Reality Check Radio RCR

Another platform in the pipeline.

The back story is similar to that of The Platform which launched under the banner of “Resistance Media” with Sean Plunket at the helm, around this time last year.

Another cancelled journalist, Peter Williams has joined forces with former ACT leader Rodney Hide, alternative media personality Chantelle Baker, who launched to stardom with live coverage of the parliamentary protest, and Paul Brennan who has multiple claims to fame in his diverse career including having worked at the Platform.

Brennan along with another former employee, Ani O’Brian may be representive of a culture of failure in staff relations at the Platform. O’Brian has ongoing proceedings in the Employment Court, as we understand do others yet to be publically named.

RCR would be in direct competition with The Platform which had distanced itself from alternative media and attempted to join the mainstream ahead of the coming general election.

Sean Plunket, is increasingly seen not only as having abandoned his cause but as increasingly aggressive and biased in his delivery.

RCR will likely appeal to the ear piece culture of this era and minor political parties who are more likely to get airtime with these hosts than with the mainstream.

DemocracyNZ, now the most visible of the minor parties will not face the usual minor party election restrictions with Matt King, a former National MP from 2017-2020 as its leader.

Without comment from the principals it’s hard to say how much this platform might influence the coming election.

Specifics beyond the announcement are yet to be confirmed. Neither Williams or Hide have responded to requests for comment at this time.

RCR Utube Promo …

Should education reform be an election debate?

Education Alert

Updated Thursday 16 March 2023

Reality Check Radio website is sporting its fourth promo but no word on an actual launch date.

And then, they said – starting Monday.


Investing in Change

We’re creatures of habit and prefer something we call normal, often resisting change, if we even see the need for itNo progress without struggle?

At a time when New Zealand is having a significant political upheaval the electorate must question itself – are we paying enough attention?

Commercial interests do this on a regular basis, and vested interests can be resistant to change – you might say that is reasonably defending their territory.

Whether it’s new technology or the entrepreneur exercising their potential in the business world aside, voters cannot carry on as if politics is excluded from change because it’s convenient for incumbent politicians.

This is where the strength of our struggling media will be tested.

New Zealand’s mainstream was, to a degree, forced into cooperation with government both through the covid narrative and government funding. 

That’s obviously the case judging by the alternative industry that came about as a consequence. 

If that realisation creates a weary self-serving media, voters in this election will not get the coverage they deserve, the loss of faith in the mainstream will continue, and so will the move towards more reliable but smaller outlets.

That’s the question the mainstream media must ask themselves: if I’m not going to do my job now was I a casualty of convenience before?

Do media feel the obligation to return the favour to politicians?

It’s a complicated relationship within a democracy and no one gets excluded from their respective responsibilities while others shouldn’t benefit from manipulation.

Commentators can interpret polls any way they want to: not that polls can’t be manipulated anyway.

This election will be very different to recent elections and the result may be somewhat surprising and inconsistent with the polls that we see now.

Iranian Uprising

Taken from social media today. 

Tuesday 11 October NZ time

On September 16, 2022, Iranian journalist Niloofar Hamedi gained access to Kasra Hospital in Tehran, where 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was being treated following her detention by the Iranian morality police for allegedly wearing her compulsory hijab inappropriately.

[All women, including tourists, have had to wear a headscarf in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution]

Mahsa was declared brain dead and died in hospital three days after apparently being beaten by Iran’s morality police.

She had been detained on 13th September for what was described as a ‘re-education class’ after she was arrested next to a metro station in Tehran for failing to adhere to Iran’s strict hijab rules.

Hours later she was in hospital with a skull fracture “caused by a direct blow” and internal bleeding, according to hacked CT scans obtained by a London-based news organisation known as Iran International.

Around the time of Mahsa’s death, Hamedi tweeted a photo of Amini’s parents hugging and crying at the hospital. That picture quickly circulated, along with Hamedi’s reporting on Amini’s death.

In a short space of time the sequence of events had spiraled into widespread protests throughout the country (with authorities shutting down parts of the internet in a bid to disrupt the growing protest movement) that is now gaining overseas support almost a month later.

As a consequence of her news coverage, Hamedi was arrested by security forces on September (21 or 22)

Hamedi’s Twitter account, where she had originally posted the influential photo of Amini’s parents, was suspended without explanation.

A journalist who reported on Mahsa Amini‘s funeral has also been seized by police in Iran.

Elahe Mohammadi on the right (pictured with Niloofar Hamedi) – a reporter for the pro-reform Hammihan newspaper – had been summoned to face Iran’s judicial authorities.

