Current affairs sails on

June 25, 2015

In the beginning was the good ship Campbell Live and the captain was John.

And John steered his ship through troubled waters and calm and braved many storms and was admired by many for his skill although sometimes his ship listed somewhat dangerously to port.

But his crew was not troubled nor were the people of  the left who praised him mightily for sailing into the right whence he created tempests.

But  every night Captain John was called to sail his ship in a race for the coveted trophy Ratings for the winner of this race was graced with advertising dollars.

But night after night Captain John failed to win the trophy though he navigated through diverse waters, from the shallows of celebrity to the depths of despond.

And so the admirals of the TV3 fleet spoke for they were unimpressed and they beseeched Captain John to change course.

And John said no for verily he stood on the poop deck of his own importance and did not want to chart another course.

So the admirals and Captain John parted ways and the good ship Campbell Live sank amidst the tears of its crew and passengers.

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the people of the left who were sore afraid that all the socialist treasure was lost with the ship and that current affairs would not sail again.

But lo, two experienced captains,  Heather du Plessis-Allan And Duncan Garner were enticed from other craft to command a new ship and the admirals said its name would be Story.

And the admirals said that Story would be a smart, fun and thought-provoking ship that would lead the way in daily current affairs.

And the people went about their business, eating their dinners, playing with their smart phones, accessing the internet and watching television or not as it wasn’t in the beginning but is now and may or may not evermore be.

 

 

 

 


How many watch?

April 10, 2015

The petition to save Campbell Live has attracted more than 20,000 signatures, but signing a petition isn’t what matters.

What does matter is how many watch the programme and Stuff shows the audience is declining:

. . . Last year, Seven Sharp pulled in an average of 430,000 viewers in the 5+ demographic per episode. In comparison, Campbell Live had 240,000, according to figures from ratings company Nielsen.

In the last week of March, when Campbell Live celebrated a decade on air, it also saw some of the worst ratings in its history. According to analysis by throng.co.nz, it averaged an audience of 154,576 per night for that week – a week in which Seven Sharp exceeded 500,000 viewers for the first time.

The number of viewers isn’t the only sign of a programme’s influence.

Other media has picked up on some Campbell Live campaigns, and the wish for a smile one to help children who require orthodontic work changed lives for the better.

But such campaigns don’t pay the bills.

Advertising pays for programmes. Advertising will follow the viewers and fewer are watching Campbell Live.

I don’t think I’ve ever watched it from start to finish but it’s not that I’m watching something else instead, I rarely watch television much at all now.

My farmer turns on the TV when he wakes in the morning and usually has it on TV3, I listen to it, though don’t usually watch it until I get up. If my farmer’s still in the living room when I get there the TV will be on but I usually turn it off when he goes.

I turn it back on when I’m preparing dinner and catch the news but don’t have a preference for either channel. If it’s just the two of us TV usually stays on while we eat (yes, shame on us) but as background noise rather than a focus.

We usually record The Nation and Q & A but don’t always watch them and if I do I usually use the fast forward option for at least some of the time.

In the evening if I’m at home I might flick through the channels but usually give up when I find nothing of interest and I can’t remember the last time I watched anything from start to finish. If I have time to spare I’d rather read a book.

The sad irony is that while there are more options on ever over what I could watch, there is less and less that I really want to watch.


To be seen or not to be seen

April 16, 2014

Campbell Live wanted to do a series on party leaders at home.

It is the sort of publicity politicians can’t buy and an opportunity to show voters the people behind the politics.

John Key was first up last week.

Peter Dunne and Winston Peters declined to take part.

David Cunliffe was scheduled for Monday evening this week  but he pulled out.

. . . Mr Cunliffe has also cancelled an invitation for a second time to have television cameras in his home for an election year leaders series. Mr Parker says Mr Cunliffe has a young family and a right to privacy. . .

His family does have a right to privacy but if last week’s session at home with the Keys was anything to go by, there would have been no need for the family to be involved.

It is much more likely he doesn’t want people to see he doesn’t live in a modest house, in a modest suburb.

The family was a silly excuse and his decision an error of judgement similar to turning down the invitation for a weekly interview on the Farming Show.

It has been compounded by his not turning up in parliament at Question Time, choosing to address some business leaders instead.

We’re not hearing him on the Farming Show, we’re not see him on TV and we’re not seeing him in the House yet only last week he was complaining because he wasn’t going to be seen enough with the Royals.

Does he want to be seen and heard or doesn’t he?


Information beats confrontation

August 20, 2013

John Campbell’s confrontation with John Key on Campbell Live last Wednesday was a wonderful example of how not to do an interview.

Campbell was crusading, confrontational and angry. He made his views on the GCSB Bill blatantly obvious.

This morning Rachel Smalley’s interview (not yet online) with the Prime Minister was a complete contrast.

She was calm, measured, and gave no indication of her views on the issue.

She was after information, not confrontation, and she got it.

That included a repeat of the explanation of what access to metadata will mean under the new law:

Mr Key says the cyber-security function is to “protect” information, rather than accessing content.

He says the GCSB will be able to look at some email metadata, but that will not include addresses, the times emails were sent or received, or their content.

“Essentially it flows through a filter, and as it flows through that filter, it doesn’t record for anything other than a hundredth of a second,” he told media.

“It’s looking for the viruses which are coming into the system – it’s not looking at content, it’s not looking at who sent the email, it’s simply looking for the viruses and we don’t record … where the emails came from, who got them, any of that sort of stuff.” . . .
Mr Key is categorically ruling out “wholesale surveillance” of emails.
In cases where the GCSB wants to access the content of New Zealanders’ emails, Mr Key expects the agency to apply for very specific warrants, and seek the New Zealander’s consent, unless there are very good reasons not to.
Parliament’s intelligence and security committee will be able to see what type of warrants are being signed off and ask questions about those.The bill’s most controversial provision makes it legal for the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders on behalf of the SIS, Defence Force and police, if they have a warrant.

Whether or not viewers were reassured by what the PM said will almost certainly depend on their bias.

A lot, though not all, of the opposition to the Bill is politically motivated and Labour has made the mistake of opting for short-term point scoring rather than taking the opportunity to look like a government in waiting.

The wee parties can do what they like knowing they’ll never lead a government but sooner or later Labour will.

It could have looked like it was fit to do so by working with the government to address legitimate concerns about the legislation.

Instead of which it’s just playing me-too to the Green and Mana Parties and New Zealand First with David Shearer just another opposition party leader like Russel Norman, Winston Peters and Hone Harawira.


GSCB Bill explained

August 15, 2013

In between interruptions and attempted justifications from John Campbell, Prime Minister John Key explained the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) Amendment Bill.

Do people care?

“We got 124 submissions on the GCSB bill, and 30,000 on snapper,” he says.

Mr Key says he spends a lot of time touring the country, but the GCSB bill is not a topic that comes up in his discussions.

“People do not raise GCSB. I have public meetings, I have question sessions at everything I do. I probably have half a dozen meetings a day with public engaging with people…People don’t raise this issue,” he tells Campbell Live. . .

Whether or not people care, doesn’t change the facts:

*  The GCSB will need to obtain a warrant from the Commissioner of High Security Warrants – a retired court judge appointed by Mr Key.

* The surveillance of] Kim Dotcom was illegal under the old law and it’s illegal under the new law.

* Mr Key says some discussion around the bill has been misrepresented, and the organisation will not be able to spy on New Zealanders.

* the original problems with the GCSB stem from a section passed by the Labour Government in 2003.

Another couple of points from the video (at about 18:15)
* The only legal things they [GCSB] can do is provide assistance, and they do that about nine times a year.
* Anything else they might do in cyber searches would require a warrant, they wouldn’t have access to content and it would be a bit like virus protection.
Some other points not covered in the interview:

The Bill clarifies the law that the GCSB operates under.

* The GCSB had been assisting other agencies like the NZSIS, Defence and Police for years, under the previous Labour Government as well as under the National-led Government. The Labour administration knew about this activity and signed off on it.

* The GCSB believed that it was operating within the law at all times, but it is now clear that there are difficulties in interpretation in the law.

* The Prime Minister is responsible for for national security and takes it seriously. That’s why the Government is moving to clarify the law so that it is legally clear the GCSB can assist other agencies, as it has done for years.

This Bill won’t change what can be done, the SIS can do anything the Bill would permit the GCSB to do.

This isn’t a debate about whether a particular New Zealander will have intelligence gathered about them and about their activities.

It will happen with appropriate oversight and safeguards.

The question is whether the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) does it, or if GCSB does it under a warrant gained by the SIS.

The GCSB has the capability to do it now, the SIS doesn’t. If the Bill isn’t enacted what would have been done by the GCSB will be done by the SIS, more expensively.

I thought the Prime Minister won the debate, so did Gravedodger who reviews the interview here.

But it’s not only those of us in the blue corner who weren’t impressed with the interviewing.

Whaleoil found this on Twitter:

@JohnJCampbell Raving is not interviewing, John. A graceless and embarrassing performance. This from your greatest fan. Brian

 

 

 

 


Rural round-up

June 17, 2013

40% productivity rise realistic – Sally Rae:

On-farm productivity gains in the New Zealand sheep industry over the past 25 years have been an ”extraordinary story”, AbacusBio consultant Dr Peter Fennessy says.

Productivity, which drove profitability, had been increasing at about 2.5% a year, which he attributed to a combination of genetics and management.

There had been genetic improvement through consolidation of the ram-breeding sector and larger ram-breeding flocks, and uptake of new technology (rams and pasture) and better pasture management. . .

Working within cap on nitrogen – Sally Rae:

“As a nation, we cannot continue to have conversations about protecting water quality without having a parallel set of conversations that redefine the New Zealand farming business model.”

So says Taupo farmer and entrepreneur Mike Barton, who, when faced with what was effectively a cap on stock numbers, sought to increase the value of the product he produced.

A nitrogen cap was imposed on farmers around Lake Taupo to protect its water quality, with 35,000ha of land now covenanted for 999 years to remove 20% of manageable nitrogen. . .

Fonterra invests further $30m into Whareroa:

Fonterra has announced a further $30 million investment to expand its Dry Distribution Centre at its Whareroa site in Taranaki.

This follows a $23 million upgrade of the Whareroa coolstores last year, bringing the total capital investment in the logistics infrastructure on site to more than $50 million since 2011.

Fonterra Director of Logistics, Mark Leslie, says the project is part of Fonterra’s overall drive to simplify their supply chain and reduce the associated costs.

“These investments are part of a strategy to deliver more products, more directly to ports for export. . . “

Fieldays; washer cleans up– Jackie Harrigan:

Taranaki dairy farmer Simon Washer made a clean sweep of the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year Competition for 2013.

After a busy week of an Amazing Race through the North Island followed by a series of eight challenges at Mystery Creek, 25-year-old Simon won the People’s Choice Award – having built his Facebook following to more than 700 likes – before being presented with the Golden Gumboot Award for overall Rural Bachelor of the Year.

Simon is sharemilking in coastal Taranaki and a motor-cross and trail riding fan who is also involved in Young Farmers and chairman of his local club. . .

Green’s Taranaki claims poppycock – Harvey Leach:

What we saw on TV3’s Campbell Live about landfarming in Taranaki and then got from a Green Party media release was straight out of the conspiracy theorists’ playbook.

The Green Party called on Fonterra to stop taking milk from land in Taranaki that it said had been spread with oil and fracking waste, which included toxic chemicals.

This divides things into “everyone even remotely involved-qualified versus me”. In our case, those remotely involved-qualified were landowners, Fonterra, Taranaki Regional Council, petroleum companies and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association. The “me” in this story was the Green Party of Dr Russel Norman. . .

 


Low incomes not high prices still the problem

April 13, 2011

Fonterra agreed to freeze the price of milk for the rest of the year but other dairy products are getting more expensive:

The price of cheese and yoghurt could be on the way up at a supermarket near you.

Cafe owners supplied by dairy processor Goodman Fielder have received word the price they pay for some dairy products will go up from next Monday.

Some say that’s a result of Fonterra’s freeze on milk prices, and the same could happen in supermarkets.

Fonterra CEO Andrew Ferrier was interviewed about this on Campbell Live last night. He said the company’s profit margin on milk was around 12%:

“All we do is run a milk price which converts the world market price to the New Zealand equivalent,” . . .

Mr Ferrier says it is the distributors who set the price consumers pay in the supermarket.

“Ultimately it’s the distributors who are buying product – whether you are in a dairy or a supermarket – who will set pricing polices as they see fit.

“They buy from us and they have there own pricing policies.”

He reiterates that Fonterra is not pointing the finger at supermarkets, saying price structures are often very complex.

“I’ve been in business a long time, the last thing you do is try to put important customers in a difficult situation – and I won’t.”

I have no doubt that price structures are complex but how often do you see milk, cheese or yoghurt on special?

What about other basic foods – meat, eggs, bread, fruit and vegetables?

Is it my imagination or are non-staple foods and grocery items on special much more often than the staples, most of which are produced domestically if not locally?

Regardless of the answer to that question, higher prices for goods we export are good for the country. Producers are already benefitting from better returns and that will filter through the economy. Unfortunately the higher prices are filtering through first which makes it difficult for people on limited budgets.

But the problem of affordability is not high prices it’s low wages and better prices for exports is one of the best ways to improve them.


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