Phil Kitchin

Dodgy CV Cheat run out of town

Good news, isn’t it? ¬†Sadly, it’s not David Cunliffe, but CV embellisher extraordinaire¬†Michael Vukcevic.

It seems that the difference to keeping your job and losing it comes down to the quality of spin doctor you employ. ¬†Brown and Cunliffe got their money’s worth, whereas Vukcevic got Vukd.

The Deputy Chairman of the NZ Middle East Business Council, Mr Stewart Germann, announced today that the Council had accepted the resignation of Michael Vukcevic from its Executive Committee effective immediately.

Mr Germann said he would take over as Chairman until the next AGM.¬†‚ÄúMr Vukcevic has been an energetic and committed participant of the Council during¬†his more than six years of involvement, and was in fact a founding member of the¬†organisation,‚ÄĚ he said. ¬† Read more »

Dodgy CV leads to shameless spin which leads to more questions

Yesterday both major news outlets ran stories of a dodgy CV used by the former CEO of Baldwins, Michael Vukcevic. It is hugely ironic too that Michael Vukcevic was previously head of anti-corruption group Transparency International.

Phil Kitchin at the Dompost wrote:

The chairman of an influential business council with close links to the Government’s bid for a Middle East free trade agreement is a CV fraudster.

Fairfax NZ can reveal that Michael Vukcevic – head of the Auckland-based Middle East Business Council – falsely claimed to have a law degree from Victoria University.

Mr Vukcevic was also a director of anti-corruption agency Transparency International when he lied in his successful bid for the top New Zealand job at multinational law and patent firm, Baldwins.

The fraud will embarrass the firm, which was last year a finalist in the New Zealand Law Awards for a second year in a row.

It will also embarrass the Government because of the ties between the council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NZ Trade and Enterprise.

As chair of the Middle East council, Mr Vukcevic rubs shoulders with powerful figures from MFAT – including Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

The council’s current executive includes former Young Nats president Daniel Fielding, and the vice-chairman is Auckland lawyer Stewart Germann. Former National Party president Michelle Boag advises the executive.¬† Read more »

Do As Hickey Says Not Does

I loathe tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) posts but over this issue I will do one as paying (or not) for content online is the most important issue for the future of bloggers and new media and one I have put a great deal of thought into both for The Truth and this blog.

When Bernard Hickey announced with much fanfare and bravado he was setting up www.journalism.org.nz others were telling Hickey what he wanted to hear but I was instantly skeptical at the stunt and said so in full.  Socialists do not part with their own money and this was a left wing vehicle.  Hickey skited he would cover stories other MSM would not.

The first issue was Hickey’s arrogant attitude to the project and relationship with www.interest.co.nz.¬† I continue to write this blog and am editor of The Truth. ¬†I cannot do both jobs without help and appreciate the staff at The Truth for their work so far. ¬†It is not as easy as it looks but I am spending less time on it as I learn the job. ¬†Surely Hickey could see the level of time required, most of it on his own?

The second issue was Hickey clearly relied on the unreliable in Selwyn Pellett.¬† A wealthy man but not one who parts with coin as freely as others on the right to fund projects like this. ¬†A man with his own agenda who spends a disproportionate amount of his time arguing senselessly on Twitter as a “critical friend” of the Labour Party.

Selwyn Pellett claims to not be a member of the Labour Party but tweeted attendance at the recent Annual conference. ¬†John Tamihere was not a member at the time and not allowed. ¬†Pellett is a “critical friend” who does not even believe enough in the Party to join it. ¬†It shows a level of commitment that equalled his to Hickey.

So Bernard Hickey cans the project the same week he sells his Epsom home for $1+ million and moves to Wellington, for no apparent reason than his daughter is at University there. ¬†Hickey’s reasons were:

1. Underestimating the time and salary sacrifice involved

Every small business needs cash to start-up.  Most have a period where the owner receives no income.  Hickey left interest.co.nz according to his original release on 1 November.

Why didn’t he release the website idea with a breaking story to show what he would produce? ¬†Fact is he hasn’t had one memorable toe-curler since the Crafar farm face-off. ¬†He has limited his role in the media to commentator/Labour parrot and Herald on Sunday columnist.

I have come to the conclusion that the need to support my family through freelance journalism and commentary will not leave sufficient time for me to continue to take the lead role in journalism.org during its formative stage.

