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Did Key try to get ‘wage drop’ journalist sacked?

Written By: - Date published: 5:56 pm, March 4th, 2008 - 53 comments
Categories: john key, Media, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

Michael Cullen made an interesting remark in the House today in response to a question on John Key’s statement that he “would love to see wages drop“.

Here’s what Cullen said:

I think they would be appalled to learn that the Leader of the Opposition proposed that New Zealand wages should drop, then tried to explain himself by saying he meant that Australian wages should drop, then tried to say he did not mean it at all, then tried to say he did not say it, then got people to ring up the newspaper to try to get the reporter sacked.

That last line – accusing Key of trying to get Bay Report journalist Greg Robertson sacked – tallies with what I’ve heard around the traps from a few of my journalist contacts, and if true is a very serious matter indeed.

It may also explain some of Key’s cryptic remarks on Havoc last week, where he repeatedly attacked and denigrated Robertson, then added ‘there’s more to this than meets the eye’ and ‘we’re taking our own issues with it.’

This is all very interesting given how upset some people get when Helen Clark criticises the media. I’d say trying to get a journalist sacked for presenting you in a less than favorable light is a far more serious issue. I wonder if the Herald will be launching an investigation into this particular attack on free speech?

53 comments on “Did Key try to get ‘wage drop’ journalist sacked? ”

  1. out of bed 1

    So why would they think they could get him sacked?
    Unless ….. gee that explains a lot

  2. Billy 2

    I suppose a precedent was set when Cullen threatened to change the APN’s tax status unless the Herald stopped being so mean to him.

  3. Scribe 3

    I will admit if I end up being wrong on this, but common sense suggests there is NO WAY John Key would have asked for Robertson to be fired or had his people make such requests.

    Why would he do that when the story has come to nothing? Why would he do that in an election year, when doing so would lose him countless votes and be totally hypocritical? And when his party is 20 points ahead in the polls? Think about it.

    As you say, Tane, Cullen made these remarks in the House, where one can say whatever he likes without a shred of evidence and get away with it, e.g. “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

  4. Concerned from Tawa 4

    If true this is nearly as bad as Cullen kicking out Chinese journalist Nick Wang from the beehive because of pressure from the Chinese Government.

    For once I agreed with Russell Norman: “a sad and desperate attempt to win favour with the Chinese so that they will sign a trade deal with New Zealand”

    Oh and while we’re on bullying and cronyism any chance of a post on the Hawkes Bay DHB-King-Haussmann crisis?

    • Muttonbird 4.1

      More conjecture without support in linking references.

      I can’t believe RWNJ trolls got away with this in 2008.

  5. Tane 5

    Scribe, I’m not convinced he did try to get Robertson sacked and certainly I’ve seen no evidence (other than gossip around the traps) to suggest it happened. I do think an allegation like that deserves some investigation though.

    Concerned, I didn’t like what happened to Nick Wang either. We’ll probably talk about the HBDHB controversy when we have some information to work on. In any case, there is no ‘we’ in these things, so it’ll depend on one of us being sufficiently interested and informed to post on it. And please do try to keep the misdirection down to a minimum.

  6. higherstandard 6

    Tane if you’re not convinced Key tried to get Robertson sacked why did you put up this post which is insinuating he did – why not put this to bed once and for all and get someone in the house or otherwise to question him on it a get a clarification on the matter you can then fuck him over or not depending on his answer.

    I would persoannly would find it very concerning if any politician was meddling with the freedom of the press.

    captcha council time …..anythin but that

  7. r0b 7

    I wonder if the Herald will be launching an investigation into this particular attack on free speech?

    It’s a very interesting allegation, and it’s very telling if it’s true. Odds on the Herald doing its job? – I feel a Tui moment coming on.

  8. Nothing but a timely diversion from the real issue. The tabled emails proving a Labour party political appointee and business partner of the then misister of health, “adjusted” correspondence and tender forms for his and the ministers financial gain.

    Hollow Hollow Labour. What corrupt games we play

  9. Tane 9

    Um, first of all I can’t get someone to ask anything in the house. Secondly, Key doesn’t have to answer questions in the house, as we saw with the original wage drop comment.

    As for why I posted this, it’s simple – I think it’s a serious allegation that deserves investigation.

  10. Concerned from Tawa 10

    Tane there are a few serious allegations flying around these days that you seem very keen to avoid.

    You don’t seem to be in such a hurry to post anything on Kings cronyism and the serious issues coming out of the Hawkes Bay DHB.
    I’m sure you’ll “probably talk about the HBDHB controversy when we have some information to work on” but you haven’t extended the same to John Key.

    Smell something bad?

  11. I see the trolls have crept over here waiving Davey’s talking points as if they are some kind of talisman that will protect them from the truth. Here’s a reality check fools – there is no evidence of corruption at the DHB.

    There is however a report that all parties in the debacle seem intent on suppressing. I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you kiddies ‘cos my information is that there is serious embarrassment all around on this issue that even goes into some interesting financial issues concerning senior Nats. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the report, eh?

    Oh and when DPF sends you over does he say like, “fly my pretties” or something?

    And while I’m at it – yes. I’m pretty sure from what I’ve sniffed out that Key did try to get Robertson disciplined and perhaps fired – he is desperate to get that comment discredited because he knows it will haunt him this year…

  12. mike 12

    Yawn…more diversion tactics from Sullen and te Standard.

  13. Hey Mike – you made a comment without telling a lie. You’re losing you touch, bro.

  14. the sprout 14

    Key proves yet again just what an amateur he really is.

    Did anyone see Key on One news tongith talking about the auckland airport issue? English was in the background, visibly wincing at Key’s comments about asset sales until he saw he was in the shot.

  15. burt 15

    Tane

    there is no ‘we’ in these things, so it’ll depend on one of us being sufficiently interested and informed to post on it.

    But on your “about” page it says….

    We’re The Standard – a collective who saw a gap in the New Zealand political blogosphere and decided that we should have a go at filling it….

    So a collective isn’t a “we”, decided that we should….

    Why not just say we – the collective are deliberately keeping well away from the HBDHB corruption fiasco?

  16. the sprout 16

    burt how does it feel to know your saviour is such an amateur?

  17. Tane 17

    Burt, stop being a dick. We run this site collectively and consult each other from time to time, but we don’t run it like Stuff.co.nz where we assign stories and make sure we cover everything. How it works is I come up with an idea, I write it and I publish it. If something isn’t touched on it’s highly likely becaue no one’s got around to doing it.

  18. burt 18

    the sprout

    Tane is not my saviour, but yes he’s an amateur.

  19. Tane 19

    Sprout, just saw the TV3 footage and it was painful. Poor old Johnny Key, just so hopeless under pressure. By the way, I wouldn’t worry too much about burt, I think the old fella’s been on the sauce again.

  20. Oooohh, Burty made a funny! Good boy burty-boy, good boy… who’s a good boy? You’s a good boy burty…

  21. burt 21

    Robinsod

    Thanks sod, praise means a lot coming from you. You’ve brightened my day.

  22. the sprout 22

    it was kind of funny in its childishness

  23. Murray 23

    What no post on Cunliffe sacking the HBDHB. I am pissing myself, some of your idols will be shiting themselves.

  24. Tane 24

    Murray this is getting tiring. Your lame misdirection was addressed earlier in the thread.

  25. the sprout 25

    murray how does it feel to have such an amateur for a leader?

  26. Murray 26

    Looks like the “neutron” bomb back fired. FYI Tane, my last post was my first post today so I have misdirected nothing prior. There is more than one person in this country named Murray. I know somebody else called Tane. You really wouldn’t want to be confused with him. He is pathetic, worthless, parasitic piece of shit.

