A few things are changing around here... but all in a good way. Just check out our new pundits

Dear loyal readers (and any fickle folk floating by),

The observant amongst you may have noticed that yesterday our list of contributors on the left hand side of the page changed. Some of the folk who have written for Pundit in the past have moved onto other things and, happily, a bunch of new folk have agreed to share their expertise with you.

And expertise is what it's all about. The threshold for Pundit has always been that the writers, while still flawed and imperfect in many ways, have some level of expertise or particular experience of what they're writing about. These are not people who got up in the morning, had some random thoughts in the shower and wrote down to rant.

This is an important distinction in these times where expertise is often mocked and experience labelled as elitism and a false equivalency given to those with expertise and those who shout loudly and pretend to know more than they do.

Pundit also remains dedicatedly non-partisan. We value smart views from across the spectrum. So we are, frankly, honoured to have in Wyatt Creech a former Deputy Prime Minister in a National government, and in Steve Maharey, a former fourth-ranked minister in a Labour government.

We have Wayne Mapp, another senior minister, and Sue Bradford, who's often called one of the most effective Opposition MPs in history, thanks to her success with private members bills.

Also new to our pages are two journalists. New Zealand Herald writer David Fisher has twice been named New Zealand's 'Reporter of the Year' and is one our most respected newshounds. Nicola Kean provides a millenial's voice amongst all the boomers and Xers. A graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, Nicola is a producer on TV3's The Nation and therefore consumes vast amounts of political research every week and is full of facts.

In the next week, I'm pleased to announce, Sir Wira Gardiner – a founding director of the Waitangi Tribunal, the founding Chief Executive of Te Puni Kokori and now Chair of Te Papa's board – will be joining the Pundit mix, as will Vic Crone, the former Xero executive-turned Auckland mayoral candidate-turned CEO of Callaghan Innovation.

To be honest, it's an embarrassment of riches. And that's without mentioning those who have been around for a while now.

These are all people of substance and insight, and they'll be sharing all that with you, for better or worse, and for free.

You don't have to like us or what we say. But our goal is to offer rich, expert analysis of what's going on around us in a way that makes you think and from a variety of different angles. You can't say fairer than that, can you?

In this election year, especially, we hope for some lively discussion. As always, we welcome your comments, your support and your willingness to tell you friends and family about us. And, as always, we ask you to debate the issues, not attack the people. Pundit tries to be an antidote to that all too common trend.

So thanks for coming to visit, we hope you enjoy the buffet. 

Comments (6)

by Chuck Bird on March 15, 2017
Chuck Bird

I am not sure who has written this about the change of writers on Pundit.  It is either someone’s blog or forum as Kiwiblog is David Farrar’s blog and he makes the rules.

I do find that restricting contributions to so called experts is elitist.  The question is what qualifies someone as an expert.  People do not have to have a degree to know a lot about a particular subject.

By your criteria it seems like you would be happy for Kim Workman to write an article but not Garth McVicar.  I may be wrong.  I would be happy if I am. 

I do not have university degree but I feel I am an expert on some subjects.  One would David Bain and Judge Binnie.  On 27 Feb the Sunday show put on a very biased and unbalanced piece on the lack official compensation for David.  I thought was a shocking piece of TV journalism.

I have read the reports of Binnie, Fisher and Callinan.  I think if the producers had read those reports they pulled more than a few punches on Binnie and it ended up as a hatchet job on Judith Collins. 

At the end of the show they mentioned that Binnie had been invited to speak at a meeting of the Criminal Bar Association in a few months time.  I wrote to them but have not had the courtesy of a reply.

In my view Justice Callinan is correct in stating with very good reasons that it is more likely than not that David murdered his family.

It is outrageous that this Government paid him almost a million dollars after receiving Callinan’s report.

This is not just something thought about this morning.  I would love to write about it on Pundit.  This has of course been debated on Kiwiblog but that does not carry the same weight as Kiwiblog due to the number of abusive commenters who would not be allowed on Pundit.





by Tim Watkin on March 15, 2017
Tim Watkin

Well Chuck, you have just written something about it on Pundit.

We have a Your Punt section on Pundit where non-regular contributors send their pieces. But fundamentally we disagree. I didn't say anything about a degree, but I do think that the pendulum has swung too far and we lack respect for expertise. It's not elitist to listen to people who have some bonafides ahead of self-appointed know it alls. Too many people Google a symptom and then diagnose themselves as if they are a doctor, others read a few books and blogs on climate change and think they know better than climate scientists.

Good on you for reading the reports, we should all be vigilant and informed about current events. But our point of difference at Pundit is that the writers know what they're writing about from years of experience. 

by Lee Churchman on March 16, 2017
Lee Churchman

Well Tim, I would say that experts have had a tough time of it in the last 15 years. Economic and military failures aside, there does seem to be a feeling that many of the people in charge do not know what they are doing. Even recently, we were assured that Brexit would not happen and Trump would not win. 

There is also the feeling that 'expertise' is being too narrowly defined to a particular Overton window. Many experts take a broader view, and that is needed these days (not me, my expertise is solely historical). 

by Chuck Bird on March 16, 2017
Chuck Bird

Tim, most blogs or forums are run by one person.  I am still unclear how the Pundit works.  Are you in charge or is there a committee?  You mentioned the Your Punt section.  If you are in charge I would be wasting my time as you have already judged me as not knowing as much as you or any of the Pundits on any subject.

I was wanting to write about the Sunday show and Judge Binnie's unprofessional conduct by making a personal attack on Judith Collins and the NZ justice system in general. 

I definitely know more about the Bain case than Judge Binnie and almost certainly more the NZ criminal justice system than him.  Were you aware that Binnie had no criminal law experience and had never sat as a judge before his appointment to the Supreme Court?  He is certainly not universally respected in Canada.  Many regard him as an activist judge.  I do not intend talking of his history in Canada but point out that the claim the he is well respected is greatly exaggerated.   

I do not want to re-litigate the Bain case but focus on why Binnie’s report was rejected and why it was very wrong for Binnie to claim that Judith Collins and/or the Cabinet shopped around for the report they wanted.  This borders on defamation of Judith Collins, Robert Fisher QC and Judge Callinan.  As well as that it is illogical.  The easiest course of action would have been for Cabinet to accept the report as has always been the case.

You may think for a non-lawyer to say they know more than a Supreme Court Judge is arrogant.  Well not only have I read the three reports but I was a member of a group called Justice For Robin Bain (JFRB).  Some of the members of this group were women in the late teens and knew the Bain sisters and David.  


The link to the Sunday show is below in case you or anyone has not seen the show.  You have to scroll to 27 Feb to view the show.  You will see my comments as well as some of the women in the group I mentioned.


I thought it best to post this as there is no contact email and if I write and will include sources and as I am not an experienced let alone profession writer it will take some time and I do not want to waste it.  I have had considerable writing submissions for Courts up the CoA in my claim to recover money off my former crooked lawyer.  I was successful in my claim and all his appeal against me have been rejected. 

by Tim Watkin on March 16, 2017
Tim Watkin

Good grief, I was simply introducing some new contributors! I'm not trying to have a conversation about experts or David Bain. (BTW Chuck, anyone can see Binnie hadn't sat as a judge prior, it's on wikipedia. That doesn't make me claim I know more than someone who had spent their career honing their skills. I'm sorry, but yes I do think what you say sounds arrogant).

As for Pundit, there are About Us and Contact Us links in the right hand column on every page. I hope they clarify your questions.

by Ross on March 18, 2017

I would be interested to read Chuck's thoughts on Ian Binnie.

Personally, I'm not convinced that Binnie is all there. He made the astonishing claim on Sunday recently that he believed Robin Bain killed five members of his family and had set up David by leaving behind evidence incriminating David. That's astonishing for two reasons: it's an admission that there is evidence incriminating David - you possibly wouldn't know that by reading Binnie's report - but more importantly, even David's legal team at his retrial didn't suggest that Robin had set up David to take the fall. I don't even recall David's number one fan, Joe Karam, making such a claim either. For an independent jurist to make such claim is incredible. Alas, Binnie wasn't an independent jurist; he was an advocate for David.

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