NBR found to have defamed Steven Joyce

A column written by Matthew Hooton and published in NBR in March 2018 has been found to have been defamatory. Hooton himself apologised for assertions he made and contributed to costs, but the publication itself claimed otherwise, held out and ended up in court and now on the losing end of a judgment.

Joyce did not seek financial damages, instead seeking a declaration NBR at it’s publisher Todd Scott had defamed him and also costs, which could be substantial, defamation cases can be legally very costly.

Newsroom: Joyce defamed, NBR and publisher must pay

A High Court judge took just one week to decide the business website NBR and its publisher had separately defamed former finance minister Steven Joyce – and to order them to pay the ex MP’s legal costs.

The case is unusual in two respects. First, NBR held out against Joyce despite the author of the column that defamed him, Matthew Hooton, having apologised, retracted his statements and paid Joyce $5000 in costs 18 months ago.

And second, its publisher was found to have defamed Joyce by tweeting comments related to the column and Hooton, one of the first defamations by Twitter by a public figure.

The column, published in March 2018, included claims that Joyce had won just four votes other than his own in the National Party leadership contest, that he had used his proxy Communications Minister Amy Adams to try to help his “friends at Chorus”, and that he could “blackmail” the new leader Simon Bridges.

Scott later tweeted that “sources are solid” and Hooton had retracted his column for reasons other than it having been incorrect.

During the preliminary phases of the case, the parties went to judicial mediation under the Defamation Act. They heard from Justice Pheroze Jagose that the passages of the Hooton column could carry defamatory meanings – it could be taken by an ordinary reader to have accused Joyce of unethical and improper behaviour in pursuit of his own political ends.

He recommended NBR consider conceding and publishing a correction. It declined to do so.

Now, after a two-day hearing in the High Court at Auckland, Justice Jagose has found both NBR and Scott did defame Joyce.

JOYCE v HOOTON [2019] NZHC 3356 [17 DECEMBER 2019]

[1] The plaintiff (“Mr Joyce”) seeks declaratory and indemnity costs relief under s 24 of the Defamation Act 1992 (the “Act”) against the second defendant (“Fourth Estate”), which publishes The National Business Review (“NBR”) in print and website formats. Relief pleaded for my recommendation of a s 26 correction was not pursued.

[2] Mr Joyce alleges two specific passages in a NBR article titled “Joyce sacking first test of Bridges’ leadership” (and, in its print format, subtitled “National MPs have finally been allowed to express what they really think of the party’s unelected strategist”), published on 2 March 2018, are defamatory of him.

[37] I emphasise my meanings are the passages both imputed Mr Joyce’s preparedness to engage in poor conduct “in pursuit of his (rather than his party’s) political objectives”. They are not imputations of his poor conduct more generally. The limitation springs from the subject matter of Mr Hooton’s column. Their distinction from Mr Joyce’s pursuit of what may be his party’s political objectives also is important; even untrue allegations of sharp party-political conduct may not be defamatory.18 Although that is to find meanings divergent from those Mr Joyce pleads, their circumscription is less injurious than claimed by him, and I thus am free to find those lesser meanings established.19 Nonetheless, they are meanings of sufficient seriousness, of Mr Joyce’s significant and self-serving impropriety, to climb above defamation law’s disregard of trivialities.[41] Mr Joyce pleads against Mr Scott his three tweets “were intended, and would be reasonably understood to mean” the two passages were:

true, or not materially different from the truth;

retracted by [Mr Hooton] for reasons other than that they were untrue; responsibly and properly published by [Fourth Estate].

Mr Joyce pleads the tweets “accordingly amounted to a republication of the [passages’] defamatory imputations”.

[42] The pleading is of an innuendo: the tweets were “used in a defamatory sense other than [their] natural and ordinary meaning”.

[52] I do not see Mr Scott’s joinder as disproportionate at all. As I have explained, Mr Joyce is seeking vindication not only from the article’s defamatory comments, but also from Mr Scott’s (first and third) tweets’ endorsement of their truth. Mr Joyce seeks declarations both Fourth Estate and Mr Scott are liable to him in defamation. The coincidence in time – of Mr Scott’s first tweet with the NBR’s replacement of the article on its website, with Mr Hooton’s apology – identifies the separate defamatory nature of Mr Scott’s endorsement. There can be no suggestion Fourth Estate is vicariously liable for Mr Scott’s tweets, or the resource committed by Mr Scott’s joinder otherwise is disproportionate to Mr Joyce’s interests in being vindicated also from their innuendo.