She was arrested on the way there on Thursday, 29 September, according to that newspaper.

The Iranian Journalists’ Association has called for all journalists who have been arrested for covering the protests to be released.

While there are no figures available, it is feared that a number of reporters may have been detained alongside Hamedi and Mohammadi who are both in solitary confinement in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Tehran officials reportedly said that Mahsa died of a heart attack and went on to say that she suffered from epilepsy, a claim that her father has denied.

Doctors say that Mahsa had blood and fluid in her lungs because she went into a coma soon after receiving a blow to the head, according to the news organisation.

Alongside a growing list of celebrities who have voiced their support for the protests United States National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, wrote in a tweet that Iranian authorities should be held accountable for human rights violations.

Former First Lady of the United States and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

British Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner

American model Bella Hadid

Hollywood icon Sharon Stone

Pop star Justin Bieber. Oscar-winner

Jessica Chastain

Kim Kardashian

Turkish singer Melek Mosso

Penelope Cruz

Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi

Actress Eva Mendes

British Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling

New Zealand TV personality and Asteron Space Books author Gilda Kirpatrick

The Dark Shadow of Kris Faafoi

Former NZ Labour MP Kris Faafoi

Tokelau descendants in their diaspora outnumber the residual population 4:1 (some 7,000 people in total) and one of the Pacific nation’s recognised success stories, has fallen from grace.

Kris Faafoi is typical of others from the New Zealand Labour Party of which he is now a former MP and Cabinet Minister following his resignation in July 2022. A political party that courted his jovial nature to use as a member of parliament.

You may think it is unfair to single out his association with Tokelau and in general I would agree. Tokelau itself places great stead on the use of their experience and the practices of tunoa and expulsion for bringing shame to the culture, such as we witnessed recently with Mahelino Patelesio and his ongoing encounter with the Nukunono Taupalenga for his dissenting views.

(One would not like to think that Tokelau supported political and elite corruption but it is possible)

Faafoi now joins the ranks of Labour’s disgraced and deplorables such as Trevor Mallard our dishonorable former Speaker who is in the process of being shipped off to Ireland as New Zealand’s next Ambassador.

New Zealand is quickly courting the dual reputations of a second world socialist failure and a dysfunctional third world disgrace.

[After 200 years of unique development and being ahead of its time in many respects]

Unless there is something more behind Faafoi’s sudden departure than the desire to spend more time with his family (and without a convicted crime to be punished by a court) what Faafoi is guilty of is breaking with our well established conventions.

In that respect he is the artist of his own dark shadow but in no way can claim ignorance or innocence of his wrongdoing.

Faafoi has made a mockery of his title (Honourable) and as an NZBS Journalism graduate must have understood some degree of ethical behavior before entering parliament.

(*Hon) Kris Faafoi was elected to be the Member for Mana in November 2010 – he’d worked for more than a decade as a “journalist” at both TVNZ and the BBC.

A former Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Civil Defence, Customs, Commerce and Consumer Affairs as well as Associate Minister of Immigration and what Faafoi started remains unfinished business as discussed by the Directors and Editors Guild.

Two months later the former-journalist/MP tells Radio New Zealand he is chief executive of the company – Dialogue22 and seemingly unconcerned about any criticism leveled at him about this.

“I don’t particularly get fussed about that, you know, people are entitled to their opinions but as I said you leave politics and you have to find yourself a career.”

Kris Faafoi

There may be a hidden truth in what Faafoi said, in that journalism is a career and parrotoxic media is a job and at worst obedience to authoritarianism.

Faafoi can have his opinion too: but that’s only about his career not about what he thinks he might be entitled to, or entitled to do now that he has moved on.

Faafoi expects us to buy the spin. Nice try, liitle boy, but you were a cabinet minister three months ago, not now.

The country’s newist lobbyist has come through what is typically referred to in politics as the revolving door between politics and the corporate world into his new role.

Does this matter? In a country that tells the world NZ is not a corrupt place to do business, it should be pointed out other countries have integrity rules about exactly this.

The day Faafoi departed parliament he left no forwarding address – gone to enjoy his peace – that I would call either a bare-faced lie or a conspiracy after the fact if his former colleagues are prepared to remain silent and not slam some immediate legislation back in his face like we know they are capable of doing.

As a cabinet minister Faafoi will have been privy to the most important political discussions, and the information that goes with that territory.

