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Friday, June 29, 2012

Shearer has the sizzle, now he needs the sausage

Vernon Small has a good line on Labour's new leader, Shearer flexes muscles but a work in progress

Let's be blunt, to date, David Shearer has been awful and painful. His unblinking, stumbling, possum in the headlights media performance, to date, has been the thing of nightmares.

I had always assumed that Labour would lock David in a room with Brian Edwards for a month until he learned to answer a question without the mix of confusion and panic crossing his face.

His missing in action status over industrial disputes like the Ports of Auckland and Tallys had many wondering if he had been renditioned by the CIA and rumors that the right wing of the Labour Party had his ear had many Labour activists scrambling for Green Party membership forms.

I'd written him off as the Labour Party's answer to Fozzy Bear.

But that all changed this month. On the final ever Auckland episode of Backbenches, David found his groove. His 'get off the grass' confidence sparkled and the bloke finally showed he's got the wear with all to take it to Key one on one come 2014.

Shearer's proven he's got the sizzle, but what he and Labour desperately need now is the sausage. Labour's traditional voter who looked to an active State for protection and economic direction got prissy over the so called 'political correctness' of the so called anti-smacking legislation and either walked away from the Free Market version Labour has become or have been seduced off to aspirational John Key and all his cheap candy words.

Luckily for Labour, there is a terrible recession shrouding the economic horizon caused by the exact same free market dogma the National Party are trying to slavishly impose here (again). It's great Shearer can dance the media jig, but now he needs an actual policy platform that can inspire old Labour voters back to the fold, this is where Cunliffe comes in.

I've made the point several times that Labour need to re-instate Cunliffe to Finance and allow him to articulate an alternative economic policy that takes power away from the corporations and the wealthy, and starts focusing on the poor and middle classes. Clark & Cullen were one of the most successful political partnerships in NZ history, Shearer & Cunliffe could be that again, sadly the current team of Shearer & Parker are like two wet blankets trying to start a fire.

If Cunliffe doesn't get Finance, it would confirm a suspicion that Shearer's inner circle of Labour right advisors have no interest in an alternative Keynesian economic model and are looking for mere economic management not restructuring. NZ had 9 years of that type of disappointment from Labour before, adopting National lite is not much of an inspiration.


The Dotcom ramifications: Apparently NZ isn't America's puppet

Dotcom searches illegal: Judge
The High Court has ruled the police raid on internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom's Auckland mansion was illegal and the removal from New Zealand of cloned copies of hard drives seized was unlawful.

Justice Helen Winkelmann found the warrants used did not adequately describe the offences to which they were related.

"Indeed they fell well short of that. They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid."

Did you feel that? It was a shiver through the nerve endings of the new American-Sino cold war being currently waged in the Pacific with NZ as one of its friction points.

This ruling by Justice Helen Winkelmann is one of the most important legal defenses of NZs sovereignty because it implies by its stark independence that the US can not just snap its fingers and have our legal framework bend to its will, (sure the Police will do as they are told, but our legal system won't).

This case against a flamboyant Euro uber geek was never about piracy, it was always about America attempting to expand their jurisdiction into cyberspace and a symbolic gesture to China that NZ is firmly planted in their sphere of influence.

Could any of us honestly imagine that we would have sent in 70 odd Police to arrest someone for China over a copyright infringement issue? Of course we wouldn't, but one word from America and our weak Police jump to do as they were ordered, thankfully Winkelmann's ruling has reasserted our independence.

The ramifications however may not be pleasant. As this case collapses into farce, the pressure to sign the un-free trade deal with America (which will allow them to demand legal compliance for intellectual property issues) will mount in a very direct way now.

Dotcom has won and our judicial independence has won but NZ might not be so lucky once the US puts the un-Free trade deal screws on us to punish and weaken our independence.

The Dotcom ruling means we've gone from America's South Pacific booty call to a 'you-have-to buy-us-dinner-first' type of date.


Citizen A on line now: Matthew Hooton & Dr Wayne Hope

Issue 1 : John Key releases his latest 10 point plan for the country 's public services - are his aspirations realistic or ridiculous?

Issue 2: Labour strikes back - Cunliffes third speech given in West Auckland is aimed at stemming the voter flow to the Greens - will it succeed?

and Issue 3: What now for public broadcasting with TVNZ7 shut down in 2 days time.

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


TVNZ7 Funeral for public broadcasting Saturday 4.30pm

Saturday 30th June - Auckland. Funeral procession, marking TVNZ 7's last day of transmission, through Auckland ending at St Matthews.

Departing QE square (bttm of Queen Street) at 4.30pm - March goes past TVNZ so bring flowers and candles to leave there on way past to St Matthews in the city. The more flowers the better!!! Facebook details.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: 'Jobs for the Boys' becomes Government policy

Secret briefing papers to Steven Joyce show the govt's 100,000 promised new jobs will largely go to rich white men. Key has been boasting these 100 000 jobs as his commitment to employment, but when the majority of them are going to people like him it has the whiff of venal self interest gone septic.

I can see why the briefings were secret, jobs for the boys as actual state policy is about as alienating as Paul Henry on Australian Breakfast television.

Beyond the jokes however is an angry question, if the tax cuts have benefitted the rich and wealthy, if the asset sales will benefit the rich and wealthy and now employment policy is benefitting the rich and wealthy - what the bloody hell does this Government do for the remaining majority?

The answer seems to be farcical 10 point plans to no where.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Going, going...

The grubby privatisation of state assets is about to reach its legislative denoument. Next step will be the likes of the former National Cabinet Minister, Simon Power - now working for Westpac private bank - to start the troughing.

The third and final reading of the euphemistically named "Mixed Ownership Model" Bill is going through now.

Via Twitter:

Grant Robertson@grantrobertson1
Man in Peter Dunne mask giving us the fingers was escorted from public gallery as debate began. Or at least I think it was a mask....

Keep Our Assets@KeepOurAssets
Govt. is spending at least $120 million in fees to merchant bankers to sell our assets that return an average $312m per year

Sue Moroney@suemoroney
A National Day of Shame. The Nats rush the law to 3rd reading to sell-off profitable state assets. They say its about debt but keep tax cuts

New Zealand Labour@nzlabour
We could spend the $120m it is going to cost to sell the assets on far better things. Like education. -

New Zealand Labour@nzlabour
More signatures have been collected in Ohariu than any other electorate

Jacinda Ardern@jacindaardern
Listening to Tony Ryall try and justify asset sales for the last time. Torture.

