Labour TV

February 18, 2014

Are Maori and Pacific programmes on television politically neutral?

Several times when I’ve watched the Maori news programme Te Karere, or Tangata Pacifica I’ve wondered if they were biased towards the left in general and Labour in particular. Revelations by TV3  add fuel to my suspicions:

3 News can reveal state broadcaster TVNZ is being used as a campaign base by Labour Party activists.

They’ve even held a meeting in TVNZ’s Maori and Pacific Unit aimed at fundraising for Labour.

The unit’s manager, Shane Taurima, has held ambitions to become a Labour MP and his staff have been arranging Labour Party business, using TVNZ facilities like email.

Mr Taurima has resigned following the revelation.

Mr Taurima’s a Labour Party activist. He could be standing as a Labour MP this election.

Documents obtained by 3 News show the state broadcaster is being used to help Labour’s cause.

Labour’s electorate committee for the Auckland Maori seat Tamaki Makarau has been using TVNZ as a base.

Last year, a meeting was held at the Maori and Pacific unit’s Hobson headquarters, next to TVNZ’s main building, with Labour Party activists swiped through security.

On the agenda was “fundraising” – making money for the Labour Party.

The unit produces news, current affairs and documentary programmes like Te Karere, Marae Investigates and Waka Huia. Mr Taurima has managerial and editorial control. . .

Using a workplace for political, or any other activity, without the employers’ permission is wrong but that would be between the employer and staff in a private business.

This employer isn’t a private business. It’s a publicly funded state broadcaster which is supposed to provide fair, balanced and politically neutral reporting.

Is it my bias which makes some of the Maori and Pacific programmes seem biased or has the political activism of some employees influenced what’s been broadcast?

The national in RadioNZ National has nothing to do with the party, it’s used in the sense of nationwide.

TVNZ’s board and management must ensure that anything to do with labour at the state broadcaster is in the sense of work, not the party or politics.


Paul Henry returns

October 24, 2013

Paul Henry is returning to television – at a different time on a different channel:

Covering everything from the erudite to the outrageous, The Paul Henry Show brings the irrepressible broadcaster back to New Zealand television screens in 2014, in a brand new show screening weeknights on TV3.

Expect Henry’s trademark blend of news and entertainment as he shares his unique take on the world. Insightful, satirical, and always truthful, Paul Henry will call it as he sees it, five days a week. Love him or hate him, The Paul Henry Show will be appointment viewing.

The announcement doesn’t say what time the show will screen.

Whenever it does it will make a pleasant change from the sugar and sanctimony that currently screens at seven.


Will Labour follow Labor?

June 28, 2013

Labour leader David Shearer is on notice :

Labour leader David Shearer has been put on two months’ notice by his own MPs – if the poll ratings don’t improve, his leadership will be challenged.

A Labour MP told 3 News today that Mr Shearer had until spring – two months away – to pick up his and Labour’s performance.

The MP, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “The caucus is just really flat. It’s not panic or anxiety just yet, but a couple more bad polls and it will be. David’s got a couple more months. A change in leadership cannot be ruled out before the end of the year.

“Spring time is when people will get really nervous, just over a year out from the election. We don’t want to get into the “Goff-zone”, where it’s too late to change the leader, but you’ve got someone in there the public just don’t want -the phone is just off the hook.” . . .

Continuing poor poll results precipitated a change of leadership for the Australian Labor Party.

Continuing undermining of Julia Gillard’s leadership by her colleagues was one of the reasons for her loss of support.

Labour’s already emulating Labor in that regard and if that continues they’ll be following their Australian counterparts with a leadership challenge in a couple of months too.


A tale of two polls

May 27, 2013

TV3 says LabourGreen are closing the gap on National:

National remains on top, with 47.3 percent – down 2.3 percent. Labour goes up to 33.1 percent; that’s up 2.9 percent. The Greens are up a tad, at 12 percent.

New Zealand First drop to 2.2 percent, beneath the 5 percent threshold required for leader Winston Peters to get back. . .

Patrick Gower says that’s proof the LabourGreen power play appeals to voters.
But TVNZ says National could rule alone:

National has jumped six points and is sitting pretty on 49 percent.

