KP ten years on.

In January 2009 KP started publication. I was living in Singapore and was part of the original team that included Anita and Pete. Shortly thereafter Lew joined us. Over the years Pete, then Anita and later Lew dropped out (much to my regret) and others came and went. We have had a couple of guest contributors (Kate and Selwyn Manning) but these days it is just me rattling around the shed. I am not sure about Anita but Lew is a prolific presence on twitter, although I believe that however brilliant a 140 character snark may be, it is no substitute for the type of essays he used to write here. Pete moved into work roles that prevented him from continuing after the first few months and a couple of years later Anita made clear that work conflicts precluded her further participation, which is fair enough.

During the last decade I returned to NZ and welcomed a son into the family. I stay connected to academia through my partner but justify my existence with some consulting and commentary work. Most of the time, when not researching and writing for applied or personal reasons I dedicate my time to watching that boy grow up in the splendorous settings of the Waitakere seaside bush. He is lucky to have been born in such a place. He is not quite the hunter-gatherer yet but he is most certainly an outdoor kid who knows his way around livestock, dogs, poultry and wild birds and who knows which varmints are good and which are bad (in our household, the latter referred to as “evildoers” or, in the case of stoats, “Trumps”).

So, what have the ten years brought? We have published 1,072 posts, 542 of which are mine. There have been 901, 090 page views and 14, 825 approved comments (that does not included deleted troll comments and spam, which runs into the thousands). The greatest single day for pages views saw 4000 readers, but the average now is just 60-150 per day. Domestic topics get the most hits, which is slightly unfortunate given that my major focus is on international relations, comparative foreign policy, US politics, intelligence and military-security issues. As one can see from the Archives column on the right hand side of the front page, we started off with a bang but then gradually diminished the amount of posts published per month. Things dropped off markedly after Lew departed and now average around 1-3 per month depending on my mood, work commitments and what is happening the in the world. I continue to hope that Lew will return or that I can find another regular contributor but so far those hopes have not worked out.

The blog gets traffic from other NZ political blogs but most of what gets directed over is via search engines and mass consumption social media (Twitter, FB, Reddit). Although it is asked to accept advertising or paid content from time to time, it was the intention of the KP originators that we never go down that path, something that I continue to honour.

There is a dedicated cadre of regular commentators, some who have been around since the inception. Since I am unwilling to indulge ill-informed people, trolls or political onanists, it does not have much in the way of regular contrarians amongst the commentators, although people like Tom Hunter, Phil Sage, Redbaiter and, to a lesser extent, Paul Scott drop in to keep me on my toes. Otherwise the commentators display clear Left leanings, often considerably to the Left of me.

At this juncture KP survives as a tiny niche blog with a majority NZ audience but predominantly international focus. That is OK with me and justifies paying the server fees (it is a WordPress platform hosted by Dreamhost). For me it fits somewhere in between editorial commentary in corporate media, personal opinion and professional writing–a bit more ideological and subjective in many cases but most often somewhat above a rant.

It is hard to discern what the future holds for the blog but in the interim it will plod along in its current form in its designated space in the blogosphere. Thanks to those who continue to come along for the ride.

34 thoughts on “KP ten years on.

  1. I checked out your about page several years ago & felt I fitted in & was a commentator here awile. One day the other guy complained about something I wrote. I got the impression he didn’t like my style or attitude. So I bailed out.

    I reckon you ought to persevere. I would participate again if I felt included in the mix. I could supply positional essays to be supportive, though I would prefer you to view that as not a declaration of intent, merely an envisioning.

    I wrote the initial international relations policy draft for the Greens in the early nineties (as convenor of the GP policy group – likewise for justice). I led the consensus process to formulate GP Standing Orders & Constitution, doing all the necessary document redrafting and conference presentations as Convenor of the Greens Standing Orders Committee and constitution working group in those early years.

    Nowadays I mostly comment regularly on The Standard, with sporadic forays into Public Address & Pundit. My preference is for altpolitics. I’ve long viewed representative democracy as part of the problem. Half a century in the Green movement as of last year!