Sue Moroney@suemoroney
Peter Dunne gives all New Zealanders the fingers when he votes for state asset sales in about 1 hour.

Keep Our Assets@KeepOurAssets
Cosgrove: "Treasury officials told to write dept. report before all submissions were heard, Govt, blocked release of minutes proving so."

Elizabeth Marvelly@MarvellousMusic
, where are you? Where are your voices? Why aren't we uniting to stop the sale of our future?


Letting non-farmers in on the lacto action isn't sharing it's just greed isn't it? That's what "moving forward" looks like. The farmers - well 2/3 of them anyway - want to make a quick buck. From what I've heard the TAF issue is not just limited to farmers - maybe because the other resolution didn't pass (? - not sure on this, see below.) They are setting a precedent for share privatisation, but there's way too many dollar signs blinding them to the erosion of the co-operative basis of their wealth. Chinese interests, I suppose, will be plunging deep into this virgin area now they have secured the Crafar Farms and the Fonterra votes that went with them, along with all the other European and American interests that have been buying up dairy acreage.

Who will the farmers in the future be co-operating with exactly and what will that co-operation look like?


Fonterra shareholders have voted in favour of implementing Trading Among Farmers.
The resolution for Trading Among Farmers received a 66.45% vote in support at Fonterra's Special Meeting today, with two out of every three votes in favour.

Fonterra Chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said the final vote on the share trading scheme attracted a record voter turnout.

"Our farmers have voted in big numbers, representing 85% of the Co-op's milksolids. It is great to see so many taking part and having their say. "Now we can move forward with this important evolution in our capital structure," he said.

"We've spent six years talking about capital structure and it has been a rigorous debate and process. Our farmer shareholders have made a great contribution and the final version of Trading Among Farmers is all the richer because of that input."

Sir Henry said TAF ensures a stable, permanent capital base for the Co-op and secures its future.

The board and management are the usual instigators of these deals in any sort of firm. Mutual societies, co-ops and other non-company formats are prone to be privatised and floated when the management start making policy rather than the actual owners - and this is probably the case with Fonterra.

Sir Henry said the Board listened to farmer shareholders' concerns on preserving 100% farmer control and ownership and the integrity of the Farmgate Milk Price.

"We asked our farmers to vote on constitutional changes which would tighten limits on the size of the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund, which is fundamental to 100% farmer control and ownership, and preserve the integrity of the Farmgate Milk Price. This resolution required a 75% vote and received 72.8% support."

The Board will take this resolution back to the next annual meeting in November and will seekShareholders' Council support for this. In the interim, further planning on Trading Among Farmers will proceed within the parameters outlined in Resolution 2. Sir Henry said the Board believed this was in the best interests of the Co-op.

Fonterra Chief ExecutiveTheo Spierings said the vote for TAF means Fonterra can be in charge of its own destiny.  "TAF will stop money washing in and out and give the Co-op a stable, permanent capital base to deliver on its Strategy Refresh.

Other farm types are supportive and optimistic:

TAF was designed to ensure farmers retained control of the company so that there would not be pressure to increase dividends and/or share price by reducing the price of milk.

Outside shareholders might have a voice but they won’t have a vote, control remains with farmers.

New Governor

With the law putting their visible hands on the money supply and the interest rates they arguably have more power than the PM - the title of Governor is well used.

NZ Herald:

Finance Minister Bill English has announced that Graeme Wheeler will replace Alan Bollard as the new Reserve Bank Governor later this year.
Wheeler was employed by the World Bank from 1997 to 2010, his most recent roles included managing director operations from 2006-2010, and vice-president and treasurer from 2001 to 2006.

He was previously at the New Zealand Treasury as deputy secretary and treasurer of the Debt Management Office.

Wheeler is a New Zealander but currently lives in the United States where he runs his own advisory business.

Well at least they didn't appoint Don Brash! Wheeler seems uber-qualified for the job, having followed an orthodox career path in banking. We shouldn't expect anything "outside-of-the-box" from this chap obviously . As one of the most senior officers at the Washington DC-based World Bank he has been responsible for maintaining the box.

Here's an old image demonstrating Brash v Bollard on the target inflation rate. With the slump over the last four years inflation has fallen away and I expect Bollard's average will end up close to Brash's austere record.

This is the primary - and basically the only - way in which the Governor is measured in job performance. Please note we don't have a target: interest rate, balance of payments, debt etc. only price stability, ie. inflation. This is very narrow compared with other central banks where employment and other factors are also targets.

Oh, and a new signature on the banknotes too in due course, but that will likely be the only noticeable change.

Tumeke Exclusive: Does Igloo represent corporate big brother or the worst crack cocaine TV ever created?

After speaking to people who are in this sector, and as far as I am aware, this is a Tumeke exclusive and the privacy concerns I am about to raise in this blog haven't been voiced yet.

Igloo is a joint venture between Sky TV and TVNZ, it is low cost pay tv aimed at those on low wages and most importantly, and very deliberately, it's aimed at people with low technological skills.

It is the importance of this focus on those with low technological skills that is most concerning and the reasons why they are being targeted should concern anyone with a social conscience.

We are being used as a test case for a controversial new TV technology that if successful will be imported directly to BskyB and could represent the worst excesses of corporate big brother spying tactics and create a form of TV as addictive as crack cocaine.

Igloo is targeted towards the bottom 30% of the population who have yet to invest in digital TV estimated at 130 000 +.

The cost of the box will be $189.00 with a monthly subscription of $25.

Igloo is a set-top box (STB) with a integral free view UHF receiver. The STB is internet connected and can stream premium content on a pay-per-view basis (Video on demand - VOD). It will work on an average NZ internet speed and the VOD download has a complex encryption pattern which the STB decodes.

Igloo will have a small on-board memory, any movies saved on it will be wiped automatically after two days.

Igloo may allow access to existing i-Sky internet service via a built-in pay-for-view portal (it would be surprising if it doesn't).

Launch date is for the end of this month, you've probably seen the adverts on TV.

The design allows for a maximum of only 11 standard definition TV channels and the STB is built not by Sky, but by News International and BskyB.

The STB doesn't allow for ordinary internet access to U-tube or google tv or any social media which traps the viewer into Igloo only content and is utterly useless in terms of the online content future we are heading towards.

Most worryingly, the system is ultimately designed to spy on every viewer habit and send that information to a third party (owned by Murdoch) who analyze viewing habits and then send that analysis back to Sky and TVNZ to then bombard the viewer with personalized adverts.

