising they play the game this way.

It surprises me. I think that substance and delivering is far more important than PR claptrap that may be perceived by analysts to win small battles of words, but loses the war of credibility and leadership.

Winning power means getting to bend an economy and a people to suit their vision.

But that’s also why we deserve much better.

So once Ardern names the date, let’s all pledge to strip this election back to its essentials, and focus on he story behind the personalities and the soundbites.

We do deserve better, from politicians and from media. Tracy Watkins has at least started the year recognising they need to do better, but once the playground begins will anything change? It’s very easy to get dragged into the PR game playing.

Different poll reactions

It has been interesting to see different reactions to political polls from different political blogs. The Standard especially – in the past polls unfavourable to Labour or Labour+Greens were sometimes ignored by post authors and rubbished in comments , while favourable polls were trumpeted. Being a pollster himself David Farrar had to be more professional in his posting and analysis, but commenters are as selective (bad) with their bias as at The Standard.

Yesterday’s new Stuff/YouGov poll was good for Labour, Greens and NZ First (and ok for ACT), and not so good for National.

Kiwibloggers piled in with disbelief and conspiracies – from here in General Debate.

Captain Mainwaring:

That poll was utter crap, and since it was sponsored by Stuff, even more so.

RW Capitalist:

Yet EVERY other poll has National ahead of Labour and Arderns numbers going south

Zapper:

So Stuff has a poll out that is catastrophic for the future of New Zealand, if accurate. I may have missed previous polls, but how long has Stuff had polling and do they have a consistent record of accuracy?

I guess there’s no reason to assume it’s wildly inaccurate which means those polled have no level of incompetence and corruption they won’t put up with.

G152:

Stuff are the epitome of fake news.

KevO’Brien:

A Stuffed-up poll.

Tricati:

Labour must be getting desperate and getting Stuff to run an alternative political poll that shows some dubious results – Given the performance of the government over the last months the poll outcomes are laughable. Looks a bit like a ‘push poll’ to manipulate public thinking, but as the outcomes of this governments shambles starts to affect joe- public tax payer; no amount of BS is going to change the thinking publics view.

Even National stalwart Tony Stuart joined the affray:

Quite so Tricati. Instead of the traditional methodology of polls, this one operates from a web panel. Quite how they put together said web panel would be interesting to know, as it is likely to represent established political leanings rather than being a random selection of potential voters. It reminds me of the former Horizon poll, which was hopelessly out of step with other polls.

From the other side of the political divide, Blazer here at Your NZ:

This looks like it will become the most reliable poll.


Te Reo Putake was quick off the mark at The Standard: November Stuff Poll; Nats Knackered

Stuff have released their latest YouGov political poll. It’s grim reading for the Tories and current leader Simon Bridges.

It isn’t their latest poll, it is the first Stuff/YouGov poll, so they have no track record to compare with other polls or to give any idea of trends.

I think ‘Tories’ is supposed to be derogatory (a bit like calling Labour ‘Socilaists’), but it’s a lame dig. Most New Zealand voters will have no idea who it refers to.

Comments began from ‘mango’:

I Have to say that I am skeptical of all opinion polls. But at least this one counters the false narrative that the msm drew from the last couple of polls.

cleangreen:

Mango How cqn any poll be free of bias when every poll is either run by corporates or finance industry pundits?

At least Yougov was begun by a UK conservative politician and then listed on the public stock exchange for offer to the public so I am o/k with this pollster.

Anker:

terrific.  As it should be.  Aren’t YouGov known to be very accurate.?  Seem to remember exit polling on a British election

Sanctuary:

If this poll is accurate then it represent a huge defeat for the relentlessly negative culture war tactics of the Topham-Guerin social media strategy adopted by Bridges since the unexpected Liberal victory in the Australian federal election.

You would think alarm bells are ringing in National about strategy, and given how heavily Bridges is identified with the all-out online culture war approach the implications for him personally are dire.

I expect that National won’t be bothered much by this poll (apart from the bad publicity) unless it is in line with their own internal poll. I’m sure they are keeping a close watch on trends to monitor how their negative divisive advertising and leader’s dog whistling and barking at cars is going.

Anne:

A general observation:

Stuff have been doing some good stuff in recent times. Their extended Erebus podcasts (together with RNZ) has been riveting stuff.

Which is irrelevant to the poll but seems to be trying to give it some gravitas.

There were some more circumspect and intelligent comments. Observer made some interesting points:

Ardern’s 62% approval rating is entirely in line with the most recent TV3 and TV1 polls (Reid Research, Colmar Brunton).

Polls on party vote can jump around, and especially with minor parties, get over-analysed for statistically insignificant changes. But the approval rating is a very consistent pattern that can’t be dismissed as “rogue” or “margin of error” or “name recognition” like preferred PM.

And:

A couple more points on the details:

1) See the NZ First voters’ responses on Ardern and Bridges. Completely squashes the myth that they might favour National over Labour.

2) The combined vote for ALL “other parties” is 1%. So that’s Sustainable NZ (who?), the New Conservatives (who?), the Tamakis (who?), and any other fantasy partner for National.

And this is after Tava got his headlines from the launch.

There really is nothing there, and it’s high time lazy commentators stopped pretending there is.

But:

No need to “believe”. Simply read.

As I’ve pointed out, there is a trend, and it is across all polls.

While this poll can be compared to other polls it doesn’t say anything about trends because we don’t have any history for YouGov so there is no trend.


When they launched The BFD tried to distance themselves from Cameron Slater, which looked obviously because of legal and financial issues. But recently they have been naming Slater.

It now looks confirmed that Whale Oil morphed into The BFD, and the author ‘Cameron Slater’ (which looked like a cover for various authors) has morphed into ‘SB’, which while used by Slateers wife Juana Atkins looks increasingly a semi anonymous cover for Slater and possibly for paid for promotions. Same old.

Like the fading Whale Oil, The BFD is usually quite slow to react to topical stories but ‘SB’ was quick off the mark yesterday with National Slips Under 40 & No One Likes Simon Bridges – LATEST Poll

This continues the tone of the ‘Slater’  campaign against National and Simon Bridges.

National’s caucus and indeed media should ask Bridges to prove his claims that National’s internal polling is different from this poll. An unwillingness to share would be reveal the lie. Bridges knows that his own internal polling shows he is deeply unpopular, even amongst National supporters.

This looks like familiar Slater/Lusk (who is apparently now promoting NZ First, as Whale Oil did and The BFD tries to do) – innuendo and veiled claims to have inside information, but with no evidence.

“An unwillingness to share would be reveal the lie” is utter nonsense. I don’t think National ever reveal their own polling, and they are not going to do so in response to pathetic threats like that.

There was not many comments (The BFD looks to be struggling for attention) – but despite the post trying to make a political play on the poll there were a few disbelievers.

Huia:

This poll is almost certainly reflecting sample bias.

Bartman:

Let’s see – Stuff are involved, their track record of biased reporting is universally accepted, and we trust these results why?

rockape:

I am surprised someone experience in politics believes this poll for one second.

SB political posts have been getting some very negative reactions from the remaining participants.

(Some interesting comments at Kiwiblog on The BFD from here)


Later in the day Farrar posted on the poll at Kiwiblog: A new poll

Stuff has got back into the polling business, having published a poll done by YouGov.

It’s great to see another public pollster. Before this we only had One New Colmar Brunton and Newshub Reid Research. If Newshub dies, then we may have been left with just one public pollster.

A good point.

But fair to say the results of this poll are quite different to the two recent TV polls.

  • National – 38% (SYG), 47% (ONCB), 43.9% (NRR)
  • Labour – 41% (SYG), 40% (ONCB), 41.6% (NRR)
  • NZ First – 8% (SYG), 4% (ONCB), 4.0% (NRR)
  • Greens – 8% (SYG), 7% (ONCB), 6.3% (NRR)

So the three polls broadly agree with Labour and Greens but disagree on National and NZ First.

The differences for National and NZ First are well beyond the margin of error.

So what this means is that either there has been a massive change since the TV polls (mid Oct to early November) or one or more of the polls are wrong.

I think he’s overstating some of the differences. National on 43.9% (NRR) compared to 38% (SYG) with margins of error at about 3% are not really that far apart.

YouGov polls are done entirely through online panels. YouGov is a very good company globally and has a good track record in the UK of accuracy. In the US their record is more mixed. Five Thirty Eight gives them a B- rating.

As I said it is a good thing YouGov are now polling in New Zealand, but I’d caution against reading too much into their initial poll. As always, it is the trend that matters.

Yes, good to have another poll but interpreting their first result needs to be done with caution.

You have to give Farrar credit for another thing – he is very good at not revealing the polling he does for National. What this indicated at the same time that the YouGov poll was conducted would be very interesting, but he keeps that a secret.

