A reader has sent me this OIA response from Radio NZ regarding their collaboration with TVNZ and Nicky Hager. It outlines how taxpayer money was spent on paying for an exclusive that turned out to be a fizzer. Remember all this information was being released publicly anyway. They just spent taxpayers money on trying to get an exclusive.
I wouldn’t think they should hold out hope for more funding the next time they make a budget bid!
Key points of interest are:
The idea to pay Hager seems to have come from Guyon Espiner
- Despite all the talk of how restricted their funding is, they had their chequebook ready to go from the beginning
- They appear to have both paid the ICIJ to become a “partner” and paid Hager as an “independent investigator”
- They appear to have offered setting up Gmail addresses for people
- They have with-held some info on the basis of it being a trade secret!
UPDATE: Just had a phone call from Guyon Espiner who has clarified that he did not propose paying Hager. His e-mail references are about Radio NZ joining the ICIJ, not hiring Hager. I accept this entirely. The e-mails I got sent are a partial set, and it was not clear what the references were in relation to.
Update2: A fuller set of e-mails has been released to me and can be viewed here.