This appeared on Saturday, composed by Ms Boucher’s Wellington editor, Anna Fifield:-
“I have to confess I laughed when a press release arrived in my inbox last week: ‘Chief Ombudsman applauds No. 1 global ranking in Transparency International index.’
“I laughed because I have been shocked since returning to New Zealand at the end of 2020, after two decades reporting overseas, at just how obstructive and deliberately untransparent our public service has become.
“On closer look, I saw that the Transparency International index related to perceptions of corruption around the world. This is of course a patently good thing.
“But open government appears to be on the wane. This is partly because of the growth in the ‘communications industrial complex’, where vast battalions of people now work to deflect and avoid, or answer in the most oblique manner possible. We journalists are vastly outnumbered by spin doctors.
“And it is partly because of the very tight media ship captained by Jacinda Ardern. The prime minister has won plaudits the world over for her empathetic and straightforward communication style.
“But it’s an artfully crafted mirage, as my colleague Andrea Vance wrote last year. ‘At every level, the Government manipulates the flow of information,’ she wrote.
“When I was writing about New Zealand’s response to the pandemic for The Washington Post, almost every minister or ministry I contacted for an interview responded with a variation on: I’ll need to check with the prime minister’s office.
“Since coming home, I’ve been surprised by the lack of access to ministers outside carefully choreographed press conferences.
“When, in her role of foreign minister, Nanaia Mahuta went on her first trip overseas at the end of last year – across Asia then the Middle East to the US – there was no press access to her before or after the trip for the media organisations unable to report along the way.”
It’s surprising that Stuff owner Ms Boucher would OK any criticism of the Dear Leader government; can she see the ‘writing on the wall’ about its longevity and that by the end of next year she might have a new paymaster? Or is she worried about being cited as an accomplice in the Human Rights abuses by this government?
As for Ms Fifield, she appeared in Wellington at the end of 2020 about the same time as Ms Boucher decided to grovel at the feet of Dear Leader and her powerful Maori caucus headed by ministers Mahuta and Willie Jackson with her notorious apology about the impressions created by past INL/Fairfax reporting.
From her CV, the 45-year-old Ms Fifield has impeccable Globalist credentials: “Previously, she was the Beijing bureau chief for The Washington Post and she focused her attention on news and issues of Japan, North Korea, and South Korea.”
Notably, she has been to the land of the other Dear Leader a dozen times, so has a good grounding in how to be part of propaganda media for a totalitarian regime. How much did Ms Boucher have to offer to recruit her? The Washington Post has been owned by mega-billionaire Jeff Bezos of Amazon since 2013 and it’s hard to imagine anything less than $US 150,000 equivalent would have been enough. Did the Jacinda government contribute?
Regrettably, like her Comrades in Stuff, Ms Fifield is not unblemished when it comes to flexibility with the truth. This an an e-mail we sent to her in April last year:
“Dear Ms Fifield
I have been forwarded your response to the complaint by Mr Kerry Bolton of Paraparaumu about your company’s misreporting of a Council meeting of KCDC held in February, alleging things happened that did not happen.
In this terse composition you state:
“I do not accept Mr Bolton’s contention that the Waikanae Watch is an “online community news service.” It is a blog with posts written from a particular perspective and makes no effort at impartiality. We note that the blogsite was founded by Geoffrey Churchman, who resigned from the Kāpiti Coast District Council, after writing a post in which he called female councillors “political concubines” of the mayor. Its chequered history would make any responsible reporter wary about quoting from such a site.”
This distortion of fact simply demonstrates yet again the poorly researched, flippant and highly biased political statements by your company.
If you had bothered to even read your own company’s report of the time by Joel Maxwell, you will have known that I resigned from the local Waikanae Community Board in August 2020 after relations between myself and Ward Councilor Prvanov had become toxic over several months and because it was not a position that was worth the aggression I was being subjected to by her (and another councilor friend of hers). As Joel Maxwell of your company reported correctly, I did not write the non-factual, but satirical piece in question, I simply co-owned the platform it appeared on.
We contend in turn that Stuff is ‘…a blog with posts written from a particular perspective and makes no effort at impartiality.’