Is Ian Wishart a politician or a journalist?

Bloggers wanting to be journalists. ?Journalists running blogs. ?The friction as to what constitutes “real news” has been debated for many years.

But what happens when a known journalist, an acknowledged one, is drifting into politics, but does not reveal this? ? Then what the journalist writes about politics or the party is unlikely to be impartial. ?To not allow readers to know you have an interest is very much like a politician, but less like a journalist.

Ian Wishart of ?Investigate Magazine fame was approached by the Conservative Party to run for the 2014 campaign, but he declined. ?We know he is a Christian conservative, so in general he would be aligned with the party’s ideas.

As covered this morning, we’ve seen him lend a hand by publicising “The Great Kiwi Poll” which was just the Conservative party itself really. ?Ian supporting a cause that he believes ?in doesn’t make his work any less valid.

Unless, of course, instead of being a reporter, you turn into someone to whom hard facts are suddenly just approximations to be bent at will.

There is no doubt in my mind that Wishart knew the Conservative party was behind the mysterious poll. ?And so, promoting it on a site that has been a site where he’s been selling?investigative journalism and news is a little cheeky.

But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. ?The poll was meant to be some kind of mystery poll with an aim to stop respondents skewing their responses. Read more »

Liam Hehir on small party failure

Gareth Morgan

Liam Hehir writes about the fate of third parties and Gareth Morgan’s TOP.

The Opportunities Party (or TOP) hit a milestone last week when it was registered as an official political party with the Electoral Commission.

With more than 2000 members, party founder Gareth Morgan has reason to be pleased. Those membership numbers almost certainly exceed those of a number of parties holding seats in Parliament.

Nevertheless, unless something dramatic happens, there is almost no chance that TOP candidates will become MPs following the general election. Last month’s Mount Albert by-election, which TOP contested, underlines just how difficult it is for new parties to elbow their way to a seat at the table.

Read more »

The New Zealand Association of Scientists have lost the plot

Science is, sometimes, political – NZAS

The New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) is deeply concerned by the impact of the new US administration.

“We?ve just gone two weeks with the new US administration and we are witnessing a geopolitical shakeup that is without precedent”, said NZAS President Craig Stevens. “The rise of social media has reduced the time for a community to respond to an event down to mere minutes. At the same time, communities are both many – and global. The radical changes being made by the Trump administration ripple across the globe in the blink of a smart-phone.”

As an independent body seeking to promote science, the NZAS has six main aims (www.scientists.org.nz) – each one is and will be impacted by the radical changes being wrought by one of the planet?s dominant nations. This dominance feeds through into economic influence, migration, regional stability and science.

We seek to promote science in New Zealand. Science is now global, scientists come from all-over and go all-over. We collaborate, we consolidate, we share knowledge, we discover – globally.

The world would not be sure that the climate is changing rapidly due to greenhouse gas emissions without the efforts of scientists of all nationalities. Science and the scientific community cannot tolerate discrimination against people on the basis of their place of birth or religion. In fact, the Trump Administration’s travel ban has horrified the global scientific community. This ban is completely immoral in the context of the current international refugee crisis. It will also retard scientific progress in the United States and the rest of the world at just the time when our civilisation needs science the most.

We seek to increase public awareness of science and expose pseudo-science. The US Administration is using new, and seriously partisan, media to deconstruct science. It’s happened before with abhorrent consequences.

There is no doubt that the Trump administration will be a threat to some. ?But it does not propose to cut funding to science and research. ?It is more likely to redirect it into different areas. ? Read more »

Guest Post: Of Golden Showers and Errant Quokkas

Guest Post:?Sylvester Connor is main editor for the ConnorPost.com – Besides that?s he?s an entrepreneur in California and a legendary birder.? You can reach him at: [email protected]



A “quokka selfie” taken on Rottnest Island in September 2016.

Of Golden Showers and Errant Quokkas


Which is more quaint?supposed intelligence agencies hawking fake tabloid trash, or Kiwis worried about a rare mammal? And is there any common ground here?

The Quokka story?on Stuff is far more quaint; it involves an interesting animal, whereas the American story is just grotesque. But the common ground is newsreaders? desire for something relatively light and breezy, rather than relentless news about politics and immigration.

Americans and New Zealanders have much more in common: they are both ex-British colonies that have established independence across the world from their ancestral lands. They are both historically white, European and Christian. And they are both under attack.

