Friday, July 16, 2021

In New Zealand this week

■ The online news service BusinessDesk reported the result of the first round of funding handouts under the $55 million Pravda Project, officially known as the Public Interest Journalism Fund. They include:

     More than $2.4 million to NZME, Maori Television, Newshub, Pacific Media Network and 11 “support partners” to train and develop 25 cadet Maori, Pasifika and “diverse” journalists. The latter category will presumably include those who identify as transgender or non-binary and other aggrieved minorities that we haven’t got names for yet.

$300,000 to Stuff to produce a “cultural competency” course (could there be a more ideologically loaded phrase?) for journalists which will later be shared across the industry “to fundamentally shift representation in NZ media”.

    $207,000 to woke-friendly digital platform The Spinoff for a podcast series “to explore Maori issues".

$433,000 for Paakiwaha, a bilingual current affairs show to be produced by UMA Broadcasting for UMA, which was established in 1999 by Manukau Urban Maori Authority and Te Whanau a Waipareira Charitable Trust, operates Auckland Maori station Radio Waatea.

 $440,000 to NZME, which owns the New Zealand Herald and NewstalkZB, to produce a weekly bilingual section in the Rotorua Weekender newspaper on local iwi issues.

The allocations were announced by Raewyn Rasch, head of journalism for state funding agency NZ on Air, which is administering the Pravda Project for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. Rasch, who identifies as Ngai Tahu, is a former general manager of Maori and Pacific programmes at TVNZ and more recently was involved in promoting higher education for Maori@Massey.

BusinessDesk reports that NZ on Air received 123 applications for the first funding round and recommended 34 for approval. Forty percent of the money will go to Maori journalism projects.

The biggest single allocation is to RNZ, which already receives roughly $48 million a year from taxpayers and will get an extra $806,000 for its podcast The Detail.

As for those other allocations, I predict most of our money will end up being spent on advocacy journalism. As with the $3.5 million Three Waters propaganda campaign, taxpayers will be paying for their own indoctrination.

The line that once separated journalism from activism is being erased, and it’s happening with the eager co-operation of the mainstream journalism organisations that are lining up to take the state’s tainted money. We are witnessing the slow death of neutral, independent and credible journalism.

Last month, The Dominion Post published a letter from me in which I challenged an article by Stuff editor-in-chief Patrick Crewdson headlined Why government money won’t corrupt our journalism, in which Crewdson insisted Stuff’s editorial integrity wouldn’t be compromised by accepting government funding.

I wrote: “ … what he doesn’t mention is that before applying for money from the fund, media organisations must commit to a set of requirements that include, among other things, actively promoting the Maori language and ‘the principles of Partnership, Participation and Protection under Te Tiriti o Waitangi’.

“In other words, media organisations that seek money from the fund are signing up to a politicised project whose rules are fundamentally incompatible with free and independent journalism.

“Despite what Crewdson says, sceptics will take some convincing that the fund isn’t an expensive, taxpayer-funded indoctrination exercise.”

I’d be happy to be proved wrong, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

■ New Zealand is experiencing an epidemic of gun crime. Yesterday, a man was shot and wounded by police in Auckland as he held a gun to the head of a motorist in what appeared to be an attempted car hijacking following a chase. This followed the fatal shooting on Wednesday night of a man who confronted police with a firearm in Hamilton during a standoff in which at least 10 shots were reportedly heard.

Last weekend, also in Hamilton, a police officer was shot in the arm and shoulder during a routine traffic stop. An accomplice stole the officer’s car.

Meanwhile, the country has heard some of the chilling detail surrounding the fatal shooting of Constable Matthew Hunt in Auckland last June. Eli Epiha has admitted murdering Constable Hunt with a military-style semi-automatic rifle but bizarrely insists he didn’t intend to kill Hunt’s partner, Constable David Goldfinch, despite shooting him four times. A witness said Epiha, who fired 14 shots, looked so calm that he might have been window-shopping at a mall.

