Green Parrot Jug returned to South Seas Longest-Operating Restaurant by VP Peter Bush, Australasia’s longest-practising journalist
MSCNewsWire-EIN-National Press Club Service, Napier, 30 March 2016 - Australasia’s longest-practising journalist Peter Bush returned to Australasia’s longest continuously-operating restaurant which is Wellington’s Green Parrot its signature and founding artefact, a green parrot ceramic jug made in Japan.
Mr Bush’s career as a photojournalist and war correspondent began in 1946, 20 years after the founding of the Green Parrot restaurant which also on this occasion celebrated its 90th birthday.
Mr Bush is vice president of the National Press Club which staged the ceremony. In fact the green parrot jug had lain unrecognised in the memorabilia of the club for many years. It had originally come into the club’s possession via an early stalwart, Tony Poynton.
He had intervened at a tense moment during the club’s post war years when it served as a de facto or curb exchange, most notably among scrap metal dealers such as Mr Poynton then was. A commanding presence, Mr Poynton’s intervention earned him the gratitude of the proprietor who stood to lose their trading licence if found to have conducted an unruly house.
The then proprietor gave the late Mr Poynton the signature jug which Mr Poynton, by now a newspaperman himself, had donated to the club to adorn any future premises.
The restoration event was emceed by National Press Club treasurer Bryan Weyburne, pictured above with Peter Bush at centre and Green Parrot proprietor Chris Sakoufakis.
Speakers noted that the occasion would in future years be viewed as recording also the transition turning point from the colourful heyday of print journalism to the present technology-pressured one.
It was noted that someone such as Mr Poynton could in those earlier days switch from metals trading to newspapers and in the process bring with them a variety of new approaches and ideas along with real-world experience.
The timing of the ceremony, it was said, also saw the era approaching of the 40 year envelope from the advent of a technology on the consumer market, in this case the internet and associated technologies, to the point at which it became pervasive and thus fully transformational.
Electricity and automobiles were quoted as two earlier examples of this 40 year take up phenomenon.
The Green Parrot restaurant was begun in 1926 by a United States merchant seaman paid off in Wellington who had acquired the jug at Yokohama and who then named his new restaurant after the fashionable ceramic ornamental piece of kitchenware.
Event seen as Line in the Sand between Old & New Eras
Kay Poynton, Tony’s sister with Yvonne Weyburne
Richard Laurenson, Hamish Hancock, Gordon Stewart, Stephen Underwood
Carol Armstrong and Luba Perry
George Westermayer and Mark Dunajtschik
Ian and Adrienne Stewart
Anne Stewart and Barry Durrant
Connie Lawn is First to Talk to
NZ Washington Ambassador Tim Groser
Greatest farm surplus ever is the
prime problem for the career trade negotiator
MSCNewsWire-EIN-National Press Club Service, NAPIER, 14 March 2016 - After a lifetime massaging trade deals as an official and then as a Minister of the Crown, Tim Groser finds himself negotiating his trickiest mercantilist tightrope to date. As his country’s freshly installed ambassador to Washington the urbane yet wily bureaucrat must bed down his country’s role in the TPPA which he last year described as “New Zealand’s biggest ever free trade deal.”
His problem? How to get value from the Trans Pacific arrangement for an agrarian nation at a time when parties to the arrangement, along with the rest of the developed world, enter the era of hyper farm surplus?
Nothing unusual in this, even though the surplus is of greater magnitude than anything that has gone before.
In the past, trans Pacific parties such as the United States, Australia, and New Zealand have shared a simple solution. This was to ship the surplus to the always hungry Soviet Union, or Russia as we would describe it now.
This is no longer possible due to the US invoked and vigorously policed embargo on sending anything to this old disposal market.
Neither does the vast North American market offer much hope. Nobody is more conscious than Mr Groser of the surgical delicacy required in persuading Canada to sign up to the TPPA in the face of the opposition from its French-speaking dairy farmers, the most protected anywhere on the globe.
