Nov 15, 2008

Final Dispatch

The Hive was established in late November 2007 as a reaction to the proposed passage of bad legislation – the Electoral Finance Act. The collaborators had several other goals:
To experiment with the power of this new media tool – a blog;
To raise the standard of political debate – particularly around trade and economic policy and about the policy response to climate change;
To expose the truth about Winston Peters’ performance as Foreign Minister and the funding of the NZ First Party;
To assist the wider news media to understand the importance of some issues that had previously been misunderstood, misreported or not reported.

During 2008 we became increasingly frustrated at the way New Zealand was being run, particularly over the process around the proposed emissions trading scheme, foreign investment (eg Auckland Airport), and the squandering of billions on a poor investment (Kiwirail).

We also became concerned about the politicisation of the public service and the fear from some in the public service about providing free and frank advice to Ministers. Ministers were in some cases being told what they wanted to hear as opposed to the truth. And the public were not being told the truth because Ministers would not let officials tell the truth. The likely cost of carbon credits is a classic example.

A year after its establishment the collaborators are pleased that pretty much all goals have been achieved. They are not displeased with some recent developments also:
The decisive result at the election;
The removal of NZ First from Parliament;
The participation of the Maori Party in Government;
The election of Phil Goff and Annette King as leader and deputy leader of Labour.
The probability that Mike Williams will stand down from the Labour Party Presidency and be replaced with Andrew Little.

In sum there has, we believe, been a fundamental shift in New Zealand politics. The Hive, we believe, played a roll in achieving this shift. In the last month it moved to #4 in the ranking of NZ political blogs and was achieving an impressive daily readership of close to 3,000 opinion formers every day Monday to Friday with a daily readership at weekends closer to 1,200.

So we have decided to call it quits on The Hive. We will leave it up as it is an interesting resource for those studying New Zealand politics and history. Those studying the impact of blogs on New Zealand politics will also find this a useful resource.

The Hive has been a collaboration involving around a dozen people. Backgrounds include politicians, lobbyists, journalists and business people. Two of us are discussing a fully commercial venture (once the EFA is abolished) which will seek to continue the improvement of debate and analysis of key issues confronting New Zealand. Watch this space in the New Year.

We thank the collaborators for the hours they donated to this effort. Everything has been done on a voluntary basis, usually late at night or early in the morning.

And thanks again to our readers. Many of you contributed comments. All comments were read and had some form of impact. Thank you for being part of The Hive.