  2. Life will hopefully slow down a bit for me this year, 2018 saw me moving into a new relationship, moving house and job etc…

    May be if i have the time, you might consider the odd guest post?

    My girlfriend tells me I should write more.

  3. Congratulations Pablo.

    I know what it is like trying to get content out on a regular basis.

    I have always enjoyed your writing which is challenging and forthright.

    Maybe we should have a posting arrangement on TS where we occasionally run your content with proper attribution?

  4. Foreign affairs is what interests me and has kept me coming back to this blog. It’s an under-appreciated topic.

  5. Pablo is the best NZ based commentator regarding
    South American issues. Period

    He has no equal

  6. Hey,hey amigo do not go!

    Your posts are among the most intelligent things I can find on the internet. I crave them.

    Hey Sanctuary! You have a girl friend and contribute to The Standard? I am in awe.
    Your time management is awesome.

  7. ” I continue to hope that Lew will return or that I can find another regular contributor”

    I understand the wish to have another contributor but please don’t ever compromise your high professional and intellectual standards. Remember that E.A. guy? What a disaster he was.

  8. Well down for reaching this significant milestone. I look forward to many more years of reading your posts.

  9. Thanks all, for the kind words. Although I was not fishing for compliments they are much appreciated.

    One clarification: KP is not shutting down and I am not leaving. The blog will just proceed as it has been for the last couple of years–3-4 posts/month average.

    Anyone interested in contributing are welcome to contact me at My main interest is adding people who are conversant in topics that I am not. For example, I do not believe that I am competent enough to discuss Maori, gender or environmental issues (or identity politics in general). I feel relatively comfortable discussing NZ politics but have no insider’s perspective, broadly defined as having been a member of or activist within a given party or movement. So if people want to have a go at things that are not already covered here, please get in touch. That does not mean that contributors cannot write about foreign policy and international relations, but my preference is to add breadth to the blog’s analyses.

    Greg: Cheers. You are always welcome to re-publish KP posts, as I believe you have done so once or twice in the past. It is definitely a welcome favour to be offered access to your readers.

  10. Hi Pablo … KP and Bowalley Road are the only two blogs from blogsphere Left that I read on a regular basis. I enjoy the challenge posed to my right-of-centre view of the world by your reasoned argument.

    Thank you for being there.

  11. I really enjoy this blog. As a retired person now out of the workforce i enjoy being able to participate in issues as a consumer and commenter in a small way.

  12. Cheers Vet. You are a beacon of reason at your place amid the ranting of the likes of AF. Not sure if comparing KP to Trotter’s blog is a complement, though. I wish Lew were around to give his opinion. :-0

  13. You’re alright for a commie academic Pablo:)

    Blogging is done. Also, its always the same comments from the same people.

    Kiwiblog for example has hundreds of comments daily but only about 1% are worth reading. Just not worth the effort to sift through the rubbish.

    Twitter is by far the best medium at present for news and opinion. Far more vibrant than blogs.

  14. I miss Lew and Anita too, but I also really enjoy your posts Pablo. You have more fans than you know about :) PS I really appreciate writers, not being a social media person.

  15. Congratulations indeed, Pablo.

    As I’ve mentioned, I would like to write more, but since moving south in 2014 my life has gotten more busy, not less busy, as I anticipated it would. And the work I am doing nowadays uses the same analytical muscles (as it were) that writing longform does, and covers some of the same ground, which raises conflicts I’d rather avoid. It’s not so much a time constraint as it is a limit on cognitive bandwidth. 140 character snark does not use those muscles, or much bandwidth.

    I continue to read, and I look forward to your commentaries on topics rarely covered in depth by other NZ analysts.


  16. Thanks again to all for the nice remarks. It was fun to see ole Red pop up and of course Lew for giving us insight as to where he is at these days. Maybe the two of you can engage in some twitter wars given your presence on that platform.