Comments on the post at Kiwiblog are the same old dissing of unfavourable results. ‘chaos’:

When you are paying people to do the survey you get the answers people work out you want to hear so they get paid.

As I said elsewhere I had this survey and lied my ass off in it.

If true (I think that’s doubtful) it would have made very little difference to the overall results.

The vast majority of voters don’t read blogs so I don’t think stuff or YouGov will be worried about the negative reactions.

Stuff/YouGov poll: Labour 41%, National 38%

Stuff have started political polling again, this time with YouGov, who are new to New Zealand polling. With no record to give any idea how they compare to other polls analysis of this poll should be even more cautious than normal (not that media or parties treat polls as they should).

  • Labour 41%
  • National 38%
  • Greens 8%
  • NZ First 8%
  • ACT 2%
  • Maori Party 1%
  • TOP 1%
  • Other 1%

The poll was conducted between 7 and 11 November by YouGov so events over the past two weeks are not reflected in these results, of particular note the revelations last week about a secretive foundation that handles party donations.

Labour and National shouldn’t be too worried bout this result. Greens will be happy. Winston Peters usually slams polls and had a major hissy fit against media last week, but should be relieved with the timing of this poll.

There’s a glimmer of hope there for ACT, who may benefit from David Seymour’s hard work and success over the End of Life Choice bill.

Stuff: Labour ahead while National dips below 40 in new Stuff poll

Labour and its coalition partners are riding high while National have dropped below 40 per cent support in a recent Stuff/YouGov poll.

That is a mediocre summary. National are down on other polls but have not dropped under YouGov polling, which is untested in New Zealand. Labour, Greens and NZ First together look strong, but that could have changed last week.

It is the first poll published by Stuff from YouGov, a global polling firm who run regular polls for The Australian, The Times, The Economist, and CBS News.

A spokesperson for National leader Simon Bridges said the poll did not match their own figures and was incorrect.

The poll isn’t incorrect, it is the results YouGov got. There could be a variety of reasons it differs from National’s own polling – and without publishing National’s polling it’s impossible to compare anyway, politicians are notorious for promoting their own polling (when it suits them) without showing any evidence or details.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was “encouraging”, as it showed Labour building on its election result.

“It’s really encouraging to see all of the coalition parties up when we compare the numbers against the last election. We’ve taken on some big challenges but we’re making good progress — I’d like to think this poll reflects that,” Ardern said.

Ardern may like to think that but it’s also nonsense. It shows only what those who were polled thought 2-3 weeks ago.

Labour is widely seen to be making mediocre and disappointing progress. The poll is more likely to reflect the lack of progress Bridges is making with his negative, whiny dog whistle strategy.

Leaders’ favourable/unfavourable rating:

  • Jacinda Ardern +35%
  • Simon Bridges -37%

Winston Peters was about -23% (30% favourable, 53% unfavourable, but that was before last week’s Foundation/donation revelations.

That’s good for Ardern and bad for Bridges, but unsurprising.

The methodology for the YouGov poll is different to other political polls in New Zealand, which rely on phone-calling or a mix of phone calling and online responses. It is conducted entirely online by a panel of respondents, as other YouGov polls around the world are.

Certainly YouGov is untested in New Zealand, but Reid Research (for Newshub) have already been using part “online methods” (along with “Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing”)

We need to see several YouGov poll results alongside the other public polls from Reid Research and Colmar Brunton, and at least one general election, before we can see how close to or distant from reality they are.

Campbell White, YouGov’s head of polling and public affairs for Asia Pacific, said online sampling was the best way to make sure a wide variety of people were polled.

“The reason is over time we are better able to represent the population online. Rather than just the people who answer their phone and don’t use call screening,” White said.

The sample has quotas, so various demographics are represented, and the figures are scientifically weighted to match the voting population.

Phone surveys also screen respondents to try to ensure they poll a representative sample of demographics are obtained.

I don’t know there is any research or evidence to show whether online only polling is any more accurate than other polling or not.

Mrgin of Error stated as +/-3.1% which is standard for 1005 respondents.

It’s good to see another public political poll, there has been a lack of polling over the last few years. YouGov results will add to the mix, but need to be viewed cautiously until they build a track record.

New Zealand’s legacy in Afghanistan

A documentary from Stuff on what New Zealand’s has left in Afghanistan.

