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Scoop Feedback: A Selection

Scoop Feedback: A Selection

The following is a selction of feedback and other unsolicited email received by Scoop recently.

They do not appear in chronological order.

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Excellent commentary on the Brethren by Barbara Sumner Burstyn. My concern was that right next to this is a link to the 'stunning website', which is the mouthpiece of more religious fundamentalists .... will your newspaper also be offering commentary on the potential for bias in the reporting at this website? Attending a Maxim Institute Political Forum recently offered revealing insights into the social controls that this 'a-political' (YEAH RIGHT (WING)!) organisation promotes. Personally, I wouldn't go anywhere near the website. Attending the forum was frightening enough! God defend New Zealand!


Re: The Brethrenesque World Order by Barbara Sumner Burstyn

As a former congregant of the so called Exclusive Brethren I can say with authority that EB have never collectively discouraged drinking alcohol amongst themselves (except during Prohibition here in the US). They may now say that drinking to excess is not right, but their past history is fraught with excessive consumption in the home, on chartered air flights and on the train from Heathrow to Bristol, England. Their correct justification (not for the abberant behavior described above) is that Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:9), that he came eating and drinking (Luke 7:34) and the apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to have a little wine for his stomach's sake (1Tim.5:23).

This article appears to be extremely well written with substantial fact. And I am impressed with the intellect and the style of the author. As seems to be characteristic of many media personnel who are drawn to the left, this same gravitation of Burstyn is evident herein as well. But the presentation of facts might be considered bland if personal convictions were suppressed that would color an idea, illustrate a perception or otherwise add vibrancy to literature. Nonetheless, of the five articles presented to me on the subject I enjoyed this one the most.

Brethren view themselves as the remnant of the lost tribe of Israel. They staunchly see themselves making their way through the desert and the wilderness living in this world in this day and age. All that they do is done to effectively separate themselves from the world around them (which is what the children of Israel did in leaving Egypt) until they arrive in the Promised Land (that would be the Rapture). They have absolutely no interest for themselves in what happens in this world after the Rapture so their political interest is short term until that event occurs.

Their motives can be admirable, their lifestyle can be above reproach. In spite of what by first appearance may be underhandedness, they deserve greater consideration than a pigeonholed characterization.

Thank you for taking the time to read.


Ray Taylor



Where's the "scoop" on the ombudsman being called in to investigate why Labour won't front up with papers relating to Treasury's costing of Labour's interest free student loan bribe?

[Scoop replied:

Reader replied:]

Forgive me for assuming that a story about how Labour's student loan bribe might be totally unaffordable was newsworthy enough to warrant a link from the homepage. Dr Brash's pamphlet story (which should be more about his honesty) seems to dominate instead.

If you're so keen on running stories about deceitful politicians, why not run a side bar about how Clark "did't know" her motorcade was speeding. Or about Cullen's switch from "there's no money for tax cuts" to "I found a few buckets of money we can throw around".


Warmest congratulations on the fantastic coverage of Brethrengate - and Lyndon Hood's excuses are brilliant.



Re: NEWSFLASH: Did Brash Lie To His Deputy Leader?

Who cares?


HappyClappingHomos would like to correct the misrepresentation made by the Society for Protection of Community Standards in their latest press release. The Society have used the case Living World Distributors vs Human Rights Action Group (inc) [2000] 3 NZLR 570 as an example of how the dreaded 'Homosexual Agenda' to ban free speech was overthrown by courts and is a shining example of the righteousness of their cause. The society is however using a select portion of the case to mis-inform

We remind the Society that the court is bound by the law, in this case, the censor attempted to have the video banned as 'Objectionable' under the act the meaning of objectionable is as follows:

(1) For the purposes of this Act, a publication is objectionable if it describes, depicts, expresses, or otherwise deals with matters such as sex, horror, crime, cruelty, or violence in such a manner that the availability of the publication is likely to be injurious to the public good.

(2) A publication shall be deemed to be objectionable for the purposes of this Act if the publication promotes or supports, or tends to promote or support,

(a) The exploitation of children, or young persons, or both, for sexual purposes; or

(b) The use of violence or coercion to compel any person to participate in, or submit to, sexual conduct; or

(c) Sexual conduct with or upon the body of a dead person; or

(d) The use of urine or excrement in association with degrading or dehumanising conduct or sexual conduct; or

(e) Bestiality; or

(f) Acts of torture or the infliction of extreme violence or extreme cruelty.

