Ratepayer funded propoganda

Stuff reports:

A community paper put together by a group that gets city council funding is under fire for endorsing the political platforms of two staffers standing for election.

Veteran city councillor and political hopeful Max Coyle are campaigning in the city’s West Ward on a “no meters” platform.

The pair also volunteer at the Western Community News, which is distributed bi-monthly to 18,000 residents in the city’s west. Macpherson is listed as the paper’s production editor and Coyle the publishing manager.

Any group is free to endorse anyone they want and publish anything they want.

But if you do so, you shouldn’t get ratepayer funding. Ratepayers should not be funding such stuff.

The Western Community News is published by the Western Community Centre in partnership with Fraser High School.

The centre receives $91,000 in council funding a year.

However, Tolan said the newspaper was funded solely from advertising revenue and was put together by volunteers.

Then it should be able to continue fine without the centre getting $91,000.

But just as bad is this, also reported by Stuff:

A faction of city councillors are calling for the council’s propaganda rag to be scrapped, saying it’s been hijacked by political opponents. …

Councillor Garry Mallett said residents had contacted him over concerns about the binned Claudelands article.

The council had a responsibility to respond to residents’ concerns urgently.

“There are people out there who believe that this [Claudelands article] is an attempt to influence an election,” Mallett said.

“They think this was a clumsy, clumsy, attempt by someone as yet unknown, or someones, to try and influence the election.

Any publication ratepayer funded has to be information not advocacy and the binned Claudelands article was clearly advocacy.

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