Labour has dropped three points, now at 33 percent.

The Greens have lost a big chunk of support, now in single digits on nine percent, while New Zealand First picked up a point to be on four percent. . .

Both polls are close enough to each other and both show that National is still fairly close to the support it got in the 2011 election which is an amazing feat given the natural and financial challenges the government has had to tackle.

But polls aren’t elections and there’s still nearly a year and a half until the next one.


Bad taste photo tells wrong story

March 14, 2013

Federated Farmers is justifiably unhappy about a photo the NZ Herald used to illustrate a drought story.

We understand from inquiries that the animal shown had suffered a major injury. A vet had attended and a decision was taken to end its suffering; this was appropriate, humane and has absolutely nothing to do with the current drought.

Members of Federated Farmers are rightfully concerned the photo is in bad taste and lacks context.

Federated Farmers feels the NZ Herald has made a story fit an image. It wrongly creates the impression there are widespread animal welfare issues when in fact there aren’t.

We have asked the Ministry for Primary Industries and they report the condition of stock coming through for processing is no different now than it was before the various drought declarations.

Farmers are responsibly sending stock away while they are in good condition. Furthermore, livestock have to meet all animal welfare requirements on the transportation of stock. For the occasional animal that has suffered a debilitating injury or illness, then humane slaughter on-farm may be appropriate under the animal welfare code.

The story, headlined, drought takes deadly toll on farms is topped by a photo of a farmer about to shoot a cow.

But the cow isn’t a victim of the drought.

But Federated Farmers spokesperson Willy Leferink says the cow was not suffering from starvation and was euthanised in the presence of a vet because of a major injury.

“This was appropriate, humane and has absolutely nothing to do with the current drought.”

Mr Leferink says farmers cannot just kill stock if they cannot feed them because it is against the law.

“A farmer has to get in contact with the authorities and ask for help if they cannot feed their cows. They cannot just shoot them, that is against our laws,” he told 3 News.

NZ Herald has made a story fit an image. It wrongly creates the impression there are widespread animal welfare issues when in fact there aren’t.”. . .

Farmers are permitted to humanely slaughter an animal on their farm if is it is justified by severe illness or injury.

That’s what the photo shows but the headline and story would lead readers to think it was being shot because of the drought.

It is an out of context photo that tells the wrong story and sensationalises a serious issue of drought which is not one of animal welfare.

 


Milk in schools works

December 11, 2012

Not every school which was offered free milk from Fonterra has liked it.

But TV3 found a Waikato school where it is making a positive difference to the children’s learning.

It’s also making a difference to milk consumption out of school:

Northland kids have been drinking more milk – at school and at home – since the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme kicked into gear in early 2012, according to an independent evaluation by the University of Auckland.

Fonterra commissioned the report to understand the impacts of its school milk pilot on children’s consumption and attitudes to dairy.

Associate Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, who led the evaluation, says the results show a significant increase in children’s milk consumption following the adoption of the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme in Northland schools.

“A key highlight of the results is that the rise in consumption has happened both at school and at home – with the evaluation showing a 28 per cent increase in the number of students who reported drinking milk five or more days a week.”

In addition, the evaluation showed a clear increase in the number of children drinking milk at least twice a day – with students consuming milk twice or more each day increasing from 66 to 77 per cent.

“The evaluation provides evidence that Fonterra Milk for Schools is helping to increase children’s milk consumption not only during school time, but overall as well,” says Associate Professor Ni Mhurchu.

Carly Robinson, Fonterra General Manager Co-operative Social Responsibility, says the Co-operative is encouraged by the findings.

“Our goal with Fonterra Milk for Schools is to make a lasting difference to the health of New Zealand children. New Zealand is the largest exporter of dairy products in the world, but at home, we’re not drinking as much milk as we used to. These findings show that this programme can help get Kiwi kids drinking more milk.”

116 Northland primary schools are participating in the Fonterra Milk for Schools pilot – making up 85 per cent of the region’s eligible schools.

“Each term we survey the schools and our latest results showed that around 90 per cent of schools that responded were either satisfied or very satisfied with the programme,” says Ms Robinson. . .

