Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am.
(René Descartes, mathematician and philosopher, 1599-1650).
NOTE our new bird, the whio, to the left of the heading.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Māori Wards, Yes, No and Maybe -- someday (pn714)

I suspect that most NZ adults could not care one way or another whether there are Māori wards in the local council, but it's likely that if pressed, most Pākehā would say no and most Māori yes. If they votes on the issue, the results would be obvious. Māori are out-numbered almost everywhere. 

Hence Government's move to  prevent petitioners overthrowing local council decisions to introduce Māori wards. 

Nine councils wanted the wards introduced before next year's local council elections. Of these, Tauranga has decided yes, Hamilton said yes, then no, and is now undecided. A vote will be held on May 10th. Palmerston North/Manawatū said yes then no. A petition led to a vote of 69% no, 31% yes. A final decision will be made on May 6t.h. Other councils will decide in the similar time frame.

What is actually at stake?

Those in favour of Māori wards say Māori are either under-represented or not represented at all on their local council, they speak of the need for a Māori view, especially on environment, land and resource issues, and of the Treaty partnership, 

Those against, such as Don Brash and Hobson's Choice, feel threatened by a Māori  takeover. They say there no partnership was intended in the Treaty and if Māori want to be on Councils, they can stand for election just like everyone else. Māori wards will lead to separatism.

Those voting in Māori wards would be elected from the people enrolled to vote in the Māori parliamentary constituencies. They would have only one vote, like everyone else. Other Māori would vote in the “normal” wards.  So I don't think there's an issue of favouritism or expanding separatism.

Unfortunately, what is really at stake —deep down—in the depths of our psyche is probably another instance of unrecognized racism. And for Māori, the need to defend some Māori space.


Related  Matamata-Piako

Saturday, 10 April 2021

A useful guide to general and particular philosophies of those on the left and right of the political spectrum (pn713)


I found this analysis a most useful summary on the way left- and right-wing people think on a variety of issues. The analysis comes from 
Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFS), a U.S. independent online media outlet dedicated to educating the public on media bias and deceptive practices. It is a far more refined tool than MediaBias, our NZ attempt at the same thing that, to me surprisingly, found all media tested excepted two blogs, but including the NZ Herald and NewstalkZB, were left-leaning!  Even Mike Hosking would be surprised at this result.   For the Media Bias/Fact Check principles,  methodology and more click here.

According to MBFS, the general philosophy of the left is marked by collectivism: community over the individual. equality, environmental protection, expanded educational opportunities, social safety nets for those who need them, while those on the right espouse  individualism: individual over the community. limited Government with individual freedom and personal property rights. Competition.

On particular issues, their views also differed:

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Hosking: Who does he think he is, dictating to the Prime Minister? (pn712)

I just can't believe this.  Hosking tells the PM to do what and when he tells her, or sod off. Be interviewed when he wants her, or not at all.   Not his exact words, but near enough.  

The PM did not ask to be interviewed. She was invited by the Newtalk ZB producers, but employee Hosking said if she isn't willing to do his regular slot, he doesn't want her at all. 

She "doesn't add anything" to the progamme.  Putting words into his listeners' mouths (and assuming they agree), he asks: 

Thursday, 1 April 2021

"Market forces" will not resolve housing crisis: state intervention needed (pn711)

Many thanks to Bryce Edwards for this.  I think he's hit the nail on the head. There is no way the housing crisis will be solved by market forces; it also requires government intervention, particularly by building many, many more state houses.  A similar view is expressed by Chris Trotter in his attack on  the supposedly independent but most obviously the right wing think tank NZ Initiatives, which is also a "must read":   

Only the most hardened veterans of the Rogernomics Revolution continue to insist that New Zealanders should trust “the market” to resolve a housing crisis ripping apart their country’s weakest and most vulnerable communities.'

Read on for the Edwards article.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Hosking's worst week (pn709)

So very, very close
 I'm not sure whether Mike Hosking is looking for a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the most abuses in one article or whether  he wants to try his luck before the Media Council, but he must have come close to both  this week with Mike's Minute: Could this be the worst week for the Government? 

Saturday, 27 March 2021

A Warning about the Concentration of Media Ownership in NZ (pn708)

First, the author, then his writing.*

Bryan Gould  was born in Hawera and has Law degrees from Victoria University (B.A. Ll.B.) and Auckland University (Ll.M. first-class honours). A Rhodes scholarship in 1962  led him to Balliol College at Oxford, a futher degree in Law (the B.C.L., with first-class honours)  and careers  as an academic, a  diplomat,  a television journalist, and a Labour Party MP (1974-79; 1983-93).

