Monday, 20 August 2018 09:27

 Channel Nine-Fairfax Needs Technology Led Visual Revamp of Newspaper Titles To Preserve Them







Easily absorbed, factual, and digested information imperative claims in this conversation with MSC Newswire National Press Club NZ president Peter Isaac

With the Channel Nine takeover of Fairfax you must have some recommendations on how the new organisation can preserve its newspaper titles. Should they re-jig their editorial strategy?
If they want the titles as standalone profit centres they will have to start at the technical end. The new proprietors will have to start squeezing the performance out of the existing investment in printing resources that should have been delivered long ago.

In what way?
Curiously, it is much easier to impose the design you want on a printing press than on an internet frame in which you are forced to follow a matrix, a grid. The use of print colour should be greatly extended. Above all the print titles should start using infographics instead of just text to explain what is going on.

So you advocate this emphasis on the pictorial…….
Whenever a municipal councillor is mentioned, use their photograph. The same with the majority of Members of Parliament. Most of their electors do not know who most of these people are, what they look like….

Where do you slot management into this visual enhancement strategy?
Foolishly, Fairfax management ceded authority to journalists. However fashionable this may be in theory, it does not work if you are in the business of preserving daily print titles. Journalists are not marketeers which is why they have self-selected themselves to become journalists.

So assuming that management is back managing……..
They start issuing instructions that their internet sites must now reinforce their print titles, and ideally, specify tactics to this effect.

Sounds more easily said than done…….
A piece of recent history will reinforce this point. The late Frank Haden wrote in a Fairfax Sunday a feature in which he articulated what people who actually buy newspapers are thinking. This as opposed to what the bien pensants describe what such people are thinking.

The Haden feature was carried in full on the internet site.

On one particular Sunday it was observed that the retail copies of the Sunday paper, the ones sold at corner grocery shops and the like, had completely sold out. A mystery. But one solved only when it was realised that someone had forgotten to run the Haden feature on the internet site. So people had gone out and bought the newspaper.

In other words Frank Haden was a must-read.

Why is it then that the dailies do not include these must-read features, always assuming that they have access to them in the first place?
The reason is not understood because it so unbelievable. The dailies are targeted on people who do not buy newspapers. The newspaper-buying public is utterly definable . It is composed of baby-boomers and their seniors. This sector is pointedly ignored. There is instead this blind determination to discover the Shangri-La of the young newspaper buyer.

Even so, you might concede that this youth market existed prior to the internet….
It never existed. How do I know? Because I was once involved in trying to build subscriptions in universities. You would have one copy per common room, and one or two floating around the canteens where the students could look at classified ads for flats and jobs….

You are going to say that these classifieds are now carried on the internet anyway…
Before doing what I routinely accuse the dailies of doing which is presenting readers with shattering insights into the blindingly obvious, there is one factor in this whole context that is never mentioned. It is that the dailies coped with the arrival of television. But were blindsided by the internet although they had much more time to adjust to it simply because the build-up to the internet was over at least 10 years while the advent of television was virtually overnight…

Let’s try to be specific….
Newspapers adjusted to television by personalising their contents. They started using by-lines and with first and last names. Most of all they covered the television people themselves in personality terms and for a while their circulations even increased as readers craved information about celebrities which at the time were in short rather than in the over-supply of today. Then soon after the arrival of television there was a huge breakthrough in print technology known as web-offset. This allowed and at no extra cost the unlimited use of illustrations and colour in general. This was widely applied at the time. So the baby-boomers, todays newspaper-buying bubble, grew up with this.

Your point being…..
If the new Fairfax proprietors intend to keep the newspaper titles afloat they must go in at the technical entrance, the one that will lead to the concise and must-read presentation that will align the dailies to the internet. After all, people did not stop buying newspapers when television arrived.
It is just possible that the new proprietors have access to some trust fund, legacy, or other such endowment that we have not heard of. In the absence of such an advantage, they must implement this technology-led clarity of easily absorbed, factual, and digested information about what is going on and who or what is causing it to happen……



Sunday, 04 March 2018 15:56

Philippines is Multi Cultural, Diverse, Polynesian, Points Out Ambassador Gary Domingo

 An intense and often exclusive focus on the economies of north Asia dazzled and often blinded New Zealand to a clear view of the rather more accessible value of the Philippines, the country’s ambassador Jesus Domingo told the National Press Club in Wellington.

He observed a similarity between New Zealand and the Philippines in that both nations were obscured by more powerful neighbours.