But perhaps the most brazen shooting incident of all occurred in April at Auckland’s 5-star Sofitel Hotel at 9am, when a gun was fired in what police described as an escalation of a dispute between the Head Hunters and Mongols gangs. Days earlier, the Head Hunters’ pad in Mt Wellington had been peppered with an estimated 30 bullets.

Two points stand out here. One is the rising power of criminal gangs, boosted by the arrival of Section 501 deportees from Australia. Small wonder that Phil Goff, following the Hotel Sofitel incident, warned that Auckland couldn’t risk becoming like “gangland America”.

Personally, I would have thought Mexico was a more appropriate analogy. When people start shooting at each other in a plush hotel frequented by wealthy business people and high-end tourists, Auckland starts to look like Tijuana or Juarez.

The other striking thing about the increasingly routine use of guns by criminals is that it’s happening despite changes to gun laws in 2020 that the then Police Minister, Stuart Nash, assured us would prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands.

This should surprise no one. The supposed tightening of the gun laws following the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacres was a piece of pure political theatre. While law-abiding gun-owners who never represented a threat to anyone dutifully handed over previously legal guns that were now deemed high-risk, criminal gangs continued to do what they’ve always done – ignored the law.

All this was entirely predictable. The new gun laws no more reduced the circulation of illegal weapons than the so-called anti-smacking law of 2007 magically eliminated the violent abuse of children. Matthew Hunt, if he were still alive, could testify to that.

The Hotel Sofitel shooting points to another alarming trend: an attitude among gang members that they can get away with just about anything. The same sense of impunity is evident in the way gangs use the excuse of a funeral to take over public highways in a show of strength, effectively defying the police to stop them.

When people are allowed to behave with obvious contempt for the law (as Hone Harawira and his supporters also did with their illegal, opportunistic road blocks during the Covid-19 lockdown), the legal mechanisms that ensure a civilised society start to break down.

But don’t expect the police hierarchy to stand its ground – not under a commissioner who appears to have been appointed for his willingness to fall into line with the agenda of an increasingly radical left-wing government.

Police Headquarters has signalled its favourable disposition toward criminal gangs by supporting the allocation of $2.75 million to a supposed drug rehab programme run by the Mongrel Mob – the same outfit that profits from the ruinous methamphetamine racket.

But there’s hope. To its credit, the Police Association has condemned the handout. Association president Chris Cahill said one of his members had described it as the most successful money-laundering scheme he’d ever heard of. “Police take $2 million of dirty money – as they recently did from the Notorious Chapter of the Mongrel Mob in Operation Dusk in Hawke’s Bay – and the government returns $2.75 million in clean money to people so closely linked with the same gang.”

Cahill didn’t bother to disguise his disgust. Rank-and-file cops – the people putting their lives on the line at the front end – can hardly be blamed for feeling betrayed when their bosses undermine them.

■ Farmers and tradies are turning out today for the “Howl of a Protest” against a government that seems, at best, indifferent to the people who keep the economy functioning and, at worst, is perversely hostile to them.

Nationwide protest rallies are a sign of mounting resistance to policies and ideological projects, some of them kept safely under wraps until after last year’s election, that attack productive sectors of the economy and seek to centralise power at the expense of local democracy and accountability.

As the sheer scale of Labour’s transformational agenda becomes more apparent, so a counter-revolution is slowly gathering momentum. This is nowhere more apparent than in the provinces.

The government might yet get away with its extreme hate-speech proposals and its brazen bid for control over the media. As alarming as they are, these are not necessarily issues that excite fervent popular opposition. But punitive taxes on utes, imperious land grabs under the pretext of environmental protection and grandiose cycling bridges for the privileged urban middle class are something everyone can understand. Meanwhile, the government is encountering unexpectedly stiff resistance over its planned seizure of local water assets, which may yet prove to have been a step too far.

All that’s missing from the picture is an opposition capable of exploiting public unease over Labour’s radicalism. At some stage, Judith Collins and David Seymour will have to start talking to each other.

■ The leaked draft script of the planned Hollywood movie They Are Us has provoked uproar. Objections centre on the likelihood of the March 19 Christchurch massacres being graphically depicted with little regard for the feelings of survivors and those bereaved by the killings, none of whom appear to have been consulted.

