No Right Turn

No Right Turn

I know a lot of people are concerned at the relentless volume and vitriol of the attacks and attempts to undermine our elected government.

It was hard enough for them in 2017 when Winston responded to the Dirty Politics leaking of his super errors by National by forming a coalition with Labour and The Greens.

The howls of outrage and offense were fever pitch and talk of stolen elections and corruption was non stop as men tried, and failed, to come to terms with a single mother for Prime Minister.

Tears flowed like old man river.

But it was a case of God defending New Zealand brethren, for the deadly pandemic hit and the world started dying. Thankfully we had a government that cared rather than one that only cared about commerce.

And we were saved.

And we responded to the God’s blessing the only way we knew how – we elected a first past the post government for the first time in over 50 years.

And it was Labour by a landslide.

After that the mantrums of 2017 to 2020 paled into insignificance as fragile masculinity reared its ugly knobhead everywhere it could.

National had several leadership meltdowns and the right sinking ship lost its rudder and all but sank. Several lenders later we have Luxon who seems to be trying to prove that any fool could lead National and all the fools will follow him.

But it has to be a him.

And if you thought the National Party was divided internally, just look at the National aligned actors currently vying for a slurp at the trough.

Leo Malloy wants to be king, and David Seymour wants to be God. Winston wont shut up and everywhere you look the conspiracy industry is doing its best to prove who is the most kooked.

Let’s never forget that days before the Battle of Portaloo we saw the inevitable… the feral kooks were now wearing tin foil hats.

You could never have made this up.

But the craziness was only beginning.

Trying to hoover all of the madness up we see Bishop Pope King Saint Mother of all Ayatollahs Brian Tamaki, resplendent in his $11,000 suit and $1400 shades and fresh from breakfast with Jehovah declaring he’s now an Apostle and God had told him to stand up and overthrow the government.

If someone stood up and said Napoleon told them the same thing, they’d be sectioned to a secure ward and given treatment.

But no. God botherers have a vaccine for that.

So as Brian rants and raves like a man possessed about armed insurrection and sacking the government, a small hard of thinking minority think the son of God shines out his arse.

But everyone else just wishes he’d round the cult up and fast forward to the Kool aid scene.

And I’m seriously not kidding.

Tamaki is in a frenzy trying to convince the world hates his flock. So he marches them into town and parks their worshipful arse on the country’s main transport arteries. Then when John and Jill R Citizen get angry at their trip to the hospital to visit Nana (who is sick with covid because some halfwit refused to wear a mask in the supermarket) express displeasure Tamaki ascends his golden pulpit and preaches: “See. The heathens are entitled dickheads and they hate us worhippers”.

It’s like Monty Python but without the funny bits.

But how good is he?

Well, footage of him planning mayhem with fellow wouldbe if he couldbe Leo Malloy had surfaced and Prince Leo can’t backpedal fast enough.

One thing you can always rely on with the right side of politics is they hate each other.

And their idea of unity is you agreeing to do what I tell you.

There’s a word for this.

It’s called an abortion.

EXTREMISM: ‘Splintered realities’: How NZ convoy lost its way


Days of protesters’ chats reveal the inside story of how New Zealand’s convoy was hijacked by the far-right fringe, Marc Daalder reports

Special report: The convoy wasn’t supposed to end this way.

What organisers hoped would be a mass movement shutting down the nation’s capital until vaccine mandates were removed has devolved into a few hundred radical protesters scrapping with police, death threats against politicians which is keeping any MPs from turning out to speak with the aggrieved, and the hijacking of the event by a Trump-aligned alternative media outlet.

Analysis of posts on the chat app Telegram as well as more traditional social media platforms shows how the convoy went from a targeted protest of vaccine mandates to a vehicle for fringe and even violent extremist ideologies over the course of the event. Pleas from the original organisers on Thursday morning to abandon the camp went unheeded and more than 100 people were arrested. At the end of the day, however, protesters cheered when police gave up all of the ground they had gained through painstaking, inch-by-inch advances.

As the occupation stretches into its fifth day, it is now being seen in starkly different ways by extremists on the ground, by a more moderate anti-mandate minority and by the general New Zealand public.

“There’s something going on here that’s actually quite disturbing, in terms of splintered realities and lack of a shared narrative,” Sanjana Hattotuwa, who monitors extremism and misinformation in New Zealand for Te Pūnaha Matatini’s Disinformation Project, told Newsroom.

While police are now managing the physical event on the ground, the battles being fought over narrative online threaten to further fray New Zealand’s social fabric, he warned.

A viral moment

The speed at which the convoy went from an event in Canada to an online discussion in New Zealand to something that was actually happening is unprecedented in the country’s conspiracy scene.

Hattotuwa first noticed discussion around the convoy on New Zealand-based Telegram channels on January 30. The next day, a private Facebook group to support the effort already had 7200 members. It now has nearly 70,000.

“It was first chatter about a convoy and then it became the convoy as its amorphous organisers wanted it to become. And that took less than 48 hours. It was fast,” he said.

