The only thing we can do about awful people is not to become one of them.

The only thing we can do about awful people is not to become one of them

The only thing we can do about awful people is not to become one of them

Election night 2023 was a good night for the landlords, foreign speculators, and the very wealthy.

For tenants and people who mahi hard to keep afloat, not so much.

For those of us whose values include looking after our most vulnerable citizens we wake up knowing that we have a much harder job defending our people from every attack that the elite and wealthy will direct at our whanau.

We know it was a dirty election, we know National and ACT have the media on side, we saw the race baiting. We’ve spent the last 6 years in defense mode, defending a party who were trying to win ‘the middle’. That’s something we need to really reflect on over time. But for now, we need to keep fighting for the things we believed in yesterday.

There is a chance to go on the attack now and make some real progress.

When Labour won in 2020, the political operatives on the right mobilized like we’ve never seen before. Every day a new ‘movement’ popped up be it farmers and their crosses, road safety campaigners, Groundswell, Convoys, Freedom Camps, theological campaigners’ taxpayers unions and their many offshoots…. the list goes on and on. The point is the right mobilized and kept its foot on the government’s neck. The government was forced into a position of defending everything, real and imagined. And we were forced into defending that.

We’ve been liberated from that now.

We can be encouraged that we have now elected a government that has set the highest of standards for ministers and public servants and we have seen over the last 3 years that Aotearoa has a much higher regard for the freedom of people who disagree with a government’s direction to be able to protest and actively agitate for the values and freedoms they wish to see upheld.

We can take inspiration from this new tolerance because to make sure our values and principles are upheld; we are going to be having to fight every inch of the way.

It’s been a tough 6 years for us, the people. We spent the first 3 years wrestling with Winston First, and lost, mostly. The last 3 years we had challenges that were global, and we did our best, and some acknowledged that, some didn’t.

But for people whose values don’t include looking after only the very wealthy, the fightback starts today.

This new government is very fragile.

We’re not.

Lick your wounds, heal your pain, and recharge your batteries. We’ve got a job ahead of us.

Nothing worthwhile is easy.

Kia Kaha Aotearoa

Time To Vote

Voting Papers

Voting Papers

I get asked a lot by people who I am voting for? And why?And who should they vote for.

Who I’m voting for is easy to answer.

I’m voting for Sebastian who lives opposite The Bean on the seats outside the public toilets.

I buy him a coffee when I see him there and sometimes we sit and drink our coffee together.

I’m voting for my friend Maurice. He needs my vote so bad, cause it’s just so hard being old and poor. And proud.

I’m voting for Leah, cause she’s a teacher and teachers are the fuel of our future. We need to really look after our teachers much better than we do.

I’m voting for my friends working in mental health and they are completely up against it.

I’m voting for my mokos Bradley and Dylan too, cause they’re just about ready to leave school and embark on a life in work, and I hope they learn enough skills to see them through the challenges a working life throws at you, and come out on top, like I did.

That’s harder now, and I want it not to be so hard.

And I’m voting for Lily, cause she’s a beautiful rainbow who I call my own.

I’m voting for the nurses and doctors who look after me so well, and anyone else who needs it.

And I’m voting for the people at Pack n Save who stack the shelves and bring in the trolleys in the rain. And I’m voting for the baristas who know how important it is to have good coffee and deliver it every time.

I’m voting for less floods and less pollution.

And I’m voting for Te Tiriti.

I fear not the brown man as much as I do the white man in a suit.

I’m voting for my neighbors who run small businesses, because when you’re running your own business you really do feel up against it and it’s easy to feel your efforts aren’t fully appreciated. It’s not all depreciation and cashies.

So I’m voting Labour and Green, because they are most likely to support the people I am voting for and because that’s where my values are.

So what do you do?

Firstly, and most importantly, acknowledge the times we have just been through.

These last 6 years have been a really tough time on everyone, me, you, and them. Every day is another challenge just to not go backwards, financially, emotionally, politically, and we haven’t all made it.

Regardless of what happens this Saturday, there is still a lot of fight left.

Electing a Labour Green Te Pāti Māori coalition would take some of that work away, but not all of it, or even the majority of it.

Fighting the system is a big fight, but it’s the right fight.

The main thing is to stay well, and maybe pull back from battles that drain you too much.

If National and their ‘friends’ prevail, our fight is much bigger, but still winnable.

