Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. (René Descartes, mathematician and philosopher,1599-1650)

Sunday, 5 December 2021

pn820. A Media Obsessed with Covid. Reports on other matters squeezed out.

[This is a little dated and overtaken by one event, Chris Luxon becoming the National Party leader, but the information and main points raised remain valid. -- ACW]
Bryce Edwards and VUW Democracy Project publish NZ Politics Daily which anyone may subscribe to free. ( November 2012. 

It is extremely useful in providing links to all (or almost all) significant media and some blog articles arranged under topic headings.

NZPD does not make the news. It records what's in the media. The media makes the news. 

Let's see what sort of topic balance there was today (23 Nov.) with headings and the number of media articles:

Friday, 3 December 2021

pn820. Christopher Luxon, Liar or Misleader?

Falsehood/ mislead/ lie # 1. In his first address as leader of the National Party he based much of his political credibility on his business career claiming, “I have built a career out of reversing the fortunes of under-performing companies and I’ll bring that real-world experience to this role.” 

But. Air NZ was a profitable and well-run company when he took over as CEO and "then rode one of the greatest travel booms in history... He arrived at the very start of a boom and left right before it came crashing down." 

Thursday, 2 December 2021

pn819. How our political polls could be improved

Most weaknesses with our polling systems lie with their reporting by the media and not with the polls themselves (See pn812). In three areas, however, I think the polls themselves could be more informative.

 First,  we have a Mixed Member Proportional voting system that means we have two votes, one, for the party of our choice, the other for wannabees in our electorate.  There are 120 seats in Parliament, 72 electorate seats and 48 party seats which are scaled up or down to make the overall results proportional. 

The polls only ask about our party or List vote, and yet many people, myself included, vote for one party with our party vote and a different party with our electorate vote.  It is true that the party vote largely decides seats in parliament but if both the electorate and party votes were counted separately we would have a better idea of the actual support for individual parties.

Secondly, the polls often ask what we think of the direction the government and the economy are heading but these very general "summary" questions do not tell us what people think about policies and actions on individual issues such as health, education, child poverty, social inequality, wage levels, taxation, the environment and so on which in various ways combine to produce our answers to the"summary" questions.

Further, I would like to see answers cross-tabulated by parties so that we can know how people who voted for each party answered on each policy issue.  Their answers could be shown on a 1-10 scale from very bad to very good..

Thirdly, we are asked for our preferred PM even though we never vote for the PM. With National votes shared among several possible contenders, it might be better to also ask which person voters would like to see leading their preferred party. 

Knowing how all voters think may be helpful but lumping all voters together may be misleading. What Labour voters thought about Judith Collins as leader of the National Party, for instance, is not important. It's the opinions of National Party voters that count.

What do you think?

-- ACW

Monday, 22 November 2021

pn818. Polls, not much change but BEWARE ACT, WAKE UP Greens

David Seymour as Prince
Two political poll results were published last week, the first conducted by 1News Colmar Brunton (see pn812), the most recent by Newshub-Reid (this posting.)  Both follow on from earlier polls by Curia and Talbot Mills reported in my posting pn809.

All four main polls showed similar results:  Labour is down a little or unchanged, National and Greens up or down a little but no real change, and ACT, the real winner, is steady or with significantly increased support.  


Come election time next year Labour, or possibly National, will become the next government but Labour may need coalition support from the poorly performing Greens. National will definitely need ACT.

pn817. Why Victoria's protests should concern us all

 Why Victoria's protests should concern us all


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AU Edition | 22 November 2021

Thousands of people headed to the centre of Melbourne on the weekend to protest vaccine legislation and the Victorian government’s pandemic bill. While the weekend gatherings were peaceful, they follow a week of protests that used violent language and imagery. So who are the protestors? Josh Roose writes they are made up of a mix of groups, but riddled with alt-right and far-right extremists whose growing reach, largely through social media, poses a significant challenge to Australian democracy.

The groups also borrow heavily from the symbolism employed by far-right groups in the US, which have gained momentum since the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. So what now? There are some important political solutions, says Roose, which means those of good faith need a bipartisan approach to reaffirming citizenship and democracy, while still allowing open debate on contentious issues.

Amanda Dunn

Section Editor: Politics + Society

Thursday, 18 November 2021

pn816. Fiji: Graham Davis's very serious accusations against Khaiyum and Bainimarama

Graham Davis

Two extracts from his article that may be read in full by clicking here:

"Pieced together, it is an amazing tale of how the Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, used the Prime Minister and the weight of his office to try to strongarm [Solicitor General] Sharvada Sharma into resigning for his alleged “misbehaviour” in presiding over the failure of the state case to remove the SODELPA MP, Niko Nawaikula, from the Parliament. According to multiple sources, Sharma was summoned to the office of the Prime Minister, where he was told by Frank Bainimarama that he had lost the trust of the AG and he wanted his resignation. When Sharma refused, it set in train a series of events

Khaiyum and Bainimarama
 that have not only compromised the PM and the AG and triggered a crisis of confidence in their leadership and judgment. The episode has also engulfed and compromised the Chief Justice, Kamal Kumar, and the outgoing president, Jioji Konrote, because their sacking of the SG without a hearing was in direct contravention of the 2013 Constitution.

