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Dom runs Nats damage control after Key’s “incredible” Pike River flip-flop

June 22, 2011

Fairfax lead with National’s spin after yet another clanger from Key

With the Opposition jumping on the Prime Minister’s “unbelievable about-face” over mine safety, Fairfax once again twist the real story into a shameless piece of National Party propaganda to lead page two today.

Key got himself into hot water during his visit to Australia this week when he admitted to The Australian newspaper that New Zealand’s “mine safety laws were deficient”.  During the exclusive interview, Key told The Australian that “the Pike River mine would have been illegal in Australia” 

The Australian was also quick to note that:  “Last month the president of New Zealand’s Council of Trade Unions, Helen Kelly, told the Labour Party Congress that although Pike River had “failed in its fundamental duty to provide a safe workplace”, its actions were not properly investigated.

At the time Mr Key attacked Ms Kelly for making such claims when the royal commission had yet to begin full hearings.

Making mileage out of this interchange, Mr Goff said: “This sudden change in his position is quite incredible given just a month ago he publicly condemned a union representative for questioning safety at the mine, accusing her of being ‘churlish and insensitive’.”

However, we can always count on the one-sided coverage from Fairfax Media to ignore the obvious newsworthy angle and instead spin a little something positive for their mates in the National-led Government.  So, today’s politics lead runs with the bold page-wide headline “Mine rules to change after Pike River – Key”.  This carefully-spun piece is basically telling us that that nice Mr Key is going to make things safer now ‘cos he’s such a good bloke, when clearly, the real news angle here is his abrupt flip-flop. 

Even the New Zealand Herald – not known for their overt criticism of the political Right – got this story spot on, with a balanced account starting from the most newsworthy entry point, and under the headline “Key accused of flip-flop on Pike River safety”.

Also this week, Fairfax continue their one-eyed reporting of the hacking of the Labour Party’s database by Right-wing blogger Cameron ‘Whaleoil’ Slater.  In both a page two story on Monday, and an editorial on Tuesday, The Dom Post present a carefully calculated account of the facts that puts all the blame on the Labour Party, and ignores other inconvenient truths; such as, the fact that postcards addressed to the Prime Minister protesting early childhood education cuts ended up with Labour MP Sue Maroney, but without any mention of the reason they ended up with Maroney….because a certain arrogant and out-of-touch National Prime Minister twice refused to accept them! 

Political ‘reporter’ Tracy Watkins once again gives us only the National Party-friendly version of events, and once again uses the word “appears” to make unsubstantiated allegations about the Labour Party, as she did when first reporting on the hacking of the database, which she claimed “appeared” to be unprotected.


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  1. Ben permalink


    I fully agree that National are a bunch of smarmy middle class white men who care about profit over people. However they did leave the details on their website completely unprotected (having watch the video on Whaleoil, anyone who knows a thing or two about Apache can understand how this happened).

    It’s important that people start accepting that someone in Labour really screwed up over that and it wasn’t a political game. The left-wing blogosphere needs to start accepting that in order to save face.

    • Agreed that this was a massive technical blunder by the Labour Party Ben, but that doesn’t exuse the ethics of it – would it be okay for Slater to wander into Phil Goff’s office and rummage through his private shit if the office wasn’t properly locked?

      These are the same guys who were screaming for blood when Dr Brash’s emails got leaked, so for the media to take the line that Labour’s poor security is solely at fault here is hypocritical in the context of their reporting of the ‘Hollow Men’ saga.

      My real point Ben, is that this is simply another example of The Dom only telling one side of the story. There is a basic principle of balance being ignored day after day by Fairfax Media. This in no way excuses the screw-up, but let’s treat both sides of the house fairly. I wonder, how would Fairfax report this story if it was Martyn Bradbury or myself who had accessed a sensitive National Party database?

  2. Ben permalink

    Thanks for your reply, Neil.

    The difference here, of course, is that the contents of Phil Goff’s office are not information which is freely available in the public domain. The contents of files on Labours publicly accessible webservers are in the public domain. Even Google has a copy. If yourself or Bomber had accessed it I’m sure you’d be jumping behind the same sort of defence. Trying to spin it to make it look like a politically-motivated move just keeps it in the headlines, though. And unfortunately muck seems to stick when it comes to Labour, and slide off cleanly when it comes to John Key (who has much, much more to answer for…if only people knew).

    I do agree the stories you mention (here and elsewhere) are unfairly slanted to make National look like the good guys, every time. FairFax’s coverage is utterly appalling and the more people hear about that, the better.

    You are doing great work in exposing their bias this and it’s very much appreciated.

    • Thanks Ben. All feedback is greatly appreciated!

      I’m certainly no technical expert, and will bow down to your greater knowledge of the workings of that interweb thingy…

      Please feel free to continue helping me keep things honest.


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