The Spinoff and RNZ “sharing our journalism” – and also sponsors?

There were some heated exchanges on Twitter last night over a just announced arrangement between RNZ and The Spinoff to share news – “we’ll be sharing our journalism”, but there are issues over whether RNZ are also sharing The Spinoff’s sponsorship and advertising.

RNZ is a long serving non-commercial Government funded media organisation based on radio, but with a growing online presence.

The Spinoff is a a relatively new online media enterprise which relies on sponsorship for funding. They have just launched a premium prescription service – “the best stories from around the NZ media hitting your inbox at 7 am weekdays”. That sounds similar to a service Bryce Edwards has provided free for several years.

Yesterday (12 March) RNZ announced RNZ and The Spinoff announce content partnership:

RNZ and The Spinoff are delighted to announce we’ll be sharing our journalism.

Under the arrangement material from rnz.co.nz will appear on thespinoff.co.nz and vice versa.

The new arrangement maintains RNZ’s policy of sharing content with media partners and extends to 16 the number of agreements in place with a range of media organisations.

Glen Scanlon, RNZ’s head of digital, said The Spinoff team had blazed a path for independent websites and the partnership extended RNZ’s proactive approach to make news and information available to more New Zealanders.

“The Spinoff is the source of some of New Zealand’s wittiest, and well-thought, journalism and we’re very much looking forward to being able to feature it.

“Duncan Greive and his team are a creative force, and they have helped bring issues to the forefront of people’s minds in many new ways.”

Greive, The Spinoff’s managing editor, said he was “extremely stoked to be entering a partnership with RNZ”.

“It’s an organisation we admire immensely. The work it does feels thoughtful, urgent and agenda-setting, and we’re privileged to be able to share it with our audience.

“We’re particularly happy that we were able to design a pioneering relationship for RNZ – one which sees our work available for syndication on their sites, as well as theirs on ours. It’s our way of supporting a cultural and journalistic giant which does so much to sustain the rest of our media.”

The Spinoff made their own announcement, quoting from the media release and trying to add some humour: Spinoff and RNZ announce conscious coupling

The juggernaut of quality New Zealand journalism is teaming up with friendly local website The Spinoff, it was announced today to nil fanfare.

According to a media release from RNZ, both parties are delighted about the arrangement, which provides that “material from rnz.co.nz will appear on thespinoff.co.nz and vice versa” and “maintains RNZ’s policy of sharing content with media partners and extends to 16 the number of agreements in place with a range of media organisations”.

“Sixteen seems a lot,” said one unnamed source at The Spinoff. “Are there even 16 media organisations in New Zealand?”

According to Spinoff sources, staff were excited about adding more top RNZ content to their website, but more importantly they were motivated by the opportunity to get a mention from New Zealand’s most consistently funny parody Twitter account.

A story shared yesterday led to a heated exchange on Twitter last night.

The original article was posted on The Spinoff on 7 March: 30% cheaper to build and pre-consented: is this a solution to the housing crisis?

An old cigarette factory in Masterton, a remnant from the Think Big era, has been re-purposed to tackle our affordable housing crisis. Rebecca Stevenson caught up with builder Mike Fox to find out how a plant in the Wairarapa is producing modular, kitset homes on the cheap.

That is from Rebecca Stevenson, and looks almost like an advertorial for a house building company, but there is no suggestion it was paid for publicity. However like other Spinoff stories, it has a sponsorship message:

The Spinoff’s business content is brought to you by our friends at Kiwibank. Kiwibank backs small to medium businesses, social enterprises and Kiwis who innovate to make good things happen.

Check out how Kiwibank can help your business take the next step.

That’s how The Spinoff pay their wages and bills, and it is open disclosure – similar to commercial TV stations have sponsors associated with programmes or news segments like business news and the weather.

On 9 March RNZ republished this article – note that this is prior to them announcing their sharing arrangement with The Spinoff. They acknowledged at the end of the article:

This article was first published on The Spinoff

Bryce Edwards got suggested potential problems with this approach for RNZ, and was confronted by Duncan Grieve from The Spinoff:

Touchy from Grieve. I thought the Spinoff article read like an advetorial too, and that was before reading Edwards’ tweets.

