And I also back the Massey VC on Brash exclusion

I worked at Massey University, Palmerston North, for over 20 years, retiring as an Associate Professor and Director of the newly-founded Centre for Development Studies before moving to the University of the South Pacific in Fiji for another five years. 

Massey, the university traditions of independent research and enquiry, and free speech are important to me. But so also are the intrinsic principles that underpin these values. 

False speech, hate speech and racism have no place in university traditions.  The view that it is better to give these views "air" so that they can be disputed and refuted has merit, but only limited merit. I respect this option, but think the Vice-Chancellor has taken the better one. (Click on "Read more" below.)

Is the Egalitarian Vision of Past NZ Generations Dead?

On the one hand, it's good to know we still have investigate journalists like Kirsty Johnston of  the NZ Herald, though I doubt cynical ostriches like Mike Hosking would read what she writes.   On the other hand, her recent articles on admissions to university courses  are so distressing I'm tempted to become another ostrich. What I don't know can't hurt me.
Kirsty Johnston, investigative journalist.  pn99

The gaps between those  from poor homes or low decile schools and those from the other end of the home/school spectrum make appalling reading. 

Even more distressing is that schooling does not seem to be resolving the situation. The gaps increase as our children progress through school.  At Year 12 there are four times more children from rich homes.  One-half of our children who attended high decline schools go on to university compared with only 17% from low decile schools.

Business Confidence and the 'Real' Economy: an Analysis of ANZ surveys and the views of Treasury

The ANZ Business Confidence survey -- more properly called the ANZ Business Outlook survey --   has become something of a regular political football since  Labour-Coalition formed the Government in September last year. But few using its results, generally to support their political position, ask about
the methodology used and whether the information can be considered useful and reliable.**

White Man Behind A Desk Quits Comedy

White Man Behind A Desk quits comedy, pivots to political commentary

The calculus of supply and demand has driven WMBAD to abandon humour and focus instead on hot takes. 

Here Robbie Nicol, Finnius Teppett et al pitch their wares
White Man Behind A Desk has given up comedy because it is a moral evil. Some people might think we gave up because of our inability to convert views into financial success or because we were never that funny to begin with. To those people, we would say, “Shut up.”
Luckily, we have discovered a job that requires neither knowledge nor humour – political commentary. (Click on Read more below.)

Headlines greatly influence what we think

Headlines greatly influence the way we think  Many people do not read beyond them, and many of those who do are already preconditioned to accept what they read at face value. Scary and sensational  headlines and stories sell newspapers and television and the advertising that support them. 

It seems to matters little that they are often misleading, or even attempt to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."  Sales, readership and ratings are what counts.  

Headlines can have a dumbing down effect on the way we think, act and vote.  Used in this way, media freedom impairs our freedom. It is not good for democracy.

Liam Dann   pn94

The NZ Herald Editorial: "Consumer confidence fall a worry as gloom sets in" and its heading "Consumer confidence lowest since 2012" told much less than the whole truth. 

They were hardly balanced by its  "Good news for Govt: GDP up by 1pc, dollar rises on result"or even by Liam Dann's article that I reprint (with my emphasis in bold and  comments in parentheses) below:

Click on "Read more" at bottom of post

Pacific Islands Weekly Monday 24 September 2018

Pacific Islands art  pn95

News from Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands. Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu

Political fortunes. The latest Fiji Sun/Razor poll shows NFP support has dropped to 4% (under the 5% threshold), the FLP is constant on 3%, SODELPA has dropped to 14.8% from 18%v at the previous poll, and FijiFirst has seen a "huge leap" from 65 to 73%.

Preferred PM: Bainimarama 63% +1; Re Teimumu 11% -9 (it was not clear whether she is standing); Rabuka 11% + 5; Singh 1%; Others 6%. Not intending to vote 5%; unsure 2%; registered 93%.

Click here to hear Dr Biman Prasad

  • Conversational or formal iTaukei and Hindi languages. In response to government's policy of making conversational iTaukei and Hindi compulsory in all school, NFP leader Biman Prasad  said this would destroy the formal languages.  His party would make formal iTaukei and Hindi compulsory in all primary schools. “The AG’s statement that contemporary i-taukei and conversational Hindi are languages is despicable. They are dialects or just derivatives, not used in religion, preaching or other religious functions, let alone any other occasion”, said Dr Prasad.  (Click on "Read more" at bottom of post)

Jacinda took a broom to them all - from The Strategist.