Again, no one should be surprised. Hollywood is doing what Hollywood does: taking a real-life event and fictionalising aspects of it for maximum dramatic impact, and to hell with irrelevant niceties such as the truth.

Remember Argo, the Oscar-winning 2012 movie starring (and directed by) Ben Affleck, which purported to tell the true story of how several fugitive American diplomats were smuggled out of Tehran following the 1979 Iranian Revolution? It wilfully misrepresented events by claiming the New Zealand embassy in Tehran refused to help the Americans when the reverse was true.

So if you’re naïve enough to expect They Are Us to be faithful to actual events, you probably also believe Titanic was a documentary. We shouldn’t try to stop Hollywood making the film, because it’s a free world; but if the movie goes ahead we can show our disapproval by boycotting it.


Phil said...

I also point out that the Government has released close to 25% of the prison population which can't be good for crime levels. Per the movie script Simon Bridges apparently scripted as saying anyone coming for his gun would get bullets. It sounds like he is portrayed as an awful caricature of an NRA gun nut.

Brendan McNeill said...


How surprising that our media prostituted itself so quickly. It had barely applied its lipstick before the Government sidled up and stuffed (pun intended) a handful of dollars into its bra. Who knew they would be so cheaply seduced?

Contrast their craven behaviour with that of Jimmy Lai, the former owner of the Apple Daily in Hong Kong, a news paper just recently shut down by the CCP controlled Hong Kong Government.

In an interview with the BBC before he was jailed, Lai said he would not give in to intimidation."If they can induce fear in you, that's the cheapest way to control you and the most effective way and they know it," he said. "The only way to defeat the way of intimidation is to face up to fear and don't let it frighten you."

When faced with the choice, this brave News Paper man chose a prison cell rather than compromise his integrity. What does Jimmy Lai know that our media does not? That liberal democracies depend upon journalistic independence from the State. It is not an overstatement to say that with our media brought and paid for by the Labour Government, we no longer live in a free and open liberal democracy.

Trev1 said...

Long live the counter-revolution. 16 July 2021 will be celebrated as the day when a country rediscovered its values and its courage and cried "enough". Now we must build on that.

If people want to make a movie that promotes a travesty of the truth they may do so. But not with taxpayer money (although there is the precedent of public money being used by this government to promote a travesty of the Treaty as you say). Fresh revelations today about the movie's script suggest it portrays Bridges as a clone of the NRA when in fact National supported the ban on military style assault weapons. His character is made to say, "if you come for our guns you may find our bullets". Ardern has admitted to being briefed on this wretched project before it was made public. Did she collude in such a deliberate attempt to smear the Opposition and indeed all New Zealanders? If so she must resign.

hughvane said...

Another nail in this gummint’s coffin is their treatment of the average Kiwi with bovine deposits, and obfuscation. No-one other than a blind, deaf, and mentally retarded sycophant of Labour and its associates would believe what is being claimed about things like ‘no money going to gangs’.

As far as I’m aware, Maori recipients of State handouts are not req’d to account for all the money they’re getting, either. Pardon me for asking, but where is the money for non-Maori, including Indians, Pacific Islanders, Chinese, and several other ethnic minorities?

I also get the impression this present governing mob are like lemmings heading for the cliff. They surely must know they’re going to be absolutely crucified next election - at least that’s the way I see it - so they’re pushing through every bit of contentious legislation while they have the chance; with the added factor/feature of challenging/daring the dithering Opposition to step forward and announce they will repeal much of it.

Richard said...

I think your comments on the Opposition are a little unfair. Remember that Collins and National are battling a media attack never before experienced in NZ. Look at this weeks cartoons and opinion pieces on Stuff and the papers.
How can an Opposition operate when they are denied a voice in the papers, on TV and the Radio ? Hopefully todays protests will convey public support for them, and some hope for the 2023 election (if there is one)

Snowyrange said...

Thank you Karl for being a rare voice for the sane majority

Doug Longmire said...

