Appalling non-apology from Hosking, TVNZ

On Seven Sharp last night Mike Hosking upset the Māori Party with a comment on voting. He said to co-presenter Toni Street:

“You can’t vote for the Māori Party because you’re not enrolled on the Maori electorate”.

That appears to be incorrect, or at least misleading, because you can party vote for any party, including the Māori Party.

The Maori Party complained in a media statement:

Māori Party co-leaders
Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox
24 August, 2017

Ill-informed Hosking needs to learn the rules

Māori Party co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox are questioning the ability of TVNZ presenter Mike Hosking to host any election debates after his major blunder on Seven Sharp last night.

Mr Flavell says he was disappointed by Mr Hosking’s ill-informed comments last night when the Seven Sharp host said people on the general roll can’t give their party vote to the Māori Party.

“He is just plain incompetent – pure and simple. How can Mr Hosking host a debate on the election when he clearly has no idea on an issue around the party vote?

“The Māori Party has been a registered political party since July 2004. You can vote ‘party vote Māori Party’ whether you are on the General or Māori Roll and anyone and everyone can give their party vote to the Māori Party,” says Ms Fox.

“How can it take more than 13 years for the media to understand you don’t have to be Māori to vote Māori Party? Those on the Māori roll get the extra bonus of being able to vote for the Māori Party in the electorate as well.

“The information Mr Hosking gave out last night was misleading and irresponsible. He should do his homework,” says Ms Fox.

“It’s important to give the public the correct information, keep the voters informed and having a person who is so ill-informed hosting the debates is amateur.”

Mr Flavell says the show’s producers have agreed to highlight the mistake and a correction will be aired tonight.

“But frankly the damage has been done. You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. There will be some who watched last night’s show, who don’t watch it tonight,” Mr Flavell says.

TVNZ stated:

“We will make a clarification on tonight’s show to clear up any confusion. We advised the Māori Party that we would be setting the record straight on tonight’s show a couple of hours before they issued their media release.”

Tonight Hosking said at some stage through the ‘show’ (not at the start):

“Small clarification for you.

“Now last night in a throw-away line I appear to have confused the Māori Party around the rules of voting in MMP.

“What I was suggesting, what I was meaning, was that the Maori Party, as their representation stands, is an electorate party.

That’s incorrect. The Māori Party has one electorate MP (Flavell) and one list MP (Marama Fox).

“In other words they are only in Parliament because they won an electorate seat. Therefore what I said in referring to voting for them was to vote for them in a Maori electorate you had to be on the Māori roll, which is true.

“Now the fact that anyone can vote for them as a list party I automatically assumed we all knew, given we’ve been doing it for 20 years for goodness sake and it went without saying.

“So hopefully that clears all of that up.”

That’s an appalling non-clarification and non-apology. The only thing it clears up is how badly Hosking has handled it.

He is sort of correct, you can only give an electorate vote for the Māori Party in an electorate they are standing in, and they only stand candidates in Maori electorates. But he explained that very poorly.

And he hasn’t apologised at all for his misleading statement last night, and he hasn’t explained that anyone on any roll can party vote for the Māori Party.

Hosking has made things worse for himself and for TVNZ.

For this Hosking deserves to be dumped from leaders’ debates – at least from the small party leaders’ debate that the Maori party will participate in.

Government may do more on historic state care abuse

It’s amazing what an impending election and a downturn in the polls can do.

But on this issue no matter what circumstances prompts common sense and decency this is a welcome shift in position.

RNZ:  Govt softens stance on abuse inquiry

Between the 1950s and 1990s, more than 100,000 children were taken into state care, most of them Māori.

The government set up a Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) in 2008 to hear from victims. It wound up in June 2015.

It also introduced an optional fast track process to resolve the backlog of claims where survivors can receive a personal apology and financial settlement.

More than 1000 have told CLAS they were physically and sexually abused, and the government has paid out $17 million and apologised to 900 people.

Survivors of abuse last week presented a petition and an open letter to Parliament, calling for a public apology and full inquiry.