Should Mr Groser turn his attention to Europe he can only contemplate still greater surpluses as more farm categories come off the restricted production quota list. Next off the rank, the EU sugar beet production limits.
And yet...and yet....markets are never static. Mr Groser would never utter it, and may even have disciplined himself never to think it. But daily the odds are increasing in favour of Britain’s exit from the EU.
From his Washington command-post, it is hard to imagine that Mr Groser does not see just one more trade deal, on top of all the other ones to which he has been a party?
As he suavely goes about his official rounds, might not Mr Groser be forgiven if his thoughts are pulled away from a Pacific contemplation to considering now the nearby Atlantic Ocean?
As someone as close to the epicentre of world trade as it is possible for anyone to reach, might he not just be contemplating from time to time, oooh, something like a new Commonwealth Preference regime?
One in which Euro-soured Britons return to the supplier that rescued them until quite recent times from what Mr Groser and his diplomatic colleagues would delicately describe as “food insecurity.”
When the dean of the White House Press Corps and holder of the National Press Club, Lifetime Achievement Award Connie Lawn (pictured with Mr Groser) was first through the embassy doors to discuss events with the the new ambassador, these and other elements of realpolitik became the background tapestry to the official politesse.
The lesson of very recent years, and to which the Russian embargo bears witness, is that not only is the United States run from Washington. But in large measure, so is Europe.
EU Will End This Year
Declares German Head of Oceania Think Tank
Bungling of immigrant emergency
punctures German mystique
and leaves EU rudderless
MSCNewsWire-EIN-National Press Club Service, NAPIER, 18 February 2016 - The European Union during 2016 will cease to exist “as we know it” predicts Oliver Hartwich, the head of the New Zealand Initiative policy group.
The immigrant crisis was one too many emergencies for the EU which he portrays as staggering from one crisis to the next. Among these were member countries with covenant-breaking debt to GDP ratios, the Brexit, and the rise of radical politics in the form of populism and nationalism.
Germany meanwhile was reeling from its handling of the immigrant crisis, which now saw the once EU powerhouse “isolated.”
In addition, the officially-driven cover-up of the Cologne refugee assimilation consequences episode had even raised questions internationally about the nature of German society’s commitment to open government and a free press.
Dr Hartwich speaking at a seminar at the headquarters in Wellington of the New Zealand Initiative sheeted the pending demise of the EU “project” to the decision by its leadership after the fall of the Berlin Wall to embark upon an expansionist phase.
This took two perilous forms, he noted, the currency union and the quest for new members. History proved that instead there should have followed a period of “consolidation.”
The revolving door subsequent crises Dr Hartwich identified as “weakening the structure,” of the EU to the point at which it could only focus on its “own survival.”
The New Zealand Initiative sprang from a number of independent enterprise policy groups, notably the Business Roundtable.
Dr Hartwich,a German-trained lawyer and economist was appointed executive director at its inception, following a tour with Sydney’s Centre for Independent Studies, and as chief economist at London’s Policy Exchange.
He noted that the focus by the EU on member financial bail-outs, was obscuring the rise of radical politics in members such as Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary.
The realpolitik exposition on the EU and its future conducted by Dr Hartwich was consistent with the enterprise group’s focus on cutting through doctrines and ideologies in order to outline events at home and abroad.
The event was attended by a number of National Press Club representatives including Life Member Sir Christopher Harris, pictured (at right) with Dr Hartwich.
In response to a question from a National Press Club representative about the involvement and culpability of the United States in the current series pf EU alarms, Dr Hartwich commented that the US simply saw the EU from its start as a bulwark against Russia, and its policies were centred exclusively around this view.
New York State Power to Allocate
US Dollar Licences
Was Unseen, Unspoken Dominant Presence at TPPA Signing.
Dollar Control of Trade Underpins Pacific Pact
MSCNewsWire-EIN-National Press Club Service, NAPIER, 9 February 2016 - Like a skillful ringmaster the United States kept its whip carefully hidden under the robes and other theatrical panoply of the Auckland TPPA signing. Nobody was talking, or for the most part even knew of the real hard power behind the agreement.
This is the 80 percent of world trade conducted in the USD, and the United States’ ability to decree who can and who cannot trade in it.
Dollar allocation rights stem not so much from Washington, which is why United States Presidents can claim that the USD licenses are out of their hands. They are centred in the State of New York.
This was the elephant in the room during the TPPA signing, writes the Chartered Accountants Journal long time banking columnist Peter Isaac who was on hand in Auckland.
While activists hollered in the streets outside about loss of sovereignty and those inside proclaimed their devotion to trade liberalisation only a very few understood what had brought them there.
It was the whip in the form of the United States control of the currency conduit of world trade, and the allocation of the rights to use it.
A contemplation of the plight of France, in the view of most of the French, a world power, tends to dispel any doubts about this reality of global business.
The USD9 billion fine levied on BNP Paribas for doing business with several countries which were then the subject of a United States trade embargo was one such factor.
Another was the threat on the French bank of a ban from processing US dollar payments through New York.
If there were still any more remaining reservations, well, look at France now. Awash in unsold milk and other farm products, France must slavishly adhere to the US-imposed embargo preventing the sale of the surplus to the one country that wants it – Russia.
The Atlantic lesson, if not the mechanics of it, served as the unseen writing on the Auckland wall for the Pacific pact delegations, even if was obscured in the mists of time.
The American founding fathers in seeking at one and the same time a federalist and localised balance in America’s banking structure had allocated the power to grant or revoke USD dollar licences to officials in New York State. Where it remains.
UK High Commissioner
Spearheads HMG Trade Restoration Drive
EU Legation and
British New Zealand Business Association also in harness
MSCNewsWire-EIN-National Press Club Service, NAPIER, 14 February 2016 - Britain’s diplomatic and commercial apparatus has gone onto the front foot in re-aligning New Zealand and its trade to resuming a UK focus. In this campaign it has enlisted the support of its historic auxiliary the Auckland-based British New Zealand Business Association founded 99 years ago. Also on-side is the EU legation in Wellington.
British High Commissioner Jonathan Sinclair states that the UK remains New Zealand's largest trading partner in the EU.
The UK he insists is the biggest booster of the mooted NZ/EU Free Trade Agreement.
The active engagement now of the High Commission in the trade re-positioning drive indicates a direct and high level involvement in Whitehall in re-developing and reinforcing UK/NZ mercantile threads.
It is a welcome development for a New Zealand government ardently pushing for the EU free trade agreement, reflected by a corresponding enthusiasm radiating from the EU legation to New Zealand.After Australia, Mr Sinclair reminds audiences, the UK has the largest stock of investment in New Zealand at $55bn– “far in excess of the United States” which is third with $33bn.
Adds Mr Sinclair (pictured above, at right, with BNZBA patron John Collinge.) “Our domestic policy exchange between our governments is unrivalled.”
Mr Sinclair meanwhile is to carry the trade restoration campaign to Auckland, the nation's merchant city, with speaking engagements under the auspices of the British New Zealand Business Association.
In trade, especially in the longer global cycles, what goes around comes around.
Ageing and Entitled Hub Workers Paved Way
for Pagemasters to Return to New Zealand
Axing gives Fairfax Accountants tighter grip on revenue/costs
MSCNewsWire-EIN-National Press Club Service, NAPIER, 17 February 2016 - New Zealand’s on-off-on relationship with Pagemasters is now full circle with Fairfax taking up the slack at the Australian makeup outfit left by the departure of NZME. The old Wilson & Horton chain fired the Australian makeup outfit bringing its production subbing in house again.
A year later Fairfax is filling the gap left by NZME and in doing so brings to an end the era of the Fairfax Hub, a centralised subbing depot here which did the page work for the chain’s papers in New Zealand and Australia.
Fairfax’s decision to fill the vacuum left by NZME was no surprise. In recent times veteran subs had suspected that in addition to their page layout software, that their bosses had fitted time and motion monitor apps on their terminals in order to assess the productivity of their often ageing staffers.
Fairfax was worried too about its eventual and accumulating retirement commitments to hub staff compared to its liabilities attendant upon its much younger general editorial staff.
