Let’s put the core claim into context, leaving aside for now how ‘The Chinese’ smacks of yellow peril when writ in such large letters, as well as hypocrisy. The Fairfax Press noted in a 2012 article that Overseas Investment Office says, ‘of the 872,313 hectares of gross land sold to foreign interests over the past five years, only 223ha were sold to Chinese.
âPeople from the landlocked principality of Liechtenstein had purchased 10 times more land than the Chineseâ2,144ha in the same period.
âThe top buyers were the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Israel. The United States had 194 purchases for a total of 193,208ha.’
For some reason, Johnny Foreigner seems a lot less threatening to mainstream New Zealand if they look like James Cameron (the proud owner of 1,000 ha) or Shania Twain (leases for 25,000 ha along with her husband).
The Pengxin deal that the Conservatives are using for fear-mongering, 13,800 ha, is a lotâbut they are getting more flak than the 176,902 ha sold by Carter Holt Harvey to US interests some years ago.
I don’t have the latest figures but I’m betting China isn’t at the top of the list. Tina Ng notes, ‘another funny thing is that Mr Craig has actually sold a lot of property to Chinese,’ adding that this was mentioned on The Nation on TV3. Robyn Tweets that there is ‘A strange lack of white foreign landowners âŠ’ in the Conservative materials.
I’m not saying that this isn’t an important issue, but if we’re going to talk about overseas land ownershipâwhere the figure is in the 10 per cent mark (the Prime Minister says 1 per cent)âthe use of yellow peril should be beneath any political party.
The red with yellow stars in the Conservative materials intentionally conveys Cold War fears and the spectre of Maoism. It’s as dated as ‘two Wongs’.
New Zealanders of Chinese descent are no different to other Kiwis when it comes to what’s important, and the first fliers I saw from the Conservatives could have appealed to many with their talk of tougher penalties for criminals and binding referenda.
But the claim of ‘One law to rule us all’, on which a quarter of its publicity rested, no longer has validity. Given the larger share of New Zealand land in non-Chinese hands, the Conservatives’ latest comes across as ignorant, missing the point of who actually controls this country’s land and commerce. And they’ll lose votes from Chinese New Zealanders who may have been sympathetic to their cause.
If they want to beat this drum, there are real issues such as foreigners controlling 33 per cent of our stock market, or the fact that the biggest owners of our companies are based in Australia, the US, the UK, Singapore, Netherlands, Japan, the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, Canada, Switzerland, China and France.
These surely impact on many issues, including our tax revenues and our overall competitiveness, more greatly.
Essentially what they are saying is: our policy is that race doesn’t matter. Except when it comes to vilifying a group, it does. Let’s ignore the real culprits, because: ‘The Chinese’.
It’s a shame given that Conservative leader Colin Craig has had his share of stereotyping because of his religious beliefs. Conservative supporters point to the hard time the media have given him.
I’m reminded of Matthew 7:12 from the Sermon on the Mount.
Divisive techniques trouble me, and they should trouble the parties, because they make me wonder if these politicians have a clue about unity, nationhood, and the reality of the 21st century. In a post earlier this month, I quoted Robert Muldoon: ‘throughout the length and breadth of this country we have always been prepared to accept each other on the basis of behaviour and regardless of colour, creed, origin or wealth. That is the most valuable feature of New Zealand society and the reason why I have time and again stuck my neck out to challenge those who would try to destroy this harmony and set people against people inside our country.’
Those words still resonate today, and should resonate to any New Zealander who sees strength in what our country stands for: the Kiwi sense of fair play, tolerance, and team spirit.
Unfortunately, between the Conservatives’ latest, ‘two Wongs’ (and its dismissal by the PM as merely ‘a stunt’, in spite of an open door to attack it), and Dirty Politics, certain people in the political arena seem woefully out of touch with New Zealanders.
This is when each political party uploaded their opening broadcasts to their ofïŹcial YouTube accounts. Ideally, they should have gone up on Saturday night, when they were broadcast on television, as that was when those of us online were hunting for them. (TVNZ did not have these up on demand on the night, either, but they are there now.)
My thoughts: if you donât go after the online audience, you are missing out on voters. Is this indicative of how you see the internet?
And, of course, if you make these videos available, they can be shared (as I have now done at the bottom of this post).
