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MSD tried to shut down housing providers

Written By: - Date published: 7:04 am, May 12th, 2017 - 25 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, censorship, journalism, Media, news - Tags: , , ,

This is as disappointing as it is unsurprising:

Emergency housing providers instructed not to talk to media

Some providers received a directive from the ministry last night, telling them not to talk to media without first talking to it.

The email, with the subject ‘Media Protocol’, was sent by a regional contracts manager, and instructed providers that they must talk to their regional contracts managers if they were aware of an issue relating to emergency housing that was “likely to appear in the media”.

The email stated: “You will be aware that emergency housing has been a key area of interest in the media recently and is likely to continue to be into the future. Understandably, it is critical that the Ministry is advised of any media coverage that arises and we need your support to do so. “If you receive any contact from the media, you should explain that you will need to consult with the Ministry prior to any response being given. All requests received by your organisation for media interviews or information must be immediately referred to your Regional Contracts Manager.”

Emergency housing providers spoke to Checkpoint with John Campbell on the condition they remained anonymous, as the directive did not tell them what the repercussions would be if they did speak to media without the ministry’s consent. “I felt it was an intimidating letter, and felt it smacks of political interference that MSD had been directed by the minister to shut us down,” one provider said. “The letter becomes intimidating, because we don’t know might happen, so it’s not in good faith.”

Another provider said it clearly embarrassed the government every time homeless stories appeared in the media. “It’s worrying that we only ever speak the truth and we’re often the voice for people who are unable to speak up or be heard themselves.” …


After Checkpoint asked the ministry for comment on the email, providers received a call from ministry staff telling them it had all been a mistake. The ministry declined to be interviewed, but said it was aware of an “unapproved email”. Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s office also declined an interview, saying it was an operational issue.

Well done to the team at Checkpoint.

It’s election year. There’s a lot of bad news about. Given this government’s record, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that there will be further attempts to shut down bad news. Anyone who feels they are being gagged or intimidated, prevented from informing the public, you now know who you can call…

25 comments on “MSD tried to shut down housing providers ”

  1. Rae 1

    You have to ask what else is already shut down on the media and us.

  2. Al 2

    That is just how this government “rolls”. Managerialism is to the fore and is extended to the maximum in terms of bullying and intimidation. Minister Tolley’s response is pathetic but pedictable – yes it is an operations issue, but the buck stops with her!

  3. rob 3

    Yet more proof of what a nasty vile government they are.

  4. Marco 4

    The issue is that our woefully inaccurate MSM trots out these sob stories without any background, history or even basic fact checking. Campbell is unable to run anything like a balanced story. By the time these pieces have been analysed the unfortunate victims come out smelling pretty rotten, and the stories are counter productive.

  5. Keith 5

    Don’t the National Party just thrive by acting in the dark? First and foremost they have made it THE number 1 priority, to quell bad news. For nearly 9 years the bad news stories have largely been kept out of the public arena by defusion, abuse and easily arguably, OIA law breaking and all willingly assisted by the bank owned corporate media who never ask uncomfortable questions.

    A word here, a nod there, all safely at arms length from the minister, disguised as operational issues the minister cannot possibly comment on, these Nat fuckers just deliberately hide and obsfuscate the truth from the public.

    I would hate to think how much motels are costing the tax payer so National can hide the homeless reality to get the stories out of the media, to allow National to cling to power. I wonder what makes those moteliers tick?

    National know damned well the public do not like what they see here, but rather than fix their failed policies they embark on a another band aid cover up.

    You would not want to be those poor buggers, post election if National win, who have nothing more than week by week accommodation, currently hidden out if sight of the public eye. Think street, think bridges.

    This is not smart or clever, just dishonest and deceitful!

    • michelle 5.1

      hey Keith have you noticed in the last few days TV 1 and 3 have been groveling to the gnats it is sickening to watch the greasing and a…kissing it is so bad.
      I guess it is because they are funded by our govt so they have to shut the f…up or down the road. Give me the nanny state any day at least the nanny cares.

  6. saveNZ 6

    Good on you Checkpoint!

  7. Rosemary McDonald 7

    This is not new.


    Been happening for well over a decade…and yes…Labour did it too.

    The point of difference here is that someone had the guts to provide the evidence to the media…a pity their courage was insufficient for them to identify themselves.

  8. Michael 8

    I’m so pleased the Nats haven’t shut Radio NZ down – yet.

    • SpaceMonkey 8.1

      It’s only a matter of time while they remain in Government… or they will incorporate it into their new Ministry of Truth.

  9. mary_a 9

    Doesn’t this issue prove how valuable programmes such as Checkpoint and its regular host John Campbell are to the public?

    Well done RNZ Checkpoint, a necessary news source keeping Kiwis informed of the nasty secretive activities of the Natz! And this one is a perfect example of just how controlling MSD and Natz are, in an effort to fudge the facts!

    Funding cuts to RNZ possibly next on the agenda?

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    We need a law that says that businesses that contract to the government not only have the right to talk to the media but the duty to. They are, after all, working for the people of NZ and thus the people of NZ have a right to know.

    • John up North 10.1

      This is exactly why things are set up this way.

      1. Govt shifts responsibility to private enterprise claiming efficiencies and saving a buck for the poor tax-payers.

      2. Shit rises to the surface, govt denies claiming they know nothing about the shit because it’s in the hands of the private enterprise providing the “service”

      3. Govt in the background steps on the throats of private providers and gives them the ol’ “if you complain or speak out, we’ll cut the money flow”

      4. Shit gets so bad there’s a leak/whistle blower.

      5. Govt enact legislation changes so whistle blowers can be sent to jail for their actions.

      5b. Govt issues a BS policy statement that does nothing to implement changes that have any meaningful effects.

      6. Main Stream Media awakes from it’s infotainment stupor with headlines as to what a sterling job the govt is doing.

      7. Shit continues, same as it ever was.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        That does seem to be a part of it. The other major part is the shifting of government money to the private sector and, of course, a government guaranteed income for the governments cronies.

        • John up North

          With all respect Draco, I disagree……… As in the ONLY major part is the deliberate, systematic and very hard to reverse movement of CASH and ASSETS into private hands. The rest is just fall out!

        • Korero Pono

          “That does seem to be a part of it. The other major part is the shifting of government money to the private sector and, of course, a government guaranteed income for the governments cronies”

          Just want to point out that “government money” is actually our money being shifted to the private sector to fund the government’s cronies. We are paying them to screw us over.

        • John up North

          Talking Heads………….. awesome band! made me think, laugh, cry, run and jump, try to win hearts and provided a leaning post when I had to sulk.

          One of the many creative sparks that lit me up ( I’ve been here a while so it’s a fairly long list now).

          Here’s another, decades later and maybe a little older but hopefully wiser “There is no movement without rhythm ” 11min video.

  11. jpwood 11

    A media protocol simply does not fall out of the sky. Shouldn’t the next OIA be to reveal the development of the protocol.

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