[60] I declare Fourth Estate and Mr Scott separately each are liable to Mr Joyce in defamation. I award Mr Joyce solicitor and client costs against separately each Fourth Estate and Mr Scott.

Newsroom:

Joyce told Newsroom Tuesday night he was pleased to be vindicated. “It was important to me to set the record straight. It was about restoring my reputation and being made whole again in terms of meeting my costs.”

He had not sued for financial damages, just the judge’s declaration that NBR and Scott had defamed him and the costs order.

He said: “I tried to operate with integrity in my political career and in a place where I tried my absolute best. It meant a lot to me to be able to restore that after what was a pretty vicious article.”

Asked if he now expected an apology from the NBR or Scott, Joyce said he had not sought that in the High Court hearing. “If they had apologised at any point earlier in the process and paid the costs, we would not have needed to be here now.”

While Hooton’s apology had been welcome, “it was really important that the publisher makes the restitution in terms of the apology”.

Scott’s tweets had undermined Hooton’s apology. “The court has decided that’s not okay …. It was clear and obvious, and the judge has taken it to be clear, that they were effectively a re-statement, that the original story was accurate.”

Joyce said his costs had been significant as they covered the initial complaint, the mediation, an earlier aborted trial and the trial last week.

With Hooton having conceded his column was defamatory and apologising it must have always been a difficult case for NBR to defend.

NBR’s ‘piss poor launch’

NBR has been going through some challenging times, especially since Todd Scott took over. This won’t help:

I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work.

But NBR is getting nowhere near perfection. I’m not sure why they have dropped out the current audit in ‘Latest newspaper sales and figures’:

This won’t help either:

Hooton apologises to Steven Joyce

There were claims that retiring MP Steven Joyce threatened to take Matthew Hooton to court for defamation over Hooton’s final column in NBR in early March. It appears that Joyce may have progressed such a threat after Hooton issued a public apology to Joyce today.

On Facebook:

APOLOGY TO HON. STEVEN JOYCE

On 2 March 2018 a column I wrote was published in the print edition of the NBR and on the NBR’s website. It was titled: “Joyce sacking first test of Bridges’ leadership”.

This article could reasonably be understood to suggest that the Hon. Steven Joyce had engaged in unethical, dishonest and/or corrupt behaviour during his tenure as a Minister in the previous National Government.

Nothing in the column was intended to convey such suggestions, which would be untrue. I apologise to Mr Joyce for any harm caused as a consequence.

END

Also on Kiwiblog “Matthew Hooton has asked Kiwiblog to publish this”: Matthew Hooton apology to Hon Steven Joyce

I don’t know why it was required there, it could have been due to comments at the time, as I don’t recall Farrar posting anything critical of Joyce. He did post Joyce resigns

This is a big blow for National. Steven wasn’t just a top performer in the House, but had been an integral part of National’s strategy and campaign team for well over a decade. They will miss him.

There has been no post about this on Whale Oil yet, but that’s not unusual, it has become common for little reaction for stories of interest emerging during the day until the following morning.

It will be interesting to see whether a couple of posts at Whale Oil stay as they are – Slater may have tidied things up, or he may be a bit edgy about the possibility of more legal challenges.

An interesting reaction:

There has also been quite varied reactions to Scott on Twitter.

Joyce threatens NBR and Hooton

Another MP has threatened media and a political commentator with legal action, this time over critical claims in an NBR column by Matthew Hooton

Newshub: Steven Joyce threatens Matthew Hooton and NBR with legal action – reports

National’s finance spokesperson Steven Joyce is threatening the National Business Review (NBR) and Matthew Hooton with legal action, Newshub understands.

On Friday, NBR published a column in which Mr Hooton was highly critical of Mr Joyce.

A source told Newshub that NBR received an “aggressive” letter about the column, which said it has until 5pm on Monday to retract or apologise.

The NBR’s publisher Todd Scott says Mr Joyce won’t be getting either a retraction or an apology.

He told Newshub if Mr Joyce is successful in launching legal action, NBR will subpoena a number of senior National MPs including Simon Bridges and Amy Adams.

Hooton promoting his column:

In today’s NBR, I kindly provide some useful advice to the new National Party leader over his upcoming reshuffle, while dangerously commenting on his, Natalie and their kids’ magazine appeal.

