The following was first published in the April edition of INCITE Politics.
During the 2011 election, my wife Rachel and I had been invited by TVNZ to cover the leaders’ debates for our television website Throng. While the purpose of us being there was to provide a look at what happens out of view of the camera, the final debate resulted in Rachel being central to a NZ Herald story.
During one ad break, John Key struck up a conversation with Rachel about being in his electorate and then onto one of National’s main election policies, the UFB rollout. As a web designer, she would potentially be an ideal beneficiary of the policy.
Bevan Hurley of the Herald on Sunday overheard this conversation and who she would be voting for became the lead angle for a story. After the debate, Hurley pressed Rachel for an answer. Refusing to disclose who she would be voting for come election night, Hurley was told that in previous elections she had voted for at least five different parties and that she wasn’t aligned with any of them. She gave Hurley a few other useful pieces of insight with the caveat that he could use her words but that there was no permission to use either her name or photograph.
Over the course of the next few days, Hurley called multiple times, begging for permission to use Rachel’s name and photograph. He was told repeatedly, by both Rachel and myself, that permission wouldn’t be granted to use either.
If a journalist wanted to research who Rachel might vote for, the picture is complex. One of Rachel’s late grandmothers was a staunch Labour supporter Read more »