Prime Minister Bill English has previously rebuffed such calls, but today said he wanted to hear more about exactly what they want.

“If there are additional steps to be taken which can help them, then we’re interested in that.

“Have we got an accurate view of the scale of what happened historically? It may be possible to find out more about that.”

But Mr English stressed that any action must not be “a large distraction of resource and focus” from the work that was already underway.

“If we can find something that doesn’t get in the way of what’s happening, then we’re looking for it.

So they are open to offers – in other words they would welcome a way out of the dead end of denial that they had stuck themselves down.

Mr English said the government would also consider offering a wider apology to the survivors.

“That wouldn’t be a problem at all.”

So do it. Soon. And do more to repair as much of the damage as possible.

Johnny Depp’s assassination comments

In a time of growing concerns about talk of violence and actual violence against politicians in the US Johnny Depp has added fuel to a fomenting fire with outlandish comments about president assassination.

Fox News:  Johnny Depp talks about assassinating Trump

At an appearance in England on Thursday, actor Johnny Depp joked about assassinating President Trump.

“I think he needs help and there are a lot of wonderful dark, dark places he could go,” Depp said.

Depp, noting his comments would “be in the press,” began discussing prior assassinations of presidents.

“When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” he asked, referencing John Wilkes Booth assassinating President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

“I want to clarify, I am not an actor. I lie for a living,” Depp said. “However, it has been a while and maybe it is time.”

Depp’s comments come a week after the politically-motivated shooting of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise.

Very unwise and irresponsible comments from Depp.

A White House official told Fox News, “President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and its sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead. I hope that some of Mr. Depp’s colleagues will speak out against this type of rhetoric as strongly as they would if his comments were directed to a democrat elected official.”

Fair call – comments like those Depp made should be condemned regardless of the politics involved.

People: Johnny Depp Apologizes for Joking About Trump Assassination: ‘I Intended No Malice’

“I apologize for the bad joke I attempted last night in poor taste about President Trump,” he said. “It did not come out as intended, and I intended no malice. I was only trying to amuse, not to harm anyone.”

This is a very poor apology.

“Intended no malice” is a poor excuse for making a comment that is inflammatory and provocative. “I was only trying to amuse” is a lame excuse – actually it isn’t an excuse at all.

“It did not come out as intended” doesn’t stack up – he talked about assassination and presidents, so it’s hard to see what he intended that was different.

What Depp should have done was give an unqualified apology, and he should also have  condemned all political violence and talk that could be seen by anyone as promotion of political violence.

Northern Advocate apology

It looks like being a day of media apologies.

The Northern Advocate has apologised for publishing an article that claimed people from Wales and the Mediterranean settled New Zealand before Maori did. See The white tangata whenua

From The Hui:

APOLOGY FROM THE NORTHERN ADVOCATE REGARDING AN ARTICLE WHICH CLAIMED TO SHOW ANCIENT PRE-MĀORI FACES RE-CREATED FROM SKULLS FOUND IN THE NORTH.

The story was published by the Northern Advocate and shared with the NZ Herald.
The Northern Advocate accepts it was wrong to publish Mr Hilliam’s theory of pre-Maori occupation before receiving information from the university that Mr Hilliam cited as a source of his reconstructed drawings.

We had contacted the university, from whom we initially did not hear back, and wrongly chose to publish Mr Hilliam’s opinion without its response.

The notion of pre-Maori occupation is a sensitive one — something of which the paper has become acutely aware.

We regret the story has been a catalyst for some people to infer political or racial motives.

There was no motive behind the publication of the story other than to contribute to the ongoing healthy debate about Northland’s rich history.

We are not experts on Maori matters but we respect tikanga and, in general, enjoy a good, robust relationship with local tangata whenua.

We strive to report positive Maori stories, and we are proactive in highlighting the success of Maori youth. For instance, a Whangarei man received the Te Toa Reo Maori – Takitahi (Individual Achievement) award at the Maori Language Commission’s Nga Tohu Reo Maori in December, after the paper nominated him for the award.

And we share the optimism of Nga Puhi that the treaty settlement will bring good things for Northlanders.