Stuff: Explosive kills children

Seven children were killed in an explosion caused by a device left behind on a NZ firing range in Afghanistan.

Media agreement on coverage of Tarrant trial

David posted this comment:

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/05/01/self-censorship-media-new-zealand-white-supremacist-2019-226766

Kiwiblog also covers this. Its an outrage that the press has self censored itself as a collective with the government complicit.

“The Kiwi editors don’t appear to trust their readers and viewers to handle the difficult and disturbing material that’s sure to billow out of the Tarrant trial. They regard New Zealanders as children who must be sheltered from the heinous and despicable lest they become tainted with its influence.”

Its worth reading the story from an outsiders point and shines a light on the paternalistic overview that our “betters” in the media exhibit. I would like to see full coverage without sensationalizing the bits that irresponsible media usually do, I want the different perspectives of a varied and uncensored free press usually give. And its appalling that the government and the press think that if we hear what this loon says we will see it as a call to arms. Bloody ridiculous.


Here are the “agreed editorial guidelines” – Reporting the Trial of Brenton Tarrant

MEDIA STATEMENT – NZ MEDIA FREEDOM COMMITTEE
REPORTING THE TRIAL OF BRENTON TARRANT
[1 May 2019]

Senior editors of the major accredited news media companies in New Zealand (TVNZ, Stuff, Mediaworks, NZME and RNZ) have committed to a united approach in reporting the trial of Brenton Tarrant following the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March, 2019. The group of editors, representing the New Zealand Media Freedom Committee, has agreed a set of protocols to ensure that the outlets they represent cover the upcoming trial comprehensively and responsibly.

A group statement and a copy of the agreed editorial guidelines is attached for your information.

Requests for further information or comment should be directed to the respective media organisations.

MEDIA STATEMENT – NZ MEDIA FREEDOM COMMITTEE

REPORTING THE TRIAL OF BRENTON TARRANT 

We are the senior editors representing the major accredited news media companies in New Zealand (TVNZ, Stuff, Mediaworks, NZME and RNZ).

As a group and as individual editors we are committed to ensuring the outlets we represent cover the upcoming trial of Brenton Tarrant comprehensively and responsibly.

We have agreed to abide by these guidelines throughout the trial.

BACKGROUND 
Brenton Harrison Tarrant is charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 charges of attempted murder relating to shootings carried out at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March, 2019.

Victims of the terror attack include citizens of twelve different countries.

We represent accredited New Zealand media organisations that plan to attend the trial and associated proceedings for the purposes of reportage.

As editors we are mindful of the public interest in the trial, in New Zealand and internationally.

We are also mindful of our role as the “eyes and ears of the public” in the context of court reporting. In this instance, we acknowledge the particular importance of this function, given the many victims’ friends and families outside New Zealand who may otherwise be unable to engage in the trial process.

We are aware that the accused may attempt to use the trial as a platform to amplify white supremacist and/or terrorist views or ideology.

GUIDELINES
We agree that the following Protocol will apply to our outlets’ coverage and reportage of the trial:

(a) We shall, to the extent that is compatible with the principles of open justice, limit any coverage of statements, that actively champion white supremacist or terrorist ideology.
(b) For the avoidance of doubt the commitment set out at (a) shall include the accused’s manifesto document “The Great Replacement”.
(c) We will not broadcast or report on any message, imagery, symbols or signals (including hand signals) made by the accused or his associates promoting or supporting white supremacist ideology.
(d) Where the inclusion of such signals in any images is unavoidable, the relevant parts of the image shall be pixellated.
(e) To the greatest extent possible, the journalists that are selected by each of the outlets to cover the trial will be experienced personnel.
(f) These guidelines may be varied at any time, subject to a variation signed by all parties.
(g) This Protocol shall continue in force indefinitely.

SIGNED:
Miriyana Alexander (NZME and chair of the Media Freedom Committee)
John Gillespie (TVNZ)
Shayne Currie (NZME)
Mark Stevens (Stuff)
Paul Thompson (RNZ)
Hal Crawford (Mediaworks)


This is an unusual approach for what is an extraordinary situation.

Media always make judgements about what court cases they will report on and what they will report. What is different here is agreement between all the major media organisations.

Thins could change if circumstances change – “These guidelines may be varied at any time, subject to a variation signed by all parties.”

Changes to moderation of website comments

Moderation of comments is an ongoing challenge on any online forum.

Facebook have just announced they are clamping down on ‘hate speech’ and the promotion of racism and white supremacy.

