A story based on a third hand anonymous source

Stuff reports:

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett is denying claims she met with a representative of a Chinese property billionaire said to be eyeing up New Zealand’s state housing stock.

The State Housing Action Network said on Friday that it understood Bennett met with Roger O’Sullivan, recently appointed New Zealand manager for Henry Cheng Kar-Shun’s Pinnacle Group, on December 11 to discuss buying state houses.

 But Clark Hennessy, Bennett’s spokesperson, said no such meeting took place and that network convenor John Minto was “making stuff up”.

“I don’t know what he’s talking about. The minister keeps quite separate from the commercial process…[ministers] don’t want to be favouring any one provider.”

Minto said the information came from an anonymous source but it seemed credible as it matched with Pinnacle’s stated intentions.

Once upon a time this would not be a story. Printing allegations from a third hand anonymous source with no verification! In the absence of proof, and a firm denial, why publish the allegation?

This incentivises groups to just make things up, because if they do so, they get a nice big story with Fairfax.

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