We have learned many lessons from this story, which has also embarrassed our matua within the NZ Herald.

We are continuing to work on bringing balance to Mr Hilliam’s theories and will share this with our readers as soon as this work is completed.

Northlanders — and New Zealanders — should be open to debate about the past, the present and the future. But there is a right way to encourage any such debate. We did it the wrong way, for which we apologise.

This looks like a fair comment:

Atakohu Middleton There is absolutely nothing to debate. Hilliam’s theories have been debunked countless times. The issue is that the Northern Advocate didn’t do its homework.

Taxpayers’ Union response to Spinoff apology

Jordan Williams has responded to the Spinoff apology and has demanded answers. There are suggestions of a thick plot here.

Retraction and apology received from the Spinoff

The full retraction and apology by the Spinoff, relating to allegations that were totally false and defamatory, contained in an article by Simon Wilson, and published on the Spinoff website morning, is welcome.

The Spinoff has accepted that the Taxpayers’ Union (including its affiliate the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance) and the three people named in the original article had no role in the distribution of feathers. The Spinoff has apologised for making the allegation and rewritten the article.

We want to know how the Spinoff got this so wrong, and why they didn’t even bother to approach us for comment before publishing.  Both organisations operate 24-hour phone lines for media comment. We couldn’t be more available.

The Spinoff is funded by Auckland Council through its “Heart of the City” lobby group.  We want to be satisfied that the Spinoff was not acting pursuant to the Council’s interest in distracting attention from the finalisation of the Council’s budget.

This suggests there could be a thick plot here.

It’s fair to ask how the incorrect accusation came about.

Apology and settlement for Parihaka

After the Parihaka Papakainga Trust agreed to a reconciliation package the Government will apologise for atrocities including the rape of women during the sacking of Parihaka.

This will be signed at a ceremony on 9 June, over 130 years later.

RNZ: Govt to apologise for Parihaka atrocities

The Crown is to formally apologise for atrocities during the sacking of the pacifist settlement at Parihaka in Taranaki in 1881.

The government has also offered to acknowledge the rape of women at Parihaka by Crown troops after they invaded on 5 November 1881.

The package includes $9 million, which the trust initially rejected as being not enough.

It also includes help in establishing a governance structure, the creation of an intellectual property framework and deals for services from 10 Crown agencies and three local councils.

In the 1870s, under the leadership of Te Whiti-o-Rongomai III and Tohu Kākahi, Parihaka became a centre of non-violent resistance to land confiscation.

In 1880 the government began building roads through land it had confiscated, and the West Coast Commission recommended creating reserves for the Parihaka people.

People of Parihaka were imprisoned if they rebuilt fences in the areas, but were released in early 1881.

About 1600 government troops invaded the settlement on 5 November 1881, and the village was destroyed while several thousand Māori sat quietly.

Its leaders were arrested and detained without trial for 16 months.


New Zealand History: Occupation of pacifist settlement at Parihaka

Retouched photograph showing a comet over Mt Egmont/Taranaki and Parihaka village

About 1600 government troops invaded the western Taranaki settlement of Parihaka, which had come to symbolise peaceful resistance to the confiscation of Māori land.

Founded in the mid-1860s, Parihaka was soon attracting dispossessed and disillusioned Māori from around the country. Its main leaders were Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, both of the Taranaki and Te Ātiawa iwi.

When in May 1879 the colonial government moved to occupy fertile land in the Waimate Plains that had in theory been confiscated in the 1860s, Te Whiti and Tohu developed tactics of non-violent resistance.

Ploughmen from Parihaka fanned out across Taranaki to assert continuing Māori ownership of the land. The government responded with laws targeting the Parihaka protesters and imprisoned several hundred ploughmen without trial.

Following an election in September 1879, the new government announced an enquiry into the confiscations while sending the ploughmen to South Island gaols. In 1880 the West Coast Commission recommended creating reserves for the Parihaka people. Meanwhile, the government began constructing roads through cultivated land. Men from Parihaka who rebuilt their fences soon joined the ploughmen in detention.

The prisoners were released in early 1881. After ploughing resumed in July, Sir John Hall’s government decided to act decisively while Governor Sir Arthur Gordon was out of the colony. A proclamation on 19 October gave the ‘Parihaka natives’ 14 days to accept the reserves offered or face the consequences.

Armed Constabulary units at Parihaka, 1881
(Alexander Turnbull Library, PA1-q-183-19)

On 5 November, 1600 volunteer and Armed Constabulary troops marched on Parihaka. Several thousand Māori sat quietly on the marae as singing children greeted the force led by Native Minister John Bryce. The Whanganui farmer had fought in the campaign against Tītokowaru (see 9 June) and viewed Parihaka as a ‘headquarters of fanaticism and disaffection’. Bryce ordered the arrest of Parihaka’s leaders, the destruction of much of the village and the dispersal of most of its inhabitants.

 

Ngaro apologises, sort of

Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro has apologised, sort of,  for a speech that threatened repercussions against an application for a partnership school involving Willie Jackson if Jackson cricised National during the election campaign – see Charter school threat from National MP.

Actually that sounds like a poor apology.

This has seriously embarrassed National and senior ministers have (sort of) said that Ngaro’s remarks were out of order.

Stuff:  Apology over threat to withdraw funding from Government opponents

A junior government minister has apologised to his senior colleagues for “crossing the line” after implying people who bagged the Government would lose their taxpayer funding.

National’s campaign manager and Finance Minister Steven Joyce said Ngaro realised he had crossed the line with his comments and apologised.

“He apologised to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and myself as campaign chair. He got carried away…he crossed the line.”

Joyce said Ngaro’s comments were “not the way we operate”.

“We work with providers of all types all the time; people have their political views separate to work they do with the Government. The Government doesn’t take a view on people’s political views.”

Joyce and National and Ngaro will have to do much better than this on arrogance of power, or they could crash and burn this election.

There’s potentially been a lot of damage done to National – something like this could easily precipitate the current Government’s demise.

Little “accepted…there was no impropriety”?

In Court yesterday in the defamation case taken against him by Earl and Lani Andrew Little said:

“…once the Auditor-General did her inquiry, I accepted her conclusion there was no impropriety and I was happy to give them a public apology”.

However he didn’t attempt a public apology until two weeks ago, and Lani Hagaman has said in courth that the first she knew about it was being asked for a response to it by journalists.

And I don’t recall Little saying that he “accepted her conclusion there was no impropriety”.

Back in September when the report was released from Stuff: AG clears contract at centre of political donations row

The Auditor General has found there was nothing unusual about the selection of Scenic Hotel Group as the operator of a Niue tourism resort at the centre of a political row over a six figure donation to National.

Auditor General Lyn Provost said from the available information her office had found there was a standard procurement process with reasoned and documented analysis for the selection of Scenic Hotel Group to operate the resort, and for the subsequent investment of New Zealand international development assistance funds in expanding the resort.

The contract was referred to Provost by Labour leader Andrew Little after he questioned the company’s links to National.

Little is now being sued for defamation by the Hagaman’s after refusing to apologise and retract a statement that the deal “stunk to high heaven”.

Little said in a statement the limits to Provost’s mandate meant she was unable to address the key issues he had raised.

“I have a duty as Leader of the Opposition to raise questions in the public interest and respond to media stories on the use of public funds.

“Taking the issue to the Auditor-General was the right thing to do.”

He would not comment further as the matter was before the courts.

That seems to be at odds with what he said in court yesterday.

RNZ reports on yesterday in court: Andrew Little defends efforts to settle defamation case

Mr Little told the court he accepted the Hagamans were entitled to an apology, and letters were exchanged between his lawyers and the Hagamans about that.

“As I’ve said, once the Auditor-General did her inquiry, I accepted her conclusion there was no impropriety and I was happy to give them a public apology.

“The frustration was trying to get form of apology that would be acceptable [to the Hagamans].”

Mr Little said he was sorry for any hurt he had caused the Hagamans, and apologised to Lani Hagaman in person in court today.

“I apologise for the words … causing you hurt and I stand by the efforts I’ve made to resolve this matter,” he said.

He still seems to be struggling with how to do an appropriate apology.

The Hagamans’ lawyer, Richard Fowler QC, questioned him closely about his claim that the couple appeared not to want to reach a resolution.

Mr Little conceded there had been an offer, but his letter in reply said while he would make an apology he did not agree to pay the costs sought or damages.

He said he thought the proposal from the Hagamans was just an opening gambit and he expected further negotiations, but the amount they claimed kept rising.

“They said $100,000, then $215,000. I thought the legal costs were excessive.”

“It included $17,000 to a PR firm, which I understood is not recoverable in court … and I wouldn’t meet that cost.”

A sensible opening gambit could have been a comprehensive apology?

Mr Fowler asked Mr Little whether it would not have been wise to check details before ruining someone’s reputation, but Mr Little disputed that.

“Given the track record of the government I thought what I was doing was right and proper.”

But instead Little is still trying to defend making accusations against the Government (part of his defence is qualified privilege, doing his job as Leader of the Opposition) and by association against the Hagamans and their company.

The case continues today. It seems to be progressing quite quickly with the cross-examination of Little starting yesterday. It has been set down for five days and so far looks likely to fit in that time frame.

 

Little’s statement/apology

I’m trying to understand what Andrew Little is trying to achieve with his ‘apology’ to Earl and Lani Hagaman.

A defamation case that the Hagamans are taking against Little is due to proceed in the Wellington High Court on 3 April.

The apology is just a part of a media statement Little issued yesterday. He has done it as a Labour Party statement as Leader of the Opposition so it seems to be a political statement more so than a personal apology.

LittleStatementHagaman

This was also issued as a press release via Scoop:

Statement re Earl Hagaman

Andrew Little
Leader of the Opposition

MEDIA STATEMENT

24 March 2017

So it is a Labour Party press release from Little as Leader of the Opposition. It is a political statement rather than a court statement or a personal statement and apology to the Hagamans, although an apology of sorts is included in it.

In June last year, Mr Earl and Mrs Lani Hagaman issued defamation proceedings over media statements I made about the award in September 2014 of a hotel management contract in Niue to the Scenic Hotel Group (in which they were shareholders and directors) followed by a $7 million upgrade.

It was a matter of public record that Mr Hagaman had donated $101,000 to the National Party in that same month. This generated considerable media interest.

Little tried to generate public interest in it with this statement on 18 April 2016.

LittleStatementAuditorGeneral

The accusations in that generated media interest, and it generated objections from the Hagamans.

As Leader of the Opposition, I considered I had an obligation to respond to media questions on the issues which related to government actions.

He also has an obligation to base any serious accusations against political opponents and against private persons on facts.

I referred the matter to the Auditor-General because I believed the public was entitled to be reassured.

It appeared that Little referred the matter to the Auditor General to try to get the AG to find evidence to support his accusations.

My focus was, and has always been, on holding the Government to account.

It looked more like he was trying to smear the Government, Ministers and the Hagamans with no evidence. Little had said that the timing of the donation “stinks to high heaven”.

Throughout, the Hagamans have vigorously maintained there was no connection between the award of the contract to Scenic and Mr Hagaman’s donation.

By April 21 “Scenic Hotel Group founders Earl and Lani Hagaman are considering legal action over Mr Little’s claims about the timing of a donation from Mr Hagaman to the National Party a month before the hotel group was awarded a contract in Niue.” NZ Herald.

The Auditor-General did not establish any connection.

From a letter from the Auditor General to Little dated 7 September 2016:

LittleAGLetter

Letter: Response to request for inquiry into awarding a management contract for a hotel in Niue

So despite “The information you subsequently provided to my Office on 27 July and 2 September has been considered as part of preparing this response” the Auditor-General found no problems.

In those circumstances, I thought the matter should be resolved. Over the last three months, I have made a serious effort to do that. Today I want to publicly apologise unreservedly to Mr Hagaman for any hurt, embarrassment or adverse reflection on his reputation which may have resulted from my various media statements. I have offered that apology to the Hagamans.

