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Press Council to uphold complaint against Herald?

Written By: - Date published: 4:11 pm, April 15th, 2008 - 17 comments
Categories: election funding, Media - Tags: ,

Word has it that the Press Council will tomorrow uphold the complaint laid against the New Zealand Herald by the Coalition for Open Government that the Herald’s December 4 front-page editorial headed “Speak now or forever hold your peace in 2008” was misleading.

The Herald’s editorial attacking the Electoral Finance Bill implied that anyone who wished to make any political comment would have to register as a third party, but omitted a key fact. This only applies to those who want to spend more than $12,000 on making their point.

This omission greatly exaggerated the effect of the Bill on freedom of speech, as very few people or organisations actually do spend above this level. In other words, it was an alarmist beat-up.

COG is to be congratulated for raising this and following it through. Open Government does require a Fourth Estate that can be relied on to report accurately, and if the Herald wants to campaign it should do so on the basis of the whole truth.

17 comments on “Press Council to uphold complaint against Herald? ”

  1. Steve Pierson 1

    The Herald’s coverage of the issue has been shocking for a supposedly non-partisan newspaper. Guess we know what APN and the Herald’s management really stand for

  2. Matthew Pilott 2

    I look forward to the cynical .75 column inch apology on page D-37.

  3. I loved the Audrey Young backdown over her story about Labour using KiwiSaver and WFF materials to campaign. From claiming she had “confidential notes” implying proof of some kind of high-level dodgy conspiracy to admitting that what she really had was some hand-scrawled notes on something an enthusiastic delegate called out from the floor. The funniest thing I heard was a report that she got the notes by going through the bits of paper that were left on the floor as rubbish. Hmm political editor as bag lady…

  4. Dan 4

    The Herald’s headlines and biased spins, whether in columns, cartoons or editorials, remind me of the Truth in the 60s and 70s.It does not reflect well on the state of journalism or the media generally. In the long run I think it will help Labour as people rebel against the transparent bias of the paper.
    I now rely on the Internet for most of my news.

  5. simon coffey 5

    I just read her article from yesterday again and today’s, crickey she’s a bloody mongrel! She’s as dodgy as a holocaust revisionist! Her use of sources in the first version of events is a blatant lie and the fact she didn’t get Helen or mike to comment (aswell as her bosom buddy johnboy) is criminal.

    I hope Labour win the next election just to be able to do the fingers to her and her dodgy journo mates.

    Someone should lay a complain with the Press Council over her action’s since they are bringing the art of journalism into disrepute!


  6. Test

    [lprent: Made it – Nicholas has been having problems joining the fun (?)]

  7. Jay 7

    So did Mike Williams really get slapped down by Clark for trying to run with the government leaflet idea as was reported or was it really a figment of my imagination.

  8. James Kearney 8

    Williams got slapped down from Clark for his poor judgement in quashing the idea immediately.

    But as more information comes to light it’s becoming clear there never was a ‘secret plan behind closed doors’, just a suggestion from a delegate in an early morning workshop that until more properly authorised party materials become available activists could hand out government information about Kiwisaver and WfF in the meantime.

    What a beatup. Audrey Young’s personal obsession with the EFA is definitely starting to damage her news judgement.

  9. Occasional Observer 9

    The workshop was held behind closed doors.

    A delegate suggested it, Mike Williams embraced it enthusiastically, saying it was a “bloody good idea”. Justice Minister Annette King, who is responsible for the law, was present, and said nothing to dissuade delegates from doing exactly that. Nor did Phil Goff, who was also present.

    Saying it was “just a suggestion from a delegate” is like saying the Exclusive Brethren were “just a group of enthusiastic supporters who felt the cold more than other people”.

    This is the defined election period. These are the rules that Labour set. I realise that when you’ve tried to screw the scrum so much, it’s hard to play by them. Every time Labour fucks up, after having created such a ludicrous electoral finance regime, they are going to get hammered. It doesn’t matter whether it comes from a delegate off the floor, or from Mike Williams himself.

    Williams should have slapped the idea down immediately. He didn’t. Instead he encouraged it. That is a massive lapse of judgement, given the game that Labour has set.

  10. Jay 10


    It’s incredibly hard to paint this as the ‘suggestion’ from a lowly delegate when Clark had to publicly repudiate the idea and give Williams the backhand.

    And Robinsod, are you in the habit of making up slurs and unprovable assertions (I’m sorry I meant to say ‘reports’) against journalists who don’t share your particular political views (That they do their jobs).

  11. Steve Pierson 11

    jay. what Clark said was that it was an idea that came off the floor and has now been dropped from the ninth floor window.

  12. James Kearney 12

    It’s incredibly hard to paint this as the ‘suggestion’ from a lowly delegate when Clark had to publicly repudiate the idea and give Williams the backhand.

    Audrey Young has admitted as much. The only reason Clark had to repudiate it was because Audrey pretended it was a secret plan from the Labour Party rather than a suggestion from a lowly party member at a workshop.

  13. Draco TB 13

    It’s incredibly hard to paint this as the ‘suggestion’ from a lowly delegate when Clark had to publicly repudiate the idea and give Williams the backhand.

    It was a suggestion from someone during a workshop where they’re looking for ideas. When looked at in the proper light it was found to be unworkable and dropped. The only reason this got any further than the workshop was because of poor journalism.

  14. And Robinsod, are you in the habit of making up slurs and unprovable assertions (I’m sorry I meant to say ‘reports’) against journalists who don’t share your particular political views (That they do their jobs).

    No I’m not Jay. I see and hear a lot of things and have some very good sources. I also cross-reference them when I can. It’s a pity Audrey can’t do the same.

  15. Jay 15

    Obviously it was significant enough for Clark to step in and firehose it down with some very public damage control.

    Doesn’t really add up.

  16. AncientGeek 16


    Could it have something to do with election year?

    Seems like any politician would prefer that there are no drawn out tedious side issues for the media to trivialise.

    Good politicians prefer to focus on policy in the election year, telling the electorate where they’d want the future to hold.

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