Kiwiblog

Why is it Kiwiblog has the best posts when Farrar is away?

Lifestyle, arts and travel blogger David Farrar is away again.

Kiwiblog has again reverted to a blog of David’s mid-life crisis and travels.

Not content with his own travel blogging, he also now has guest travel blog posts.

However he does have a guest post from Kiwi in America that is very good. Why is it Kiwiblog’s best posts are while he is away?

Regular readers of Kiwiblog will recall my lengthy essay posted on Easter Friday about the recent history of Labour; some of it based on my time as an activist there until the mid 90’s attempting to explain Labour’s present day conundrum.

In a nutshell it said that an attempt by the left of the party to seize permanent control of Labour after the massive post Rogernomics ructions under the leadership of Helen Clark, led to a gradual purging of activists from the centrist and right wings of the party. Clark, and her followers in the Head Office and regional hierarchies, ensured the selection of candidates in winnable electorate seats (and after the introduction of MMP, also the party list) that not only ensured she could topple then leader Mike Moore after the 1993 election but also cemented her power base inside Labour guaranteeing her an unchallenged 15 year reign as Labour’s leader. This handed power in the party to an increasingly narrow base of sector and interest groups such as academics, trade unions, progressive feminists and the rainbow coalition gradually driving out activists who were more likely to be white, male, socially conservative, small business owners and church going people of faith. After Labour’s 2008 election defeat, former members of the harder left New Labour Party, homeless after the dissolution of the Alliance, the demise of Anderton’s Progressives and the rise of the Greens, began to come back to Labour assisting in the movement of the party more to the left.

This trend culminated in the amendment to Labour’s Constitution at its 2012 Annual Conference giving 40% of the vote for Party Leader to the party membership and 20% to the affiliated unions leaving only 40% in the hands of the Parliamentary caucus. This new formula enabled David Cunliffe to win the first full leadership primary in 2013 despite having only minority support in caucus – the first time this had ever happened in Labour’s history. The result of his elevation to the leadership was Labour’s third successive and even more disastrous defeat.

When you drive out of the party its more centrist activists, you leave a vacuum that has been filled by harder left activists. When these same activists, alongside the more traditionally left wing trade union leadership, have control of the party’s candidate selections, its policy formation and now the election of its leader, over time you end up with a party, candidates and policies that no longer appeal to middle NZ and a party that is no longer the broad church it used to be. The party may be truer to its left wing principles but it now produces candidates, policies and campaigning rhetoric out of step with the aspirations of floating middle NZ voters that decide elections. National’s moderate centrist direction under John Key has become the natural repository for various key demographic groups that once used to strongly vote Labour and accordingly, Labour has ended up falling further behind National in each subsequent election post its 2008 defeat culminating in its second lowest vote this election since its formation in 1916!

Labour is now undertaking yet another review of why it was defeated and another likely more bruising leadership primary.

Read more »

“Dirty Politics isn’t journalism. It’s political activism, enabled by crime. We have to question it”

Hacked this from Farrar’s blog

…Yes, Slater’s blog is nasty and vindictive. So is Martyn Bradbury. So is The Standard. If you think they’re not fed gossip by Labour/Mana-Internet/Greens you’re dreaming. Typically in their case it’s about destroying their own team so no one cares.

What concerns me most is how my colleagues have reported on this so breathlessly. They have repeatedly used the term ‘hacking’ to describe Jason Ede accessing an open website. And accepted without question this idea that it’s like walking through the unlocked door of a private house. It’s not. It’s more like a young Nat heading to the Labour Party’s booth at a university political rally, scanning through their leaflets and finding a clear file stashed in the back marked ‘donors’. Clearly it’s not meant to be there but, well it is. So they read it, take some snaps on their iPhone and humiliate Labour with it, rather than just quietly telling them about the mistake. Politics.

But what is most disturbing about this, is that the majority of media think it’s acceptable to hack Slater’s email and Facebook, for no reason other than that we hate him. Hager even justified the break-in of Mark Mitchell’s office as just how leaks happen. He is an MP. It is unbelievable that anyone can think it’s acceptable, simply because they have opposing politics.

Hager doesn’t want to know where this material has come from. He believes the hacker’s motives aren’t political. For a smart man, at best he is being willingly ignorant. There is no doubt in my mind that Hager is being played. The problem is he doesn’t care. A real journalist would. Read more »

Why would a union donate to a party who wants to see their members unemployed?

David Farrar blogs about the EPMU donating to the Green party and how members are upset by it.

The Greymouth evening Star reports that West Coast miners who are EPMU members are furious at the EPMU for donating $15,000 to the Greens, when they want the mining industry in NZ to die out. Over a dozen miners have complained.

You can imagine how galling it would be to have your union donate a portion of your salary to a party that wants to close down the industry you work in, and effectively put you out of a job.

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A reader emails about the ‘media’

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A reader emails:

Hi Cam,

I’ve never posted on your blog before, but the mainstream media has been getting me down so much lately I felt I had to speak out.

It seems to me that the MSM is duty bound to ensure any one party never has enough of a percentage of the popular vote to govern alone. To me it seems that if one party nears 50% the MSM suddenly pulls out articles they’ve been sitting on for months – beat us to death with them, until the party the articles are invariably about is eroded to below the threshold of being able to govern alone.