I posted recently about Stuff imposes extensive commenting restrictions.

Yesterday Whale Oil posted about this – Stuff follows Whaleoil’s lead but then takes it one step too far – claimed credit for being a leader in moderation.

Whaleoil five years or so ago broke new ground when we committed to a comprehensive moderation system to make our commenting section a respectful and pleasant place in which to debate ideas.

Pleasant for those left allowed to comment, although posts and comments still attacked people through derogatory and insulting images and name calling.

And that post is heavy on hypocrisy and light on admitting their own heavy handed censorship on some topics, but I don’;t want to get into that here.

Kiwiblog has long been labelled a cesspit due to fairly unfettered commenting policies. David Farrar initiated changes after the Christchurch attacks, has just announced more detail on major changes.

New proposed moderation policy

Commenting on Kiwiblog is a privilege not a right. The privilege will be removed for repeated unacceptable comments.

Unacceptable comments include but are not limited to:

Defamation

Do not make comments that could expose Kiwiblog or yourself to defamation.

Trolling

Trolling is an attempt to deliberately disrupt a conversation by being grossly offensive or massively off topic.

Comments on a post should be a response to the topic of the post. While some thread drift is inevitable, do not try to divert the thread into another topic. Use the daily General Debate for other topics.

There are several equivalents herfe for general topics:

  • World view – for international news and topics of interest
  • Open Forum – to discuss anything of interest
  • Social chat – for general social chat, not for debate
  • Media watch – links to things of interest on media issues or mostly New Zealand news

I allow a lot of flexibility on what is talked about where, except for Social Chat.

Personal Abuse

Attack arguments, not people. It will generally be unacceptable to call someone a moron, but it will be acceptable to say their argument is moronic. That may seem a fine distinction, but an important one. However don’t try and push the distinction to breaking point. If you say that someone’s argument has the integrity of a syphilitic pygmy (for example), then that would find you with a warning or strike.

Abusive nicknames for MPs such as “Ardern the liar”, “Golly G”, “Simple Simon” will be unacceptable. You can critique something they have said or done, but not just repeat an abusive nickname.

That sort of name calling is still prevalent at Whale Oil. It has long been unacceptable here.

Gratitious references to attributes people have no control over

People can’t choose their gender, race, skin colour or sexual orientation. There will be times when those attributes about a public figure can be a legitimate discuss in in relation to an political event.

But slagging off someone on the basis of something they can’t control is unacceptable.

Generalisations

Grossly offensive generalisations are not acceptable either. Treat people as individuals. This is not to say one can’t discuss group characteristics (such as why certain races are over-represented in crime statistics), but it should be done in a way which is not derogatory of the entire group.

Lumping 1.5 billion Muslims all in together is almost certainly going to be unacceptable. One can criticize a religion and/or specific acts or teachings. But don’t attribute things to every follower of a religion. Be as specific as you can. If there was an attack by Islamic extremists, say “Islamic extremists” instead of “Muslims”.

The same applies here to political lumping such as ‘the left’ or ‘the right’.

Language

There is some tolerance for swearing so long as it is not directed at someone. Calling someone a c**t is almost never acceptable, but the use of the word in other contexts may be. Telling someone to f**k off is not acceptable.

Personal Details

Give other commenters the courtesy of referring to them by the name or alias they use on this blog. Do not reveal personal details about them such as their name, address, phone number etc. unless it is somehow connected to a public issue. If in doubt, check.

It’s good to see DPF finally taking control of comments at Kiwiblog.

I agree with all of these policies, they are similar to what I have used here – I see them more as guidelines than rules , but I put a big emphasis on decent comment and respect of others while allowing for robust debate and some jocularity.

You get better debate without abuse and without general or targeted attacks – especially when arguments are backed with facts and sound reasoning.

There’s been a lot of moaning at Kiwiblog about the change. Like:

Shut the hell up you Fascist!

Bye bye

But this is what fernglaas said:

You’ll get less commenters, but the quality of them will be vastly improved. The anonymity of the internet gives freedom of expression to many but also provides a platform for cowards, bullies and those who prefer prejudice to facts. I wish you the best in trying to balance the objectives you have set out. I don’t envy you.

Moderation is difficult, but I wish DPF the best with his latest changes.

Stuff imposes extensive commenting restrictions

Yesterday Stuff announced new terms and conditions for commenting on their website, which puts a lot of restrictions on types of comments and topics that be commented on. This is a flow on effect of  Christchurch Mosque attacks.

Immediately after the attacks David Farrar caused a lot of angst at Kiwiblog by imposing significant commenting restrictions, with anyone not identifying by their real name being put on auto-moderation (each of their comments needs to be approved by a moderator). There is still a lot of grizzling about it. From the last General Debate: (Monday, for some reason there wasn’t one yesterday):

DigNap15:

DF needs to change the name of this blog to
The sickly white liberal apologists blog.

Classical Liberal:

The moderation system is completely unfair to long term, reasonable KB supporters. I have always defended equal rights before the law for men, women, homosexuals, all ethnic groups.

But several of my perfectly reasonable comments are sitting here for hours.

I hope it’s just because it’s a slow Monday, not because the moderators have become immoderate!

Stuff updated yesterday – Terms and Conditions: User submitted content and comments

We (Stuff Limited) invite our readers (you) to post comments and profile information in a number of areas of the website.

The views expressed in the comments areas are not our views or opinions, nor the views or opinions of any of our staff or our related entities. We accept no liability in respect of any material posted in the comments areas, nor are we responsible for the content and accuracy of that material.

If you place reliance on material posted on this website you do so at your own risk, and you indemnify us (and our related entities) from any liabilities, claims, costs, loss (including consequential loss) or damage suffered or caused by reason of your reliance on any material posted in the comments areas.

Comment policy

Stuff welcomes comments from readers on our website.

We invite you to discuss issues and share your views. We encourage robust debate and criticism provided it is civil. But our comment section is a moderated online discussion, not a public forum.

We reserve the right to reject comments, images or links that:

  • are offensive or obscene;
  • contain objectionable or profane language – including use of symbols (we maintain a list of banned obscenities and comments featuring those words will be automatically rejected);
  • include personal attacks of any kind (including name-calling; insults; mocking the subjects of stories or other readers; or abusing Stuff journalists or contributors);
  • are discriminatory or express prejudice on the basis of race, ethnicity, country of origin, gender, sexuality, religion, or disability;
  • contain spam or include links to other sites;
  • are clearly off topic;
  • are deliberate lies or attempts to mislead. While we cannot review all comments for accuracy, we reserve the right to reject comments we consider, on the balance of probabilities, to be deliberate falsehoods;
  • impersonate an individual or organisation, are fraudulent, defamatory of any person, threatening or invasive of another’s privacy or otherwise illegal;
  • are trolling or threatening;
  • advocate or endorse violence, vigilantism or law breaking;
  • infringe on copyrights or trademarks;
  • are self-promoting;
  • violate the law or breach court-ordered suppressions or have the potential to breach future suppressions; or
  • constitute a contempt of court or that contain details of cases and individuals before the courts;
  • violate our terms and conditions for user generated content;
  • promote, advertise or solicit the sale of any goods or services;
  • nitpick other commenters’ spelling or grammar;
  • deny anthropogenic climate change;
  • deny the Holocaust;
  • add nothing to the debate;
  • just generally aren’t very nice.

That covers just about anything stuff decide they don’t want to publish – which is their their right on their website.

Those conditions are quite similar to what Whale Oil has operated under for several years.

Usernames are also bound by these Terms and Conditions and offensive usernames will be blocked. Using your real name is preferred best practice.

We reserve the right to cut, crop, edit or refuse to publish your content. We may remove your content from use at any time.

With rare exceptions, we will not usually enable comments on stories concerning:

  • 1080
  • allegations of criminality or misconduct
  • animal cruelty
  • beneficiaries
  • Christchurch mosque shootings of March 2019
  • court cases
  • domestic violence
  • fluoride
  • funerals
  • immigrants or refugees
  • Israel and Palestine
  • Kashmir
  • missing people
  • race
  • sexual orientation
  • suicide
  • Treaty of Waitangi
  • transgender issues
  • vaccination
  • vulnerable children

That’s a lot of topics deemed out of bounds for commenters.

They say they typically have several thousand comments a day submitted, so it’s a big workload monitoring them all.

Restricted or selective commenting is becoming more common.

Perhaps a reality is that media sites are not suited to open slather comments. Not only are they difficult to manage, they distract from their core purpose, to report news and to provide commentary.

Any site has the right to allow or not allow public comments.

Stuff: Our rights

We retain the right and discretion (but not the obligation) to edit, delete, reject or remove any comment which you post or seek to post in the comments or Stuff Nation areas.

As does any website owner or manager.

Kiwiblog Comments Policy:

Who has the right to post comments on this blog?

Apart from me, no-one at all has the right to post comments. Posting is a privilege, not a right.

Okay, so who is allowed to post comments here?

Anyone at all, up until the stage I ask them to stop or suspend them

There are plenty of other places that people can comment online, so it’s not really a restriction on free speech – before the Internet there was far less freedom to speak via newspapers, radio  and television.

Online discussion and debate will no doubt continue to evolve.

Stuff sale and NZME paywall

Stuff has an article on it’s own pending sale, and also has a look at NZME’s proposed NZ Herald paywall in Stuff faces possible break-up as NZME readies its wall

Australian media company Nine hopes to have the sale of Stuff Ltd pretty much wrapped up by the end of June.

Nine is expected to put out an “information memorandum” on the business in a few weeks that should give potential buyers and tyre-kickers a clear picture of the business.

Nine’s clear preference is for a clean sale and a quick exit from the New Zealand market.

But a key question is whether Stuff might be worth less as an integrated business than the sum of its parts.

If it is, then Nine could be forced get its hands dirty to extract full value from the divestment, or alternatively it could sell Stuff to a private equity buyer that would then break it up.

Stuff has already sold or closed quite a bit of regional media.

On the NZME paywall:

NZME has reportedly been researching a $3 to $7 weekly fee for access to some “premium” content on its NZ Herald website.

That would be $156 to $364 per year! How many people would be prepared to pay that?

In August, chief executive Michael Boggs forecast NZME might convert 4 to 6 per cent of its online audience – which is shy of 2 million – into paying customers.

He based that on what he said was the benchmark in Australia, where paywalls have been around longer and encompass a wider range of content.

However, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism in the United States estimates the top 10 per cent of paywalled publications only succeed in persuading 1.3 per cent of readers who hit the stop sign on a paywall to then pay up.

Companies may be prepared to pay several hundred dollar subscriptions, but I doubt there would be many individuals who would.

Whoever takes over Stuff will have an obvious interest in the NZME paywall plans. If it flops Stuff will be even more wary of trying similar – in fact if NZME loses readers by paywalling ‘premium’ content then Stuff would have an opportunity to pick them up. But that will depend on what happens in the attempt to sell off Stuff.

 

Stuff 2019 political predictions

Stuff has made their 2019 Political predictions: Big calls for the year ahead – some are on things that they can’t be predicting based on knowledge so are little more than lame guesses – like whether someone will have a baby or not. But some are presumably based on political intuition.

2. National MPs will lose their nerve partway through the year after the party’s poll ratings start to slide. And they will install Judith Collins as leader on a promise to destabilise Jacinda Ardern’s leadership.

National’s polls slid last year (thanks to Jami-lee Ross) but recovered quickly. What could cause them to dive and stay down? Labour doing much better perhaps, and actually making some bold changes that will benefit middle New Zealand other than parents with dependent kids.

This prediction looks to be a stab.

Would Judith Collins make any difference? She would be a bigger risk – she has some appeal and also a lack of wide support. Whether she would appeal broadly enough is hard to tell – actually, i think impossible to tell in advance. Any leadership change is a major punt.

3. The Euthanasia Bill will pass with NZ First’s support but its implementation will be subject to the country supporting it in a referendum.

As it should be. If NZ First don’t support it going to a referendum it would be a major betrayal of one of their core policies – to let people decide on social issues via referendum.

4. Ardern will have a cabinet reshuffle and promotions will include emerging star Kris Faafoi, plus the surprise return of veteran MP Ruth Dyson to address the lack of senior women cabinet ministers. Rookie MP Deborah Russell will make the biggest jump from the back bench.

I don’t know about Dyson, but Faafoi deserves a promotion, and Russell is a good prospect, but it may be a bit soon for her.

I think that Clare Curran returning to Cabinet is too big a risk, she looked out of her depth. Meka Whatiri is female and Maori so could be given another chance.

5. NZ First’s Shane Jones will spend increasing amounts of time (and money) in Northland, in preparation to be lined up to contest the Northland seat with the understanding that if he wins he will be the successor to Winston Peters.

That looks to be how things are intended to happen.

Would Jones retain support for NZ First if Peters retires? Provincial voters will like all the hand outs, but they may not be so keen on am over-eloquent self promoter.  But we won’t find this out until 2020.

