Life and Politics

Occasional comment on politics and the media in New Zealand

Tag: Chris Trotter

Trotter and Edwards are wrong

by Jake Quinn

Otago University political studies lecturer Bryce Edwards writes the NZ Politics Daily. It’s a fantastic resource. Bryce does what a good blogger should do, he reviews and compiles the days ‘real’ journalism, synthesises it, presents it and offers, briefly, his learned view on it. For those of us following NZ politics from abroad it is an invaluable resource. Moreover, he collates all that material, which for political scientists studying this election is incredibly helpful.

Bryce has been accused of being too tough on Labour and the Greens. I don’t tend to agree with these accusations. Bryce is an academic, he’s sceptical of all parties and politicians generally, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps, as a commentator of the ‘left’ he is expected by some to fight their corner, he does not, this is why I respect his views especially. Today however I did disagree with his take on Chris Trotter’s latest reiteration of his diatribe against Labour and Phil Goff. Read the rest of this entry »


Auckland Save RNZ protest a success

by Jake Quinn

Jake Quinn at today's Save RNZ Protest

This afternoon’s protest for Save Radio NZ in Auckland went well.  It had a good feel about it.  The approach was to have fewer politicians and more locals giving speeches.

Chris Trotter showed up and spoke, as did Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury, Dr Martin Hirst from AUT, a few local politicians ( The Green’s Keith Locke and Labour’s Carol Beaumont) and me.

TV3 reporter, Chris Whitworth, notes on the TV3 website:   “Let’s not let the sharks bite Radio NZ!” was protest organiser and founder of the Facebook group ‘Save Radio New Zealand’ Jake Quinn’s closing statement to the crowd. He says the Government is testing the waters with “nibbles” at RNZ and if the nation doesn’t react they risk a major blow to democracy.

This is an important point, and the reason why the Save Radio New Zealand Facebook group exists.  If we make enough noise, Finance Minister Bill English’s scalpel will back off (or go elsewhere).  That’s what we are trying to achieve.

Extra funding would, of course, be great – the network, as the 2007 KPMG report noted, is already well underfunded to deliver on its job description set out in legislation.

More realistically, however, we just want to avoid the types of cuts and organisational changes which we oppose (things like sponsorship and advertising being the main culprits).

Christ Trotter claimed that he thinks the battle has been won.  He thinks there are too many Radio New Zealand listening National Party voters and supporters to let Coleman get away with seriously undermining the state funded public service broadcaster.  I hope he’s right, but I don’t think we are anywhere near there yet.

I do think that the Facebook site has a good bit of growth left in it yet.  Shortly, we will approach John Key’s number of fans, then we may exceed it.  If and when that happens, you’d think that might get the attention of the mainstream media – as it would be a story challenging Key’s epic popularity – but we won’t hold our breaths.

[Update: Check out the Don’t Save Radio New Zealand campaign on Facebook, it has, after a week or so, just 103 fans compared to our 17,500.  Heh.]

Armstrong and Trotter on Goff

by Jake Quinn

In the wake of Phil Goff’s Nationhood speech, two things worth reading this morning are;  Chris Trotter on the Liberal Left’s rejection of it, and John Armstrong who concludes that “the status quo is not an option. Goff has to take risks. If the strategy works, John Key will have much to think about. If it doesn’t, the Labour caucus will have to do likewise.”

Conspiracies and race-cards

by Jake Quinn

Chris Trotter conjures up an interesting conspiracy theory.  His character plays the role of a fictional journalist asking the curly ones about HoneHarawira’s email leaker, Mr Buddy Mikaere.  The central question being, what, if anything, does Mr Mikaere have to gain from Hone departing the Maori Party (and how this might be related to his leaking of said email)?

Totter’s character asks: “Who is this man? What does he do? Who does he rub noses with? Did he have anything to gain by becoming involved in the Harawira controversy? Who, if anyone, did he talk to before releasing the offending e-mails?”

Trotter’s theory, as I read it, goes a little like; Maori Party supports Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) legislation and in return gets Foreshore & Seabed Act repeal plus ETS sweeteners for Maori (exclusive tree planting rights on DOC land etc), and Mikaere benefits in some way because of his role representing Iwi in such dealings and Hone is the only man who could possibly stand in his way… or something like that.

It could be totally off the mark.  But who would know.

