Budget lockup, grumpy journalists

I don’t think I’ve seen journalists in Twitter so grumpy for so long, especially at some of their own.

A number of them were very annoyed with the news that someone from Mediaworks who were in a Reserve Bank lock up leaked details of an OCR announcement an hour early, and someone else from MediaWorks passed on the information to a blogger.

There was also annoyance with the MediaWorks response, with a distinct lack of contrition and an absence of obvious repercussions.

In the weekend long time ourno Rob Hosking slams MediaWorks over leak.

The grumping was still going on today, with Hamish Rutherforsd writing at Stuff MediaWorks must explain RBNZ leak

According to those who visited, Mark Weldon virtually celebrated the fact that there was no television in the Wellington apartment he lived in while he headed the NZX.

But heading the NZX, at a very minimum, would leave him well qualified to understand one area of modern media better than most: the integrity of market sensitive information.

Yet the company he now heads, Newshub owners MediaWorks, has not only committed a serious breach of trust, it is still to give any real account of what went wrong. It owes a better explanation of what exactly it gets up to.

No sign of an adequate explanation or action yet,

The lock-ups are extremely useful for the media organisations, especially when the interest rate decisions are accompanied with the quarterly monetary policy statements. These are essentially a novella of the Reserve Bank’s outlook for the economy, which generally contain complex messages. The Reserve Bank has admitted that misinterpretation of its intended message will increase without the lock-ups.

As a result of the leak, the Reserve Bank called an immediate end to the lock ups, not just for MediaWorks, but for the dozen or so organisations which attended every six weeks

That in particular annoyed journalists who value the lock ups. And they feelings continued today when the Treasury Secretary said the budget lock up next would be allowed but couldn’t be guaranteed to continue, subject to journalist responsibilities being met.

Hamish Rutherford@oneforthedr
Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf decides “on balance” to hold up embargoed lock-up for Budget

Fuuuuuuuu, problems with Reserve Bank embargo breaches has led to a “review” of the embargoed Budget briefing.

For now, Budget 2016 goes ahead. (THANK GOD.) But future Budgets, and which news orgs can attend, will “continue to be reviewed”.

Chris Bramwell@ChrisBramwell
@FrancesCook I had a minor panic when I saw the email arrive … PHEW
Frances Cook@FrancesCook

In other words, no more messing up. Hard stare at those involved in Reserve Bank mess.

So there is obviously still ill feeling in the ranks of journalists, left festering because MediaWorks failed to address the issue adequately.

They obviously value getting privileged information in advance.

Leave a comment


  1. Clemgeopin

     /  21st April 2016

    The remedy is easy : Simply ban, may be for a couple of years or three, any journalist connected with Media Works, with the proviso that, any more breach will result in permanent ban (for that or any other organisation guilty from now on) or may even result in the cessation of the ‘media lock up/briefing practice’ itself.

    • Yes, I think a ban on MediaWorks for a period would have been appropriate punishment and sufficient warning to others.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  21st April 2016

    Fine the sods. Media Works understands money when they have to pay it.

    • Clemgeopin

       /  21st April 2016

      Money+A ban for a period would be even better and more educational for them and for all the rest of the media fraternity who seem to have ‘mostly’ and sadly become big business controlled/bought out unethical dishonest gutless ‘churnalists’, liars and soulless spin merchants.

      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  21st April 2016

        The MSM in this country are proudly left-wing – not sure what you are on about Clem? (which isn’t unusual).

        A 2014 survey of New Zealand journalists found: “Sixty-two per cent of respondents rated themselves as somewhere on the left of the political spectrum, 22 per cent placed themselves in the centre and 16 per cent rated themselves somewhere on the right”.

        • Clemgeopin

           /  22nd April 2016

          “A 2014 survey of New Zealand journalists found”
          Depends on which RW shit wrote up the survey.

  3. patupaiarehe

     /  21st April 2016

    the Treasury Secretary said the budget lock up next would be allowed but couldn’t be guaranteed to continue, subject to journalist responsibilities being met.

    A very thinly veiled warning. Not that they need it after the last abuse of trust…

  4. duperez

     /  21st April 2016

    I can’t understand the prevarication about banning MediaWorks. The Treasury Secretary tries to come across all stern and yet acts like a wimp. If he wants us to think that the leak was serious and impacts on the importance of the lock ups he should show he’s serious.

    It’s like telling the eye-gouger in rugby he’s a naughty chap and shouldn’t do it again and then threatening to not let anyone play the game.

  5. Missy

     /  22nd April 2016

    And yet no matter how grumpy the journalists appear to be, they are still affording the person who breached the lockup a degree of privacy they wouldn’t extend to anyone else by not reporting their name. The journalists are showing double standards with this story – they wouldn’t protect the identity of the individual if it was a treasury official who had done the leaking. No wonder no-one can trust the media – they are very much like a high school clique protecting each other.

    • patupaiarehe

       /  22nd April 2016

      Maybe they are protecting someone who is very young and (obviously) very foolish, who knows well just how badly they have fucked up, and has learned from it. Just saying….

      • Missy

         /  22nd April 2016

        uou are cry generous towards the media, and I could perhaps give them the benefit of the diubt of the NZ media afforded that same level of protection to those who are not journalists. I don’t believe they have such moral motives, they are more than happy to name young and foolish people for all manner of sins with no concern, I truly believe the only reason there has not been any naming in this case is because it was a journalist.

      • duperez

         /  22nd April 2016

        Good sensible comment patupaiarehe and is the most likely situation. It suggests however that the large media organisation had the wisdom to send the apprentice mechanic who’d just learned how to change a spark plug, to repair the Aston Martin with the blown up motor.

  6. Ray

     /  22nd April 2016

    Just imagine the uproar if Max Key had been involved in any sort of leak
    But when it is one of them the shutters come down, not for the first time of course you only have to remember the Katie Bradford business


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