The column is behind a paywall at NBR: Joyce sacking first test of bridges’ leadership

Opinion: National MPs have finally been allowed to express what they really think of the party’s unelected strategist.

That sounds like Hooton is trying to put pressure on Bridges and Joyce. Hooton is not elected either, and his motives are questionable given he is a professional lobbyist. He should disclose any client interest if there is any, or should state that this political activism is a personal crusade only.

This comes after NBR have (apparently) sacked Hooton as a columnist. A recent exchange between Fran O’Sullivan and NBR publisher and owner Todd Scott:

That debunks claims of a niche blogger with huge chips on both shoulders and his supposed ‘sources’.

UPDATE: From Hooton on Facebook:

Just on this NBR thing: I rang Todd Scott early on Saturday afternoon after seeing his tweets and he confirmed he didn’t want to run my weekly column anymore. That’s absolutely his prerogative. A weekly column is a privilege not a right, and it his newspaper and he can decide who writes in it.

He was very clear that he appreciated I had never once abused my position as a columnist by mixing my commentary role with my commercial activities, and that all he was wanting to do was protect the NBR brand from future allegations of that nature. Fair enough.

On the Joyce matter, he said he would back me and his editors to the hilt, and he has been as good as his word.

For what it’s worth, I think the NBR is now a far better business newspaper than when I joined it as a columnist nine years ago and that has much to do with the investment Todd has made in the first-class news team. Good luck for the future guys – and sorry Deborah LaHatte that, in nine years, I’m not sure I ever quite made deadline!

UPDATE 2: NZH – Steven Joyce claims NBR column ‘highly defamatory’

National Party MP Steven Joyce has confirmed he made a formal complaint to NBR about a column which was highly critical of him, saying it was “highly defamatory.”

The column last Friday was by right-wing commentator Matthew Hooton following Joyce’s unsuccessful bid for the leadership of the National Party.

Joyce said the column was “highly defamatory and includes a significant number of factual inaccuracies”.

It is understood the letter from Joyce’s lawyers sought a retraction and apology.

NBR has not yet agreed to do either and it is understood any legal action Joyce took would be defended, including calling National MPs to give evidence in court should it get that far.

Politicians throwing around legal demands and threats are at risk of ‘the Streisand Effect’, drawing far more attention to critical comments than would otherwise have happened – and NBR is a low circulation publication behind a paywall.

This can hardly help Joyce in his political career that must be at a crossroads after his unsuccessful bid for leadership.

It’s hard to see this turning out well.

Anti-Jones petition worse than inflammatory column

Bob Jones wrote a racially inflammatory column for NBR, which was pased by at least one editor who added a subheading ‘Time for a Troll’.

There was an uproar on social media, and NBR likely received some scathing criticism directly. So the column was taken down from the NBR sitre and they decided to dispense with any Jones’ writings, as they have a right to choose to do.

See ‘Māori Appreciation Day’ not appreciated.

But it hasn’t ended there. Someone has started a petition demanding that Jones be stripped of his knighthood.

Change.org:  Strip racist “Sir” Bob Jones of his Knighthood – Read his vile rant here.

Renae Maihi started this petition to Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern

On Waitangi Day 2018 the NBR published a vile racist rant by “Sir” Bob Jones on their website. You can read it for yourself below. This pitiful & severely uneducated attack is not to be tolerated in New Zealand, Aotearoa: a country founded on a partnership between 2 peoples. We are better than that. I know we are.

Bob Jones no longer deserves to carry the title of “Sir.” He does not represent us. Our children do not need to read or hear such things. Times up Dinosaur. You are the minority.

In signing this petition we urge you, our Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern to take his Knighthood away from him. It is in your power. Set a precedent for the country & a message that this will not be tolerated & hate speech of this type is not welcome here.  Kia kaha tātou.

Jones’ ‘rant’ was then quoted in full.

What Maihi has done, along those indignant protesters on social media who revived and circulated his column after NBR took it down, is give it a far bigger audience than it would have had with just the NBR paying audience. It went from a limited paywalled audience to anyone who wanted to be offended. It made the six o’clock news via the petition.

Petitions are simple to set up online, you only need to type and click (unless you’re Labour or the Greens or National who set up petitions as a means of harvesting contact information). As a result there are a multitude of pointless petitions. Despite change.org offering the opportunity to run a petition I doubt many of any change much if anything.

The petition comments were people having their say.Like:

Horrible man inciting racism.

