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Did NZ Herald deliberately slur Labour’s Mt Roskill candidate?

Dirty Politics in Mt Roskill – guess which Rightwing news outlet are still neck deep in enabling National’s dirty tricks

There is nothing new in the New Zealand Herald’s cheer-leading for the National Party.  Herald political “reports” often read like National Party press releases.  Angles spin consistently in John Key’s favour, with the Prime Minister’s soundbites becoming headlines far too frequently for any indignant claims of objectivity to carry credibility.

So, after a week of wall-to-wall US election coverage, broken only by a couple of vague attacks on the Labour Party, it was back to business as usual with this “breaking news”.

Objective journalism or an opportunist slur?

Objective journalism or an opportunist slur?

In a media environment where this is all many New Zealanders will see of this story, it certainly looks like a hatchet job on the Labour Party’s candidate.

For Mt Roskill residents heading to the polls, this may form their entire opinion, and the New Zealand Herald’s political editors know this as well as anyone. So at best, it is a case of picking sides based on the hearsay of National Party members, and at worst,  it is a whole new level of abject bias aimed at directly influencing a democratic process with a politically partisan slur on the Labour candidate.

The Fairfax-hosted debate took place on Wednesday night, and was reported by Fairfax to be a “tense and fiery affair”,  notable for the loud protests directed at National Party candidate Parmjeet Parmar.

The Herald weren’t much interested in any of this, until Friday, when they published this one-sided slur of Labour’s Michael Wood.  Of course, in the Herald’s report, there was nothing on the protests, and it was all about Mr Wood’s “man handling” and “threats” towards Mrs Parmar’s husband, Ravinder Parmar.

The room was full of senior journalists, but none from the Herald have made any attempt to present the facts as they occurred on the night, preferring instead to run with what might be considered the willful defamation of the Labour candidate in a by-election.

Unfortunately for the Parmar’s, the National Party, and the New Zealand Herald, the whole incident was captured on film, and the footage emerging today clearly shows that this was a cynical indulgence in dirty politics, intended to harm the reputation of the Labour Party’s candidate.

Having viewed the footage – published by – here is what I see:

Mr Woods walks up to Mr Parmar, his body language is angry but calm, and he has a few direct words, then all the aggression comes from Parmar, and keeps coming from Parmar after others step between them. Parmar keeps mouthing off and sticking his chest out as Woods walks away.

Whatever subjectivity might be applied to the raw footage, it is clear that the accounts of National Party members forming the basis of the NZ Herald’s report were wildly and willfully inaccurate.

Interviewed on ZB by Larry Williams late yesterday, an evasive Mrs Parmar stuck to spin and raised speculation on social media that the events described by the Herald and NewsHub were completely untrue.


As I wrote this late on Saturday afternoon, the Herald had made no attempt to update the angle of the story, or publish a fact-based account.  In fact, the message Mt Roskill voters were getting from the website of their regional newspaper for well over 24 hours was that the Labour Party candidate is a bad tempered thug.  It was a message being shared across social media, and one that the Herald must have known was inaccurate and hugely damaging to the Labour candidate.   By the time the story was finally, apparently reluctantly, updated yesterday evening the damage to Mr Wood had already been done, with the NZ Herald leading the charge.

“Granny” Herald have always reported politics from a Rightwing perspective, and have recently purged most of their Left-leaning columnists, but this level of partisanship during a by-election must be acknowledged and documented.  Indeed, if Labour leader Andrew Little is serious about calling out the rising level of pro-National reporting in our news media, The New Zealand Herald is the obvious place to start.


Massey Research Shows Phil Goff Undermined By Media At Election

My Blog

Morning Report on Radio New Zealand, 27th November, 2012:  Thankyou to Doctor Clare Robertson from Massey University of New Zealand, for making this official.  But this is not new news – Many of us were keenly aware of the extent to which the media were influencing our elections, way back before Phil Goff’s loss to John Key.

Read Merrilyn’s post entitled “Phil Goff Undermined By Media” which I put up over a year ago. In this article, I pointed out the discrepancy of representation in ‘The NZ Herald’ between Phil Goff and John Key:  That Phil got an unglamorous wee photo put somewhere well into the paper, whereas John Key usually got a large, smiling photo on the front-page, or second-page.

