Who cares about papers from Panama?

The big Panama Papers revelations promised for this week seem to have fizzled out quickly.

Does anyone part from a few journalists and opposition MPs and a political activist care much about them?

Jane Paterson asks at RNZ: Panamania – do Kiwis care about the Papers?

The Panama Papers story is a hard one to tell, but underneath the tales of Brazilian online gambling tycoons, world leaders and Venezuelan bankers are important issues that need to be addressed.

But are they being addressed adequately? Sensible? Non-sensationally?

One problem now is that if something genuinely damning emerges all the wolf wailing may dampen the public response.

One of the questions repeatedly asked is why should New Zealanders care about this story, prompted by a massive leak of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

That largely remains unanswered.

New Zealand warranted some mention, but the real focus on this country has only been since a team of journalists from RNZ and TVNZ, and the investigative journalist Nicky Hager, was given access to the Papers about a fortnight ago.

No, RNZ and TVNZ tried to give it real focus and most people’s vision went fuzzier.

If you can be bothered read through Paterson’s insistence there are important and worrying aspects in there somewhere.

I skimmed to the bottom.

The government has ended the week relatively unscathed as a result of the Panama Papers but the story was never intended to target the government and specific ministers, but rather to highlight how the system operates and the effect that potentially has on New Zealand’s reputation.

Perhaps it wasn’t the intention of RNZ or Paterson, but Hager and Labour and the Greens were hard out targeting the government, with the assistance of RNZ and TVNZ.

In the end it is up to New Zealanders to decide how much they care, and whether they want to see this kind of activity continue in their country.

It’s also up to New Zealanders to decide how much they care about objective and unbiased investigation and reporting.

Using Nicky Hager as the main messenger is not a great way to make the country care about an issue.

In answer to the headline question, here are the current most read articles at NZ Herald:

  1.  The 14-year-old boy who turned down $44 million
  2.  Bachelor break-up: Jordan’s friends come to his defence
  3.  Duncan Greive: The hot mess that is The Bachelor NZ
  4.  Shane Watson: Kate Middleton needs a style update
  5.  Interactive: What CEOs of top NZ companies earn

And if I look right now on the One News main page I have scrolled down to see about a hundred stories and can’t see a single one on the Panama papers.

If you look hard you might see a link in the top right to THE PANAMA PAPERS. But not even One News seems to care about the big stories they were pushing earlier this week.

Maybe if the Batchelor had a trust it might make the headlines over and over and over.