New Zealand blogosphere

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New Zealand's blogosphere is a small community of around 600[1] blogs that comment largely on New Zealand politics, society and occurrences.


Political blogs

There are a considerable number of blogs that focus on the politics of New Zealand. The Tumeke! nz blogosphere lists over 200 "author-operated, public discourse" blogs in New Zealand and ranks them according to a formula of traffic, links incoming, posting frequency and comments. These rankings show a wide range of ideological positions are popular and that female bloggers are scarce. Many blogs are written by current and former party apparatchiks, such as David Farrar's Kiwiblog and Jordan Carter's Just Left, and many bloggers are journalists and print media commentators such as the bloggers on Russell Brown's Public Address.

Blogs from within political parties

Unlike overseas counterparts, both Rodney Hide, Red Alert and Frogblog allow comments.

Numerous politicians began blogs during the 2005 election, but these have since ceased.

Lobby group blogs

A number of political pressure groups have blogs.

Unofficial blogs

Many political activists in New Zealand maintain blogs.

Relationship to "mainstream" politics

A 2007 New Zealand Herald article by Bill Ralston described political bloggers as being potentially the most powerful "opinion makers" in New Zealand politics.[2] A few weeks earlier the National Business Review had stated that, "Any realistic 'power list' produced in this country would include either [David] Farrar or his fellow blogger and opinion leader Russell Brown."[3] And in 2008 The Press said that year's election "could be the time when New Zealand's burgeoning political bloggers finally make their presence felt".[4] The article saw the increasing influence of the Internet (as opposed to television and radio) on people's lives and the number of professional journalists now maintaining blogs as the reason for the blogosphere's increased significance, alongside the fact that unlike newspapers blogs can link directly to facts and sources. The blogosphere has also make an impart on parliament – Russell Brown is quoted as saying, "Every now and then you see a line from the blog turn up in a parliamentary speech" and in December 2007 then prime minister Helen Clark accused political journalists of "rushing to judgment" on their blogs.[4]


Criminal charges

Tim Selwyn, an Auckland man convicted of sedition in 2006, is also a prominent blogger, often bringing up controversial points. The pamphlet for which he was convicted and imprisoned on a charge of sedition was published on his website. Selwyn was also criticised in parliament for sending letters about his prison experiences to his co-blogger Martyn 'Bomber' Bradbury, who posted them on the blog.

In August 2006, Sunday News revealed[5] a blog site set up by Wellington-based national socialist Nic Miller after personal details of four Jewish families living in the city were posted on it. The details were later removed from the site.

CYFS Watch

In January 2007 another controversial blog, CYFS Watch, appeared. The blog's stated aim was unveiling examples of alleged incompetence by the Child Youth and Family Service (known by its acronym CYFS) of the Ministry of Social Development. The Ministry responded to the publication of the blog, which published the details of several social workers, by complaining to internet company Google. The blog remained online until 22 February 2007 when Google deleted the site, due to the blog's anonymous author making death threats towards Green MP Sue Bradford because of her Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill 2005.[6]

Media relationship

The majority of bloggers still rely upon the media for the provision of news stories to comment upon. However, they do not repeat the news, instead putting forward their viewpoint on it. The mainstream media at first was highly critical of bloggers. In January 2007 The New Zealand Herald printed an editorial that stated "[M]ost bloggers – and we're talking 95 per cent – are fly-by-night, gutless wonders who prefer to spit inarticulate venom under inarticulate pseudonyms."[7] Since then though the newspaper has picked up multiple stories first broken on blogs (see below).

Some current and former bloggers have worked in or for the media industry, such as Russell Brown, Keith Ng, Tze Ming Mok and Dave Crampton.

Political scientist Bryce Edwards who maintains the liberation blog has also been a guest columnist for The New Zealand Herald[8] as has Geoffrey Miller of Douglas to Dancing.[9]

Bloggers breaking news

There have been many notable examples of bloggers breaking news stories and then having the media pick it up. For instance, Idiot/Savant discovered that neither Rodney Hide nor Heather Roy had been showing up to Parliament and consequently the ACT party had not voted in the 2006 budget debate. The story was subsequently picked up by The Dominion Post and The New Zealand Herald. In February 2008 a blog post by Russell Brown about the Wikipedia article on Bill English being edited from a computer at parliament received coverage in The New Zealand Herald.[10] The story had first been broken on The Standard,[11] a blog with links to the Labour Party.[4] A similar story was that of a computer at Air New Zealand being used to edit the Wikipedia article on Air New Zealand Flight 901 which was first mentioned on NZBC and later picked up by The Press.[12] In April 2008, blogger David Farrar revealed the Green Party's preliminary party list.[13] The story was subsequently picked up by NZPA and published on Stuff. In June blogger 'Skinny' made the discovery that a photo used in in promotional material about the 2008 budget was of an American family, not a New Zealand one – the story was then published in The New Zealand Herald.[14]

Non-political blogs

There are numerous non-political blogs.[15] They range from music blogs to group blogs to personal blogs. There are also a number of geographical based blog such as:

Fashion blogs

With the development of the fashion industry in New Zealand, a lot of fashion blogs have appeared, most of them being online magazines.


  1. "The New Zealand Blogosphere". Kiwiology. 
  2. "Bill Ralston: Public opinion on Key turns rabid". The New Zealand Herald. 2007-10-07. 
  3. Ben Thomas and David W Young (20 September 2007). "Politicians will be haunted by their past on internet". National Business Review. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Bloggers left and right". The Press. 2008-02-16.  (archive copy)
  5. Sunday News. August 2006.,2106,3763198a15596,00.html. 
  6. "Google shuts down Cyfswatch website". New Zealand Herald
  7. "Big Blogger Is Watching" The New Zealand Herald (2007-01-27)
  8. "Bryce Edwards: Backdoor funding affects democracy". The New Zealand Herald. 2006-09-14. 
  9. "Geoffrey Miller: Act's dilemma - what's in a name?". The New Zealand Herald. 2008-03-12. 
  10. "Blogger targets 'political' editing of Wikipedia in Beehive". The New Zealand Herald. 2008-02-28. 
  11. "Bills Wikipedia Edits". The Standard. 2008-02-27. 
  12. "Erebus article censor found at Air NZ". The Press. 2007-08-21. 
  13. Green Party List
  14. "US photographer surprised at Labour using his happy family picture". The New Zealand Herald. 2008-06-11. 
  15. " search for 'personal blog'". 
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