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What we can’t tell you

Written By: - Date published: 11:58 am, March 7th, 2008 - 61 comments
Categories: Media, national, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

There is more to the John Key “we would love to see wages drop” story than you have been able to read in the blogs or the mainstream media.

We’ve been in contact with a large number of people who have been connected at various levels of this story as it has developed. Unfortunately, none have been allowed to go on record and because we take their trust in us seriously, we can’t identify them or pass on the particulars of what we know. But what we have been told is enough to make us damn sure we are right on this story.

We continue to stand by what we have always said:

Key did say that he would love to see wages drop, he was talking in all seriousness, and he was talking about New Zealand wages. The journalist, the editor and the publisher have all backed this version of events.

National demanded APN get rid of the story and senior APN management pressured and coerced its editorial staff into making a ‘clarification’. This was not a decision of the journalists and editors. The journalists and editors have been gagged by APN from speaking to the media.

The ‘clarification’ stinks of pressure from APN management at the behest of National. In a free and open democracy this kind of behaviour is simply unacceptable, and we expect both National and APN to be held to account.

61 comments on “What we can’t tell you ”

  1. intrigued 1

    This is a new ‘standard’ in the amount (or lack) of evidence required before you guys are willing to make an accusation.

    I presume this now means that you’ll believe anything said by the National Party if they make an accusation but say “we can’t tell you the source of our information but its reliable”

  2. out of bed 2

    All it takes to make this story go away is to have an interview with either the editor or Journalist involved.
    If there is nothing to hide why are they being gagged ?
    If they come out and say we have independently changed our stance from last week, what were we thinking, must have been too much whiskey , or some such reason … then fine
    But to instruct them not to talk to the meda, WTF

    I expect a statement from the “free speech coalition” very soon

  3. Steve Pierson 3

    intrigued. We can’t break people’s trust in us, sorry

    We would love to have an interview with Robertson but his is gagged.

  4. intrigued 4

    Well then the responsible thing to do is not to blog insinuating something that you’re not able to prove.

    Yourselfs and blogblog have made a point of saying that you’ll cut through the spin and fact smudging of farrar by presenting the facts.

    Surely it’s hypocritical to then post in this fashion.

  5. Steve Pierson 5

    No, intrigued, these are the facts: we know the clarification has come at the APN management’s behest becuase of National, we know that the orginal quote and it’s clear meaning are correct, we know that APN has gagged its staff from going on the record. This post is written to tell you those facts without giving away details of people who have been forced to stay off record.

    If you want this all out in the clear, as I do, you should be asking why APN has the gagging order in place.

  6. Billy 6

    I have rock solid evidence that John Key eats puppies. With HP sauce. I would love to tell you more but, because I am so morally pure, I can’t. Trust me.

  7. Pablo 7

    Billy, you know that’s total bullshit and you know it.

    HP sauce is for kittens. You use dijon mustard on puppies.

  8. out of bed 8

    I have rock solid evidence that John Key eats puppies. With HP sauce. I would love to tell you more but my employer has gagged me

  9. Occasional Observer 9

    The credibility of an anonymous blog known to be written by labour party and EPMU employees, using anonymous sources, saying: “Trust us, we can’t tell you, but it’s true”, is dead.

  10. dave 10

    what an incredibly naive post. This is what you should have written.

    “We’ve contacted lots of people but none are prepared to go on record. So we can’t write the story but we can tell you that there is a story. But we can’t tell you what the story is. We cant even tell you why we cant tell you what the story is.

    So, we`ll do a post telling you that ther is a story. But we cant write what we cant tell you and then you can criticise us for making wild accusations – but you`ll never know they were wild accusations because you dont know what you are accusing us of”.

    This post adds nothing- you`s be better writing about the real story of the day – about how Labour’s distribution of Chris Knox’s CD ” You`re better off with Labour” breaches the Electoral Finance Act.

  11. out of bed 11

    So either the standard is lying or it isn’t

    Lift the gagging order APN, and we would find out

    Freedom of the press is a fundamental concep.t I would have thought

  12. mike 12

    Steve are you kidding? You have become the lefts version of Ian Wishart.

  13. out of bed 13

    Steve says If you want this all out in the clear, as I do, you should be asking why APN has the gagging order in place.

    mike says Steve are you kidding?

    Seems to be a reasonable question

    don’t you want it out in the open Mike?

  14. Steve Pierson 14

    I’m saying why we’re standing by our posts.