In making its judgment the Coram of Richardson P, Gault, Thomas, Keith and Tipping JJ had to apply and interpret the law as defined by the act. Under such light, the videos could not be banned. In paragraph 68 of the judgment with particular reference to the last sentence, it is says:

"I do not wish it thought, therefore, that in holding that the board exceeded its jurisdiction I condone the contents of the videos or endorse the view that the publication of the videos is in the public good. Nor, on the other hand, do I wish it thought that I accept the submissions of those who perceive the videos to be blatant bigotry or hate propaganda. In truth, my views are beside the point. What is in point is the question whether videos of this kind fall within the scope and intent of legislation directed at the censorship of unacceptable portrayals of pornographic sex and violence. I am not prepared to accept that this is the case"

In this case, as the videos never satisfied the legislative definition of what is objectionable, and therefore the appeal was overturned. This does not however constitute the ‘victory’ that the SPCS claims it to be. By simply citing a very small part of the case they are in fact being misleading (we remind the society that lying is a sin). If we read further through the judgment we find that the Coram stated:

"[66] The videotapes portray the beliefs and prejudices of religious fundamentalism. Marty and Appleby have written that such fundamentalism manifests itself as a strategy or set of strategies by which its believers attempt to preserve a distinctive identity as a people or group. Feeling that this identity is at risk in the contemporary era they fortify it by a selective retrieval of doctrines, beliefs and practices from a more sacred past. Promoting a rigorous socio-moral code for its followers, the boundaries are set, the "enemy" is identified, converts are sought and institutions are created and sustained in pursuit of a comprehensive reconstruction of society. (Martin E Marty and R Scott Appleby (eds), Fundamentalisms and Society: reclaiming the sciences, the family and education (University of Chicago Press, 1984) at p 3.)

[67] The videos fit this perception. While directed at the danger of an AIDS epidemic in the one case and the threat of an enlarged protection of civil rights embracing homosexuals in the other, both videos reveal an abhorrence of what is called the "homosexual lifestyle". This phrase is used persistently throughout the videos without being defined. It is, however, identified with promiscuous and irresponsible sexual behaviour by male homosexuals. Lack of balance is evident in the dogmatic way in which these characteristics are attributed to all homosexuals, and there is no recognition of the diversity of homosexual associations which do not accord with this stereotyped description. Nor is any appreciation shown as to the nature and depth of gay and homosexual orientation, such as the appreciation which has resulted in sexual orientation becoming a prohibited ground of discrimination in this and other countries. The propensity for such presentations to cause harm is apparent: they may mislead the uninformed; they simplify the issues in a manner which is unrealistic; they give credence to false facts and figures; they demean and trivialise homosexual associations which do not fit the popular negative stereotype; they are hurtful and oppressive to the homosexual community; they pose a wounding challenge to the personal belief that sexual orientation is a deeply personal characteristic that is either unchangeable or changeable only at unacceptable personal costs; they may psychologically scar homosexual individuals who would not otherwise repress their sexual orientation; and they tend to victimise and alienate a sizeable proportion of the population."

We at challenge the society to respond to the views of the Coram stated in those two paragraphs. While the appeal could not be sustained under the current legal definition of "objectionable" the view of the members of the Judiciary involved was one of concern for the harm that publications such as those distributed by "Living World" are capable of causing.

Full text of the judgment, Living World Distributors vs Human Rights Action Group (inc), can be found in [2000] 3 NZLR 570 or by requesting it from the Court of Appeal Registry, Wellington.


Did you notice the interview with Jonathan Fontelle? or similar this morning on Linda Clark? US advisor who has helped Republicans and Tories turn polls around in last couple of weeks by appealing particularly to women of the 'Jones generation' 38-50 ish who are swinging voters. Use words like You deserve it and family stuff to appeal to their sense of entitlement. Didn't deny he was here to work with the Nats and Richard Long rang up the programme to say he wasn't. So watch out for ads using the sentiments he suggests. Claimed credit for Bush winning although Kerry leading a couple of weeks earlier.


Tempting Carrots

I write this letter with concern, at the many New Zealanders who are being tempted by the sweet carrots that the Government is waving before them. For example the wiping of the student interest on loans from April next year. Also the other tempting carrots that will be hung in front of young and old to get their votes. YES, we must look after the people of our Country, thats important, but dont you realise that Governments do not give away something for nothing. If they wipe the Student interest, they will pick up that loss in another area, we will still have to pay. This Government is desperate to get back in power as they have not yet completed their Socialist, Maxist Agenda which is still being unwraped. Lets Vote with wisdom.

