NZ Herald leaning heavily towards ‘political pressure’

NZ Herald initiated the latest discussion on Kim Dotcom’s residency, releasing documents they obtained yesterday. They led this with Why our spy agency let Dotcom into New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key must explain the “political pressure” government officials were under to process Kim Dotcom’s residency application, Labour says.

Documents declassified and released through the Official Information Act show the Security Intelligence Service tried to block Kim Dotcom’s residency application but dropped their objection 90 minutes after being told there was “political pressure” to let the tycoon into New Zealand.

There is a strong implication that ‘our spy agency’ let Dotcom get residency (he was already living here off and on) due to ‘political pressure’.

The article then quotes Labour’s Grant Robertson:

Labour’s Associate Security and Intelligence Spokesperson Grant Robertson said said Mr Key needed to explain the political involvement in the application.
“John Key has two important questions to answer, who was exerting political pressure on officials and why were they doing it.

“The Dotcom affair has always had the fingerprints of National Ministers on it, John Key must finally front up to New Zealanders and explain what he and his Ministers knew and what pressure they were applying.

The article then gives details of their investigation (by David Fisher, author of a book on Dotcom) and includes a number of official documents. It goes on to reiterate ‘political pressure:

The “political pressure” claim was made in October 2010 after the SIS blocked Dotcom’s residency application when it learned of the FBI’s criminal investigation into his Megaupload empire.

Well down the article a contradiction is included:

An earlier statement from Immigration NZ – provided by the SIS – said “it appears the government interest in the success of the [business migration] policy may have been misconstrued as political pressure”.

The statement appeared to be contradictory, saying so much time had passed “it is impossible to know whether this is an accurate reflection of comments that were made” while adding “INZ can state unequivocally that there was no political pressure”.

This pattern was repeated in Dotcom: Why wasn’t I blocked? While the article leads with…

Mogul claims residency checks set aside to lure him within FBI’s reach but government denies interference.

…it quotes Dotcom and then goes on to repeat:

“…political pressure to process this case”.

Well through the article it gives another side to the story:

Immigration NZ, which denies any “political pressure”, confirmed the six-month hold for those under investigation. But an Immigration spokesman said the agency “was not aware of any active investigation under way by the FBI” – only that he was a “person of interest”.

“It was decided that the information received did not meet the threshold to trigger a deferral of the residence application because of character concerns.”

Mr Coleman yesterday denied any political pressure, saying the decision was made by Immigration officials alone.

The decision document, obtained through the Official Information Act by the Herald, contains no mention of the FBI interest in Dotcom. It was signed off by an official and approved by his branch manager.

So both the Minister and Immigration NZ deny any political pressure was involved.

But the article closes promoting ‘political pressure’ again:

Labour MP Grant Robertson said he was sceptical about Immigration NZ’s denial of political pressure.

“I’m very concerned about the idea that the SIS magically decided the hold on the case no longer mattered 90 minutes after they heard about political pressure on Immigration NZ. And the fact INZ were told to talk to police and didn’t do it really defies belief.

The Herald has a separate article Dotcom case: Minister denies pressure on Immigration NZ.

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman has denied putting pressure on Immigration New Zealand to accept Kim Dotcom’s residency application, but will not take questions on the subject.

He sent a short statement saying Immigration NZ had already issued a statement that “unequivocally that there was no political pressure regarding Mr Dotcom’s residence application”.

“The residency decision was made by Immigration New Zealand, not by me as Minister of Immigration.”

The head of Immigration was on Radio NZ late yesterday strongly denying political pressure was involved in the decision.

Stuff also cover this with Immigration boss rejects Dotcom residency claims.

The head of Immigration has rejected suggestions Kim Dotcom’s residency was approved as part of a United States move to make it easier to extradite him to face charges there.

Dotcom believes US authorities wanted to keep him here to make it easier to extradite him on internet piracy and copyright infringement charges. He has long claimed the Government was acting at the behest of the American film industry but has never offered proof.

But in an exclusive interview, Immigration chief executive Nigel Bickle said that from Immigration’s point of view he had seen no evidence of that and it was Dotcom’s advisers who had called for a fast decision in his case.

Bickle said then-immigration minister Jonathan Coleman had not been involved in the decision to grant Dotcom permanent residency, and the call was made by an official.

