by Geoffrey Churchman
Although the mere mention of politics turns some people off — the new Park Avenue Market has made clear that stalls on politics and religion there are not welcome — it’s nevertheless an important subject as it affects most of our lives one way or another. Government sets the rules for society and the economy, how much people are required to contribute for the things it decides to do with its institutions, and the means by which it is all enforced.
At the local level, things which councils are empowered to do are fairly limited, even though requirements by the central government of what they do have increased in the last couple of decades.
With Parliament and the Executive (the Cabinet), however, all is possible.
NZ’s democracy took a big step forward in the mid-1990s with the adoption of Proportional Representation, whereby the ‘two party club’ gave way to representation of political parties with their different ideologies and policies in proportion to their support among voters.
The problem is that the attention they get from the Mainstream Media (MSM) is determined by perceptions of how many seats in parliament they will get — and the fewer that number, the less coverage they will get. If the likelihood of a party gaining seats (5% of the vote or an electorate seat) is very low, don’t expect any coverage, unless the coverage is driven by an agenda.
Another major factor these days is the political leanings of the editors and journalists; strict neutrality has become the exception rather than the norm. Most TV watchers know the slanted presentations that they are going to get from overseas ‘cable’ news channels like CNN, Al Jazeera, the BBC, Fox News, RT and Sky News, which variously cater for left or right wing, conservative or radical audiences. The same applies in NZ, except that Centre-Left and Hard Left attitudes dominate, particularly with the Stuff, NZME (NZ Herald), and Newshub (TV3) companies. Unlike its counterparts in Australia and the UK, TVNZ is actually relatively non-partisan, but its News mantra is clearly the following subhead:
Until the 1990s the main networks in America — CBS, NBC and ABC — all felt there should be a degree of public service in their news bulletins. But that decade their ownership all changed and with the change came the expectation of maximizing the potential of competitive peak viewer times by the new stockholders. The more sensational a story the better, and if in reality it wasn’t all that remarkable, no matter: it can be sexed up.
We’ve seen this almost every day on TV1 and TV3; never mind that politicians generally are not seen as icons by the public in the way sports and entertainment stars are, they can be made sensational. Every public hugging by Jacinda is a must-include, and if she has her hijab on, so much the better (the irony that it is a religion which makes clear women are inferior to men is ignored).
On the other hand, every gaffe / Political Correctness transgression by Donald Trump will get scorn treatment which is duly repeated by Newshub and TV1.
All this is driven by another MSM News mantra:
Cater to the lowest common denominator
This piece on medium.com from January 2018 succinctly sums it up: “TV is designed to appeal as many people as it possibly can so that advertisements are worth more and the revenue stream will steadily increase… TV does not encourage the treatment of a particular subject with breadth or depth.”
So, don’t expect thoughtful analytical articles or items by the MSM on policies being espoused by either the major or the minor parties during the 70 days left in this election campaign.
There was one surprising, or perhaps not-so-surprising, exception to this lack of coverage by Newshub (TV3) in its 6 O’Clock news bulletin last night (11 July), however: in an item on the New Conservative Party, which in the last published opinion poll had 1% support (along with the Maori Party.)
Although not presented by the obsessive Patrick Gower, it had his fingerprints all over it. The item seized on this rather unremarkable statement in its welfare policy —
New Conservative believes that the best place for a solo mother with a baby is with her immediate family. If that is not possible, then New Conservative would house these solo mothers in residential accommodation with a suitably trained/experienced couple as hosts.
— to make it seem remarkable, and then proceeded with the real purpose: yet another of Patrick Gower’s exaggerated rants about “right wing extremists” with, naturally, a sound bite from his beloved and equally obsessive Sociologist Paul Spoonley, plus a special mention of Botany seat candidate Dieuwe deBoer who presented to a Select Committee last year that the Jacinda & Stuart Nash gun ban would apply to a lot more than MSSA rifles of the type used by the mosque shooter. After the amnesty had ended last December deBoer got raided by a police armed detachment because he hadn’t handed in his bunny gun. But, of course, that’s not the way Patrick Gower made it look.
Probably, Patrick Gower laments the fact that the New Conservative Party is the closest he is going to get to indulge his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when it comes to parties standing at the election. He will get a big opportunity, though, when Brenton Tarrant is sentenced next month, and he’s probably already preparing lengthy rehashes of his silly claims in May of last year (see our analyses of them at the time).
