News & Politics
New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener Issue 8 2020

New Zealand Listener is the country’s most respected general interest magazine, bringing you a wide variety of news, stories, columns, reviews, plus TV listings, every week.

New Zealand
Bauer Media Pty Ltd
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in this issue

3 min.
the sound and the fury

Radio New Zealand must be feeling like a pet cat that was adored until it unexpectedly peed on the best couch and was chased under the house by an irate family. Now, it sits in the dark, occasionally stabbing at its fur with its tongue and glaring at its appalled family peering at it from a distance asking, “How could you have done that to us?” RNZ Concert listeners, and the station’s staff, were shocked by the company’s initial proposals to replace Concert’s presenters with a fully automated service, broadcast on the AM network. The move, had it gone ahead as proposed, would have freed up most of Concert’s budget, allowing RNZ to apply it to a new multimedia brand targeting a younger and more ethnically diverse audience. It is clear from…

10 min.
rnz concert must play on

If RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson and music content director Willy Macalister acted in isolation with their proposal to disembowel RNZ Concert, then they clearly do not understand their audience and should be asked to resign on the grounds of incompetence. But I suspect they were responding to a Government ideological shift in the arts and culture sector. We see action to dumb down or undermine so-called “high culture, exemplified by the RNZ Concert issue, but also reflected in the destruction of 60,000 books in the National Library, reducing access to National Archives and Creative NZ’s action in shutting down New Zealand Review of Books/Pukapuka Aotearoa, the only journal devoted exclusively to coverage of New Zealand literature. This illustrates Creative NZ’s increasingly prescriptive approach, which requires organisations to tick ethnic, age…

1 min.

“Has somebody tried turning Iowa off and turning it back on again?” – The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert about the Iowa caucus on Twitter“There are so many brother directors in Hollywood, but there are almost no sister director duos, which is crazy. You’d think this town would love to pay two women one salary.” – actor Aubrey Plaza at the Independent Spirit Awards“President Trump’s legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, criticised the Super Bowl half-time show as demeaning to women. She said the president believes there’s a time and a place to demean women, and that’s Twitter.”– TV talkshow host Conan O’Brien“They told me I only have 45 seconds up here. Which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week.”– Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Brad Pitt“The most…

1 min.
10 quick questions

1. True or false? The words “pigeon” and “dove” refer to the same family of birds. ❑ True❑ False 2. True or false? The word “the” was pronounced “ye” in the Middle Ages. ❑ True❑ False 3. What does the word “axiomatic”mean? ❑ Self-evident❑ Self-defeating ❑ Self-saucing❑ Self-governing 4. Which river flows through the Grand Canyon? ❑ Yukon River❑ Rio Grande❑ Colorado River❑ Snake River 5. Who wrote the gothic novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? ❑ Mary Shelley❑ Robert Louis Stevenson ❑ Bram Stoker❑ Oscar Wilde 6. Which creature has the largest eyes in the animal kingdom? ❑ Blue whale❑ Great white shark ❑ Colossal squid❑ Whale shark 7. Which of these was invented by New Zealander Colin Murdoch in the 1950s? ❑ Tranquilliser dart gun ❑ Medical thermometer❑ Stethoscope❑ Artificial heart 8. From which novel did the Starbucks…

3 min.
garbled messaging goes viral

It was more than unfortunate that Auckland’s Lantern Festival was cancelled for no valid reason. Around the world, the media has struggled with how to cover the novel coronavirus episode, now christened Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Is it the Next Great Plague ham-fistedly trying to be covered up by China, or has there been an overreaction to the latest flu-like virus? Even against that uncertain backdrop, a story by 1 News on Waitangi Day, in which a journalist reported live from Christchurch that the city’s Night Noodle Markets would be unaffected, was abject. TVNZ has not been the only organisation to conflate “Asian” and “coronavirus”. Presumably, no one fears catching coronavirus from dim sums – or from club sandwiches, for that matter – so the only reason for reporting…

3 min.
the sound and the fury

RNZ would have known any suggestion of messing with Concert would bring down the wrath of God. Jacinda Ardern, apparently, is more than “a little bit miffed”. She is, in fact, “pretty frustrated”. As Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, she is grumpy at RNZ for flying a kite suggesting Concert FM would become Concert AM later this year to make room for a youth-oriented radio station. Although the outcome was unclear at press time, the original proposal was dumb on many levels. Concert plays orchestral music and opera, which really do require the stereo audio quality that FM provides, rather than the tinny mono output from AM. A swap to AM would have resulted in Concert’s already relatively small audience shrinking further as listeners choose instead to tune in to their own…