Glucina’s text to Key

The Ombudsman has ruled that John Key shouldn’t have refused to release a text message sent from Rachel Glucina to him related to Amanda Bailey and the hair pulling issue.

The text was made public this afternoon by Newshub: Glucina’s text message to PM revealed.

Newshub has obtained the text message sent by Rachel Glucina to the Prime Minister, which John Key initially refused to release under the Official Information Act.

The text message said: “just interviewed the waitress. Piece of work! Massive political agenda”.

It has been suggested that Glucina is piece of work with a massive political agenda too. And the person who forced the release through an OIA request, No Right Turn, could also be suspected of having a bit of a political agenda as well.

Some journalists have raised concerns about this.

It appears the information was withheld by the Prime Minister’s office under Section 9 of the Official Information Act, which aims to protect privacy or an obligation of confidence.

But Judge Boshier decided the request should not have been refused.

“Even if an obligation of confidence existed, I consider it is outweighed by the high public interest in the information,” he wrote in his response to the complaint.

So anything that can be judged of “high public interest” must be released?

No Right Turn had a lot of interest in it, as did a few other political activists wanting to inflict as much damage on Key as they could, but I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the public may think that the text is of little interest to them.

I doubt many journalists will be keen on bloggers forcing their communication with politicians to be revealed.

I think Glucina’s text says a bit about her bit little about anything else.

It was also noted on Twitter that Glucina didn’t break this text revelation on her gossip site Scout.

Key made it clear he ignored the text. While someone seemed to think it was significant in some way that Glucina had Key’s phone number so do Barack Obama and Key ignored a call from him.

UPDATE: With so little information in a brief text The Standard are having a field day filling in all the gaps – Glucina Key #ponygate text revealed

Herald and Whale Oil defend Glucina

NZ Herald and Cameron Slater are unusual allies their support of Rachel Glucina and her handling of the waitress at the centre of John Key’s hair pulling.

And they are fairly lonely in trying to defend what looks like some very shoddy journalism, something Slater usually hammers the Herald for – in this case journalist connections seem to take precedence over consistency.

The Herald had a torrid day on social media yesterday, battered by their handling of the hair pulling issue in Waitress: ‘I felt NZ should know’ where via PR consultant and Herald gossip columnist Rachel Glucina they dump heavily on the waitress.

This had been promoted by editor Shayne Currie:

Exclusive: In tomorrow’s , meet the waitress at the centre of – and she explains why she went public

Attention was given to the blurred lines between the roles of ‘PR consultant’ and ‘Herald reporter’. There was strong criticism on social media and by other journalists, including suggestions it warranted a Press Council complaint.

Brent Edwards from Radio New Zealand tweeted:

@nzherald have confirmed a breach of journalistic standards in What will it do next?

More in ‘Strong stuff’: the media’s role in #ponytailgate

The Herald went onto a somersault mode of damage control.

Herald statement

Shayne Currie, Editor of NZ Herald has released a statement on how the story was reported:

That’s at the bottom of Waitress: ‘I felt NZ should know’ .

Except that the currently published statement is apparently the fourth and significantly edited version as the Herald desperately and obviously too quickly tried to stem the criticism.

Despite all this Whale Oil seems to be trying to paint the best possible picture of the Herald coverage and Glucina.

Whale Oil’s Face of the Day

While Cameron Slater frequently and strongly criticises the Herald he seems to still have some friendly journalists. Or thinks he does. He has teamed up with Glucina on stories in the past.

The timing, and things get messy

The timing of the hair pulling story has been criticised, but that’s nonsense. So what if someone timed it for maximum attention? That’s hardly uncommon.

Sure it could be awkward for Key to deal with the flak while travelling around the world. But it also gets him out of most of the firing line. By the time he gets back to New Zealand the story will have at least calmed down a bit.

Perhaps the story could have been put out in the news vacuum over Easter. That might have reduced attention. Or it could have festered and grown because there wasn’t much else to be indignant about.

The timing is a non-issue.

While the victim is a victim if unwanted physical attention she is a victim. That isn’t diminished by the way the story plays out.

I think she was unwise using The Daily Blog and Martyn Bradbury as her medium for her revelation. It guaranteed a highly charged partisan reaction before any facts were known or confirmed. It’s a side issue but it’s an issue.

The waitress used Bradbury – but Bradbury has used her too. I hope he warned her about the inevitability that her anonymity wouldn’t last long. I hope he warned her how she would be labelled politically by using him.

