I read your column this morning in the New Zealand Herald and I must admit that I was surprised. Yesterday’s revelation that Donghua Liu had confirmed that he never actually bought a bottle of wine for $100,000 at a Labour Party fundraiser and that most if not all of the donations he made were not actually to the Labour Party I thought was significant and damning news. But your only reference to this in your article was to the letter that Cunliffe signed 11 years ago and suggested that his supposed mistake about this was significant. You did not mention John Key’s much more significant mistake about who Donghua Liu actually donated money to and how much and I thought this would be considered important because it was an attempted unjustified smear by the Prime Minister on the Leader of the opposition.
I personally do not blame Mr Liu for what has occurred. He is obviously an energetic businessman who has sought to engage with the powers that be in his new country of New Zealand and clearly his english is poor.
But something extraordinary has gone on here. Someone has taken a written statement from him and then leaked out information that was clearly wrong. Then your paper received leaks of this information and printed the rumours apparently without even seeing the statement. And after you received the statement your paper then reinforced the message while allowing Labour little chance to respond. And even after doubts were raised about the nature and veracity of the donations this your paper has tried to reinforce the perception that Labour had received a donation by the use of headlines such as this one:
The basic problem John is that it looks like National has played the Herald like a puppet on this issue. Even worse it seems that the Herald has been complicit in the manufacturing of a scandal that with the benefit of hindsight has no substance.
Is this what politics has sunk to? Winning by smearing using baseless innuendo where the result is more important than the truth? And don’t you think it is clear that the Herald has been used to peddle what essentially is a lie?
But you then chose to use your column to suggest that John Key had it all over David Cunliffe in Parliament yesterday. I watched a replay and thought that the opposite occurred. You were right to say that Cunliffe and Key threw different statistics at each other. But you could have said that Cunliffe was talking about the median wage, Key talked about the average wage, and the median wage is a much more effective measurement of what is happening with the poor because every time a rich person gets a huge wage increase the average wage goes up but the median wage does not. Instead of this you presented this as a victory for Key using your perception of body language.
I am sorry if you feel that lefties keep beating up on you and the Herald. It is just that many of us campaign actively and there is nothing worse than talking to someone who may otherwise be a supporter but they are affected by rumour and innuendo reinforced by the articles your paper publishes. There are not many of them but this election will be very close and every vote will count.
So how about it? How about the Herald reports on the background to the manufacturing of an attack on Labour, reports more news and has less gushing homilies on how great John Key and National are?