Monday, 11 July 2016 09:23

Dr Liam Fox MP: Shire party members will decide next British Prime Minister


GP MP has had two runs at becoming leader of the Conservatives.

Napier, MSCNewsWire, Monday 11 July  2016 -  British Conservative Member of Parliament and Brexiteer Dr Liam Fox was matter of fact when several years ago he reminded a Wellington audience that leaders of the Conservative Party were chosen by “135,000 party members, most of them resident in the shires.”

Dr Fox (pictured) who put himself again this year in the running for Conservative Party leader, and thus this time also Prime Minister, has found himself dealt out of the pack prior to this decisive demonstration of grass roots party power.

The party members will now decide the result in the final run-off between contestants and joint finalists Theresa May MP and Andrea Leadsom MP.

Dr Fox, an engaging speaker responded in connection with party leadership contests in New Zealand involving National (caucus) and Labour (caucus and union). He was talking to a National Press Club meeting.

Dr Fox was then in New Zealand as shadow foreign secretary as well as Conservative Party chairman a post from which he sought initially and unsuccessfully in that era to launch himself into the full Tory leadership.

General practitioner Dr Fox has been dogged by British Parliamentary expenses revelations which were a factor in 2011 for his standing down as secretary of state for defence.

Meanwhile the party’s membership now said to be 150,000 can vote for Theresa May MP or Andrea Leadsom MP– with the result announced by 9 September. The result will be announced then in time for the Conservative party conference on 2 October, the date David Cameron gave for his successor to be in place when he resigned after the vote to leave the EU.





Monday, 15 August 2016 14:44

The Guardian
Letter Affair

In which the president of the National Press Club seeks to explain the mystery of why he was the recipient, among many others, of an email soliciting donations from the British publishing organisation which owns The Guardian and which has cash reserves of around $1 billion.  

At first glance you believed that the begging letter from The Guardian was counterfeit?

It seemed to be a too perfect pastiche of The Guardian style. Also it seemed improbable to imagine that a newspaper that called it so utterly wrong for Brexit would then brazenly send out a letter soliciting donations so soon after. So I hedged by reporting that it was probably phony.

You then realised that it was genuine.

In hindsight the donation solicitation would have been set up prior to the referendum. It was beyond The Guardian to have imagined that the vote would have gone against Europe.

Why was that?

They live in a bubble in which they only talk to each other or people with a similar outlook. In their mind the wish had become the fact. The pervasive nature of this was demonstrated when the staff of their sister paper The Observer in the immediate aftermath of Brexit still touted the Boris Johnson/ Michael Gove leadership axis.

So they sent it out anyway?

You have to credit them for such semi divine self-belief. They are a secular priesthood. A democracy of the select.

A few hours after the referendum vote you came out on the MSC Newswire- National Press Club-EIN Presswire proclaiming that the Brexit result also very much represented a protest vote against what you described as The Guardian-BBC “syndrome?”

I should have added University to this. These are the three pillars that sustained the old pre-Brexit Britain. The BBC chieftains managed to keep a lid on their internal pro Europe sentiment until the actual vote. But then the lid blew off and became Project Fear.

Why are they all so excited by Europe?

When you use the term “Europe” here think France. Think just Paris. From their point of view it is so much more exciting politically than anything we have in the Westminster sphere. You have running around still between government and academia such characters as Che Guevara’s sidekick Regis Debray. You have the lightning rod of the Paris 1968 Maoist riots Daniel Cohn Bendit firmly installed as a Member of the European Parliament. And so on.

In regard to the soliciting letter from The Guardian and your original scepticism what was the element that made you particularly so wary?

The use of the word “interrogating” as a substitute for reporting, covering, or just writing about events. It was so deliciously strangulated in The Guardian manner in order to convey the impression of a higher calling. Of their dwelling on a superior plane to that of ordinary mortals, certainly mere reporters. I also thought it was odd that the imploring email came so temptingly my own way. I flattered myself that I was being fitted.

