Bias only wrong when it’s right


Green Party candidate Hayley Holt is to join Jack Tame as a host on TV1’s Breakfast show.

Holt, 36, stood for the Green Party in John Key’s Helensville electorate in last September’s general election. At 17th on the party list, she missed out on a place in Parliament.

A former New Zealand snowboarder, she previously hosted alternative sports news show The Crowd Goes Wild on Prime and the breakfast radio show on More FM. . .

If this was a National candidate there would almost certainly have been an uproar from the left.

They petitioned against Mike Hosking hosting pre-elections debates because of his views but he’d never been a candidate.

The left won’t be campaigning against her appointment because in their eyes and ears political bias is only wrong when it’s right and it’s alright when it’s left.

She’s not the first former candidate to front such a show. Paul Henry who fronted breakfast shows on both TV1 and TV3 once stood for National.

Many years before that, Brian Edwards who had been a Labour candidate, was an interviewer on political programmes.

Bias doesn’t necessarily make people wrong for such work and if  they are politically biased it’s better to be out in the open than hidden.

1951 Wellington-Lyttelton yacht race TV1 tonight


The Peninsula Cruising Club’s Canterbury centennial race from Wellington to Lyttelton is the subject of Descent from Disaster, on TV1 at 8:30 this evening.

Only one of the 20 starters finished the race and two yachts, Argo and Husky, were lost with all their crew.

Another race entrant, Astral, was dismasted. A trawler, Tawera, took the yacht in tow but as the weather worsened the tow rope chafed through.

My father was one of the crew on the Caplin. A newspaper report in his journal records the account of the trawler skipper, George Brasell:

A newspaper report in Dad’s journal records the account of the trawler skipper, George Brasell:

“Astral was carrying a light and all we could do was to stand by alongside her and keep her in view. This was a tremendous task as it was blowing a full gale and a light was only visible when she topped the seas. My crew were tried to their utmost that night and did a wonderful job i n trying to keep the Astral in sight. Visibility was very bad. We only picked up land once after leaving Lyttelton.

“About midnight on Friday the crew of the Astral signalled us to put oil on the water. We did as requested until daylight when we started to take the crew off by means of a line dragging each member through the water. Luckily the rescue was carried out successfully. I felt proud of my crew. The rescue was carried out at the height of the gale. . . “

 I posted on the race on its anniversary. Several people with memories of it or connections to it left comments.

Paul Henry 1


Paul Henry’s new programme won the battle of the breakfast shows in our house this morning.

But then we’d been watching TV3’s breakfast programme much more than TV1’s anyway.

Henry’s show is a multi-media one.

Radio, live streaming and TV are very different media. But I got all I needed to know listening with my eyes shut when my farmer turned the television on at 6am while I was still dozing.

Cunliffe yeah-nah on Mana


Last week David Cunliffe refused to rule out working with Internet Mana.

Last night TV3 reported the Labour Party had told Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis to shut down a website aimed at his rival for the seat, sitting MP and Mana leader Hone Harawira.

But this morning Cunliffe told TV1’s Breakfast: (@ 2:28)

“. . . We’ve ruled out working with Mana in government  as well. I’ve said yesterday, I’ve said before Mana will not be part of a government I lead fullstop.”

Has he or has he not ruled out Mana?

If he has why is Davis being told to pull his head in – and his website off-line – and why isn’t Labour supporting its candidate in Te Tai Tokerau?

A strong campaign there would unseat Harawira and Mana would go with him in spite of the millions of dollars Kim Dotcom is throwing at it.

While Labour is yeah-nahing about whether or not it will work with Mana and whether or not it wants to win the seat, Davis is in no doubt.

