Smart Talk at the Auckland Museum

A series of panel discussions recorded before an audience at the Auckland Museum.

2014: Slacktivism

Smart Talk on Slacktivism at the Auckland Museum will be broadcast on Radio New Zealand National at 4pm on Sunday 23 November, repeated at 9pm on Tuesday 25 November.

Smart Talk: Slacktivism

LATE The Age of Slacktivism panel

Political protest and general social unrest seem to have moved almost exclusively online in the 21st century. Is this enough? Are politically-flavoured tweets a sign of our lack of engagement or the new face of political and social activism?

In the final Smart Talk from the Auckland Museum, Russell Brown talks with the National Director for ActionStation Marianne Elliott; the author and investigative journalist Nicky Hager; the public affairs strategist and political commentator Matthew Hooton; and Co-Founder and Campaign Director of RockEnrol, Laura O’Connell Rapira.

For wide-ranging talk about the connection between social media and social activism, listen to Smart Talk on Slacktivism at the Auckland Museum.

Cameron Slater not to blame for his influence

According to conservative commentator Matthew Hooton, Cameron Slater is not to blame for the power he once wielded on his Whale Oil website.

If the hypothesis of Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics is true (and Hooton thinks it is), that journalists spend a lot of their day reading Whale Oil and Kiwiblog and then base some of their stories on it as if they were authoritative sources, he considers that to be the fault of the Press Gallery.

“Cameron Slater is perfectly entitled to have a blog and write whatever he likes. I would say he’s perfectly entitled to charge other people for content if he wishes. There are no rules over he does on his blog or his server.”

According to Hooton, if a Whale Oil story then shapes coverage on TV3’s lead item “that’s Paddy Gower’s problem, not Cameron Slater’s: He does what he does. It’s those who have taken that seriously who are worthy perhaps of criticism.”

Hooton considers that because Slater was taken seriously by the Press Gallery, the Prime Minister and people in the private sector thought that disseminating stories through the Whale Oil site was a cheap and efficient way to influence the mainstream media.“There’s no doubt it got completely out of hand." He adds "there has been a correction, and journalists will be far more sceptical of what they read there.”

Websites mentioned in this programme include:


Public Address
Get Up
Amnesty International
Democracy OS

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About the contributors:

Russell Brown

Russell Brown

Russell Brown is a broadcaster, journalist and web publisher. He is the host of Maori Television’s Media Take, the founder of the Public Address blog website and a member of the Digital Media Trust board, which oversees the cultural heritage websites NZ On Screen and Audioculture. He has been writing and publishing internet content for 21 years.



Marianne ElliottMarianne Elliott

Marianne Elliott is National Director of ActionStation, a a digital community connecting like-minded progressive Kiwis and providing them with opportunities to take collective action on issues that matter to them. Marianne has previously worked in human rights, social justice and environmental advocacy in New Zealand, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and the Gaza Strip.



Nicky HagerNicky Hager

Nicky Hager works as an investigative journalist and author. He has written six books about New Zealand politics, intelligence, public relations. These include The Hollow Men, a study of three years within the New Zealand National Party, and most recently Dirty Politics. He lectures regularly on journalism and collaborates regularly in overseas investigative journalism projects.



Matthew HootonMatthew Hooton

Matthew Hooton is a columnist for the National Business Review and Metro magazine, and a political commentator on Radio New Zealand and other electronic media. His background is as a press secretary in the Bolger Government in the 1990s and his political philosophy is classical liberalism. In his day job, he is Managing Director of Exceltium, an Auckland-based public and corporate affairs company. In this role he has been involved in several high-profile campaigns that have involved a degree of social media.


Laura O Connell RapiraLaura O'Connell-Rapira

Laura O'Connell-Rapira is a creative campaigner, charity fundraiser, Facebook fiend & party planner with purpose. She is a Campaign Director at RockEnrol & ActionStation + part-time volunteer for Generation Zero. She is a crowdsourcing & collaboration enthusiast & relentless believer in people power.