This is certainly not new and many internet and social media providers are already playing this game, but this will be a first for the TV industry in NZ, and if it is successful here it will be taken to BskyB.

What Igloo really is about, is a vast market research resource which makes the poorest pay for that market research. Adverts and promotions are to be individually targeted so as to secure further subscriptions to Sky's premium satellite channels. If TV is a drug, this ability to bombard viewers with targeted advertising is crack cocaine.

As soon as you switch Igloo on, the interfaces will constantly bombard you with electronic advertising and 'special offers'. The more you use it, the better the profile it will keep of you.

Igloo is connected via your internet leading to the question, would a 3rd party 45% owned by News International start spying on your ordinary internet usage and start to tailor adverts to that information as well? Igloo is WiFi capable and if enabled could read your personal data on any near by device, including the contents of a personal computer or mobile tablet/phone.

There are a number of security and configuration options built into Igloo that have not been activated at this time, but could be activated by remote commands from Sky TV or the third-party data centre.

This represents a vast big brother ability to create a type of TV that is highly addictive and designed to press your viewer buttons for profit margins. If you go to Igloo's privacy page, they allow for all of this.

Whilst the Leveson inquiry into media ethics holds court in the UK, why are we allowing the very same corporation to be able to spy on the viewing habits of the poor and technologically illiterate without spelling this out to those viewers?

Igloo is an orphan technology that locks these people into intrusive market research tactics to then feed those viewers a deeply addictive and unhealthy media diet.

How our own 'public broadcaster' (and I use that term in its broadest possible meaning) has managed to get involved in this type of scam is beyond me. It seems that TVNZ has no understanding whatsoever that Igloo will only work for pay TV interests and actually accelerate the death of free to air broadcasting.

It's time the media started asking Sky TV and TVNZ some hard questions about Igloo and it's content spying technology.


The Union Report - with CTU President Helen Kelly & PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff

Issue 1: How does the Public Sector view asset sales? Are Union members protected?

Issue 2: Are League Tables an effective measure for public servants, should we be implementing them in education?

and Issue 3: We changed our labour laws for Warners to make the Hobbit, yet TVNZ News reveal that Warners have closed their NZ offices - when should we change labour laws for corporations?

The Union Report screens 8pm Monday Triangle TV - the home of original public broadcasting

Facebook/TheUnionReport Twitter/CitizenBomber

Final Save TVNZ7 Auckland meeting West Auckland 7pm tonight

I'm hosting the Save TVNZ7 meetings throughout NZ over the final remaining month of TVNZ7, and the last Save TVNZ7 meeting is happening tonight in West Auckland.

Venue: Oratia Settlers Hall, 569 West Coast Road, Oratia.

West Auckland Panel:
Phil Twyford (Labour),
Dr Wayne Hope (AUT),
Barry Wilson (ex-broadcaster).

Protest dates
28th June Wellington. March to present petition to Parliament
30th June Auckland. Public Broadcasting Funeral March, marking TVNZ 7's last day of transmission, through Auckland.

Full Facebook details


John Key's Top 10 KPI's

What Key's farcical top 10 list actually means is...

10: We're broke and won't raise taxes against our rich supporters. You're on your own.
9: We're broke and won't raise taxes against our rich supporters. You're on your own.
8: We're broke and won't raise taxes against our rich supporters. You're on your own.
7: We're broke and won't raise taxes against our rich supporters. You're on your own.
6: We're broke and won't raise taxes against our rich supporters. You're on your own.
5: We're broke and won't raise taxes against our rich supporters. You're on your own.
4: We're broke and won't raise taxes against our rich supporters. You're on your own.
3: We're broke and won't raise taxes against our rich supporters. You're on your own.
2: We're broke and won't raise taxes against our rich supporters. You're on your own.
1: We're broke and won't raise taxes against our rich supporters. You're on your own.

Key's 10 points for NZ this week are not the same 10 points he released in March which followed Steven Joyce's six key areas for business growth which was a subset of the four main priorities Key outlined at the beginning of the year but they weren't the same four priorities outlined by the six point economic plan rolled out in 2010 which were different again from the six points of broader focus off the National party campaign billboards and which have little to do with the 120 point economic action plan announced at last years election.

Is it just me, or are we all being scammed by these attempts to look like we aren't the rudderless country devoid of economic direction beyond hocking our assets that we've become?

John Key - he has all the vision of a blind cyclops.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Gina Rinehart: Climate Denier to run NZs newspapers

Why should you care about Gina Rinehart? You should care about Gina Rinehart because this mining billionaire represents the most dangerous threat on editorial control of our news media our part of the world has seen since Robert Muldoon.

Her desire to buy a controlling stake in Fairfax so that she can sack editors is chilling because it follows a path of media censorship on the issue of climate change. Rinehart is a climate denier, her industry faces environmental restrictions and taxes, and Rinehart wants the media to kill off news about man made pollution as a cause of climate change.

Rinehart is taking a direct leaf out of climate denial artist Lord Monkton's suggestion of buying up the media to kill off the debate that he gave Australians during his visit in a private meeting with their biggest polluters...

...the fight for editorial control by Rinehart is just the latest blow to media freedoms inflicted upon some of our media by Fairfax in their push for corporate profit return over their obligations of watch dog.

Fairfax paid $1.88 billion in 2003 for Independent Newspapers Ltd's press and magazine stable and picked up Trade Me 3 years later for $700million. From the onset, Fairfax's profit drive led to a deterioration in media structures the private world had propped up out of a sense of obligation. They withdrew from the NZPA's polling system in 2006 and in 2008 launched businessday.co.nz drawing content from non-NZPA sources like The Independent, stuff.co.nz, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age.

In 2008 Fairfax created news hubs in Wellington and Christchurch while laying off 160 staff and killed off the NZPA in 2011 by pulling out of the co-operative ownership agreement with APN sounding the death knell to one of the country's most important news gathering structures.

The machinations of Fairfax in the NZ media environment have already allowed the commercial pressures of profit maximization to deteriorate our news media. The possibility that a climate denier like Gina Rhinehart now wants editorial dominance to censor what's left of that deteriorated news service should alarm every NZer.



Sneaking in under the radar last week was this government announcement. Beehive:

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta today signed the Washington Declaration, a new defence cooperation arrangement, at the Pentagon in Washington DC.

