Items filtered by date: November 2016 - National Press Club Inc.

Fidel Castro saved Cuba from Coups, Counter Coups, asserts New Zealand Eyewitness

Cites Dictator’s emphasis on health, education throughout Latin America

Fidel Castro was a “giant” who saved Cuba from revolving door coups and counter coups declares New Zealander Bernard Diederich who was a close friend of Castro’s since his ascent to power.

Mr Diederich and his wife were on the invitation list for the 10th anniversary of the Cuba revolution.

Had it not been for Castro, emphasises Mr Diederich, Cuba would simply be another “poor and uneducated” Latin nation.

Mr Diederich cites Castro’s intense interest in science and religion as additional, and unrecognised, aspects to the personality of the dictator.

Mr Diederich also emphasises the way in which the Cuban leader deployed his technical people notably doctors throughout Latin America and to the benefit of the poor there.

For many year Mr Diederich ran Haiti's daily paper and was thus eyewitness to the various catastrophes in the region caused by human intervention.

Mr Diederich was for many years in charge of Time Life’s Central America coverage. He was awarded the National Press Club's Lifetime Achievement Award two years ago. He is pictured at the event in Martinborough where his New Zealand family is now based.

He hails from Wellington and is considered now to be New Zealand’s greatest living adventurer. His odyssey started early in World War 2 when he became a boy sailor on the Pamir, the square rigger seized from the Germans.

Considering this too safe, he went on to sail in tankers across the Atlantic.

After the war he hove-to in Port Au Prince, Haiti, where he started his newspaper and began a tortured relationship with the Duvalier dynasty.

Now a resident in Miami, Mr Diederich was to deal on personal terms with all the Central American dictators over the next half century and his books on them are considered standard reference works.

Early revolutionary days (below): Bernard Diederich, wearing tie, with Fidel Castro.


Published in RH Module

Lifetime Achievement AwardPresented to Family ofMike Robson whoLed Rupert MurdochEra Interests Here

At a ceremony in Wellington in November the National Press Club presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to the family of the late managing director of the INL Group Mike Robson. The citation read:- In recognition of Mike’s extraordinary contribution in many roles and over many years to journalism.Mr Robson died suddenly in 2000 at the age of 61 at the height of his powers in guiding New Zealand’s 12th largest company with its interests in daily newspapers, commercial printing, periodicals distribution and retailing along with broadcasting.Mr Robson’s career began as a sports reporter on the New Zealand Herald. He gravitated to general reporting and it was now that he became a wire service correspondent in the United States and Europe. He then became editor of Wellington’s Evening Post and it was here that Mr Robson’s low-key and thoughtful approach came to the attention of INL managing director Alan Burnet. Mr Burnet appointed him as assistant managing director. Upon the retirement of Mr Burnet it was Mike Robson’s turn to take over as managing director.The skill of this duo, according to National Press Club president Peter Isaac, was to integrate the diverse media and printing organisation into direct input electronic handling and then to ensure a smooth transition into the internet era. Mr Robson’s death occurred only several months after INL’s internet site Stuff went live.Their success in bringing about this transition was characterised by Mr Burnet going on to lead the government’s Communications Advisory Council responsible for setting national standards and governance.Singled out at the gathering for special mention was Mr Robson’s easy relationship with the then proprietor of New Zealand’s INL Group, Rupert Murdoch. The strength of this working relationship, it was noted, played out to the benefit of the group’s journalists of that era.It was observed that Mr Robson’s era encompassed Wellington’s epoch as Oceania’s media city with its two newspapers which co-existed long after other centres had been forced to shut down their evening daily.The holding of the presentation ceremony in the heart of Wellington’s entertainment district symbolised Mr Robson’s tenure as editor of the Evening Post which had flourished through exercising a street-level ability to portray Wellington in all its nooks and crannies and diverse ways of life. It was said that Mike Robson never fell into the “trappings trap.”The plaque was presented to representatives of the family by National Press Club vice president Peter Bush, an early colleague of Mr Robson’s on the New Zealand Herald.In response, Mr Robson’s widow Marjie recalled how her husband possessed a literary passion as counterweight to his sporting enthusiasms. This had been nurtured by his parents during his years growing up on a Pukekohe dairy farm. His quest to educate himself had accelerated during his tour of duty in the United States where the couple had met. She recalled that when Mike had enrolled at university in the United States the other students stood up for Mike, imagining him to be one of the professors.In the photograph (above) Master of Ceremonies Bryan Weyburne with Marjie Robson, son Toby and National Press Club vice president Peter Bush.


