Posts by Tinakori

  • Hard News: Garbage in, garbage out, in reply to BenWilson,

    There's quite a big market for stories about Bad things being done to Good people, which is fine, but not much market for highly technical stories about policy and how it is made and how it works. Many, many years ago - when Colin James was the editor - the NBR did a lot of it. It basically gave you the story behind the story. The Listener too did quite a bit of it and most print and TV stations had specialist reporters who had some sense of how the world worked behind the press release or the Minister's speech. But with their elimination and fewer eyeballs on the job we are left to the tender mercies of what political journalists say and what politicians say. That's important but it's only a sliver of what actually happens when policy is made and implemented.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Garbage in, garbage out,

    Broad strokes of the brush based on lots of time in newsrooms and lots of time with people good at numbers, an empirically based observation in other words.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Garbage in, garbage out,

    Journalists are notoriously innumerate and people who are good at numbers are not often good writers. The development of electronic and social media has improved the testing of numbers used by politicians significantly because it allows people other than journalists or writers of letters to the editor to share their views on the quality of that data and for the rest of us - including journalists - to have access to those views and conversations. It's not quite the best of times but it is significantly better than it once was. Also, lots and lots of government data is poorly collected and then poorly used with little consistency from agency to agency as to what is being counted or recorded. Sometimes it is not about an intent to deceive but people who are using data without understanding the assumptions and practises built into its collection.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The uncooling of the inner West, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, mid century housing and lending policies had the unintentional impact of making lots of the inner city housing cheaper than it otherwise might have been if people were able to express their own preferences. Lots of people still wanted new houses because they were a hell of a lot more convenient to live in than all but the most palatial 19 and early 20th century housing but lots would have had a go at gentrification a lot sooner and prices would have stabilised at a higher level earlier and then probably moved up from that higher base at a more steady pace than has been the case. Would they have reached the level they are now? Current prices are probably more a function of various planning policies and transport issues than gentrification with many older houses in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations of renovations. Could the inner city become cheap again? As you say, unlikely. To me one of the key issues is the crappy design of new housing. One way of improving it would be to have monthly executions in Victoria Park of builder-developers-draughtsmen judged to have put up the worst housing without benefit of architectural advice. That would change the incentives in a hurry.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The uncooling of the inner West, in reply to BenWilson,

    Some of the most important drivers for making the Ponsonby/Grey Lynn/Herne Bay area affordable/desirable has almost nothing to do with taste or culture. They were the consequence or the post hoc rationalisation of a trend. Hard to believe but once upon a time in the olden days - 50s/60s/70s/early 80s - mortgage lending was tilted towards new housing mostly because of settings determined by the state. It was hard to get a mortgage on old properties, for a couple of reasons. State lending was focused on new housing mostly because of the positive impact it had on the economy and back in the day the State through the Housing Corporation and its predecessor the State Advances Corporation were a very large part of the home lending scene mostly because of Government restrictions on mortgage interest rates which - naturally - severely limited the supply of loan finance from the banks. When the banks had so few loans to offer they could make up all sorts of rules about who could get a loan and on what kind of property. Old villas or cottages with wooden piles were pretty much the lowest priority - the predominance of brick and tile in 50s and 60s houses wasn't because people had bad taste but because that was the sort of housing that was incentivised by the much more tightly regulated mortgage market. With the liberalisation of mortgage lending in the mid 80s all this changed and people could buy what they wanted to rather than choose within the narrow set of parameters determined by their lenders. A lenders market became a borrowers market as people expressed their varied tastes and preferences. Ponsonby et al hence started from a low base and as demand ramped up so did prices.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: TVNZ: Emptied out, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    No need for the OIA, it all gets included in the TVNZ annual report to Parliament. The main 2014 numbers are in a TVNZ press release and the latest annual report on line appears to be the 2013 version http://images.tvnz.co.nz/tvnz_images/about_tvnz/TVNZAR_FY2013_Updated.pdf. It includes fascinating set of ratings and viewer number for their main programming.

    Incidentally, the outsourcing of the Maori and Pacific programming at TVNZ may not be unconnected with the fact that the TVNZ Chair is Wayne Walden the former Chair of the much praised Maori Television Service which relied and relies heavily on the outsourcing model and which has generated a significant collection of independent producers

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The creeping…, in reply to nzlemming,

    I don't know about MORST but the non departmental staffer in the Minister of Revenue's office was a secondee from an accounting firm brought in for his expertise in tax. There was a comparable one in the Minister of Finance's office who provided a private sector perspective to the MOF. What they knew about politics prior to their appointments could be written on the back of a postage stamp with a carpenter's pencil. Non departmental appointments as Ministerial advisors do not = political advisors who, as Matthew Hooton said earlier, are mostly people who, whatever their other attributes, are party activists or loyalists. That's probably why the paper on political advisors vastly overestimated the number prior to Labour becoming government.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The creeping…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    To which I would add the distinctions I was making were most definitely not semantic but substantive.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The creeping…, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    39 Political advisors in 1998 - they must have been hiding them in the Beehive basement or perhaps they were part of the NSA base in Northland Ed Snowden is convinced we have. I suspect that the identification of ministerial advisors as political advisors in that study was made to give the impression the introduction of the political advisors in bulk under Labour was a simple and not very significant progression from the existing setup. That wasn't the case at all.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 60 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The creeping…, in reply to nzlemming,

    "Fail. There were plenty of political advisors in the 90's under Bolger/Shipley/ et al"

    There most definitely were not in the Bolger governments. I can think of one outside the Prime Minister's Office and they were a former electorate secretary. They also did not have the political advisor title. I can think of some troubleshooters in various offices but they weren't political advisors and usually did not work full-time. I can also think of some private sector people but they didn't do political advice other than informally. Matthew Hooton was there but he was a 20 year old speechwriter. Press secretaries did most of the work of what Labour's political advisors subsequently carried out but many Ministers in National were not interested in having political advice of any kind. For good or ill they thought they and other cabinet ministers provided all the political advice required. They were probably right! Labour introduced political advisors for all in 1999, slavishly following, as ever, the UK Labour Party.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 60 posts Report Reply

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