He posted on Facebook last night:

I was on 3 News tonight because my campaign team had a look at a proposed website designed to take down Kim Dotcom and stop him from buying the seat of Te Tai Tokerau with his $3million dollars.
We explored this concept, debated it, then along with the Labour Party hierarchy decided it wasn’t in line with our Vote Positive messages and ditched it.
It was all about Kim Dotcom.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who donated $50,000 to far-right wing disgraced politician John Banks.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who said the police turning up at his front door was as bad as the suffering Maori have endured for close to two centuries.
This is the same Kim Dotcom had nothing to do with Maori until he found a way to take advantage of some to try to keep himself out of an American jail.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who’s garage is bigger and flasher than 99% of homes in Te Tai Tokerau, and still cries ‘poor me’.
This is the same Kim Dotcom, who if he really cared about the people of Te Tai Tokerau, would have got out with all the Labour volunteers after the floods and storms and distributed food packages to those who needed them instead of staying tucked up in the mansion.
This is the same Kim Dotcom who turned up to hui up north in a limousine while kaumatua and kuia rode in a rattly bus.
This is the same Kim Dotcom whose interference in Te Tai Tokerau politics was described as a disgrace to over 300 people at the Ngati Hine hearings in Pipiwai yesterday.
I make no apologies about looking at a website that asked the public to donate $5, $10 or whatever they wish to koha, to bring down a fake.
I’m just an ordinary Maori living up north trying to stop the biggest con in New Zealand’s political history from being pulled against my whanau, my hapu, my iwi.
I make no apologies if there’s another Maori politician in the north feeling pretty sensitive about all the criticism he’s copping from hapu throughout Te Tai Tokerau because of the con job.
I’m prepared to cop the criticism from him because it’s just the price a person pays when he stands up for his people and his principles.

Davis is quite sure he wants to win the seat, and on current polling he’d have to if he wants a seat in parliament because his list placing isn’t good enough win a seat that way.

But it’s difficult to know whether his leader and his party are as keen.

The only thing we can be sure about  is that Labour is unsure.

It’s as confused and divided about this as it is about its campaign, its direction and its leader.

Why save what few watch?


Grey Power has added its voice to the individuals and groups calling on the government to save the free-to-air channel TV7.

There is a case for public broadcasting but TV1, 2 and 7 are poor models. The first two are indistinguishable from other commercial channels and TV7 has such a tiny number of viewers.

Maori TV is a better model, but it rarely attracts much of an audience either.

Rather than wasting time and energy trying to save a channel hardly anyone watches, people should be trying to find ways to get the best of the channel’s programmes on TV1 where they’d have a better chance of attracting a greater audience.

Strong and stable or shaky stack?


Last night’s TV1 leaders’ debate confirmed that Phil Goff is an able and experienced politician who ought to know better than to promote policies which will increase debt, hamper growth and costs jobs.

It also confirmed that John Key is an able politician and his real world experience is more than a match for Goff’s parliamentary longevity. Unlike Goff he leads a party with a plan to reduce debt and encourage growth and the jobs which will come from that.

In announcing National’s action plan should it lead the next government, Key said:

We will get straight back to work on making our economy stronger, by balancing the books, repaying debt, and creating more jobs.

The plan outlines the next critical actions a National-led Government  will take in several important areas – debt and the economy, welfare,  law and order, education, health, and rebuilding Canterbury.

Each of these areas is vitally important to the future of New Zealand,  but none more so than getting back into surplus and reducing New  Zealand’s debt. But to carry out this plan, we need a strong, stable National-led Government.

Although the polls suggest that a National win is a near certainty, it isn’t.

. . . the reality is that Saturday is the only poll that counts, and the result will be much closer than some people think.

Under MMP, you can stack up the parties in all sorts of combinations  and the potential for a Labour Party-led stack of minor parties is very  real. And the more complex the stack of parties, the more expensive it will be.

Two things are certain. Firstly, that a Labour-led stack will lead to  more debt – around $21 billion over four years collectively so far. 

Secondly, it will stack up more costs and burdens on business – Labour  has 10 big extra costs of their own – and that means fewer jobs for New  Zealanders. New Zealand can’t afford that recipe.  