Labour: went live on the night Greens: went live on the night Internet Mana: went live on the night United Future: Sunday Conservatives: Tuesday noon to Colin Craigâs own account (which appears to be the de facto Conservative account, as I cannot ïŹnd others) National: not there ACT: not there Democrats for Social Credit: not there MÄori Party: not there
Those who have bothered with uploads to their YouTube accounts feature below.
Can Facebook please explain why these obvious bot accounts, all of which have been reported, are allowed to remain on their website? (I have asked Facebook this directly already on Twitter and Facebook.)
Some were reported in 2013.
Since the Electoral Commission has imposed a ban on Darren Watsonâs âPlanet Keyââin fact, it can never be broadcast, and apparently, to heck with the Bill of Rights Act 1990âI felt it only right to help him express his great work, in the best tradition of William Shatner covering âRocketmanâ. This has not been endorsed by Mr Watson (whom I do not know), and recorded with crap gear.
I’ve read the Electoral Act 1993 and the Broadcasting Act 1989, but I still think they’re trumped by the Bill of Rights Act 1990.
Legal arguments aside, I agree with Darren, that his expression of his political view is no different from Tom Scott drawing a cartoon.
He has a right to freedom of thought and a right to express it.
The Electoral Commission’s position seems to centre around his receiving payment for the song to cover his and his animator’s costsâwhich puts it in the class of an election advertisement.
Again, I’m not sure how this is different from the Tom Scott example.
Tom is paid for his work, albeit by the media who license it. Darren doesn’t have the backing of media syndication, so he’s asking for money via sales of the song on Itunes. We pay for the newspaper that features Tom’s work, so we can pay Itunes to download Darren’s. Tom doesn’t get the full amount that we pay the newspaper. Darren doesn’t get the full amount that we pay Itunes. How are they different?
Is the Commission saying that only people who are featured in foreign-owned media are permitted to have a say? This is the 21st century, and there are vehicles beyond mainstream media. That’s the reality. The good news is that other Kiwis have been uploading Darren’s song, with the Electoral Commission saying, ‘if the content appeared elsewhere online, it would not require a promoter statement if it was posted as the expression of a personal political view and no payment was involved,’ according to Radio New Zealand. Darren might not be making money like Tom Scott does, but his view is still getting out there.
On that note, I’m sure you’d much rather hear the original than mine. If you ever see Darren’s gigs out there, please support him through those.
A great deal of New Zealand’s history has in fact been recorded in detail and it as [sic] at least as interesting as that of older countries. To read it is to understand why so much damage is being done by a small group of stirrers who have fomented the hateful cry of “racism” in recent years. New Zealand does not have a colour bar, it has a behaviour bar, and throughout the length and breadth of this country we have always been prepared to accept each other on the basis of behaviour and regardless of colour, creed, origin or wealth. That is the most valuable feature of New Zealand society and the reason why I have time and again stuck my neck out to challenge those who would try to destroy this harmony and set people against people inside our country.
Many people will remember this video, which exposed Facebook using click farms to inflate customers’ likes (I would have used Veritasium’s original, but YouTube won’t show embedding codes at the moment):
I won’t repeat what they exposed, as the video does a far better job. Essentially, they are building up fake profiles with group activity, to look like legitimate profiles when they become members of various pages. However, I am noticing that the problem is getting worse. Despite getting busted, Facebook is making sure that engagement on its fan pages gets worse, so you have to pay for promotion.
One group I run, which has over 10,000 members, mostly in Germany, is getting a lot of these fake likers, principally from Morocco. Each day we’ve had over a dozen. Two, so far, even claim that they work for Facebook on their profiles (here’s one). (Facebook was contacted for comment, and, as usual, I have heard nothing back.) Now, you can claim these people are putting fake employers down, and that’s a reasonable conclusion. But even if they aren’t working for Facebook, they are working for a click farm, which can’t be any good for the website. In addition, Facebook is doing nothing to delete these click-farm profiles. [PS.: Despite being allowed to remain for years, Facebook deleted these accounts after this blog post was written.]
There are similar characteristics: there are lots of photos, but few that could be regarded as profile photos. The majority have random imagery. As with a lot of fake profiles, they are multilingual: these guys never, ever post a status in German, yet a lot (over 90 per cent) of their groups are German. The latest one I saw claimed to be based in Netherlands and did not have a single friend with a Dutch name. One had over 1,000 likes, which is not unreasonable, eitherâyet you could group them by industry! It was very obvious that they were being paid. I was fooled with the first few, but not after you get six in a nightâand they have only increased in number since.