Fair enough. But some were at least as bad as what Jones wrote.

Free speech does not give you the right to spew hate. Strip this awful man of whatever honours this country bestowed on him in error. Hes scum!

People like this do not deserve to live in this country…. or at all #OnlyAmericaIsRacist

I don’t feel any affinity for the title, but I’m sure it would piss BJ off immensely to be stripped of it, so let’s make it happen.

bob is an egg. Who is he anyway..??.does he pay his fair share of tax… he is a bigot and probably going senile, at least his pic makes him look 100+. I might start a petition to legalise involuntary euthenasia to deal with these demented types…who are a threat to society….put them out their misery…clearly i jest. He likely has some Maori rellies…they should rally together and go rough him up a bit…just enough to give him a stroke and then he can live out the rest of his amazing life as a cucumber…for now he should remove the one thats deeply wedged up his arse and thank his lucky stars that his ancestors were blessed enough to avoid the buffet …back in the day when much of Polynesia had a penchant for pickled pakeha and missionary mornay…tastes like chicken I hear.

This is an absolute disgrace & should not be tolerated!

There is growing intolerance of people saying controversial things.

This petition is worse than futile – it is another example of an insidious trend, to punish people who say things that others don’t like.

Jones was free to write something inflammatory and stupid. NBR was free to publish it, as they were free to unpublish the online version. And anyone that didn’t like it was free to criticise it and heap scorn on Jones.

But trying to punish Jones by stripping him of his knighthood is worse than writing something stupid, much worse. It is anti-free speech, and deserves scorn and condemnation.

If course Maihi was free to express herself via the petition. I disagree with her aim, strongly, even though I can’t understand why Jones got a knighthood in the first place, that deserves scorn as well. Knighthoods seem to be a dime a dozen for rich people.

This is disgusting. Someone who promotes such abhorrent discrimination should never hold a title that warrants such respect and prestige.

I disagree in part, I don’t think titles hold much respect or prestige.

I might start a petition to call for a ban on stupid petitions. Especially insidious anti-free speech petitions.

He is not a knight or role model for our tamariki, mokopuna from Aotearoa. Go back to where ever you came from.

As far as I know Jones comes from New Zealand, just like Bridget. At least he doesn’t (as far as I know) tell people to piss off out of the country if he disagrees with them.

Nikki is unwittingly contradictory:

I really hope my daughter didn’t read this. I hope this is not the reason she decided to stay home all day on Waitangi Day. All children deserve to live in a world without prejudice, a world where all people feel accepted, where rave, gender, gender identity, sexuality, and any other reason that makes up a human bi, is not used to exclude. We should be practising inclusiveness. Sir belongs to someone who is honourable and honours our country. It doesn’t belong to him.

Inclusiveness surely means accepting that some people should be able to say things you don’t like.

I suspect there is a typo – “a world where all people feel accepted, where rave…is not used to exclude”.

Who has raved and tried to exclude the most – Jones or the petitioners?

‘Māori Appreciation Day’ not appreciated

While Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was doing her best to engage with and improve relationships with Māori at Waitangi, Bob Jones seems to have tried his worst to stir up racial abuse and division in an article published at NBR but since taken down from their online publication.

I think that what Jones wrote was clearly in appalling bad taste. I have mixed feelings about ‘free speech’ connotations. Sometimes it may be best to allow a divisive fool to be seen for a fool, but NBR had a right to act in the face of scathing criticism however it chose.

The Spinoff: Bob Jones and NBR divorce over ‘Māori Appreciation Day’ column

Bob Jones will be filing no more for the National Business Review after the deletion of his most recent contribution, which included a call for an annual “Māori Appreciation Day” and sparked online disgust, was pulled from the paper’s website.

The inciting passage in the property magnate and polemicist’s “Bits and Bobs” column, which carried the subheading “Time for a troll”, argued, “as there are no full-blooded Māoris in existence it indisputably follows that had it not been for migrants, mainly Brits, not a single Māori alive today … would have existed”. Ergo, he continued, “it’s long overdue for some appreciation. I have in mind a public holiday where Māori bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash and polish our cars and so on, out of gratitude for existing.”

Not surprisingly there was a strong response on social media. After comments like that Jones was a fair target.

And also not surprisngly Jones is unrepentant.

NBR’s removal of the column from its site was “right up there with Trudeau re wetness”, Jones told the Spinoff in an email.