Australia in New Zealand’s case and China for the Philippines

In New Zealand’s case this was Australia. In the Philippines instance it was the industrial powerhouses of north Asia, notably China.

Mr Domingo was speaking on the topic of “New Zealand’s Asia Opportunity Hiding in Full Sight---The Philippines.”

Mr Domingo, who also represents his country in Oceania, noted the Philippines transition in historical terms in relatively recent times from a Spanish colony to moving under the United States aegis, and then more recently still to independence under the Washington governmental system.

This had made the Philippines far more multicultural, and diverse than was widely perceived, he said.

For example it was not generally understood that the Philippines lay on the northern fringe of the Polynesian migration and settlement.

“We even look like you!” He ventured, reinforcing his people-like-us theme.

The sharing of a number of Polynesian-Maori words was testament to all this he noted.

Mr Domingo touched upon but did not specify the trade and investment links which include for example Philippine ownership of New Zealand food processors Griffins, and also Goodman Fielder.

Neither did he dwell on the New Zealand trade balance with the Philippines which runs at five times in New Zealand’s favour.

Mr Domingo veered diplomatically away from the submerged issue of why in the current free trade frenzy the Philippines featured so rarely, if at all.

He did stress though the Philippines pre-eminence in the export of its people reprising the concept of an empire on which the “sun never set” because Philippine nationals were everywhere; 50,000 in New Zealand.

Noting that a common language, English, and a common religion, Christianity, were powerful elements in enabling Philippine nationals to become productive members of Commonwealth economies, he also stressed his peoples' pre-eminence in caring in roles such as “nannies, and nurses,” as he described them.

Mr Domingo, noting the presence at this same National Press Club event of Singapore High Commissioner Bernard Baker, singled out the island state as a particularly outstanding example of a Commonwealth member in which flourished Philippine nationals in this caring, nurturing sector,

Mr Domingo defined also a willing quality in the Philippine workforce which he described as being one of “meekness” which enabled nationals to take up such a large part of the arduous New Zealand milking shed capability.

Mr Domingo, who prefers to be known as Gary, served as Philippine Consul in Saudi Arabia, and was a member of the Philippine delegations to the United Nations in Geneva and also New York.


Greg Besa JP Philippine community leader, H.E Jesus Domingo, National Press Club treasurer Bryan Weyburne, National Press Club president Peter Isaac, High Commissioner for Singapore H.E Bernard Baker.

Stalwarts -National Press Club’s Richard Long and Joyce Gibson

Puzzlement -National Press Club event director Rex Kropotkin Benson

Asia traders- Andrew and Melody Criglington

Clubbers- Adrienne and Ian Stewart




Aratoi Municipal Art Gallery Commemorates Work of

National Press Club Vice President Peter Bush in

Photo Exhibition that Spills Out into Town StreetsAratoi Municipal Art Gallery Commemorates Work of National Press Club Vice President Peter Bush in Photo Exhibition that Spills Out into Town Streets

A municipal art gallery has hung around the life and times of National Press Club vice president Peter Bush an exhibition encompassing the photo journalist’s work in covering international rugby test matches over almost 70 years.

The photographs of the various All Black matches also literally spill out into the streets of Masterton from the exhibition at the town’s Aratoi Art Gallery..

The son-et-lumiere exhibition is thought to be the first instance at any such municipal gallery in which is commemorated the themes in the same display of sport, photography, and applied journalism, and which then overflows and become amplified in the display shop windows of the township at large.

Masterton is the regional hub of New Zealand’s Wairarapa Valley, an extensive mountain-girt farming region north of the capital, Wellington.

The exhibition is entitled Hard on the Heels and in it Bush runs refrain on his life’s work which is that rugby is a “hard game for hard men.”

In it Bush also demonstrates by inference the order and method inherent in his long career in the preservation and meticulous cataloguing of his negatives.

The exhibition starts at Aratoi with a wall montage of the Hard on the Heels exhibition (pictured) with a voice-over by Bush himself on some of the highlights.

Visitors are then presented with a street map of Masterton with the score or so of retail establishments and cultural institutions at which bunches of the same photographs, but much larger, are on display.

These include for example the famed Masterton Art Club (pictured), not usually a repository of the output of working journalists, as well as the valley’s centre of haute coiffure, Maggie B’s, where stylist Courtney Blake (pictured) sets the scene.