On the rubble of the red-blooded ANZUS now stands the vaguaries of ad hoc kissy-huggyness between America and New Zealand. The 1980s marriage failure, walk-out, tears, no-speaks etc. is now heading toward there's something still there, you're not so bad after all, reconciliation etc. The re-marriage however is still not on the cards - at least not as long as we have anti-nuclear legislation. The declaration naturally enough avoids that sensitive topic.

The Washington Declaration is to "serve as the overarching framework to plan and execute defense cooperation." I hope the earlier "Wellington Declaration" was written in proper English instead of the American version; but it's the content that is problematic for our "independent foreign policy".

All the "deepening" of relationships between defense establishments sounds a bit sinister (depending on what spy novel or conspiracy movie last seen) although this really means more American involvement in our traditional area of the South Pacific from what I read into it (rather than just them asking us for more sacrifices for their oil jihad). I note that under the rubric of "Asia-Pacific" Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East could also be lumped - so the focus on Asia-Pacific may not be as meaningful as it looks. Considering the PM signed up to a NATO deal the week before even less so.

The annex to the agreement gives some indication of where the newly asserted relationship is heading: more military staff exchanges, more joint exercises and "addressing regional resource exploitation, and supporting freedom of commerce and navigation." These are code words for anti-piracy missions and fishing and mining enforcement. The latter may draw us into conflict - where NZ will be asked to defend other nation's interests - sometimes against other groups within that nation. For example if the NZ Navy couldn't get another Whanau-a-Apanui boat to withdraw from interfering with the resource exploitation mission of a Brazilian-chartered survey vessel then this declaration could be used to invite the American forces in to do their dirty work for them.  The Land Wars - for the NZ government and therefore for Maori - aren't over, obviously.

As long as the NZ government is still deploying the armed forces to attack their own people in their own country then any foreign links with the NZ Defence Force is suspect.

Save TVNZ7 Auckland meetings South Auckland 7pm tonight

I'm hosting the Save TVNZ7 meetings throughout NZ over the final remaining month of TVNZ7, it is the last 2 meetings in Auckland and tonight at 7pm it is in Wiri.

Venue: Wiri Community Hall, 11 Inverell Avenue, Wiri.

South Auckland Panel:
Clare Curran (Labour),
Julie Anne Genter (Greens),
Dr Peter Thompson (VUW).

26th June 7pm West Auckland

28th June Wellington. March to present petition to Parliament
30th June Auckland. Public Broadcasting Funeral March, marking TVNZ 7's last day of transmission, through Auckland.

Full Facebook details


Cunliffe's 3rd speech - Labour out apocalypse the Greens

The tension has been building between the Greens and Labour for the last couple of months, and boiled over this week by the Greens success over ACC and Grant and Kennedy's rumble over trips to Rio.

At some point Labour was going to have to address the plucky new Green challenger, and what they've managed to come up with is pure political ballet at it's most chess like.

Cunliffe's third True Labour speech has gone far further than the Greens have in highlighting the looming environmental crises of living beyond our biospheres ability. Cunliffe was far more environmentally apocalyptic than the Greens, he accepts the problems are dire and fundamental changes need to occur.

Labour are appealing to those voters who didn't vote and whom were flirting with the Greens. Labour are reasserting a social justice agenda onto environmentalism in a move that is framed within a looming crises narrative.

Welcome to life raft NZ.

It will take some time to resonate, but this speech will be well received for those looking for an adult debate that acknowledges the realities within which we need to work.

If Cunliffe takes this speech on the road, it will create a life of its own.

Climate change and resource depletion were Green mantra until the suburban make over, now they don't mention it for fear of invoking images of stoned fringe hippies. Labour can pick up the issue and have a far wider debate without any of those traps.

These speeches for Labour by Cunliffe are some of the best political speeches this year.

This speech manages to out apocalypse the Greens - their strategists will find this very difficult to counter without risking the conservative veneer. Very clever tactics by Labour.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kate Sheppard TVNZ review

Give me back my history TVNZ! #KateSheppardWhatDidTheyDoToYou?

That was my tweet after watching the first 30minutes of TVNZs final remaining public broadcasting gems (now they've managed to suffocate TVNZ7), the Sunday night Platinum Fund traipse down NZ's rich and vibrant history that no one seems to know much about.

Last weeks amazing Siege gave a context and richness to an event we all witnessed and did that most ambitious of public broadcasting aims, it actually shed light.

I tuned into the Kate Sheppard story with anticipation based on how good Siege was and with a certain delight to see one of our country's greatest human rights activists given the dues she so richly deserved.

Which this didn't manage to achieve. Ouch.

I don't want to bag this because I believe in public broadcasting and really want the topic of Sheppard's activism to be a well known historical fact, but the stylistic choice to film it like a documentary was clunk, clunk, clunk.


Clunk, clunkity, clunk, clunk.

The actors spoke to an interviewer off camera. Like an interview, as in interviewing people in the 1800's but pretending not to notice the 20th Century cameramen and sound guys from a female journalist/narrator who is probably asking questions off her iPad.

It had its moments. I think we are all impressed with our ability to make wardrobes and sets that actually look like turn of the century NZ. Well done, and the range of English accents stretches as far as their vowels broad.

But every time they took it back to the doco style, it hurt. It hurt bad.

At times, it came across like a Wellington Theatrical Troupe. I wanted to like it and enjoy it, but I couldn't help wonder if anyone else had been shouting during its production that it was going clunk, clunk, clunk?

Kate deserved better than this, that sounds harsh, but Kate's a NZ treasure and the style suggested the budget couldn't deliver it's vision.

Triumphant moment rolling out the petition in the house, moment of pure joy. It's been a long 90minutes to get to that one moment.

Maybe I was hoping for The Piano meets Pulp Fiction?

It was okay, but you know. Clunkity, clunk, clunk.


Save TVNZ7 Auckland meetings Orewa 4pm today

I'm hosting the Save TVNZ7 meetings throughout NZ over the final remaining month of TVNZ7, it is the last 3 meetings in Auckland and today at 4pm it is Orewa

Venue: Orewa Community Centre, 368 Hibiscus Coast Hwy, Orewa.

Orewa Panel:
Darien Fenton (Labour),
Julie Anne Genter (Greens)
Tracey Martin (NZ First)
Dr Wayne Hope (AUT)

25th June 7pm South Auckland
26th June 7pm West Auckland

28th June Wellington. March to present petition to Parliament
30th June Auckland. Public Broadcasting Funeral March, marking TVNZ 7's last day of transmission, through Auckland.

Full Facebook details


q+a and The Nation review

The Nation

Great opening titles by the way. They are focusing on the asset sales with a brilliant line up of the opposition parties - this is public broadcasting!