    APN should just lift the gagging order. Who here objects to that?

    dave. The Labour material was printed and paid for last year and so not subject to the EFA, just as National’s donation transfers from anonymous trusts last year are not covered by the EFA

  15. Pascal's Bookie 15

    “You have become the lefts version of Ian Wishart”

    Nonsense.

    IW contends that there is a conspiracy of millions of people throughout the west. Under the guise of ‘promoting evolution’and defending ‘civil liberties’ and ‘human rights’, these millions of people actually are demonically destroying the west by infecting them with gay.

    OTOH Steve is saying that the National Party has pressured a newspaper to “clarify’ a story. In support of this claim there is some evidence based on timelines, inconsistencies from Key, statements from Bill English and other Nat folk, and a gagging order.

    Not the same.

  16. wrong again Steve 16

    Look at section 95 of the EFA. Party’s election expenses mean “the total expenses in relation to a party whether paid or incurred before, during or after the regulated period”.

    That means if it’s distributed this year, despite the fact it was paid for and printed last year it counts.

    Your interpretation is ludicrous – it would mean that you could buy millions of dollars of advertising last year, print it last year and then distribute it this year and it wouldn’t count towards your cap

  17. out of bed 17

    What other gagging edicts have been issued ?

  18. insider 18

    Re this emotive term “gagging order” – it is what every modern organisation does on controversial issues. Government does it all the time – Madelaine Setchel and MfE colleagues were gagged and I’m sure EPMU employees are too on matters to do with the reputation of the union where Andrew Little takes the lead.

    I don’t expect to be able to ring EPMU and demand the office lady tell me all the details she knows of their internal activities and nor should you.

  19. Occasional Observer 19

    So this is the Standard’s new standard of credibility: APN have not said there is a gagging order. Therefore, people must be gagged from discussing that there is a gagging order. Therefore, a gagging order must be in place. APN should just lift the gagging order.

    What a joke.

  20. Steve Pierson 20

    Occasional observer. ring the Bay Report or Northern Advocate yourself ask if anyone cnnected withthe original piece is allowed to go on record with their version of events regarding the quote.

    wrong again. I understood the material was distributed last year. If that’s you’re, you’re correct.

  21. out of bed 21

    Reporter Greg Robertson has been instructed not to talk about the issue and Mike Regan did not return calls by Radio New Zealand.

    if it looks like gagging, sounds like gagging then it probably is

  22. insider 22

    I should add that it’s not a gagging order if it is the normal practice of the paper. I would agree if it has been specially put in place. Are staff at the Bay news usually allowed to publically give their opinion on controversial editorial and management decisions of their paper?

    captcha = ordered think

  23. higherstandard 23

    Is there no real news. This story is as inane as reading a blog about Paris Hilton – please can we move on to a policy issue.

  24. Admittedly Higher Standard, this is indeed not news. National spent the 1990s driving wages down, only to see Labour spend the last 8 years trying to push them up. So it certainly wasn’t news to me that Key wants to see wages drop – of course he wants that, it’s what his party does.

  25. out of bed 25

    Are staff at the Bay news usually allowed to publically give their opinion on controversial editorial and management decisions of their paper?
    why is it controversial ?

  26. Draco TB 26

    What The Standard should be asking is if such alleged behaviour is illegal because if it is two things become essential. 1.) The Standard takes whatever evidence it has to the police and 2.) All those gagging orders become null and void because no contract can break the law.

    One other thing: If there is evidence of impropriety then those gagged will have whistle blower defense anyway (Although I’m not sure on how good it is).

  27. higherstandard 27

    Psycho

    Once and for all there is no political party in NZ that wants wages to drop.

  28. out of bed 28

    In other news:

    At least John Boscawen has some integrity, he has called for a march for free speech on this issue on Sunday
    the free speech coalition has also issued a press statement
    criticising the the behaviour of the National Party ,APN and the Herald

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/03/march_on_sunday_at_2_pm_.html

  29. higherstandard 29

    Psycho

    I’d Also like you to provide proof of the wages going down in NZ under National and up under Labour if you could.

  30. source 30

    Tony O’Reilly was in town last week. Senior nats talked to him privately about this issue. APN Australasian CEO Brendon Hopkins facilitated the meeting. Martin Simons was told to shut the story down.

    If you really want an interesting story I suggest you follow that up.

  31. higherstandard 31

    By Gods it’s a plot ! its a plot ! they’ll have us all drinking Guinness if National wins the election

  32. of course Key would Love to see wages drop in NZ – how better to serve his business constituency other than with tax cuts?
    of course he wouldn’t love to be exposed to the whole country for having said it.