6. The bullying inquiry led by Debbie Francis will find a widespread culture of bullying in Parliament and the Beehive, heralding a long overdue beef up of protections for ministerial and parliamentary staff.

There does seem to be resolve in Parliament to address bullying behaviour.

9. The fallout from the Karel Sroubek deportation scandal will continue into the new year.

Does the media know more than  has been made public so far?

11. National will trigger the waka jumping bill to remove Jami-Lee Ross from Parliament after he becomes a thorn in their side following his return to Parliament.

I think it’s hard to know how Jami-lee Ross will conduct himself if he returns to Parliament. His support looks certain to remain negligible.

12. The Government is going to park their promise of abortion reform for fear of alienating its conservative South Auckland Pasifika vote.

That would be a real shame. Gutlessness or political self-preservation? Maybe both, if that’s what happens.

13. A majority of the tax working group will recommend some kind of extension of a capital gains tax, with a series of exemptions and carve outs. But the campaign against the tax will grow until Labour abandons meaningful tax reform.

It could be argued that Labour’s limits on CGT and other tax changes has already ensured that meaningful tax reform is unlikely.

15. Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson will adopt a soapbox cause that will have co-leader James Shaw scrambling to carry out damage control.

That’s what she has done in 2018, and seems unrepentant, so it’s aa good bet she will repeat – and this is likely to further damage Green Party support.

16. Despite success in their flagship Zero Carbon Bill, the Greens will round out the year in the exact same position at around six per cent popularity.

That may depend on 15. And predicting an exact poll percent seems to be a silly prediction.

17. Attempts to find friends for National will see two new parties emerge as contenders – a Vernon Tava-led environment party and a party targeting the Christian and Pasifika vote to leverage off the Christian vote mobilised by the euthanasia, cannabis and abortion reform debates.

If either or both get off the ground they are unlikely to come close to the threshold in the 2020 election – but that may not be the aim. Instead, they goal may be to split the Green vote, threatening them missing the cut, and also to take a bit of support of Labour.

If so the end goal would be a virtual single party National government. I wouldn’t be keen on that.

19. Peters will lose the legal battle over the leak of his superannuation details, claim victory, and the Government will have to pick up the tab for National MPs’ expenses.

Which way the legal battle may go is difficult to predict. Peters claiming victory is an easy pick, as is MPs expenses being paid for.

20. Teachers will call off their strikes in February but the Government will continue to be plagued by industrial action.

How that pans out will be interesting.

 

Political predictions for 2019

I don’t try to predict what will happen in politics. But Stuff and David Farrar publish their guesses for each year.

Stuff: 2019 predictions start with some sort of show, so it seems a bit flippant. Some of their other predictions:

  • Healthy food is here to stay
    (so is unhealthy food)
  • Backing the beard
    (is most notable for it’s html mistake).
  • Watching TV – real TV – will become cool again
  • #Metoo hits the hospitality industry
  • Expensive coffee will get more expensive
  • Stuff political reporter Henry Cooke predicts National leader Simon Bridges may not be in as much of a happy place by the time 2020 rolls around, but the National Party will not dip very far below 40 per cent in the polls.
  • Northland’s Whangarei will be the next underrated, affordable destination (“We all know someone who moved to Dunedin this year” – no we all don’t know).
  • Stuff predicts Jones’ eternal war with Air New Zealand will continue apace …but “he will continue to fly with them, constantly”.
    (I predict more than one Minister will be an attention seeking hypocrite)
  •  The future of our consumerism will change with the advent of getting pretty much anything you want delivered to your door.
    (except for better journalism)
  • This will be the year Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford tie the knot
    (good for them if they do but something i will avoid as much as possible)

That’s the less trite ones.

David Farrar’s Predictions for 2019 include some standard point scoring guesses, but these are more interesting:

2. ACT will change its name to the “Freedom” party.

5. The End of Life Choice Bill will pass its third reading, but be subject to a referendum

10. The Government’s projected surplus in the 2019 Budget will be less than the surplus for 2017/18

11. The Government will fail to get the numbers in the House for a comprehensive Capital Gains Tax
(Labour have already virtually ruled out a comprehensive CGT)

13. Brexit will not occur on 29 March 2019

15. Kelvin Davis will be replaced as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

16. Donald Trump will not get $5 billion for his wall so will back down on the Government shut down

19. Kris Faafoi will be promoted to Cabinet
(he should be, he is one of the Government’s most competent/promising performers).