Yours faithfully

Leonie McLoughlin


When the overzealous servants of Henry II interpreted his wishes regarding Becket to mean that they should get rid of the priest, Henry took the responsibility for the murder, having himself whipped through the streets by eighty monks. In contrast our latter-day leader, having benefited likewise from the overzealous service of her minions, takes the view that she was completely oblivious to the fact that the vehicle she was seated in was travelling at up to 172 KMH, straddling both lanes down the middle of the road, with sirens blaring and lights flashing. What rot. It is wrong that these people be left to bear the sole burden of responsibility for an act that she could have ended with two simple words to her driver. "Slow Down".

Yours faithfully

Peter Tashkoff


Private/Public Partnerships

Dear Scoop Team

I am writing to express my dismay that no-one as far as I have heard has challenged either Don Brash or John Keys on the issue of the proposed (by National) Private / Public Partnerships for New Zealand as part of their strategy for infrastructure service and development in the future.

These PPP's as they have been termed have been in operation in the UK and have all the hallmarks of private companies and corporations running a Soprano-like scam on the tax payer which in the case of the UK have run into hundreds of millions of pounds over what government spending would have been. (read articles below).

Please represent the voiceless citizens (in this case myself) and challenge these would-be pirates!

Thank you

A. Riki

Te Atatu


RE: Lyndon Hood: Not The Sharpest Tool In The Box

What a load of crap


You sure are "Independent News" - but balanced?....far from that...more so a Labour Propaganda outfit. An objective and informative news source should put aside its political leaning favoritism and take a critical look at the entire spectrum. For the past 30 days, I’ve been noting Scoop's major headline and is overwhelmingly critical of National and its policies. In fact the middle space on your website (where the current story you are running “A Week Of It: Probes Leaky Nats Extensively”) has been critical of National for over 80% of the time I’ve been visiting your website. I welcome your comments.


I am appalled by the comments about Scientology. They came into New York City, handing out whatever was needed and staying there for months and also training police and fire fighters to help. Tom Cruise donated a Purification Center to New York and gave those services to many police, firemen, garbage collectors at no charge! The amount of toxins that came out of their bodies was amazing...maybe you should talk to them!..and now, 1000 plus volunteer ministers are in or on their way to Louisiana and Mississippi sleeping on the floor, working in extreme weather conditions, working non-stop for 10 or more hours handing out food, clothes, baby formula, listening to people who have just been through it all, etc...and most likely they will be there for months. These are people who left their cozy homes to go to a place with no comforts whatsoever, to help out. Volunteer Ministers helped 230,000 people in Florida last year. They need help now! They don't need a bunch of criticism from some guy sitting comfortably at his computer. How about getting your "facts" straight? How about you going there and helping? I doubt that would happen.



Why not come clean?

" Scoop is a "fiercely independent" press release driven Internet news agency ..."

... giving voice to perspectives not being addressed through "traditional media" sources. "

Who are you guys trying to fool? Seriously?

It's obvious you're the paramilitary wing of either the Labour Party and/or the Green Party, so why not just 'fess up and hoist a nice big banner saying so? Mmm?

The three "columns" by Else, Manning & Hood on your front page can only be described as the most naked and desperate attempt to swing a rapidly sobering electorate away from voting out the Labour Party. Can we expect to see such blatant propaganda from the National Party on your site anytime soon? I doubt it.

Squeal, piggies, squeal!


ann else column

I wasn't aware that "Scoop" published exclusivly for the communist puppeteers in wellington,but now i know for sure.I was a swinging voter in this election,I now know who to vote for and it doesn't wear a red jacket.Thanx for that.

Gary Brown.

Stanmore Bay.


FW: Emperor Clark


Dear Sir,

Anti-smacking lobbyists do not solve abuse, they promote it.

Methods of dealing with children without smacking are:

- withholding love

- emotional manipulation

- ostracizing children

These kinds of methods create long-lasting, heartache in children. They are abuse compared with a quick smack and a loving hug; over and done. A smack restores the relationship instantly.

Yours faithfully

Berwyn Hoyt


Dear Sir,

In her anti-smacking bill, Sue Bradford wants to abolish the use of force to raise children. Sue is welcome to her opinion on smacking. But she now wishes to impose her opinion unconditionally on all others by force of law and police. In doing so, she is forcing and doing violence to every single New Zealander! If we don't agree with her opinion, police on our doorstep is exactly what we'll get from her bill. She wants to force every New Zealander (and all our children!) into the mould of her opinion.

Sir, I think it should be illegal for Sue Bradford to plan violence and assault on us and our children in this way.

Yours faithfully

Berwyn Hoyt


I am writing to say that it is a very frightening aspect when we begin to accept such foolish ideology that somehow homosexuality, prostitution, abortion, and euthanasia are acceptable and favored in the eyes of our nation. May we give careful consideration to these issues and there implications on our dignified nation that still holds to high moral standards.

Yours faithfully

Tania Kennedy


Re: Personal Reflections Of South Aucklands Statesman

Hello Selwyn

Well done. Your thoughts on David Lange have been the best I have read in the last two days. Perhaps you have the correct pedigree. Robin Cook going last week and now David. It took several years for me to forgive him for Tomorrow's Schools which made the rich richer and the poor poorer. I taxed him with that assertion during his softening up campaign in 1989 but his mind was on other things. The decline in rural education since then has been tragic - what did he have against the teacher unions? We in the NZEI were his natural allies but he turned his back on us.

However the good far outweighs the bad -what a shame he did not defend Peter Ellis.


RE: Personal Reflection of D. Lange

Reply to the editor- an idea for future journalism for you to consider publishing.

Why do I admire David Lange?

David Lange did the honourable thing by leaving his office when he did. He disagreed with the policies made by his caucus at the time so he kept his integrity intact by walking away. Furthermore, he knew his weakness in that he could not influence them, so he didn't even try. The two leaders who followed him were equally unsuccessful in their methods, so the Labour party lost the next election. The public can only stand so much disunity, so when in doubt, they voted to turf them out.

Even though, David had won the election by a landslide, he left. It takes a great leader to know when to leave and he did. Because of that action, I remember him. Naturally, the no-nuke policy guaranteed him international recognition. As a consequence of this exemplary leadership on the world stage, where he spoke truth to power, he stood up to the bully (nuclear-powered ships) and showed everyone the alternative to war and insecurity by advocating and demonstrating a peaceful and safe way forward.

I can never thank David enough for that. Because of him, I now can say how proud I am to live in nuclear- free New Zealand. In fact, that is what attracted us to emigrate here.

In summary then, David put all his energy into the things that mattered most. When he failed with his colleagues, he left them. Now, of course, we see how right he was to "not" agree to sell NZ's assets. When David won, he won big time, such as in the nuclear debate.

Dianne Hilda Haist


Have you ever considered the people involved in putting up Election signs in your area? Sure, they belong to (or at least support)all mannner of political parties and philosophies. However, they are also fathers, mothers, grandparents, sons, daughters, and family members. As such, for every sign they erect, and for every brace they build, there is an opportunity cost to each of them - lost time doing something and being with someone no doubt more preferable than the task at hand. Now compound that precious lost time for every sign knocked over, and having to be re-erected by these same people. I wonder if it crosses the minds of the intellectually inadequate who perpetuate this extra work that not only are they robbing people of their scarce spare time, they are also undermining due democratic process, that being to place options before the voter, and then allow the voter to decide, without interference or undue influence? No, that would require the ability to reason with a ! rational mind, wouldn't it?

Yours faithfully

Steve Taylor


I think that scoop is absolutely great. I prefer this web site than listening to the telly about current affairs. You have made things alot more interesting istead of being bored watching it on the telly.



i think its a great idea then ya dont have to watch the whole news just to find out about one story u can just click it in your web site


A Labour Future

Dear Editor,

Labour's policies are encouraging to the lower income brackets and because they are encouraging they also **encourages** those in those brackets to remain there. After all, why get out of a bracket if it is comfy to remain in it?

The reason Labour's many schemes and policies come across as encouraging to the low-income brackets is because these are the brackets that are being rewarded over-and-over again with such incentives such as tax-cuts, allowances, etc.; while the higher income-brackets are constantly being targeted and punished for having done the hard yards.

The flaw with this is that it instils the wrong message into the younger generation as all that they can see is: if they stay where they are, they will be rewarded, and, if they even contemplate striving higher, they will be punished by losing out on their rewards and by getting taxed higher.

The sad thing is that some people on the border of an income bracket may even be so strongly encouraged by the incentives of a lower income bracket to allow themselves to slip from the higher bracket to the lower one.

The outcome of such mindset is detrimental to the wellbeing and wealth (monetarily and knowledge) of the country and the people that, ultimately, it will lead to our own self-destruction in all sense of the word.


Yours faithfully

Andreas Toth


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