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Jet-setting Key accompanied by Fairfax political editor, again

June 5, 2012

“When John Key travels, we travel too”.

After “escorting” the Prime Minister on his tour of the United States last year, Fairfax political editor and unofficial National Party press secretary Tracy Watkins is once again travelling the world doting on our dear leader.

Her recent sycophantic drivel is being written from Europe, where it seems that she is again keeping John Key company and making sure we all get to read about what a swell guy he is. 

 Noting that her latest outpouring of John Key adoration was filed from Brussels, I called Fairfax’s press gallery number this afternoon, and spoke to senior political reporter Vernon Small, who confirmed that Watkins was indeed with the Prime Minister, before noting cheerfully that “When Key travels, we travel too”. 

Of course, this in itself isn’t a problem, and journalists frequently travel to where the news is happening.    But, when taken in the context of Watkins’ ongoing pro-National spin, and Fairfax’s heavily partisan political coverage,  there appears to be the odour of a large, sewer-dwelling rodent attached to the frequency of Watkins’ international trips with John Key. 

Who initiates these trips?  Who pays for them?  Did senior political staff from Fairfax escort Helen Clark around the world?  Why aren’t the political editors of The New Zealand Herald and Radio New Zealand on the trip?

A quick skim through the copy Watkins has posted since John Key went to Europe shows clearly that she isn’t there to offer any kind of analysis or genuine questioning of the Prime Minister.  She certainly didn’t mention David Cameron’s dodgy relationship with the Murdoch press while harping on about what a sweet friendship Key and Cameron have.  As this blog has maintained for more than three years, the unhealthy cooperation between Fairfax Media and the Key Government is hugely damaging to our democracy, with this media corporation consistently offering pro-National propaganda, marginalising the Opposition, and ignoring stories that are most damaging to the Government.

Just today, it’s been revealed that John Key told bare-faced lies about the number of jobs that would be created by the controversial Sky City casino deal.  For all Key’s big talk of 1000 construction jobs, The NZ Herald revealed that the official Howarth feasibility study showed only 150 jobs a year being created over five years.  Key also claimed that 800 staff would be employed by the Sky City convention centre, but the Howarth report puts this figure as low as 318.  Seems Mr Key has been busted telling porky pies again.  But don’t bother trying to find anything about it on, because Fairfax have completely avoided reporting any of this, just as they’ve ignored the Green Party’s sustained attacks on the Government’s record on poverty and the environment from their national conference over the weekend.  Reading Fairfax, it would appear that the Greens conference didn’t even happen.   Fairness, accuracy, balance – ha!

Interestingly, I was chatting to Waikanae resident Mark Harris about Tracy Watkins just yesterday.   According to Mr Harris: “We had Key come up to Waikanae on the campaign trail with local MP Nathan Guy last year”. 

“We protested at the station about the Expressway, and we were there a good hour before they arrived. All the reporters came across to at least ask us about the issue, except Watkins, who just leaned against the building and refused to let her photographer even snap us.”  

 So, what can you do about it?   First of all, you can share this blog with your friends.  Secondly, you can join us on facebook!/groups/fearfacts/ 

We are growing daily, we are putting the pressure on, and we will continue to do so until Fairfax Media start providing New Zealand with a genuine news service, instead of partisan spin and one-sided National Party propaganda.


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