The Wairarapa Valley is one of New Zealand’s most storied regions being still populated by the descendants of many of its pioneering families and because of its spectacular north and south access routes, the Rimutaka Pass and the Manawatu Gorge.

Another thread between art and the press. Masterton’s Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art & History was the recipient of endowments from National Press Club stalwart the philanthropist and physician the late Dr Ian Prior and his family.

Monday, 08 January 2018 12:16

Media No-Go Zones---Where Angels Fear to Tread

Excerpts from President’s interview with National Press Club associate service MSC Newswire

Where do you see the mainstream media now?
In a rather stronger position than it appears to see itself. There are the revenue shifts in which their giveaway versions are flourishing especially in property advertising. Similarly the broadcasters have a solid localised radio backbone via carrying advertising for patent medicines, directed at those of mature years, their audience base. The radio and giveaway grip on district advertising is notable in rural areas where people are not as internet friendly as those who live in the cities. The mainstream is now reaping the benefit of its own investment in technology and so production costs are falling. Paper and plant is an example in print. Electronics overheads in broadcasting. Both print and broadcasting are at last eliminating news double handling and instead are now belatedly sharing divisional content. This applies to the dailies and their stablemate giveaways exchanging news and also we have now the shared corporate umbrella radio-tv broadcasting simulcasts.

Contrary to the accepted version, few of us in the event learn from experience and the newspaper chains were no exception. The one place newspaper people should not be in advancing their cause is in front of constituted authority, especially in something such as combining forces. They pleaded with commissions and courts to no avail. You will now find them more sensibly encouraging management buy-outs, and they have already had at least one success here. Under this operational, rather than judicial, approach they control central shared services in terms of production, procurement, and sales, and also distribution.

More significantly, and this is the important element in all this, I keep getting this strong impression that still nothing actually happens until it is picked up by the mainstream media. Here now is an example.

The major non mainstream news pipeline here now is not as many people believed the bloggers and web site operators. In the event it is the Taxpayers Union watchdog lobby which sends its disclosures out by email, a modern metaphor for a newspaper arriving on your doorstep. It was the Taxpayers that revealed how the government had donated to Saudi Arabia an entire agri stock handling depot.

My interest was pricked because one of our speakers, the Reagan era National Security Adviser Richard Allen, had declared that Saudi Arabia was “totally corrupt” and should be “invaded.” I had observed also that the journalists present ignored these comments, even though they had the speaker’s speech notes.

A similar silence followed the stock handling depot donation revelation.

The Taxpayers though hammered away with stories sprouting from their original break. Eventually the mainstream had to take it up. The point being that only then did the story take legs. They were, and still are, wobbly ones. But only through the mainstream could the episode, Byzantine as it is, enter the wider shared public consciousness and thus generate the imperative for those responsible to try to explain how the New Zealand funded process works had materialised in the desert.

There are a number of curious media no-go zones. These should now be filled, if only to focus community cohesion on the local dailies as problem solvers.

For some reason the dog problem is one such zone. The noisy motorbike problem, another standover matter, and in clear defiance of the law, is another.

Is the mainstream media collectively liberal-left in its attitude?
. The liberal-left leaning of the working journalists was once counterbalanced by the equally strong conservatism of the management-proprietor class. So you had a balance. Today the mainstream is neither right nor left. It is neither liberal nor conservative. The dominant ideology today is political correctness. This is co-equally held by the operations people and the management people. This last do so out of fear of being seen not to embrace it.

How would you say that this ideology manifests itself?
It rests on displaying an exaggerated ultra politeness by bestowing it upon any category that at any time might have been considered to have been officially discriminated against, anywhere, and not just a minority, and not just the materially-deprived. It is transmitted via constant lightly coded call signs signalling that the media person is on the side of the angels. A broadcasting example is in Kauri trees pronounced as “Cody” trees and the place name Keri Keri delivered as “Kiddy Kiddy.”

I knew the broadcaster Bill Keri Keri, the leading Maori language exponent of his day. An exceptionally courteous person he never assumed that anyone knew who he was. So he always re-introduced himself. I can never recall him describing himself as Bill Kiddy Kiddy.

I should attribute the extreme politeness definition, the bit which requires this tip-toeing around growing chunks of human activity, to Paul Johnson who delivered it to us presciently at the outset of the syndrome.

The point being made here is that such a strong and tendentious filter is being brandished by practitioners who describe themselves as belonging to what they rate as profession.

One which is obliged to cover people and events without fear or favour.