Employment liabilities are an endless worry for all newspaper chains as they contemplate their digital first futures, as they describe the strategy.
Demonstrating this concern is the strong indication that Fairfax will pay Pagemasters on a piecework or productivity basis. This gives Fairfax accountants a much tighter grip on costs in relation to revenue. The outsourcing eliminates the unknowns attendant upon things such as sick leave, holiday pay, and service entitlements.
Empire Loyalist Winston Peters MP
is Echoed in Fleet Street
New Zealand First Leader Calls for
Resumption of London-Led Trading Bloc.
MSCNewsWire-EIN-National Press Club Service, NAPIER, 28 February 2016 - London’s Daily Express has given full coverage to the call by Winston Peters MP (pictured) to restore the once dominant Commonwealth trading bloc.
Reported the newspaper: “Winston Peters, who leads a group of MPs in the New Zealand parliament, has urged the UK to view the possibility of exiting the EU later this year as a chance to strengthen ties with those 53 countries that were previously part of the British Empire.”
The Daily Express along with the other middle class British mass-circulation newspaper the Daily Mail is implacably against Britain’s continuing membership of the EU. Both the newspapers have long campaigned for the British exit.
Under its signature proprietor Lord Beaverbrook, the Daily Express maintained a crusade against Britain abandoning the Empire in favour of a European trading bloc alliance.
Reported the Daily Express: “New Zealand’s ex-deputy prime minister told British politicians to use ‘Brexit’ as a way of making amends for ditching Commonwealth countries in favour of joining the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973.
The newspaper quoted Mr Peters as saying that Brexit " is an opportunity for not just New Zealand businesses, products and people.
“It is an excellent opportunity to heal a rift dating back to 1973."
Flawed and Cringing New Zealand Foreign Policy Closes World’s Biggest Nation Russia to Vital NZ Exports Claims Napier Engineering Chief
Craven fawning United States orientated policy conflicts with frivolous and irresponsible populist stance to wreck trade
MSCNewsWire-EIN-National Press Club Service: New Zealand manufacturers in the food and food processing equipment sector in shutting the door on exports to Russia will find themselves also shutting themselves out of an immense and reliable growth market counsels the managing director of Napier Engineering & Contracting.
The company turnkey constructed a string of freezing works in Russia with all the expertise and processing equipment hardware shipped out of the Port of Napier.
The experience was both profitable for Napier Engineering and salutary. “Our staff who lived in Russia for months a time were superbly treated. In most contracts of the scope and size of this one there are major problems. But in the Russian project no problem arose that could not be solved on the spot,” recalled Ken Evans (pictured).
Mr Evans warned exporters that the US – invoked embargo that prevented EU members from selling to the Russians meant in practice that the Russians were jump-starting their own food and food processing machinery resources.
Mr Evans said that the Russians were not unaware of the inconsistency inherent in New Zealand banning US Navy vessels warships on the one hand.
Then “grovelling in meek obeisance” on the other in falling into line with a US embargo on Russia to which it was not even party to.
An export economy such as New Zealand’s simply could not eliminate the world’s biggest country, which also happened to be a growth one and an emerging one, insisted Mr Evans.
The falling into line of the EU with the United States embargo on Russia was substantially responsible for the world milk surplus.
Milk and other agri products that would have been sent to Russia continue to back up into an unmanageable world surplus, noted Mr Evans.
The severity of the problem locally was being demonstrated by farmers in regions such as Taranaki being urged to “diversify,” he said, and do so regardless of their investment in processing and handling equipment.
Mr Evans urged the government to propound a sensible and statesmanlike trade policy with the United States “at least midway between the cringing and damaging humiliation of participating unofficially in their boycott of Russia and that of the equally silly and dangerous embargo on their warships here.”
According to Mr Evans the conflicting policies in regard to the United States , the “craven” one on the export ban to Russia, and the “frivolously damaging” one of the warships ban here had the effect of “putting New Zealand and its exporters into a dim light” around the world.
