Don’t worry, the future of New Zealand journalism is in safe hands! by underground

I’ve just had an opinion piece by Deborah Coddington in the Herald on Sunday bought to my attention. Coddington commented on the performance of the media through the election, commending some for fine work, whilst slamming others for their waffling and incompetitance.

“And why, on election night, did Sainsbury have Noelle McCarthy wittering on breathlessly?

She came over like a pretty little teenager woken up by adoring dad to join the grown-ups’ party.

It was cruel to watch and McCarthy was completely out of her depth.

The Irish lass is dangerously muddled – does she want to be a celebrity or a journalist? Posing for gossip pages in designer frocks is not really the best way to be taken seriously.”

However, and this is where my and my fellow former student friends get to slap ourselves on the back, Coddington says the future of journalism is in safe hands.

“And are we in New Zealand well-served in the future?

Most definitely, if the publication put out by AUT journalism students, Te Waha Nui (Big Mouth), is any indication.

I picked up their pre-election special in late October and was impressed – good questions asked, short items clearly written, no sign of student smart-arse.

Let’s hope they’re our future Cliftons, Robinsons, Edwards, Clarks – political reporters who’ve become household names for their talents and skills, as opposed to celebrity scribblers who rise without trace because they can dress up and attend the opening of an oyster.”

Well done Te waha nui 2008! Now let’s try find some bloody jobs. Sorry Deborah, but it looks like we’ll end up in PR!


Sore losers or bad winners? by underground

Elections are always going to leave one section of voters elated and the other disappointed. The victors and their supporters will seek to quickly bring up the changes they’ve desired throughout the campaign. There will be some soul searching and some hard questions asked, but eventually those defeated and their supporters will move on and live to fight another day. There will be some venting, comments posted on message boards and blogs. There will be some sour grapes, but there will also be some insightful analysis and considered commentary. However many on the right slate those on the left as being sore losers for whatever comment they make on the election result on Nov 8. People have rightly said that National does not have the mandate to, along with Act, steer the country hard to the right. The election result was not a sign that New Zealand has shifted to the right, because National has gone to great lengths to adopt much of Labour’s policies and shift itself far further to the left then it was under Don Brash. National are going to find it difficult to govern this term, economic crisis aside, as the government formed comprises of many conflicting ideologies. National may have won the election my a large margin, but Labour did not lose because voters rejected the party, they merely support change. To point this out to people is not sour grapes or being a sore loser, it is merely stating fact. However rather than argue these assertions made often by those on left, many choose to brag “we won, you lost”, stoked that “Helengrad’s dykocracy” has ceased to be. Just like prior to the election many National supporters could not articulate why they supported the party apart from saying “it is time for change” and “Labour’s fucked up the country”, they can also not engage in debate or conversation following the election. Morons will only make eventual Labour victory all the more sweeter for supporters, but I encourage them to be more humble than their unintelligent counterparts.

Just as many on the left sometimes disown some of their comrades for ill thought out comments, well done those on the right capable of doing the same, and engaging in civilised discussion with opponents. Debate should not be silenced by personal attacks and slogans, although we can all be guilty at times.

The good, the bad and the ugly – The ministers in National’s new government by underground

John Key has shown some promise, and left even his doubters reconsidering their opinions of the man, with the new ministers he announced yesterday. Of course those on the Left are never going to be happy with a National-led government, but there are some signals that, at least for the first term, National will be sticking to the centre ground. It is certainly a lot more pleasant than anything I could have imagined Don Brash coming up with had he won in 2005. The likes of Paula Bennett with the social development portfolio may temper National’s tendency to screw over those on the bottom of the heap, as will the inclusion of Tariana Turia and Peter Sharples from the Maori Party. Turia is minister of the community and voluntary sector and Sharples is Maori affairs minister, which must be reassuring for many Maori. National has given the Maori Party more than Labour managed, particularly when they dropped the ball siding with New Zealand First and Greens in 2005, shunning the more principled partners of the Greens and the Maori. National has trumped Labour in their post election arrangements here, although they have created a four-headed monster after warning of the perils of something similar from Labour. Another example of National Party hypocrisy, expect more to come! Continue reading

Our saint has arrived! by naturalhighnz
November 10, 2008, 8:35 am
Filed under: New Zealand Election 08, Politics | Tags: , , ,

On waking up today I was greeted by the host of articles about our new, already beloved Leader. Stories of John Key’s desire to help “all” New Zealanders. A story of John Key’s fantastic sense of humour in the NZ Herald when he joked with his family that a puppy was not on the way, because that’s what Obama had promised his kids, but wait, maybe a puppy is on the way! The NZ Herald made light of John Key’s reputation for flip-flopping in this instance, and it really seems as though John Key might truly be Obamaesque change if you believe the Herald. The term “all New Zealanders” must be rather exclusive, because with a range of anti-union and anti-worker policies on John Key’s desk, it seems he is looking out for very different interests to Obama.

Personally, it disturbs me to think that a man like John Key can even draw on comparisons between himself and Obama, and that our beloved media are now even doing the work for him. It seems that if your a politician on the right of the spectrum you rarely have to lift a finger these days, as your profile will be taken care of by the media. Compare this to the misinformation spread about the section 59 repeal and its “perceived” law against smacking a child which the media perpetuated and it truly makes you wonder. The reality of the law being that only the legal argument of reasonable force was removed, but not what constitutes child abuse.

Thankfully in the face of the weakening media and the lack of background checks and research, we have a committed blogosphere where we can get a better handle on where things are actually going. Personally I look forward to be fired from my job after 89 days for no reason. At least it means I’ll get a range of work experience and will be doing my bit to get NZ back on track.


Was this really the voice of the people? by underground

Sure it might be a bit sour grapes, but the election result is not quite indicative of how New Zealand voted yesterday. Even though we are fortunate to live under MMP, which ensures most voters are counted, this year’s result clearly illustrates that changes must be made to the system. As much as I can’t stand Winston Peters at times, more people voted for his party than Act, United Future or the Progressives, yet under the absurdities of the system as it is they get MPs whilst New Zealand First does not. In fact 88,072 (without special votes) cast their vote for New Zealand First but each has been effectively disenfranchised. Meanwhile Act with only 3.72 per cent of the vote has five MPs and the greatest influence on power.

Legal Beagle at Public Address worked out what the results would have been if the House of Representatives no threshold:

New Zealand National Party – 55 seats
New Zealand Labour Party – 41 seats
The Greens – 8 seats
New Zealand First Party – 5 seats
Māori Party – 5 seats
Act New Zealand – 4 seats
Jim Anderton’s Progressive – 1 seat
United Future New Zealand – 1 seat
The Kiwi Party – 1 seat
The Bill and Ben Party – 1 seat

With those numbers, coalition arrangements would be entirely different:

Nat/Act/UF/KP: 61

Lab/Prog/Greens/NZ First/Maori: 60

Which is a different story altogether. Then of course there is the Bill and Ben Party. Which way would they go?

Election Results — Overall Status

Polling Places Counted: 6,304 of 6,304 (100.0%)
Total Votes Counted: 2,103,842
Special Votes: 208,001
Less than 6 votes taken in Polling Places: 1,261
Party Party
National Party 951,145 45.45 41 18 59
Labour Party 706,666 33.77 21 22 43
Green Party 134,622 6.43 0 8 8
ACT New Zealand 77,843 3.72 1 4 5
Mäori Party 46,894 2.24 5 0 5
Jim Anderton’s Progressive 19,536 0.93 1 0 1
United Future 18,629 0.89 1 0 1
New Zealand First Party 88,072 4.21 0 0 0
Kiwi Party 11,659 0.56 0 0 0
The Bill and Ben Party 10,738 0.51 0 0 0
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 7,589 0.36 0 0 0
New Zealand Pacific Party 6,991 0.33 0 0 0
Family Party 6,973 0.33 0 0 0
Alliance 1,721 0.08 0 0 0
Democrats for Social Credit 1,112 0.05 0 0 0
Libertarianz 1,070 0.05 0 0 0
Workers Party 824 0.04 0 0 0
RAM – Residents Action Movement 405 0.02 0 0 0
The Republic of New Zealand Party 298 0.01 0 0 0
70 52 122

National win, Douglas is in, I’m looking for a silver lining! by underground

It never feels good when you lose. Every four years New Zealand grieves after yet another All Black World Cup early exit. However this hurts more. Because it actually matters! The only person who risks losing their job after an All Black loss is the coach, whereas more must be a little uncertain now. The environment is going to get shafted, as will workers rights and equality for minorities. But what can you do? The country has spoken, even if no one can really justify their vote for National. “Change” seemed to be all that people wanted, regardless what that might actually mean. Churchill was clearly right when he said the best argument against democracy is talking to the average voter for five minutes, but then he also said it is the best system we’ve got. Times like this it doesn’t feel like the case though. Gone is one of our most competent and experienced Prime Ministers, exchanged for a money trader with no prior interest in politics. Act has grown, taking with them New Zealand’s most hated politician ever into government. It’s going to be hard but I want to look at the silver lining. Continue reading

Happy Election Day New Zealand! by underground

What a lovely sunny day to go out to a polling booth and express your rights democratically! What a joy! Casting my votes I felt privileged not only that I get to vote, a right not extended to all the peoples of this earth, but that we have MMP in this country so I at least get a party vote, as no doubt my candidate vote will be wasted, as I live in conservative Helensville!

If there is anyone out there who doesn’t know who to vote for, particularly if you live in Wigram, please cast your vote for Jim Anderton and the Progressives, who my little brother would vote for if he were old enough, unfortunately he turns 18 on the 13th of this month.

It is a shame that whilst my little bro, who is very interested and knowledgeable in politics, cannot vote, many who do not care or know remarkably little can vote. So to help them with casting their vote, I have constructed a diagram to inform them of what each party stands for. Rather than being based on specific policy, which people clearly ignore, I have placed each party on a continuum through time. So if you are unsure today, cast your vote for your favourite era! Continue reading