Posts by David MacGregor

  • Hard News: Victoria Crone and what…,

    The skills needed to be a CEO vs a mayor are quite different. Even if there are some overlaps. The corporatising of government is well underway. In my mind the key difference is that a corporation can run as dictatorship if it wants to (benign or not). Most democratic entities nip that kind of stuff in the bud before it's too late.
    The kind of corporate hippy rhetoric that Ms Crone has been trotting out won't have the same kind of impact as, say, blaming the poor for being poor or inferring they are all just junkies. Unless she gives the media some headlines, rather than 'visionary' blogs and press releases they'll just turn on her as cannon fodder.
    And I say this with love - because I think she could be quite good. Maybe she could apply for the CEO job?

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report

  • Hard News: A Stand for Quaxing,

    I'm with you on developing infrastructure to encourage cycling as transport (versus leisure or sport - which I don't have an opinion on). Little details like secure parking in public places would make a significant difference.

    My initial thought was that you were expressing n=1 thinking; how many other people do a grocery shop on a pushbike? But, with the increase in nipping into the shop for tonight's meal rather than loading up with wagon with every provision to cater for the family's journey through the next week - it might well be that folk _would_ use bikes for local tasks if it wasn't a drama. And that would be a good thing.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report

  • Hard News: NZME and you,


    I don't know who pisses me off more - you or the fuckwits who are running media companies into the ground.
    1. Media is good - we benefit from media. In the right hands.
    2. Media is dangerous. In the wrong hands it is worse than an atom bomb.

    I wrote this after meeting Jon Stephenson at your show.
    I still believe it.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report

  • Hard News: A better thing to believe in,

    It's almost impossible to have this kind of conversation without being caught up in mawkish sentimentality and jingoism as you so neatly have.
    Bread, circuses, Steinlager.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report

  • Hard News: Everybody has one,

    In the last phase of the previous election The Internet Party's 'Moment of Truth' promised something that it didn't deliver, sadly. But it did demonstrate that here in New Zealand we have a tendency to celebrate the messenger, no matter what the message is. Glenn Greenwald was vilified, just as Nicky Hager was, mocked loudly so that none of what they said was heard clearly - the incumbent (recumbent) media establishment colluded either wilfully or by default with the government to fill the air with chaff that bounced the signal around until all that was left was the noise. Hager's message came and went - Dirty Politics mortified us momentarily until the Kardashians had a royal baby - or whatever. Likewise Greenwald's reporting was lost in the jello wrestling bout between Key and Dotcom.
    Ironically the airways are cleared so that Hosking's message can radiate without contest in multiple channels, almost every day of the week.
    It doesn't matter that he is a shill for the far right - if he was an exponent of something that made good sense the scenario would be the same. The value of his 'share of voice', as we are wont to say in marketing, is gobsmacking. If you were to assign a commercial value to the cost of his airtime on tv and radio, his column centimetres and promoted space online it would probably exceed the advertising spend of the biggest brands in New Zealand.
    A couple of things happen as result. There is a halo effect. It makes sense to most people that, if something is in television, it is important and has credibility. As seen on TV still has caché. There is also a phenomenon called 'the media multiplier' - which was initially described by media like daily newspapers to promote their importance in planning media when TV was dominating in the early 90's. The multiplier effect describes how a message is perceived to be morecredible when it is received through more channels. A variation is social proof - the more people talking about something, the more true it must be. These phenomena amplify Hosking's credibility to an astonishing volume. It is little wonder what he says becomes the orthodoxy of the day.
    You describe the whittling away of contrary voices in media either by design or simple attrition. I got the impression that Dita di Boni was worn down as much as anything - how can one compete against the wall of sound. What happens when you talk sense but through the black mirror of media it becomes marginalised and your reasonable dissent is spun to become 'bias'.
    This walking away from the debate is what made me think of The Moment of Truth. An expression that Greenwald used to describe the effect of mass surveillance was 'a chilling effect', surveillance becomes self censorship. Whether you have chosen silence or are silenced the effect is the same. Nature won't tolerate a vacuum. There is value in the space vacated by Ms di Boni and it will be filled with a new clamour for attention and notoriety, new material to provoke shares and links, more noise and chaff to drown out the sharing of ideas and reasonable discussion. There is a chill in the air.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report

  • Hard News: Political palatability and…,

    I agree with your estimation. Seems as though charter schools can operate as homeopaths do relative to medicine - lots of rhetoric and little substantiation. Though, perhaps that analogy collapses in that at least homeopathy is harmless superstition and its infliction causes little real harm to its victims.

    When you mention 'cultural safety' - what do you mean Russell?

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report

  • OnPoint: My last name sounds Chinese,

    The problem with this entire distraction is that it doesn't resolve the issue of planning for decent, affordable, well planned communities where people live together happily and enjoy the relative paradise we could have.

    It doesn't matter much to me who owns property; though it does matter to me that new migrants are permitted to bring wodges of cash from China - or the US/UK - speculate in residential property as their 'contribution' to our economy and benefit from untaxed gains that are exponentially higher than money earned in service jobs - or even academic salaries - which are taxed at source and contribute to the ongoing development of infrastructure such as health and education.

    Likewise when these same migrants install their children in homes in high decile areas to enjoy free top quality education which, de facto , excludes others while adding to the competition/demand for residential property in Auckland that inflates prices - with all the flow-on effects.

    Perhaps new migrants might also buy health and education tokens (10% of sum introduced - say) with the capital they bring to catch up with the huge investment prior New Zealanders have made in this country - to offset the risk that the notional 'presence' of their capital doesn't find its way into the commons.

    I am a migrant. My family benefited from welcoming policies and inclusion when I was child - including family benefit support and state advance home loans that should, rightly, make young families trying to kick off a decent life weep angry tears. So I will take all brick bats and accusations of being a bigot with a shrug. I'm not.

    And the sooner this whole issue becomes a non-partisan thing the better. It just creates heat and not much light.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report

  • Hard News: Apple Music: Taking a dump on…,

    Sounds way too hard.

    I'll just listen my Best of the Eagles CD on high rotate until it expires - or until the optical drive in Powerbook does (they usually do at some stage) - at which point I'll go back to my wax Edison cylinders of Joni Mitchell albums.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report

  • Hard News: Anzac Day II,

    I watched the Sam Neill programme. It was good. A very personal account that was watchable and interesting. He prefaced with his objection to militarism and nationalism. Bravo. And at the end he made a curious reference to the Armenian people in Turkey. Most people will have missed the reference - but it struck me and I wondered what had fallen on the cutting room floor. It's good and proper to remember young New Zealanders who were freighted en masse to a war of doubtful value in total and contemplate the dubious motivation of the New Zealand government of the day - I don't see it as a necessary sacrifice or 'honourable' expedition; but we should commemorate a time in our history that was both mindlessly suicidal and homicidal if only to ensure that we do what we can to prevent getting tangled up in more expeditions of the sort. (Too late I realise). And for all the talk of comradeship with the Turks it is also reasonable to be aware of the genocide of the Armenian population - in the millions at the hands of the Turks - that occurred at the same time in the same place - and that the Turks' official stance on their history is equivalent to the Germans taking no responsibility for their own heinous acts in the years leading up to and during the Second World War. It's relevant because they are our modern allies and their treatment of the Kurdish population isn't much to be proud of either.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report

  • Hard News: Talking to the United Nations…,

    Hard to understand the nub of this story without any context. I assume there is a backstory somewhere but it seems arcane with it.

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report

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