It's a pity MANA haven't been invited, they are focused on buying back the assets and have threatened overseas investors (the story was picked up by Bloomberg).

Labour say they can't buy them back, Greens say they can't buy them back - Winston wants to. Great stuff.

The injustice of selling assets we all own to the richest NZers who can afford them because of almost $3billion in tax cuts is the issue here, yet the Greens and Labour are looking very weak by not sending stronger messages on this.

Gareth Hughes is a star and his inclusion on this debate proves it. The Greens desire to green the economy is a strong argument whose time has come, but they would need to have a large Cabinet representation to get any of that through.

Could NZ First, Labour and the Greens really work together? This panel suggested they could. It was surprising.

Colin James is on to talk about the week that was, he looks like the Chancellor from V for Vendetta. He points out that the Government keep changing their justification for asset sales showing they haven't won the argument.

He notes that Mighty River sale will have large over seas interest and that the Government have to get this first sale right.

Interesting story on School philanthropy. Scott Gilmore is a smart chap and he needs to be listened to, it's good that The Nation is giving him a platform.

Piece about Jeremy Wells trying to turn my morning walk zone in downtown Auckland into a bloody Cricket pitch. I love my stroll around one of Central Aucklands few green parks, the idea that we cancel that out for a Cricket venue will go down with locals about as well as The Unauthorized History of NZ did.

Seriously. Fuck cricket. Not in my back yard thanks Jeremy.


I'm boycotting TVNZ this month in the countdown to the killing off of TVNZ7, (todays meeting for Save TVNZ7 is 4pm in Orewa) so won't watch q+a, but I will review it based on what I think they will say and questions asked.

So on this week it's Jim Anderton and Fran O'Sullivan on the Panel. Fran will be ridiculously right wing and Jim will be that conservative style of left wing that doesn't really do anything. That awful Claire Robinson will be on still trying to get a job with the National Party. Her twitter account is called 'spinprofessor' what sort of arsehole calls themselves a spin professor?

She will flip flop around like a nervous Young Nat trying to score an entry level job in John Key's office. It will be cringe worthy viewing.

At least Paul Holmes is not on. Apparently Paul is out of his coma, but how would anyone know, I thought he was legally dead for tax purposes in the 1990s.

They are touching on NZs Greenwash with Amy Adams and Lucy Lawless. The cynicism that nothing will get done at Rio will descend into a plague on all your houses type discussion without any real examination of the science that clearly points to man made pollution causing climate change and the utter lack of leadership our country is playing on that front.

Fonterra are on defending their monopoly position in NZ and why they deserve more. No one will challenge the Gods of Fonterra, I think Q+A are planning a sacrificial virgin while the interview is on.

Toby Manhire from the Baby Boomer Listener will tweet something during the show that only Findlay McDonald, two bloggers at the Standard and Scott Yorke will find amusing. Not so much a circle jerk, as a square jerk.

Isn't it fascinating that in the week the Government rammed through their most controversial asset sales, no peep from those supposedly holding the buggers to account. The content line up on Q+A today ignoring that is a glaring example of why we need a public broadcaster and the new possibility of a TV station starting up from the ashes of TVNZ7 will be glad news for those who yearn for something far better than this.

Did I miss anything out this week?

UPDATE: A response to Scott Yorke:

I don't really want to labour the points of a labour party hack and nothing is as dull as two bloggers throwing tantrums, but dear little Scotty isn't happy with my reference to him in this blog and has posted a whole new post talking about how obsessed I am with him, if you are bored you can read it here. I warn you, he isn't very amusing.

What I find hilarious about his accusations is that while Scotty can hand it out, oh the delicate little flower doesn't like receiving it does he? Scott wrote two fairly obnoxious attacks on me and posted up a fake real estate website with my contact details on it. I didn't respond other than to post my contempt to him and the weak middle class dribble he passes off as cutting satire, but when I make a flippant comment at his expense (which was bloody funny btw Scott), it's all 'oh Martyn is mean to me and he's irrelevant' crap. You can hand it out but don't like it coming back do you Scott? That's pretty pathetic, it was a line in a joke, yet your response is over the top hysterics.

How dare you post up my personal contacts and then promote them on your site, how low and filthy is that? Should I do that to you Scott? Your home details, where you work, where you live on line and goad people into contacting you? You really want to play that kind of game and still claim you are the offended party Scott?

I'm surprised at how desperate Scott is at trying to be relevant, keep it up and he could one day manage to be a low ranking delegate or a producer on Q&A.

Good luck with that Scott.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Citizen A on line now: Efeso Collins & Phoebe Fletcher

Issue 1 : The Pacific Island communities marched up queen street last week in protest - what are their concerns and does NZ give the Pacific Island community enough political and cultural voice?

Issue 2: The Ports of Auckland dispute has been settled, but are there still moves to sell and move the Port? Should Local Councils be privatizing their assets?

and Issue 3: Len Brown has organized a new task force to look into the drinking culture - what should he be doing? 

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Friday, June 22, 2012

Save TVNZ7 Auckland meetings Milford 7pm tonight

I'm hosting the Save TVNZ7 meetings throughout NZ over the final remaining month of TVNZ7, it is the last 4 meetings in Auckland and tonight it is Milford

Venue: Milford Bowling Club, 20 Commodore Parry Rd, Castor Bay, North Shore.

Milford Panel:
Trisha Dunleavy (VUW),
Julie Anne Genter (Greens)
Andrew Williams (NZ First)
Phil Twyford (Labour)

24th June 4pm Orewa
25th June 7pm South Auckland
26th June 7pm West Auckland

28th June Wellington. March to present petition to Parliament
30th June Auckland. Public Broadcasting Funeral March, marking TVNZ 7's last day of transmission, through Auckland.

Full Facebook details


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Official documents show ACC tie performance pay to how many claimants they cut off. Public fury about to erupt in 3, 2, 1

When this whole Bronwyn Pullar issue erupted, I said the real story wasn't Nick Smith getting killed by friendly fire, or Boag vs Collins or defamation cases, it was always about how ACC use dispicable tactics to bully claimants into being refused help.

Pullar was attacked by ACC despite her highly placed friends. We now have allegations Collins directed ACC to do this and we now have the devastating proof that ACC tie performance pay to cutting off claimants...

ACC staff paid more for cutting off claimants - Greens
Official documents show some ACC staff have their pay tied to how many claimants they can cut off from receiving their entitlements, the Green Party says.