In 2010 the investor category Dotcom was applying under, requiring at least a $10m investment here, was a new policy. Ministers were interested in how it was going and were briefed weekly.

But in terms of Dotcom as an individual, Coleman had no involvement in the decision.

Bickle had told Coleman, under the ‘‘no surprises’’ policy, on October 28, 2010 after he had been informed Dotcom would be granted residency.

But it was not a decision that needed to go to the minister.

In an editorial today NZ Herald all the emphasis is on ‘political pressure’.

Documents declassified and released through the Official Information Act show the Security Intelligence Service tried to block Mr Dotcom’s residency application. It described him as a “bad but wealthy man” who was being investigated by the FBI for alleged copyright crimes. However, the SIS dropped its objection 90 minutes after being told there was “political pressure” to let the Megaupload mogul into New Zealand.

It does refer to Coleman.

Jonathan Coleman, the minister in 2010, denies there was political pressure. His signature was absent when residency was granted. Approval for Mr Dotcom was delegated by “special direction” to two Immigration NZ officials. But pressure comes in many forms.

There is no mention of Immigration NZ’s claim they didn’t think there was any pressure and they made the decision without the Minister being involved in the decision.

The editorial goes on:

Those damaged by the Dotcom wrecking ball can at least take comfort in the latest revelations hardly being to his advantage. More importantly, they argue persuasively that ministers should not be in a position where they can make decisions on residency or citizenship against the advice of officials. There is too great a danger of them bowing to popular opinion or acting in a manner that is not in the country’s best long-term interests.

Officials, in turn, should not be left to make such decisions. People and their circumstances vary, a feature that would be disregarded if rules had to be enforced rigidly. Additionally, officials are apt to read the political winds and anticipate their minister’s preference.

The editorial is headed Dotcom saga shows why independent judges best and closes with “An independent panel would be much more sensible” so it is obvious they have a clear preference but that doesn’t excuse slanting their coverage so much towards the claims of ‘political pressure’ while downplaying or omitting claims to the contrary.

 

 

New York Times editorial: Maybe One Less Union Jack

New York Times editorial Friday 21 March:

Maybe One Less Union Jack

Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand wants to get rid of his country’s flag. Earlier this month, he promised a national referendum in which citizens would choose a new flag design to replace the current one, a blue ensign with Britain’s Union Jack in the upper left corner and four stars of the Southern Cross, which has flown over New Zealand for more than a century.

That flag proclaims New Zealand as a South Pacific outpost of the British Empire, which is precisely why Mr. Key wants to abandon it. He thinks it shackles his country to its colonial past and is unrepresentative of the racial and cultural diversity of 21st-century New Zealand. (The nation’s biggest city, Auckland, is more diverse than London or Sydney.) Those on Mr. Key’s side argue, too, that their flag is nondescript and derivative; it looks very much like Australia’s flag, for which it is often mistaken. The New Zealand Herald recently published a graphic of 30 flags from around the world based on the British flag, writing: “Somewhere in here is the N.Z. flag, lost in a sea of blue and Union Jacks.”

Mr. Key favors a simpler design — a silver fern on a black background — used by New Zealand’s national sports teams, including its famed rugby squad, the All Blacks. A poll published Wednesday by The Herald found a slim majority in favor of keeping the current flag, but among the 40 percent who wanted to change it, most preferred the fern.

While some critics are dubious about using a sports symbol — arguing that a country needs a flag, not a logo — The Herald was on the mark when it urged Mr. Key in an editorial to go bold and not leave momentous aesthetic decisions in the hands of a committee of politicians. “The selection of a design to be put before the public should not made by senior ministers,” the editorial said. “It should be entrusted to a panel of vexillologists, artists and designers.” That makes sense. For practitioners of vexillology — the study of flags — an opportunity like this does not come often, and they are surely eager to make the most of it.

NZ Herald refers to this: Flag change gains international support

NZ Herald editorial: Key needs to be bolder on flag change

Dotcom’s gagging order

Kim Dotcom has been granted an interim injunction to stop former security guard Wayne Tempero revealing anything about any of Dotcom’s (or his wife’s) business,  personal, musical or political details.