They are harder to spot than the obvious fakes which use a stock photo for the profile, or the ones from China which all have joined the same poker game, or those that have only joined groups beginning with the letter A.
I realize these folks have to make a buck. But we, as Facebook customers, have to understand the effects. It means Facebook campaigns are becoming increasingly poor value, and, at some pointâmaybe even nowâit will not be worth paying a cent to the company to reach potential fans if there are other means.
PS.: One was accidentally let through and posted an irrelevant video, so they could be spammers getting extra hits for their clients.âJY
A Kiwi friend, based in Australia, and I were discussing the General Election yesterday on the phone.
First, I told her, you wouldnât know one was on. Itâs like Christmas when the global financial crisis hit: people werenât in the mood.
Secondly, minor parties like Internet Mana are probably doing better than the polls say: as with the mayoral election last year, those on cellphones are being missed in telephone polls, and, unlike local body elections, more young people come out for these.
In Rongotaiâhistorically a Labour electorate other than a brief period under National when Graeme Reeves was our local MPâthere are plenty of Labour hoardings. In my postbox, surprisingly, Conservatives and Greens have delivered more, while two Labour loyalists did some door-knocking. Nationalâs activity, that I found out about ex post facto, was a visit by Paul Foster-Bell. Interestingly, it has also bought a lot of ads on the Lucire website via an ad network that we work with, and it got to the point where I wondered if people thought our publication was sponsored by National.
Iâm exactly the sort of swing voter who these folks would target because I donât go to the polls on autopilot. Paul does well with interacting with us on Facebook, and, as I told the two Labour people, I havenât physically seen Annette King in this area in 21 years. (Iâve seen her at parties though, and to be fair, I saw her at one official function in Newtown, which is part of this electorate.) I also saw Graeme a lot, and Peter Neilson before that.
But Labourâs poor showing in the polls, in my opinion, has less to do with the invisibility of its members in the community and more to do with the perception of division. Itâs what got John Major in the UK in 1997âyou just canât fight an election alone.
Chris Hipkins and I did chat briefly about the fact certain media seem to enquire with National first about a few Labour announcements, which is a curious journalistic approach, and that certainly weakens their case.
But I have just watched a TV3 Nation âdebateâ (I use the term advisedlyâSteven Joyce does himself a disservice by shouting down his opponent and the host, when I actually wanted to listen to his side of the story), where I can now say I have seen, and heard, more of Grant Robertson than his leader, David Cunliffe. I even saw Grant at the weekend with Maryan Street. I thought: good, Labour is campaigning. I want to see an election battle.
Labourâs image of division isnât new. It started after the resignation of David Shearer and the long drawn-out process of selecting a new leader. Why Labour wanted this to be so public I have no idea. It might have thought it a good opportunity to get some air time but all it did was show that there were two camps: the caucus, who favoured Grant, and the membership, who favoured David Cunliffe.
My Australian-based friend was under the impression that Grant only lost out because of his sexuality, that that was wholly inappropriate in 2014 given that he is the better speaker, thinker and leader. If his sexuality played a part in his loss then I agree that it should not have been a consideration. I’ve a feeling she’s disappointed with Labour and won’t be voting for them.
While David Cunliffe moved quickly to give his rivals high positions in the Shadow Cabinet, the damage had been done.
I think occidental voters want to see unity, because, in the General Elections I have watched, that plays a greater role than the policies themselves. The reality is that every party has factions, and itâs a matter of first, how deep they are, and secondly, how one stage-manages them to the public. No matter what Labour does, it found itself on the back foot.
It may be time to look beyond the stage management and ask ourselves what we want in terms of our aspirations for our country.
I want to see a high-tech base along with our traditional primary sectors, because we have an advantage in innovation that doesnât get talked up anywhere nearly enough. Thatâs one of my biggies, along with a government that is prepared to foster the growth of New Zealand businesses, not those of foreign technocrats in the hope that trickle-down might start working one of these days. Foreign ownership of enterprises doesnât put that much back into our economy. Iâll go for a party that will work to narrow the income gap, and has a workable plan to do so.
In the materials I have been delivered, and in the media that I have been served, I havenât seen anyone hit all of these.
The restâsensibly investing in education, health and our poor, go without sayingâbut every party says they care about this trifecta. They are nevertheless worth investigating.
This means Iâll continue digging to see who matches up with my wish list the best. Itâs worth the effort if we are to get past the smoke-and-mirrors games of the spin doctors.
Those of you who follow this blog know that I believe Facebook’s servers are reaching their limits. In June 2014, when there was a 69-hour outage for meâand at least 30 minutes for most other Facebook usersâI noted I was recording a marked increase in Facebook bugs before the crash. And the even longer outage yesterdayâsome reports say it was 35 minutes but some media have reported it was up to 90âwas also prefaced by some curious bugs that were identical to the earlier ones.
I thought it was very odd that in all the articles I have read today about the issue, no media have been able to get a comment from Facebook. It made me wonder if people had clammed up because of what it could mean for the share price.
And I do realize how preposterous my theory sounds, as the logical thing to ask is: how could a company the size of Facebook not be equipped to handle its growth?
Well, how could a company the size of Facebook not be equipped to deal with time zones outside the US Pacific?And we know a company the size of Google is not equipped to deal with the false malware warnings it sends out.
However, the geeks have reported. There are two at the Facebook developers’ status page that relate to the outage.
If you can understand the technobabble, they are: âTrafïŹc and error-rates are almost back to normal after a coordinated intervention by our engineering teams. We are now monitoring the situation and we have our best engineers determining the root-cause of this issue that affected much of our web ïŹeet. We apologize for any inconvenience and we aim to ensure that this issue does not repeat,â and âPlatform has been stable for >5 hours and our engineers have reproduced the complex issue that was causing many of our www/api servers to run out of resources. The team is now working on the ïŹnal ïŹx, but we are conïŹdent that there will be no further regression. Thank you for your patience and we apologize for any issues that we caused for your apps. Have a great weekend.â
If I understand them correctly, the second actually says that the servers ran out of resources.
Hopefully, the above means Facebook has fixed the error, which I believe to be the same as the one in June. Facebook itself had then discounted that it was an attack.
No wonder no one has offered the media a comment, if the site is falling over so regularly because of its bugs.
The latest Victoria University study, expressing that there is a shortage of creative people, sounds very familiar. Dr Richard Norman highlights in a Fairfax Press editorial that knowledge economy companies are âstruggling to capitalise on opportunities for growth because of limited local talent âŠ
âMany of these companies are well-seasoned and high-earningâa third of those interviewed had total sales of over $50 million for the most recent financial year and about half had been here for more than two decades.â
The study also revealed, ‘Views varied widely about the effectiveness of current promotion of Wellington. The strongest recurring idea for promotion of Wellingtonâs attributes was to focus on its potential as a digital city.’
In other words, had people been listening to this sectorâas I had for many yearsâthis comes as no surprise.
In both my mayoral campaigns, I expressed that Wellington needed to be open for business for tech and the knowledge economy, and last year I made it very clear that I would find ways to bridge the training at the tertiary level with these very companies seeking talented graduates. Not only would there be a city-supported internship programme modelled on that of Dunedin, but specifically geared to this sector, but there would be another that would connect graduates directly to these firms, which told me that they knew these young people were there, but their sits vac werenât known to them.
Wellington is a haven for companies operating in the knowledge economy, whether itâs down to our creativity thanks to the highest-profile firms being based here (Xero, Trade Me) or our workâlife balance, and it has been heading that way for all of my career, since I began developing digital fonts in the 1980s and digital publications as the 1990s unfolded.
Frictionless exports form part of a productive, profitable future for our city and yet they have often been ignored by some of the same-again politicians and business âleadersâ who have a Life on Mars mindset to our economy.
To this end I approached the Chancellor at Victoria University last week, and formally in writing earlier this week, to see if I could still create something that would help todayâs students find the jobs that they want.
Already I had signed up to the Alumni as Mentors programme (on to my second âmenteeâ now), and was part of the pilot programme for Vic internships late last year, to help enhance the employment prospects of final-year students. But that’s just in one company. I can do more.
After a discussion with a senior Victoria University professor last year, I was very keen, had I been elected as mayor, to get Wellington to a level of critical mass when it came to R&D and technology. I have similarly been talking to representatives at other tertiary institutions such as Weltec, and of course, I still serve on one advisory board at Whitireia.
My hands are more tied as a private citizen, and things will take longer, but they are still worth doing.
As Dr Normanâs study was developed in partnership with the Greater Wellington Regional Council, with support from Grow Wellington and the Wellington City Council, there will be others who are thinking along the same lines. Iâm sure that all these efforts will intersect, but we have to act.
I only wish such a study was released a year earlier, as I don’t recall anything of the sort in The Dominion Post during the election cycle.