Audrey Young on dropping wages

Anyone visiting certain blogs on the left in the last few weeks may have noticed one of their 17,628 posts on their insistence that has a secret master plan to lower wages in NZ. This is all based on a reporter’s notes of a conversation in a cafe (not a speech to a audience as they stated) between Key and a Kerikeri business woman.

Now the newspaper in question has come out and said that if what Key had said left the impression he wanted to lower wages, that would be incorrect.

This of course has led to even more fanatical claims that this statement by the newspaper is something sinister – as if MPs have never ever complained before to a media outlet about a story which they think left the wrong impression.

Audrey Young blogs some perspective on the issue:

There is a certain amount of rubbish being pedalled by the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union about the Herald’s involvement in the saga over whether or not told the Bay Report in Northland he wanted wages to drop.

What a surprise.

The Herald was actually first to cover the claims about the and lower wages story after Labour had been on the case for a few days, and that was at the suggestion of the Herald editor.

Oh no there goes the conspiracy theory. Or perhaps the Editor was just trying to make up for 91 years of no charity 🙂

Something else to keep a little perspective on this saga – what was run today in the Bay Report itself was a “clarification”,not a correction or a retraction.

It would suit National, Labour and the if it were a correction, but any fair reading of the “Point of clarification” would see that the paper is not disowning the reporter’s transcript. It is is saying that if what Key had said left the impression he wanted to lower wages, that would be incorrect.

There is quite a difference.

“From an examination of the interview, and the context of the comments made by Mr Key in relaitons to the loss of skilled workers from New Zealand to Australia, the Bay Report now accepts that was not intended and that impression would be incorrect.”

It all comes down to an unclear context for the comments.

There wouldn’t be a journalist or news outlet in the country that has not been lobbied by politicians about a story they have taken exception to. Labour does it too.

I have it on very good authority that Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey rang the chief executive of Radio New Zealand (yes, management) last year because he was so pissed off at an interview conducted by Sean Plunket.

And that really was naughty. And MP can complain to any media organisation about coverage they don’t like. Except the Broadcasting Minister should never be the person personally rings the CEO of a public broadcaster the Minister is responsible for- if it deals with content of a news story.

UPDATE: The Dom Post covers the story. An extract:

“The approach was not in the form of a demand and no other requests were made. Following an examination of the transcript of the interview and the context of the comments made by Mr Key during the interview, the editor agreed readers may have gained an incorrect impression and a clarification was warranted,” Mr Simons said.

He said the wording of the clarification, published by the Bay Report, was edited in the normal manner by the editor of the newspaper.

“The wording was discussed and agreed prior to publication by the journalist wrote the original piece and the subeditor who edited the story,” Mr Simons said.

An anonymous spokesperson for The Standard said that they would be issuing an apology for their 11,879 posts attacking Mr Key, now it is clear everyone agrees does not want wages in NZ to drop.  However they said all the editors are out today skiing on Mt skifield today, after an unusual freezing over the entire Hell region, so the apology will have to wait until they finish skiing.

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