Court gags Dotcom bodyguard

Dotcom made a successful application for an interim injunction against Wayne Tempero in the High Court at Auckland yesterday. The action came soon after the Herald reported that Tempero was set to release “secret revelations” about Dotcom’s “mindset and megalomania”.

Tempero resigned from Dotcom’s staff in October.

Yesterday Justice Sarah Katz granted an interim injunction and ordered that Mr Tempero – and anyone else on his behalf – was “restrained from using or disclosing to any person, firm, corporation or entity, any confidential or trade information acquired whilst working for Kim Dotcom”.

The information included, but was not limited to, any information acquired by Mr Tempero “about Kim Dotcom, his role with Kim Dotcom, any information to do with providing services to Kim Dotcom and any other information whatsoever concerning Kim Dotcom, his businesses, his political party, his music, his family and friends, and all images of Kim Dotcom, his family and friends at any time”.

The order also prohibits Mr Tempero from disclosing computer software.

Mr Tempero was also ordered not to disclose any information about Dotcom’s wife Mona’s business or his other companies including Megaupload and Megastuff.

Peterwn at Whale Oil:

The judge probably adopted the lawyer’s draft order ‘as is’. The wording would cover his employees or anyone acting on his behalf. It would only cover Cam if Kim can show on the balance of probabilities that he was acting on Mr Tempero’s behalf – this would be an issue that Cam would need to consider but his sources go far wider than this.

I am surprised that Mr Tempero would do anything but have the utmost respect for his clients and ex-clients and keep things ‘in confidence’. His future engagements depend on it. I cannot believe he is disclosing such confidential information, seems to me Kim suspects he has, hence the injunction. The only other explanation is Kim is foul-mouthing him around the place and Mr Tempero feels a need to fight back to maintain his professional reputation.

Cam Slater responds:

Kim Dotcom already broke the confidentiality agreement when he spoke to Rachel Glucina about Temperos pay and conditions…game over after that.

This seems to relate to this from Rachel Glucina in NZ Herald last month (February 26):

Now it’s the Dotcom tapeKim Dotcom has been taped talking to an unpaid former staff member, The Diary has learned. It’s understood a news organisation is in discussions to air it. Dotcom is allegedly trying to stop it by enforcing non-disclosure agreements.

Dotcom came under fire last week from Kiwi small business owners who are owed as much as $500,000 in unpaid bills. A lack of funds was also blamed for longtime bodyguard Wayne Tempero’s exit.

The Megaupload founder told The Diary he could afford to pay his minder only half of what he was getting two years ago.Dotcom, who continues to embrace an opulent lifestyle, has pledged to pay his debts when he has the money. But when? Who knows? Yesterday he told The Diary he did not want to talk about the tape.

Gagging orders are risky. They tend to get journalists more interested in issues and more determined to dig.

Whale Oil is promising to reveal much more. NZ Herald obviously has information too. And media interest is likely to be stoked up by this gagging order.

Was the Herald poll an outlier?

There have been suggestions that NZ Herald/Digipoll poll was an ‘outlier’ with Labour on a low 29.5%.

750 people were polled with a margin of error of 3.5% at 95% confidence – that means there’s a 1 in 20 chance of a poll result being outside the margin of error.

But the last four polls have been quite consistent with an average for Labour of 31.5% with the most recent polls lower. And the combined Labour+Green results have been in a tight range from 41% to 42.6%.

David Cunliffe gave mixed messages, as reported in NZ Herald in Cunliffe on poll result: ‘We’ve got more work to do’.

Mr Cunliffe said the poll, which had Labour slipping below the 30 per cent mark, showed “we’ve got more work to do”.

Referring to questions around his use of a trust to receive donations to support his leadership campaign last year, Mr Cunliffe said: “We expected to take a hit, we did and now we’re moving on”.

He accepts that Labour would ‘take a hit’ and they have work to do.

Mr Cunliffe also expressed some doubt over the accuracy of the poll.

“Our internal polls show us unmoved in the mid- 30s.”

Politicians always hope poor poll results are inaccurate. But Cunliffe’s claim that their internal polls are ‘unmoved’ mean nothing without proof to back up his claim. And other polls suggest otherwise.