" The severity of the problem locally was being demonstrated by farmers in regions such as Taranaki being urged to “diversify,” he said, and do so regardless of their investment in processing and handling equipment.
Modern Marco Polo
MSC Newswire –Napier. International financier and two-time National Press Club guest speaker Marc Holtzman has become the Chairman of Bank of Kigali, the largest Bank in Rwanda.
Mr Holtzman (pictured) spoke to the National Press Club at two joint gatherings, both of them with the British New Zealand Trade Council,( now Business Association.) One in Christchurch and the other meeting held in Parliament.
At the time Mr. Holtzman was President of the University of Denver. Previously, Mr. Holtzman served in the Cabinet of Governor Bill Owens as Colorado’s first Secretary of Technology.
As technology tsar Mr. Holtzman helped guide Colorado’s economic transformation into a fully diversified technology hub. During his tenure, Colorado was consistently ranked first among the fifty states in having the highest percentage of technology workers per thousand in the nation.
In recent times, and seeking to further apply his experience in fostering hard-edge vocationally orientated education Mr Holtzman has put his shoulder to the wheel of the New Zealand charter school movement.
He has maintained for many years in New Zealand’s Gibbston Valley, near Arrowtown, a substantial home in the form of a retro French chateau amidst its own substantial vineyard.
It was here several years ago that Mr Holtzman celebrated his 50th birthday. Celebrants included a roll call of statesmen hailing from his preferred spheres of business notably from Eastern Europe and sub-Sahelian Africa. New Zealand minister of finance Bill English was also there.
From Kazakhstan to Kigali few over the past quarter century have trod the emergent-nation beat quite so assiduously as Marc Holtzman. Even fewer have had the same operational fiscal-to-factory floor level of economic participation.
A modern Marco Polo, nobody brings to contemporary education policy formulation and implementation quite the same applied knowledge of the connection between funding, schools, and jobs as Marc Holtzman.
Green Parrot Discovered
in Club Memorabilia
Now Linked to The
Green Parrot Restaurant
The Green Parrot founded 90 years ago is renowned as the most enduring and famous restaurant in the South Seas. In a bizarre twist of events the National Press Club appears to be holding the original green parrot jug from which the Wellington institution derived its name.
The jug (pictured) was given in the early 1970s to a group of journalists in order that it might adorn the premises of a press club that was then under consideration. In the event the jug disappeared from sight. It has only just recently re-surfaced during the cataloguing of National Press Club memorabilia.
The circumstances of how the jug came into the possession of the club are noteworthy.
It was donated by Tony Poynton. He was a prominent commodities trader during the 1950s. This was sometime before the Green Parrot restaurant was taken up by society patrons such as those nowadays in the sphere of arts, entertainment and politics. In this 1950s era it was the eating place for those in hard edge sectors especially those in metals and vehicle trading. Mr Poynton was involved in both.
A commanding presence, Mr Poynton had seemingly intervened to calm down a threatened disturbance involving diners from two rival and competing camps of scrap metal exporters.
Grateful for such timely and effective intervention the proprietor of that era spontaneously swept the green parrot jug off its shelf and presented it to Mr Poynton (pictured below.)
Of a restless and inquiring nature Mr Poynton with the advent of the 1970s took up a new profession. It was that of newspaperman. First in the advertising department of Truth and then he went on to pioneer Contact, the Wellington region mass-distribution weekly.
Rubbing shoulders now with journalists, Mr Poynton with his managerial experience and skills saw the need for a unifying organisation with its own premises. Here, he reasoned, the considerable expenditure on conviviality in those more gregarious days could be re-invested back into the vocation instead of into the brewery balance sheets.
Mr Poynton’s death was to coincide with the founding of the National Press Club and thus he was never able to follow through on this objective. At the same time, and also from cancer, there occurred the death of his close friend the broadcasting journalist David Inglis which further diminished recollections from this time.
The jug though remained. It is stamped on its base as Made in Japan. Green parrot pitchers, as they were known, were a staple of the Japanese ceramics industry during the 1920s.