Excellent article Karl.
The mainstream media are now quite openly the paid propaganda wing of the government.
Hopefully, the public will soon start to wake up to the appalling destruction of our democracy. The farmer's and tradie's street occupation was a very clear demonstration, and was very well supported by the public. Or so I heard on the radio (Newstalk ZB). The
Pravda media coverage (Stuff/Herald) was of course very muted and not supportive.
Keep up the good work Karl !!

Doug Longmire said...

I have just had another look at Stuff - it really is "stuffed"!!
The nationwide Groundswell protest is not reported at all.
It unhappened. Just like George Orwell described in "1984"

Steve said...

Hi Karl

Thank you for writing such a fantastic article. It feels like the NZ I’ve loved for my entire life is imploding. In many countries by now the psychopath ardern & her equally deranged sidekicks would’ve been arrested & thrown in a dark windowless cell for treason.

Watching this from the sunny Gold Coast is so sad - like an imminent train wreck. Over here the days are devoid of anything maori & ardern - unless theres a piece on another scumbag being deported back to ‘Once Were Warriors Land’

Keep up the great work - please!

Doug Longmire said...

How nice of the government to seize the drug money from the gangs, and carefully launder it and then hand the cleaned money back to the gangs.
Meantime legitimate (i.e. real) drug treatment and mental health services throughout this nation are constantly cutting back services because of shortage of funds.
I am sure that this infuriates real police officers, but seems to be in line with our woke Police Commissioner.

(afterthought - the above statement could be "hate speech" under Labour's proposed addition to the Crimes Act !!! )

Cathy Daltry said...

Well said, Brendan McNeill. As someone who has worked in the Hong Kong newspaper industry I too have been watching with growing dread the fate of the brave Apple Daily editor. Regarding our own MSN, that dread has become a feeling of resignation. The capitulation to government propaganda was underway well before any of them lined up for their forty pieces of silver. Now, the same bribe-and-rope tactic is afoot with local councils and their power over water. Has any government in New Zealand history ever acted so cynically and clinically in trampling over our democratic and consultative traditions as it pursues its ideological aims? Has any other government also failed to fulfil even one of its election promises?
With all this angst and disruption, are any of us any better off?

hughvane said...

Does anyone (else) contributing to this blog read or use NZ Observer; or know of Amy Brooke? New to me, and worthy reading. (no other website that I could find

How much longer might either of them last?

Doug Longmire said...

Just google Amy Brooke.
Also - Amy writes for the Aussie Spectator magazine.
Subscribe to that and get all of her articles

Steve said...

To Hughvane - Amy is great. You need to read her ‘Spectator Australia’ articles. Seriously good.

We all need to make sure to push back against the latest scam by ardern - her “hate speech” laws. If we don’t, brilliant journos like Karl & Amy will be ‘cancelled’.

Make no mistake - these are serious & dangerous times………

Gary Peters said...

This web site may help.

Unknown said...

What about Tukaki and his campaign to deport Lee Williams?
As the Free Speech coalition pointed out we find his videos [forgotten the word] and as David Seymour said he is no intellectual but I get a kick out of seeing resistance.

Mathew Tukaki and his followers seem to think they are coming into a position where they will be able to do that sort of thing. It is almost as though they are trying the door.

I'm sorry Tukaki but I think most Europeans and other non Maori would be taking note if a Maori had any say in a deportation (because he said offensive things).

Which comes back to what is behind it all. It appears to be a script based on Critical Race Theory going back to the 80's.

Paul Spoonley has had something like 87 media interviews so you would think this would make the news?

Unknown said...

Very-well said

Unknown said...

The NZ I grew up and love is fast disappearing down the the toilet thanks to Ardern and her gang.

Jack said...

As another example of NZ going down the gurgler: ACC.
Originally set up to help those in need their frontline staff now evade giving help by sending applicants on a roundabout of reviews, interviews, examinations etc. for years while the victims mental state deteriorates as their physical conditions leaves them more and more debilitated. And there is no appeal process.
Appeals to MPs, local community "leaders" and supposed patient advocates all result in ignoring the appeals or saying they can't do anything. I know - as a volunteer advocate I've tried for years.
David Tranter

Eamon Sloan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.