  • Herald/Digipoll (March 6-16): Labour 29.5%
  • Roy Morgan (Feb 17-Mar 2): Labour Party 30.5%
  • One News/Colmar Brunton (Feb 15-19): Labour 34%
  • Fairfax/IPSOS (Feb 8-10): Labour 31.8%

The Colmar and IPSOS polling periods were before Cunliffe’s ‘horror week’, and the average of the last four polls is still only 31.45%.

It’s generally accepted that Labour will need Greens to form a government. Their combined results:

  • Herald/Digipoll: Labour+Green 42.6%
  • Roy Morgan: Labour+Green 41%
  • One News/Colmar Brunton: Labour-Green 42%
  • Fairfax/IPSOS: Labour+Green 41.8%

There’s been some movement between Labour and Greens but the combined totals don’t suggest the current poll is an outlier.

Cunliffe was right about one thing. He and Labour have “got more work to do”.

UPDATE: David Cunliffe has just spoken on Firstline. He said the Herald poll recorded one point in time two weeks ago and since then an internal poll of a similar size had Labour on 34%.

There’s no reason to doubt Cunliffe’s claim but it isn’t as simple as a 4.5% rise.

The Herald  polling period was 6-16 March so it doesn’t reflect just one point in time two weeks ago, they polled up to Sunday (three days ago).

Taking margins of sample error into account the results overlap.

  • Cunliffe’s poll 34%, margin of error 3.4%, range 30.6-37.4
  • Herald poll 29.5%, margin of error 3.3%, range 26.2-32.8

And Cunliffe didn’t say what the Greens were in the poll, nor what National were.

Cunliffe preferred less in Auckland and by women

Labour has a major problem. David Cunliffe has an even bigger problem, especially in Auckland and with women.

Labour has struggled (and failed) to recover and rebuild since Helen Clark and Michael Cullen departed after their 2008 election loss.

Phil Goff failed to inspire, the David Shearer experiment at first seemed possibly inspired but turned out to be deluded, and after an initial surge David Cunliffe is failing to impress. The latest Herald/Digipoll has Cunliffe polling lower than Shearer ever was in ‘preferred PM’.

Party poll results for Labour (compared to December 2013):

  • Total 29.5% (down 5.9)
  • Male 27.2% (down 5.5)
  • Female 31.5% (down 6.6)
  • Auckland 26.7% (down 9.9)
  • Rest of NZ 31% (down 3.7)

Labour usually gets more female support but that is coming down significantly. They should be particularly worried about their crash in support in Auckland.

Preferred PM for Cunliffe:

  • Total 11.1% (down 5.4)
  • Male 12.3% (down 5.3)
  • Female 10.1% (down 4.8)

Female support for Labour is higher than male support (31.5 to 26.7), but rate Cunliffe lower as preferred PM than males (10.1 to 12.3).

In comparison ‘preferred PM’ for John Key:

  • Total 66.5% (up 4.7)
  • Male 70.4% (up 8.5)
  • Female 62.7% (down 0.1)

Key is significantly more preferred by male than female but he gets well over National levels of support from both genders.

Comprehensive poll results including regional and gender breakdowns at NZ Herald – National, Greens up, Labour at new low.

Herald Digipoll – National up, Labour crash

The latest Herald Digipoll shows National rising 4 to 50.8% despite the Judith Collins issue happening during the polling period, and Labour is down 6 to 29.5%. This is not good for David Cunliffe, who also drops 5 in ‘preferred PM’ to 11.1, lower than David Shearer ever got.

  • National 50.8% (up 4 from Dec 2013)
  • Labour 29.5% (down 5.9)
  • Greens 13.1% (up 2.3)
  • NZ First 3.6% (down 0.3)
  • Conservative 1.3% (no change)
  • Act 0.8% (up 0.8%)
  • Other 0.5% (up 0.1)
  • Maori 0.2% (down 1.1)
  • Mana 0.1% (up 0.1)
  • Undecided 11.4%

750 eligible voters were polled from Thursday March 6 to Sunday March 16. That was a period of major negative coverage of Cunliffe but only some of the Collins milk issue.

The margin of error is 3.6% (presumably at a confidence of 95%) – note that +/-3.6 only applies at a polling level of 50%, see Poll ‘margin of error’ explained.

Preferred PM:

  • John Key 66.5% (up 4.6)
  • David Cunliffe 11.1% (down 5.4)
  • Winston Peters 6.5 (down 0.8)
  • Russel Norman 4.5 (up 1.1)
  • Helen Clark 3.3 (up 0.1)
  • David Shearer 1.1 (up 0.3)
  • Shane Jones 1.1 (up 1.1)
  • Jacinda Ardern 0.8 (up 0.2)
  • Metiria Turei 0.6 (down 0.3)
  • Grant Robertson 0.5 (down 0.2)
  • Tariana Turia 0.4 (unchanged)
  • Annette King 0.2% (down 0.5)

Key is far more supported than National (16%).

Cunliffe is far less supported than Labour. Cunliffe+Clark+Shearer+Jones+Ardern+Robertson+King=18.1%

Russel Norman rates significantly higher than Metiria Turei – in the draft Green list released yesterday Turei was ranked number 1 for Greens so that would presumably put her at the top of the list for a position in a Labour/Green coalition. I’d expect Greens to be pushing for a deputy PM spot, especially on these poll results.

Comprehensive poll results including regional and gender breakdowns at NZ Herald – National, Greens up, Labour at new low.

Ombudsman – withholding Banks’ full statement to Police “was not justified”

The Ombusdman has recommended that a reacted version of John Banks’ statement to police is given to NZ Herald and Labour – after the current court proceedings have concluded.

In relation to requests by NZ Herald (David Fisher) and Labour (Kate Challis) for a copy of the statement provided by the Hon John Banks to the Police in the course of their investigation into alleged irregularities in respect of electoral funding donations the Ombudsman has ruled:

I have formed the opinion that in September and October 2012 the Police had good reason to refuse parts of the statement under those provisions but that the decision to withhold the statement in full was not justified.

He has recommended “that the Police release a redacted statement to the requesters once the related court proceedings against Mr Banks have concluded.”

So that won’t have any immediate effect, it will have to wait until the current court proceedings are complete.

Ombudsman’s role:

As an Ombudsman, I am authorised to investigate and review, on complaint, any decision by which a Minister or agency subject to the OIA refuses to make official information available when requested. My role in undertaking an investigation is to form an independent opinion as to whether the request was properly refused.

Summary

David Fisher of The New Zealand Herald and Kate Challis of the Office of the Labour Leader requested a copy of the statement provided by the Hon John Banks to the Police in the course of their investigation into alleged irregularities in respect of electoral funding donations.

The allegations pertained to the 2010 Auckland Super City Mayoral election in which Mr Banks was a candidate for the mayoralty. The statement was withheld pursuant to sections 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba) of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). I have formed the opinion that in September and October
2012 the Police had good reason to refuse parts of the statement under those provisions but that the decision to withhold the statement in full was not justified. 

Ombudsman’s opinion and recommendation

49. For the reasons set out above, I have formed the opinion that in September and October 2012 the Police had good reason to withhold parts of Mr Banks’ statement under sections 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(ba)(ii) of the OIA, but the decision to withhold the statement in full was not justified.

50. I recommend that the Police release a redacted statement to the requesters once the related court proceedings against Mr Banks have concluded. I have stipulated that the release be delayed because although I consider the OIA did not provide good reason to withhold the majority of the statement at the time the Police made its decision on the requests, in light of subsequent events, disclosure at the present time would be likely to prejudice Mr Banks’ right to a fair trial (section 6(c) of the OIA). Accordingly, a recommendation to disclose before the conclusion of the pending court proceedings would be c ontrary to one of the purposes of the OIA which is “to protect official information to the extent consistent with the public interest …” (section 4(c) of the OIA).

Full report (PDF).

Dim-Post versus Glucina – serious accusation

Danyl Mclauchlan at Dim-Post has made serious accusations against Rachel Glucina, calling her a “a loyal little cog in National’s comms wheel”.

That’s a curious claim coming from the partner of a presumably loyal cog in the Green Party comms wheel.

Glucina is the journalist who broke the “Winston visits Dotcom’ story in NZ Herald last Friday:

 

Questions of the week

1. Did Winston Peters visit the Dotcom mansion for secret meetings? Don Brash and Russel Norman have confessed to get-togethers in Coatesville, but Peters was playing coy yesterday when The Diary phoned. Rumours that he went there three times are “false”, he says, but he refused to specify if he’d been there at all.

