April 2012

The Huddle at 1740

I’m on Larry William’s Huddle at 1740 on NewstalkZB with the lovely Josie Pagani.

Our topics so far are:

  • John Banks/Dotcom donation
  • Darien Fenton hating on importing high skilled workers

As usual I will post the audio tomorrow. Meanwhile you can listen on the wireless or online.

NZ Horrid


Can a Gay Man be Prime Minister?

David Shearer’s leadership is in its death throes and the velvet revolution is slowly taking over the Labour Party. Figurehead Grant Roberston could be the first openly gay prime minister.

Commentators have yet to really state what they think about whether a gay man can be prime minister. Will he win votes from the redneck wing of the Labour party? Will he win over the blue collar workers who drink beer, watch rugby and think homosexuality is awesome when it is hot lesbians on video but aren’t really into poofters?

Most of New Zealand won’t care. They didn’t care about Marilyn Waring back in the eighties, and they haven’t cared much since. A few small minded bigots might care, and make a lot of noise about it proving they are bigots.

Where Grant Roberston faces problems is he is a paunchy, greasy individual who doesn’t look the part. He is unctuous, and this counts more than his sexuality to most New Zealanders. If Grant is serious about being leader he needs to get eye surgery or wear contacts, drop 10 kgs and stop being an unpleasant, smarmy, smart arse.

He probably also should introduce the public to his civil union partner Alf. Like many political relationships the best thing about an MP is their life partner, and Alf comes with a great reputation for being a bloody good guy who can communicate with all society not just the liberal elite.

Throng on TVNZ7



Regan has posted his thoughts on TVNZ7. As a avid industry watcher I think his comments have merit.

Q. Does Throng believe TVNZ7 should be saved?
A. No.

Q. Does Throng believe there should be a Public Broadcasting TV channel?
A. Yes.

There are a number of positive aspects to TVNZ7.  It has had some great new shows with the quality and content improving year on year.  Despite Mike “don’t talk about cume unless you’re referring to how my salary is justified” Hosking’s comments about its audience, a third of New Zealand watches TVNZ7 every month. It only costs $15m a year to run, or 83 cents per month per viewer.

Sounds reasoning…and nice slap down of Mike Hosking. But now why TVNZ7 should go:

So with such positives, why do we not support TVNZ7 being saved?  The primary reason is due to the first four letters of the channel’s name.

When the Labour government established both TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 and the channels were launched on the Freeview platform, there was much fanfare about an alternative to subscription-based television. However, due to the poor broadcasting policies of both the former and current governments, TVNZ has found itself caught in the middle of striving for commercial success and being a public broadcaster.  The reality is that they simply cannot do both.

TVNZ were never going to drive viewers away from their highly rating, ad supported channels.
TVNZ7 was doomed to near invisibility and the critics’ ire.

Over the years, a number of industry insiders have also voiced their concern to Throng about how TVNZ has charged out its resources for TVNZ7, suggesting that the commercial side of TVNZ has been milking the funding.  There is nothing commercially wrong with this, of course, but it would reinforce the conflict of interest that TVNZ has in having feet in both camps.

While there are a number of shows on TVNZ7 that would be worth saving, the channel as it stands needs to go and TVNZ needs to be allowed to focus on its commercial directives while the role of public broadcaster is handed over to someone else.

We will never get to the bottom of the cross-subsidisation, but I believe Regan has a better graspo than anyone on the conflicts that arose inside TVNZ regarding TVNZ7. But where to from here?

With the numbers tuning in each month, there is certainly evidence to support the existence of a public broadcasting tv channel.  The issue, as many on the right would suggest, is how it is funded under the current economic climate.

To put it in perspective, in 2011, $1.6 billion was spent on advertising on television in New Zealand.  An ad supported/sponsorship model that was limited to the $15m annual funding required to keep the channel on the air hardly seems unreasonable.  In fact, you could double it to $30m without impacting viewer experience which, as it currently is on TVNZ7, would easily replace the short “promo breaks” that already exist between shows.

There are plenty of players that could contribute to a new public broadcast tv channel.  The three main ones being Triangle, who are already working in that space on a shoestring budget, Maori Television who have produced some excellent public television services to viewers beyond their indigenous audience and Radio New Zealand who provide the most respected news service in the country and already have vast resources in place.

It is time the confusion was ended and there be a separation between TVNZ’s role as a public broadcaster and a commercial entity.  If they are there to make a profit, let them do it but let’s not pretend any longer that they can do that and have success as a public broadcaster at the same time.

A great post with sensible and non-vested interest solutions. Bear that in mind when you read the save TVNZ7 people talking about this…most of them have skin in the game, when they say save TVNZ7 it is from the perspective of their hip pocket.

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Mental Health Break

Good gambling vs Bad Gambling

Stats Chat

Thomas Lumley at Stats Chat ponders about a dichotomy with gambling stories:

The recent Sky City stories illustrate an interesting division in media reports of gambling

Credibility shot, needs to go

Sydney Morning Herald

Julia Gillard is in serious trouble with many dailies now calling for her to go.

JULIA Gillard should consider falling on her sword for the good of the Labor Party, because she can no longer present an even slightly credible face at the election. Her spectacular U-turn on everything she’d said before on Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper has left her looking nakedly expedient, and further exposed the state of crisis within the government.

At one point in her news conference Gillard wrung her hands. It was a metaphor for what the caucus is doing. Her claim that suddenly ”a line” had been crossed, so she had to act to preserve Australians’ respect for Parliament, came out as a workshopped confection she could not explain. After months of declaring Thomson had her support, after a week of backing Slipper returning to the Speakership if he was cleared on criminal allegations, she wants us to believe she arrived back from Gallipoli and suddenly realised that the public see a dark cloud over Parliament?

What actually happened is that she and whoever she is listening to observed a storm enveloping the government that could threaten her leadership.

Refusing to utter criticism of Thomson was always defending the indefensible. When Gillard then had Slipper added to her political burden, the weight simply became too heavy.

The Slipper affair tipped the balance, because she wasn’t going to be able to sustain her stand. The opposition and crossbenchers had the parliamentary numbers to keep him out of the chair. In more normal circumstances, Gillard might deserve some credit for doing the right thing, albeit late. But when she said black was white so vehemently and, in the Thomson case, for so long, her cynicism overwhelms any other impression.

While on Slipper she acted because she was cornered, she could not deal with him without distancing herself from Thomson, because the parallels were too close. Bearing down on her also was next week’s budget: hence the need for speed.

On matters Labour

Some interesting things have come to my attention.

Of course last week there was a nice opinion piece by David Cunliffe in the Herald.

Then this weekend he delivered a big key note speech where Chris Trotter and other commentators were specifically invited and is now being seeded nicely across the left wing blogs.

Then there are the moves by Moana Mackey who is busy trotting around visiting MPs. Of course Moana was supported in her list ranking by none other than Jordan Carter and Alistair Cameron, Shearer’s new chief of staff. I hope she can count better than the last time she ran the numbers.

Jordan Carter has burst forth on his blog again, in support of David Cunliffe’s nicely timed keynote speech.

Someone pointed out to me too that I may have been a bit wrong about Alistair Cameron’s loyalties…that they quite possibly weren’t with Grant Robertson, given his close professional and personal relationship with former president Mike Williams.

Who then pops up this morning commenting in the media today about how secure Shearer is….anyone fancy a Tui.

He told 3 News Firstline this morning, that Mr Shearer has the support of the vast majority of Labour MPs.

“I rang around some caucus members yesterday… and there’s no mood for change at the moment, I can tell you that.”
Mr Williams says if Labour does decide to change leaders, again, it must do it by the end of the year – two years out from the next general election.

As they say the Ducks are lining up…the wonder is if one particular Duck is lining up on the right side or the wrong side.

With Shearer off being entertained by corporate lobbyists on the weekend instead of shoring up his support, things are looking dodgy for him to continue much longer.

Txts from New York

the tipline

The Undecideds

In an attempt not to get scooped by the rather slow mainstream media, I want to be the first to ask “How many undecideds are there?”

Every time there is a poll the numbers do not include the undecideds.

If they are high then the polls are not clear cut, and there could be a great mass of voters ready to swing.

Maybe some of the editors responsible for highly paid political journalists could tell their hacks to start asking this question.