The Green Parrot restaurant was begun and named by an America sailor paid off in Wellington and who went on in 1926 to found the restaurant. The conjecture is that the pitcher was acquired by the seafaring founder in Japan and went on to have pride of place in the eponymous restaurant.
Announced Start of World War 2
Clare Hollingworth the reporter who announced the start of World War 2 has celebrated her 104th birthday. The war correspondent was brought to New Zealand in 1993 by the National Press Club to speak on the topic of continuing global conflicts.
She discovered in 1939 on the border of Germany and Poland on the German side an immense and camouflaged build up of armour being readied for the subsequent invasion that detonated World War 2. Her telephoned report of this observation to Fleet Street is considered the greatest scoop of the last century.
Her book on her reporting during World War 2 is entitled “There’s A German Right Behind Me.”
She went on to report every war up to and including the Vietnam War. A resident in her later years of Hong Kong, the Foreign Correspondents Club, of which she has long been a stalwart, convened a special commemoration to mark the birthday of its most famous member.
Pictured is Clare Hollingworth in London prior to World War 2, and in Wellington with National Press Club president Peter Isaac. Her appearance in Wellington was the National Press Club’s contribution to the International Year of Women’s Suffrage in 1993.
Vocation Plunges into
Low Paid Avocation
Warns White House
Press Corps Dean
White House Press Corps dean and National Press Club of New Zealand Lifetime Achievement laureate radio reporter Connie Lawn cautioned would-be journalistic practitioners about the accelerating free model in an interview with Irv Chapman (pictured below), late of ABC, CNN, and Bloomberg.
Her lawyer father, recalled Miss Lawn, at the outset of her career a half century ago, had advised her that journalism was more of an “avocation” than a “vocation.” Even then, she noted, the portents were there about the now so-evident hobby nature and impermanence of the calling.
The free model increasingly involving unpaid chores such as blogs and other such commentaries combined with falling remuneration for practitioners served to emphasise the increasing reality of the paternal prediction.
Bloggers and others in comment and opinion if they were required to making a living out of it had to find their own advertiser-sponsors, thus restricting what they could in fact say.
An Honorary Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her work in assisting the New Zealand cause in the United States Miss Lawn is exclusively pictured above with the man who presented it to her, the New Zealand Ambassador to the United States Mike Moore. He is pictured with Miss Lawn and Mrs Yvonne Moore (at right.) Mr Moore like Miss Lawn has addressed the National Press a number of times.
On one occasion the former parliamentarian and head of the World Trade Organisation used the club as a forum to conduct soundings on constitutional issues.
Meanwhile, Miss Lawn recalled to interviewer Irv Chapman that the most press-friendly White House incumbents in her experience had been Jerry Ford, Ronald Regan, and Bill Clinton. In spite of the rough time he had received at the hands of the press corps, President Clinton never lost his amiability around them.
Miss Lawn was speaking to Irv Chapman in a narrow cast arranged by the National Press Club of Washington in order to commemorate the final iteration of her autobiography which in part chronicles her many years as correspondent for Radio New Zealand.
The final chapter
The new edition is entitled I Wake You Each Morning: The Final Chapter. In it she talks about the time she met Nelson Mandela and he told her he listened to her radio reports while in prison.
Returning to contemporary times Miss Lawn noted that since the presidency of the “second George Bush,” the White House had become a “passive beat” with its press conferences becoming stage managed.
The National Press Club of Washington of which Miss Lawn and Irv Chapman are stalwarts is affiliated to the Wellington club.
Making his mark: Author Haas with former Wairarapa district mayor and now Member of Parliament Ron Mark and National Press Club member Denis Foot.
South Seas Public Intellectual
Tony Haas Returns to Roots
to Launch Autobiography
National Press Club member Tony Haas’ 50 year career as a South Seas public intellectual was capped in the remote New Zealand valley of his childhood with the publication of his book Being Palangi-My Pacific Journey.
The autobiography begins with Haas’ paternal grandfather, a prominent Bundestag figure of the inter war era telling his son, Haas’ father, to put as much distance as possible between he and Germany.
