OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Association of Community Retailers. Again.

139 Responses

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  • Steven Price,

    While we're being depressed about this, we might remind ourselves of the sheer volume of the news that's made up of bits of press releases: http://churnalism.com

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E,

    We should never give up.

    Also, good post.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    Give up, Keith. Now. It's about Content, which is apparently king. As long as you produce Content, all is well in this world and you make up stuff like the Auckland wharfies earning $91,000 a year while working 26 hour weeks, and therefore deserve to be fired at a cost to Aucklanders of around $24 million. Or something like that. What do I know? And, I'm not your friend.

    Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Juha Saarinen,

    I for one have never seen you two together.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16667 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng, in reply to Juha Saarinen,

    And, I'm not your friend.

    And I never said you were a journalist. *BOOM*

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • kiwiyankee,

    When I was working in Government PR I once had the Timaru Herald reprint my media release in its entirety unchanged. They were even thoughtful enough to include the 'Ends" and my mobile phone number for completeness.

    Melbourne • Since Mar 2009 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    Thanks for your hard work, Keith. It's good to see someone care. If this is the only way to get proper investigative journalism done in New Zealand, then it's worth the donation.

    Since Jul 2008 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    How many of the facts reported in our media are this dodgy?

    Whenever I come across something I know about, I tend to notice things that have been gotten wrong... e.g. only people who vote to change MMP get to vote in the second referendum question; or, three strikes means XYZ.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3004 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Great work Keith even thought it is depressing as the "Timaru Herald" is my local paper
    One of their reporters often comments here, wonder if he has another theory on their slackness

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen, in reply to Keith Ng,

    And I never said you were a journalist. *BOOM*

    I know. Have never quoted the ACR, see...

    On a more serious note, your post is a very good example of something that gets on my bröstvårtor regularly. Unfortunately, the tobacco stuff is just one example though. Having followed the intellectual property, "free trade" and copyright circus for a while now, I've seen lots of made up "facts and figures" not just become part of stories but also ended up as accepted, trusted facts that laws are based upon.

    Media is meant to hold the rich and powerful to account but since there's absolutely no sanctions against lying and hiding the truth, no matter how damaging such actions may be, it just doesn't work very well.

    The ratio of PR people to journalists is three, maybe four to one currently. Leaving aside that they're better paid and equipped, PR people may say that lying doesn't work but at the same time, they're under no obligation to tell the truth.

    Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Juha Saarinen,

    there's absolutely no sanctions against lying and hiding the truth

    no moral or political ones either, judging by what business and civic 'leaders' routinely get away with these days.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16667 posts Report Reply

  • poffa,

    I hope this is an appropriate place to comment on the new Z station at Royal Oak, the wonderfully tantalising display of carcinogens behind the counter, with only the 'smoking kills ' slogan as signage certainly tempted me. I felt this conflicted with their message of being community focused. Although I notice on the TV add this space is displaying sweets etc.

    auckland • Since Jun 2007 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to poffa,

    the wonderfully tantalising display of carcinogens

    To remind you that the law was changed last July and power walls will soon be a thing of the past. Hansard of the Third Reading debate is here.

    As I understand it, new power walls will be illegal from 22 July this year, and existing ones have to be removed by 22 July next year.

    There is still a lot of work to be done - plain packaging being most referenced in the above debate.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Turns out, the problem isn't "what are they hiding?", but "does anyone give a shit?".

    I honestly think that the Chasers or Yes Men type of approach to this sort of thing is the only rational response anymore.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to 3410,

    I honestly think that the Chasers or Yes Men type of approach to this sort of thing is the only rational response anymore.

    Oh, I'm currently weighing up the realistic options. Shortlist so far:

    1) Move family to survivalist cabin/bunker in remote mountain region. Shoot trespassers on sight. Pluses: lack of contact with fellow humans. Minuses: potential for ruby-ridge style seige. And lack of cafes for decent flat white.

    2) Focussed punisher-style killing spree directed mainly at multinational boardmembers, bankers, and bilderburg attendees. Pluses: enormous short-term buzz. Minuses: short term solution and high chance of dying a horrible death in a Langley basement at the hands of a psychotic spook.

    3) Can't beat them, so join them? Pluses: make lots of money. Minuses: taste of rich white male arsehole on tongue not pleasant, potential loss of whatever remains of soul, and dislike being called Wormtongue.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2396 posts Report Reply

  • DPF,

    Good story Keith.

    Since I started to receive press releases direct from PR companies a couple of years ago I've been amazed at how many of them end up in print, but more disturbingly how high the proportion of stories are that are PR-generated rather than research generated.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 74 posts Report Reply

  • Carrick Graham,

    Keith, it never ceases to amaze me that you're so "outraged" by the fact that retailers - yes real people who actually work in a dairy or small convenience store, actually want to have their views heard. You've just fallen for the spin that it's some cunning plot by the tobacco industry.

    But why should we be surprised when you've never bothered to look critically at the half-truths and sometime blatant fudging of science by public health researchers who hold themselves to be beyond criticism and take a holier than thou approach.

    If you did, then you'd be able to write a post that would really have you seething.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen, in reply to Carrick Graham,

    Ahem. Carrick? Maybe you should add a small, but important disclosure next?

    Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Carrick Graham,

    public health researchers

    Well that comment is a little less classy than Inwood's tweet, but still as shonky.

    For the record, the science convinced 97.5% of MPs to vote for the third reading of Smoke-free Environments (Controls and Enforcement) Amendment Bill last July and so ban power walls in New Zealand.

    Really successful work by Big Tobacco, guys.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Grrr...
    This piece about Tony Blair's apparent tax avoidance
    made me seethe a bit...


    Butt stop...
    Keep up the good work Keith...
    It's good that someone can be fagged to do the hard work!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4959 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Carrick Graham,

    retailers - yes real people who actually work in a dairy or small convenience store, actually want to have their views heard

    So you're claiming that this isn't astroturfing, Mr Graham? And that you're acting out of the goodness of your heart?

    Carrick Graham, who worked as a PR for British American Tobacco for five years until 2006, regularly showers the ministry with Official Information Act requests about the anti-smoking NGOs. He says he does not get paid by the cigarette companies to do this, but acts out of his personal interest.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16667 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    oops, out of editing time. Let's try that as:

    Well that comment is a little less unclassy than Inwood's tweet, but still as shonky.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Juha Saarinen,

    Spinner & Paddlefoot and other cargo cults...

    Maybe you should add a small, but important disclosure next?

    Is that the same PR person Carrick Graham who can't spell scandal?
    ...and who has just gone in to bat for Mark Hotchin?
    (or should that be gone from BAT to ...)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4959 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Carrick Graham is a sideshow.

    Let's not forget that the story here is that local news media have basically abandoned the principles of truth and objectivity (etc., etc.). Personally, I think it's easily the single most serious problem facing New Zealand.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng, in reply to James W,

    Thanks for your hard work, Keith.

    And thank *you*! Not having to completely forgo income to do this stuff would be nice - and hopefully means that I can do more of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

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