A strong, stable National-led government or the shakey stack of Labour, Green Party, Maori Party, New Zealand First and Mana?

The choice is clear. If we don’t want to join the European PIGS – Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, we need strong and stable government focussed on cutting debt and increasing growth, not  a shakey stack competing with each other to get their expensive and economically irresponsible policies implemented.

The action plan is here.

Let the debaters debate


The first TV1 debate between John Key and Phil Goff was a disappointment.

There was too much happening with not just the speakers and chair but political commentators giving their views and questions from journalists in the studio and the public via video.

It was neither good entertainment nor good information.

Wednesday’s debate in Christchurch, organised by The Press, was much better. The two party leaders were able to address the audience and respond to each other with few interruptions.

Last night Jim Hopkins chaired the Queenstown Great Debate between finance spokesmen (they were all men) for National, Act, Labour, the Maori and Green Parties.

Like the Press debate, speakers were given the opportunity to express their views with little intervention from the chair.

It was broadcast live on Radio Live. You can listen to opening comments  here, the first hour here, the debate on asset sales here and the second hour here.

TV1 will have another debate between the National and Labour Party leaders.

They should learn from the mistakes they made with the first one and the good example of these other two debates: keep it simple and let the debaters debate.

TV leaders’ debates scheduled


TV1 will be broadcasting three leaders’ debates in the run-up to the election.

Prime Minister John Key and Opposition leader Phil Goff will face each other on the 31st of October and the 23rd of November.

The leaders of the wee parties will debate each other on November 16.

All debates will be live, hosted by Mark  Sainsbury and moderated by political editor Guyon Espiner.

Political scientists Dr Jon Johansson & Dr Claire Robinson will be fiving giving comments..

TVNZ will invite members of the audience who won’t be representatives of political parties.

A media panel lead by Te Karere Editor, Shane Taurima will also be given time to ask questions.

Viewers are invited to send in video questions for the leaders and vote in a text poll.  The debates
will also be streamed live on

No frills, no fluff, just news


TV3 has started broadcasting early morning news again, no frills, no fluff, just news.

I like that in theory but it doesn’t fit my with morning routine in practice.

Television has pictures which mean you need to look at them at least some of the time and that’s not easy to do when doing other things which need to be done at that hour of day.

And when the pictures are rarely more than the faces of the interviewer and interviewee there’s not a great deal of difference between that and radio.

TV1’s morning business half hour is similar to TV3’s new morning news and both are much better than the chit chat and advertisements which take up most of the time on TV1’s Breakfast programme.

But if I’m not looking at the pictures I might as well be listening to the radio.

First they came for the pigs . . .


Last year animal welfare activists targeted pig farming and they’ve had another go at it recently.

The grapevine warned us they would also be on the warpath during calving and lambing and they are.  TV1 news last night started with a story on inducing calves in dairy herds.

There are differing views on the practice – some vets say as long as it’s done properly it’s not inhumane, others oppose the practice.

Regardless of whether it is humane or not induction is  being phased out anyway.

The  reporter said cows are induced to get them producing milk earlier. That’s only part of the story – if cows are too late calving one season they’ll be later, sometimes too late, getting in calf for the following season.

The story also didn’t explain that cows are induced here because unlike most other countries we have seasonal milking.

Overseas where most of the milk produced is for the domestic market herds have some cows calving all through the year so it doesn’t really matter if the calves aren’t produced at a particular time. That happens with town supply herds here too but most of our herds produced milk for export.

Some farms milk through winter for export but most calve in spring, get the cows pregnant in early summer and stop milking by the end of May. This cycle follows grass growth – cows are producing milk when there’s more for them to eat. Grass growth slows or stops altogether over winter.

Cows which are too late for artificial insemination  or going to the bull or don’t conceive are usually culled.

When inductions stop altogether there will be more dry cows which will be sent to the works and farmers will be likely to increase the size of their herds to compensate.

No doubt some people will object to that too.