“What I wrote is factually indisputable, namely that no Māori alive today would exist had it not been for (mainly) European migrations, given, we’re told, there are no 100% pure Māori any more.”

“As a result I shan’t bother writing any more for NBRwhich I only did at the owner’s request to help them out. I’ve certainly got better things to do with my time.”

It wouldn’t be difficult doing better things than that, even for Jones.

A senior source at the NBR told the Spinoff the controversial passage was “part of a wider column which was clearly satire”, but it caused “misgivings” among staff. The source said that had it been “one piece, just on that topic” the NBR would not have run it. Editors had, however,  “listened to feedback and responded”, and now regarded its publication as an “error of judgement”.

Just as free speech enables people to say what they like in public, as long as they can get it by lax editors, NBR has a right to admit “error of judgement” and take down the column, albeit after considerable damage was done to it’s reputation.

In what appears to be a different version of events to Jones’ statement that “I shan’t bother writing any more for NBR”, the source at the publication said the decision to terminate the column was made at its end, and communicated with Jones in a telephone conversation.

A separate NBR source told the Spinoff that “Approximately 100% of NBR editorial staff” would approve of the column’s discontinuation.

Closing the stable door after an embarrassing has bolted.

The NBR stable is generally well respected as an independent niche publication, and seems to manage well on a subscription model. It may well be that some of it’s subscriptions were at threat over the Jones column.

NBR’s reputation has certainly taken a hit.

‘…a country of angry dullards’

From my final Order Paper column in NBR for 2016: On doing better in 2017. [paywalled]

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That’s harsh but doesn’t reflect how things are anyway – most of the New Zealand populace is far from obsessed with politics, they largely don’t know and/or don’t care most of the time.

But amongst the the small minority of people who do care about politics there are quite a few angry dullards, forever raging against what is and raging for the ideals that will never be and can never be.

Hosking is right that most of New Zealand may be barely aware of the changes to our Government and will have given little if any thought to how an English led government may change things.

Most governing goes on out of sight of most people – even those with an interest see little of what actually goes on. And that doesn’t really matter very much.

New Zealand isn’t a country of angry dullards. In the main, when it comes to politics, we are a country of ‘yeah, nah’.

Elites, Maori Party, Clark, UN

Rob Hosking writes in NBR On revolt against the elites, the Maori Party & Helen Clark’s UN bid (paywall), and posted an excerpt on Twitter:

 

 

Little Labour left?

Rob Hosking at NBR asks What’s Left for Little’s Labour?

LittlelabourLeft

The path of the most recent ten years in what is now a 100-year history of the party is less illustrious.

An increasingly narrow, inward-looking defensive and incoherent Labour party is struggling for relevance in the 21st century.

The question in this parliamentary term passing it’s halfway point is whether Labour under leader Andrew Little is even remotely looking like an alternative government.

Perhaps a harsh view from the right but not unlike what you might read on a labour left blog like The Standard or further left at The Daily Blog.

 

Hosking slams MediaWorks over leak

NBR journalist Rob Hosking has been scathing of MediaWorks after it was revealed today that at least two of their employees had been responsible for a leak of a confidential OCR announcement from a lock-up.

“…frankly a contemptible lack of integrity all round”.

He is also scathing of modern shock-horror journalism.

Rob Hosking blasts Mediaworks’ OCR leak on

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NBR article (paywalled): The Reserve Bank leak – a matter of integrity

Hosking also made some comments in a thread on Twitter:

Well for a start people lied. Call me old fashioned.

Secondly, its a breach which could have led to a crime.

I didn’t see it as defending Mediaworks, only the value of lockups but lock ups are clearly of more value without Mediaworks in them. Can’t be trusted.

This wasn’t just stupidity. This was an absence of integrity.

If you’re cool with insider trading – whether or not it’s a crime – this is no big deal I spose

First, a disclosure. I’ve been covering Reserve Bank monetary policy statements for 19 years. I was in the lock up last month when a journalist from Mediaworks’ radio outlet, Radio Live, sneaked the decision out an hour before the embargo was lifted.

The intro calls the Reserve Bank OCR as one of the country’s most sacrosanct embargoes.

Andrew Paterson: Well the decision by the Reserve Bank to discontinue it’s six weekly OCR media and analyst lock-ups in the wake of an embargo  breach by a junior  MediaWorks reporter has raised the ire of seasoned business journalists who have condemned the actions of the reporter in question for breaching what had been one of the country’s most sacrosanct embargoes.