Why has it taken so long for a New Zealand university political marketing specialist to make this connection?  It would have been a good thing if Massey University had…

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The New Zealand media and the Moment of Truth

A day in the life of NZ’s very own Daily Mail

David Cunliffe’s message resonates with National supporters: poll.


It’s going from bad to undeniably catastrophic for Prime Minister John Key, with a fresh poll indicating more and more National voters are leaning to Labour leader David Cunliffe.

Last night’s ONE News poll for John Key was labeled “soul destroying” for National – but the Roy Morgan ‘worm poll’ results have blown it out of the park with David Cunliffe resonating positively with voters. 

Roy Morgan’s Worm poll results show John Key only resonated with Labour voters once throughout the entire debate, whereas David Cunliffe was preaching to the National-faithful constantly. 

John Key’s poll lifted when he reinforced his support for gay marriage, although this could have been unwise as Mr. Key has been gunning heavily for the conservative Pacific vote recently based on National’s so-called family values foundations. The Pacifica vote is usually Labour-assured, but some found themselves disillusioned with the party over changes to the definition of…

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The latest WhaleDump – The Hotchin Files

Fairfax media is backing its horse no matter what

Pimping Key’s Government – and the NZ National Party

Is it time to call out the Rightwing propagandists lurking in New Zealand’s news media? 65267_257409244384249_1323944169_n

After excessively overstating the importance of their own Key-friendly rogue poll last week, this week has seen a barrage of propaganda from Fairfax Media, led as ever by their in-house National Party spin doctor, Tracy Watkins.

Watkins’ official role is political editor for Fairfax Media NZ, but a quick scan through her work will quickly quash any pretense of political neutrality, as her ongoing editorial love-in with John Key prevents her from applying any of those long lost journalistic standards; fairness, accuracy and balance.

Perhaps accompanying John Key on all those international trips has brainwashed her into being a true Key-believer, or maybe she is employed by Fairfax Media precisely for her willingness to abandon journalistic ethics and instead churn out endless column inches of National Party spin.  Whatever the reason, her output of propagandist puff-pieces on behalf of Key and co this week is simply a continuation of the work she’s done since long before this blog was established.

Two weeks ago, Watkins demonstrated her shameless National Party partisanship, by elevating beyond credibility the importance of their own questionable in-house polls, showing a rogue result in favour of her National Party buddies. She’s an absolute disgrace, and should declare her loyalty to John Key overtly, rather than posing as an independent journalist at New Zealand’s largest news corporation.

Meanwhile, her colleague Vernon Small took aim at the Labour Party conference, with a list of every marginally radical topic that might be discussed. Fair enough angle, I suppose, if you want to stir up a bit of fear-mongering among your uninformed reactionary readership, but not exactly fair, accurate or balanced.  Imagine if opened their coverage of a National Party conference with a subjective list of every crazy, unelectable, hard right idea that might get chucked around there – never going to happen.

This week, Fairfax followed up by leading their political “news” day after day with glowing testaments to the strong relationships and dynamics within the National Party.  “John Key – living the dream”, “Key credits team for National’s success”, “Chemistry bonds ex-political rivals” asserted the headlines, in blatantly spin-driven puff-pieces that could have been written by Crosby-Textor, and in many ways probably were.

As I have always maintained on this page, Fairfax Media have every right to act as a public relations service for the political Right in New Zealand.  But, instead of attempting to manipulate their readers by posing as an independent news media corporation, it is essential for our democracy that they state, once and for all, exactly where their partisanship lies.  This is obviously clear to informed New Zealanders, but readers of are generally – by design – lacking in balanced political understanding.

Come on Fairfax!  Declare your hand, so that New Zealanders can make an informed choice about where they source their political information.  If we wanted National Party spin, surely we would simply visit the National Party website instead.

There have been calls for a targeted blitz on Twitter, to out the most heavily-biased journalists in New Zealand’s news media.  It’s a call that is gathering momentum, and, unless journalists and media outlets declare their bias in no uncertain terms very soon, I believe this will be the obvious next step in combating what is clearly an assault on our democracy by powerful Righwing organisations.