Timid timing


If there’s a worse time than 9am on Sunday for a television programme on politics it’s probably 11am on Saturday and 8am on Sunday.

But those who think they know what and when people want and don’t want to watch, have scheduled TV1s Q&A at 9 on Sunday mornings and TV3’s The Nation and 11 on Saturday with a repeat at 8 on Sunday.

Do they schedule the programmes at these times because not enough people watch them, or do not enough people watch them because of when they’re scheduled?

If it’s the latter and the TV channels weren’t so timid about there timing they might find that scheduling these programmes when more people can watch them might mean more people would watch them.

But which one would take that chance of scheduling what might be intelligent debate at a more watchable hour when ratings rule and people have the choice of switching channels if they don’t like what’s on?

February 15 in history


On February 15:

509 Khosrau II is crowned king of Persia


1564 Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer and physicist, was born.

1637Ferdinand III becomes Holy Roman Emperor.

 1804Serbian revolution started.

1805Harmony Society was officially formed.

 The Harmony Society church in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania.

1812 Charles Lewis Tiffany, American jeweller, was born.

1820 Susan B. Anthony, American suffragist, was born.


1835 – The first constitutional law in modern Serbia was adopted.

1852Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, London, admitted its first patient.


1874 Sir Ernest Shackleton, Irish Antarctic explorer, was born.

1877  Louis Renault, French automobile executive, was born.


1879 American President Rutherford B. Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

1882 The first shipment of frozen meat left New Zealand.

First shipment of frozen meat leaves NZ

1891 AIK was founded at Biblioteksgatan 8 in Stockholm by Isidor Behrens.


1898 – Spanish-American War: The USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana harbour, killing more than 260.

USS "Maine" entering Havana Harbor on 25 January 1898, where the ship would explode three weeks later

1906 – The British Labour Party was formed.

Labour logo

1909 Miep Gies, Dutch biographer of Anne Frank, was born.


1909 The Flores Theatre fire in Acapulco, 250 died.

1942  The Fall of Singapore. Following an assault by Japanese forces, British General Arthur Percival surrendered. About 80,000 Indian, United Kingdom and Australian soldiers become prisoners of war, the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history. The Sook Ching massacre began.

Singaporesurrender.jpgLt Gen. Arthur Percival, led by a Japanese officer, walks under a flag of truce to negotiate the capitulation of Allied forces in Singapore, on 15 February 1942.

1944 The assault on Monte Cassino, started.

Battle of Monte CassinoRuins of Cassino town after the battle

1944 Mick Avory, British drummer (The Kinks), was born.

1945  – John Helliwell, British musician (Supertramp), was born.


1947 David Brown, American musician (Santana), was born.

1950 – The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China signed a mutual defense treaty.

1951 Jane Seymour, British actress, was born.

1952King George VI was buried in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

1959 Ali Campbell, British singer and songwriter (UB40), was born.

1960 Mikey Craig, British musician (Culture Club), was born.

1961Sabena Flight 548 crashed in Belgium, killing 73, with the entire United States Figure Skating team, several coaches and family.

1965 – A new red-and-white mapleleaf design was adopted as the flag of Canada, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner.


1970 – A Dominican DC-9 crashes into the sea during takeoff from Santo Domingo, killing 102.

1971Decimalisation of British coinage was completed on Decimal Day.

1972 – Sound recordings were granted U.. federal copyright protection for the first time.

1976 – The 1976 Constitution of Cuba was adopted by the national referendum.

1978 New Zealand beat England in a cricket test for the first time.

New Zealand beats England in a cricket test for the first time

1980 Television One and Television Two (formerly South Pacific Television) under the newly formed Television New Zealand went to air for the first time.

1982 The drilling rig Ocean Ranger sank during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland, killing 84 rig workers.


1989 Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan: The Soviet Union officially announced that all of its troops have left Afghanistan.

1991 The Visegrád Agreement, establishing cooperation to move toward free-market systems, was signed by the leaders of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland.

2001 First draft of the complete Human Genome is published in Nature.

2003 Protests against the Iraq war occurred in over 600 cities worldwide. It is estimated that between 8 million to 30 million people took part, making this the largest peace demonstration in the history of the world.

 StWC poster advertising the demonstration

2005YouTube, was launched in the United States.

YouTube logo.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Cabinet announcement to be broadcast live


John Key’s announcement of his cabinet is to be broadcast live by both TV1 and TV3 at 3pm.

UPDATE: Well I had a media release saying that was what was going to happen, but it didn’t.

Blue block just – TV1 poll


TV1’s final pre-election poll puts National at 47% support and Labour at 35%.

The Green Party has 9%, Act 2.5, New Zealand First 2.4% and Maori Party 1.3%.

It would be a 122 seat party so National, (58 seats) Act (3) and United (1) would just get a majority with 62 seats.

Labour, (43 seats), Greens (12 seats) and Progressive (1)  would get 56 seats.

The Maori Party would have 4 seats so even if they went with Labour the left block would be two seats short of a majority.

New Zealand First wouldn’t be in parliament.

However, a change within the margin of error could make a difference to any of those conclusions.

And the winner was?


The TVNZ poll  on the final leaders’ debate declared John Key the winner with 66% of the votes and 34% opting for Helen Clark.

That’s similar to the reaction to the first debate although this time (shock horror, I’m sort of going to attempt a bit of balance) I don’t think that was a fair reflection of the performance which was pretty even.

However, the ODT  also gave it to Key and said the best lines were:

Miss Clark: “We do have core basic differences, but that doesn’t mean you can’t like people.”

Mr Key: “Outside of politics, we see the good in each other.”

It is important to see the people behind the politics and this debate did show a little more of the human side of both Clark and Key.

I think he’s performed well in all the debates and that she was much better in this one – but the change in her from the first to the last is so great (remember the temper tantrum?) I’ve got to ask, is this change we can believe in?

Last night reminded me of the billboard photos, summed up by this letter writer to the ODT:

For whom shall I cast my vote? Well, that young girls on the Labour Party posters and hoardings looks good, but for the life of me, I have been unable to get any coherent information about who she may be.

                                                               Trevor Norton – Hampden.

5 more sleeps . . .


. . . until election day and the man who was happy to be MP for Tauranga will be unhappy with the TV1 poll.

Wee parties unaffordable luxury


Jenni McManus told NZI Business this morning that everyone should be voting National or Labour because the wee parties don’t understand the seriousness of the economic situation and are an unaffordable luxury.

They’re true blue in Oturehua


TV 1 is taking the political pulse of the nation on an election road trip.

Tonight they stopped in Oturehua and found 100% support for National.

That isn’t anything to get excited about however, because they only asked three people.

The last time I stopped in Oteurehua was in January for a National Party branch AGM. We adjourned to the pub which had a very good array of Central Otago wines which the publicans explained was a result of demand from cyclists on the rail trail.

Peters pushed for Glenn to be consul


TV 1 News has Ministry of Foreign Affairs papers which show Winston Peters pushed for Owen Glenn to be made honorary consul for Monaco.

Foreign Affairs chief executive Simon Murdoch wrote to Peters’ senior officials in April 2007 saying Peters had requested to appoint an expat of his choice as the honorary consul in Monaco.

The next day one of Peters’ senior advisors clarified that the name Peters put forward is Glenn’s.

By the end of August last year Peters was frustrated with the lack of progress.

He was pushing for New Zealand’s ambassador in France to meet Glenn over the posting, according to an email from the deputy secretary of Foreign Affairs.

The papers were only released after the intervention of the Ombudsman.

Guyon Espiner says that the documents show Peters lobbied hard for the appointment.

Glenn said in September that Peters had supported his bid for the position but Peters has always denied that.

25% yes 75% no to MMP


TV1’s phone and text poll asked: should MMP be retained?

25% voted yes and 75% voted no.

Around 16,500 people took part.

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