You subsequently discussed the curious situation in which an organisation with one billion NZD equivalent in reserves could send out a donation canvassing letter. Then do so over the name of a person with an annual income approaching one million NZD. Then send it out to people with a tiny fraction of these savings and this income.

The readership of their weekly edition in New Zealand has a strong public sector following notably among teachers of all varieties and those in the social sphere. In other words public servants. Some public servants in New Zealand do have an annual remuneration approaching the one million NZD mark, and I should have mentioned this.

Still, this is by New Zealand standards a favoured income group. Are there any lessons here for the two merging local newspaper chains?

The Guardian weekly edition has taken over from what remains of Time magazine and the vacuum of the defunct Newsweek. It has become New Zealand’s news magazine of reference. Until some 30 years ago these same chains used the Guardian re-print/ agency service. In recent years the local chains have swerved away from this serious feature approach toward the current celebrity contemporary culture version.

Have you had any personal encounters with The Guardian?

One recalls Patrick Ensor toiling away at the centre of the Wellington-based chain. I have to say that I wondered what he was doing here. Then he reappeared back at The Guardian as editor of the weekly international edition. It occurred to me then that he was in New Zealand to experience a reality check. I have a notion also that but for his untimely death The Guardian might have sidestepped its foppish eternal protestor aura characterised so vividly and so recently by its bizarre post Brexit appeal for funds.

Is there any particular observation of Ensor at work in Wellington that leads you to this conclusion?

He would use a term to describe this or that person or collective of them. It was that they were “self-regarding.” If you look at the begging letter wheeze you would have to describe it as such. One can be assured that all who had anything to do with its authorship and distribution remain quite in the dark of all its irony and unintentional humour

Anyone else?

Going back a bit I spent time with Malcolm and Kitty Muggeridge at Robertsbridge. It was the first time I ever encountered yoghurt, I recall. Malcolm, and I use his own words, described The Guardian for which he had worked pre-war as being “essentially fraudulent.” The Guardian had successfully blocked a book that Muggeridge (pictured) wrote about his experiences while working there, and continued to do so even after Muggeridge turned it onto a novel. So his view was necessarily jaundiced. Curiously, both Muggeridge and Ensor were National Press Club speakers. Muggeridge a foundation one.









Wednesday, 18 May 2016 14:52

Yes, New Zealand Judges are Above Criticism

But their Judgments are Not

Napier, MSCNewsWire, Wednesday 18 May 2016 - In the entire sphere of jurisprudence in New Zealand nothing is quite so obscured or subject to so much ambivalence, tautology or sheer confusion as the matter of the right of citizens to censure members of the judiciary who in this matter give the impression of being as bemused on the topic as the public at large.

In the English speaking world the problem appears peculiar to New Zealand in the same way that otherwise learned and cultivated people describe here a collective of females as a group of “woman.”

The very simplicity seems to render it beyond any comprehensible analysis and thus definition.

This confusion visibly vexed Law Lord Leslie Scarman who, at a conference here, said, and we quote....

“I am going to speak to this only one more time.....It is this........You may criticise the judgment. But you many not criticise the judge.”

This succinct appraisal by Lord Scarman (pictured at the time of his visit to New Zealand) evidently fell on deaf years. So we will now paraphrase the rest of Lord Scarman’s discourse as his audience insisted on further clarification on this issue which has now entered such a fevered phase.....................

Judge John Doe, as we will call him, delivered a mild custodial sentence to an individual who painstakingly plotted the death of an innocent person going about their daily business. The individual thus sentenced, it transpired, had a criminal past and in the eyes of reasonable persons might sensibly be regarded as presenting an enduring menace to society.

Following their release after their relatively brief time in prison the individual in fact became a lethal menace to society.

A reasonable person might now reasonably cause to say or to be published words to the effect that the judgment was wrong , and misguided, and might be deemed to have even caused the death of an innocent person.

So far so good. The judgment is being criticised. Not the judge.

