Seven Sharp’s stink perception

Seven Sharp ran an item last night ‘revealing’ that Peter Dunne’s son James is a legal representative for the legal high industry. They promoted it as an exclusive.

This is covered well by Karol at The Standard in Father & son: Dunne deals?

Seven Sharp said at the least there is an appearance of conflict of interest.

I had already noticed that a James Dunne was representing the legal high industry and presumed there was either a family connection oe it was a coincidence, but I didn’t think it mattered.

Peter Dunne can’t instruct his son what he should or shouldn’t do in his professional capacity. James Dunne can’t instruct his father on what he does in Parliament.

One thing pointed out by Seven Sharp was James Dunne’s promotion on his company profile:

valuable inside knowledge of how Parliament works in New Zealand

Obviously in some ways he will have a very good insight into how Parliament works, his father has been an MP all his life, but he could have worded this much better.

My biggest issue with this is with Seven Sharp. They have promoted it as big news:

Peter Dunne and Legal Highs Son

An exclusive on the link between a Peter Dunne and the man fighting against his crackdown on legal highs.

And as Karol says they “claim that at the least there is an appearance of conflict of interest.”

That’s because they have created that appearance and highlighted it as significant news. They have provided no evidence at all to make it any more than a manufactured perception. If they had said nothing there would be little or no public perception.

TVNZ have tried to create news out of nothing of substance. This is stink journalism.

And as some of the comments at The Standard show, it has initiated a bout of stink politics.

Leave a comment


  1. The aroma of your hypocrisy is astounding Pete..
    If this had been a Labour, Green or Mana perceived conflict between a sitting MP and their progeny you would have been one of the first instigators of what you call ‘stink politics’, something you join in regularly in Whaleoil’s bog..United Future’s future should be well dunne (sic) by now.. I really hope so, I think NZ has fully had enough of willing buyer willing seller crony politics Pete and those who cover for them by not having *’those’ conversations’…( With *Act’s Banks too!)

    • No hypocrisy at all, and the fact you haven’t substantiated that claim isn’t astounding.

      If ‘a chance of a perception’ of a conflict of interest with any involvement of family, friends, acquaintances or ex-business or union colleagues ruled out having any involvement in any legislation then Parliament would probably fail to function and we would have even more trouble attracting competent candidates to stand for Parliament.

      Deal with any actual conflicts of interest, not possible perceptions. Note on The Standard thread there’s agreement on this being a non-isue with what’s currently known.

      And I see there are no questions on this in Parliament today. There’s actually real and important issues to address.

      There’s no opposition press releases criticising (I just checked Labour, Greens and NZ First).

      There’s no other media reporting on it that I’ve seen (I just checked Google news).

  2. John Drinnan

     /  22nd April 2014

    Key politician given influence through fort of system has son at influential lobbying firm. Specialist w same area of expertise as his close to his father..
    Its a good story glossed over by bloggers and other media – good call from TVNZ

    • Ok to mention it but questionable making an ‘exclusive’ and raising perceptions of conflict.

      The lack of interest from other media suggest they already knew? It seems to have been common knowledge amongst the ‘industry’.

      Or didn’t think it was newsworthy?


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