Willie Jackson, who regularly engages his mouth before his brain, has called Broadcasting Minister Melissa Lee “stupid”. He is making out that Melissa Lee has no idea of how to save the media, while he has all the answers.

Willie Jackson, the Labour Party MP who was in charge of the media portfolio in the former government has called Media and Communications Minister Melissa Lee “stupid” and says she “doesn’t know what she is doing”.

Jackson’s broadsides come as Lee finds herself under increasing pressure to explain what the National-led coalition government may do to help the media sector, which is in crisis. 

“Why can’t they mediate some sort of business deal?  Why can’t they facilitate a process? It seems like they are just bereft of any idea or strategies whatsoever,” Jackson said.

“You’ve got a stupid minister who doesn’t know what she’s doing.”

Jackson said the writing had been on the wall “for years” and that his government had sought to assist the sector through merging RNZ and TVNZ. 
But it was “overwhelmed” by the cost of living, he said. 

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Lee said she had been working “very hard” to find a way to make the country’s media industry sustainable. 

When a reporter asked whether Lee thought she could save the media industry, Lee said: “I don’t think I can save anything. I’m the Minister for Media and Communications. What I can do is provide a level playing field so that media can be more sustainable, modernise and innovate”. 

Lee said the sector needed to work together to understand the “different ways people are consuming news at the moment. We need to figure out how and why people are moving away from traditional mediums”.


Melissa Lee is actually right here. Note that when legacy media companies are struggling the first and the last thing that they call for is for the government to DO something to save them. When we here at The BFD need help we ask our readers, our community, and the same goes for Reality Check Radio. We’ve both built a community, while the legacy media have built white elephants.

Willie Jackson thinks that a law will force Facebook (Meta) and Google to pay for news. He’s wrong. They won’t. They will simply stop doing it for New Zealand. The reality is our revenue from New Zealand to Google and Meta are rounding figures. If a law is passed forcing them to pay, they’ll round out those figures and just stop. Then what is Willie Jackson’s next brilliant idea?

Legacy news media failed to innovate, failed to see technological changes, and loftily mocked other industries that were similarly nobbled by innovation. Examples include what Netflix did to television channels, what Uber did to taxis and what satellite technology did to terrestrial broadcasting.

The wailing about blows to democracy and losing people who will tell Kiwis’ stories, is facile and arrant nonsense. Something or someone will replace those failing businesses. Stories will still get told, but they will be in the marketplace of ideas where their woke nonsense won’t find any buyers.

Bari Weiss, Michael Shellenberg and Matt Taibbi all left their salaried position in legacy media and actually spoke truth to power and are now enjoying a whole lot of subscribers willing to pay for the privilege of reading what they write. They are making money, and their costs and overheads are a fraction of those of the legacy media giants they left. They are earning more than ever before. They haven’t stopped telling stories; they’ve actually started telling important stories that people are willing to pay for.

Newshub staff like Patrick Gower arrogantly think the end of Newshub means no one will tell stories. What did we do before TV3 existed, what did we do before television existed, and what did we do before media corporations existed?

The one thing legacy media failed to do is build communities of interest, and those of us who have, they sought to destroy, and yet here we are – laughing at them.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news,...