  33. higherstandard 33

    Bean

    Yes I hear Key and the National party are on a 3.25% kickback for every 5% they drive wages down.

  34. Steve Pierson 34

    higherstandard. if you don’t think wages are a policy issue I despair for you.

    if you don’t think National pushes down wages you need to check out the graphs in our workers’ rights catagory, and my explanation of the mechanisms a government can use to affect wages also therein.

  35. Hey HS/TDS – tell me mate, why are all your comments on this issue variations on the “it’s not a story” theme? I figure you’ve probably made 50 or so like this. That’s a lot of effort for something you think isn’t a story.

  36. out of bed 36

    who is Tony O’Reilly?

  37. higherstandard 37

    I’m hopeful the Standard will actually post something interesting soon – there has been good debate on other posts in the past – this continuing saga however is fatuous.

  38. higherstandard 38

    Steve

    When did I say that wages weren’t a policy issue ? If I did I must have been drunk at the time !

    I think my comment was that all political parties would like to see wages going up

  39. higherstandard 39

    Steve point me in the direction please can’t find the bit you’re referring to.

    regarding “if you don’t think National pushes down wages you need to check out the graphs in our workers’ rights catagory, and my explanation of the mechanisms a government can use to affect wages also therein.”

    Thanks

  40. Steve Pierson 40

    higherstandard.
    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?cat=5 this has Cullen referring to the figures, gross average real wage grew $1 in 1990 dollars between 1990 and 1999, they went down in the first of that period.
    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=527 this has graphs but they don’t show the intervening years under National when real wages dropped – the figure goes straight from 1991 to 1996. There is a little growth in take home pay from the tax cuts in the late 1990s, but you can see that is dwarfed by the increase in wages under Labour.

  41. burt 41

    Steve Pierson

    If you want this all out in the clear, as I do, you should be asking why APN has the gagging order in place.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Look at this link Gagging order extended for health report

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but this has never been posted about at the Standard, not the gagging, the issue, the facts or the perception.

    You then went on.

    APN should just lift the gagging order. Who here objects to that?

    Once again I agree with you, who’s trying to hide what?

  42. “who’s trying to hide what”

    true burt, it does seem strange that National have gone to so much effort to squash Key’s “love to see wages drop” comment when they claim it’s a non-event.

  43. dave 43

    Dave. The Labour material was printed and paid for last year and so not subject to the EFA, just as National’s donation transfers from anonymous trusts last year are not covered by the EFA
    WRONG. ANd you kow it – or at leasdt you should. I was talking about distribution, not printing and publishing. It is illegal to distribute this stuff with out a name and street address.

  44. burt 44

    the sprout

    I agree. The moment the gagging orders come into play when politicians are involved you just know something is completely out of order.

    If there is a gagging order on the ‘wages drop’ fiasco I support it being removed as much as I support the HB-DHB one being lifted, how about you? Do you support removing both?

  45. burt

    i’ll show you mine if you show me yours

  46. burt 46

    the sprout

    No, not at all. Transparency. It’s not just something you believe in when it suits, it’s a principal. This point seems to be lost here on the standard, how about with you?

  47. Burt – I agree about the HBDHB stuff but it has been legally injuncted by all parties concerned whereas the APN gagging is simply a company trying to hiding something. Unlike the DHB gagging there is no legal process for appeal and no timeline for the order to be lifted – just APN bullying its staff. We’ll find out what is in the DHB report in a week or two but I doubt we’ll ever find out what strings were pulled at APN. Welcome to private sector accountability…

  48. very true rosinsod

  49. ghostwhowalks 49

    Some seem to say a ‘gagging’ order is normal, maybe at a factory , or hospital or a school where their primary mission is unrelated to the original issue.
    But a newspaper is only about news, a ggaing order is anathema to what a news organisation is about. In fact the Herald will routinely go to court to overturn other gagging orders or just break them anyway.

    The news at APN has stopped being of real value and is now just a commodity like the advertisments, just there at the whim of the Corporate business.
    The editor may as well be replaced by Googles algorithims, which the CEO tuns off and on till the spaces between the ads are filled….

  50. Dean 50

    “Welcome to private sector accountability ”

    Is that as opposed to the speeding fiasco in South Canterbury?

    See if you can spell “sychphant”, Sod.

  51. burt 51

    Private sector accountability – the subject of multiple posts on this blog – public sector accountability (The DHB corruption fiasco) is the subject of zero posts on this blog.

    The sycophant’s on this blog know all about accountability – as long as it’s not accountability involving the govt who promised a new standard of openness and accountability.

