Lacking disclosure

April 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Lawyer and social policy expert said the plan showed the Government’s hatred towards those who were passionate about the environment.

That’s very strong language from Mr Bott, who is described as a social policy expert. I’m not sure how you get such a title, but they have missed out a more relevant title.

Mr Bott was of course the Labour Party candidate for Wairarapa. A fact that should have been disclosed.

This continual non disclosure on the part of really annoys me, because it happens so consistently and in just one direction.

I honestly can not recall the last time I saw a National Party candidate, office holder or even activist quoted in the media without reference to their party involvement. While Labour Party people pop up in various guises so often, I have lost count.

Either the Herald were unaware Mr Bott was a Labour Party candidate, or they thought the public don’t need to know that this “social policy expert” who says the Government hates people who are passionate about the environment stood for Labour at the last election.

I’m not sure what answer is worse – that they didn’t know, or that they did no and decided not to say.

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14 Responses to “Lacking disclosure”

  1. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    “Michael Bott Upper Hutt lawyer defends excess breath alcohol, burglary, assault from his office at Heretaunga Law”.

    Perhaps finding ways to get drunk drivers off on technicalities qualifies one as a “social policy expert”?

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  2. dave53 (91 comments) says:

    And I always thought he was a lawyer…. I’ve even seen him representing people in courts.

    His Labour candidacy passed me by, maybe it did with the Herald too.

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  3. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    ….”His Labour candidacy passed me by, maybe it did with the Herald too.”….

    Quite understandable really…..the vote count indicated that to most of the Wairarapa electorate he was easy to ignore. The Labour carpetbagger managed 10746 votes against a lacklustre National candidate’s 17881.

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  4. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    You’re right David, but to be fair it is very difficult to check. I mean, if you Google Michael Bott you don’t get a photo of him standing next to a Labour Party election billboard with his mug on it. Oh wait, you do.

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  5. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    You don’t mean this Michael Bott do you? He seems a big fan of John Key.

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  6. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    Mr Bott has taken a number of high profile human rights cases in the past, and been quite successful. He used to be quite outspoken on human rights, civil liberties and the like, and was the Chairman of the Council on Civil Liberties.

    Since becoming a Labour Party candidate his law practice seems to have “dumbed down” to deal with petty civil cases. Unlikely to be a coincidence.

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  7. flipper (4,062 comments) says:

    nasska…
    If you knew John Hayes, including his work in Melanesia in particular, and his current responsibilities, you would not describe him as “lacklustre”.

    Moreover, his thumping majority over little Botty, was also the result of the hard work by many volunteers :)

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  8. greenjacket (465 comments) says:

    “This continual non disclosure on the part of media really annoys me, because it happens so consistently and in just one direction.”
    The Herald and TV3 are particularly bad at giving coverage of ‘experts’ who are in reality Labour Party activists – witness how they repeatedly interview school principals who also just happen to be Labour Party activists or candidates.

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  9. peterwn (3,272 comments) says:

    Auberon – of course you do. Labour candidates had their mugshots on many of their billboards but none of their leader. Contrast with National where John Key’s mugshot was on all large billboards and the local candidate on some only.

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  10. Reid (16,454 comments) says:

    I’m not sure what answer is worse – that they didn’t know, or that they did no and decided not to say.

    Or that both are true. Which doubles the worsity.

    The villains. This is a stocking offence. Put the offenders into stocks and let the public harrass them for few days. We could give them safety glasses so as to comply with modern H&S thinking. Do that a couple of times and it will stop happening, guarantee it.

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  11. KevinH (1,227 comments) says:

    I couldn’t agree more, disclosure is important in that it identifies the writer to the reader whom is better informed in deciding whether the commentary is legitimate or a party political broadcast.
    In the interests of accuracy and fairness journalists should be more circumspect in researching the background of their interview subjects before publishing their stories.

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  12. David Garrett (7,272 comments) says:

    Michael Bott, Human Rights lawyer of Wellington… and, apparently, also a “social policy expert”… what to say about him? Well, knowing he or his mates will dissect this comment for potential for a complaint to the boys in Wellington, it had better be 100% accurate.

    The case that later became Susan Couch v. the Attorney General – the nominal defendant in place of the Department of Corrections – was originally filed by me as Hobson v. Attorney General. The original plaintiff, Tai Hobson, is the widower of Mary Hobson, one of William Bell’s victims at the Panmure RSA. Tai remains my client to this day. There were a group of us working on the case pro bono. They included Stephen Franks and Keith Jeffries of Wellington, and Garth McVicar’s personal lawyer in Napier.

    Mr Bott contacted us and suggested a novel cause of action we could add: an argument that in failing to monitor William Bell, the Crown – in the person of the Corrections Department – had breached Tai’s human rights. None of us knew anything about human rights law, so we readily agreed to have Bott join us.

    For months afterwards I asked Bott for a draft of “his” cause of action to add to the others. Because none of us knew anything about this new and novel cause of action, no-one else could do it. After some months of work, and many drafts, we had three different causes of action all fine tuned ready to go. We were waiting on Bott. Each time I called him, the draft needed more work. Finally, we decided the case had to be filed, and I told Bott to give us whatever we had, and we would go with that.

    I received about two pages of a “draft” cause of action – to call it a draft is being generous. It was nothing like coherent enough to include in the Statement of Claim that was ready to file, and so the case was filed, seeking damages based on the three different causes of action the rest of us had been working on for months.

    There you go Michael…see what you can make out of that.

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  13. David Garrett (7,272 comments) says:

    I think I will add to my list of descriptors “criminal sentencing expert”…sounds so much nicer than “disgraced former MP”, and infinitely more interesting than plain old “lawyer”…

    I reckon I have as much right to call myself a criminal sentencing expert as Mr Bott does to call himself a social policy expert…whaddya reckon guys? Course Brother Michael might have some qualification(s) of which none of us are aware, but his mate mickey or one of the others who monitores this blog with soon tell us if that is so…

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  14. Black with a Vengeance (1,861 comments) says:

    BLAM BLAM…let’s play shoot the messenger!!!

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