What cannot be said or caused to be published is that Judge John Doe came to the judgment because he, Judge John Doe, was:-
    * A drunkard
    * Of impaired mental powers
    * Knew or was otherwise acquainted with the accused

This type of criticism of a trial judge technically triggers extremely severe repercussions on those who utter them or cause them to be otherwise broadcast or published.

In New Zealand though such commentaries have been allowed to pass by, especially the one centred on the trial judge having some sympathy with the accused through acquaintance or some other common interest.

The current and demonstrable confusion on this matter and exhibited all levels of society including the judiciary itself must now be clarified and done so using the concise definition provided by Lord Scarman.

Wednesday, 08 June 2016 14:45

Encounter with  Muhammad Ali in  New Zealand’s  Hutt Valley

The night I nearly dropped into Ali’s lap.

Napier, MSCNewsWire, Wednesday 8 June 2016 - The death of Muhammad Ali brings back the time in 1979 when Hutt Valley boxing enthusiasts brought to New Zealand the most recognisable persona on the planet –Ali. The centrepiece of the club fund-raising scheme was a dinner at the Trentham Race Course.

Tickets were $100 each. There were no free ones. I duly stumped up, anticipating that I would not be disappointed. And, I wasn’t. Though not in quite the way I had expected, writes National Press Club president Peter Isaac.

Curiously, the price of the tickets, rather than the opportunity to rub shoulders with the pre-eminent global celebrity of the era who as world heavyweight champion was also the pre-eminent athlete, determined the theme of the evening.

The throng was now in the upstairs bar of the race course members stand and everyone was obviously determined to redeem their investment in their ticket. The focus was on the bar tenders. It was now that Ali demonstrated his first trick. There was no fanfare. Suddenly he was among us. Though not of course drinking.

Nobody seemed particularly surprised. The business at the bar accelerated. Ali seemed happy enough chatting with the Hutt Valley boxing officials who had arranged his visit. The hubbub increased in volume.

Presently, the compere of the evening Bill McCarthy called the meeting to order. Or tried to. Ali chimed in now announcing that this was the moment we were to see his biographical film The Greatest, the one with the enchanting score.

Nobody wanted to put too much distance between they and the bars. Ali and his wife of that era Veronica Porsche now sat down on the front row of the seats laid out before the screen. Helpfully, as I imagined it, I thought I would lead the way, and plopped myself down beside Veronica.

Eventually the film began. A problem now was that a particularly resolute imbiber kept insisting on silhouetting himself on the screen, several jugs in each hand, and walking front of Ali, his wife, and of course, me.

On the third iteration, I thought I had better do something about this intrusion as the man took the same route in search of re-fills.

My course of action took the form of my standing up and seeking to stall the man’s progress, and directing him to a less-intrusive path.

His course of action was to shove me aside with his fistful of empty jugs.

Off-balance, I gyrated over Ali’s lap. There was just enough time to conjure up the form that his instinctive reflexes might take, before recovering my balance while bestowing a sheepish smile on Veronica, as equally impassive as her husband.

Later we went down to the dinner itself. Ali amiably delivered some old jokes, notably the one to the effect that Larry Holmes was so ugly that when he cried his tears ran upward to avoid coursing down his face.

There were some catcalls, notably from someone who was quite an important businessman in Wellington at that time.

“I know you,” said Ali pointing to the man. “You follow me from place to place. Same person. Different form.”

Later we adjourned upstairs. The busy bar trade resumed. Ali looked at his watch. Grasped Veronica by the hand – and melted out into the night. He had done what he said he would do and in the time he had allocated to do it.


Wednesday, 18 May 2016 14:24

Seriousness of Purpose is Club's Priority - President

This past year again saw the National Press Club adhering to the times and more specifically to an era in which the mainstream media pre-occupation adheres to contemporary culture rather than with the club’s mainstay of politics and hard news.