Now ACC have been outed, how many other social service providers are getting bonuses attached to their pay for cutting people off? WINZ? Housing NZ?

Is this why Paula Bennett is always crowing about how many people she's moved off welfare? Creating a system that bonuses people for eliminating others in need isn't a service, it's a disposal.

These incentives are craven.


MANA threaten overseas investors not to buy assets - Bloomberg pick up on the story

Bryce Edwards makes the point that left wing parties should be far more staunch about buying assets National sell back. He points out that NZ First has suggested this while the Greens and Labour are far too weak to, but Bryce misses that MANA have already done this and actually have sent an open letter to overseas investors threatening them not to buy that was actually picked up by Bloomberg.

Why no one in the mainstream media have noticed this is utterly beyond me. How can Bloomberg pick up on this yet our own local media miss it?

Here's Hone's Letter...

Open Letter To Overseas Investors
Thursday, 8 March 2012, 8:30 am
Press Release: Mana Party
MANA Leader and New Zealand Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira 8th March 2012

Tena koutou katoa

Greetings to you all
The New Zealand government is proposing to sell shares in five State Owned Enterprises (Air New Zealand and four energy companies, Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy, Genesis and Solid Energy) to repay overseas debt.
That proposal is opposed by an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders who believe that:

Assets built up through the hard work of generations of New Zealanders should not be sold to investors whose primary objective is not the public good, but private profit;

Privatisation will remove any ‘social responsibility’ from companies who until now have been responsible to government ministers;

Electricity assets in particular, should be held by the government on behalf of all New Zealanders, for the benefit of all New Zealanders, at a price we can afford;

The government should hold and manage those assets for the benefit of all citizens of this country.
As the indigenous people of Aotearoa, Maori have been even stronger in their opposition. The Maori view is that no asset sales should proceed until Maori interests in those assets have been properly addressed.
Maori have already made application to the Waitangi Tribunal to block the legislation. A separate case is before the High Court. Steps are being taken to take the case to the United Nations (under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and Maori groups have pledged to take action against sales to overseas interests which impact on our sovereignty.
In a related case, following months of public protest, the High Court has called on the NZ government to reconsider a decision to approve the sale of farm land to overseas interests.
So today I think it only proper to send a warning to overseas investors - steer clear of any share offer in the above SOE’s. The purchase of these shares is likely to see you caught up in legal battles and direct action from citizens determined to protect their own interests, both of which will be lengthy and costly and have an adverse impact on the value of your investment.
As the leader of the MANA Movement and Member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, I wish to advise that MANA is opposed to the privatisation of state assets and will strongly argue for any shares sold to overseas investors to be returned to New Zealand hands.
You have been warned...
Hone Harawira

...and here's Bloomberg, one of the largest financial news sites in the world picking up on it.

The fact that none of this is gaining any traction in the mainstream media is obvious. They are all eying up the $120 million spin money coming their way to advertise and promote the sales in a couple of months time, the Mainstream media won't discuss these issues because it's their bottom line advertising margin for the next quarter that will be hurt.

The deafening quiet from the mainstream media today as pointed out by my co-blogger Tim Selwyn shows why we need a public broadcaster.


What asset sales?

The state asset privatisation debate has been raging in parliament this week as the "Mixed Ownership Model" Bill is driven through the House by the Tories. The wholesale looting by a minority consisting of the wealthy beneficiaries of National's tax cuts will be grotesque - a far cry from Tony Ryall's blithe insistance that "ordinary Kiwis" will buy the shares. And with a parliamentary majority resting on just the Nats, John Banks and Peter Dunne it all hangs on a single vote to pass it. Last night there were recriminations, threats and plenty else besides. Would there be anything less with the backbone of the energy sector at stake, with the government's biggest and most profitable corporations about to be shed of public interest constraints and opened up for private gain at public expense?
With this almighty shit-fight on how have the two big NZ news sites been covering this today? How have they told their mass audience about these events?

NZ Herald:
Nothing on the main site.

But lurking in the far right corner of the National News page:
Like it isn't important at all, like it's not really news, just politics. Can't expect much sympathy from the old Tory bumrag, but this just looks like a cover-up. A decision to make this not news.

Nothing on the main site. Nothing.

On their national news page:
Nothing. Maybe it's relegated to the politics section like the Herald has?
Nothing, zip. Not even a hint from Fairfax that this looting is underway; just the impression of more trivial tosh of no moment whatsoever from their supposed big hitters. You will be excused for not revelling in their profundity...

For some reason, it was official Pick On Trevor Day in Parliament yesterday, writes Jane Clifton.
First Reading: Vernon Small on Politics
Rusty and Winnie vie for job as Labour sidekicks

The big media corporations are in on this because the government has committed to sell shares to "ordinary kiwis" ie. the wealthy middle and upper classes and this means loads of advertising heading their way. That gravy will be slopping over into the coffers of the NZ Herald and Fairfax. They are not disinterested parties to this lurid transaction and this goes some way to explaining their coverage, such as their silence today.

Of all the solid criticism of the bill that I have heard from the opposition so far something I haven't heard yet is how much debt will these partly privately owned companies start racking up? Wouldn't it be in the interests of the new directors who represent the private shareholders to issue some debt to give them a better dividend? In a situation where some in the opposition want to buy the shares back wouldn't it make sense for them to pressure the other directors to take on more debt so they can extract the most in the window they have available? I would not be surprised if the first thing the new board does is borrow against those assets. And because the government is a majority shareholder that the debt is tacitly underwritten by the Crown - meaning the lower interest rate and security provides a huge scope to issue debt.  Now how bad will the Tories look when they refuse to take on more debt as an excuse to sell down the power companies if the power companies themselves start taking on debt?

The truth is the Nats have had this privatisation policy (of waiting till a second term) before the 2008 financial meltdown was evident and the reason to sell has little to do with the government's debt burden. They would have sold if the Crown had a deficit twice as big, they would have sold if they were running a big surplus, and they would have sold if they were breaking even. The sale is an ideological belief and a material commitment to their class.

The truth is the NZ government's sovereign debt position, though deteriorating, is still relatively stable and not in a crisis, and that the interest rates on bonds have never been lower and thus more affordable for the Crown.  The Nats don't have to sell the assets at all, they are choosing to sell them.

Will Judith Collins be forced to resign over latest ACC revelation?

ACC is just the gift that keeps giving doesn't it? The war between National's factions, the friendly fire killing of Nick Smiths career, the ACC sackings, defamation proceedings, massive privacy breaches and the uncovering of a culture of bullying that meant even someone like Pullar with high ranking mates couldn't gain traction.

