Stuff and more nonsense – the perturbing case of political adverts being rejected

Having declared its intention to be guided by a set of treaty principles, Stuff has set about suppressing the views of a political group which questions the establishment of special seats for Maori on local  local authorities.

Or rather, two publications in the Stuff stable have got into the suppression business.

We learn this from Breaking Views, which has published an item headed Democracy Northland: The Ad Stuff Refused to Publish.

We look forward to a denial from Stuff and a statement which rebuts the Breaking Views claim that the Whangarei Leader and the Bay Chronicle have refused to publish an advertisement which promotes a petition from Democracy Northland.

The advert says: Continue reading “Stuff and more nonsense – the perturbing case of political adverts being rejected”

Oh look – 28 potential good-news stories about young people overcoming challenges (but Stuff has mostly missed them)

The Dom-Post gave front-page treatment today to the government’s declaration of a climate emergency.   This emergency – says Climate Change Minister James Shaw – will be backed with ambitious plans to reduce emissions.

Another of yesterday’s press releases from the Beehive, about an awards ceremony, did not pass muster with the Dom-Post editorial gate-keepers.  This was a statement about 28 young people who have overcome formidable disadvantages – Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis described them as young achievers who have been in the care of Oranga Tamariki or involved with the youth justice system.

Each of them received Oranga Tamariki Prime Minister Awards in recognition of their success and potential.

At the awards ceremony in Parliament, Kelvin Davis congratulated these young people for showing the strength and perseverance to succeed despite facing significant challenges. Continue reading “Oh look – 28 potential good-news stories about young people overcoming challenges (but Stuff has mostly missed them)”

Creative NZ support for propaganda adds up to $222,000 that won’t go to artists

The Taxpayers’ Union has joined Point of Order in raising questions about Creative NZ’s funding of articles on The Spinoff to pressure the Government “to remove direct democracy from local government wards”.

For good measure, it has inquired into the cost of this funding and tells us $222,000 in grants has gone the way of The Spinoff since 2016.

As Point of Order reported at the weekend, one Creative NZ-sponsored article on The Spinoff has the headline, ‘Why Nanaia Mahuta is right to repeal racist Māori wards legislation’.

A follow up is titled, ‘Want to petition council to veto your local Māori ward? Bad news – you can!’.

The Taxpayers Union dipped into The Spinoff’s files and found other opinion pieces in this series which profile Ihumātao protestors, make commentary on Twitter controversies, and praise Hon Nanaia Mahuta’s appointment as Foreign Minister.

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “Many New Zealanders would be appalled to know their hard-earned taxes are being used to promote political stances they disagree with. When government agencies engage in propaganda they undermine the neutrality of the public sector and the fairness of democracy.”   

search of Creative NZ’s website reveals $222,000 given in grants to The Spinoff since 2016.  

“It seems Creative NZ is keen on funding left-wing propaganda, but we doubt they’d give money for us to provide the counterargument. Regardless, political opinion pieces do not support the creative sector. Creative NZ should stick to its knitting or shut down and return its funds to the taxpayer.”   

A few weeks ago the Taxpayers’ Union revealed  how Creative NZ’s COVID-19 response grants have dished out taxpayer money to ‘compositions inspired by emotions felt during the Covid-19 lockdown, ‘an indigenised hypno-soundscape’, ‘a novel about male affection in hypermasculine spaces’, and other bizarre projects.”

Its press statement today concludes:

Of course some art will be edgy or political. But we’re yet to see Creative NZ fund a single project that doesn’t fit their politically-correct, Wellington-centric, left-wing world view. That is not good enough

Hurrah for Dame Hilda – but when her statue is unveiled, here’s hoping someone remembers which party she stood for

 TOTI – a charitable trust in Hamilton – this week announced that a public sculpture commemorating political pioneer Dame Hilda Ross and the 1919 Women’s Parliamentary Rights Act will be unveiled in Hamilton tomorrow.  But Dame Hilda’s National Party stripes were curiously camouflaged in the TOTI  press statement

Actually, they are not mentioned at all (an oversight, deliberate or otherwise, drawn to our attention by Ele Ludemann on her Homepaddock blog).  

The TOTI announcement reminds us that Dame Hilda Ross was the first Hamilton/Waikato woman elected as an MP in 1945 and became the second woman in New Zealand to become a Cabinet Minister in 1949.

It tells us that artist Matt Gauldie’s bronze sculpture portrays her in Parliament: one hand is holding a copy of the 1919 Act which finally allowed women to become MPs, the other is raised, advocating on behalf of women and children, whose welfare she considered her principal concern.

And it advises that the unveiling will be a public event featuring live music performances and guest speakers, Dame Marilyn Waring and feminist historian, Dr Jenny Coleman and Georgina Beyer.

Dame Marilyn Waring is identified as National MP (Waipa 1975-1984) and author of “The Political Years” .  