Returning from the UK in 1994 he was Vice-Chancellor at the University of Waikato until his retirement in 2004, and has continued to be active in a number of tertiary education and research bodies.  He was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) and in 2006 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Waikato. He has written a number of books including  The Democracy Sham: How Globalisation Devalues Your Vote (2006), Rescuing the New Zealand Economy (2007), Myths, Politicians and Money: the Truth behind the Free Market (2013) and publishes a blog Bryan Gould.  He is currently working on a book on moral philosophy. 

In this posting he warns against the concentration and biases of media ownership, issues I've referred to in several posts, for example, pn576 and pn696.

Read, enjoy and heed by  clicking here.

* Note my practise of  saying something about authors. I think this puts their qualifications, experience, personal opinions and biases up front, leaving readers to decide the worth of what they write. So often, with the mainstream media, the former are ignored and the biases are hidden. -- ACW 

Thursday, 25 March 2021

This visa denial inappropriate in our multi-cultural society (pn707)

 Note the new bird, the ruru, to the left of the blog title.

The increasingly multi-cultural nature of NZ society is making life difficult for some of our officials, many of whom could still be struggling with our bi-cultural heritage. And they are making life even more difficult for some of our new citizens-to-be. 

This was nowhere more evident this week than in the story of Ketan Barhate, who has permanent resident status,  and his wife Kalindi Chaudhari who has been denied entry to Aotearoa because an Immigration official was not satisfied their arranged marriage was "stable."  Although married in 2019, thanks to Covid,  they have only spent three months together.  While Ketan was here, Kalindi was staying with his parents in India. If that did not indicate stability within an Indian cultural context,  it is difficult to know what could. You just don't stay with a man's parents unless you are married to their son.  It is unclear how long Immigration's denial is supposed to last. We have no definition of "stable."

We do, however, accept de facto marriages which are legally recognized after three years of co-habitation — a situation not matching that of the Barhate's who are legally married according  to Indian law and custom. They could, apparently, at some point in time be granted a "partnership visa"  (why not, correctly and politely,  a "marriage visa") once "stability" is established.  

Some 90% of marriages in India, for both Hindu and Muslim, are arranged by the couple's parents, who look for compatibility rather than attraction. Significantly, divorce is far less common than in NZ. 

I can only wonder how Immigration NZ deals with others who wish to make NZ their home.  It is not that we should accept all foreign customs. I don't, for instance, think that  we can accept all four of a Muslim's wives. And, quite probably, there are cases of faked marriages.  But some greater recognition —and compassion—  should be given to Ketan and Kalindi, and cases like theirs.  Immigration  needs to recognize the increasingly multi-cultural nature of our society, and speed up welcoming the Barhate's to their new home.

-- ACW

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Government's Housing Package, a mixed bag with as many questions as answers: outcomes unknown (pn706)

A week before Government's new housing package was announced a Labour MP Arena Williams and a National MP Stuart Smith addressed the housing issue in the regular Conversations feature in our  weekly Kapi-Mana News. 

Williams noted Labour had stopped National's state housing selloff, banned foreign speculators, had  funding for 18,000 new public and transitional homes by 2024,  supported Inland Revenue's chase of tax cheats, legislated for quicker resource management approvals, and extended the bright line test from 2 to 5 years to help dampen  market prices..  

Quite a different ideology and policy mix were evident in Smith's response. He pointed to the resurfacing of the Capital Gains Tax debate ("the same arguments we have heard many times before") and the failure of Labour's KiwiBuild programme. 

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Sticks and Carrots to help the housing market (pn705)

With Government due to make a major housing policy announcement next week, Jeneé Tibshraeny discusses some stick and carrot options in while Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the policy package will include a “mixture of both incentives to go [invest] elsewhere and disincentives within the housing system.” and  Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr said people need to look for “alternative places to invest.. We didn’t say, go out there and buy only homes."

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

First poll of 2021: Pollsters take and record polls; the media need to do better in reporting them. (pn704)

The first TV1 News Colmar Brunton  poll of the year was published yesterday, which should give an indication of trends since the previous poll in December. 