Toby Manhire (from The Spinoff) also seemed aggrieved:

It may have not been paid content on The Spinoff (just openly sponsored), but it is odd content for RNZ to choose to share.

Remember that The Spinoff has just launched a subscription service that sounds similar to Edwards’ free daily round up.

Another Twitter exchange on the topic:

@GeoffMillerNZ – and have announced content-sharing deal. Seems fairly dodgy from RNZ’s perspective, given much of Spinoff’s content sponsored by corporates/PR. You can’t spell “Spinoff” without “spin”

@DCohenNZ – I support what RNZ is doing with content sharing. It’s one of a number of impressive decisions that have been taken on the watch of . Whether other participating media have a “spin” (or political tilt) isn’t important as long as the RNZ content is used extant.

@fundypost (Paul Litterick) – My concern is the problems arising from RNZ taking The Spinoff’s content. The Spinoff runs on sponsorship. It also has an ideological slant.

@GeoffMillerNZ – What’s different about this deal is that RNZ for the first time is reproducing another outlet’s content. Other content-sharing deals were one-way, i.e. other outlets paid a nominal fee to use RNZ content, but the arrangement was not reciprocal.

@DCohenNZ – So the question will be what content is used. Presumably, there will be vetting. The concern you raise is reasonable, but my point is about the need for new ways of thinking about the ongoing good health of media (which I’m sure we both agree is important).

@GeoffMillerNZ – Agree on your last point David, the question is how we get there. As it stands we have RNZ republishing sponsored content without even the disclosure that the Spinoff provides (e.g. see the housing article today, sponsored by Kiwibank but no mention of this on RNZ).

@zigzagger2 (John Drinnan) – In which case RNZ was smart enough to remove the mention because it would undermine the story, but loose enough that it did not see the sponsorshp an issue for the state broadcaster,

@GeoffMillerNZ – Exactly – they are in an unsolvable bind here. Provide disclosure and it’s free advertising for sponsors on RNZ, don’t provide it and it’s arguably even worse. Hence why the deal should not have been agreed to in the first place.

@fundypost – RNZ does not need to trade. It produces high-quality stuff that other broadcasters want. Why should RNZ want anything from the Spinoff; what does it do that RNZ cannot do?

@GeoffMillerNZ – Exactly. Content needs to be paid for somehow, so I am not totally against the sponsorship models The Spinoff and Newsroom are pursuing (although still problematic). But RNZ gets public money (& more under Labour) precisely to stay out of this murky area. So why go there?

I suspect that RNZ will be somewhat more careful about what content they share from The Spinoff – the housing article was a very strange choice and I think poor choice, republished before the sharing arrangement was announced.

It appears to be the only article republished at RNZ so far (as indicated by a site search of ‘The Spinoff’).

But the links to sponsored news publications (along with advertising) remains a problem for RNZ.

 

 

Political carols

Excerpts from Toby Manhire: Walking in a Winston Wonderland

We Three Things:

Jacinda Ardern solo:
Just a kid from Moh-orrinsville
Keen to help out Andy Little
It’s not hubris, to just do this
Truth is that I quite like Bill
*
James Shaw solo:
Great Together, I believe in
Speak the truth – that’s how we win
Metiria, great co-leader
Popped into recycling bin
*
Winston Peters solo:
Had enough? Too right they had
Status quo was very bad
Need a deadline? Watch it, Sunshine
Covfefe, believe me, sad!

We Wish you a Merry Christmas
Feat Bill English

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And would just note in passing that the National Party won more votes than anyone and yet is not in government which a lot of ordinary New Zealanders will find surprising as they approach their Happy New Year.

Gareth the Red Mo’ed Reindeer
As sung by Gareth Morgan

Gareth the Red Mo’ed Reindeer
Had a very small ego
But all the lipsticked reindeers
Were a bunch of thick bozos

Fiscal Spells
As sung by Steven Joyce

O! Fiscal spells, fiscal spells
Fiscal hole, OK?
O what fun it is to ride
When you’re running the campaign.

Little Drummer Boy
As sung by Andrew Little

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
Just a new deputy, pa rum pum pum pum
Must replace Annette King, pa rum pum pum pum
Anyway you know what happened after that and it’s all fine now.

Mārie Te Pō
As sung by Don Brash

Mārie te pō, tapu te pō
Marino, marama
Ko te Whāea, me te Tama
Tama tino, tapu rā
Moe mai i te aio
Moe mai i te aio.

Google doesn’t translate that well, but it is obviously

Silent night, holy night, calm, bright etc.

Whāea is mother, Tama is boy/sun but no sign of a virgin there.

 

Farce news, when comedy becomes the headline

There are enough problems with passing comments on social media becoming ‘news’ stories, but now ‘claims’ by a comedian have hit the headlines.

Click bait headline at NZH: Did Trump mistake Jacinda for Justin Trudeau’s wife?

The question that no one seems to have asked apart from the Herald’s headline writer is answered in the article.

The article leads:

When US President Donald Trump first met Jacinda Ardern at Apec in Vietnam last week, he thought she was the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to comedian Tom Sainsbury.

Sainsbury, who is well known for his impersonation of National MPs on Snapchat, made the claim on Radio Live this afternoon.

How well known? I haven’t heard of him before.

He said he was chatting with Ardern while they were backstage at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards on Thursday night.

“I don’t know if I should be saying this, but she said that Donald Trump was confused for a good amount of time thinking that she was Justin Trudeau’s wife.”

Sainsbury said Trump eventually realised who Ardern was, and that Ardern had also said that Trump was “not as orange in real life”.

Comedians could have a lot of fun if media make a habit of turning their jokes into news.

In a statement, Ardern said: “Someone thought the President had confused us, but in all of the conversations we had it was clear to me he hadn’t, and recalled the conversation we had late last month.”

Ardern said she exchanged pleasantries with the US president and shook his hand, but did not have a substantive conversation.

That has been widely reported, including, I presume, by the Herald, so suggesting via a headline that a comedian joking is news is not a joke, it’s seriously suspect. I didn’t see if they ran it as breaking news or not.

Toby Manhire also pushed the comedian story at The Spinoff: ‘You’ve done well for yourself’: Did Trump mistake Jacinda Ardern for Trudeau’s wife?

This could be called farce news.

I wonder if Justin Trudeau’s wife has a name – but I guess an investigative jouranlist would be required to find that out.

Some journos still promote Peters in his absence

Winston Peters chose to stay away from last night’s minor party leaders debate because Bill English and Jacinda Ardern weren’t taking part. Peters was subjected to a lot of criticism.

But even though he didn’t front up some journalists still promoted him.

From NZH  Minor Party leaders’ debate: The verdicts are in

Audrey Young:

Winston Peters’ boycott denied the public a chance to see that he is still well up to it and denied himself the chance to answers Shaw’s attacks.

Peters wasn’t up to participating in the debate, so this is a strange promotion of him in his absence.

Old school journalists seem to be obsessed with Peters and keeping his election chances alive.

A significantly younger Toby Manhire had a different view:

The NZ First leader might have wiped the floor, but he spurned the prime-time invitation, as he did in the last similar televised debate. He’s a “bad date”, said Shaw, in the funniest line of the night, but Peters wasn’t there to bite back.

Winner: James Shaw
Loser: Winston Peters

Soper and Young might try to vote for Peters even though he isn’t in their electorate.

They and others keep giving Peters a free media ride, including promoting him as ‘kingmaker’. Given that it’s possible that Peters ends up with far more power than he deserves from voting levels, where is the media examination of his key policies, and what he might demand in a coalition?

Peters has the worst reputation of reliability of any MP under MMP, but old journos perhaps with an eye to their own gold cards keep giving him disproportionate coverage and grossly inadequate holding to account.

More depth to ‘Hit & Run’ reports now

Some pundits and journalists were excitedly demanding immediate action after a quick look at Nicky Hager’s and Jon Stephenson’s ‘Hit & Run’, launched on Tuesday evening.

There are far better reports coming out now that people interested in looking at the issue in more depth are publishing their views.

More investigation from David Fisher: Exclusive interview: NZSAS says civilians were killed in fatal raid, including two by Kiwi sniper fire

What he has found out supports some of the book’s claims but disagrees with some, in particular the claim that it was a revenge raid.

But the soldier’s account also conflicted with claims in the book that the NZSAS were motivated by “revenge” over the death of O’Donnell.

He said the NZSAS soldiers would have been “angry” over the death but “revenge” had no part to play in how they did their jobs.

The soldier said: “SAS boys are a different breed. Everything is a lot more calculated.”

Rather than “revenge”, the Herald was told by the former Governor of the neighbouring province, the raid was to target insurgents who threatened the New Zealand base at Bamyan, about 50km away.

So those who claim that Hager never gets anything wrong may want to reassess that view.

Toby Manhire: Books damning claims demand inquiry

Hager and his co-author, Jon Stephenson, have stressed both these points.

The then prime minister did sign off the raid, which apparently killed six civilians and injured at least 15 more, but there is no claim that he masterminded any coverup.

“I suspect we know far more about what happened than John Key was told,” said Hager.

Some of the conclusion jumpers commenting at The Standard have missed that bit.

Hit and Run is an important book. Whether you admire or viscerally loathe its authors is immaterial to the evidence it documents.

Not all of the allegations are new, but the depth of research and detail are compelling.

Any journalism that heavily depends on unnamed sources should, of course, be subject to scrutiny, even if, as here, they are numerous and corroborated.

Critically, many of the sources would be willing to speak to an appropriate, independent investigation, says Stephenson.

For their sake, for the sake of the NZ Defence Force, whether to censure or vindicate, for the sake of the government, for the sake of respecting international law, for the sake of the dead, and in the public interest, that investigation needs to happen.

Not to do so for fear of creating difficulty for our military bosses or politicians or, even, the Americans, would be wrong.

“We’re not going to be rushed into an inquiry,” was an early response from the prime minister, and that is fair enough, but the case is now urgent and overwhelming.

I prefer time is spent doing things properly rather than jumping to the demands of journalists and activists.

Peter Dunne joins Labour, Greens and NZ First in asking for an inquiry.

Afghanistan Inquiry Now Inevitable – Dunne

UnitedFuture leader Hon Peter Dunne says an inquiry into allegations New Zealand SAS forces were involved in an incident that led to civilian deaths in Afghanistan now seems inevitable.

“In the wake of the comments in the Hagar book ‘Hit and Run’ there has been a rising fog of confusion, about what may or may not have happened.

“Recollections now seem to vary sharply, and I think it is inevitable some form of inquiry will be necessary to clarify and resolve these.

“New Zealanders are rightly proud of the reputation of our SAS and Armed Forces generally, and do not wish to see that diminished, so they deserve open reassurance that our forces have not behaved inappropriately.

“The current saga of claim and counter-claim will not provide that, therefore some form of independent inquiry is appropriate,” Mr Dunne says.

Some meaningful response from the Government seems inevitable, bit according to Legal Beagle Graeme Edgeler it should be an investigation instead. It’s worth reading his whole detailed post – A war crimes inquiry; or why Nicky Hager is wrong.

He concludes:

There is nothing to stop the Government starting an inquiry. There will be some aspects of what has happened that will be able to inquired into without risking prejudice to a Police investigation, but, as is generally the case with coronial inquests, we will need to recognise that not every question of importance can be answered while questions of whether there will be criminal charges remain unanswered.

In New Zealand, such investigations are a matter for the Police, and decisions over whether to prosecute (in the High Court) are ultimately for the Solicitor-General or Crown Prosecutors. Alternatively, allegations against soldiers may be a matter for the Military Police, leading the possibility of trial at a Court Martial. Neither will have much experience investigating war crimes. In the circumstances, I think the Police are better placed in the case.

There are sometimes reasons to prefer a Court Martial. For example, if the result of the investigation is that there is insufficient evidence to file war crimes charges, but that charges under the Armed Forces Discipline Act for failure to comply with the rules of engagement could be laid against some involved, this could only be done at a Court Martial. However, that is not possible here. There is a time limit for such charges to be brought to Court Martial, and it has well passed. A Police investigation would likely involve assistance from Military Police, and Crown Lawyers in any event.

Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson have authored a book alleging war crimes; they’re not necessarily certain who, but the describe events that could amount to war crimes committed by New Zealanders. This has consequences.

When confronted with allegations of war crimes, New Zealand is obliged not just to find out what happened, but to investigate, and if appropriate, prosecute. But it would be wrong to pursue an inquiry that may prejudice the rights of those now under suspicion of committing war crimes. Commissions of inquiry do not investigate crimes. This is the job of the Police.

Where Police fail to investigate an alleged war crime, New Zealand has agreed, with the approval of Parliament, that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court can step in instead. We should not let that happen.

Dotcom not John Doe

I didn’t think the John Doe who claims to have hacked the Panama papers would be Kim Dotcom, but it seems that some do. It’s certainly being talked about.

Both & are speculating this morning that “John Doe” may be . Interesting theory. would know.

Theories have been circulating suggesting the mysterious figure behind the Panama Papers leaks may in fact be the NZ-based internet entrepreneur. The Spiniff begins its fearless mission to unmask John Doe by asking, is it you, Kim Dotcom?

Rare is the day when the two most voluble and entertaining thought leaders of the New Zealand blogosphere agree, but so it is on the matter of the identity of the Panama Papers’ “John Doe”, the name adopted by the person behind the massive information leak.

Both Cameron ‘Whaleoil’ Slater and Martyn ‘Daily Blog’ Bradbury – along with various other novice online sleuths – have been speculating that John Doe is Kim Dotcom, the Mega-founder being sought for extradition from New Zealand by the US Justice Department.

But Bradbury responded that “I’m not speculating it is Kim” but ” oh I certainly believe it’s political”. The last two sentences Hooton referred to :

I wonder who had the skills to hack and desire for vengeance against Key?

I’ve always believed that vengeance is a dish best served 18months into the election cycle.

That’s quite vague. Incidentally Bradbury does seem to think that this could, at last, be what what triggers the revolution (John Doe had saiD that the next revolution would be digital):

This week is looking very difficult for John Key and his right wing rich mates. Mass surveillance lies didn’t wake sleepy hobbits up. Dirty Politics didn’t wake sleepy hobbits up. Looks like Key building Tax Havens and getting caught might just wake them up.

He might be right one day, but his accuracy average won’t be flash.

Meanwhile Slater didn’t actually come out and say it was Dotcom but he did all but. He posted a ‘comment of the day’ and bolded these words.

illegally hacked

paymaster
German

It’s a whole lot easier for the hacker, the paymaster and the intermediaries to be close so what is discovered can be discussed and assimilated.

“John Doe” appears to have a better knowledge of NZ politics than a lot of kiwis

Am I joining the dots or do I just need to loosen the tinfoil ?

Slater accusing Dotcom is nothing new. He might be right once too and might actually front up with evidence to prove it. But then he posted:

I suspect Key will have second thoughts about cutting me adrift and feeding me to the wolves at the same time as doing absolutely nothing to try and identify the criminal hackers, the complicit media working with criminals, and the people in the Labour Party that are funding, facilitating and abusing the fruits of crime.

Sorry to say, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Key over this.  He threw me under the bus.  He threw Ede under the bus.  He’s thrown Whitney under the bus.  None of us broke the law.

Key threw Slater and Ede under a bus? Or did he just distance himself from a train wreck?

Nevertheless it sounds like Slater has more on his mind than who John Doe is. His comment is full of irony, self-sorriness, and some trepidation.

Oh, and Manhire asked Dotcom if he was the Panamanian John Doe and Dotcom denied it, saying “I’m not John Doe, Satoshi Nakamoto or Rawshark.” Of course he doesn’t have to be them.