But don’t be overwhelmed by it. Fight the battles you can handle.

Reward yourself with time out, so you can stay strong for the other battles you face. Fight when you can, survive all the time.

Know that every little bit you do adds to the movement, and there is no such thing as doing too little.

Don’t be overwhelmed by how difficult the job is, just remember that it is everyone’s battle, not just yours.

Be happy that you are on to what is happening and aren’t fooled by the bullshit.

Stay strong.

If you haven’t worked out who to vote for by thinking about it, and it’s bloody confusing with all the bullshit that’s around, then I have one simple piece of advice.

Vote with your gut.

What is your gut telling you.

Ignore your brain, act on your gut.

And vote for the things that you believe in.

The Mad Butcher

Dad had a lot of friends and we learned this as we went through our teens. we knew there were friends who came around and visited and there were his work friends and football club friends and friends from his other clubs and interests.

Dad asked all of them, all of them, to keep an eye out for his sons and let them know if that needed a talking to and he would do it. I’ve said before Dad was shit scared of his kids ending up 1/. dead in a crash or 2/. in jail.


My brother Edward once borrowed Dad’s Triumph 2000. These were a high revving 6-cylinder 2 liter for an engine and robust mechanicals down the drive chain. It could do awesome burnouts. Edward was lighting it up one night in a quiet cull de sac when a friend of Dad’s lived. He learned that was pretty dumb.

And we took note.

You couldn’t get away with much around South Auckland without someone Dad knew spotting you doing it.

But his friends weren’t just his eyes, they were all good jokers. They were always nice to us kids and some of them we became friends with as we grew into adults.

Sir Peter Leitch at The Comm, 5th April, 2022

Peter Lietch is one of them.

The Mad Butcher is how he became famous and now’s he’s Sir Peter Leitch.

I’m not much on Queen’s Honours but I really have no problem calling someone like Peter Leitch, Sir.

Dad got to know him through the Mangere East Hawks Rugby League Club. Dad was a founding committeeman of the Mangere East club and it was established in 1963 as part of league’s expansion into South Auckland. Dad reckoned if kids played rugby league, and other sports, but he loved rugby league, they wouldn’t get in trouble being dickheads on the streets.

Mangere East’s logo is a man playing the ball, and that’s so perfect in a number of ways.

Dad was one of those people who hustled up players sponsorship before there was players sponsorship. So good players got material rewards. And The Mad Butcher was the most generous sponsor of the Mangere East Rugby League Club ever.

As he grew his business he just became more generous, and the more generous he was the more people flocked to his shops. And he loved it.

And he’s still going today in different, but similar ways.

But in the late 1970s he had his shop on Massey Road in Mangere Easta couple of doors down from David Lange’s house. And on the way home from my job at The Otahuhu Railway Workshops every second Thursday I’d call in and buy meat for myself, my partner and our kids.

Peter would always come out and say hello when I went there, and he’d ask me how Mum and Dad were every time I saw him. I used to see him a fair bit at the races and even 30 years later he’d still ask after them.

Colette and I were broke all the time back then. We had a tight budget, and every cent was already spent. So, when Peter would always tell the guy serving me to take a couple of dollars off and he’d often throw in extras, it really helped us at the time we needed it most.

Like when we bought lamb shanks. They were called dog bones back then and cost 50 cents each. They were out the back in those days so he’d go and get them. No matter how many he bought back we’d only ever pay for two. We used to roast them. And we’d roast potatoes and pumpkin and have peas and some gravy and that was our lamb roast. For years.

Anyone who knows Peter will tell you he is a genuinely nice guy, and he is. To this day.

He’s a phenomenon on Facebook. Spreading the gospel of positivity and appreciation.

And The Warriors.

One day when I saw Peter he asked again how Mum and Dad were. I told him Dad wasn’t so good and was in hospital. That night when we were up visiting Dad Peter Leitch walked in in full Warriors Ambassador kit and owned the room for a while. Dad was thrilled. When Peter left Dad said to the nurse “you never knew I had famous friends did you?”. That was a pretty grim time but we left that night knowing Dad had had a really good day.

I saw Peter recently in Whakatane at a pub n grub restaurant and I introduced him to Kathy and reminded him of the lamb shanks. He reckoned I had a few too many.