Something no other existing participants in that industry could match. What is normally confidential is not the knowledge alone but those people associated with that, both inside and outside parliament.

His flippant brush off quoted above is one of the biggest middle fingers this country has seen.

Confidentiality aside, elements of cabinet discussions do often leak but parliament has the ability to sensure those actions and any indiscretions.

Faafoi is able to use and misuse what is unpublished, possibly intimidating, threatening, commercially sensitive, anti competitive … and any other etc. not listed.

Inappropriate advantage shouldn’t exist but then the example of Mahuta is leading the way.

Confidential public information is not intended to end up in the hands of commercial interests. We do not simply sell information about cabinet to the highest bidder and what entitles Faafoi to profit in that way as opposed to the labour of his former “career”?

I’m not offended just personally but on behalf of every minimum wage media worker out there struggling to make ends met and every media student that finds this in their history lesson.

That information is intended to be used for the public good, not to advance private interests, everything Faafoi supposedly stood against, isnt it?

But there is another significant consequence that needs to be stated loud and clear and that is Faafoi’s ability from within the position he has established to orchestrate funding of the Labour Party for the 2023 election without our normal and existing checks and balances.

We all should be concerned about that.

See Also Enough of Ardern

UN Speech September 2022

More on Kris Faafoi

The new lobbying company is owned by Greg Partington, who has a number of different businesses that connect with politics and political insiders. Another of Partington’s businesses, the communications agency “Tatou NZ” is run by the partner of Cabinet Minister Peeni Henare, Skye Kimura.

Niloofar Hamedi

You probably have no idea who Niloofar Hamedi is. Just another strange name that you are not sure how to pronounce.

I seldom watch any television news produced in New Zealand as it is unreliable and qualifies for little more than bad entertainment.

Last week you probably saw a story about a storm somewhere on the planet being sold as the worst in history alongside the suggestion it wouldn’t have happened but for the evils of humanity causing man-made climate change … rather than a story about what international media have to say about our Prime minister.

Hamedi, is an Iranian journalist. I don’t hesitate to call her a journalist. I draw a very clear distinction between some parrotoxic reporter working in the New Zealand media … and a real journalist.

Hopefully Hamedi is still alive after being arrested on September 22 and taken to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Alternative Media exist outside of Iran reporting on events in Iran. It’s the people’s voice that isn’t permitted inside the country. They beg the world, “Be Our Voice” and I’m doing my bit in support of that request.

#NiloofarHamedi is the Twitter hashtag that keeps track of the story. It could be “misinformation that is being used as a weapon of war” if we were to blithly accept the observations of our Prime minister about social media, but of course it’s not.

It’s not hard for me to see the familiar faces of people I’ve gotten to know and trust over the years detailing this story. I can write this whole post without even talking to them.

They will and do talk to me though whereas New Zealand media are too arrogant in their own estimation and seldom enter discussions. Not all to be fair, but the greater majority can’t defend what they write.

Why Hamedi is in prison, is because she reported on Iran’s now deceased, Mahsea Amini who was bludgeoned by Iran’s Morality Police for wearing a loose hijab.

Hamedi photographed Amini in hospital in a coma where she was being treated for injuries she received in custody.

The journalist’s Twitter account was suspended the day Hamedi tweeted a photo of the 22 year old woman’s parents crying at the hospital.

‎When Hamedi was arrested security guards seized all the journalist’s electronic devices, including mobile phones and laptops, while they raided the house where she was. We don’t know yet if she is still alive.

Journalism in Iran is essentially a crime looking for a story to convict those who dare and a life and death occupation to boot. Hamedi is not the only reporter or cameraman to have disappeared in the current uprising. It is their world and I wouldn’t want it to be ours but is that the way we are headed … and why international media rightfully ask, have we had enough of Ardern yet?

[You can see how the story does get mixed up though by others wanting to share these stories when you look at the dates above]

What really grew the original story is the arrest of the journalist. I don’t see anything being falsely reported any misinformation (false information) or disinformation (deliberate ruse).

Some people will say it’s their business. Stay out of it. We have politicians who pick their causes too, when it comes to human rights. In an increasingly global world, human rights have mostly been the liberties of the developed world and until recently we haven’t had to protest our own in New Zealand but now see the shadows of a new Dark Age on the horizon.

Golriz Ghahraman in particular who is a human rights lawyer (apparently) is very selective about when she stands up and about whose human rights she protests. I detest her behavior and her politics but I’d be the first to defend the human rights of my enemy because that’s the only way this can work in our developing world.

