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NZ Herald: Damning report rewritten after ‘war-room’ meeting

Written By: - Date published: 7:53 am, November 14th, 2015 - 16 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, newspapers, spin, uncategorized - Tags: , , , ,

The Herald seems to have accidentally deleted the online version of yesterday’s big story from Kirsty Johnson on how the government manipulates media perceptions. However could that have happened?

The original link is now 404 (as of last night). Fortunately various web sites have archived this very interesting piece. Education Aotearoa have the best coverage, see also Pastebin and The Herald on Facebook.

As a public service we’ll archive it here too. Required follow-up reading on No Right Turn.


DAMNING REPORT REWRITTEN AFTER ‘WAR-ROOM’ MEETING
NZ Herald 13 November 2015

A damning report by an education watchdog about babies and toddlers was partially rewritten after high-level meetings about its “risk” to the Government.

Documents show Ministry of Education advisers also tried to mitigate the impact of the Education Review Office report by planting good-news stories to balance negative media coverage, and carefully crafting a communications “narrative” during “war-room” meetings before its release.

Politicians and sector experts say the behaviour is concerning, and have raised queries about potential political interference in an independent body, plus a lack of transparency at the agencies.

The departments involved have rejected allegations of interference. The ministry said any changes made were a “decision for ERO”.

The ERO said “neither the Ministry of Education nor the minister directed or influenced the report in any way”.

The circumstances surrounding the release of the ERO report, “Infants and toddlers: competent and confident communicators and explorers”, were revealed in emails between ministry staff that the Herald obtained under the Official Information Act.

They show staff frantically planning for the release of the study – which found almost half of early childhood centres were not doing enough for under-3s in vital developmental areas, and therefore not meeting their curriculum requirements.

The finding followed a series of other reports that highlighted issues with the quality of early childhood education, and urged the Government to raise standards. The worst of those pointed out that poor-quality early childhood education can be harmful for children.

The most recent study was undertaken in early 2014. ERO sent it to the ministry in February this year, after peer-review and consultation. It initially recommended the ministry use the findings of the evaluation to “form policy development impacting on the education and care of infants and toddlers”. This then changed, with ERO suggesting the report be shared with the Advisory Group on Early Learning, with emphasis on the curriculum. Initial communications plans were drafted, but it then sat in limbo until July, when ERO decided to make it public. The report was sent to the minister’s office on July 31.

**********************************

Here is the response to an OIA request Herald reporter Kirsty Johnson received from the Ministry of Education.


damning report disappeared

16 comments on “NZ Herald: Damning report rewritten after ‘war-room’ meeting”

  1. Paul 1

    So clearly the Herald’s editors obey the government and big corporations orders.
    John Roughan’s obsequious biography of Key shows he is a sycophant, not a journalist.

    Chris Hedges, in his book ‘Death of the Liberal Class’

    “The liberal class refuses to recognize the obvious because it does not want to lose its comfortable and often well-paid perch.”

    Sums up the leadership at the Herald..

  2. Sirenia 2

    That is such an interesting paper trail. It shows how the system works when public servants work for the government not the public. There are some good people in the spin team and in the Ministry generally. I would suspect that they don’t like doing this type of cover up.

  3. Rosemary McDonald 3

    Kirsty Johnston….Wahine toa!

    She will probably lose her job at the Herald after this.

    You know….if we could be confident of sound, unbiased and reasoned journalism and reporting…would we be happy to pay a subscription?

    Scoop is good for press releases, but are they doing this kind of work?

  4. David H 4

    It makes you wonder what’s next. A months Notice for rocking the boat?

  5. Ch-ch Chiquita 5

    Just a reminder why we so desperately need an honorable source of news. I hope Scoop will succeed in the quest to do it.

    Am I too hopeful that if the Herald managed to get its hand on the report so did the opposition?

    • greywarshark 5.1

      ***As to scoop***
      This came on my email Thursday 12 November 2015.
      As 10pm we have had 518 incredible pledges and a total of $40,405 in donations pledged.
      It’s been a wild ride this week, and lots of fun for the Social Media team. On Wednesday PledgeMe asked Scoop’s editor Alastair Thompson some questions about the campaign and featured the answers in their crowd-funding blog!
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      Scoop Hui Postponed Till 22nd November
      Some of you will have received emails from us with details of a “Public Meeting and Scoop Members and Contributors Hui” on Sunday 15th November. We have postponed this meeting for a week till 22nd November. It will be at the same time 2pm and same venue St Andrew’s on the Terrace Parish Hall.

      edited

  6. I have been told by two totally unrelated people with contacts in the News industry that NZ news professionals have been under D-Notice since 9/11.
    This is an official request to news editors not to publish or broadcast items on specified subjects for reasons of national security. In practice this means that there is a lot of scrutiny and control over what is being published in our MSM!
    And of course the fear of publishing anything deemed of national security makes for a powerful self-censuring mechanism even when it is in the public’s interest to know!
    I’m not saying it was used here but it says something about our freedom of the press if this is true!

    • Incognito 6.1

      This might be the case but the article did get through the ‘filters’ and did get published only for it to be pulled afterwards!? It was also based on information obtained under the OIA so anything ‘damning’ would have been edited, we can be sure of.

  7. ropata 7

    The saga continues…

    Good morning @nzherald – where is this story? https://t.co/KYpEQjfoYn— Lamia (@LI_politico) November 13, 2015

    .@LI_politico I went out and bought today's @nzherald to find out for you! This appears on page 3. pic.twitter.com/PSii3cNbNw— Graeme Edgeler (@GraemeEdgeler) November 13, 2015

    @GraemeEdgeler @LI_politico @nzherald so her editor got lawyered, in other words— Sacha Dylan (@kaupapa) November 13, 2015

    If you're keeping track at home, this is one more apology than the Herald thought Amanda Bailey deserved. And this is how power works.— Giovanni Tiso (@gtiso) November 13, 2015

  8. Mr and Mrs Brillo 8

    We are picturing a dire epidemic at the Herald.
    There seems to be no one on duty today.

    Two stories critical of John Key – an Editorial “Why John Key Should Say Sorry” , and Audrey Young’s column “Key Attack Leaves him Offside with Women” both invite us to Have Your Say underneath. Both are datelined 5am. Here it is 12 hours later and there are NO comments shown. Apparently NO ONE has commented on either story. Yet this household did, on both, this morning.

    We expect we will have to wait till Monday again before they run any comments. That’s what the Herald usually does when people criticise this government. Another tactic is running the comments made by Key’s admirers (or hirelings) and dropping the critical ones.

    • veutoviper 8.1

      I have heard that the delay in putting up comments on Herald opinion pieces is also a ‘click-bait’ tactic – the more clicks on an article, the greater the advertising revenue and/or payment to the writer of the article.

      I have watched this closely over the last year or so, and the delays in putting up comments are getting increasingly slower for most but not all opinion pieces. Often, on the main Opinion page they will show (X comments) but then when you click on the actual article, there are no comments and these do not come up for some hours. Again, a click-bait tactic presumably.

      Yet, comments appear very quickly on a few other articles. Usually, non-controversial ones, but not always. And comments on some author’s articles appear much more quickly than others. For example, my perception has been that comments on articles by John Armstrong, Fran O’Sullivan and Audrey Young articles take forever, whereas comments appear much quicker on articles by Toby Manhire, Bryce Edwards – and Rodney Hide!

      • Mr and Mrs Brillo 8.1.1

        Update:
        The comments sectons on both the stories we mentioned eventually appeared on Sunday morning. Our comment on the editorial was published, but our comment on Audrey Young’s column was not. There was nothing defamatory or vulgar about our comment, but it was very definitely anti Key’s behaviour.

        On the other hand, several comments each were allowed through that were made by a team of commenters from the far right who comment on each and every NZ political story, almost as though it was their job to do so. The same four or five names turn up under every story, attacking “loony lefties”, women, and anyone who criticises National.

