Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Werewolf Edition #34 : Mighty Foolish & Muddied Waters

Werewolf Edition #34 – Mighty Foolish & Muddied Waters

From Werewolf Editor Gordon Campbell

Enter the Wolf!

Hi and welcome to the 34th issue of Werewolf, in which we consider why and how the government’s sell down of state assets has gone so wrong , so comprehensively. In our cover story we review the problems of water rights that have postponed the Mighty River sale, the slump in aluminium prices likely to affect Meridian and the slump in coal prices that is causing revenue problems and job cutbacks at Solid Energy. On top of all that, we set out in detail the argument as to why it would actually be cheaper and more responsible to simply borrow the $6 billion that the government is expecting to get from the asset share sales.

In a related piece Alison McCulloch examines the contents and implications of the recent Waitangi Tribunal report on water rights , and indicts the government for its lack of good faith in the negotiations. From London, Rory MacKinnon analyses the legacy of the London Olympics , and shows how the fallout from the binge spending on the Olympics is already impacting on many of the community and health goals that the Olympics were supposed to celebrate. In another feature, we also call for a more mature attitude to our friends across the Tasman , and wonder whether its time to call a halt to the tiresome sport of Aussie baiting. Alison McCulloch returns to report on a recent Supreme Court ruling on abortion access that retains the status quo - and an outdated abortion law with which neither side of the abortion debate is happy. From Damascus we reprint excerpts from the blogged diary of Rita, a young Syrian activist , who casts a critical eye on the image and actions of the Free Syrian Army.

In the arts, Philip Matthews highlights some of significant features of the recent Sight and Sound poll of greatest films , before offering his own list of contenders. One reason the Sight and Sound list so intimidating is that you’re not simply picking your own ten favourites : you’re choosing for posterity, for what you think history regards as being film’s greatest achievements at this point in time. It also seems to be high time for control freak anxiety…which could be a good reason why Vertigo now tops the S&S list, not that Citizen Kane was exactly a barrel of laughs, either. In this issue we also note two significant milestones - the centenary of the birth of Woody Guthrie one hand, while in our music column The Complicatist we celebrate 50 years of Jamaican independence and the island’s musical creativity. In his satire column, Lyndon Hood takes a satirical look at the 19th century approach our government is taking to child poverty ….while in Cartoon Alley, Mat Tait and Mike Brown present the final instalment of their epic 19th century adventure The Princess and the Whaler , which can now be read in its entirety in our cartoon section.

Thanks to Lyndon Hood and Alastair Thompson for helping me post this issue online. Werewolf is a thank you to Scoop readers and intended as an outlet for local writers and artists. If you want to be involved, contact me at

Gordon Campbell

The contents of this edition are:


Mighty Foolish

Does anyone still think the share sales in state energy assets are a good idea?
by Gordon Campbell

Muddied Waters

The Government has to deal with Māori claims over water. It could start by behaving more like a Treaty Partner, and showing a little good faith.
by Alison McCulloch

Syria Diary

The Free Syrian Army – How To Lose Support And Alienate People In No Time
by Rita from Syria

Abortion in the Dock

The Supreme Court’s recent upholding of the status quo on abortion access doesn’t fix the problems our outdated abortion laws continue to create
by Alison McCulloch

The Dizzying Heights

This year, Vertigo finally replaced Citizen Kane as the best film ever made. If you can believe film critics, that is.
by Phillip Matthews

Woody Guthrie at 100

From revolutionary poet, to icon of American virtue…
by Gordon Campbell

Hating Australians Is Boring

Isn’t it time we gave up bitching about the neighbours?
by Gordon Campbell


London Calling: After The Gold, Hush

In the wake of the London Olympics, the legacy is a good deal less than bright and glittering
by Rory MacKinnon

From the Hood : Poor Show

Please, sir, can I have the implementation of a number of already-identified measures that have been shown internationally to mitigate poverty and benefit the wider economy?
by Lyndon Hood

The Complicatist : Music Gonna Shock You Like Electric

Celebrating Jamaica, and 50 years of independence
by Gordon Campbell

Cartoon Alley : Mat Tait & Mike Brown

Mat Tait is a South Island based cartoonist and illustrator. Mike Brown lives in Wellington and is currently writing a PhD thesis on New Zealand vernacular musics.
by Mike Brown & Mat Tait


from Scoop General Manager Alastair Thompson

Werewolf is all about finding a new way to enable quality journalism to thrive in an online environment and a key part of that effort is soliciting support from our readers.

Our estimate is that for every 300 monthly subscribers we gain we will be able to afford to employ one professional journalist. We have a way to go - but it is not such a high mountain to climb.

Already several Scoop readers have decided to subscribe on a recurring monthly basis. We thank them greatly. But more are needed.

The links to use to make donations via credit card are.

$10 Per Month Sustaining Subscription

$15 Per Month Sustaining Subscription

$25 Per Month Sustaining Subscription

Or if you prefer you can set up an automatic payment to our bank account"
Automatic payment to our bank account:
Westpac - Scoop Media Ltd. 03-0502-0254668-000
We would also encourage you to consider approaching your friends to also become Scoop Sustaining Subscribers.

Become a Scoop Sustaining Subscriber - join the alternative to the mainstream media mind-set!

In the meantime we would be very keen to hear any feedback you have on the publication or this subscription project - please reply to this email or email with suggestions, bouquets or brickbats. This is very much a work in progress and we are very keen to understand the subscriber perspective on this.

Best Regards

Alastair Thompson General Manager

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: Vague Alternatives And G7 Summitry: The Build Back Better World Initiative

Summits often feature grand statements and needless fripperies. In Cornwall, the leaders of the G7 countries were trying to position and promote their relevance as the vanguard of democratic good sense and values... More>>

Suicidal Games: Tokyo’s Coronavirus Olympics

A pandemic crisis. A state of emergency. Overwhelming public opinion bristling with alarm. Notwithstanding these factors, Tokyo is still on track to host the Olympics that was cancelled last year in response to the global pandemic. The first sports team – Australia’s softball crew – has touched down. Is all this folly, bravery or self-interest?.. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Burned By The Diana Cult: The Fall Of Martin Bashir

The interview was infamous, made his name and was bound to enrage. It also received a viewing audience of 23 million people who heard a saucy tale of adultery, plots in the palace, and stories of physical and mental illness. But the tarring and feathering of Martin Bashir for his 1995 Panorama programme featuring Princess Diana was always more than the scruples of a journalist and his interviewing methods... More>>

How It All Went Wrong: The Global Response To COVID-19

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response was never likely to hand down a rosy report with gobbets of praise. Organised by the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last May, the panel’s gloomy assessment was grim: the COVID-19 pandemic could have been avoided... More>>

The Conversation: Is Natural Gas Really Cheaper Than Renewable Electricity?

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change... More>>

Keith Rankin: The New Zealand Government’s 'Public Finance Rabbithole'

Last week, out of left field, the government placed a three-year embargo on normal public sector wage bargaining, essentially a salary freeze. While there has been a certain amount of backtracking since, it is clear that the government has been ... More>>