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.

Herbs Release Anniversary Film

Willie Now

Willie Now

Long ago… when I was a budding photographer I had a go at doing some portraits for some friends. It didn’t work out that well so I concentrated on making exposures, candid portraits of people taken doing their everyday stuff, unaware of the camera, and much more revealing that any posed shot I could conjure up.

One of those early projects was when Willie Hona was trying to break out. I knew him through Niki Hona who was the sister of my old mate Robbie Van de Lisdonk.

We went into The Domain and shot off a couple of rolls of Ilford FP4 and the best shot is the black and white below.

Willie Then

Willie Then

Willie joined Herbs not long after.

We caught up again at Robbie’s 60th a couple of weekends ago and I got a much better shot of him on the stage rousing up the crowd as only he knows how to do.

Tonight we saw a preview of the movie-doco Herbs: Songs of Freedom.

It reminded me of where I, and probably most pakeha Kiwis, first heard Herbs.

It was at protest rallies, anti-nuclear and Bastion Point.

I’ve always considered this music to be the closest thing we have to our own folk music, our songs of struggle.

You don’t have to agree, I don’t need you to. It’s just how this music came to me, and I think a lot of others.

The movie directly deals with and celebrates Nga Tamatoa and the Polynesian Panthers and interweaves the politics with the music, or rather doesn’t separate them as two separate identities.

Bastion Point, The Springbok Tour, The Land March, French Nuclear Tests in The Pacific, Dawn Raids… all front and centre in this film.

And right there with it, the songs. Of freedom.

See this movie.

Even if you only know of Herbs through their songs, you will get a much better understanding of who and what and why they are.

Here’s the Trailer

Also check out the short video of when Herbs went to Ruatoria

Annual Concert, 2019


Dave’s Whakatane Music Festival 2019

A fair few things have happened since my last yearly concert. The circle of performers from Whakatane has grown immensely and The Fuzztards have become a regular gig for me.

With the weekly Open Mic nights at The Office Bar and Grill I’ve met many new local musicians.

This year I was able to feature a lot more of that local talent at the festival plus I was happy to welcome back some of our regulars as well.

Jupiter Jones played this Festival for the fourth time. Jupiter has played and written music for over 35 years and plays an eclectic collection of songs. When he’s not playing music he also creates a variety of videos for bands and musicians.

His most controversial music video to date is the now infamous Planet Key animated video he created for Wellington musician Darren Watson prior to the 2014 general election.

Jimmy Rogers is from Maungakaramea Whangerei. Jimmy has been playing these gigs for 4 or 5 years now and he plays a down home style of blues with the kind of enthusiasm that makes his performances a great success.

Lutz Sauer is a Whakatane local but was born in Germany. He moved to NZ in 2010. Played drums in a Rock band at the uni. Then drums and background voice in a Country band in Germany. Started singing in front and playing guitar in NZ. Lutz is vice president of the Whakatane Country music club.

Mark and Deahna are a father and daughter duo from Whakatane who come from a whanau of entertainers.  Mark loves to sing and Deahna has the passion. Deahna has been in every school production growing up and sings every chance she gets. Deahna is doing gigs with dad.

Neil Gill Trio, Reuban Paraha, Fiona Cosgrove

Neil Gill Trio, Reuban Paraha, Fiona Cosgrove

Reuban Paraha is well known to locals with an extensive history of experience with local bands and productions. Rueban knows exactly what songs to play to any particular crowd.

Fiona Cosgrove needs no introduction but she’s going to get one anyway. Whakatane’s own soul and blues diva who is now a permanent part of Billy TK’s road tours, Fiona has been performing at Dave’s festival since they began in Whakatane. If you ask her ‘Where does your music come from? She’ll answer: ‘somewhere between heart and large intestine’ and Fiona is happy to follow her musical journey wherever it takes her, hopefully somewhere warm, with a good view and indoor plumbing

The Neil Gill Trio consists of Emily Hill (lead vocals), Andrew Solea (guita and vocals) and Neil Gill (keyboards, guitar, harmonica and vocals). They have been rehearsing together sporadically for a few months and this was their first gig as a trio. They have no aspirations for other than playing songs we all like, improving our musicianship, entertaining the audience and themselves.

The Fuzztards in full flight on March 9, 2019 in Whakatane

The Fuzztards in full flight on March 9, 2019 in Whakatane

The Fuzztards are Dave’s latest attempt at rock and roll immortality. Playing some of the loud and snotty punk rock songs he refused to grow up with, with his schooldays mate Robbie Lisdonk on drums and local punks Michael Fergusson on vocals and Robert Gillies on bass The Fuzztards put the Whak into Whakatane.

The House Band are Ali Morgan, Robert Gillies, Ian Hunia. You can see them every Thursday night at The Office Bar and Grill backing up all comers to the weekly Open Mic sessions these guys know every song ever written. In fact, if you ask nicely, they’ll even let you sing one with them. Don’t be fooled by the grey hair, these guys can rock.

With Virginia Jeeves as our MC and local musos Mike Kara and Reese Brown as stagehands the concert went off without a hitch.

Here’s a clip from the concert of The Fuzztards giving it a go.

