|Other items of interest and importance today
Jo Moir (Newsroom): More questions than answers for RNZ/TVNZ merger
Broadcasting and Media Minister Kris Faafoi has failed to make the case for what he is proposing, according to Newsroom’s Jo Moir. She complains that he has fobbed off important questions about things like the cost of the new service and possible job cuts.
Damien Venuto (Herald): Will the TVNZ-RNZ mega merger fix anything? (paywalled)
Do RNZ and TVNZ really need to merge? Media industry commentator Damien Venuto suggests that Labour has fallen victim to “continuation bias” which he defines as a psychological condition “that makes us follow a course of action even in the face of changing conditions.” He worries that the Government will hurtle ahead with the decision, ignoring advice about the problems of the current merger concept.
Richard Harman: Questions about political independence of new broadcaster(paywalled)
Veteran journalist Richard Harman, once the political editor of TVNZ, says there are serious concerns about the Government setting up the new public broadcaster in a way in which state funding will influence its coverage of politics and current events.
Ryan Boswell (1News): New public media entity will have editorial independence – TVNZ CEO
TVNZ CEO Simon Power, a former National Government Cabinet Minister, says the new entity will be protected from Government pressure.
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Merging TVNZ and RNZ could be an absolute tragedy, or triumph for broadcasting
The devil will be in the detail of this major broadcasting merger, but so far there simply isn’t any detail, and so it’s too early to judge whether this is a good idea or not.
Stuff: Editorial – Finally an answer on an RNZ-TVNZ merger, but questions linger
Frustrated with the lack of clarity about the new media merger, this newspaper editorial asks why there is not even a draft of the new charter being released. In terms of the timeframes, the newspaper says: “it is difficult to see how it has taken two-and-a-half years and an entire governance group to answer only a foundational question and establish another group that will do all the work.”
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): New public media entity could help non-government owned media, says RNZ boss
What impact will the merger have on the rest of the media landscape? According to this report, the merger is about a “stronger push into the digital space, to attract new and younger audiences”, and the public broadcaster will also help out private media.
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Decision to merge TVNZ and RNZ draws mixed response
A useful survey of how others in the media industry are responding to the new merger announcement.
Duncan Greive (Spinoff): TVNZ and RNZ to merge into a not-for-profit giant likely to dominate NZ media
There was little that was concrete in the announcement yesterday according to the Spinoff website owner Duncan Greive. He says there are now more questions than answers.
Juliet Speedy (Newshub): TVNZ-RNZ merger: Still unclear if new public media entity will be taxpayer or commercially funded
Funding for public broadcasting is the big issue in the new media merger, but details on this are scarce.
Bill Ralston (Stuff): Success of TVNZ/RNZ merger will all come down to money
The former head of TVNZ says Faafoi’s “announcement was strong on rhetoric and weak on detail.” Funding is still the key question for the merger.
Paul McBeth (BusinessDesk): Clear the airwaves – it’s all online (paywalled)
Kris Faafoi’s decision for the new public broadcaster “to go chasing the digital realm is more interesting” than the other details to emerge yesterday.
1News: Support for mandates drops to 60% in latest 1News Kantar Public Poll
Support for mandates is down from November 2021’s poll, while the Government’s handling of the recent protest at Parliament has the public fairly evenly split.
Claire Trevett (Herald): Exclusive poll: Covid 19 Omicron – What Kiwis think about vaccination mandates and the Parliament protests (paywalled)
A Herald/Kantar poll shows 65% of the public support mandates in certain jobs, with most believing the mandates should be lifted when Covid poses less of a threat to the population. The poll shows strong opposition to the recent protest in Wellington.
Jamie Morton (Herald): Experts say officials ‘flying blind’ on case numbers without better data (paywalled)
A lack of reliable data means modelling experts are relying on educated guesswork to estimate the size and scope of NZ’s Covid outbreak. This will severely impact our decision making and public health strategy as the outbreak unfolds and into the future.
Michael Neilson (Herald): Covid 19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins disclosed personal information about journalist despite MFAT urging him not to
Information on journalist Charlotte Bellis, which included a briefing and media lines, was provided to Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta under a “no surprises” convention. It was then passed on to Hipkins by Mfat officials who stated all personal information was “not for public comment”.
Herald: How NZ’s vaccine roll-out ‘failed’ Māori
A study published in today’s New Zealand Medical Journal looks at how the Covid vaccination programme was rolled out.
Peter Dunne (Newsroom): Why we must separate the protesters’ cause from the protest itself
Former Cabinet minister Peter Dunne dismisses calls for a “Trumpist” wall around Parliament or “ludicrous and insulting” pleas for better education around conspiracy theories and vaccination. He says the “problem lies with a much more basic level of polarisation and alienation in our society that needs to understood and addressed with care and respect
Matthew Hooton (Herald): Boomers must share youth’s Covid burden (paywalled)
Matthew Hooton writes that “Nearly exactly as predicted two years ago, the Government has overseen the greatest transfer of wealth from the young and poor to the old and rich in New Zealand’s history.” He calls for the Government to now tackle these intergenerational inequities caused by the $1 trillion dollar transfer of wealth to asset owners, but also to deal with other consequences of the Covid response.
Josie Pagani (Stuff): Don’t give tax cuts to those who don’t need them
Leftwing commentator Josie Pagani puts forward a traditional leftwing critique of the National Party’s latest economic policies, and says that there isn’t “a tax problem in this country. We have a wage problem.”
Max Rashbrooke (Stuff): NZ’s problem is it doesn’t tax enough, or fairly enough
The New Zealand state simply doesn’t collect enough tax – regardless of which party is in power. Max Rashbrooke argues that our public services are desperately underfunded and new ways to increase tax need to be found.
John MacDonald (Newstalk ZB): Does the PM have her head in the sand?
Remember when the National Government refused to accept there was a housing crisis? Newstalk’s John MacDonald says that Labour is falling into the same absurd trap.
Nikki Macdonald (Stuff): How do you memorialise a protest?
It’s important to document political struggles and protest. But it’s not going to be easy to work out how the country’s National Library or Te Papa will record what happened at the Parliamentary protest.
RNZ: Chief Ombudsman ‘more unhappy’ than ever with aspects of OIA process
The number of complaints about the way government agencies are using the Official Information Act increased 33 per cent last year. And Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier says he is more unhappy than ever with the way the OIA is being treated.
Jordan Bond (RNZ): Billionaire steel magnate heads list of Russians with NZ business interests
In light of the focus on wealthy Russians who might or might not be affected by new Government sanctions, journalist Jordan Bond looks into some of the big Russian names in New Zealand, including steel magnate Alexander Abramov who is worth about $6 billion
Matt Robson (Herald): No debate on the issues of war and peace – a rush to judgement(paywalled)
The former Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Matt Robson, says more public scrutiny is needed of the sanctions being adopted by New Zealand against Russia.
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): First fuel, now food: is our competition watchdog letting us down?
The backlash against the Commerce Commission’s mild report on supermarket reform continues. This is one of the more in-depth evaluations of the issues.
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Shaw’s mixed messages on 1.5C goal
Merely “aspirational” is the description of the Government’s climate change commitments, according to James Shaw’s lawyers in a court case. But Daalder says this contradicts what Shaw himself has promised.
Bernard Hickey: Housing and food stress intensifies (paywalled)
Financial journalist Bernard Hickey forecasts that we are heading into “our worst winter of homelessness and food poverty”, but the political parties don’t have any sufficient answers to the problem.
Karl du Fresne: Pssst … don’t mention the iwi
On the release of the Government’s working group report on Three Waters, Karl du Fresne sums up the whole process as a debacle: “From disgrace to sham to travesty and back again”.
Chris Trotter: This Meddlesome Human Rights Commissioner
Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt controversially visited the parliamentary protestors to hear their concerns, and then wrote a newspaper column about what he learnt – but in deliberately flouting the PM’s “rāhui”, this was a big mistake according to Chris Trotter.
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): 2023: The one to lose
Responding to my column yesterday in which I suggested that the Government may need to ditch the co-governance element of Three Waters, Chris Trotter outlines how much of a serious fight this would cause within the Labour Party and the wider political class.