It didn’t take the Herald long to out the identity of the waitress and her workplace – see Waitress: ‘I felt NZ should know’.

She has complained about this coverage in detail at The Daily Blog – UPDATE: The Prime Minister and the Waitress Part 2 – Dirty Politics?

She says she was aware of some of the risks but she has been clobbered.

She claims that her employers and Rachel colluded to dupe her into an interview. But retracting something from the media is futile. Especially once it’s been published.

Out of respect for my employers, and what seemed like their genuine concern for my well-being along with the future of their business (a business doing good things which I fully support), they introduced me to Rachel, by name as the employee behind the story, and Rachel said she would put together a statement for us to proof.

As we waited for Rachel to e-mail the draft proof one of my employers read aloud to the other Rachel’s e-mail address. It began… RACHEL.GLUCINA and alarm bells went off. Sounded familiar, and I felt sick to my stomach – more than you’d ever imagine, a feeling I simply could not ignore.

Rachel’s story changed. RAPIDLY. Now she couldn’t possibly supply us with a proof because she would lose her job. She was absolutely acting in her capacity as a journalist for the New Zealand Herald and claimed that my employers had known all along, which they denied.

I made it absolutely clear that all and any comments I had made were given under false pretences, not to mention completely out of context, and questioned whether her supposed story would still be published if I withheld my permission.

Rachel simply responded that she would come back to us and read to us what was to be published, although she had no control over editors and sub-editors, and that she had to get in touch with the Prime Ministers office, and then they quickly ended the conversation. I later contacted my employers reiterating that I revoked any permission to use my photo or comments for any press release, and my disappointment that I had been mislead to such a gross degree whilst having my identity knowingly confirmed with the New Zealand Herald at the same time.

If she’s correct this is a bad look for the Herald. More collateral damage. What the hell were her employers and Glucina up to?

This could get very messy.

When the Prime Minister is involved behaviour has to be carefully considered. He stuffed up.

When the Prime Minister is involved the media and the victim get embroiled as well in what now looks like becoming substantial side issues.

While I think Key’s behaviour was poor it wasn’t dirty. But it’s triggered what could be a bloody big dirty mess.

Dim-Post versus Glucina – serious accusation

Danyl Mclauchlan at Dim-Post has made serious accusations against Rachel Glucina, calling her a “a loyal little cog in National’s comms wheel”.

That’s a curious claim coming from the partner of a presumably loyal cog in the Green Party comms wheel.

Glucina is the journalist who broke the “Winston visits Dotcom’ story in NZ Herald last Friday:


Questions of the week

1. Did Winston Peters visit the Dotcom mansion for secret meetings? Don Brash and Russel Norman have confessed to get-togethers in Coatesville, but Peters was playing coy yesterday when The Diary phoned. Rumours that he went there three times are “false”, he says, but he refused to specify if he’d been there at all.

There has been posts and discussion since then in the blogosphere.

Yesterday John Key accused Winston Peters of having visited Dotcom three times. Since then there has been an unusually concerted campaign claiming Key got his information from the GCSB – which as others have pointed out, would be serious and illegal.

A post on Dim-Post today tries to portray Glucina as a National puppet in Alternate theory.

The Herald’s gossip journalist Rachel Glucina is a loyal little cog in National’s comms wheel so I guess you could claim that the Nats gave the story to her. But would they really give GCSB intel to the gossip columnist? Sure, maybe ‘that’s the genius of it all!’ But I doubt it.

Meanwhile Kim Dotcom is on twitter claiming that virtually no one knew about Winston Peters’ visits so the PM’s information must have come through surveillance. Now, I’ve never owned a gigantic palace filled with servants but I have sat through a few episodes of Downton Abbey and I’m guessing it’s harder to keep secrets in the country’s largest mansion than Dotcom thinks.

And I’m also guessing that not everyone who works there is totally loyal to their boss, and that at least one of them is willing to sell information about what goes on there to, say, a gossip columnist. The advantage National has is that they could – hypothetically – call Glucina and query the legitimacy of the source before they raised it in Parliament.

That looks like a fairly mangy attempt at mugging the messenger.

NBR journalist Rob Hosking asks:

More seriously – I don’t know Rachel Glucina personally and I don’t read her stuff (at least not on any regular basis) but can you back up the claim she is “a loyal little cog in National’s comms wheel?”

I hope Danyl takes this question seriously.

I’ll update here if Danyl comes back with anything to substantiate what he has claimed.