        (We don’t agree about comments being published quickly on Toby Manhire’s pieces, however – sometimes these take till Monday to appear, as well. )

  9. greywarshark 9

    Scoop is coming up the straight, passing NZ Herald, DimPost is falling behind and the punters are stuffing their hands in their pockets and saying it’s Scoop for me!
    https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/4175-scoop-is-seeking-1000-kiwis-who-care-about-the-future-of-nz-news-media

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  10. veutoviper 10

    There was considerable discussion yesterday on Twitter about the disappearing Kirsty Johnston article, prior to everything else being overtaken by the dreadful news out of Paris.

    It seems that the Herald deleted the article from the website, and then issued a short correction notice in the print edition of the Herald yesterday but not on their website. The notice is as clear as mud.

    The correction notice can be viewed in this tweet conversation –

    Further discussion on the possible reasons (eg legal action) is in this further Twitter thread.

    Kirsty Johnston also tweeted briefly, but is unable to discuss the matter.

    So whether more will come to light or not remains to be seen.

  11. Mrs Brillo 11

    One thing I do not understand is how a commenter called “Undecided Voter” gets three or four comments published under every political (and many other sorts of) article in the Herald, even articles which are so overcrowded by comments that my own comment does not get published.

    Nothing “undecided” about him, he’s a rabid National supporter with a very ugly turn of expression.

    The thing which you and I can be undecided about is whether he is a member of the Herald’s staff, or National’s staff.

    And I’m making this comment here rather than to the Herald, as here it may actually get a chance to be read.

    • Anne 11.1

      Mrs Brillo, I’m obviously banned from commenting on TV3 online articles. After the axing of Campbell Live I had the temerity to criticise Weldon and Christie, since when I can’t even open the comment section to read them. I’m no radical or online subversive raver, so goes to show how authoritarian and psychopathic TV3 has become under the stewardship of said individuals.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
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    3 days ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
    Tena koutou katoa  Nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe o Pōneke, tena koutou Nau mai, haere mai ki te hui a tau mo te roopu reipa Ko tatou!  Ko to tatou mana!  Ko to tatou kaupapa kei te kokiri whakamua  Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa   Welcome. I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • PGF top-up for QE Health in Rotorua
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $1.5 million to ensure QE Health in Rotorua can proceed with its world class health service and save 75 existing jobs, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF funding announced today is in addition to the $8 million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Building a more sustainable construction sector
    A new programme, which sets a firm course for the Building and Construction sector to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has been announced by the Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. “A significant amount of New Zealand’s carbon emissions come from the building and construction sector.  If we’re serious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • PGF funds tourism boost in Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing more than $7.5 million in Northland ventures to combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment is going to the Northern Adventure Experience and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Four new projects announced as part of the biggest ever national school rebuild programme
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced significant funding for Auckland’s Northcote College as part of the first wave of a new nationwide school redevelopment programme to upgrade schools over the next 10 years. The $48.5 million project brings the total investment in Northcote College to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Support to improve student attendance and wellbeing
    The Government has opened an urgent response fund to support schools and early learning services to get children and young people back on track after the Covid-19 lockdown. “While we are seeing improvements in attendance under Alert Level 1 Ministry of Education data shows that attendance rates in our schools ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Fast-track consenting law boosts jobs and economic recovery
    The law to boost the economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 by speeding up resource consenting on selected projects has passed its second and third readings in the House today. “Accelerating nationwide projects and activities by government, iwi and the private sector will help deliver faster economic recovery and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Whanganui Port gets PGF boost
    Five port-related projects in Whanganui will receive a $26.75 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to support local economic recovery and create new opportunities for growth, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is a significant investment that will support the redevelopment of the Whanganui Port, a project governed ...
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    1 week ago
  • More support for Sarjeant Gallery
    Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery will receive an investment of up to $12 million administered by the Provincial Growth Fund to support its redevelopment, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. The project is included in a $3 billion infrastructure pipeline announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones yesterday. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Funding for training and upskilling
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $2.5 million into three Te Ara Mahi programmes to support Manawatū-Whanganui jobseekers and employees to quickly train and upskill, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Up to 154 local people will be supported into employment within the first year by these ...
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    1 week ago
  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
      This morning I have formally tendered my resignation as Minister of Health, which was accepted by the Prime Minister. Serving as Minister of Health has been an absolute privilege – particularly through these extraordinary last few months. It’s no secret that Health is a challenging portfolio. I have given ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago