Brian Edwards Media

Argument Wecomed, but keep it Civilised.


For almost two decades now I have railed against the excesses of social media. I have done so on radio, on this website and on Facebook. The general tenor of my complaint has been that, across these media, intelligent debate has been replaced by frequently anonymous personal abuse.

My complaint about Bernard Hickey was not that he was a supporter of MMP, but that he derided the opinions of those who weren’t or had expressed reservations about it. They were, apparently, mere whingers and moaners. I think in this essentially fair minded country of ours we call that ‘playing the man and not the ball’. Or, if you want to be posh about it, ‘an ad hominem attack’. It was to that that I took exception.

As for MMP, my post was scarcely an onslaught, it was an expression of reservations: ‘not entirely persuaded; not entirely happy, disquiet many New Zealanders feel…’.

I’m writing this because, among many reasonable expressions of disagreement with what I had to say in the post, including several by good friends of mine, there is a sprinkling of the sort of personal abuse that I find unacceptable. I turn 80 in just over a week, ladies and gentlemen, but there is bugger all wrong with my brain.

So here’s the deal: I welcome spirited debate. I don’t welcome ad hominem attacks on anyone whether because of their age, gender, nationality or the colour of their skin. And that includes elderly male, white skinned, Irish curmudgeons.

Right! Time for a lie-down.


  1. You need to check your white privilege Brian! But that’s the modern left for you, thugs, bullies and cowards! Opponents of free speech, except when it’s their own of course, abusive and intolerant, vain and narcissistic, virtue signalling morons!

    • “thugs, bullies and cowards!” “vain and narcissistic, virtue signalling morons!”.
      There couldn’t be a better example of the behaviour Brian is writing about.
      The fact that you don’t recognise it for what it is speaks volumes about you.

      • John, if there was a “like” button for what you said I would click it 10 times over for your comments about Basil’s post.

      • 1.1.2

        huh? I was supporting Brian, that description was of the lefty idiots who have attacked him for not having the correct opinion!


          Brian’s post was not about right versus left it was about “frequently anonymous personal abuse.” and you have exemplified that.


          You just keep on proving Brian’s point.


            If you think that then you obviously did not grasp what Brian was saying. Attacks on people because of gender, skin colour, nationality, age are not welcome. However those who I suspect have abused Brian for having the wrong opinions, and no doubt resorting to identity politics in their personal attacks on him, can rightly be called out for the bullies, cowards, enemies of free speech, virtue signaling lefty morons that they so obviously are! If you have a problem with that tough luck pal!

  2. Basil – it isn’t only the left that do it.
    But social media and its anonymity has a lot to answer for. people try to out-nasty each other, smugly safe in the knowledge that they are unaccountable for their behaviour. No doubt they would be the first to scream they were being bullied if someone physically confronted them on their obnoxiousness. If you want to air your views in public (and the internet is a public space) you should be able to understand that they may upset others. The targets of your words have the same rights of reply as you do. The silly notion of “safe spaces” is just people can’t understand this.

  3. Hi Brian,

    I sincerely hope you haven’t found anything I have written abusive.

    But I wonder if you couldn’t reply to my question about what is your disquiet about the situation of the highest scoring party not getting to govern? Given our system, what do you think should have happened? What might improve this situation?

    One of your commenters did reply and said his disquiet is about someone who got 7% of the vote chooses the next govt and is now Deputy PM. I understand that disquiet, I really do. However I think given how Mr Peter’s campaigned “Had enough” and how he had far more policies in common with Labour, then those who voted for him would likely (and this was found according to Colmar Brunton) to won’t NZ 1st to go with Labour.

    BTW I think Winston is a good choice for Deputy and Foreign Affairs. He has had both roles before and the word is he performed well.

    • Here’s my opinion for what its worth.

      At the very least National should have been given the opportunity to form a government first because it is the largest party. Under the existing circumstances they probably would have failed but it would have at least recognised the fact that National received the greatest number of votes.

      I object to a party that received the second least number of votes by a country mile calling the tune and deciding who the government will be. I’d like a system that reduces the opportunity for small parties to exert influence over and above their proportional entitlement on who gets to form a government.

      The design of MMP in this country is flawed because it allows for the true nature of the relative power between the parties to be distorted in favour of those party’s with the least votes. This is undemocratic.

      It has now also emerged that Peters decided to take legal action against the Nats prior to negotiating with them and with Labour. He and NZ First stand accused of negotiating in bad faith. Quite apart from the implications for free speech in this country, this further undermines our MMP system and significantly reduces the moral authority of the Labour led coalition.

      • 3.1.1

        National did have the first chance to form a government: they could have approached the Greens while Peters was faffing about. Perhaps they did and were rebuffed.

        Anyway, there’s no reason the party with the greatest number of votes should have greater rights than any other. That’s the point of MMP: it should, with any luck, result in a coalition which reduces the risk of things like Muldoonism, Rogernomics and Ruthanasia.

        And MMP is undemocratic? FPP allowed the NZ Party to split the right wing vote, its only purpose, so Labour was elected with a weak leader which allowed it be hijacked by the extreme right. You call that democracy?

        Moral authority? Since when did morals and politics mix? Morals died with Big Norm except for a flicker under Helen Clark.

        With any luck, now that Labour has finally rid itself of the last of the Rogernomes and ACT is reduced to a single member courtesy of National, perhaps we’ll see morals return; the signs are promising.

        • Well strictly speaking National did not formally have the “first chance’ to form a government. As you rightly suggest there were informal opportunities for National to initiate coalition discussions with other parties, and, in my opinion they were too passive in their negotiation tactics in this regard.

          I disagree with your comment re the party with the ‘greatest number of votes’ not having ‘greater rights’. Isn’t that the whole point of MMP; that is that the party that receives the greatest number of votes, proportionally, gets the greatest rights – i.e. in this situation to formally initiate Coalition discussions. At the moment its a party with pretty much the least number of votes that got this ‘right’.

          My comment on moral authority relates specifically to the fact that Peter’s negotiated with National in bad faith as mentioned in my initial comment. In doing so he acted unethically and has no moral authority. Because he is integrated into the Coalition as tightly as he is, the Coalition including Labour has its moral authority reduced by association.


            The whole point of MMP is not that the party which receives the greatest number of votes, proportionally, gets the greatest rights.
            There are no greater or lesser rights under MMP; you are still thinking FPP.
            MMP is less about parties and more about any bill which receives a majority of votes in parliament being passed into law.
            The Greens have just announced they will not support the TPPA so, unless National supports it, it will fail. That’s MMP in action.
            As long as you and people like you try to force MMP into an FPP mould you won’t understand it. Or, perhaps, you want MMP to fail.
            As far as Peters is concerned, he is and always was a maverick both under FPP and MMP. We’re stuck with him until he’s voted out or retires.
            What would you have had Labour do differently? Refuse to accept Peters? What would you have them do now? Tear up the coalition agreement?
            I know, the GG could present National with an illuminated scroll saying, “Congratulations, it is hereby recognised that you received the greatest number of votes.”
            Would that make you happy?

            • John – I get what you’re saying. However it seems to me that you’re ignoring the fundamental point that I’m making: which is that MMP is about proportional representation, which directly relates to the percentage of the votes that a party wins.

              In turn this conveys a proportional amour of power, or rights, or influence according to who wins what percentage of the votes. This is MMP; not FPP. It follows that the party with the greatest proportionality (the greatest number of votes,) should get the ‘right’ to formally form a government first.

              And this should be a fundamental guiding principle of MMP in NZ

              • National had the “right” to form a govt. It failed. So what is the “guiding principle” of MMP again?

      • Winston Peters and NZF aren’t identical beings. Winston Peters may want to take legal action to hold those people who publicised his private information but NZF may want to hear and deliberate over what National has to say.

        National could have gone and negotiated with anyone, even Labour, noone was stopping them. NZF became the kingmaker because everyone treated them that way.

  4. Crikey, now you have started something Brian……..but then if you can solve govt ministerial/union disputes live on TV this “keeping it civilised” on the blog should be a doddle.

  5. thugs, bullies and cowards! Opponents of free speech, except when it’s their own of course, abusive and intolerant, vain and narcissistic, virtue signalling morons, bullies, cowards, enemies of free speech, virtue signaling. lefty morons.lefty idiots.gormless irony challenged idiots
    All of these things are not like the others .All of These things just dont belong

    • People are allowed free speech but that means that the content is up for critique by other people using their free speech.

      Even if National had first go at forming a government, presumably with the next highest polling party, then everyone can just say no until National has noone left to work with. So we just wait and wait and wait until all the really bad combinations get messed around with until there is a combination that actually wants to work together. I don’t see how that is in any way more optimal then letting the parties cut to the chase themselves.

  6. I should have stated that its those terms that just dont belong

  7. Ann Kerr’s posting refers … and provides an opening on this thread to respond.

    The post election events were entirely predictable, for example, NZF’s “Had enough?” and the Nats “nose holding”… when a Nats winning strategy would naturally have had to include considered forms of conciliation and partnership building.

    None! of these were evident pre-election note! In fact the reverse, given Bill’s observations of WP … “he is a renegade!” Whinny’s response was that these comments were “unwise”. Hardly a productive relationship building dialogue!

    So the question becomes … were the Nats tactics at fault? … or “What”?

    Sure their “tactics” were apparently! mindless if? they were seriously seeking to build an MMP coalition. The evidence suggests that … “they were not”

    But here’s the thing.

    As far back as early 2017, reports emerged that a size-able rump of the Nats caucus were of the view that a coalition, given the concessions demanded by NZF, was a non-starter … “They are welcome to him, so let the others have him” (him-WP).

    And so folks … it has transpired.

    A case of a plan executed, not! a failure to play the MMP game.

    And with their (Nats) principles intact and the tripartite clusterf*ck in place … roll on 2020.

  8. Yes roll on 2020 as its my take that NZ First will most likely increase its support directly from “satisfied” Nats out there in the regions. This coalition is going to go the distance. National is left with no mates, unless Act can be revived but then where do those voters come from.

    From the fading disquiet a brutal lesson on MMP for National supporters heralds in the cold awakening reality of opposition.

    • Hopefully you’re right this time. You certainly weren’t very prophetic about the 2014 election when Labour lost big time and Key scored a Helen hat trick and Labour went down the dunny after squabbling with the Greens.

      April 11th, 2014 at 20:11
      Labour, unfortunately, is down the dunny. Looks like a Helen hat-trick for John Key coming up. Labour, with its shunning of the Greens, is an idiot signifying nothing, without even the sound and fury.

      April 11th, 2014 at 20:54
      “Labour is not down the dunny….its further down the road. The likes of you need to get on your bike and catch up!!”.

      Election results 2014: Winston Peters blames Labour and Greens for rout.

  9. Does Larry Mitchell mean that National planned to lose the election so that they could win the next one?Its the old case of a bird in the hand …..

  10. I accept that 44% is more than many people expected National to get,
    after their record of indulging in dirty politics.
    51% is a majority [just] and it is a relief to me to know that that we do have a majority of people who will go out and vote for fairness and principles