  27. Tane 27

    Muzz, I’m talking about the misdirection getting tiring. It’s common courtesy to read down the thread first in case your point has already been dealt with. You’re like the guy at the party who always walks in half way through a story and asks everyone to go back to the beginning for his benefit.

    Your comment about a ‘neutron bomb’ is baffling.

  28. Honestly, don’t you guys think that six Key/National attack posts a day is getting a little tiresome?

    And isn’t this newspaper thing getting a bit old – have you heard the term ‘beating a dead horse’

  29. Tane said “Sprout, just saw the TV3 footage and it was painful. Poor old Johnny Key, just so hopeless under pressure. By the way, I wouldn’t worry too much about burt, I think the old fella’s been on the sauce again.”

    Hey Tane, where was the 3News footage on Cunliffe misleading the Hiouse, and the leaked e-mails, and the urgent debate over the Hawkes Bay DHB etc etc – oh, that’s right, Duncan Garner!

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-media-bias-helen.html

  30. Daveo 30

    Inventory- Until the document is released there is no story, it’s as simple as that. What we have now is the Kiwiblog right getting overexcited about what the story might be.

  31. Daveo 31

    TDS- Take a look at Farrar’s (or no minister or whale) some time if you think the standard is alone in attacking a party it doesn’t like.

    You should also remember the standardistas can post about whatever they like. It would actually be quite a big deal if it transpired Key had tried to get this journalist fired.

  32. Wrong Daveo – Ryall tabled a number of e-mails – they are now public property

  33. Historian 33

    Leaked e-mails? But surely they are “a work of fiction”? Or “stolen”? And of course, “I did not open that e-mail …”

  34. Concerned from Tawa 34

    Does that mean Creative NZ will fund a play based on the emails tabled by Ryall? The Hollow Women?

  35. burt 35

    Historian

    Can you please clarify. Are you saying Labour will say what National said and therefore such behaviour will be acceptable from Labour or do you think we should hold Labour to account the same way that Don Brash was held to account?

  36. Dancer 36

    this was an editorial from the Bay Reporter last week. At the very least the locals see it as bad judgment in terms of political management from Key:

    Bay Report (editorial):
    “Suddenly the Bay Report’s journalist was getting calls for transcripts of the interview, requests for witnesses to the interview, and, in an indictment on the National Party and it’s leader, observations that journalism standards in papers such as the Bay Report were inferior, as well as calls for a retraction

    While all of us should be excused those little verbal indiscretions that does not excuse an attack on the person who heard that statement even if that person had the nerve to include it in an article. For most people the concept of political interference is an anathema. In this situation the leader of the opposition, who could quite possibly be the leader of the next National-left government may have done his cause less harm by accepting that he had made a verbal slip-up rather than trying to “shoot the messenger’ (28 Feb 2008)

  37. george 37

    I suppose that one might point out that for a national party person to release leaked emails about Labour would fit in this world ,but what about a national party person(front bench?) releasing emails about their OWN leader which meant Don Brash was held to account.

  38. insider 38

    “that does not excuse an attack on the person who heard that statement”

    So now he heard it not taped it? Is there a subtle shift here? FWIW I agree with the last sentence in Dancer’s quote.

    Funny that the Standard has shown such a strong interest in the issue, with outrage and strong pronouncements on it and drawn such complex inferences and with some claims of inside info, yet still don’t appear to have actually gone and spoken to RObertson to get the information from the source. The nearest thing we have to a primary source is Barnsley Bill and a report from David Slack.

    And I’ll repeat despite all the interest from the media quoted above and egging on from Labour, none of them have felt the story has legs. Why would that be? ARE they all worried about losing out on tax cuts?

  39. james 39

    i want know from national if there going to bring back the employment contracts act keys statement proves to me there is a hidden agenda in national they just dont learn i heard this week english supports assets sales that party never learns.
    if keys tried to get this reporter fired this is very very serious that is what dictators do john keys is same as vladamire putine.

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