There is no retraction there, and no apology for getting things wrong. Just ‘sorry if you were upset about my various media statements’. If Little’s “serious effort” to resolve things have been anything like this then it’s no wonder it is scheduled for Court.

I have also offered to make a substantial contribution towards the Hagamans’ costs; an amount I am advised, was greater than would likely have been awarded by the Court.

Little is trying to defend his attempts at negotiating an out of court settlement in public.

He has conceded that a “substantial contribution towards costs” is appropriate. The way things are going those costs will be mounting – in a statement yesterday the Hagamans claimed “we’ve spent more than $200,000 in legal fees in preparing for this case”.

My offers of an apology and redress have been rejected and the matter will now have to be resolved in court. That is unfortunate.

Unfortunate for Little. It sounds like he is trying to portray himself as a victim of misfortune.

I strongly believe everybody’s time, not least the Court’s, could be better used.

A remarkable comment given Little’s initial and subsequent actions, including his latest statement. The Auditor-General’s time could have been better used than on a politically motivated smear attempt.

I want to make it clear that the object of the criticism was the actions of the National government and that I intended to reflect no impropriety on the part of Mr Hagaman.

No reference there to Mrs Hagaman, or to their company.

The Hagamans and Scenic Circle were just some collateral damage in a political hit? He may not have intended to reflect on their impropriety or otherwise but you would have to be a fool to not see that naming them would reflect on them.

I accept that no connection has been established between the donation and the award of the management contract and the hotel upgrade.

He is not admitting he got it wrong so his apology is hollow. All he is doing is saying he has established no connection and the Auditor-General found no connection. He is implying that he could have been right but there is no evidence to support his accusations.

I propose to make no further statement until the proceedings are resolved.

That’s about the only sensible thing that Little has said in his statement.

Little is digging a deeper hole here, and he is flying the Labour flag over it.

Little apology, too late?

Andrew Little out this out via Labour Party press release today:

Andrew Little
Leader of the Opposition

MEDIA STATEMENT

24 March 2017

Statement re Earl Hagaman

In June last year, Mr Earl and Mrs Lani Hagaman issued defamation proceedings over media statements I made about the award in September 2014 of a hotel management contract in Niue to the Scenic Hotel Group (in which they were shareholders and directors) followed by a $7 million upgrade.

It was a matter of public record that Mr Hagaman had donated $101,000 to the National Party in that same month. This generated considerable media interest. As Leader of the Opposition, I considered I had an obligation to respond to media questions on the issues which related to government actions. I referred the matter to the Auditor-General because I believed the public was entitled to be reassured. My focus was, and has always been, on holding the Government to account.

Throughout, the Hagamans have vigorously maintained there was no connection between the award of the contract to Scenic and Mr Hagaman’s donation. The Auditor-General did not establish any connection.

In those circumstances, I thought the matter should be resolved. Over the last three months, I have made a serious effort to do that. Today I want to publicly apologise unreservedly to Mr Hagaman for any hurt, embarrassment or adverse reflection on his reputation which may have resulted from my various media statements. I have offered that apology to the Hagamans. I have also offered to make a substantial contribution towards the Hagamans’ costs; an amount I am advised, was greater than would likely have been awarded by the Court.

My offers of an apology and redress have been rejected and the matter will now have to be resolved in court. That is unfortunate. I strongly believe everybody’s time, not least the Court’s, could be better used.

I want to make it clear that the object of the criticism was the actions of the National government and that I intended to reflect no impropriety on the part of Mr Hagaman. I accept that no connection has been established between the donation and the award of the management contract and the hotel upgrade.

I propose to make no further statement until the proceedings are resolved.

The Hagamans have responded:

HagamanOnLittleApology

He has belatedly apologised, sort of. He makes excuses.

He seems to be blaming Mr Hagaman for not settling, and a week before it is due to go to court plays the ‘wasting court time’ card.

The apology looks more like a political statement than contrition.

This looks very messy for Little.

Background detail at Stuff: Labour leader Andrew Little headed to court over defamation case

Past posts on this: