I never thought I'd ever have much in common with the Pope, but today is also the day that I am announcing that this will be my final month at Tumeke.
I think this may also be the first time in 600 years that a blogger steps down?
I began blogging as a guest blogger in 2005, took over as editor while Tim was the last NZer ever serving time for sedition and became a regular blogger when he returned as editor.
It's been a blast. Blogging is a full contact sport, no holds are barred and the bloodied noses and bruised egos are all part of the game. For those bloggers I've clashed against while on Tumeke, I at least salute you for being in the debate when so many of our fellow citizens seem asleep. I may never have agreed with what you had to say, but at least you had the courage of your convictions to say it.
Of course, it hasn't been all plain sailing. There were times when the fights got very nasty and it seemed at one stage that the word Tumeke was Maori for 'the blog Bryce Edwards refuses to reference'. The low point was the supposedly liberal Imperator Fish publishing my contact details online. Sewer tactics aside, it's been a fun and thrilling 8 years of activism and devil's advocacy.
I want to pay homage to Tim Selwyn who I consider one of the most interesting bloggers in the NZ blogosphere. His turns of phrase can make me bellow with mirth into my morning coffee. His foresight that blogs would increasingly be influencers in the news debate were well founded and Tumeke remains one of the grand old dames of the NZ blogosphere with our highest level ever of page views hitting over 100 000 in a month. I wish Tim all the best for the future.
Tumeke has also had Phoebe Fletcher and Ben Thomas (the current right hand of Minister Chris Finlayson) and even Ross Meurant as casual bloggers here as well. They are all marvelous.
All good things come to an end, and this is my end at Tumeke.
I've decided to step down at the end of the month because of an incident that occurred last year.
It was the Labour Party Conference. Watching the mainstream media manufacture a leadership coup because they were personally surprised by the shock of members and unions wanting to make the Party more democratic astounded me.
It made me realize how small and narrow the focus of the mainstream media really was. The manufactured crisis at the Hobbit, the Titewhai fetish at Waitangi, and the ease with which media are turned into a vehicle for Government spin rather than critics of Government spin are all to me, examples of what happens when we have so few avenues for a counter perspective.
As Seven Sharp becomes the new dumbed down bench mark for critical public debate, I'm determined to put together a counter weight to that narrative and start to not only challenge it, but to begin amplifying the arguments needed for us to find the solutions to 270 000 kids in poverty, a real unemployment rate in double figures and the highest rate of inequality we've ever had.
We need an economic debate, a social debate and a cultural debate that has no fear of slaughtering New Zealand's right wing sacred cows. Sadly we have a news media and hard right blogosphere that only seems to want to feed, water and maintain those sacred cows.
On March 1st I'm launching something new, consider it my media blow for a more egalitarian New Zealand. That announcement will be made next week on Tumeke.
Until then I'll see out my month here, albeit a wee bit less frequently due to organising everything for March, but it is time for me to take the next step and that next step begins in 17 days.
Kia ora and thanks for reading. I never expected you to agree with everything I said, but it was a humbling privilege that you took time out to read it.
I'm very excited with what I am about to launch. Beware the ideas of March.
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