“We’re looking at a propagation from ideation online on the 30th of January to what we have now. That’s very, very fast.”

At the time the plans were launched, the truckers’ occupation of Ottawa was the big story on the anti-vax fringe and the far right globally. Efforts everywhere sought to emulate its success. In New Zealand, early attempts to recruit significant numbers of truckers failed, so the movement quickly became a convoy of regular vehicles.

We now know that Canada’s convoy was not an organic uprising of truckers but the scheme of a QAnon conspiracy theorist. In New Zealand, there are no signs yet that the convoy movement was launched by any of the usual conspiracy theorist or extremist suspects.

“This was pretty organic. It came from nowhere,” Hattotuwa said. It received early support and amplification from the anti-lockdown, anti-vax group Voices for Freedom and then went truly viral on the conspiracy fringe when it got coverage from Counterspin Media.

Convoy’s big tent

Within a matter of days, Counterspin and the convoy’s organisers would be locked in a struggle for control of the narrative around the protest as well as the physical event itself. But at that early stage, the organisers were grateful for the signal boost.

Counterspin is one of the largest platforms for conspiracy theories and far-right ideology in New Zealand. It airs on an online TV channel set up by former Donald Trump advisor and far-right extremist Steve Bannon and was started by Kelvyn Alp, an extremist known for agitating for armed resistance against the New Zealand government in the early 2000s.

Alp hasn’t grown any more moderate in the interim. On January 30, the day the convoy discussions really picked up, he put out a call for armed kidnapping of MPs, journalists and anyone else his audience might perceive as upholding the Government. That statement was amplified across Telegram, but was drowned out the next day by convoy chatter. Every single one of more than 100 Telegram channels surveyed by Hattotuwa mentioned the convoy in some capacity that day.

For their part, the convoy organisers tried to keep to a narrow message: They wanted the end of vaccine mandates, the repeal of Covid-19-related legislation and for anti-vaccination doctors suspended by the Medical Council to be reinstated. While Counterspin framed the event as the start of a “war” in which politicians would be arrested for the “crime” of promoting vaccination, the organisers asked that views not related to the mandates be shared privately.

Part of the South Island convoy reached Lindis Pass. Photo: Telegram

There were early warning signs of division. As the convoy made its way down the country, some users on Telegram complained about the use of Trump- and QAnon-related imagery by some vehicles.

“They are completely irrelevant and only serve to discredit the entire cause,” one user wrote.

Fractures also appeared on Zello, an app that replicates a walkie-talkie which the convoy used to coordinate logistics and keep entertained for the drive to Wellington. This forum was more strictly controlled by the organisers, however, with several people complaining on Telegram that they had been kicked out of the Zello groups.

Notwithstanding these occasional disagreements, the movement’s unity held as it arrived in Wellington. The first day saw participants busy setting up tents and occupying the Parliamentary precinct, with little time available for ideological scuffles.

They got tacit support from politicians like Winston Peters as well as white supremacist groups like Action Zealandia. While the organisers’ official communications focused on unity, others used the platform to call for a siege of an animal vaccine factory in Timaru. At the event, signs about love and community sat alongside references to executions of politicians. Some protesters brought nooses with them.

Online, content moved like lightning in this period, Hattotuwa observed, spreading across platforms and then bouncing back with new and more extreme falsehoods appended, before beginning the cycle anew. But the differences of opinion didn’t lead to direct conflict. For a day, the big tent was holding.

‘Never coming back’

The decisive moment came on Wednesday afternoon. Four days prior, a conspiracy theorist by the name of Brett Power had lodged a civil complaint against Andrew Little in the High Court in New Plymouth, accusing the health minister of murder. Like many of the protesters and high-profile extremists like Alp, Power is a sovereign citizen who believes that the Government has no legal power to tax or detain him.

After filing his papers at the High Court, Power and others had attempted to storm the offices of the Taranaki Daily News. He joined the convoy and ended up in Wellington on Tuesday.

At 3.15pm on Wednesday, Power attempted to breach the police line at Parliament to enter the building and serve his legal papers to Little. The plan was then to citizens arrest the health minister – effectively, to kidnap him – and then put him on trial. The preordained punishment was to be execution.

As Power tried to push past the officers, protesters surged forward. At least one metal barricade was knocked over. The convoy’s original organisers called for calm on Zello, Counterspin pushed others to storm Parliament on the livestream and on Telegram and a new faction of protesters aligned with Brian Tamaki’s anti-vax Freedom and Rights Coalition (FRC) seized control of the PA system to also call for calm.

Brett Power was arrested on Wednesday. Photo: Marc Daalder

Power and two others were arrested.

Hattotuwa saw this as the clear point where the convoy’s original organisers lost all control.

“When you were looking at Counterspin and listening to what was being talked about by them on Zello, they had lost the plot.”

Byron Clark, a video essayist who monitors New Zealand’s extreme right, said that Counterspin’s influence over the crowd was evident at that moment.

“They’ve expanded their audience and appear to be having a lot of influence on that new audience. When the three people broke the police line, that was after Kelvyn Alp had told people to go up the steps to Parliament and do this citizens arrest of the health minister.”