I think he’s right.  Kathy had a chat with Peter’s partner Janice and she told Kathy ‘His Dad was a lovely man’.

That made my night hearing that.

We had lamb shanks tonight Peter, slow cooker job this time and they’re 8 bucks each now.

Travel well Sir and stay safe during this awful weather.

lamb shanks

Lamb Shanks in a slow cooker

Dad was a freezing worker.

Ian and Elaine with their some of their mokopuna

My dad did a trade when he was a young man. He became a bookmaker. But he couldn’t feed his kids on what he was making so he got a job at Hellaby’s Freezing Works in Otahuhu.

He worked hard and we never went hungry, even during the lengthy strikes that the freezing workers undertook that won not only themselves a pay rise, but also made a huge contribution of General Wage Order that everyone else got. That’s why we never went hungry. During those strikes workers on other sites supported the strikers knowing that they would win as well.

It was a good system.

Dad didn’t mind working hard because it allowed him to support his family. We even had a holiday some years. 7 kids on a holiday wouldn’t have been cheap.

When I was a young man I got a trade as well. Dad pretty much made it a condition of tenency at 10 Buckland Road, Mangere. So I got a trade. I went to the same place my older brother Neil went to get a trade.

The Otahuhu Railways Workshops.

Getting a trade was great. I worked in the trade for a while after I was made redundant.

But what I learned most of all as I learned to become a tradesman was that there is a number of ways to do things but the goal was always to do the job properly.

It’s not rocket science.

Oh wait, yes it is.

Dad died 26 years ago yesterday.

It’s a cliche to say I think of him all the time, but I do.

He taught me so much, and he even made sure I learned more by doing a trade. He knew that it wasn’t to build railway carriages for the rest of my life, but to learn how to approach any task well.

He taught me what a father needs to do, and he taught that lesson in a lot of different ways.

Dad’s main concern was how his kids would grow up. He didn’t want us getting into trouble with the cops. He made us do sports and there we learned how to play in a team. He made us know how to behave in company and we were always welcome guests at many homes of people we vaguely knew.

7 kids.

He taught us how to speak to our mother and our mother was the easiest person to speak to in the world, so he taught us about a mother’s love.

Dad made sure there was music in the house and we had good gear to play the records he bought from the RCA Victor Record Club. In that gear and in those records, he taught me how to love music. Imagine no music. Can I ever thank him enough?

I know for sure I didn’t at the time.

Sorry Dad.

We disagreed on a lot of things, as you do. But over the years I got the chance to actually tell him a lot of those times he was right and I was wrong. And he never made a big deal of it.

Dad checks out my footware as Grandad gives me my 21st key.

Dad was in the union and spoke often at union meetings. So did my grandad, who also worked at Hellaby’s. An old unionist called Bob Small, who was very active in the rank and file of the Meatworkers Union, remembered Grandad by saying ‘lovely fellow your grandad, and as I remember, a bit of a conservative’. I can see that. Presbyterian Scottish and the natural order of things. But grandad supported the union too and had got locked up when the Hellaby’s workers went on strike to support better quality food Hellaby’s were supplying to our WW2 troops.

Don’t fuck with a Presbyterian Scotsman.

Compared to me, Dad was a bit conservative. But we were on the same side, always.

I had my tone, and he had his.

Dad went to election meetings too, with his mates. They used to heckle and he’d take the floor and deliver a question, so pointed and focused, that whoever was listening shut up and listened. Every single time.

He was an orator, literally.


My ticket to heaven.

I learned a lot from Dad. And I think of him all the time. In a lot of ways, this is how I give him everlasting life. I never forget him and I appreciate him more every day that passes.

And I know he believes in everlasting life because he took me too church and Sunday School so I could go to heaven. And he made sure I had the pass to get in by making sure I was baptized.

And I know how much he believed that because when he died and we had to tidy things up Mum found an envelope in a draw. It has seven cards on it and they were our baptism cards from the local church.

I am certain that he kept those cards in case he needed to address God and remind him that maybe his son wasn’t perfect, “but he did in fact pay the cover charge and here it the reciept, Lord, and with all due respects, King of Men, that was the deal at the time and I’m hopeful that you’d reconsider and be good enough to correct your mistake. Praise yee”.

And I’m 95 per cent confident that those would be the words he would as well.

So Dad’s been gone 26 years, but I’m going to have a drink with him tonight.

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