"Make no mistake. Rather than strengthening our institutions to make them more resilient and allow for smooth transfers of power when the people decide a political party has run its course, Fiji under Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is more dictatorship than democracy – a parliament that is manipulated by the ruling party, opposition figures detained and released at will, institutions stacked with FijiFirst supporters and now blatant defiance of the Constitution, the supreme law. It is the Zimbabwe road - a journey into darkness and regression as a nation - and Bainimarama and Khaiyum are leading us all down that path."

My emphasis -- ACW

Read the whole article by clicking here. 

"No comment" below this article means "0", no one has yet commented. Be the first and turn it into "1 comment." Then others may join you😎

pn815. Māori Covid rates a matter of concern: Poor Te Tiriti-centred policies. Now typically over half of daily new cases

Dr Rawiri Taonui
Sunday's article in Te Ao Māori News provides information on Māori Covid rates and disparities between Māori and Pākehā. Dr Rawiti Taoniu predicts 6,000 Māori cases by Christmas.  Here are some of the facts:

Māori are the highest daily cases for 42 consecutive days. There was a new record of 121 Māori cases today. Māori cases are rising both in number as a percentage of all cases.

The three highest number of daily Māori cases have come in the last three days. Friday - 108 Māori cases or 53.7% of 201 new cases; Saturday - 103 or 58.9% of 175 new cases; and Sunday - 121 or 58.5% of 207 new cases.

This is the first-time new Māori cases have been over 50% of all new cases for three days in a row.

At the current 7-day rate of 91.9 new Māori cases per day, there will be 6,000 Māori cases by Christmas.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

pn813. Why Kawerau has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country written by Morgan Geodfrey who grew up there

 In Kawerau one thing impedes the effort to vaccinate Māori: New Zealand’s history

Low Covid vaccination rates among Māori reflect practical barriers – but they also have good reason to distrust the government

Click here to read his article or bookmark it for the weekend.   It is well worth your time. -- ACW

pn814. The lady doth protest too much, methinks" *

1News reported "(Judith) Collins said it was "very hard when you're the Opposition leader to tell people what they were sold at the election was a pup. 
"When they voted for Labour, they voted for a safe Covid response and a Government that understood and was going to keep out the Greens and they were going to look after the economy. What they've found instead is a Government that is (sic!) absolutely and utterly failed."

Those who voted  Labour probably wanted it to do more on poverty, welfare issues and the environment but on most matters, they have got what they voted for. 

The government has kept the country safer from Covid than almost all other countries.  Labour never made any statement on keeping the Greens out. Indeed, most people would have assumed it would rule alone or with the Greens as a coalition partner.** The economy, with low unemployment, economic growth and manageable public debt, is doing far better than one might have expected in the circumstances.  

She did not say what the government is supposed to have "understood" but I see no evidence of absolute or utter failure. 

Judith, you are one who is selling strawmen holding pups.  You protest too much.

-- ACW

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" is a line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It is spoken by Queen Gertrude in response to the insincere overacting of a character in the play within a play created by Prince Hamlet to prove his uncle's guilt in the murder of his father, the King of Denmark.-- Wikipedia.

** Te Pāti Māori also joined the coalition which indicated that Labour wanted an inclusive and more representative government.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

pn812. Covid and the lastest One TV News Colmar Brunton Poll

Colmar Brunton
The latest Colman Brunton Poll largely confirms the results of the two earlier polls by Curia and Talbot Mills reported in my previous post (pn809). Its results, however, are more detailed and the methodology is spelt out, and therefore possibly more reliable. For example:

"Between 6-10th November 2021 1001 eligible voters were polled by mobile phone (501) and online (500). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level. The data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population counts for age, gender, region and ethnic identification. The sample for mobile phones is selected by random dialling using probability sampling, and the online sample is collected using an online panel."

I'm confident the results are reasonably accurate, at least for the four larger parties, but I have three small reservations: 

1) Those polled by mobile phone were randomly selected, but the online results were chosen from a previously selected panel. More information is needed on how the panel was selected; 

2) "Percentages do not add to 100 due to rounding."  They certainly don't. Party Support totalled 108, possibly close to 10% of those polled.