1.  Media lawyer Graham Holmes with The Dominion’s long time financial editor Terry Hall.    2.  Pixers pose. INL Photographers Barry Durrant and Peter Bush



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Oceania Free Trade will give Lowlands a conflict-free market zone which Canada deal will not

The EU’s stop-go trade deal with Canada points up the obvious advantages that the Lowlands, notably Belgium, will derive from a similar such arrangement with New ZealandThe Walloons, the Belgium-region which vetoed the Canadian deal, has been scorned for its obstructionism. Yet in fact a single market with Canada poses immense problems to Belgium which was once the European powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution.

Here are some of them:-

  •  Canada’s heavy engineering sector, notably in the form of Bombardier, will compete directly with EU’s heavy industries notably in planes and trains.
  •  Canada’s food manufacturing in the form of Weston among others will compete directly with EU producers everywhere.
  • · Canada’s milk production is the most heavily licensed, regulated and restricted in the entire world
  •  United States manufacturers and production engineers will now source in Canada their exports, notably vehicles, to the EU and thus claim single market privileges and preferences
  •  Canada’s banks are superbly regulated and equally finely managed and have safely absorbed every global crisis. They will now compete on equal terms with the EU’s own banks.

Now in beneficial contrast let us look at what the pending New Zealand – EU holds in store for the Walloons and everyone else in the EU zone:-

  •  New Zealand’s heavy engineering is confined to production processing and thus there is no conflict in the key transport sector
  •  New Zealand’s big-league food manufacturing such as Heinz Watties is already foreign owned and will thus present no fresh competition
  •  New Zealand milk production scene is already open to EU manufacturers who are encouraged to have plants here. EU’s Danone and Parmalat are two examples
  •  New Zealand offers no back door opportunities to other nation-state manufacturers
  •  New Zealand’s banks are owned in Australia. The only competition in fact comes from the Lowlands-owned Rabobank.

If the Walloons are still wallowing in any misconception about the straight-out benefits of the New Zealand arrangement then they can comfort themselves in some historical background. This might include for example the fact that both countries are roughly the same age, having been founded in the middle of the 1800s.

Both countries can thank Britain’s Lord Palmerston for their existence. It was Lord Palmerston who organised the carving out of Belgium from the Netherlands. Similarly Lord Palmerston’s hand was evident in the creation of New Zealand where he is celebrated with a number of place-names.

From the MSCNewsWire reporters' desk -  Sunday 31 October 2016

Published in Ticker

Questions Float about IPO ticket-clip   

The mooted litigation-funded class action against the Wynyard Group faces an immediate two-fold problem. This is exactly what entities are in the firing line of this proposed action, and how will any desired reparations be extracted from these entities?

Are we looking here, for example, at Britain’s Skipton Building Society? This financial services organisation is usually cited as controlling the Jade computer services organisation from which the Wynyard Group originated.

There are several problems here.One is that the Skipton Building Society–Jade organisation’s association with Wynyard Group is rather more tenuous than is widely supposed. For example, instead of seeding its new offspring with funding, the British organisation appropriated for itself a very large part of the original investment from the NZX flotation. The exact benefit of this to the fledgling offspring, the Wynyard Group and its shareholders has been complex to define and similarly with the labyrinthine ensuing cross-over obligations between the two companies. 

If the Wynyard class action group has in its sights any other investors and/or promoters in Jade then there is the problem now of their being domiciled outside the Westminster jurisdiction. This especially applies to Jade investors in the United States. 

In so many ways the Wynyard Group flotation represented New Zealand equities investors at their finest and most patriotic in their willingness to put their money behind the home team. You have to live in Christchurch to understand the intensity of this willingness to back the local side which Jade once was, and so, much more recently, was its Wynyard offshoot.

In the event Jade began in the desert, the Saudi Arabian one, where two New Zealand programmers were working as IT specialists for a Saudi distributor of United States earthmoving equipment. A problem in the 1970s that hit the engineering and construction equipment and stock holding business everywhere was the arrival of double digit inflation. The danger to engineering suppliers in this was selling parts and even full scale pieces of equipment at below their replacement cost.

It was now that the two programmers, with time on their hands, set out to solve this problem. They did so by devising a real time and online (ie instantaneous) system which meant that price increases from suppliers rippled out to all warehouse and outlet supply depots across the planet and as they occurred. This was a colossal breakthrough by any standard and became more so as the two programmers now proceeded to package it and market it

Burroughs, then a major force in world computing, ranking only just behind IBM, recognised the value of this discovery and in a remarkably short space time branded it as LINC (for logic and information network compiler) and put it in the very top shelf of their worldwide marketing. Our photograph shows Gil Simpson (at left) with his co-developer Peter Hoskin. In the middle is Robert Holmes the Burroughs top sider who oversaw the deal.

It was now that Jade made Christchurch in the 1980s one of the world hubs of network computing science. It really was a “centre of excellence.”  The Linc compiler with its rapid implementation automated programming was the unique selling proposition, the secret. While the Linc project never actually became fourth generation (as was widely claimed for it) the product in that era got as close as any other system did to replicating the wave or multi-processing operation of the human brain.

All the rest followed. The Jade Stadium, Sir Gil Simpson Drive, and of course Sir Gil himself.  Peter Hoskin, the co-developer, faded out of direct involvement and in recusing himself became the New Zealand version of those other early self-sidelined co-developers Paul Allen and Steve Wozniak.

Time moved on, and it was now that as so often in the IT sector, time from being an ally now manifested itself as a problem, especially at Burroughs, which by now had re-named itself Unisys. It was still a big-iron, mainframe manufacturer of centralised computers. It was now besieged by the personal computer manufacturers.

Even as Burroughs – Unisys became distracted, it was still able to use its muscle in its stronghold of mainframes to insert the Jade Linc system into the financial sector notably in the United Kingdom. It was now that started the supplier-client relationship of Jade with the Skipton Building Society.

Exactly why, and how Skipton became anchor investor in Jade remains largely unclear. There are though grounds for believing that Skipton needed to protect its own investment in its own Jade systems and did so by investing in the supporting supplier.

Even so, Jade was careful always to diversify its own market and took up a strong footprint in logistics, a natural growth sector deriving from its original inventory management expertise.  

It was as part of this sector application diversification scheme that Jade sought out still newer fields in which to apply its compiler expertise. Law enforcement/risk management made sense.  

Jade was by now encountering the problem of companies outside the United States to the effect that no matter how effective their products, no matter how much they tuned and re-tuned their underpinning quantum mechanics not to mention their marketing, they still seemed the poor relation to Silicon Valley. Especially in its ability to launch torrential new products on a marketplace that had become attuned, if not addicted to fast-rotating product issue frequency. 

Canada’s Research in Motion with its Blackberry and Finland’s Nokia are two examples of seemingly invulnerable companies that succumbed to this kind of Silicon Valley rolling release. 

Wynyard for example walked into this kind of Silicon Valley deep-pocket storm when it found itself confronted with sometime New Zealand resident and Tolkien buff Peter Thiel’s Palantir crime product. 

Wynyard because of its Anglo-United States lineage had about it from the start an aura of the gilt edge. This halo was emphasised by its role as New Zealand’s first heavy-end departmental-capability IT main board listing. As is the IT custom everywhere the claims and forecasts made on its behalf contained a show-business extravagance and the executives seemed more photogenic than in other industries. The explanation for this multiplier is that if you win big in IT you win bigger than you do in other industries. 

In the event, and as we can all see now, it was highly speculative and depended for its success on an early investment take up. One ideally in the form of a mainstream merger or acquisition that would have given Wynyard scale and the global distribution and sales and support channels that it always needed.  

It does now all seems so unfair.  Jade in its day took automated programming, meaning fast setup, further than any other technology outfit anywhere. It survived the 1987 bust, the dot com bubble, and the Great Financial Crisis.

But now its offshoot and which carries its pedigree is left to fade unfinished into the history of New Zealand ultra-advanced technology.

From the MSCNewsWire reporters' desk - Wednesday 2 November 2016

Published in Ticker

New Party will shake up self-serving Members of Parliament

Like a South Seas version of Donald Trump New Zealand economist–philanthropist and family man Gareth Morgan has launched himself into the firmament of Oceania politics astride his own freshly minted political party and has done so with the same purpose which is to introduce a new order to replace the current one in which he sees Members of Parliament primarily fixated on becoming MPs. Then remaining MPs.

Mr Morgan proclaims that he intends to “light a fuse” under the existing order and thus break the stranglehold that he claims “career” politicians have on the nation of under five million people.

Igniting his “fuse,” in the form of his Opportunities Party on the eve of Guy Fawkes, he does not object to being compared to Donald Trump in terms of Trump’s determination to smash the status quo.

The Opportunities Party will start issuing segments of its manifesto soon.

Mr Morgan’s decision to launch his own political vehicle comes as no surprise. The Welsh-born economist was a household business name before his family began and then spectacularly sold its version of Ebay.

The family’s TradeMe online site which replaced newspaper classified advertising was sold to the Australian-based Fairfax media chain for $700,000,000. This was approximately the same amount that News Corporation paid at the same time for Myspace which was at the same time one of the world’s busiest social networking sites. When additional management contracts were taken into account the sum is considered to have been in the region of NZD1 billion.

The problem for the new acquirer, Fairfax, was that TradeMe which retained its saturation in New Zealand had mixed results in market penetration internationally, notably in Australia.

In addition to his family’s wealth, Mr Morgan fills the other side of the equation for being admired in New Zealand which is that he is a sportsman being, with his wife, a big capacity motorbike traveler across the world’s most demanding terrains.

It is unlikely that Mr Morgan will have any problems in acquiring the 500 members required in New Zealand for his new party to obtain official recognition.

Mr Morgan is likely to enjoy from the wider voter spectrum approval for lighting the blue touchpaper under the seats of “career” politicians, an unknown species in New Zealand until the 1980s.

Until that time Members of Parliament were drawn from those who had served as farmers, businessmen or commercial lawyers (National Party) or trade unionists, educationalists or advocacy lawyers (Labour Party.)

From the 1980s onward the trend became defined for candidates to start aiming for election at an early age and to bring with them, if successful, no previously acquired practical or applied experience beyond that of campaigning and boondoggling to become an MP.

It remains uncertain if Mr Morgan will offer himself as a candidate for his new party. A problem for him will remain that in spite of proportional representation being well installed in New Zealand, it has not propagated the same diversity of splinter parties which it has done, for example in Latin nations where it has long been standard.

The two monolithic parties continue to dominate. Though with a degree of permutation and combination with smaller parties, notably Greens and Maori, and the Winston Peters New Zealand First.

However, Mr Morgan’s move will act to crystallise disquiet about the general numbers, terms and conditions, especially those relating to emoluments of New Zealand’s sitting MPs. There are 120 of them, and they are rather better paid than their 650 counterparts in Westminster.

He will tap too into electorate disquiet about the ease with which their pay increases enjoy easy legislative passage at a time when everyone else is being urged to tighten their belts. Similarly with the seemingly infinite career duration of certain members along with the perennial matter of MPs long-tail entitlements.

From the MSCNewsWire reporters' desk

Published in Ticker
Tuesday, 08 November 2016 10:45

New Zealand Herald Triumvirate

New Zealand Herald Triumvirate

National Press Club Lifetime Achievement laureate Graham Stewart (pictured at the presentation) was on hand to greet the young Mike Robson when he signed on as cub sports reporter. Mr Stewart’s award was for his constant career in photo-journalism characterised in the second half of his career by his presence as a leading independent book publisher specialising in documentary subjects, notably transport. In this entrepreneurial role Mr Stewart was cited for his effort in generating employment for journalists. Also a presence at the Herald in that era was Sir Terry McLean who Mike Robson always described as one of his enduring mentors. Sir Terry was an inaugural laureate of the National Press Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pictures below

1.  Peter Bush, Toby Robson, Marjie Robson    2.  Krystina Tomaszyk and in background National Press Club          Life Member and INL editor Paul Cavanagh, and Barry              Durrant


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Out of FavourEditor Richard LongSet up Boss’ GolfEncounter WithBill Clinton

Former editor of The Dominion Richard Long,(pictured) a long-time colleague of Mike Robson’s presented the gathering with an insight into his boss’ sense of fair play. As editor of The Dominion, he recounted, he had one day pounced on the fact that his morning newspaper in circulation terms had nudged The Evening Post out of its customary stop-selling slot. Unable to resist the opportunity he had had published in his own newspaper The Dominion a few paragraphs to this effect.

Mike Robson had made it clear to Long that this was not the kind of skiting he welcomed pitting as it did, one group daily against another. He, Robson, was not impressed.

Anxious to get back in his chief’s good books, Long now twisted and turned seeking an opportunity to redeem himself. It was now that salvation appeared in the avuncular form of United States ambassador Josiah Beeman. The ambassador had an approval problem too. He was still looking for a suitable golf partner in New Zealand for his own boss, visiting United States President and golf buff Bill Clinton.

It was now that Long saw his own game opening up. Mike Robson was the obvious partner, he advocated. Diplomatic and tactful in terms of ensuring parity between his own swings and those of the President. A natural partner. And so it was that Mike Robson found himself teeing off at Millbrook with Bill Clinton.

Sometime afterward and by now feeling a certain glow of managing directorial favour re-radiating in his direction, Long delicately took up the matter of how the presidential game had actually gone?

Clinton, responded Robson, had been a predictably tough competitor fighting over every swing and claiming at every opportunity the presidential mulligan or no-count fluffed shot. For his part Robson felt that he had maintained an easy focus in spite of there being as part of the presidential entourage someone with a golf bag that in fact contained an armament designed to disable any low flying and thus threatening light aircraft.

The only unforeseen element came at the conclusion of the 18 holes, explained Robson.

Oh, what was that? Asked Long

Clinton wanted to do the 18 holes again “now.” At that moment .

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