It’s beyond me when we can’t operate according to that principle. Human rights are human rights. There are no sub species and seldom demonstrable reasons for exceptions unless we want to lower ourselves to the occasion.

New Zealand has its own recent experience to reflect on, but the covid pandemic investigations are being stonewalled by Ardern’s government.

For months now we’ve had a similar situation in our own back yard in Tokelau. There’s more than 30 articles on this site alone about the unnecessary arbitrary detention and restrictions placed on those who were subjected to house arrest. It took a major effort from outside of Tokelau by multiple groups to give that story the life it deserved.

The Tokelau General manager broadcast the message on social media that is was their business, stay out of it.

When do you not do anything. When do you stand by and say nothing?

The current situation on Tokelau would suggest that the residents are still subject to both intimidation and other restrictions including communication with the outside world. Although MFAT have issued an assurance that all the house arrests are now over and those concerned are safe and well, there is no protest about what are still abuses of human rights in Tokelau.

Tokelau is comparable to Iran and we shouldn’t overlook that even if our mainstream aren’t reporting these events or are more concerned about wearable arts. Tokelau has finally acknowledged their own health crisis publishing an article in Radio NZ last Friday.

Whether it’s a journalist in Iran or a 15 year old girl in Tokelau, is beside the point. The civilised world is looking at New Zealand saying, “You’re going to be next if you don’t save your democracy” and your principled parliament.

From Wikipedia

On September 16, 2022, Hamedi gained access to Kasra Hospital in Tehran, where 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was being treated following her detention by the morality police for allegedly wearing her compulsory hijab inappropriately. Later that day, and around the time of Amini’s death, Hamedi tweeted a photo of Amini’s parents hugging and crying in the hospital. That picture quickly spread along with Hamedi’s reporting on Amini’s death, and eventually spiraled into nationwide protests.[2]

As a result of her news coverage, Hamedi was arrested by security forces on September 21,[3] following a wave of arrests that targeted journalists and students. Hamedi’s Twitter account, where she had originally posted the influential photo of Amini’s parents, was suspended without explanation.[4]

When The Narrative Gets Real

Yeah, we gave them a fright, alright.

The last thing Ardern’s propaganda team expected was for the alternative network to front–foot their tripe and rip STUFF News to bits.

So, it’s Tuesday and they’ve all come to their senses very quickly. Rotovegas is the centre of attention.

Bryce Edward’s is a fairly well known political scientist who generally comments in favour of National even though he claims to be consistently unbiased.

Local Rotorua Journalist gets a slot in the National Politics Column.

It’s “an absolute train wreck” in the eyes of Māori Party co-leader and Waiariki MP Rawiri Waititi.

For National Housing spokesperson Chris Bishop MP, it’s “a social and economic disaster”.

Not surprising. Who would bother to read anything from Stuff Circuit, Paula Penfold, Andrea Vance or perhaps even STUFF News full stop and I’d bet their clicks were telling a sad story too.

The decision may have been not to abandon Labour completely but run a parallel narrative that’s conducive with a more traditional Opposition.

That’s thrown the Māori Party and National together as odd bedfellows if you see it from their relationship with Waititi who is more aligned with Labour and the Greens. There is a element of Māoridom though that fits comfortably with National so in that respect it is not so surprising to see talk of the possibility of a political relationship with these two.

Sitting in the background, we have DemocracyNZ who won’t be registered until October but that’s only because of the next Commission meeting being in October.

The political landscape remains unclear and the dust isn’t quite settled.

What happens next is still very much up in the air, because there are a lot of unhappy people with significant political plans.

I’m expecting a few curve balls.

Youth Mental Health

In exploring UNICEF’s 2020 ranking of NZ as last in 38 developed countries for child mental well-being, report writer Lindsay Mitchell says some of the facts she uncovered surprised even her

The Daily Examiner is one of the rising stars of New Zealand’s rapidly growing alternative media.

People’s lives matter, stories matter – they want to hear from you …



The NZ public has well and truly rounded on Sinead Boucher and her STUFF News Platform.

Two of her senior journalists, Paula Penfold and Andrea Vance are in disgrace and struggling to find any industry support apart from a few sympathetic friends.

The reality is in front of Boucher, that the future of STUFF News is going to involve touch decisions, political and commercial reality – circumstances brought about by her own design, so Boucher can look no further than the mirror unless she was badly advised or perhaps brought into someone else’s pie-in-sky scheme. That last possibility I’m open to be entertained by.

With hundreds of staff and fingers in the media industry is STUFF too big to fail or has its time come?