Talking of angels, the National Press Club has involved itself too with some villains – Kurt Waldheim….David Irving?
Kurt Waldheim was platformed while he was secretary general of United Nations. It was not generally known at this time, certainly not here, that he had benefitted from a general post war whitewash, a still unacknowledged official cover up, of Austria’s whole involvement in the war and especially so in the matter of its war criminals. It was only Waldheim’s unstoppable seeking of high office that meant that his participation in atrocities eventually was revealed.

David Irving, who had visited New Zealand before, became an unavoidable international newsmaker after his failed libel case in London, now the subject of the wide-screen film Denial. In the event he was prevented from embarking to New Zealand so the issue became moot.

A National Press Club must confront controversy rather than sidestep it and do so in order to obtain ironically enough an unmediated, direct, account of why beliefs are held and actions taken. Ideally from those who have stood at the cross roads of history. In our case from Chaim Herzog, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Lee Kuan Yew, Oliver Tambo, the Dalai Lama among many others.


Friday, 03 March 2017 15:34

Don Brash to take Hobson's Pledge
into General Election---says
Ordinary People Fear Speaking  Out
on accelerating Separatism

MSC Newswire - National Press Club service - Napier, Friday 3 March 2017  |  Nobody today in so many different roles and for quite so long has stood at the centre of public life so enduringly as Don Brash. Economist, businessman, banker, politician, the former Governor of the Reserve Bank and leader of the National Party has defied typecasting. At one and the same time severe yet extravagant, austere yet colourful, scholarly yet populist, he has contrived always to reconfigure himself around the times. Now he has stridently intervened in institutionally-fuelled separatism. Shrouded in a protective veneer of high-minded fashionable purpose that makes ordinary people fearful to question it, Dr Brash vehemently, unequivocally declares the voguish syndrome as ultimately destined to tear the nation apart......

You are often considered to be at heart primarily concerned with matters economic and their corresponding data. Yet here you are now immersing yourself in what many might consider a socio-ethical issue?

Yes, most of my career has been about monetary policy, banking, and economic issues more generally. But my interest in economics has always been because of my interest in the well-being of society more generally. I have long felt, for example, that it will be difficult or impossible to maintain a broadly egalitarian society in New Zealand – the kind of society in which I was brought up – if average living standards fall too far below those in Australia because of the ease with which skilled New Zealanders can cross the Tasman for very much higher incomes in Sydney or Melbourne.

If we want the kind of healthcare which those in advanced developed countries take for granted, we have to have the living standards to support that healthcare. A few years ago, there was a big debate about whether Pharmac should subsidize the provision of Herceptin for the treatment of certain kinds of breast cancer, and it was noted that Australia did so. The fact of the matter was that at that time virtually all the countries which subsidized access to Herceptin had higher living standards than New Zealand did; those which did not provide a subsidy, had lower living standards – we were right on the cusp. For me, interest in economics has always been about the implications of economic policy for the well-being of society.

Hence, I was strongly opposed to inflation in part at least because of the totally capricious effects which inflation has on wealth distribution – those who save in fixed interest instruments being thoroughly gutted by inflation, while those who borrow heavily to invest in, say, property, make huge and totally untaxed gains with little or no effort. That has always seemed to me to be grossly unjust.

Will the Hobson’s Pledge Movement become a force in the pending general election?
I certainly hope so. I find it very depressing that the National Party has moved such a long way from its roots in this policy area. In 2002, Bill English gave a lengthy and very thoughtful speech, demonstrating clearly that Maori chiefs had ceded sovereignty in signing the Treaty and arguing that the only way for a peaceful future for New Zealand was a “single standard of citizenship for all”.

In May 2003, he pledged that a future National Government would scrap separate Maori electorates, as the Royal Commission on the Electoral System had recommended in the late eighties if MMP were adopted. I made similar commitments when I was Leader of the National Party, as did John Key in the election campaign of 2008. And yet we’ve seen the National-led Government retreat a very long way from that position.

I applaud the fact that the current Government has accelerated the resolution of historical grievances, but utterly deplore the fact that too often resolution has involved not just financial redress but also “co-governance”.

We see the proposed amendment to the RMA requiring all local councils to invite their local tribes into so-called “iwi participation agreements”, involving co-governance on a grand scale. We saw the legislation establishing the Auckland super-city requiring an Independent Maori Statutory Board, with the Auckland Council giving members of that unelected Board voting rights on most Auckland Council committees.

