David Farrar's Kiwiblog is now five years old, boasting nine-and-a-half million visitors in that time (my own humble blog boasts just over one-tenth that number in just over half that time*). I'd like to offer my congratulations to David for the hard work and energy he has put into his blog over those five years, and what he has achieved with it.
Blogging has already changed the nature of political commentary, helped by the appalling state of the mainstream media -- did someone say "Braindead"? -- and with its uncontested 'number one in NZ' ranking, Kiwiblog has both surfed and created NZ's blogging wave, as No Minister summarises.
The chief value of Kiwiblog to me and many others over many of those last five years is not that Farrar's opinions are either worthwhile or worthy of respect (he's at the better end of National Party apologetics, but apologist he still is), but that his nose for details is acute, and his political antenna is first class. If there's a political issue about, then he's onto it. If there's a story in the wind, then he'll be linking to it. In that respect, Kiwiblog has become the preeminent online clearing house for NZ's major political stories, ahead of the likes of Scoop which would like to have that role. Read Kiwiblog once or twice a day, and if there's a political story worth knowing about then in five minutes or less you can be informed.
From where I sit, however, his authority has diminished as the apologetics for his party have become more necessary.
It's worth noting that for all of those last five years, Kiwiblog has been very much part of the political opposition, while erstwhile rival Public Address has very much not been, and that if National are successful in Election '08 the situation will reverse, and I'd expect the apologetics at Kiwiblog to quickly take over. At that point, when squelching criticism of the government takes over from linking to it, I'd be prepared to say that the relative positions of the two leading blogs might also reverse, and Kiwiblog's number one position will be under threat. After all, the nature of blogging is inherently oppositional.
* Specifically, 986,899 visits since April 2005. At the current rate, I should hit the million mark about halfway through August!