About the Master and Her Apprentice

When Sci-fi comes to life – on your TV screens now, starring …

Jacinda Ardern

Normally you would expect a PM to see her successor in her caucus but in the case of our megalomaniac a more realistic concept would be an apprentice in the media. In the case of Sinead Boucher the current owner of Stuff News most likely long before anyone put their finger on it.

Ardern’s “New Normal” doesn’t expect to obey the rules. It’s no secret her government has been passing legislation faster than the public can submit on it, besides the many irregularities that have become commonplace during her tenure.

When it comes to trademark features, we’ve seen Ardern defend the indefensible and defy reasonable expectations almost every day.

This is trickling down and a good example of that is our fallen angel Paula Penfold (before and after shots below)

Paula Penfold
Fire and Fury

If you’re not familiar with the background of STUFF Circuit Propaganda Products have a look at this previous post about Fire and Fury.

Fire and Fury is a sci-fi drama based on a real life event in Wellington, New Zealand when protestors built a Freedom Camp in Parliament grounds.

Since its release in August 2022 Penfold has done a number of soft interviews justifying why she didn’t need to follow the basic rules of journalism – Penfold had a greater cause and that, apart from saving a few people from rabbit holes, was supporting the beliefs of her fearful elite.

It doesn’t end there. Boucher’s Irish compatriot is into the game as well.

Andrea (@avancenz) Vance

Vance has been happily embroiled in Wellington politics and scandal since she came to New Zealand following the News of the World turmoil in the UK but now she really has run off the rails.

As official information has become harder to source Vance quite rightly has been a regular protestor. When Ardern’s government broke loose from reality Vance stood up with a protest against the “The Artfully Crafted Mirage.”

There may have been a time when Ardern looked like she couldn’t fail. That’s what changed and that changed Vance. Suddenly the little people are the biggest threat to society. They just happen to also be the biggest threat to Labour affiates in the Local Government elections. Vance like Penfold has launched another save the world STUFF News campaign against undesirables (Local GovernmentCandidate in this case).

The obvious commercial realities are covered in this post about aberrant media.

What’s happening here is the number of people who do want to be part of this are doggy deep in it. They stand to lose everything, and the irony is Vance suggesting that those that are a threat are the ones who have already lost everything, because of a dysfunctional society.

Vance like Ardern no longer makes any rational sense. They’ve dug their own rabbit hole and have become so detached from society they’re trying to fake the news.

I’d like to say, “you couldn’t make this up” but I believe Eric A Blair came pretty close to it. In all fairness though, I have to add that he felt too threatened to publish in his own name at the time and used a pen name.

Mesa Propose: A Ban on STUFF News

No, they can’t handle criticism, can’t front up for an interview on The Platform but can publish compromised opinions from Graeme Tucket, Wellington. There is no great outpouring of support from their industry colleagues or other organisations.

STUFF News has been bowled over by the reaction to their media. That may not have reached the stage of public condemnation by the media industry but from an industry perspective STUFF News owner, Sinead Boucher is in an embarrassing and compromised position.

Abberant Media – NZ

Out of Control

New Zealand’s mainstream media has reached beyond respectability. The world will be watching in horror at what is unfolding in a once stable liberal democracy in the South Pacific.

The New Zealand public has developed a severe distrust of its news outlets with surveys showing solid support down to around 20%.

The alternative industry is real. It’s not a few bunnies on Facebook pretending they’re journalists – there is real experience, talent and determination that has doubled the threat to the mainstream existence – the most likely first casualty will be Stuff News.

The first threat was government funding. It would be too easy for the organisation with the least competent management to become dependent.

That dependency would create a compliance in order to survive and we would see that organisation became extreme in tandem with a failing government.

That is exactly what we are seeing now with Stuff News leading a campaign, interfering with our local body elections.

One independent outlet that got sucked into this aberrant media has already issued an apology.

We can be grateful to an extent that we are seeing this corruption now. Go forward 12 months to same interference with a general election and that would be sinister as, Dr Muriel Newman points out.

Newman has history: educated, commercial experience, former MP, and political analyst and owner of the independent think tank NZCPR (NZ Centre for Political Research) which she established in 2005.

That’s not just talent but dedication also.

There are camel straws here. A pressure cooker holding up a failed government with a funded industry – if someone doesn’t go gracefully there’s going to be a big bang.

[You may have missed it, but you can bet they heard those politicians who are talking about media policy for the next election, funding reforms and income disclosure for news outlets]