To find out more about any of this, or to simply register your dissatisfaction with the current situation, please join us on Facebook , share with your friends, and boycott Fairfax publications such as The Dominion Post and Sunday Star Times.

Thanks for your interest.

Is John Key writing for Fairfax? responds to Key’s poll woes with barrage of National Party spin.  johnkey

Readers might be forgiven for thinking a story published under the headline “Labour surges in latest poll” might actually include some comment from the Labour Party.

But, not at Fairfax.

It appears that, as they are now unable to ignore polls pointing to their boy John Key’s demise, Fairfax Media have come out swinging on behalf of their chums in the National Party.

The result is simply not a news story; from beginning to end it’s a summary of the National Party’s propaganda, disguised as journalism.

Aside from the sheer ridiculousness of John Key preaching “morals”, Fairfax publish without question his twisted analysis of the political spectrum.  Key’s repeated claims that the most dictatorial Right-wing Government in New Zealand’s history, are actually  “Centre-Right”, while the Opposition are “far-Left”, are published as gospel , without any response or comment from the Labour Party.  This perhaps tells us as much about Fairfax’s political stance as it does about the National Party’s.

It is of course Fairfax Media’s prerogative to act as a mouthpiece for the National-led Government, despite the dangerous implications of such abject contempt for democracy within New Zealand’s largest media corporation.  They do however, at least owe their readers and subscribers a level of openness, and should declare overtly their political partisanship so that Kiwi voters can make an informed choice about where they source their political information.

As Fairfax clearly have no intention of being honest with their readers about their relationship with the National Party, it is left up to informed New Zealanders like you to spread the word.  If you are sick and tired of Fairfax Media abusing their privileged position to publish National Party propaganda dressed up as independent news, please share this piece, join us on Facebook , avoid and boycott all Fairfax publications.

Key’s walkout is news in Moscow but not Wellington

PM’s press conference tantie makes Russian Times but not Dom Post, as Fairfax avoid latest poll’s bad news for Nats.john-Key-press-AAP-1200

John Key’s dramatic exit from a press conference yesterday may have gone viral, but it seems those closest to the action were keeping ominously quiet.

The footage, which was quickly picked up by TVNZ, 3News, and now the Russian Times, went completely unreported by and the Dominion Post newspaper. Interesting, since the footage actually shows Fairfax political editor and unofficial National Party spin doctor Tracy Watkins sitting right in front of the Prime Minister, scratching at her pad and pretending not to notice as Key spits the proverbial dummy and makes a hurried exit stage left.

John Key was clearly amped and well prepared for his showdown on Campbell Live last week, shutting down John Cambell’s questions and going on the offensive to defend the GCSB bill.  But yesterday’s footage shows what happens when the increasingly under pressure Prime Minister hasn’t had three days of intensive media training just before a difficult question.

Meanwhile, it seems that Fairfax have also elected not to mention the latest Roy Morgan polls, which show a sudden drop in National’s support as the GCSB bill is debated, and forecasts a change of government.  Having convinced many New Zealanders not to even bother voting in the last general election because polls showed National would romp home, it appears that Fairfax Media would prefer to keep quiet about the latest poll, which shows their team taking a seven point drop and being overtaken by a Labour, Greens coalition.

Interesting that couldn’t publish the results fast enough just three weeks ago, when the previous Roy Morgan poll showed their National Party chums on 51 percent support;  “Labour’s support slumps”, read Stuff’s headline in July.

Now, less than a month later, the news of a dramatic swing to the opposition is greeted by Orwellian tumbleweeds at Fairfax.

Apparently there has been some serious soul searching at Fairfax NZ recently, as the media corporation look to end the exodus of subscribers and restore credibility as a reliable news source.  Blatantly partisan political coverage like this won’t be helping their cause.

To help ramp up the pressure on this unbalanced, anti-democratic news corporation, please join us on Facebook and share with your friends.  Also, please boycott Fairfax publications, cancel your subscriptions and avoid

The people of New Zealand deserve a news media with our interests at heart in these difficult and controversial times, not simply a mouthpiece for an out-of-control rightwing Prime Minister.