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Stuff manage message for Nats over database breach

June 13, 2011

Fairfax omit key points to protect Nats from dirty tricks details

There is stark contrast between Fairfax’s version of events and the reporting of various others as manage the database hacking story on behalf of their mates in the National Party.

While Rightwing rival The New Zealand Herald provided a reasonably independent and balanced account, Fairfax’s reporters ignored the damning details of what is clearly a National Party-instigated cyber-attack on the main Opposition party.  Fairfax’s angle focusses immediately on the Labour Party’s damage control, rather than the nature of the attack, then claims that: “While Labour is labelling it a malicious breach, it appears that the information was readily able to be accessed on its website and the breach did not appear to occur through the website being hacked or because of other illegal activity.” 

This highly subjective and leading statement is made just three paragraphs into the story, and changes the entire focus of the information contained in the Labour Party’s media release, which clearly points the finger at shadowy goings on within the National Party. 

Not only does Fairfax’s reporting ignore a few key facts in the media release, it also quite deliberately ignores the most newsworthy angle, prefering instead to shelter the National Party from the most incriminating details. Some of these details, as pointed out by Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth, include  the fact that one of the earliest downloads of the database “appears to be from an internet address belonging to a National Party Head Office mail server”.   And, that “the information was subsequently accessed by a person with strong links to National and ACT…”, but somehow Fairfax’s reporters missed all the really dodgy bits.  Hmmm.

As Ms Coatsworth says, “This is a politically motivated attack.  The National Party had a choice to alert us to this vulnerability in our system. Instead they chose to exploit it and to download the material and pass the gap onto the blogger who they knew would reveal private information.”

Fairfax had the same information as the NZ Herald, so why is it that key elements were left out by the report on  The answer is fairly obvious, isn’t it.

Both Martyn Bradbury and Tim Selwyn address this very well on the Tumeke blog today.

Meanwhile, today’s Dom Post offers yet another one of those half-arsed reports into the declining state of New Zealand – this time under the headline ‘Hidden shame of children in poverty’ – without once mentioning, querying or even hinting at the fact that this might have something to do with the Government.  Surely in the context of New Zealand in 2011, a serious journalist cannot report on “the worst levels of deprivation” without making any reference to inadequate social services, cuts to the public sector, and generally terrible social policy.   Where is the analysis here?  Why do Fairfax insist on protecting the National Party from taking any accountability for the mess they have made?


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  1. i had to choke back the puke to see TAB “free” $20 bet adverts as top banner on stuff over the w’end… blind, careless idiots…

  2. I dunno if it’s blind or careless, Jiggy. Just the usual story of profit taking priority over people.
    We’ve got a Government that’ll sell gambling laws as well as employment laws. I worry what message our society is sending to the kids – “anything goes, as long as you get a profit”.
    The free market is free from ethics.

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