The milk is free to the schools but it costs the company and in turn its suppliers.

But if the programme is helping children and increasing milk consumption then it’s worth it.


Tapering off

October 16, 2012

Last week TV3 was happy to give David Shearer air time with his claims Prime Minister John Key was taped speaking to the GCSB.

This week the channel’s enthusiasm for Shearer’s point of view is tapering off as it asks has Shearer’s GCSB claim backfired?:

Labour leader David Shearer says his party has “asked the question” of the Prime Minister, by claiming that Mr Key was recorded mentioning Kim Dotcom at the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) before the date Mr Key says he first knew about the man behind Megaupload.

But an increasingly stressed Mr Shearer now faces serious questions himself.

The central one is: was a recording actually made? Did the GCSB tape ever actually exist?

There is no evidence that it does or ever did and Shearer’s colleagues aren’t rushing to support their leader.

Quote of the day on that goes to Shane Jones:

“I’ve had a guts full in my career of talking about video tapes – believe you me,” says Shane Jones.

His leader might well be sharing those feelings.

More late referrals from Electoral Commission

February 29, 2012

The Electoral Commission has made more referrals to the police:

  1. Mediaworks for the broadcast of The Jono Project on TV3 on 4 November 2011, which in the Electoral Commission’s view was an election programme, contrary to section 70 of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
  2. Five comments posted by members of the public on social media on election day, which in the Electoral Commission’s view were advising or intended or likely to influence any elector as to the candidate or party or referendum option for whom the elector should or should not vote, contrary to section 197(1)(g)(i) of the Electoral Act 1993.

The offending episode of the Jono Project is here.

I haven’t watched it nor do I know what the comments on social media were and where they were made.

But this is yet another example of how our electoral law is failing.

If we have laws about acts which might influence the election they are ineffective if they’re not policed and any breaches acted on before the election.

 


Is that all there is?

January 26, 2012

The so called teapot tape has been released on YouTube..

It’s not easy to hear what is being said by John Key and John Banks in their pre-election conversation because of the background noise.

But from what I could hear and understand there is absolutely nothing to cause embarrassment or upset to anyone.

If that is all there is, the Herald on Sunday and TV3 who had the tape and made such a fuss about it really need to look at themselves, their standards and motivation.

They inferred  implied the contents were politically sensitive and potentially embarrassing.

They told us it was in the national interest to release them. If that’s all there is it wasn’t. They are simply boring.

The HOS and even more so TV3 turned a non-event into a potential scandal and then someone from one of those media outlets or Bradley Ambrose, the reporter who, inadvertently or not, recorded the conversation, gave something to Winston Peters which enabled him to do what he does best – manufacture outrage to generate attention.

The only embarrassment is to the media who created an issue out of nothing.

I am not linking to the recording because I am unsure of the legal position but if you can’t find it you’ll save yourself 10 minutes and 46 seconds of boredom.

Whaleoil, Kiwiblog and Keeping Stock also have posts on the recording.


Balance not censorship

January 18, 2012

New Zealand On Air is seeking legal advice on whether it should censor television programmes during election campaigns.

NZ On Air says it has been accused of political bias following TV3’s screening of Inside Child Poverty: A Special Report four days ahead of the general election on 26 November last year.

In documents released under the Official Information Act, NZ On Air says it was not happy with TV3’s decision to screen the documentary on 22 November.

It says it takes its political impartiality very seriously and now stands accused of political bias.

If censorship is the answer they’re asking the wrong question.

The mistake wasn’t NZOA’s in funding a programme  nor was it TV3’s in screening the programme. The mistake was the station’s failure to balance the screening of a politically biased documentary with a range of other views.

All media should be free to cover any and all political issues in the run-up to an election but when public money is involved it should not be used to push a particular barrow unquestioned.

The documentary in question gave the poverty industry’s side of a contentious issue and TV3 made no attempt to balance that with contrary views.

The answer to the accusations made of NZOA isn’t censorship, it’s fairness and balance.


Page turner

January 14, 2012

If you’ve ever wondered about the best way to turn the page of your nespaper of a morning, wonder no more.

Joseph Herscher has the answer (and he says the hamster is still alive):

TV3 has the story behind it.