I believe in free speech, but I believe that if you are attempting to speak to the masses – we should at least know the colour of the soap box you’re standing on. It’s ridiculous to accept there is no media bias, when those writing the articles day after day seem to follow party specific lines.  Read more »

Rolling Stones Concert Review – Macau

If David Farrar can get away with reviewing boring plays then for my election year comeback to blogging I can warm up by reviewing the best show in the world. – Cactus Kate 

There was an horrific moment when in Sunday nights epic Macau Rolling Stones gig we saw what the band would have been like if Mick Jagger was hit by a bad eight ball and Keith Richards became front man. It was the stuff of nightmares with the only suitable remedy a quick trip to the concession stand.

I first heard the Stones music when the third man with a twenty (mumble) year age gap I semi co-habited with made me listen to them every second I was with him. In the morning most “older” men read the paper in a polite ritualistic request for silent time originating  from too much time alone with the first wife. He would regurgitate Stones trivia. As a result of environmental necessity I absorbed quite a bit but never questioned his claim to have seen the Stones in Auckland in 1966.  The maths didn’t add up.

When relationships are over less fortunate and far needier women often get a too large home, European car or beachfront bach.  Some of them even get custody of high maintenance things like children. I got something way cooler – not only an almost complete education but all of his Rolling Stones CDs. With the advent of iTunes I was eventually able to respectfully courier them back to their home.

During this past decade of OE I’ve never been in the right place to watch a Stones concert. As luck would have it this time I was.  It did mean going to the Mainland sewer of sin and trekking through the smoke filled Venetian casino floor in a quest to seek my more than adequate accommodation. It was so adequate that but for the concert downstairs I would never have left.  As it was true to Macau form I never left the hotel complex I stayed at.  Read more »

Farrar spruiking for RTD manufacturers?

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Yesterday I posted that the RTD producer of the tipple of choice of Hamilton’s 9 year olds – Independent Liquor has remained tight lipped over the incident.

Saying nothing leaves the void to be filled by others.

Spanishbride said it all;

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More influential and prominent

An AUT report into media suggests that blogs and online media are becoming more and more powerful and influential.

New Zealand blogs became more prominent and influential during 2013, finds the JMAD New Zealand Media Ownership Report 2013. There are 280 ranked blogs, and the top political blogs record high visitor numbers. To be ranked, blogs must have a publicly accessible site meter that tracks visitor numbers.

While the financial ownership of New Zealand media has increased, and mainstream media become even more commercial, interest in public interest journalism is increasing.

“It is not surprising that citizen journalists and bloggers have started to take a more active role. The blogosphere is thriving right now because it provides an alternative to commercially focused media,” says AUT communication studies lecturer Merja Myllylahti, author of the report.

Myllylahti says controversial stories in 2013, like the Len Brown scandal (broken on the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog), the Andrea Vance phone records issue and the passage of legislation expanding the powers of the GCSB, have also contributed to active blogging culture.

“Some recent government actions, like the expansion of GCSB powers, can be seen to threaten media freedom. Therefore it is good to see that the New Zealand media is looking for new ways to raise issues, and bloggers are gaining in prominence.”

The top ranked New Zealand blog, Whale Oil Beef Hooked, has more than doubled its visitor numbers since September 2012 to 762,184 visitors per month, and the second ranked blog, Kiwiblog, has 397,034 visitors per month.   Read more »

Kiwiblog calls for label changes to RTDs

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Whoops, looks like Independent Liquor’s sponsored travel blogger David Farrar support for calorie labels for alcohol may have just cost his sponsor hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs.

His comment “I know I drink far less now, knowing how much weight you put on with a few beers or wines” very conveniently forgets to mention his sponsor’s lolly water alcopops or RTDs for short.

But while ‘forgetting’ about RTDs, Farrar’s eagerness and support for a new labelling regime for alcohol products to reveal how many kilojoules each drink contains, will end up forcing significant new costs onto his beloved sponsor by way of labelling and expensive testing regimes.  Read more »

Media finally catch on to Hooton’s tricks

Matthew Hooton will be crying into his cornflakes this morning, which will take the edge off the hangover somewhat. The media are finally starting to see through his highly misleading campaign.

In an editorial in The Press yesterday, the paper gets to the heart of the issue – the campaign is just designed to line the pockets of groups like Vodafone, Slingshot, Orcon and CallPlus.

A well-organised campaign is being orchestrated on the matter, it is true, suggesting a Government proposal would amount to an extra “tax” on broadband users of some $600 million over the next five years.

This glides over the fact that the shareholders of Vodafone, one of the largest international telecommunications companies in the world, and hundreds of times bigger than Chorus, stand to benefit if the other side of the argument prevails.

Labour’s prime objection is to the Government’s intervention into something it believes should have been left to the Commerce Commission. There would normally be some validity to that argument. Since Chorus’s monopoly of the copper network is deemed to make it unsafe to leave pricing to the free market, the next best option is an independent regulator.  Read more »

A Day of Announcements

It must be the day for it. Government appointments to new roles start today so why not some announcements.

Keeping Stock published Martyn Bradbury‘s press release announcing that Kiwiblog, Whaleoil, Keeping Stock and Home Paddock will now be syndicating our feeds to The Daily Blog in order to provide some balance.

Scott Yorke also announces some big news.

People who read my posts will know I have not been an uncritical supporter of the Labour Party. The party has struggled from one blunder to the next, and this tendency towards self-injury has driven much of the ongoing speculation about David Shearer’s leadership. Many of us have looked on in dismay as Labour tears itself apart, and more than a few of us have found ourselves questioning our choice of party.   Read more »