Conclusion: I’m suspicious of Manhire trying to deflect attention onto everyone but him. I don’t think he is John Doe either but which journalist writes about Slater and Bradbury these days. And in the same post!

Spinoff’s spin on Hager

Toby Manhire has an interview with Nicky Hager at The Spinoff – “A Kick Back Against Government Intolerance” – an Interview with Nicky Hager.

Nicky Hager tells The Spinoff about his case in the High Court, Dirty Politics a year on, and his next book – “one of the most important projects that I could imagine”.

It allows Hager to ask some hard questions, but asks no hard questions of Hager.

What will happen next with the judicial review?

In the very near future, I think, there will be a decision coming out which is about my case but is really about journalism in New Zealand. Like all countries, we are experiencing a new intolerance to whistleblowers and people who provide leaked information. So this court case is happening at a really critical time for whether or not people who collect that information feel safe and whether or not people who provide that information feel safe.

I’m hopeful we’re going to have a decision which is a sort of kick back against the current intolerance from the government.

But no word on any kickback against the intolerance of left wing activists.

It’s over a year now since Dirty Politics, and to some degree at least it feels as though things have gone back to business as usual. Do you accept that, and if so is it because people didn’t grasp the detail or because they grasped the detail but don’t care?

The Minister of Justice who had to resign because of the book has not come back, the main dirty tricks person in the prime minister’s office [Jason Ede], who had to leave the job because of this, has not come back. When people say everything has gone back to normal, they’re possibly not realising how much did change, and what they’re perhaps really meaning is the Prime Minister, who was in many ways at the centre of the distasteful politics, has so far survived it.

Jason Ede escaped the scrutiny he deserved, although he did lose his job and influence.

John Key also escaped the scrutiny his involvement should have received. This was partly due to his avoidance, but it has as much to do with the way Hager launched his book into an election campaign. Voters reacted against this slanted interference in the democratic process, and then the election took over, letting Key off the hook.

I think that when people say John Key got away with the book, and never had to answer the question – and of course he has got away with not having to answer the question so far – I think they’re not being optimistic enough. I think we may still see in the long run it will be seen to have bitten him badly and he hasn’t got away with it.

Hager may be hoping for lingering hits on Key but the timing of his big hit meant that it didn’t have the impact Hager and his supporters had hoped.

Do you think then that the way people do politics has changed as a result of the book?

I wrote a book about one area of politics, and there is absolutely no doubt that things have changed quite a lot. For example, at the time I wrote that book, quite a considerable number of journalists and news organisations were in extremely unhealthy relationships with this rightwing attack blogger, who was acting as a tool of various commercial interests and also of the prime minister’s office, for covert attacks on their opponents.

Most of those journalists have stopped doing that. Many of those media organisations have more or less apologised publicly for getting caught up in it. If one book can do that, I’m really happy with it, and that’s not the only change at all.

The book seems to have been very successful warning journalists off having anything to do with Slater, and that has been reinforced by Slater’s own actions.

Do you read the Whaleoil blog?

No. I’ve spent a year and a half recommending to people that they don’t dignify it by looking at it, because it is not a genuine source of news and analysis. It’s a political tactic: to smear and discourage and hurt people, and so I don’t believe that I want to go there.

I will take anybody’s legitimate, public, owned criticism and I’ll think about it, but anonymous comments are the worst of people, and I don’t need to let them into my head. So I don’t go to the Whaleoil site, and I don’t go to many of those places where I’m just going to hear, you know, anonymous tigers behind their keyboards saying ridiculous things about me.

It hasn’t just been “anonymous tigers” asking questions of the way Hager played his Dirty Politics cards. By blaming criticism of him on anonymous people he’s avoiding real concerns over his actions.

Since his launch of Dirty Politics Hager has played to friendly audiences, and he has done is PR via friendly journalists (like Manhire here).

Would he be prepared to face scrutiny of his actions and agenda?

Both he and Key still have important questions that should be answered.

No extra flag choices – tough

Yesterday some journalists belatedly woke up to the fact that they had dicked around with the flag change process and suddenly realised that they didn’t like the final four flag choices.

