It turns out the Herald’s story about John Key’s H-fee involvement is a bust. Aside from Key not being straight with the dates he worked at Elders there isn’t anything firm to tie him to the actual fraud.
That’s not the story I expected given the Herald had decided to lead with this story on their website yesterday afternoon and hinted at a ‘smoking gun’. The reason it wasn’t the story I expected is because about a month ago we had material anonymously emailed to us that gave the background to the H-fee and included a series of posts outlining the issue. We ran the first of these posts but after trawling through the story and checking as much as we could we decided there simply wasn’t enough substance to run with. It now looks like we weren’t the only ones who were receiving this information.
There are still questions to be answered about this story, such as why did John get his dates wrong with the inoculation he took to the Herald in 2007 and why was the Herald promising audio of the 2007 interview yesterday and treating the story like a scoop when it knew there was no hard evidence?
But I expect these questions will be lost in the mishandling of the issue. My advice to Labour? Make sure you’ve got your ducks lined up before you go to the media, and when National is releasing stuff like their appalling prison policy don’t waste your time on blind alley stories like this one.