And now could the ACC fiasco take out Judith Collins?

ACC minister put pressure on bosses to make complaint - Labour
ACC bosses laid a police complaint alleging blackmail by claimant Bronwyn Pullar and Michelle Boag after being pressured by their minister Judith Collins, Labour MP Andrew Little says.

In a general debate at Parliament this afternoon Mr Little claimed that during a meeting between ACC Ralph Stewart, chairman John Judge and Ms Collins in Auckland the day after a massive privacy breach at ACC was revealed, Ms Collins told the two men to "go after Michelle Boag".

"She urged and pressured and pressed the chief executive and chairman of the board to make a complaint to the police and that's what they did".

...if Judge and Stewart were told by Collins to go after Boag and Pullar and her response has been to hang then both out to dry, they will start leaking and Collins will be dog tucker.

How many Ministers can this self inflicted ACC fiasco claim?


National + ACT + Maori Party + United Future are traitors

Every NZ Politician who voted last night to sabotage our sovereignty by selling assets are traitors and those in Opposition too gutless to pledge to buy them back are cowards.

A plague of ebola on all their damned houses!

This is nothing less than economic treason to flog off our ability to be financially autonomous to the wealthiest NZers who have already profited from borrowed tax cuts.

What we are witnessing is one of the great swindles of NZ. Electricity prices will soar once shareholders are maximizing profits and the vast sum of cash that will now be vacuumed off overseas by foreign investors will damage our already hemorrhaging current accounts deficit.

How dare National claim they are using the money from these asset sales to build schools and infrastructure, those things are supposed to be paid by taxation, not flogging off assets and spending $400 million on unsustainable irrigation plans for South Island Dairy Farmers.

The reason National can't afford those infrastructure costs is because they lowered the tax rate and borrowed almost $3 billion in tax cuts for the wealthiest. Amputating the States ability to raise funds and redistribute those funds is a right wing fantasy come to life. No need for redistributive policy when there is nothing to redistribute.

As for Peter Dunne, there is a special place in hell for politicians as cretinous as him.

Don't dare forget those who did this to NZ.


'Asset Share Bonus' final theft for the rich

Bonus shares eyed to sweeten asset sales
Cheap share packets and bonus shares are being considered as the Government prepares its first sell-down of state-owned assets.

Seeing as the only people who will be able to afford these shares are the richest NZers (those who were given almost $3 billion in borrowed tax cuts), the idea that we will now bonus those same Shire volk has all the rapacious character of a vampire squid high on meth feasting on an infants face.

This is a subsidized public mugging, the impacts of which will deform the economic potential of the next generation.


Gareth Morgan and the Sue Bradford syndrome

I'm sorry, Gareth Morgan said what?

'Green extreme' should be replaced, says Morgan
Philanthropist Gareth Morgan has slated New Zealand's "green extreme" for being anti-economic development and thwarting the mainstreaming of conservation.

I'm sorry, although I heard it I still can't believe what he said, again please...

Philanthropist Gareth Morgan has slated New Zealand's "green extreme" for being anti-economic development and thwarting the mainstreaming of conservation.

...let me get this completely straight. The problem with mainstreaming green philosophy is the left wing activists who have agitated NZ out of it's clean green myth???

The left are to blame? What about the loony fringe climate denying right wing! The creationists at an evolution conference, those crazy right wing deniers aren't the problem?

The far right ACT Party and their climate denial aren't the problem that has held back the green movement from mainstreaming? The climate denial lies they spread to muddy the waters so as to create doubt so no policy changes are made aren't the problem?

ACT are deeply indebted to the anti-global warming movement, indeed ACT changed their policy on Global Warming after receiving a $100 000 donation from the anti-global warming Alan Gibbs.

But Alan and ACT aren't the problem, the left are? I call Gareth's stance the Sue Bradford syndrome.

Every time Paula Bennett announces her latest bennie bash, members of the aesthetic left swing their attention to whatever Sue Bradford says and attacks Sue for responding! The acid doesn't go onto Paula for her latest degradation of the poor, it goes on Sue for standing up for them.

It's an intellectual snobbery with all the charm of hired goons sent in to break up a Union dispute.

To attack those who stand up rather than the actions that call them to stand up is a uniquely NZ perspective that puts the cringe back into cultural.

Isn't our public discord ovine enough?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The jailed former Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak, has in the last few hours been taken to a military hospital where he is reported as being critically ill after a stroke. His supporters are denying he is dead.

This is a crucial moment for Egypt. The Presidential election has just taken place with the opposition Muslim Brotherhood candidate looking likely to have won over the pro-military candidate. In the inter-regnum during counting the military have declared they will unilaterally re-write the constitution and decide what the new President can and can't do - basically to continue the military domination of the state. This is another staging point in this long 'Arab Spring'. This form of coup has not been demonstrably opposed yet, but there is a crowd now in Tahrir Square in Cairo - the scene of Mubarak's fall. This is a Live feed via Russia TV.

Selected via Twitter:

Dalia Hosny@DaliaHosny
BREAKING: Hosny just passed away. From a very trusted source at the hospital right now. They still dont want to announce it yet.

Radio Australia News@RANews
Egypt's Mubarak in coma, on artificial respirator: medical source, contradicting state media reports that he is 'clinically dead'

NBC News@NBCNews
Live Video: Crowds assemble in Egypt's Tahrir Square, await word on condition of Hosni Mubarak

Do you want fries with that Pokie machine?


Nothing shows up the farce of pokie machine regulation than the case of a pokie bar pretending to be a takeaway shop in Otara.

MANA vice-president John Minto wrote to the Department of Internal Affairs asking how a pokie bar can use takeaways as a front and was told that while the license was cancelled, the DIA were allowing this company to remain open while they appealed to the Gambling Commission.

The DIA should shut this joke down now rather than allow it to continue operating but seeing that this Government seem to have an addiction to gambling, turning a blind eye to a pokie bar to masquerade as a takeaway's is the least of National's sins.


John Key is worth $50 million, let's sell him and not state assets!

The Government have fast tracked their plans to sell off our assets into a global market that won't be scrambling to offer us top dollar for them. Spending $120 million on spin drs to convince us into selling our assets seems audacious considering most opinion polls suggest Key could spend $120 Billion on trying to spin asset sales and the majority of us still wouldn't buy it.