    Comments like those above are much appreciated and a good incentive to keep on going. Cheers!

  17. Well done Pablo, Glad to see you intend to continue. I always enjoy reading your analysis, even if our comments get a bit spiky at times.

  18. Given that I’ve now been invited to write at No Minister, I probably won’t be commenting much here or elsewhere. And sad to say, blogs in general have declined greatly over the last ten years in the face of Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and a host of other Social Media sources. But as people get turned off by the soundbite-toxicity of such places, I’m hoping for a revival of blogs.

    I’ll certainly be quoting you in an upcoming piece at some stage:

    Witness the case of the catholic school punk who confronted an Omaha tribe elder outside the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Within days of his smirking gob going “viral” on cellphone videos


  19. Good luck with that Tom. I read NM frequently (but somehow missed your arrival) and have respect for The Veteran and Psycho Milt. You are a smart guy who appears to be a decent fellow in spite of your hatred for the White Sox, so I can only wish you the best. It will be good to read your posts even if you try to stir.

    I really do not see a comparison between political blogs that offer 500-2000 world essays and the limited-number character platforms like Twitter, where it is hard to develop a thought in any depth. Admittedly, I have access to Twitter through the consultancy but have decided, given my track record with emails etc., to refrain from setting up a personal account on any such forums.

    Again, may your venture into blog posting be a fruitful one.

  20. My hatred for the White Sox???

    Not at all. In fact I feel positively sorry for the poor bastards. Not because of their WS record, but for the way they get treated by scribblers of all sorts.

    My prime example being the fact that – as you well know – they had a WS drought that was two years longer (1917-2005) than the Red Sox. But no mythologies about the White Sox; no stories about curses arising from bad trades or fans or … anything really. Same with the poor old Cleveland Indians. Given the infamous 1919 “Black Sox” scandal it’s not like some really juicy stuff could not have been crafted by journalists and book authors!

    But no! They were just forgotten, whereas the bloody Red Sox got written about to death because so many writers lived in Brahmin Central.

    I admit that’s true of the Cubs as well, to a lessor extent. As such I thought you might get a laugh out of this John Kass Chicago Tribune column, written in the wake of the Cubs 2016 WS win:

    I ran into another Sox fan. I could tell he was a Sox fan because his eyes weren’t sparkly like those of Cubs fans who have turned Chicago into a cuddly paradise of smiles.

    Sox Fan Jim wasn’t smiling. His eyes were dull, and listless, like the beloved White Sox, the team that time and the media forgot.

    “This will never end,” sighed Sox Fan Jim. “It’s never going to end. Never. Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs. Cubs. It will be like this forever.”

    We stood there silently, mourning our fate, and I realized he was right:

    This Cubs thing will never end, and neither will the happiness and joy and proud spirit of the noble Cubs fans, who, like superhuman creatures, shoot out beams of joyfulness and delight that warm everyone near them and wraps the city in their good feelings.

  21. Every White Sox fan’s curse of the Cubbies comes down to two words: Steve Bartman.

    May his legacy run deep into the Cub’s future history.

  22. Tom Hunter- Amazed to learn you’re writing for No Minister. Good grief, one quick look at the comments section of each article should warn you as to the mental capacity of its readers. You really want to cast your pearls of wisdom before that blithering collection of swine?

  23. Red:

    All due respect but take your internecine quarrels elsewhere. You remain free to slam me for anything I write.

  24. “internecine”…???

    C’mon Pablo, I really was utterly astonished at Tom’s decision.

    Might have come across as a bit critical of No Minister but in fact I like and respect old Adolf there, and actually owe him a debt of gratitude.

    ..and stop messing about and get on Twitter. (I resisted it myself for too long.)

  25. Ah, Ok Red. I thought you were serious blasting Tom. As for getting me on Twitter. After my experience with emails I will resist the temptation. Plus the consultancy has an account so it gives me some insight into what goes on there.