    You guys are a laugh a minute – watching you guys contort yourselves and show how little principle you have is hilarious.

    CAPTCHA: Extortion Jordan – well he is wanting to be a Labour party MP – so it’s only a matter of time I guess – but it’s OK he will say “move on” and the standard won’t mention it.

  52. Um, I’m pretty sure it’s got an “A”, a “P” and an “N” in it…

  53. burt 53

    rOb

    I’m still waiting for Steve P. and the sprout to confirm if they support lifting gagging orders as a principal issue or just when it suits their agenda.

    In the interim I’m having some fun laughing at you guys making dicks of yourselves. How about you? Do you support muzzling the press or don’t you?

    Steve was quite clear about it:

    If you want this all out in the clear, as I do, you should be asking why APN has the gagging order in place.

    But he’s gone all silent about it now – I wonder why? Some people really should think thru the stuff they post eh, it would save them showing themselves up as being myopic.

    Oh, can you clarify how I’m being partisan about this – I said I don’t support either gagging – which is something nobody else seems prepared to say.

  54. I see you fail to read properly again Burt or is “I agree about the HBDHB stuff” not clear enough for you? Every time you comment you show a willful blindness to the clear facts, bro.

  55. burt 55

    Robinsod

    You said you agree with the DHB stuff but you told lies about the injunction. The board (excluding Hausmann) wanted the final report blocked as they considered it didn’t represent the situation. Helathcare NZ (Hausmann) and the health ministry wanted the draft report blocked.

    This is the story – two sides that under your reasoning get wound into “all parties agree”.

    Perhaps you could answer this simple question to clarify;

    Should the press be muzzled from reporting how public money has been spend?

    One more question;

    Do you think the DHB should pay for Hausmann’s legal bill defending the conflict of interest debacle, which was apparently easy to manage according to King.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4430023a6045.html

  56. advocatus diaboli 56

    OMG, I’ve just had a very reliable report from someone who knows a lot about things and he was speaking to someone else who is very high up (in a tree) and also very very reliable (two verys, wow), but I can’t tell you who they are because quite possibly they could be put against a wall and shot (or maybe it was nipple twisted, I forget). Anywho, they (the ubiquitous ‘they’, not the other ‘they’) say that Labour has a secret plan after they win the election that all opposition parties will be banned, and the entire population will be forced to wear cardigans (the price of green support). Bollocks you say? Just trust me, I’m damn sure we are right.

  57. Pascal's bookie 57

    Burt isn’t the HBHB report a draft? If so I think it is important that it be completed before it is released. When it is in it’s final form I most definatly agree that it should be released.

    On topic though Key clearly said that hw wants wages to drop. The clarification doesn’t clarify anything.

    From his comments it is clear that he does not think wage earners should be getting nominal increases to account for inflation. Given that we are entering into a period of global inflation this matters.

    He says that the ONLY reason for wage increases is productivity growth. Fair enough if that what he thinks, but it does mean that he expects wage earners to pay the cost of inflation. Inflation that for the most part is being driven by the responses to the financial crises caused by Key’s former colleagues in the international banking bazaar. This amounts to drops in real wages, which as far as I can tell is why he said as much.

    It’s not a popular course, so he’s had the paper make this murky ‘clarification’ about ‘impressions’.

  58. r0b 58

    Ho Burt, you are as partisan as ever today I see. National good, Labour bad.

    Did you have anything substantive to contribute to the topic of the thread, or was this just a drive-by ranting?

  59. r0b 59

    Burt, I don’t know much about this DHB thing, but as far as I can see ‘Sod has answered your comments in his post of Mar 7th, 2008 at 8:15 pm above. You seem to be willfully blind to the points that he made. There is a difference between the legal system requiring facts to remain confidential, and a political party silencing a journalist. Do you see a difference Burt?

    After all the fuss last year about free speech, why are you not taking up arms over this attack on democracy?

    About legal confidentiality, seems to me that’s complicated. In general I would, like you and ‘Sod, prefer all processes to be open. But it’s apparent that in many cases that would make it hard for justice to be done, sometimes confidentiality really is required. So it’s messy.

    But in politics, let’s have it open. I take it we are agreed that National / APN silencing a journalist is intolerable. I take it we are agreed that all parties should publicly publish their accounts (as the Labour party does). I take it we are agreed that National should be as open about it’s relationship with its donors as Labour is about Owen Glenn. I take it that we are agreed that state funding of political parties is the most open system of all, so that no one gets to buy any kind of influence, and every last cent is publicly accounted for. Yes, Burt, let’s have it open! Are we agreed?

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