Angry online exchanges between Counterspin and the FRC made headlines in the mainstream media, but few noticed that the official organisers were effectively in the dark after Wednesday. Thursday morning entrenched that position.

As police began pushing onto Parliament grounds in an effort to remove tents at around 8:30am, Counterspin agitators called for protesters to form a human barrier against the officers. The official convoy organisers blared in all caps on their Telegram channel “EVERYONE NOW PLEASE WALK AWAY BACK TO THE ROAD”. Instead, the protesters pushed back and the arrests started.

“It’s like two different worlds. There is no connection to ground reality anymore,” Hattotuwa said.

“The last I heard from the organiser, who was a woman, was that she was walking to her car and never coming back.”

Counterspin takes control

Police have since expressed frustration with the lack of official leadership at the event, saying it makes it difficult for them to liaise with the crowd. They also issued a statement on Friday attempting to rebut legal misinformation that the crowd had received.

“Some factions are actively promoting false advice about people’s rights and police powers, which is misleading and factually incorrect,” Wellington District Commander Corrie Parnell said.

“For example, the use of a particular word or phrase by an individual will not impact the arrest of anyone involved in unlawful activity.”

When arrests resumed on Thursday afternoon, the speaker on the megaphone advised, “If you say ‘I do not consent, I do not understand’ three times, the police have to release you”.

Police made another push for ground on Thursday afternoon. Photo: Stephen Parker

Clark said this was straight from the sovereign citizen playbook and further evidence of Counterspin’s growing influence. That was worrying if people had joined the convoy based on its more moderate aims and were now being radicalised right on Parliament grounds.

“It pulled in new people but in doing that has brought them into this space where they’re encountering more extreme ideas and more conspiratorial ideas, like the various sovereign citizen style conspiracy theories. They’re now believing that police can’t arrest them if they say the right thing three times. People are being pulled in and either further radicalised or at least further misinformed with more and more disinformation that’s being spread around,” he said.

“I think the influence of Counterspin is quite visible in what’s happening on the ground. So they’re not just reporting on the protests but kind of shaping the direction of the protests with their livestreams.”

The void left by the original organisers is being filled with more and more extreme content, Hattotuwa said.

“It’s not surprising to me that you have the ineptitude of the organisers being hijacked by elements within the country and possibly outside as a vehicle to push their own agenda. That’s actually more worrying to me than the convoy.”

The size of Counterspin’s captive audience isn’t something it would have been able to summon by itself two weeks ago. But because the convoy tried to hold both moderate and extreme elements under the same roof, the whole house has now been seized by the extremists.

There are still clear divides among the protesters. On Thursday afternoon, Counterspin streamed a protester who was being interviewed by a 1News crew. The woman talked about how she was leaving her husband because he had had the booster shot and she was certain he would die from it.

Counterspin called the woman a “Kiwi Patriot”, but others watching the stream worried she would discredit the movement.

“Stop going on about conspiracies tell the MSM we are here for freedom of choice,” one wrote.

Another tried to strike a middle ground between conspiracism and rationality. “Forget the conspiracies, tell them about the mandates, the vac injury, the vac deaths.”

Splintered realities

On Facebook, at least, the traditional media might not have been mainstream anyway on Thursday.

“This is hitting, hard, social cohesion right now.”

Hattotuwa said the Covid-19 misinformation pages he tracks on Facebook had more interactions on Thursday than the mainstream media pages – and nearly as many video views. The leading misinformation page, run by anti-vaxxer Chantelle Baker, garnered more video views with five posts than the leading media page, the NZ Herald, got with 73.

“I don’t think people realise how consequential Thursday was. Not so much for what happened in front of the Beehive, though arguably that’s what people are most fixated on. But it’s the informational landscape. It’s extraordinary,” he said.

“Chantelle Baker is, with five videos, generating more video views than 73 videos put out by NZ Herald in the same 24-hour period. There are dynamics here that are unprecedented. You are talking about a small misinfo/disinfo community who are pushing out real-time footage and coverage and framing about something that is happening that is fundamentally different to what the mainstream media is putting out.

“And they are being engaged on parallel and par with the mainstream media who obviously have a larger following. There’s something going on here that’s actually quite disturbing in terms of splintered realities and the lack of a shared narrative.”

These splintered realities risk setting us on the course towards splintered societies, Hattotuwa said.

“There are three different ways the convoy is being perceived and I cannot stress that enough. There is nothing that remotely connects what Counterspin is putting out about the convoy, in real time, to what the convoy’s chatter on Zello is, like for example at the start of Thursday. It’s totally disconnected.

“This is hitting, hard, social cohesion right now. It’s a very sophisticated playbook. It is not original because it has been played out in developing countries like mine and also on both sides of the Atlantic, but here, it’s playing out right now.”

Hattotuwa compared the protest to a terror attack, not because of the physical impact on people but because of the social and political impact on New Zealand as a whole. He said the Government’s social cohesion work programme, still under development in the aftermath of the March 15 mosque shootings, would be needed for this type of situation. The more social cohesion frays, the harder it is to rein in violent extremism – a lesson he learned from his home country of Sri Lanka.

“That is what keeps me up at night, because you’re talking to a person who comes from a very different context. I come from the end point of where this leads. When you come from the end point of a journey, you realise the markers of how you got there,” Hattotuwa said.

“What I’m seeing right now – of course it’s not destiny – but what you’re seeing is the inexorable traversing of a journey that will take you to not a good place. That is the problem. That is what worries me. It’s not prophecy, but it is prescience because of the experience that we have been through elsewhere.”

Concert Review – Meat Loaf – Western Springs 14/03/2004

Another recycled article from the old Exposures Online Website archives originally published 16th March 2004

Meat Loaf Auckland 2004

Meat Loaf Auckland 2004

He’s been to Hell and back has Meat Loaf, and some would say, he took a few of us with him.

The former 150 kg rocker has trimmed down to a nearly respectable 110 kg, had a nervous breakdown, bankruptcy, divorce and pretty well everything else along the way.

Not that you’d know it from his Sunday night concert at Western Springs.

From the opening song  Life Is A Lemon (And I Want My Money Back) from Bat II to the closing bars of the encore Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf and band, with the Auckland Philharmonia thrown in for good measure, took the sell out crowd on a journey through 25 years on rock history.

The band is in devastating form, Paul Crook on lead guitar must have been brought up on Todd Rundgren licks, with the Marshall stack and seemingly a new guitar for every song he wailed and squealed notes that curled your toes up. Kiwi born guitarist Randy Flowers provided the mellower Strat and Tele tones to the mix while Patti Russo and Carolyn Jablonski (CC) proved to be the perfect rock chicks.

Kasim Sulton on the bass and Mark Alexander with a fist full of 88’s completed the line up.

Meat played all the hits including You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Nights), All Revved Up (And No Place To Go), Two Out Of Three Aint Bad, Anything For Love, Paradise By The Dashboard Light as well as songs from his new album Couldn’t Have Said It Better.

The show was filmed for a special DVD release after the tour, which is Meat Loaf’s last world tour, and as such there were plenty of theatrics, costume changes and interaction with the fans.

Some of the comments were memorable. For example during the lead in to Hot Summer Nights where the girl who is asked to give her throat to the wolf with the red roses asks in return Would he starve without me?’ Meat stops and asks the audience, ‘Do I look like someone who has been starving?’

Lot’s of ad libs, lots of funny lines and lots of great, great music made this a concert to remember.

I took some of my toys with me and managed to record the last three songs and they are available for download in the Audio Section

(Please realize these were recorded live in 2004 and were uploaded in 56kb Real Media format. They are included in the interests of completeness, not for any audiophile purpose.)

Anything For Love 56kb

Bat Out Of Hell 56kb


Paradise By The Dashboard Light 56kb


R.I.P Kevin Williams AKA Mojo Buzz – 1957 – 2021


Kevin Williams R.I.P

For a very long time I had heard his name – Kevin Williams

Mutual friends told us both we needed to meet each other. It took years but when we did meet we became good friends. Mutually obsessed with all kinds of music facts and data that others thought was another language. And it was I suppose. But when you meet someone who actually understands what having a certain album on a particular label of a first pressing it’s a biggy. Kevin Williams loved music. And I don’t mean he had a couple for cds and played an instrument. I mean he lived and breathed it. He ate it for breakfast and he had a midnight snack of it before going to bed.

One year he came down to Waikaretu to run the mixer for one of my concerts and we hit it off. I really left my mark on him, literally. A mixer needed running repairs and I burned him with the soldering iron. We both had alter egos – Kevin had Mojo Buzz, New Zealand’s answer to John Peel and I had Dexter, the geek with a tweak. We had a lot more in common we found out as time went on and many a fine small hour was spent at his place in Thames or mine in Whakatane discussing band pedigrees and extreme recording trivia.

Nowadays Kevin is my go to MC and DJ for my festivals and concerts – I can throw any genre at him and know he will have in his extensive library an amazing playlist to keep the punters happy.

I last saw Kevin on May 24th 2021. The Fuzztards played a gig in Auckland and I decided to take the long way home and catch up with him and Bernie and stayed the night at Kevin’s before heading home. Kev had been diagnosed with pancreatitis and was off the grog and told us he had never felt better. He’d met up with a teenage sweetheart and was living, and loving, the life.

He looked great and in the morning after a healthy granola breakfast took me into Thames and showed me the vinyl stores. We had lunch, butted elbows and said fare thee well.

Kevin was a fucking good bloke and good friend to a lot of good people. If your life is measured by the quality of the friends you make then Kevin Williams, Mojo Buzz, lived a good life full of riches.

Kev would probably not be a big fan of Townes Van Zandt, but he’d have appreciated his story

Days, up and down they come
Like rain on a congadrum
Forget most, remember some
But don’t turn none away
Everything is not enough
And nothin’ is too much to bear
Where you been is good and gone
All you keep is the getting there


National’s Train Wreck Continues

National Train Wreck The train wreck that is The National Party continues today with the announcement by leader for 53 days Todd Muller that he’s done his dash.

National’s leadership woes have been the story of the past decade. When Sir John Key knifed Bill English in the back and took over the leadership he was hailed as a savior. We were told how great it was that a CEO of Key’s stature would be for New Zealand. He took over from record surpluses and proceeded to give handouts to his rich mates, cut taxes, cut regulations, drive the economy via immigration and sell off assets. All the time on extreme borrowing.

The media swooned and labelled this a ‘rock star’ economy.

As the adulation and drooling continued Key paraded his vanity with things like the disastrous tea towel flag debacle, the handing over of sovereignty with the TPPA, the bungled Hollywood driven illegal raids on Kim Dotcom. Perhaps Key’s lasting legacy, after redefining a Honda Civic as an apartment for first homeless buyers, was his Dirty Politics campaign which he ran from the 9th Floor Prime Ministerial offices in our nation’s Parliament.

Despite the swooning admiration from the media at key’s ‘business management skills’ he failed in the first role of management.

He never trained  a successor.

To the point when key decided it was no longer fun and threw in the towel he handed the job back to Bill English who promptly restored knighthoods and gave one to Key. Then he was gone.

Simon Bridges showed up Key’s poor succession plan when he took over the leadership and made a fool of himself, the party and to some extent New Zealand itself.

With abysmal polling Bridges was rolled by not one, but all, or National’s many factions who united temporarily to endorse Todd Muller.

He promoted Judith ‘Dirty Politic’ Collins to number 4 in the rankings and watched as leaks and infighting saw the polling actually get worse.

In the background the national tactics of Dirty Politics took over with campaigns to undermine the government’s insanely successful Covid19 response, culminating in the leaking of confidential personal health records being leaked to the media by seasoned dirtmonger and former president Michelle Boag. Hamish Walker fell on his sword, Boag was thrown out of her party roles, which included campaign executive of deputy leader and Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye.

No amount of damage control could prevent what happened next as Muller suffered a breakdown and, in a shock move to all, resigned as leader.

National is, to coin a phrase, a shambles.

But why?

Firstly because of Jacinda Ardern. We were told the stardust would soon fade. But all we’ve seen is, time after time, crisis after crisis, her leadership has shone through.

Secondly because we are becoming immune to the toxicity of the mainstream media thugs who prop up National. They’ve failed and their toxicity has resulted in a cynicism for their politicking from too many people to ignore.

Thirdly, and most importantly, is National itself.

The party has always been a ginger group of the right. But the right is deeply and bitterly divided. They’re wracked with ego and personal ambition and impatience. They feel obliged to govern and behave appallingly when in opposition. It’s just not a natural head-space for them. So they fight among themselves. And disgrace themselves.

Where to now?

Well, they’ve got a lot of problems. Ardern is a phenomenon that brings out the best in voters. They like to see how good we can all be. And she’s shown us enough of that to make it look easy. Labour itself isn’t doing too badly. The Greens are staying out of trouble and New Zealand First is probably never going to be forgiven by it’s National supporters for going with the dark side in 2017. But we can look forward to a Labour – Green government, probably no NZ First, and a rowdy opposition from National and whoever they can drag inb with them for the fight.

ACT, New Conservatives and rag tag of other extreme right wing groupings will all scramble for the maligned misfit votes and conspiracy loonies and hopefully eat themselves.

National needs a new leader today though. So who is it going to be?

First we need to accept that National can’t win this election, so who can lead them to defeat and still look good?

Luxon is being groomed but he’s their ace card. He can’t step up and lose. He’s out.

Enter the Dragon starlet Judith Collins is the natural leader for national, but she is far too toxic. Her corruption and Dirty Politics connections would be a god send in any campaign. She’d love it though and would think she’s doing well and she shredded the vote to single figures.

Brownlee is more than man enough to take the wheel and beach the ship so someone, anyone, can rebuild it for 2023. He’s also expendable. But appointing him would be an admission of failure and National hate looking like losers.

Nikki Kaye would my pick. She gives some degree of stability given that she’s deputy and can at least carry on the task of winning back some soft labour votes. And that is national’s job. To win back enough voters who have thumbed their noses at National’s internal problems and joined the Team of 5 Million

But anyway you look at National on July 14 2020, it’s a train wreck.


Anne Salmond: Covid-19 and clickbait




Michael Woodhouse still can’t provide evidence of his apocryphal ‘homeless man’ staying for free in quarantine.  Dame Anne Salmond argues the Opposition and media need to be better in throwing around such claims.

It is now 12 days since the National Party’s spokesman on health, Michael Woodhouse, claimed two women who were infected with Covid-19 drove to Wellington without being tested, and had a ‘kiss and a cuddle’ with friends on the way.

The following day, he told the media a ‘homeless man’ had bluffed his way into a five-star hotel in Auckland, claiming to be a returning New Zealander and joining others in managed isolation for a fortnight.

Despite the risk to public health, Woodhouse did not share his information about the two women with the authorities as soon as he received it. Instead, he held onto it for a political ambush in Parliament.

It seems the claim of a ‘kiss and a cuddle’ was exaggerated, and he has produced no evidence at all to verify his story about the homeless man.

In both cases, the press acted as a megaphone for clickbait, failing to ask for evidence to support these stories, and in many instances, joining the Opposition in baying for blood.

In this unedifying spectacle, there has been more than a hint of US-style trial by media and ‘factoids’ for political gain.

I’m glad the Prime Minister refused to hand over any sacrificial victims, either by condemning the two women, who were after all grieving for a parent who had just died; or by naming and sacking the hapless civil servant who gave them permission to travel without a Covid-19 test.

In dealing with Covid-19, a virus that has overwhelmed the health systems of so many other countries, there were bound to be some mistakes.

If our border opened early, before quarantine processes had been fully tested, that was in large measure due to intense pressure from the Opposition and other parties, who like their counterparts in other countries, have taken no responsibility for the consequences.

It is clear under these unprecedented circumstances, managing the border has been a formidable challenge, with staff in airlines, customs, immigration, transport and hotels untrained for the task.

Over the past few months, I have watched the Prime Minister and the Director-General of Health doing everything humanly possible to protect New Zealanders from the worst of this pandemic. They have carried a huge burden on behalf of the rest of us, often to the point of exhaustion, and without complaint.

Overall, our leaders have made wise strategic decisions. At present, New Zealand is one of the safest places to be on the planet. I, for one, am incredibly grateful to them for that, and their integrity and good judgement; and to all those who have supported them during this extraordinary, life-changing time.

The ‘team of five million’ rose to the challenge of lockdown. Those who aspire to lead us need the same decency and sense of collective responsibility as the vast majority of New Zealanders. That also applies to the media.

If journalists want to be respected by the public, they must check their facts. The last thing we need is a Crosby-Textor style of divisive, dishonest politics in this election, in the middle of the ravages of a global pandemic. The country deserves better than that.

Dame Anne Salmond was 2013 New Zealander of the Year

On The Media Collusion With National’s Attack Lines

Source Article

Friday, 26 June 2020, 10:59 am
Article: Gordon Campbell

Ardern & Bloomfield

For most of the past week, any consumer of this country’s management of Covid-19 would think New Zealand was actually Brazil, or Texas. The media language has been full of claims of “botches” at the border, and laxness and inexcusable errors that amounted to a “national disgrace.” Amidst all this talk of “fiascos” and ”chaos” anyone could be forgiven for failing to grasp that as yet, not a single person has become ill, let alone died as a result of these allegedly calamitous lapses in border security and quarantine testing. For weeks, no community transmission of the virus has occurred, anywhere, in New Zealand.

This discrepancy is puzzling. Normally, the New Zealand media is proud to inform us if a Kiwi wins an OK dinghy contest in Scandinavia, or creates something that goes viral on social media. Why are we not celebrating the fact that New Zealand is the safest place on the planet to be right now, in the midst of the worst global pandemic in a century? After all, it hasn’t been by accident that this country has become a safe haven in a world of carnage. It has been the direct result of the actions taken by the same people now being denigrated – ie. everyone from the political leadership to the health and border security staff on the front lines. It has been their hard work that has delivered this high level of security now being enjoyed by all New Zealanders. Unlike the citizens of other countries, New Zealanders do not feel they are taking a deadly risk every time they go out beyond the front gate. Politically though, that’s always the risk with managing public health – when it goes well, it is as if nothing has happened.

I’m not suggesting that border lapses should not be reported. Some of the past mistakes – probably born of complacency about our early success – have been identified and rectified. Yet on the current evidence they have been corrected so far, without any serious consequence for anyone. Again, why has the media – presumably through naivete rather than complicity – been so willing to piggy back on the Opposition attack lines in lieu of doing its own reporting on and evaluation of our response to the pandemic? Sure, good news tends to be boring, but the readiness to blow some of the lapses that have occurred right out of proportion has been inexcusable, and is of advantage to only one side of the political debate.

As things stand, National cannot win the election in September if the response to Covid-19 is seen by voters to have been a success. National has a vested interest in diminishing that success. The media surely, has to retain a healthy scepticism and a semblance of distance from this entirely sectarian political effort – rather than being such an avid accomplice of it.

The claims of laxness at the border are particularly rich coming from a National Party that has been enabled to cry crocodile tears unchallenged in news bulletins about the alleged carelessness and subsequent risk to public health created by how we’ve been treating returnees, and the entry of skilled migrants. Whaat? From the outset of this pandemic, National has criticized the government for going in hard and early and putting public health goals ahead of economic goals. It has made bogus claims that Australia has suffered lesser economic harm than we have, through being more sensitive to the needs of commerce. It has also alleged that Australia has achieved better public health outcomes at the same time by doing so. None of this is true. The alternative management approach to Covid-19 that National has been promoting has no credibility, yet it has not been held to account on that score.