There has been posts and discussion since then in the blogosphere.

Yesterday John Key accused Winston Peters of having visited Dotcom three times. Since then there has been an unusually concerted campaign claiming Key got his information from the GCSB – which as others have pointed out, would be serious and illegal.

A post on Dim-Post today tries to portray Glucina as a National puppet in Alternate theory.

The Herald’s gossip journalist Rachel Glucina is a loyal little cog in National’s comms wheel so I guess you could claim that the Nats gave the story to her. But would they really give GCSB intel to the gossip columnist? Sure, maybe ‘that’s the genius of it all!’ But I doubt it.

Meanwhile Kim Dotcom is on twitter claiming that virtually no one knew about Winston Peters’ visits so the PM’s information must have come through surveillance. Now, I’ve never owned a gigantic palace filled with servants but I have sat through a few episodes of Downton Abbey and I’m guessing it’s harder to keep secrets in the country’s largest mansion than Dotcom thinks.

And I’m also guessing that not everyone who works there is totally loyal to their boss, and that at least one of them is willing to sell information about what goes on there to, say, a gossip columnist. The advantage National has is that they could – hypothetically – call Glucina and query the legitimacy of the source before they raised it in Parliament.

That looks like a fairly mangy attempt at mugging the messenger.

NBR journalist Rob Hosking asks:

More seriously – I don’t know Rachel Glucina personally and I don’t read her stuff (at least not on any regular basis) but can you back up the claim she is “a loyal little cog in National’s comms wheel?”

I hope Danyl takes this question seriously.

I’ll update here if Danyl comes back with anything to substantiate what he has claimed.

Herald, protest free and white power

NZ Herald has been challenged for running “protest free news pages” yesterday.

Surfboardt Snark@CEMerriman tweeted with a scan…

Spotted on the front page of the Herald. Rage spiralling so so hard I can’t even.

And followed up with:

‘Nothing in this paper will make you think about your white privilege! HAPPY NEW ZEALAND DAY’

Imagining a newspaper that does a Waitangi Day special ed with outlines of the history of WD and Te Tiriti, an overview of Pakeha/Maori relations, a page of statistics of how colonisation has affected Maori and then a series of in-depth pieces on the meaning of Te Tiriti to Maori, Pakeha and people of other ethnicities, esp Pasifika NZers, Chinese NZers etc.

WOULDN’T THAT BE AWESOME. There could be like 1 thing written by a white person (or none even) it could be a day of listening to everyone else for a change.

That’s more extreme than the Herald approach – they went protest free, not Treaty free or Maori free. They continued:

*Sighs* That was a nice dream.

People say they want a more peaceful national holiday, then talk about how ANZAC day is a better choice #ummmm

Another exchange at the same time may be pertinent:

CatDad JeanSergent@SaigonSyl
“A male University of Toronto student filed a claim with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal accusing his Women and Gender Studies professor of discriminating against him when she failed him for never having attended the course.”

@CEMerriman
BAHAHAHAHA. That is so classic. But it’s totally women and minorities that have entitlement issues, eh, not the white dudes.

*aggressively assumes he’s white*

@SaigonSyl
(he’s not)

@CEMerriman
oops

Back to the Herald ban – and it becomes obvious the graphic used is what has caused the most offence, with some justification.

@MsMocktavia 
I feel like @nzherald could have just cut to the chase & written “NO MAAAREES THIS WHITEANGRY DAY”

@scuba_nurse
 What the FUCK? Is that a white power slogan??

@MsMocktavia
Yes, what a white fist stands for, the ‘Aryan fist’. I feel ill.

White power

Oops. While there are many symbols used for “white power” that looks to be the exact same fist symbol. A bad mistake or deliberately provocative?

@CEMerriman
Part of me wants to believe that is a mistake, but nope probs not.

@SaigonSyl  
There’s no way it’s a mistake. sickening to the core

@MsMocktavia
For their entire editorial team to have been living under a rock to miss semiotics on that, & after they’ve already chosen to go massive dog-whistle racism for Waitangi Day – no way.

@CEMerriman
Just unbelievably awful.