Is he jumping or being pushed?

December 3, 2011

TVNZ says Pita Sharples will happily stand down as co-leader so new blood can come in.

TV3 has a different slant:

. . . it seems the Maori Party do not want Dr Sharples as co-leader any more and  his position will come up for grabs.

The male co-leadership will be contested by Te Ururoa Flavell – the only  other male MP in the Maori Party.

Sharples said before the election that this would be his last term and it makes sense to hand the co-leadership over in plenty of time for his successor to make his mark.

But being happy to stand down is not the same as not being wanted, so is he jumping or being pushed?

UPDATE: The Dom Post says internal struggles are plaguing the Maori Party but offers nothing in the story to back that up.

Could it be the media trying to find conflict where none exists?

 


What’s up at TV3?

November 23, 2011

Karl du Fresne isn’t impressed with scalp hunting by journalists:

THE ELECTION campaign has brought to the fore a new style of television journalism.
It is aggressive, confrontational, highly opinionated and designed to provoke a reaction. Its chief practitioners are Patrick Gower and Duncan Garner of 3 News. . .

The Gower approach illustrates two trends in modern political journalism. One is to strive at all costs for what former British prime minister Tony Blair called “impact” – something to excite the public blood lust.

The other is to put the journalist at the centre of the story. The modern political reporter is no longer content to be a passive observer, but wants to be a player – a maker and breaker of careers.

He has followed this up by asking what’s going on at TV3? It is worth reading in full so I’m not going to paraphrase it.

I am however, pleased that someone who admits he’s voted Labour more often than National, shares my disquiet over both the tactics and the bias.

We aren’t alone. Someone has referred last night’s documentary on child poverty to the Electoral Commission.

 


No ruling on private in public

November 23, 2011

Justice Helen Winkelmann has declined to give a ruling on whether the conversation between John Key and John Banks was private because it would prejudice an on-going police case.

 “I have not reached any view on whether this was a private communication,” Justice Winkelmann said in her decision.   

“Indeed my decision turns upon the inadequacy of the evidentiary material before me to reach such a view, and in any event, the inappropriateness of my undertaking a mini trial as to whether certain conduct constituted a criminal offence … in advance of a police investigation or trial.”   

The decision means legal doubt remains over whether the conversation between Prime Minister John Key and Act’s John Banks was private, and it may be illegal to publish the tape.   

Up until now media with copies of the tape or a transcript have been reluctant to publish because of the risk of legal action.

If the Herald on Sunday and TV3 had been sure it wasn’t a private conversation they would have published a transcript of the conversation.

Instead they made do with insinuations and someone passed at least some of content on to Winston Peters to enable him to do what he does best – saying something to grab attention but nothing for which he could be held to account.


Diary of a political tragic

November 22, 2011

7pm: iPad and phone armed with the reactor worm, tune into TV3 leaders’ debate.

Moments later: wonder how many others are doing this – sliding reactor to 100 when preferred leader speaks and to zero when it’s the other’s turn.

More  moments later: track progress of audience worm, lukewarm reaction to John Key and positive for Phil Goff, mostly doesn’t reflect what either is saying. Wonder if audience is biased. (Later confirmed was  infiltrated by at least three Labour activists, about which TV3 is sorry but what can they expect when it was anything but a random selection of undecided voters.)

More moments later: Reactor on phone sticks on 100 when I want it at zero and zero when I want it at 100.

More moments later: decide if wasn’t a political tragic would have given up by now.

Yet more moments later: audience reacts in first obviously spontaneous reaction – worm plummets as Goff tries to justify not ruling out Winston Peters.

More moments later: All over bar the panel which declares it a draw by 2:1. Wonder if wasting an hour on this is going above and beyond call of duty, even for a political tragic.


WIll the worm turn again?

November 21, 2011

The worm used for a telelvision debate between party leaders in 2002 influenced the result of the election.

Peter Dunne made a few sensible comments which the worm, recording reactions of undecided voters in the qudience, responded to positively.

That got media coverage and whatever his party was called then got its best result.

An updated version of the worm, the Ray Morgan Reactor,  is being used for tonight’s debate between John Key and Phil Goff on TV3.