Monday, 15 November 2021

pn811. Samoan New Zealander next head of AUT, NZ's premior technical university


Doctor and Associate Professor Toeosulusalu (his Samon title) Damon Ieremia Salesa will become AUT's next Vice-Chancellor when the current vice-chancellor, Derek McCormack, retires in March next year.  Click here

This is a most deserved appointment for a most remarkable man.

Born in Auckland, the son of an immigrant Samoan labourer and a Northland nurse, Damon has a BA and Master's degree with 1st class honours from Auckland University. 

He was the first Pacific  Islander to win a Rhodes' Scholarship and has a D.Litt. from Oxford.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ.

He is currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor Pacific at the University of Auckland and was the founding director of the NZ Institute for Pacific Research and the Director of Pacific Strategy and Engagement as well as Head of Pacific Studies. Prior to his Auckland appointment, he worked at the University of Michigan for 10 years.   

 He is married, with two teenage daughters, to Labour Minister the Hon. Jenny Salesa, née Latu, who was born in Tonga.

Damon is a prizewinning scholar who specializes in the study of colonialism, empire, government, race, and inter-marriages.  With a particular interest in the Pacific Islands, he also works on education, economics and development in the Pacific region, as well as in New Zealand and Australia

Congratulations, Damon.


Saturday, 13 November 2021

pn809. Covid Up, Labour Down. Misinformation and Fatigue Rule

Curia and Talbot Mills both released poll results last week.    Most of the results were not statistically significant but there has been a very definite trend downwards for Labour and Jacinda Ardern over the past three months. 

Curia is the right-wing poll run by National party activist David Farrar who also publishes Kiwiblog. The poll was for the Taxpayers' Union, another right-wing group.   Its results were a little less flattering to Labour than the less politically-bound Talbot Mills poll but both polls showed the similar trends: 

While Labour and Jacinda are still by far the most preferred, both were down on previous polls; National and Judith were up a little; ACT and David Seymour were indeterminate; the Greens were up a litle. 

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

pn807. The Sharp Increase in Misinformation and Disinformation on Covid: the threat to our social cohesion, freedom of expression, inclusion, and safety.

The 3000-odd protesters who blocked Wellington streets yesterday are but one sign of the spread of false information on Covid which has allowed a range of right-wing groups to attach their anti-Māori, anti-immigrant, pseudo-Christian,  anti-gay, anti-media and anti-Jacinda agenda banners to the anti-vaxx and so-called "freedom" movement. 

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

pn806. Gordon Campbell takes us a walk down "freedom" lane

Free markets, free minds, free choices, Freedom Days. In recent years, has any notion in the English language been so overused and so abused as “freedom?”...............

Think:  The golden rule is – or should be – that we are free to make personal choices, so long as the exercise of that choice does not do harm to other people. 

Think:.  Strangely enough, the anti–vaxx champions of freedom appear more than willing to impose their beliefs (and the related risks) onto everyone else. To be consistent, they should be living as hermits and should never use the public health system ever again. Yet that’s not how they tend to roll.

To read this informative and thoughtful article, click here.

Friday, 29 October 2021

pn805. More for Sir Russell and the anti-vacc, anti-lockdown know-alls. Compare NZ Covid deaths per million with other countries


Note also:  I think I've got these figures correct from something I read yesterday and now can't find. Unvaccinated people are 6 times more likely to be hospitalised than vaccinated people, and 30 times more likely to die.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

pn804. Sir Russell Coutts makes a fool of himself, and the Anti-Lockdown Hikoi

And I know a lot about boats.
Sir Russell Coutts makes a fool of himself by saying New Zealand’s “freedom of choice” is being “eroded” under lockdown  Covid-19 restrictions, while life in the rest of the world “has largely returned to normal". 

He said this as  Europe's "normal" witnessed an increase in Covid-19 cases. Yesterday, Victoria recorded 1,923  cases and 25 people died, the highest daily death toll from the current outbreak. Yesterday, the UK had 263 and the USA 1,783 deaths.

pn803. Pacific Snippets: Fiji, West Papua, NZCID, Vanuatu, New Caledonia,Covid in PNG and Fiji, China talks to PNG

Former coup leader and PM Sitiveni Rabuka is headhunting SODELPA leaders to join his People's Alliance party, and there are calls Viliame Govoka to stand down as SODELPA head. All such moves could weaken the Opposition as parties prepare for the 2022 elections.  

As fighting flares between Indonesian and independence armed forces, West Papuans flee across the border in their thousands into Sepik, PNG. 

Sunday, 24 October 2021

pn 802. China vows closer ties with Pacific Island countries

 China News Service (ECNS)    -      22 Oct 21

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chairs the first China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting held via video link on Oct. 21, 2021. (Xinhua/Yan Yan)

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday that China is willing to work with Pacific Island countries for a closer comprehensive strategic partnership.

Thursday, 21 October 2021