Yesterday, when the inquiry came back on whether the shortfall in ACC funding should have been disclosed in the PREFU, Bill English quickly tried to implicate Michael Cullen and Maryan Street as being in breach of the Public Finance Act and told media:
“The previous government knew about the funding hole and effectively hid it. There are systems in place to protect us from this, but in this case they did not work”
These accusations were picked up uncritically by newspapers’ websites and ran all evening, even though Treasury had already taken the rap and the report clearly exonerated the ministers concerned. Everyone bought English’s line, with this NZPA piece even quoting the first few pars of English’s press release directly.
It’s only now that the dust has settled and the story’s narrative has been set in National’s favour that media are starting to ask questions and quietly amend their online stories from last night. Honestly guys, you need to do better. The Nats are playing you like a fiddle, and it’s embarrassing.