A shiver down the spines of the rich and famous

Justice Minister Kiri Allan’s call for a review of name suppression in New Zealand courts should send shivers down the spines of the rich and famous. And rightly so.

She was asked on TVNZ1’s Q&A whether the current system appears to favour them, and she agreed.

“If you’re well-funded, well-resourced, then you can seek to have your name suppressed for a range of different reasons,” she said. “I don’t think that leads to just outcomes.”

Allan told the show’s stand-in host Jessica Mutch McKay that she has sought urgent advice on this particular area of the law and added: “I don’t think it’s just, I don’t think its fair, and I don’t think New Zealanders looking in on the system think the system is working adequately either.”

The straight-talking minister deserves a rousing round of applause. Continue reading “A shiver down the spines of the rich and famous”

What am I bid for fine photojournalism?

Rob Tucker and a few of his old mates thought they would flog off a few pictures to raise a few dollars for a good cause.

To be honest, it was more than a few pictures and last Saturday it raised more than a few dollars. The Photojournalism Auction in New Plymouth featured 122 of New Zealand’s most iconic press photographs and it raised almost $200,000. The beneficiary is Hospice Taranaki, which has provided Rob Tucker with comfort and care as he deals with terminal cancer.

The auction was Rob’s way of saying thank you to the hospice, and fellow photojournalists like Ross Land rallied to help as a thank you to Rob for a lifetime contribution to photojournalism and to mateship.

I have known Rob and his journalist brother Jim throughout much of my working life so I’m not going to say much more about the auction than what I said to my two friends on Sunday. Jim and I agreed it was a “bloody fantastic effort” and when Rob and I were talking about the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of journalism, I told him I was “proud to call him brother.”

Today, I want to concentrate on what the auction told us. Not just about the generosity that was there in abundance, but about photojournalism and the enduring qualities of a photographic print. Continue reading “What am I bid for fine photojournalism?”

A one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple person eater

New Zealand’s media must stop pandering to over-sensitivity about gender identification.

I am becoming annoyed by ongoing reports that “a person” has been the subject of this or that, with no indication that it is man, woman, boy or girl.

The only plausible reason for the nomenclature is that “person” avoids the possibility of giving offence to someone who may no longer identify with their sex at birth.

How likely is that?

I am not a statistician but if less than five percent of the population identify as LGBT+ (according to Statistics New Zealand estimates), that means there is at least a 95 per cent chance the ‘person’ in the story would not be offended by reference to their birth gender. Continue reading “A one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple person eater”

Churchillian view of public media’s future

 The New Public Media Entity has turned into a Churchillian quotation, and it is not “their finest hour”.

Following last Thursday’s Budget, the project to replace Television New Zealand and RNZ has become “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”.

The Budget told us the project would receive $327 million of Government funding over three years in roughly equal annual instalments. The total appropriation for the “Strong Public Media” project over the next four years is $370 million, meaning $43 million will be used to establish the new entity and for the Ministry for Culture & Heritage to “monitor’ it.

That is a sizeable chunk of money, but the Government does expect some pay-back from the commercial operations of what is now Television New Zealand. It estimates a dividend of $306 million over six years.

And that is where the detail ends. Continue reading “Churchillian view of public media’s future”