Which is what happened with Haas Snr settling in New Zealand and then taking up a farm near Pahiatua in a region itself geographically distant, the Wairarapa Valley.
Haas charts his own Jewish raising in the secular New Zealand, and how as a student at Victoria University, Wellington, he was to identify his trademark cause of Pacific multi culturalism which he was to pursue as researcher, publisher, broadcaster, writer, traveller, family man, and all-purpose advocate.
Also chronicled is how Haas fell under the spell of fellow journalist Michael King the pre-eminent chronicler of his era of the Maori experience. He recounts how he vowed then, with King’s encouragement, to do for Oceania what King had done for New Zealand.
Pacific stars: Long time Wairarapa local politician Bob Francis attentive while launcher-in-chief broadcaster Ian Johnstone outlines Haas’ life and times, and Mandarin Rob Laking listens,
as does Haas, and United Nations Lebanon-based refugee topsider Ross Mountain.
Generating: Dynastic Wairarapa book retailer and publisher David Hedley (centre)with (left) assistant manager Steve Trotman and Bob Francis.
Safety & Security
in Contrived News*
How serious are no-go areas in relation to their coverage by mainstream media?
They are all the more pervasive just because they have become an accepted as part of the scene. Therefore they do not stand out. They are not viewed as being unusual, or out of place.
The most worrying aspect of these no-go areas is that there are so many of them. Here’s one to start with. When it was officially disclosed that in New Zealand there were 40 people under surveillance by the security services, there should have been instigated by the media at the very least a debate on the nature and provenance of the individuals being watched.
You could say that the admission that in a sparsely populated nation that there were 40 people under surveillance was disturbing in itself?
It was a very candid admission and pretty much corresponds to a non-disclosed number of quite a few more. We have to assume these fall into the lesser security category of persons of interest.
This hardly constitutes a pattern of no-go areas?
If you want a very large-scale and set-piece no go area then you have to consider the Paris climate conference. It was treated with the type of hushed reverence that was once accorded royal events such as coronations. There was no disclosure of the immense and embarrassing tensions at the conference. Instead there was the old rote style of reporting in which the word “historic” was such a recurring feature. I would have liked to have known details, for example, of who was there from this country, and who was paying for them to be there?
Let’s have more examples to make still more visible this pattern?
This no-go syndrome is far too easily ascribed to the delicacies of political correctness and this is certainly an element in the toadying, conformist, correct and polite coverage of something like the Paris event. Timing is also a big part of this. For example earlier in 2015 the round of pay increases to politicians triggered immense and justified media ire. At the end of the year, when the mainstreamers were not watching, were distracted, the pay boosts went through and without a murmur.
What are these distractions?
The distractions are made up of pre-programmed and large scale events. Sport hardly surprisingly is the central one here. It is so much part of the mainstream wallpaper that news practitioners fail to notice it. For example you are watching the news on television which is mainly about sport. At the conclusion, the newsreader says “and now we have the sport” when all you have been watching has been about sport.
This is hardly something new in the news?
It has become intensified because of the mainstreamers turning themselves inside out as they seek to hug popular culture in all its manifestations and this really is the heart of the matter. Its most obvious manifestation is the embracing of entertainment and sport.
You are always going on about market-forces and such like and isn’t this what we are talking about here?
Let me narrow this down. We are talking about news which is in fact contrived in that it is a pre-programmed event such as a ball game. One side must win. The other must lose. So the outcome also is 50 percent pre- programmed. It is very much pre-packaged and it is the news equivalent of bubble-wrapped pour-on instant convenience foods.
Some might say that you will soon recommend the return of classified advertising on the front page?
In this fingering of the dominance of pre-packaged and pre-programmed news I am in good company. Paul Henry for one (pictured speaking to the National Press Club in 2011). In his autobiography he relates how when he was working for the government television news, there was this intense focus on having the news crystallised as long as possible before it was presented.. When there was spontaneous news, actual news, it threw this pre-programmed contrived format into inconvenient disarray.
*Interview with National Press Club president Peter Isaac