Given that people self-select its results will be unreliable and a distraction from the debate. Just another example of media focussed more on entertainment than enlightenment.

That said, it you want to play the game you can download the reactor for iPhones here and for androids here.

iPhone Screenshot 2

Which is worse?

November 20, 2011

Europe is teetering on the brink of financial meltdown, we’re just six days away from an election, and TV3 wants to know how sexy party leaders are:

The scores are low across the board when it comes to politicians sex appeal

I don’t know which is worse, that they’ve wasted time and money and insulted the intelligence of viewers with such a survey or that having done so they didn’t include the two female co-leaders.

Or would it have been worse if they had included them?


Earthquake prediction reporting another nominee for Bent Spoon

August 29, 2011

NZ Skeptics awarded their 2011 Bent Spoon for journalistic gullibility to all media outlets and personalities who took Ken Ring’s earthquake predictions seriously.

The Bent Spoon was awarded telepathically by those gathered for the annual NZ Skeptics Conference which, appropriately given the winner was held in Christchurch at the weekend.

And there’s already another nominee for the next award. TV3 is reporting Ring’s predicting another big earthquake for Christchurch at the end of September.

He does qualify the prediction:

On his website, he says there is a “potent” lunar alignment in the last week of September, same as the one that existed at the time of the September 4, 2010 quake.

“Indeed, it may not happen, and we all hope not, but the main players will be in position,” he says. “For example we might observe that Dan Carter and Ritchie McCaw are on the field, but that does not guarantee a win.”

And the report does include this:

A 3 News analysis of Mr Ring’s predictions earlier this year failed to show any evidence he was able to accurately predict earthquakes, and even his long-range weather forecasts did no better than chance.

Given that, why bother reporting this latest prediction? There is no news value in further predictions from someone whose predictions have been proved inaccuarte and even with the qualifications giving the prediction coverage is taking it seriously.

The Herald report is even worse, it doesn’t bother to report the unreliability of his previous predictions.

All media should ignore his predictions as the unscientific guess-work they are and anyone with any doubts should read, or re-read, David Winter’s scientific evaluation of the predictions.


Deliberate sabotage or stupidity?

May 30, 2011

Campaigning 101: a) stay on message. b) don’t take attention from the leader.

You could excuse Labour MPs for ignoring the first rule when the party hasn’t got much of a message to stay on. But flouting the second is either an act of deliberate sabotage or plain stupidity.

Which is it with Labour’s campaign manager who was silly enough to challenge Cameron Slater and backed-off when he didn’t like the counter-challenge.

Then in another desperate attempt to gain attention he does a tabloid blog post. (I’m not going to link to it, but here’s  Keeping Stock’s reaction.

Did Mallard fall on his head when he fell off his bike?

That might provide an explanation for what is bizarre behaviour for a senior MP but it’s no excuse for taking attention away from his leader who whichever poll you look at –   NZ Herald, TV3, TVNZ, –  needs all all the help he can get.

If he can’t depend on getting it from the party campaign manager who else is going to give it to him?

UPDATE: – Cameron has accepted the bike challenge without requiring acceptance of his counter-challenge.

What’s going to get more interest in the next couple of months – Labour’s leader or its campaign manager preparing for the challenge?


The hair has it?

May 18, 2011

It must be election year.

Peter Dunne has posted a video on the Untied Future website defending his hair.

I can’t find the video but TV3 says:

“What’s this thing about my hair. I’m getting fed up with being described as having a dead possum on top, all sorts of other things like that from people who think it’s untidy, it’s too grey, it’s too coiffeured.

“I think it’s really bald-headed men. I go on the Close Up show with Mark Sainsbury. It’s really very awkward because he is not looking at me, he is looking straight up here.”

He said he doesn’t appear on Campbell Live because John Campbell doesn’t like him, but added: “Sorry John, I quite like your plastic hair, too.”

Mr Campbell has since posted on Twitter that he’ll have Mr Dunne and his hair on his show tonight.

“I’ll interview them both at once. Or, my hair will interview his.”

He’s obviously combing hair, here, there and everywhere for publicity. Does someone this desperate deserve the brush off?


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