Concert Review : Moone, Litt Park Theatre, Te Puke, September 28, 2018

Moone Has Arrived

, Moone Live Sept 28, 2018

Moone Live Sept 28, 2018

We first met Moone at a Whakatane Open Mic session one Thursday night. She grabbed the nearest guitar and played 3 songs. That was it for me.

I asked her to come and sing at my annual concert in February 2018 and she jumped at the chance. By this time she’d been joined by Tauranga guitar whiz Phil Reha who knew exactly what to play under Moone’s voice.

Fast forward to September 2018 and we’ve got a single and video to release at the intimate venue of The Litt Park Theatre in Te Puke.

About 200 close supporters, family and friends crammed in to see and hear Moone’s big debut.

And she blew us all away.

Moone has come a long long way since February. Her songwriting has been bolstered by Reha’s potent arrangements and licks. Subtle but solid his guitar sits just under her voice and only rises for sonic effect when it has to. Pounding at the back on drums is Silas Tawhara, just doing everything right and Phil’s nephew Josh Reha lays the bass vibe perfectly.

The concert was the debut release of the single DLB (drunken little bitch), a song fittingly about friendship and good times.

Along with the single release (Google) (iTunes) Moone also released the video of the song.

Moone isn’t new to the music scene, and it shows. She has got her style and sass all sorted and knows exactly where she’s taking this, and my pick is she’ll get there.

You may as well get in on it now ’cause you’re going to later.

Besides a good band, good support and good singing, the killer ingredient here is good songs.

Really, really, really goods songs.

Moone has arrived. The single and video are great, but I can’t wait for the album.

My favorite of the night was the rocker that closed the show, Rock Star Mum

I wanna be a rockstar mum
Get my hair and nails done
Lie down just for fun
And read a magazine
I wanna be a good time girl
Do what the hell I feel
Botox and a face peel
And buy myself a diamond ring

Enjoy the DLB video

Old Demos – Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More – Steely Dan

I recorded this about 22 years ago in my dining room studio in Clendon on a Foxtex X26 4 Track and a Roland TR505 drum machine. I wanted to see if I could play something really challenging.

I stuck to simpler stuff after this 🙂

Solving The Photofinish Riddle

Another recycled article from the old Exposures Online Website archives originally published 2nd March 2001

Letter to the Editor
March 2, 2001
Friday Flash

Correspondence about the Photofinish in each of your last two issues has prompted us to reply.

For nearly 20 years we have been photofinish camera operators (both film based and digital) in the north. Our company (Northern Digital Photofinish Ltd) operates at almost all galloping, trotting and greyhound racetracks north of Taupo.

As contractors to the Northern Racing codes, we process most of the strip finish photos seen in the Friday Flash and all of the New Zealand photofinish images seen on the internet. These images are low-resolution copies of the high-resolution images used by the judge. We reduce them in order to show more placegetters.

How are the images formed? Unlike still, movie or video cameras, the photofinish camera has no shutter and there are no frames. The capture is continuous. In place of a shutter, the photofinish camera has a narrow line of sensors behind the lens, aligned on the finishline. Using a digital scan (up to 2000 times per second) the Finishlynx system continuously captures an image of the extremely narrow (approximately 5mm) strip of track, which is the finishline. In essence this is a photograph of time and whatever passes the finishline during capture becomes a part of that image. All parts (nose, tail, hooves, ears, saddle, jockey ? the lot) of all horses in the photofinish image are right on the line.

JUDGES LOOK … the same photo as above but at a higher resolution for the judge. This was a dead heat.

Your readers may have noticed that some horses have misshapen legs in some finish images. This is due to a horse putting it’s hoof on the ground right on the line. The hoof stays still as the horse passes over it. The hoof is captured for the entire time it is stationary on the line. Because the capture is continuous, the hoof appears elongated.

Because the photofinish image is the finishline captured over a period of time, it doesn’t matter where the line is placed. As long as it is parallel with the finishline it is always on the line. It functions as a point of reference assisting the viewer to judge which finisher’s nose reached the line first (or third or eighth or whatever). In the Finishlynx system the line is created digitally and is always in line with finishline. It can be moved to assist in placing finishers, but it cannot be tilted or otherwise manipulated.

The digital system is also used for race timing. Because it is a photo of time, it can have a start triggered automatically by the barrier gates or starter’s button. As the finish is captured, the time elapsed from the start is recorded. In this way a time is determined for each finisher and the margins calculated from these times. When a finisher’s time is taken from a beam broken by the finisher we can never be sure which part of the finisher broke the beam first. The Finishlynx time, on the other hand, is always taken on the finisher’s nose. The Finishlynx system prints and exports these results, which we supply as the official record of the finishing order and finisher’s times used by Racing Industry bodies, Clubs and the media.

All of our finishes are available as glossy colour prints and may be ordered from Northern Digital Photofinish Ltd, Ph 09-846 1802.

The Importance Of Being Eno

The Importance Of Being Eno

There are a couple of songs that were game changers for me.

As a kid I saw The Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night and the idea of girls chasing me down the street had great appeal and I thought I should be in a band some day.

So every time I hear that first chord I am reminded of that moment. …>>>

…Continue reading The Importance Of Being Eno …>>>