We see the Government negotiating behind closed doors with the so-called Iwi Leaders Group to give tribes some form of special influence over the allocation of water, despite pretending to believe that “nobody owns water”. We see a proposal to make half the members of the Hauraki Gulf Forum tribal appointees.

The myth that the Treaty of Waitangi created some kind of “partnership” between Maori on the one hand (or more accurately, those who can claim at least one Maori ancestor, always now along with ancestors of other ethnicities) and the rest of us on the other is increasingly accepted as Holy Writ, subscribing to which is becoming essential for many positions in the public sector.

So I’m very much hoping that Hobson’s Pledge can help to substantially reverse this highly undemocratic drift after the next election.

You say that the National government is “pandering” to “separatist demands.” Which of these demands do you consider the most dangerous?

Where do I start? I’ve just listed some of the specific policies which are totally inconsistent with any reasonable definition of democracy. Most of those specific policies stem from the underlying myth that the Treaty established some kind of “partnership” between those with a Maori ancestor and those of us without, as I’ve just mentioned. But as David Lange said in the Bruce Jesson Memorial Lecture in 2000, “the Court of Appeal once, absurdly, described [the Treaty] as a partnership between races, but it obviously is not. The Treaty itself contains no principles which can usefully guide government or courts.... To go further than that is to acknowledge the existence of undemocratic forms of rights, entitlements, or sovereignty.”

All the specific examples I gave in answer to the previous question stem from the underlying nonsense that there are two (and only two!) distinct groups of New Zealanders, those with preferential constitutional rights and those without them. This is leading New Zealand to disaster with a whole generation of part-Maori believing that they really do have superior constitutional rights to the rest of us.

To what degree would you ascribe this separatist development agitation as being primarily a project of the political class from whatever background?

Certainly, I think what you call the “political class” is the main driver of this separatist agitation, together with arguably most of the educational establishment, where adherence to so-called “Treaty principles” seems to be an absolute prerequisite for appointment to any teaching or leadership position.

The same is true in the public healthcare sector. But there is plenty of evidence that large numbers of the “general public” do not support the separatist agenda but are literally cowed into silence on the issue.

I regularly get people sidle up to me in the street and, after looking furtively up and down the street lest they are recognized by friends or acquaintances, tell me that they strongly agree with me. One university professor did this recently, but swore me not to mention his name or university department. And some of these people are Maori.

Of course, Hobson’s Pledge has two official spokespeople, one of whom is me and the other is Casey Costello, a woman of Ngapuhi and Anglo-Irish ancestry. But two of our very strongest supporters (though not members of our council) are Maori – one a prominent member of the Ngapuhi tribe and the other Ngati Porou.

The latter was a member of our council when we first established Hobson’s Pledge but, because he is closely associated with a political party, withdrew lest his membership of Hobson’s Pledge raise a question about whether we are a front for the political party he is closely associated with.

He resents the separatist agenda because he believes strongly that it is patronizing, implying that Maori aren’t quite good enough to make it successfully without these constitutional preferences.

Bearing in mind your underpinning career in banking, economics and looking now at the broader picture: where is the country now in your view in terms of nuts and bolts things such as balance of payments and foreign debt?

Compared with some other countries, we are in a good spot, with the economy growing, unemployment fairly low and government debt modest relative to GDP. Our banking sector is in reasonable shape. Even the extent of the country’s (public and private sector) total net external indebtedness is somewhat better than it was a decade ago, though still high by developed country standards.

But there are significant problems just below the surface of that apparently rosy picture. Yes, the economy is growing, but that is largely because the number of people in the workforce is growing strongly because of a high level of net immigration: productivity, and thus per capita income, is growing very slowly indeed, and the Government’s initial objective of closing the income gap with Australia by 2025 is not only not going to be achieved, the gap hasn’t reduced materially over the last eight years.

The ratio of government debt to GDP is modest by the standards of many other developed countries, but the Key Government did absolutely nothing to prepare the population for the need to adjust, for example, the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation if government debt is not to explode, relative to GDP, over the next few decades. (Mr English, to his credit, has refused to renew Mr Key’s pledge on this issue.)

And while the country’s net external indebtedness, relative to GDP, has improved somewhat in recent years, that external indebtedness remains at a high level, the consequence of New Zealand’s running a current account balance of payments deficit every year since 1974. Much of that deficit has been funded by banks borrowing on the international markets to fund the explosion of private sector housing debt, the result in turn of another serious policy failing, the failure to deal with the enormous increase in the price of housing (or more accurately, of residential land).


Page 1 of 4