The Dim-Post

December 31, 2010

For services to journalism

Filed under: media — danylmc @ 7:02 am

Herald columnist Garth George is named in the new year honors list for ‘services to journalism’, and I wonder if there’s a specific column her majesty had in mind when deciding to award him an MNZM.

As our principal face to the world, [John Key] should always travel in style, first class all the way, and should be able to take his wife, and even family, with him if he chooses – all at the Government’s expense.

Mr Key is an avid fan of the All Blacks, a frequent attendee at their games and a regular, potently encouraging presence in their dressing room.

Happy new year everyone! Thanks for reading and I wish you all regular, potent encouragement for 2011.

December 20, 2010

Don’t say I never do anything for you

Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 10:36 pm

Bryce Edwards dumped a bunch of the NZ WikiLeaks cables on his blog today: 243 cables in one big pdf file. I’ve parsed them out and tried to make them easier to read, and sorted them into date order with a brief summary. (They’re a bit tricky to work with so they’re still rather messy.) They’re all listed and linked below the fold.

If you find something worthwhile then quote it in the comments, with the cable number. If you’re going to tweet it then try and fit in the #cablegate hashtag and the cable number as a hashtag. Alternatively, we could start using a domestic hastag: I nominate #kiwileaks.

(more…)

Question of the day

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 12:27 pm

Tracy Watkins excerpts another Wikileaks cable:

Senior MOD officials (strictly protect) tell us it was not until Finance Minister Michael Cullen pointed out in a subsequent Cabinet meeting that New Zealand’s absence from Iraq might cost NZ dairy conglomerate Fonterra the lucrative dairy supply contract it enjoyed under the United Nations Oil for Food program, that the prime minister found a face-saving compromise and sent combat engineers in a non-combat role to Basra, where they were embedded with British forces. “By then, however, the prime minister had so stirred up anti-war sentiment that she had to expend a lot of political capital to get Caucus and Cabinet support for this time-limited deployment

Can someone explain to me the difference between a senior defence official named as a protected source by a foreign embassy who briefs them on confidential cabinet decisions, and a spy?

December 19, 2010

Hypotheses please

Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 9:02 am

Google has a new toy, the ngram viewer. They’ve indexed five million books containing roughly 5 billion unique words and date indexed them, so you can run frequency searches over time. Here’s what New Zealand looks like over the last couple decades:

The most boring explanation is a sample bias in the raw data, but can anyone come up with a more exciting theory as to why New Zealand was a hot subject in the 1980s?

Update: Ah, I’ve answered my own question: the search is case sensitive. Duh. Here’s what we really look like:

And here’s the important graph:

Ha ha! Those Aussies really sucked back there in the early 19th century, huh?

December 12, 2010

Another break, New Zealand Wikileaks edition

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:55 am

Nicky Hager has (inevitably) gotten hold of the New Zealand Wikileaks cables. You can download them as one long pdf here. There are 8 cables released so far. I guess the SST means to have their fun over the next few months.

Anyway, I’ve parsed them out and uploaded them to google docs as separate text files, hashing them for the names of individual politicians (the last two are the most readable):

10WELLINGTON3
SCENESETTER FOR SECRETARY CLINTON’S NEW ZEALAND VISIT
Date: 1/06/2010
John Key
Phil Goff

07WELLINGTON194
PM CLARK GOES TO WASHINGTON
Date: 3/02/2007
Helen Clark
John Key
Phil Goff

08WELLINGTON356
A/S FORT’S OCTOBER 9-10 VISIT TO NEW ZEALAND
Date: 10/24/2008
Helen Clark
John Key

08WELLINGTON66
NEW ZEALAND ACCEPTS U.S. PROPOSAL ON DEFENSE ENGAGEMENT
Date: 2/25/2008
Helen Clark

06WELLINGTON128
NATIONAL CONTEMPLATES CHANGE ON NUCLEAR BAN STANCE
Date: 2/17/2006
Helen Clark
Don Brash
Phil Goff

06WELLINGTON341
NEW ZEALAND IVs EMERGE AS MEDIA LEADERS
Date: 5/03/2006
Helen Clark

05WELLINGTON696
NZ’S “”PRESIDENTIAL RACE:”” FOCUS ON PM CLARK AND DON BRASH
Date: 9/11/2005
Helen Clark
Don Brash

06WELLINGTON928
OPPOSITION LEADER BRASH RESIGNS; KEY TIPPED TO TAKE CHARGE
Date: 11/24/2006
Helen Clark
Don Brash
John Key

One thing to bear in mind, illustrated by this comment in the Brash-Key coup document:

English is not believed to be interested in serving as Key’s deputy

These things aren’t gospel.

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