Quite a bit of media and social media had not taken the flag change process seriously, or they thought that if they criticised and ridiculed enough it woukd all go away.

But many people did take it seriously and submitted proposals. The flag consideration panel took their responsibilities seriously and consulted and listened to feedback and polled and came up with a short list of four.

The knockers suddenly realised that the flag choice was happening without them.

Yesterday Toby Manhire wrote Let’s run up the red flag.

Until very recently, my response to the flag ballyhoo swithered between indifference and annoyance. Mostly annoyance. It might have something to do with the fact I fractured my fibula and no one offered to fly me to Fiji to smear leaves on it. But mainly it’s because the debate has been so annoying.

The current flag is definitely annoying. It is annoying that it is almost indistinguishable from Australia’s. It’s annoying and outdated that a Union Jack sits there, haughtily, taking up a whole quarter. Why not stick another flag in the corner of the British flag and then another in the corner of that, and so on and so on? That would be annoying but at least interesting.

But the case for change has been annoying, too. It’s been annoying to feel infantilised, herded into a nationwide social studies project. Actual grown-ups holding aloft “I stand for …” sheets of paper and smiling mawkishly, annoyingly.

The Prime Minister’s call for more “overt signs of patriotism” has been annoying.

Toby was annoyed so he didn’t taske part in the process. Until now.

In a heartfelt and constructive blog post, Wellington startup guy Rowan Simpson makes a cogent argument for the missing Red Peak (bit.ly/redpeak). He notes that it looks like a flag, not a logo, and illustrates the point by placing it, and the officially shortlisted options, alongside some other great flags. It is simple enough to be drawn by a child – one of the criteria emphasised by the panel – yet there is genuine substance; the historic, cultural, mythological and even topographic references are there if you want them.

And it just looks right. In one photograph at aotearoaflag.tumblr.com, Dustin shows it floating in the breeze at sunset. Spectacular.

On aotearoaflag.tumblr.com, Aaron Dustin shows the Red Peak flag floating in the breeze at sunset.

Red Peak has won me over. I love it. And I’m not alone – a Red Peak groundswell is building. Team Red Peak. Unfurl the fifth flag.

Red Peak should be added to the shortlist.

No it shouldn’t be added to the shortlist. I would have been happy if a flag like Red Peak was in the short list bit it wasn’t chosen.

If Red Peak was able to be added because a few journalists try to use the power of their keyboards and claim a groundswell of support there would be likely be a clamour of claims for groundswells for different flags.

But it would be ridiculous for the flag change process to be re-written because a few flag dissers suddenly realised that their dissing and dismissing had been ignored and the process had continued without them.

And it’s not as if Red Peak is a compelling choice. It would not be readily recognisable as a flag of New Zealand within New Zealand let alone around the world. It could mean anything and could represent anyone.

Those like Manhire who have suddenly realised that they had sidelined themselves in the flag change process will just have to accept that they have left their input too late.

Tough.

They can join in the process and choose one of these designs:

The four flag alternatives that will be considered in the first referendum.

Or they can keep sulking on the sidelines, waving alternate flags in futility.

John Key statement against dirty politics

From NZ Herald:

“Look, at the end of the day this reflects badly on political and media culture in New Zealand.

“I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusions Hager draws, and I denounce the illegal manner in which this private correspondence was stolen.

“There is, however, no denying that it exposes something most ordinary New Zealanders would disapprove of.

“I deplore the modus operandi of Slater and his associates. I’d like to think we’re better than that.

“I’m standing down Jason Ede from his new role in the National Party office pending a review of the way the Prime Minister’s office operates.

“We all have to examine and rethink the way we do business, and I invite leaders of other parties to similarly ask these questions about their own operations.”

That is exactly what I would expect from a responsible Prime Minister. Unfortunately that ‘quote’ was preceded by:

Bafflingly, John Key has chosen not to say anything like:

I’m baffled too, and very disappointed.

Source: Toby Manhire: Amid the dirt, here’s a glossary