But no mention is made that Dame Hilda Ross too was a National MP. Continue reading “Hurrah for Dame Hilda – but when her statue is unveiled, here’s hoping someone remembers which party she stood for”

Bill Gates stumbles on China and Covid

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has done a fine job reinventing himself as a philanthropist.  The foundation he and his wife established has done admirable work for global public health, giving him credibility in his commentary on the Covid crisis.

But he struck a jarring note, when asked whether the Chinese government could be held accountable for deception in the early stages of the Covid pandemic. Continue reading “Bill Gates stumbles on China and Covid”

Well I’ll be burgered – queues for just one brand of fast foods (would you believe?) show that Level Four is over

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable news stories are more important now than ever.

That’s what Stuff tells us on its website before inviting readers to …

Support our newsrooms by making a contribution.

We trust a handsome contribution has been made by the fast-food franchise featuring on Stuff’s menu of news reports today – and, remarkably, on the websites of many other news services including Radio New Zealand.

The PR department at the company in question will be thrilled to see the franchise’s name pop up in association with the breaking of the Covid-19 fast whereas rival companies – including an American chain best known for its fried chicken – don’t get much of a look-in.

It would be great if we could post this report without naming the company which has been given this inglorious glut of headlines around the country.

Just refer to them as a burger joint, perhaps.

But we gave up on the attempt. Continue reading “Well I’ll be burgered – queues for just one brand of fast foods (would you believe?) show that Level Four is over”

If dollops of trivial news are the best measure, we may never know when the silly season is over

The so-called “silly season” isn’t a Kiwi phenomenon.

According to Wikipedia, in the United Kingdom and in some other places

” … the silly season is the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news stories in the media.

“It is known in many languages as the cucumber time.

“The term is first attested in 1861, was listed in the second (1894) edition of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and remains in use at the start of the 21st century. The fifteenth edition of Brewer’s expands on the second, defining the silly season as “the part of the year when Parliament and the Law Courts are not sitting (about August and September)”.

“In North America the period is often referred to prosaically as the slow news season, or less commonly with the phrase dog days of summer.

“In Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, the silly season has come to refer to the Christmas/New Year festive period (which occurs during the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere) on account of the higher than usual number of social engagements where the consumption of alcohol is typical.” Continue reading “If dollops of trivial news are the best measure, we may never know when the silly season is over”

If controversial cartoon had been rejected by the ODT, there would be no baying for Tremain’s blood

Newspaper staff were among those to express dismay and fury during the frenzy of denunciations that followed publication of an ill-considered cartoon about Samoa and the measles epidemic.

The Spinoff recorded their reactions under the heading ODT cartoonist infuriates his colleagues with Sāmoa measles epidemic ‘joke’.

It also reproduced the highly controversial cartoon (just in case readers didn’t know what the fuss was about?) while reporting:

An Otago Daily Times cartoonist who saw humour in the deadly Samoan measles epidemic has found himself at odds with both colleagues and his editors.

As most if not all other media have done, it proceeded to repeat the joke:  a Garrick Tremain cartoon in the ODT depicted two women leaving a travel agency. One asked the other what the “least popular spots” to visit right now were, and the other responded with “the ones people are picking up in Samoa.” Continue reading “If controversial cartoon had been rejected by the ODT, there would be no baying for Tremain’s blood”

We strike a blow against the Herald paywall by bringing Phil’s article to a wider audience

The Spinoff’s daily newsletter to subscribers today reports an interesting note of feedback from a reader yesterday.  At issue was the NZ Herald putting comment pieces by politicians behind the paywall.

Reader John told The Spinoff it “seems antidemocratic” to do so, in referring to this piece by Phil Twyford being blocked.

According to the headline, Twyford contended his government was spending more on roading projects while prioritising safety.

But non-subscribers would have to cough up to read beyond the Minister’s first few sentences.

At Point of Order we wondered if we could skirt the paywall by asking the Minister’s press secretaries for a copy of the article.

No problem.  A copy could be found on the Minister’s Facebook page, we were advised – but here was a copy for us –   Continue reading “We strike a blow against the Herald paywall by bringing Phil’s article to a wider audience”

How a real estate writer blundered about Air NZ by forgetting what he wrote in 2006

One of the biggest vertically-integrated urban function venues and corporate retreats in Auckland – set up by the man who established Air New Zealand – has been placed on the market for sale.

So says a press release from Bayleys Canterbury.

One of the biggest vertically-integrated urban function venues and corporate retreats in Auckland — set up by the man who was instrumental in establishing Air New Zealand — has been placed on the market.

So says Colin Taylor, reporting on real estate matters for the New Zealand Herald.

Forget about the minor differences in the two sentences.  It’s wrong to say the retreat was set up  by the man who established (or was instrumental in establishing) Air New Zealand.

The error is repeated in paragraph three of the press statement, which says: Continue reading “How a real estate writer blundered about Air NZ by forgetting what he wrote in 2006”