The "trends" appeared to be there. Jacinda Ardern's was said to suffer a "personal blow", her popularity "crashed", while Judith Collin's career "survives thanks (for some reason according to Claire Trevett, NZ Herald) to the America's Cup".  Labour was down a little and National, Greens and TOP up a little.  There could be a  one-seat gain to National in the House.

 But what, in fact, has the poll shown us?   Why do I think it has shown us a confused very little?  

Monday, 15 March 2021

National's problems and some helpful suggestions for the way forward by Andrea Vance (pn703)

Andrea Vance is a senior journalist at Stuff, with more than 20 years’ experience in reporting, ten of them in New Zealand.

Born in Northern Ireland, she was an investigative reporter for the News of the World, was night news editor for The Scotsman, and worked in New Zealand’s parliamentary Press Gallery for nearly a decade. She was a Jefferson Fellow at the East West Center in Hawaii, and has been recognised with major accolades at the annual media awards.

The  National Party"The foundation of our Party is built on the values of ambition and success; with lower taxes, reward for hard work, and equal opportunity for all at its core." Click here

This is the most objective and helpful article I've read on the plight and prospects of the National Party, with some helpful suggestions on how it could appeal to more New Zealanders.  If only more of our journalists were as objective as Andrea.  Click here for her report. -- ACW

Saturday, 13 March 2021

One way quarantine-free from Niue soon -- and more (pn702)


Alofi, the capital. Ships anchor off and ferry
to the jetty
NZ PM Jacinda Ardern and Niue Premier Dalton Tagelangi have announced that travellers from Niue will be able to enter NZ quarantine-free from Wednesday week, March 24th. Travel to Niue, however, which has had no cases of the virus, will be limited and strict quarantine observed.

Niue is in Western Polynesia, 2.400 km NE of NZ, between Tonga, Samoa, and the central Cook Islands in Eastern Polynesia. It is  far different from the high volcanic, reef fringed islands and low atolls of popular imagination. 

262km², 14 villages

Matavai Hotel
One of largest coral islands in the world, it is a raised atoll comprising an upper terrace some 60 metres above sea level and a lower terrace at 25 metres. There is a narrow rocky reef and virtually no sandy beaches. Fishermen typically carry their canoes down a cliff to the water. Tourism potential is limited, but a week in the only hotel is a relaxing experience. 

Settled from Tonga about 900AD, visited by  Cook who called it Savage Island —warriors stained in dye that Cook took for blood prevented his three attempts to land;  it is now a self-governing island in free association with NZ. NZ looks after defence and foreign affairs; Niueans care for everything else. NZ's earlier attempts to "develop" the island are related in a previous posting (pn593). The official responsible for agriculture had no economics or agriculture training. His prior job was a clerk in Levin!

Talo: subsistence agriculture, digging stick and cane knife
I was there in 1971, producing a land use map and researching emigration, when Hanan international Airport was opened, which was intended to help development, but mainly accelerated emigration. Today, some 1,600 Niueans live in Niue, 25,000 in NZ and 5,000 in Australia.  The main sources of income are remittances from overseas relatives and aid. Subsistence agriculture is the main source of employment. 

-- ACW

AN ASIDE. I've just complained to my wife that the America's Cup TV announcers  strive to crack weak jokes but do not tell us the meaning of knots, VMG, TWS, and the start  and give-way rules which would help us to much better understand and enjoy the racing. 

This seems to be the mode in journalism today, entertainment takes precedence over information and explanation. Even the 6 o'clock News is limited — insert a map in the upper right of the screen, and a text note bar at the bottom, and we'd be far better informed. Use TV to educate and add to our knowledge.  Readers will note that this is what I try to do in most of my postings.

Friday, 12 March 2021

The NZ anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists (pn701)

See also UPDATE to post below (pn700).

 Jamie-Lee Ross's  ultra-right wing Advance NZ has paid for a 100,000 copies of a new, very professional-looking 40-page anti-vaccine magazine that it says it does not edit or own, which is questionable to say the least. The magazine's  arguments are based on conspiracy theories*, not science. Health professionals are worried that the gullible will be persuaded not to take the vaccine, and some have called for prosecution.  Read the full TVNZ article here.