The one thing we can be certain off is the spike in power prices once shareholders are calling the shots and rapaciously demanding a higher and higher profit margin. Opposition Parties must use every filibuster trick in the book to drag this process out, the spurious claims to have a mandate to privatize our assets borders on the comical when one considers the last election was one of the lowest voter turn outs in 120 years.

People voted National in spite of their asset sale plans, not because of them.

Apathy isn't a mandate and austerity isn't an economic policy.

We've already given almost $3 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest NZers, meaning they are the only ones with the disposable income to buy these shares. Seeing as we are borrowing for those tax cuts, we are effectively subsidizing the richest members of society to buy assets we publicly own.

Rushing these sales through before the Waitangi Tribunal has managed to investigate if their sale contravenes the Treaty provisions is an added insult.

Asset sales are the very definition of peak stupidity.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hekia Parata's handling of League Tables makes ACC look competent

Oh, so National want to now use National Standards to create league tables after all do they? When National first suggested these academically questionable standards in 2008, the immediate criticism was that National would use them to create league tables. National swore that wasn't their intent.

Apparently now it is. The deception behind National Standards is startling in the wake of the Governments back down over larger class room sizes. What is it about degrading public education that excites the right so much?

Internationally renowned educationalist, Professor John Hattie has advised the Government that National Standards could be the worst thing to ever happen to NZ Public Education, yet this Government continues to push ideology to help the private education industry over and above the public education system.

Interesting that National are so keen to try and hold Hattie up as their justification for larger class room sizes, but won't listen to him on National Standards.

These academically questionable Standards have always been about creating a false competition model by creating league tables based on these flawed rankings. This isn't about the child's ability to read and write, it's about implementing free market ideology into education while ignoring the empirical evidence.

When Key says 1 in 5 children are failed by our education system, he's using old data, the number is closer to 1 in 20 and we are ranked 6th in the OECD. The rest of the world holds our education system up in envy, this Government are hell bent on dismantling it.

The negative impacts of National Standards in education makes Aucklands Public Transport network look like a fleet of gold plated bullet trains built with precision German engineering.

Hekia Parata's handling of Education makes ACC look competent.


NZ has more of a threat of invasion from Mars than boat people

Live test to expose NZ's asylum seeker shortcomings
New Zealand's shortcomings at dealing with an influx of illegal refugees are expected to be exposed with a live test in Auckland this morning.

Around 100 actors will 'arrive' at Devonport Naval Base this morning, posing as asylum seekers, and will be processed by immigration officials.

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy told TV ONE's Breakfast he hopes the exercise will support his case for new legislation for detaining illegal immigrants.

"Today's exercise is working under the existing law and it will show we have shortcomings," he said.

Yes, shortcomings like the Minister of Immigration Nathan Guy not seeming to have looked at a map recently to notice that between Darwin and NZ is a bloody great big continent and Tasman sea.

This waste of $200 000 to employ unemployed actors and Hobbit extras for a day seems to be as vile an attempt to inject some red neck fear mongering diversions from the woes of the Government as Paula Bennett's appearance on Michael Laws to discuss the benefits of restricting beneficiaries reproductive lives.

This vast use of cash for a glorified 6 week Theatre Sports festival seems to have little connection with reality. Using the illusion of a threat by boat people when the reality is immigrants are trying to get to NZ so they can settle in Australia is a danger so hollow it would be amusing if NZers themselves weren't fleeing en mass to the Gold Coast.

Forget mass detentions of imaginary boat people, shouldn't the Army be training to shut the airports down to stop Kiwis from leaving?

NZ has more of a threat of invasion from Mars than boat people.



Just as Freeview is to become compulsory (that is to say they are turning off the free alternative analogue system) they withdraw another channel from it - and we will be left with two fifths of fuck all.  Always half-hearted, TVNZ7 has been a trick: a short-lived gimmick to con people into accepting Freeview. With Triangle/Stratos bailing out some months ago Freeview is losing momentum and we will be left with the same amount of channels that we had in the first place.

The problem with saving TVNZ7 is it means saving the TVNZ bit. It is difficult to disagree with David Farrar's proposition:

Which is exactly why TVNZ7 was doomed. It was on a broadcaster which had no interest in having people watch it.


If you want public service television, there are really only two sustainable models. The first is the NZ on Air contestable funding model which allows all broadcasters to air public service programmes that are not commercially viable. The second is a dedicated stand alone broadcaster. That will cost around $200m to $250m or so a year.

Not indeed. That costing is plucked from betwixt the same hairy, cleaven place where Treasury pulls out their forecasts. It is quite possible to run a public broadcaster for significantly less than that. Indeed, according to TPK:

Māori Television Service receives approximately $16.5 million per annum directly from the Government to meet its operating costs. It also receives $16 million from Te Māngai Pāho to fund in-house programme production.

That's $32.5m a year plus a minimal ad take. They seem to produce a lot more in the nature of public broadcasting than TVNZ does - for a lot less.

The stand alone channel idea is a good one and should be promoted as a viable alternative to continuing with TVNZ7. I think such a channel can be created by way of the government tendering for a public broadcasting TV service that would involve elements of the TVNZ Charter as well as certain minimum local content provisions in the contract that could benchmark itself against what the TVNZ7 output has been. The issue is to crystalise exactly what makes up the public good element that is worth the public subsidy; eg. quantifying the value of not having ads. Having a local content minimum of 50% in primetime and 25% non-primetime would probably be tracking similar or above where TVNZ7 is. Limiting re-runs to less than half of all content would also be a welcome move - most TVNZ7 stuff is reruns and reruns of reruns - this should not count.

One of the hurdles is whether ads are compatible with such a channel. Others - especially from backgrounds in larger countries where there are several non-commercial state TV networks will probably disagree - but I believe ads and public broadcasting need not be incompatible or overwhelmingly damaging. There will always be a tension (as the recent 'Fair Go' editorial/management spat over going easy on their advertisers has showed) but with strong accountability (to the contract) and an overt public broadcasting mission it need not be fatal.

What is important is the content v. breaks ratio and how many breaks there are rather than whether the breaks are of ads or of the channel's own internal promos. TVNZ7 flagship News at 8 programme for example has at least three breaks of 1:30 each - all internal promos. There isn't that much difference for me in what that 4:30 of breaks is - ads or promos - they all tend to grate after you've seen them more than a dozen times. I have no objection to a public broadcaster having ads as long as they are kept to a minimum, eg. less than 4 or 5 mins per hour.

Showing ads will reduce the amount of funding needed and will appeal to the range of broadcasters who may want to tender. Is it all too late...?