@MsMocktavia
“So what happened this Waitangi Day?” “Oh, you know, our national paper put a white power fist on its front page.”

I hope that whoever chose the graphic did so in ignorance and it wasn’t noticed by anyone else at the Herald. When I saw the scan of the front page I didn’t spot the problem, I’m not familiar with white power symbols and I thought being ‘protest free’ was the issue.

Others saw it this way too.

@mattfairh 
The “Protest-Fee News Pages” bit is the problem, not the semiotics of the raised fist symbol. (That’s just ignorance).

But if so it’s very unfortunate ignorance. More who were unaware of the symbolic stuffup…

@paulbrislen 
Dear NZ Herald, I thought the idea of newspapers was to encourage debate not revel in not having one. Unimpressed.

@ShayneCurrieNZH 
You keep misrepresenting the point – such a shame.

@paulbrislen
Genuine question because your cover appears to be about shutting down the discussion. Not what I’d expect from the H.

@ShayneCurrieNZH
Sick of 1-2 individuals who hijack the day and dominate TV/headlines. So we’ve ignored them and devoted 7 pages to debate.

@paulbrislen
“next: we talk only to those people who support out world view and find things are just as we expected.”

@kiwidaveg
Simply sounds like trying to broaden the debate rather than go with cliche agitators. Waitangi events in Dunedin were very +ve

Russell Brown@publicaddress
Given we’ve been complaining about other media seizing on stoushes at Waitangi, I do get what @nzherald was trying to say but “protest free” really wasn’t a good way of saying “we have seven pages of Treaty debate and discussion in today’s paper.”

Reasonable points on both sides of the argument. It’s possible to have debate without giving all the attention to a few extreme attention seekers.

But unfortunately the Herald used an attention seeking extreme symbol.

@mattfairh 
Ok, yeah, you’re right. They’re both very problematic, but I think the symbol can at least be explained by ignorance.

@CEMerriman
I’m pretty sceptical about that to be honest. If so they maybe need to learn how to google.

Unless you know what to google for that may not be as useful as it sounds. “What is this symbol used for” wouldn’t work.

@mattfairh 
I like to think they didn’t decide to allude to the White Power symbol on purpose. But ok maybe I’m being too optimistic.

@CEMerriman 
It is totally mind boggling either way

James Butler@j20r
First Bomber now the Herald, perhaps we need a Racist Imagery 101 course you have to pass before you can drive a computer.

@CEMerriman
I think my dad might finally get around to cancelling our subscription now. Thanks, @nzherald

No mention of this in NZ Herald. Maybe they are still unaware of their symbol SNAFU.

UPDATE: Bomber/Martyn Bradbury has also posted on this but has not picked up on the logo, just the “protest free” aspect – Dear NZ Herald – a protest free newspaper is an abdication of responsibility

Interesting link: A brief history of the “clenched fist” image

Herald Digipoll good for National

In what may be the final poll of the year National have bounced back and Labour slip after a previous surge when David Cunliffe took over leadership.

Party vote
• National 46.8% (+3.1%)
• Labour 35.4% (-2.3%)
• Greens 10.8% (-0.5%)
• NZ First 3.9% (-0.5%)
• Maori Party 1.3% (+0.5%)
• Mana 0.9% (+0.2%)
• Act 0% (-0.1%)
• United Future 0%
• Conservatives 0.7% (-0.3%)
• Legalise Cannabis 0.1%

National will be happy to finish the year holding up their support.

Labour will be disappointed that a change of leadership hasn’t made much lasting difference to their poll support.

Greens bounce around a bit but have struggled to build on their 2011 election result.

NZ First are still in maybe/maybe not territory.

Maori and Mana parties maintain support that is unlikely to get them list seats.

Act and United Future continue to struggle to make any impression.

The Conservative Party must be disappointed, Colin Craig has had extensive help from media coverage over the last month but that hasn’t helped them in the polls.

Preferred Prime Minister
• John Key 61.9% (+6.1%)
• David Cunliffe 16.5% (-0.3%)
• Winston Peters 7.3% (+1.1%)
• Russel Norman 3.4% (-0.3%)
• Helen Clark 3.2% (-0.3%)

Key has bounced back while Cunliffe remains short of David Shearer’s best rating.

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