* "Conspiracy theories are almost always offered in bad faith because they are non-falsifiable. The moment you provide evidence disproving a conspiracy theory, the response is invariably to resort to an even deeper conspiracy theory — or to accuse the debunker of being “one of them.”-- Jonah Goldberg,editor-in-chief of The Dispatch. His Twitter handle is @JonahDispatch.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

PM gives up NewstalkZB slot; rescheduling and not reducing her time with the media but that's not how some media see it (pn700)

UPDATE. Chris Trotter compares the old interviewer style of examiner with today's style of prosecutor, and thinks Jacinda correct in giving Hosking the metaphorical finger.

I really have more important things to do than criticise the media but if it continues as it has been, I have little  choice.  It must be challenged when its selection and comments on the news are so unbalanced and politically motivated. 

Today's NZ Politics Daily, presented by Bryce Edwards, is another example. It has 14 items on Jacinda no longer appearing weekly on Mike Hosking's early morning NewstalkZB programme. Almost all criticise her for doing so. 

Monday, 8 March 2021

NZ Aotearoa snippets (pn699)

NOTE the new bird, a korimako/bellbird in the heading.

Michael Bassett

The NZ Herald and Northland Age  had to withdraw an article written by ex LP MP Michael Bassett who thinks we are being Māori-fried.  He wrote:

  • The use of Aotearoa only recent, despite evidence it was used in the 1840s and before, and use of New Zealand is much more recent. 
  • He selects 1860 the Māori population of Auckland Tāmaki Makarau as only 800 and  fails to mention why. mainly government's claim that Ngāti Whātua were in rebellion and they to the Waikato. The population in 1840 and 1880 was much higher.
  • He wants schools to celebrate the “more developed culture” that Britain supposedly brought to the South Pacific, and fails to mention most fled from poverty and oppression..

Kioa te aroha: Nga Pāpā Māori/Just Love: Māori Dads (pn698)

Media giant Stuff had a Damascus revelation recently when it publicly apologized for its historic lack of objectivity and  sensitivity in reporting on Māori (see pn631).  Some thought it apologized too much, and blamed Pākehā for everything.  

You may well think the same about this  latest Stuff article from which I've quoted parts, with comments.  But if you pay close attention to what the early missionaries said about Māori fathers, consider the effects of colonisation and the nonsense about "warrior genes," and heed the stories of the fathers interviewed, you could well have your own Damascus moment.  Click here to read the full article.

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Graham Davis withdraws his support from Bainimarama and FijiFirst (pn697)

Voqere Bainimarama and Graham Davis
It saddens me to write this. 

My friend Graham Davis writes:

" I am formally withdrawing my support for Frank Bainimarama and the FijiFirst government. And ending a 15-year relationship with the Prime Minister in which I am widely acknowledged to have played a significant role in assisting him, including in the role of principal communications advisor, speechwriter and advocate, not only in these columns but in the Fijian and international media ...

"Why this article is so hard and sad for me to write isn’t just the spectacle of the once admired Frank Bainimarama as the AG’s puppet and, increasingly, a figure of derision. It is what has gone before in my own relationship with the PM. Because the record shows that I have publicly sided with Bainimarama since his coup of 2006,

Friday, 5 March 2021

Covid: as we move down levels we should reflect on the patriotism of some in the media (pn696)

While most of the team of 5 million is trying to beat Covid, it seems some in the media continue to abuse free speech  by undermining what we are doing.  Apparently, profit sales and personal back-slapping  are more important to the media giants and their sycofant journalists than people's lives and safety.  The main target, of course, is the government and most particularly Jacinda Ardern.  The doomsters far outdo National and Act's not always balanced criticism.

No one has ever claimed we've had every measure right, Jacinda and Ashley Bloomfield least of all.   It's an ongoing learning situation to which we understandably respond more than we anticipate. We've chosen to go along the elimination route, saving lives at the expense of some economic hardship,  and have been applauded worldwide for our efforts.

Yet this morning's NZ Politics Daily which lists news releases under separate headings, had 9 negative headings out of the 27 items on Covid. 

Typical headings were:  

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

The Inequity of standard traffic fines (pn695)

Yesterday evening's TV1 Highway Cops programme revealed something of the inequity of standard traffic fines which relates to the wider question of treating people the same or truly equally, a topic I've raised several  times before. Take two stories from the programme.  

Friday, 26 February 2021

Sir Michael Somare dead (pn694)

'Statesman of the Pacific' — Jacinda Ardern praises Papua New Guinea's first PM, dead at 84

Former Papua New Guinea prime minister Michael Somare has died in Port Moresby aged 84.