Follow-up: it's been corrected. Took 2 hours.
"Maths skills dropping alarmingly", says Stuff website.
The story right next to it is the latest TVNZ poll:
"In Parliament the numbers give Labour, NZ First and the Greens 59 seats while National and its one extra seat from ACT leader David Seymour would hold 55 seats."
Any referendum should be held on election day. There are pros and cons (higher turnout versus less media coverage of the subject compared with a stand-alone referendum), but it seems to be politically unacceptable to hold a referendum between general elections in the way grown-up democracies do - by opening polling stations and replicating the election day experience, with people simply getting out to vote. That takes resources, and in NZ, "saving taxpayers' money" trumps all other considerations, alas. Personally I think the collective experience of going to the polling booth is one worth paying for, but the social/national benefits can't be easily measured in bucks, so it gets drowned out by the tedious "what a waste, spend it on nurses, won't somebody think of the children" chorus.
So we have postal ballots instead, with things called envelopes (kids, ask your parents) which more or less guarantee that half the population won't vote. The Australian turnout was very impressive, but I doubt many other issues would get such a response. And the more that referenda are seen as political devices - short-term sops - then the more they get discredited, so when a legit referendum topic comes along (e.g. moving to a republic) then eyes are already rolling.
I'd also add that MPs voting on conscience issues is one of the few times that Parliament gets a positive press. The marriage equality debate showed that MPs can do more than ask patsy questions or shout across the chamber, they can actually sound sincere and thoughtful, and we need more of that, not less. So I don't want them outsourcing their consciences to a referendum.
It's the Time magazine "Person of year" yardstick, isn't it? Hitler, Stalin and Trump get the gong, but no approval should be inferred.
Jacindamania is definitely the word of the half-year. But as with all annual retrospectives, anything that happened in the early months tends to get less attention than it deserves (ask the Halberg or Oscar contenders).
So a few oldies to balance things up ...
Burnham / Hit and Run
Strong and Stable
Oh, and just to note ...
You know how assorted media old-timers have been complaining about the Twitter pile-ons? (Van Beymen, Garner, Soper, even the ODT).
Well, there's one going on right now. But she's not being attacked by the "intolerant PC lefties" crowd. It's the other lot. And so our stout defenders against online bullies are ... strangely silent. Why's that, I wonder?
I'd be more willing to take Soper & co seriously if they had actually given a rat's arse about the genocide in Rwanda while it was actually happening. When it was, you know, news.
The 1990's are effectively beyond the reach of Google, but my memory still functions. I was a member of Amnesty International, quite active at the time, and we were always trying to get the NZ media to at least mention the horrific events in "a far away country of which we know little". The Herald did carry a few pieces, but Newstalk ZB? Zilch. Mr Soper was, of course, their political reporter at the time, but was busy telling us about Tuku's underpants, or something.
There's a pretty fundamental difference between Labour playing silly buggers in opposition and National doing the same now. Labour attacked the government on its performance, not its existence. The legitimacy of the 2008-17 National-led government was not in question. Not even by the most blinkered Labour hack.
But the narrative being driven by National is not about how the government performs, but how it was formed. And it is only being driven by National MPs, not by the public at all. Quick recap: Protest marches: nil. Public meetings: nil. Petitions: nil. Lawsuits: nil. Boycotts: nil. I could go on, but there's nothing to go on about, is there?
So all this is basically about National trying to create a narrative out of thin air. It's not the odd renegade backbencher, it's senior MPs like Nick Smith, who has publicly stated that National won the election. And that is far more serious and potentially damaging than MPs playing games in Parliament. If you believe (as they probably don't, but cynically pretend to) that democracy has not delivered, then faith in the democratic process is eroded. That may seem far-fetched, but it is no more so than apparently sane people claiming the Electoral Commission was biased before the election. Which, you know, happened.
They need to be bloody careful. Fan the flames of a Dolchstosslegende and you may face unforeseen - and unwanted - consequences.
More imaginative fiction posing as analysis in an international forum.
It will come as a surprise to Helen Clark to know that the Maori Party propped up her government, or that NZ First were on board from 1999. It will come as a huge surprise to Pasifika people to learn that they are driving property speculation.
You know all those frothers who said they'd leave the country if "she" got in?
So Ardern is making NZ a better place, just by taking office. More please.