Even so our event earlier this year in handing back the green parrot artefact to the Green Parrot restaurant displayed a certain whimsicality on our behalf, admitted National Press Club president Peter Isaac in his annual report tabled at the annual general meeting in May.

The restoration event commemorated the era in which people from diverse occupations and callings were able to take up the role of newspapermen.

"Thanks to the wisdom of successive committees the club has refused to be panicked by the blend so evident today of the accelerating confluence of technical and sociological currents."

Instead the policy had been to conserve the club’s resources in order that they be deployed with an underpinning seriousness of purpose, he emphasised.

The club retains and develops numerous affiliations with other national press clubs and these "permit us to be engaged in the major ethical events of the era with routinely remaining at the very top ranking of these national sites."

One of the reasons for this was the club's new operational affiliations with the Napier-based news service MSCNewswire and the Washington-based EINPresswire service.

MSCNewswire he noted now has claims to being the pre-eminent dedicated internet news service in New Zealand and with its emphasis on commercial news is the one with the major international pick-up.

Touching upon membership issues Isaac noted that it was with deep regret that he had to report that Lifetime Achievement Award holder Connie Lawn remains severely stricken with Parkinson’s Disease. Two veterans of World War 2 also battled the effects of the passing years - Life Member Denis Adam and long time stalwart Mick Bienowski.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016 14:44

Fairfax –APN New Zealand Merger Must Focus on Unified Christchurch Print Hub

Up up and away from Auckland (and Wellington)

Napier, MSCNewsWire, 17 May 2016 - Airfreight will determine the cost-efficiency and thus the success of the pending merger of the New Zealand subsidiaries of the Australian Fairfax and APN media chains which must now look to the skies for the mechanical economies of scale they know they must now find.

As it is the sparsely populated New Zealand is host to the two chains’ scattered printing plants strung out in a line between Auckland and Dunedin.

The opportunity exists for a forwarder to present the merging group with a scheme that would allow it to consolidate all its mechanical activities into one site.

A case for Christchurch would be the forwarder’s master stroke.

A problem for the two chains is the constant pre-occupation with three dimensional mechanical production issues at the expense of the idea ones, the ones that do not require capital investment, and which are central to success in the internet age.

In the event much of the Auckland and Wellington dailies are early material anyway with their sports updates, soft-peddle business re-hashes, generic environmental stories, and columns by local celebrities usually talk-back types presenting their glimpses of the blindingly obvious, along with political activists. Their vehicle, travel and property supplements meanwhile are hardly of hold the front page grade urgency.

A problem for the two subsidiaries is that in the past they have found it hard to cooperate and this curiously has become more evident in a shrinking market.

There was their failure to cooperate in the matter of the TradeMe acquisition. Indeed a suitable study for one of their question-marked “investigative” pieces might be entitled – What has the Newspaper Proprietors Association Been Doing?

In fact the NPA, as it is known, was the victim of its own success in the matter of cashing in at the height of the market on its collective shareholding in Reuters.

The old family proprietors trousered their winnings and sensibly left the field to the two Australian chains.

Enter now the problem of representatives around the NPA table who were several steps removed from the real decision-making which of course now took place in Australia. They were in the position of being policy implementers rather than policy makers.

There began to emerge a distracting preoccupation with things such as scholarships and also with an increasingly proliferating and bizarre swathe of awards.

Curiously, too, the emphasis went on makeup hubs at a time when subeditors and other process journalists can efficiently work from their own kitchen tables.

The Christchurch Press Johns Road printery adjacent to the South Island’s international-grade airport indicates that such an eventuality may have been anticipated.

But experience indicates localised pre-occupations with mechanical processes of the type that have become near-irrelevancies in the compoundingly disruptive internet age.

Monday, 14 March 2016 13:57

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 2016After 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 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.

Photo: Dr Charles Sneiderman

Wednesday, 30 March 2016 08:53


 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


Thursday, 18 February 2016 19:37

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.




Sunday, 28 February 2016 14:14

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."

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