The question needs to be asked: are not all people’s ideas and proposals worthy of examination without the predetermination by Patrick Gower and his ilk in the MSM that anything outside of their own ideology is the concoction of crackpots and wackos? Doesn’t democracy require it? Or do the MSM not care about democracy? (That is probably and regrettably a rhetorical question.)
Waikanae Watch has already looked at some and intends to look at some more minor party policies in the next 70 days.
Opinion by Ken Sims
The longer I observe politics in this country, the less I understand it. There is something about politics that can make apparently sane, cognizant, rational humans being behave totally irrationally, and make decisions that not only contradict what they purport to stand for, but whose consequences are known to be terrible.
When John Key’s National Government came to power, it was pretty obvious that they had already decided to sacrifice Canterbury’s waterways for industrial dairying. And through the efforts of National MPs Nick Smith and Amy Adams, that is exactly what they did.
You kind of expected that of a “it’s-a-resource-so-lets-sell-it” party feathering their own nests.
We Were Naïve
But when the Labour-led coalition was formed, some of us rather naively expected that behaviour might change. How wrong we were!
Despite the truly appalling consequences to waterway, aquifer and human health that are now becoming apparent in Canterbury, we are going hard-out to replicate that in the Mackenzie Basin, Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay. It is also occurring in the Waikato – and we are sending the consequences to Auckland for them to drink!
Now it appears that David Parker (and the whole Government to be fair) has decided that the provisions of the Resource Management Act safeguarding our waterways don’t apply to the Pukekohe and Tararua-Horowhenua regions because they are essential intensive vegetable growing areas. Despite knowing that the results of intensive horticulture are as bad if not worse than intensive dairying!
You now have the ludicrous situation where a dairy farmer or horticulture farmer in the Manawatu, if they pollute a waterway, will have the book thrown at them; but just down the road in Horowhenua, for those same farmers it is ‘yeah-nah, it’s okay, essential food production you know’.
But wait, there is more! It seems that Meridian Energy is also to be exempt from the ‘constraints’ of the RMA. That’s the same Meridian Energy that has just been ‘pinged’ for artificially fixing prices to its consumers.
I shake my head in wonder. It is madness. Is there a political party in this country willing to or capable of protecting our aquatic habitats and environments (discounting the lunatic fringe)?
There isn’t that I can see and that makes it even more important that we stand up and try.
(This was first published in the newsletter of the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers, of which Ken Sims is a life member.)
from the KC News website:
The great Kapiti Scarecrow Competition is on and organiser James Bishop is welcoming all entries.
“If you or your family want to make a Scarecrow and place the Scarecrow at the bottom of the bank along the wall or in our Vegetable Beds please do so before August 23 2020.
“Then take a photo of it in the garden and tag Waikanae Beach Community Garden, like our Facebook page and attach your image to be in to Win.”
James says there are three ways to win:
1, Best Scarecrow individual. Made by any person in our community.
2, Family Made. Made by you and one or more person in your family.
3, Peoples Choice. Chosen by the community.
“Winners will be announced at our Spring Festival when we are planning to have a Seed and Seedlings Swap meeting in early spring. So get creative and have fun.”
For any inquires don’t hesitate to contact James on the Waikanae Beach Community Garden Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/WaikanaeBeachCommunityGarden/
Although making an effigy of Mayor Guru as a scarecrow might be tempting, it could run foul of the Political Correctness Brigade 🙂 –Eds
The Honourable Eugenie Sage
10 July 2020
Re: Government endorsement of Kapiti Island ‘Gateway’ proposal
I write concerning your endorsement of the Kapiti Gateway Project. This project will provide a transit bio-security facility for visitors to Kapiti Island. Kapiti Coast District Council is seeking Provincial Growth Fund funding on the basis that it will create jobs and grow the economy. It has a ballpark cost estimate of $4.46 million¹. The economic growth will be driven by a purported increase in island visitor numbers soaring to 58,000 per annum.
Your endorsement was seen by the proponents as pivotal, particularly in light of the project not reaching break-even for 6 years. At the Council meeting of 28 May the Mayor emphasised the importance of your support in getting PGF funding. Outlined here are the areas of concern.
Government and the business case
- Encouraging a “Loss leader”
KCDC identified early on the almost insurmountable problems with trying to prove there was a legitimate business case to put up to the PGF. All of this was redacted when it came to filing the application, but should have been equally apparent to any competent Government advisor. Two memo’s put it succinctly:
- “The business case is a toughie, because from the Council’s perspective, it is a long-term “loss-leader”.
- “The difficult thing is justifying the expense. Not just the infrastructure but the ongoing costs. Council will have to fund the depreciation, the running costs and maintenance. That cannot be justified without a serious step change in the growth of visitors…. Without growth of this kind the Gateway could remain nice to have- which is likely to be judged as unaffordable in these times”.
Your perceived endorsement of encouraging visitor numbers to Kapiti Island to increase 300% enabled KCDC to present a business case that the project was feasible. Upon what statutory power or other ground did you exercise your decision to support this project identified as, a long-term “loss-leader”?
2. Government encourages PGF to fund projects requiring substantial Ratepayer subsidy
As a Cabinet member your support of this particular project indicates the Government considers projects that need ratepayers subsidy as meeting the PGF’s business case requirements. The details are in Annexure 1. KCDC’s documents show, even on a “best case” scenario the Gateway will not be self- funding for at least 6 years — 6 years of ratepayer subsidy.
3. 5 real jobs lost and 2 ticket issuer jobs gained
There are 2 boat operators. One operator, Eco (who carried over 6,000 of 15,000 passengers last year) supports a Gateway but opposes the Mayor’s ‘Taj Mahal’. The cost of using the bio security building will be $21 per passenger. Eco has said the extra $21 fee for using the checking room will kill his company as Eco’s customers will not be able to afford this in addition to the boat ticket price.
4. Phantom economic benefits to Kapiti²
You letter implicitly supports the argument there is a major economic benefit to the Kapiti Coast. Despite the fact that the Paraparaumu Beach Business Association- the alleged beneficiaries are entirely against this particular project.
Please supply the economic studies and data you have that justified your opposing the facts as seen by the business community you project as being the beneficiaries of the project. Your Mr Mace will know these include moteliers, B&B owners, café owners and a Kapiti Island tourism operator. They really want to know what you know that they apparently, despite years of hands-on experience, do not.
Increased bio-security safety
You say the project will increase bio-security. How can that be, when for 35 years the current system has worked perfectly, without a single breach? How more perfect can bio-security be than 100%? You avow “Current biosecurity activities are unlikely to be sufficient to fully protect the island from future biosecurity risks…”.
Please supply the information upon which you relied to support this pivotal contention.
Matters you may not have known — relevant to a change of decision
Proceeding on the assumption the Government is concerned that the citizens in the “team of 5 million” get equal and fair treatment, and the total denial to interested team members of their pre-existing (prior to Covid 19) rights, you are requested to reconsider your support for the project, taking into account these relevant factors.
Consultation on this specific project
The KCDC report at paragraph 68 says, “Neighbouring residents of the site, contacted in earlier stages of the project …”. This is incorrect. The 5 homeowners / property owners directly affected have made written statements saying they were never contacted.
- DOC supporting loss of open space on Reserve land — favours food and beverage outlets.
Not only is the main building a commercial activity building you, as Minister are supporting 2 pods (Containers) for commercial use providing food and beverage.
These further reducie open space on reserve land. This runs counter to the principles in the Reserves Act which you administer. S.3 specifies that reserve land is to be preserved and managed “ for the benefit and enjoyment of the public”. Where access is subject to a fee, that excludes all non -paying members of the public. Reserve land is for free public access.
I look forward to your urgent reply.
C.B. Ruthe LLB
1. KCDC is providing the land and the ongoing expenses. None will be met by either DOC, or the boat companies using the facility.
2. The economic benefit case KCDC relies on is predicated on “40% of visitors to Kapiti Island staying a night and if every person paid $200 a night (that is $400.00 for a couple). That is $1.2 million back into the local economy, p.a.”. A search on the Internet reveals there is no visitor accommodation at Paraparaumu Beach costing $400 per night for a couple: the range is $125–$150.
There are a lot of ways you’re paying for electric vehicles. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com: For now, they’re only requiring that electric cars be manufactured. How long will it be before they require people to buy them? Actually, you’re already paying for them. Several ways. New ways. The obvious way is in the form […]