This is deeply unfortunate in the light of Election 2020. We can safely assume that a National-led government would have followed the example of Australia. Thank goodness we dodged that bullet. We have 13 active cases, but Australia recorded nearly three times that number of new cases on Wednesday alone, and has 494 active cases in all. On Wednesday the state of Victoria called in the military to help it handle the 141 active cases in Victoria alone.

Comparing New Zealand with the outcomes in Victoria is a useful exercise. Victoria has a population of 6.3 million, half of it concentrated in Melbourne. It has had 1,884 cases of Covid-19 to date, and in 241 of those cases the infection occurred somewhere else in Australia, but where and how the infection was contracted in those 241 cases is not known. (No-one is calling that failure of tracing a fiasco, or a scandal) Victoria has community transmission. We do not. As of Wednesday, the reported transmission rate in Victoria was a frightening 1: 2.5 people. Meanwhile and on the economic front… Qantas has been described this week as the kangaroo in the coalmine when it comes to the economic impact of the virus on Australia overall. On Wednesday, Qantas sacked 6,000 of its staff, and indicated that the airline’s recovery plan might require the standing down of a further 15,000 staff.

In sum, and on the evidence, Australia has done no better than us in economic outcomes, is doing worse than us in public health outcomes and is headed in the wrong direction in controlling the disease. Yet this failed model is what the National Party has been promoting all along, and is what would have adopted had a National government been in power here. Perhaps the media could begin to raise this credibility problem, now that we’re on the verge of an election campaign where National’s main pitch to voters is that it is a safer pair of hands in a crisis, and is a better manager of the economy. In its dreams. For the past three decades there is absolutely no evidence that has been the case, beyond its provision of an occasional sugar hit to the economy in the shape of tax cuts and asset part-sales. Sure, you can always keep warm for a while by burning the furniture, but this isn’t a sustainable way of running the economy.

There’s more. The last time around, even the hallowed Key/English administration ignored glaring social problems and serious infrastructural needs, while also hiding its head in the sand about the looming challenges posed by climate change. Even so, the media has not held National to account for its years of neglect to anything like the same degree, and with nothing like the same accusatory tone we’re seeing today. IMO, it was the social deficits that the coalition government has had to grapple with that constitute the genuine “National disgrace. ”


Chances are, no budding young Kiwi politician is ever going to say “ It was Phil Twyford who inspired me to get into politics.” Even so, the past week’s rash of Twyford bashing stories in the media seem particularly unfair, given that the news peg for them has been the shelving of the light rail project in Auckland, apparently because of New Zealand First’s refusal to support it. Blaming Twyford for not being able to force NZF into compliance is lazy journalism, given that Nelson Mandela himself would have struggled to get Winston Peters to support light rail in Auckland.

Apparently, some in the media remain unable to acknowledge MMP realities, even nearly 25 years down the track. They still pine for the FPP strongmen able to dictate the political outcomes, and appear willing to accept nothing less. A more accurate framing of that story would have been : Twyford postpones light rain until a Labour/Greens government is elected in September than can pass it – and with New Zealand First flatlining behind the Act Party at only 2 % in the polls, that outcome looks entirely possible. If so, can we expect to see a rash of “Twyford’s Triumph” headlines sometime in future ?


Yes Greta, there is a fascist clause.

We all saw it. A young woman stands up at the UN and makes a speech. Instantly she is told to shut up, grow up and learn up.

Old men everywhere are suddenly woke and upset that someone said something they didn’t like or agree with.

A loudmouth chorus reaches crescendo level within minutes of her speech ending.

Suddenly everyone is telling her to shut up, she’s wrong, she’s retarded, she’s uppity, she’s dumb…

There is a lesson here though and it’s an important one.

If Greta had got up and made a speech condemning gay people, or black lives, or published a manifesto explaining the need to mass murder Muslims we wouldn’t be talking about the subject of her speech.

We’d be hearing about her right to free speech.

You know how it goes… “as much as I disagree with what you say I will defend to the death your right to say it”

This line is trotted out every single time someone engages in hate speech.

But the very same people who champion that line are suddenly forgetting their belief in free speech and want to have a sock shoved down the throat of the speaker.

One of the problems with the free speech activists is they don’t actually believe in free speech at all. They’re just too gutless to say what they want to say, so they support other people who say it and then pretend that it’s about free speech.

These piss-weak arseholes are the enablers of fascism.

Every time a fascist, or a racist, or a far right meathead opens his or her trap and spreads hate right at their side appear these ‘free speech advocates’ telling us we must tolerate their intolerance. But when Greta speaks up there’s a sudden change in the climate of free speech.

Greta learned a very important lesson. Unless you appease the fascists you have no free speech. You have to say your piece then actually defend it.

If only the same rule applied to people who engaged in hate speech.

Good Old Dad

Dad and Mum

My Dad was a classic kiwi bloke.

He was a freezing worker, but before that he did a bootmaking apprenticeship. But he could earn more money in the meat export trade. And he needed more money because he had 7 hungry kids to feed.

He liked a bet, and he liked a beer. And he loved rugby league.