Cleared deck of the week: With the Beehive bathed in the first sunshine of the season, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was intent on a spring clean.

There have been plenty of niggling issues dogging her premiership lately - a cocksure Winston Peters, ministers behaving badly, and questions over the Government’s economic management.

This week, Ardern took a broom to them.

Rethinking how NZ Spends its Overseas Aid : Sam Sachdeva

Sam Sachdeva is Newsroom's political editor, covering foreign affairs, trade, defence, and security issues.

The Government’s “Pacific reset” and a $714 million boost to our foreign aid programme was big news earlier this year, but the first review of our aid policies in nearly a decade hasn’t made the same headlines. Sam Sachdeva reports on why it’s taking place, and what NGOs, academics - and Winston Peters - want from it.

The news in May of a nearly billion-dollar boost boost to New Zealand’s foreign affairs budget resulted in a predictably polarised response along political lines.

The Government, led by Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, hailed the decision as an essential increase after years of neglect, while the National opposition accused it of “putting diplomats ahead of doctors”.

3. We're all in this together: the inter-dependence of NZ and the Pacific Islands

When Helen du Plessis-Allan (@HDPA) came under attack for her negative and, some would say, outrageous remarks abut Pacific Islanders, she tried to dodge the issue, saying
" I do not regret what I said because I was not talking about people living in this country or the people themselves. I was talking about the Pacific Islands and the people who run it [sic]."
Barbara Dreaver "We are all in this together."  pn 90
 Come on. What then was she talking about?  The geography  of the Pacific Islands and its political leaders?  Nothing and nobody else?  Not even the Niueans she called "welfare spongers"?   Who is going to believe this!

Sorry, Mr Bridges

Simon Bridges has accused the PM of weak and indecisive leadership and says the Coalition government is "coming apart at the seams."  Several journalists have also said the PM Jacinda Adern has been too slow in coming to decisions. 

What are their reasons for these accusations?

Part 2. A History of the New Zealand-Pacific Islands relationship

Helen du Plessis-Allan's  view of  Pacific Islanders is that they "don't count". They  are of no importance to New Zealand.  She sees them as  "welfare spongers" and Nauru as a "hell hole". Good talkback host she may be,  and her provocative comments probably increase her ratings, but she is abysmally ignorant of New Zealand and Pacific Islands history.  She claims to be interested in politics but politics without history is like  a three-legged horse.  

[Note: I have used the modern names for the islands mentioned.]

Part 2. A  History of New Zealand-Pacific Islands relationship

For most of the 19th Century Britain, France, Germany and the Unites States were competing to increase their world-wide  colonies,  and their "last grab for empire" included the Pacific. 

1. The Pacific Islanders: "leeches" that "don't matter"

In this first part of a series of three,  Newstalk ZB commentator Helen du Plessis-Allan offers her opinions on the relationship between Pacific Islanders and New Zealand.

Part-Afrikaner Helen du Plessis-Allan, who emigrated to NZ aged 12, proudly wrote an anti-apartheid essay before leaving South Africa  and just as proudly recalls mixing with Maori and Pasifika students at her decile  2 Auckland secondary school.   

She professes a life-long interest in politics and admits enjoyment in reminding politicians they have feet of clay.

Now 34 and married to fellow journalist 66-year old Barry Soper she would dispute she is "just another Hosking" as those who dislike her opinions maintain.  

But there are similarities. Both are self-opinionated, both insult those who attack them, both seek sensational headlines, both are ultra right-wing, and, most importantly,  both regularly fail to provide any evidence to support their opinions, and both lack any sense of context or history.

This is nowhere better illustrated than in du Plessis-Allan's  recent attack on the PM for attending the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Nauru and her follow-up comment that the Pacific Islands "don't matter." 

"They are nothing but leeches on us." she said. "The Pacific Islands wants (sic!)  money from us."

So much for the accusations. I was now waiting for some facts, argument or evidence  to support them, but all I'm left with is her unsupported opinions with no indication on whether  they were formed as a result of her study, research  or experience. 

This is a trait she shares with Mike Hosking. Make a provocative statement, deflect attention from the need for evidence by attacking those who disagree -- and bask in the publicity received.