David Farrar then draws our attention to the reasonably legitimate accusation from Colin Espiner that Phil Goff has played the race-card not once, but twice, in the last week.

Espiner writes: “Twice in the past week, Goff has played the race card, albeit carefully, by suggesting first that there was one rule for Harawira over his comments about white mo-fos and another rule for other MPs, and then raising the prospect that National’s proposed settlement with iwi over the ETS was based on ethnicity.”

It most certainly doesn’t resemble Brash’s despicable “birth-right to the upper hand” version of the tactic, but sounds like a mild dog whistle none the less. (That’s if it’s possible for a mild one to exist, I mean they either hear it or they don’t, right?)

Not many around here (based on this kind of logic), but plenty of folks are mightily peeved by Hone’s words, and his direct attack on Goff (saying he should be shot for his involvement in passing the Foreshore and Seabed Act) could be seen to have given the Labour leader legitimate cause to enter the fray. However, he should be very careful, as David suggests,with how he treads this line.  Going blue-collar on motorbikes is one thing, but let us not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Update: I just saw Patrick Gower’s bit in the Herald yesterday where he congratulates Goff for using Brash-like language (one law for all, bludged off the tax payer) and where he says Michael Law’s thinks Goff is “becoming relevant again”.

Sigh. Caucus next week should be interesting.

Oh, and the Standard likes it.  How odd (I’m not being sarcastic, I actually find it odd).

Things you may or may not find interesting

by Jake Quinn

There is a very interesting post and comments thread on Kiwipolitico, started by Paul G. Buchanan or ‘Pablo’ as he is known there, on the lack of public intellectuals in New Zealand. Outside of the many insightful comments in the comments thread itself, it roused interesting responses from both Chris Trotter and Bryce Edwards.

While I’m linking, do also check out this Colin James blog on Labour’s future, which leading up to this weekend’s party conference comes from the rather less pessimistic end of the opinion spectrum, it is definite food for thought.

Similarly thought provoking is Trotter’s Independant article on why National captured Labour’s ‘Waitakere man‘ at the last election.

Update: TVNZ 7, bless them, have a show hosted by Finlay MacDonald on Saturday nights at 9 called Talk Talk. Finlay talks to Judith Tizard in this episode where she talks about losing Auckland Central, the Mt Albert By-election ‘rumours’, coming from a political family, her friendships with Margaret Wilson and Helen Clark, having cancer, the guilt of a life in politics, and confirms that she will not make a decision about coming back into Parliament (she’s next on Labour’s list) until the time comes for that decision to be made!

Hooten taken apart over Bennett beneficiary leak

by Jake Quinn

My attention has been drawn to this interview by Radio NZ’s Katherine Ryan. If you can only be bothered exposing yourself to one piece of commentary over the Paula Bennett beneficiary-details-leaking saga, do make it this one. Hell, just listen to the last 30 odd seconds of the interview. It’s a damn shame you can’t actually see the look on Matthew Hooten’s face as Trotter and Ryan double teamed his argument so effectively.

They cover the usual “excuses” for Bennett’s actions such as, that ‘this type of thing has happened in the past’, that ‘if you go public and attack the government you can expect some flack’ (!) and that Labour should have warned these women about what was likely to happen.

All weak excuses for wildly different reasons: That this type of thing has happened before does not make it OK and if there was anything that got the last government off side with the public it was a sense of their arrogance, that they new best, and that you shouldn’t question their sound judgement. Does National wish to go down that road?

Going public = an expectation of getting some flak. This one is the worst of the lot. A terrible chilling effect, as Trotter notes, comes about when ordinary people are afraid to execute their right (or even obligation) to challenge the state when they believe they’ve been wronged.

The third one, that Labour has an obligation here to look after these women and shower them in legal advice is just simple politicking on Matthew’s part. Pushing the blame onto a wounded opposition recently burned, in this very domain, over the Burgess case. Assuming that the media will think “oh yeh it probably is Labour’s fault because most things have been this week”.

Ryan concludes the interview saying Matthew would be very unlikely to agree that if a private businessman criticised the government over a failure to receive one tax credit or another,  it would then be appropriate for government ministers (following his logic) to make said businessman’s personal financial details public.

The point being made by Ryan and Trotter is that because these women were state dependants it is OK to beat up on them. This has been shown to be the case by the massive inflow of support the Herald “your views” section has received in support of the Minister’s actions.

[Update: Cartoon in today’s Herald by Rob Emmerson]