He was tough on us kids because he didn’t want us to get into any trouble. Or get killed doing something stupid.

We learned pretty quickly that Dad has a million eyes on us and any nonsense we thought we might get away with was soon reported to him by his network of spies.

So we grew up without getting into too much trouble. And the odd smack on the butt made it so.

We had a quarter acre section in Mangere and it was big enough to play bullrush on, and learn to drive, and was a mission to mow.

Dad loved gadgets. All of them. Electric knives,  computers, color TVs, VCRs, weed eaters and water blasters. Anything and everything. We had tons of steak knives.

Dad was funny too. A quiet kind of humor that only came out every now and then. But mostly he was serious, at least with us kids. He taught us about working for things you wanted was the only way to get anything you wanted. No one was going to do the work for you.

And he made us believe that we could do anything we wanted. All we had to do was want it enough.

So simple.

Me running to football practice cicra 1964

Kiwi Peter Snell broke the world record for the mile in 1962. I don’t remember when it was but I remember Mum and Dad talking about the achievement at the dinner table. Mum said to Dad,

‘Did you ever think someone from New Zealand could run a 4 minute mile?’ Dad said “My kids could run a mile in under 4 minutes if they wanted to’

I asked how far a mile was and Dad said it was the length of Buckland Road. So when I had to run from our house at the top of Buckland Road to rugby league practice at Massey Park I always tried to do it in under 4 minutes.

I have no idea how long it took me as I had no way of knowing, but I was never late for practice.

As I grew older I was less inclined to listen and do things his way so I went off and made my own mistakes, as you do. And he let me.

But he never said I told you so, because he knew that wasn’t going to serve any purpose.

But when I became a Dad and started to feel the responsibility of parenting it was easy to tell him that I’d learned a lot from him, and that he was right and I was wrong.

About so many things.

He just stared at me for a bit, smiled that smile and shrugged his shoulders and said ‘We all learn eh’.

As Dad got older he was an awesome grandad to his grandkids, and he spent most of his time at home looking after the swimming pool he never swam in. Every weekend in summer it was around to Buckland Road we’d all go, togs and towels and Dad on the BBQ cooking snarlers cut in half lengthways and handing out the beers. Mum making the salad and running the creche with the littlest ones.

When Dad died his funeral was huge. Like him, larger than life itself. I didn’t say much when it came for my time to speak but I do remember thinking what he lived for, and acknowledging he achieved it.

Life, to me, is about finding 4 simple things.

Love. Truth. Happiness. Peace

He found love, because he was loved.

He found truth by being honest.

He found happiness, because he was happy.

And he found peace and he is at peace.

Happy father’s day Dad

Dad and Dave


Ihumatāo Land Protection

As a teenager I belonged to a cycle racing club. We raced around the farmland on Mangere Central, up by the Villa Maria vineyards on Ascot Ave, through the Ihumatāo village and around to the old church on George Bolt Drive.

Cycling past the oxidation ponds and Puketutu Island through the farming community it was always the settlement that I remembered.

It was clearly a very poor community and I never knew why. I mean we were poor, but this was expert level.

Now, due to the occupation of the stolen land, I know why.

I was up in Auckland today and had the morning free so Noeleen took me out to Ihumatāo. We stopped first at Mangere Pak n Save to grab a koha of kai for the people and when we got their asked the police to help us transport it up through the road closure.

We had a good couple of hours walking around talking to people and took some photos to share.

I stopped a group on racing bikes and told them of my days racing these same streets and was happy to learn my old ‘track’ is still used for competitive time trials.

The scenery has changed some the early 70s. There’s a lot more industry out there. The landscape is still very much as it was though, the gentle climbs up the hill to the road giving a view of the island and the shoreline. The village remains almost unchanged.

When you see this stuff on the news the view is of conflict and confrontation.

But it’s not like that at all.

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The police we spoke to were cheerful and helpful, they weren’t sure why they were there and they would much rather be chasing criminals.

We got both sides of the story from the people, and there are always two sides.

But they are in it together, is how I would put it.

I was able to talk to a woman who knew my old Railways apprentice friend William Robert’s. She was his neighbor and went to school with him at Mangere Central on the Education Department bus. She told me William had passed away recently.

We walked up to the old homesteads and back again, a walk of a lot of memories, of the days where I had not much more to worry about than getting to the halfway point, turning around and trying to beat last weeks time.

All around the world we see scenes of conflict over land issues. Of sovereignty.

If we turn on talkback radio we here absolute rubbish from idiots like Sean Plunket telling us Ihumatāo is about revolutionaries trying to overthrow the system and trying bring down capitalism.

And idiots will buy this line of utter shit.

But today, across the spectrum of diverse views, we saw respect, aroha, and dignity.

We were welcomed and fed. There were old people, young people, children, dogs, families, individuals… all together just being there.

No dramas.

I’d encourage anyone, everyone, when you have some free time, to take yourselves out there. Take some food to share, take your kids to see it so they don’t grow up thinking g Maori land issues are from forever ago.

Remember Bastion Point.

Remember Ruatoki.

Remember Ihumatāo.