So once the quokka is found, and the American press finds another hoax to scandalise about, it will be time to return, as unpleasant as it is, to the pressing matters of the day, which are indeed: politics and immigration.

Read more »

Do you know who this man is?

Do you know who this man is?

Read more »

Liam Hehir’s prediction for next year’s election

Liam Hehir has produced some predictions?for 2017.

The one that most interests me is this:

New Zealand politics has been positively boring by comparison. Almost every foreign tumult in 2016 brought forth hot takes on what the local equivalent might be. To the disappointment of many commentators, Kiwis have proven remarkably resistant to the populist bug. More than a few have blamed the disarming geniality of former Prime Minister John Key.? Read more »


Is the Trump victory the first signs of Gen X as a political force?

A reader emails:

Hi Cam,

As a political tragic, I have been following the US elections closely and as the race progressed Trump’s message resonated with me, even though I am a kiwi and couldn’t vote. I felt the same connection with Brexit but what struck me as odd was just how much I cared about both results. To me, it was clear if Hillary won and Britain remained our way of life would be gone.

So now as the dust settles people are trying to define these Trump supporters and Brexiters. You here all sorts of labels, Alt right (whatever that means), White Nationalism, Nationalists, Populists and worse but none of the labels fit the bill.

And then it struck me. Could it be that this wasn’t a vote from the generally disaffected and disenfranchised, the basket of deplorable’s, but in fact a generation finding its voice? Could the reason I cared so deeply about the results be because it was my fellow Gen Xers that were so unhappy with the status quo?

So who are they? ? Read more »

Stop reading the news

One of the people I read to give me ideas, strategies and direction is Ryan?Holiday. A great deal of what we do here at Whaleoil comes from his ideas. One of his books is my bible.

Now you may think I am giving up our secrets, but the reality is no one will bother to try to emulate me, for a start they don’t have the work ethic I?do, and they aren’t prepared to do what it takes.

That said, Ryan?Holiday makes some observations about the media and politics:

The last few months have been particularly unhappy ones for me. Not because there was anything wrong in my life; on the contrary, in my life things were going surprisingly well. The source of my misery? I was caught up in the news cycle.

I told myself it was partly my job. But the reality is, I was doing less of my job. How could it have been otherwise? I?d become consumed by a divisive, contentious, scandal driven news loop. Twitter. Google News. Apple News. Facebook. Longreads and hot takes via Instapaper. CNN. Email conversations. NPR.

My media diet had gone from abstemious to addicted. As someone who is normally self-disciplined, I felt guilty about the time I was wasting and the energy I spent emoting about things far beyond me, and yet, I could not control it. I know I am not the only one?the most common thing I?ve heard from people the last few months is: I can?t wait for this election to be over so I can go back to work. I?d venture to guess that there is someone else, who deep down, can at least relate to that sentiment: Fellow (and admitted) news junkie and, now President-elect, Donald Trump.

It?s time we all came to terms with our compulsion: How is anyone going to make America or themselves great again?if we?re all glued to our devices and television screens? How can anyone maintain their sanity when everything you read, see, and hear is designed to make you stop whatever you?re doing and consume because the world is supposedly ending?

Read more »


Will Gareth Morgan apply the same standards to politics?

Gareth Morgan has published a passage about the TOP not being a one-man band on his new party?s website.

In reality our team is huge, because we have been drawing on the work of scientists and economists from New Zealand and abroad. Anyone who has followed my work will know that I take an evidence-based position on any issue. That means drawing together the academic and policy contributions of a great many professionals.

The litmus test of how serious Gareth Morgan is will be whether he takes the same approach to campaigning.

Will he take an evidence-based position on campaigning? ? Read more »

The left cares because it is the best job they are ever going to get

Rodney Hide looks at the election results and surmises that the left cares more than the right about politics.

The New Zealand Labour Party and the centre left once again clean up the local body elections. Two ex-Labour ministers run the two largest cities.

The third largest is headed by Labour?s candidate.

Media guru Bill Ralston explains his defeat by long-time local body politician and out-and-out lefty Mike Lee as centre-right voters not engaging in local body elections.

He?s right. The centre right enjoys the best people, the most money and unassailable argument but is hopeless at politics. That?s because we don?t care for it. We can think of 1001 better things to do with our time and our money.

Centre-right people believe the best thing is being productive with the zenith being running your own business. We look down our nose at politicians.

Read more »