The Reserve Bank took the action after preparing a detailed report into the breach.

Joining me to discuss this is NBR’s political and economic correspondent Rob Hosking.

Rob you’ve obviously been a veteran of these lock-ups, you must be disappointed in this action by the Reserve Bank.

Rob Hosking: Disappointed puts it mildly. I’m more disappointed in the actions of MediaWorks, because look, it was their actions that triggered this, right. They had the choice.

I don’t think the Reserve Bank had any choice but to take some drastic action, I think they’ve gone too far and we’ll come back to that a little bit later, but the point about these lock-ups is they’re a contract, which each journalist, and the organisation they represent, enters into when they go into that lock-up.

And that basically is you do not communicate with the outside until the embargo is lifted.

And the reason for that contract is not some cosy little stitch-up or anything, the reason is you have two hours, absorb in the case of the monetary policy statement, what is often a quite complex document, it often contains significant changes in the outlook for the economy, and it certainly often contains changes in the Reserve Bank’s thinking on the economy and where it’s next move might go.

And it’s the opportunity to quiz a couple of Reserve Bank economists on just sort of what they mean by some of the material that’s in documents, and it means you can report on it fully and accurately and you can actually not only just report on what’s in there but you can give some analysis of it.

And that is very very important the conduct of the economic debate in this country, which for a long time when i was growing up was very very poor.

And i think those lock-ups have helped contribute quite significantly to the quality of economic debate in this country.

And don’t forget one of the things the Reserve Bank acts as is as a sort of referee on the Government policies of the day no matter who that Government is, and that role which is not actually written into the Reserve Bank Act.

But it is effectively because of what the Reserve Bank does it often has to respond to bad Government economic policy, and it will say it is doing that, not in quite as blunt terms as that, but if you know, you understand monetary policy and you understand why the economic and fiscal policy, you will be able to report on that.

So it’s all a part of the accountability process in New Zealand. So that’s very very important.

But what has happened in the past few years is more and more coming into that lock-up being journalists from organisations who are interested in a quick shocking grab, they’re not there to do the analysis, they’re not there to absorb the contents of that document.

They want a shock horror, and they want to beat each other by nanoseconds.

And that’s what’s driven this action  here.

This was from an organisation that in no way provides in depth analysis of anything apart from maybe Kim Kardashian’s backside.

It’s completely, and what the Reserve Bank should have done, is first say ok MediaWorks, I mean this is obviously an organisational and cultural problem within MediaWorks, right, because this wasn’t, nobody at the news desk when this reporter contacted them said ‘whoa, what’s going on here’.

They simply said ‘ok, let’s start lining people up.

So this is not one reporter, right. And so MediaWorks would say ‘look, ban him for a couple of years’. No question about that.

But secondly they should have said, look ok, the risk is in these organisations that do not report the full flipping statement anyway, so keep them out until the press conference, which happens about five minutes after the embargo, and still have you know the analysts and the journalists in there who do do that analysis to do their job.

Andrew Paterson: So the question is should a relatively junior reporter with no background in business or economics, should have been in that situation in the first place.

Rob Hosking: Yeah exactly. And even if look you know sometimes people do go in there young, and look there have been very smart young reporters I might say, we’ve got one or two on NBR staff, but you know there are some wiser heads sitting on the news desk where if something like this does happen they firstly make sure it doesn’t cause any damage, and secondly they kick the young reporter’s backside.

Ah and none of this seems to have happened in this case. It just seems to have been you a, look frankly a contemptible lack of integrity all round.

“Do you think this also reflects in the case of MediaWorks, the fact that when you don’t train journalists appropriately, these accidents, these sorts of mistakes will happen?

Rob Hosking: That’s partly it. But again I come back to that contract, and a basic matter of integrity. You should not need any training as a journalist to know that when you agree to something you stick to that agreement.

That’s got nothing, I mean that’s not about being trained as a journalist, that is basic integrity.

Andrew Paterson: Now you’ve written to the Reserve Bank yourself?

Rob Hosking:Yeah I’ve suggested that they do something along the lines of what I’ve suggested and that they reconsider the decision. I’m not hopeful.

But I think that you know there needs to be some, if you want to see the quality of economic debate improve effectively,and you know there is a level of knowledgeable economic debate in the country that just wasn’t there  when I was growing up in the seventies when we desperately needed some I might add, then it should be reconsidered.

As I say I’m not hopeful, but we’ll have to wait and see.