  26. Astonished! Well I admit I’m a little surprised myself, but Adolf asked me and I thought, what the hell.

    As far as Twitter is concerned? No!
    Hell No!

    As Pablo says above, there is no way that ideas can be expressed through 140 characters – although I’ll grant you that Trump would not be POTUS without it – and I don’t trust the people who run the site not to ban the likes of me.

    Anyway, it’s link whoring time and this was my first piece.

    I’m hoping to pull in a better class of commentator.

  27. Hi Tom Its 280 characters but that’s not the point. You can use it as an immediate message or to link to some other content, for example your posts on No Minister.

    The real benefits of Twitter are 1)immediacy which gives it a massive edge over other media. For example, the liberal lie about the Covington students pushed by the MSM was demolished about thirty seconds after it came out, and

    2) it is truly the people’s medium, in that if you are selective, you can find far more interesting & reliable sources there as per your choosing. Great for correcting NZ media BS on Trump.

    As for being banned, the chance always exists but is far less than on any blogs, for example on Kiwiblog where I received demerits for use of the word f*ckwit. (True)

    Good luck with your mission to attract a better class of commenter to No Minister. Hope springs eternal.

    BTW, you don’t have to put up with idiots on Twitter. They are easily dealt with through the muting/ blocking options.

  28. Twitter is for the sort of self-aggrandizing idiot who moved to twitter because they think something was incorrect on the internet and he or she, personally, has to fix it but they have discovered it is impossible to have an intelligent conversation in a full text comments section.

    I am utterly at a loss as to the origin of the widespread belief in the supposed impact of twitter. It is the echo chambers echo chamber. When it came on the scene it was the first time I deliberately refused to adopt a new piece of technology, on the basis that if you can’t make an intelligent point using 2000 characters then you sure as hell won’t in 256 or whatever it is in twitter now.

    I recently did pick up twitter again to follow a few people, just to check my assumptions. Lew, of past association here, I followed, along with the likes of Morgan Godfrey, Russell Brown, Alison Mau, etc etc. I also follow the likes of AOC and the Young Turks. The NZ Twittersphere is still an utterly irrelevant echo chamber. The New Zealanders are collectively unbelievably bad. There is the odd bright spot, but they usually come across as often intellectually lazy, frequently patronising, haughty and I suspect utterly out of touch members of a self-appointed liberal establishment. Guardianistas sans the Guardian. The right wing NZers, who I see when re-tweeted, are even more awful, being all the above with the added layer of a disingenuous and cynical disrespect of facts and basic decency – they are the Daily Mail trying to be the Telegraph, without any of the salacious fun. The whole NZ Twittersphere is a giant dick swinging exercise where everyone tries to be more clever than everyone else while crying “First!”.

    I prefer reading a decent, well informed blogpost from the likes of Pablo than wasting my time on the tiny circle jerk that is twitter, which is only important in the minds of it’s contributors and for providing emotional knee jerk “lifestyle” click bait for an eviscerated MSM.

  29. According to Pablo’s analysis above a comment here might reach 200 people. Say a 1000 at the most. Think of Twitter as micro-blogging, with a huge impact, far above that of conventional blogs.

    Citizen journalists on Twitter frequently have millions of followers. They completely eclipse the dinosaur mainstream media. Their articles get retweeted by someone else with a huge amount of followers. Their followers will retweet it again. So a piece of information can go out to 50 million people in a matter of minutes.

    I have only around 4000 followers, but sometimes my own tweets have had more than a million interactions.

    There is no way that blogs can compete with this, and that is why their popularity is waning. Tom Hunter is an excellent writer. He’s crippling his readership numbers by ignoring Twitter.

    If you blog, you should also be on Twitter.

    (BTW Sanctuary, I can understand how you found Twitter to be so unfulfilling. You followed the wrong people. Its the new culture warriors, the revolutionaries you need to read. If you’re going to go on Twitter & then follow the same old same old culturally dominant progressive/ liberals who have been in control for decades, you might as well just stick with reading the Herald or Stuff.)

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