In other words, despite grossing $1+ million on the house according to NBR, he was not prepared to do what most small business owners have to do and mortgage the house to back himself and put equity into the new venture. ¬†Not having enough time to devote to the project and wanting to spend more time with his family are euphemisms for “I should have thought more about it before chucking my toys at interest.co.nz and bragging I could do this”.

2. Everyone lied about paying for the start-up

We will have to fight for funding in an economic environment where philanthropy is less evident than in more prosperous times and where we need to be wary of the difference between verbal commitments to donate and actually putting a hand in one’s pocket.

The economic environment really has nothing to do with it. ¬†According to Hickey the economy has been in crisis for years. The bottom line is that people will not front with cash until they see what is on offer on the website. ¬†The NBR for example created their online product BEFORE people signed up. ¬†Even on Hickey’s online poll on the website there was fair indication not many people were interested enough to click a box. ¬†Everyone will slap you on the back congratulating you and saying they will sign up because it is easy to say that. ¬†Most are lying, especially socialists. I have told Hickey what to do, break a big story to launch it in style, not a whimper and fizz.

3. Pellett must have pulled out

He had previously acknowledged it was risky to rely on one large donor ‚Äď if they lost interest or wanted to make the site a vehicle for their own views.

You do not have to be a genius to see what happened. ¬†Hickey found out Pellett is a control freak and wanted to push his own agenda. ¬†He has some awfully weird ideas that even Hickey could not suffer. ¬†Remember Hickey predicted a 30% drop in house prices at one point, then changed his mind? ¬†His commentary is all over the place and unrealistic. ¬†Hickey’s effort on Sunday¬†is a perfect example. ¬†There was no real reason to write that column. ¬†It lacked purpose and was merely parroting prior World According To Bernard Hickey. ¬†To be blunt, Hickey has gone stale. ¬† He has pigeon holed himself into a ridiculous prediction man. ¬†The latest large failure was predicting the Eurozone would collapse in October 2012. ¬† ¬†Compare Hickey to Fran O’Sullivan who does not go around ¬†making outrageous (incorrect) predictions to get attention. ¬†She produces an endless stream of new material and perspective twice a week and has done for decades.

Hickey has now worked out precisely why New Zealanders just buy property and wait for it to appreciate in value as an investment before selling it.   He has written about potentially becoming a property investor.

While there is no shame in business reporters not being in business themselves, the massive miscalculation of ¬†start-up capital and funding is facepalm material. ¬†The only people interested in Hickey’s sort of alarmist Chicken Little stories are people who will not pay for the news. ¬†They are also as I have said, socialists and as I told my new largest new fan; grumpy, old media Brian Edwards unequivocally on The Nation – socialists do not part easily with money and make terrible paymasters. ¬†It is why his now political polar opposite and my largest new critic ; grumpy, old media Bill Ralston, got realistic about life and changed his colours. ¬†Capitalists and corporates pay the bills. ¬†Socialists just want everything for free.

Or do they?

Keith Ng scored how much for writing about a planned hack? But even at several thousand dollars a story in funding and donations from the public it will never be enough to fund Hickey’s lifestyle full-time given the amount of time you have to put into a story. ¬†As I have found in my new position as an Editor ¬†it takes enough time at The Truth to get everything out each week, let alone produce investigative reporting where you may spend hundreds of hours for nothing. ¬†Phil Kitchin for example is testament to three stories a year max, and he has scraped the barrel from his semi-retirement this year in quality after doing precisely what investigative reporters do not and allow themselves to be captured and kidnapped by a PR hack. ¬†David Fisher has gone soft and is filling his Herald space interviewing Kim Dot Con’s hired help.

Hickey also insulted large chunks of the business mainstream media by all but saying they were in the pocket of corporates so not doing their job as well as he could independently. They will all be chuckling at his failure, some were led to believe Hickey actually owned interest.co.nz.

To fund actual news reporting, particularly the sort Hickey wanted to produce, you cannot start without a large amount of cash to support yourself and time.   That is why you need a very wealthy and consistent funder to support you to develop your website and content.  Or raise the funds yourself.

I just hope Hickey is now less sanctimonious in his writing of others in New Zealand business, taking risks (or not), capitalism and the natural lust in economic models for money, power and profits.

He has proven in this mis-adventure to be just like everyone else.

Pressure mounting on Dompost

Yesterday the NBR followed up on the Greg King story that TRUTH broke over a week ago. New sources have come forward confirming aspects of our story.

They have confirmed the “18 hours of legal aid” details that TRUTH was aware of. There are further specific details regarding that but I shall remain silent on those until the DomPost comes clean.

It is unacceptable for the editor to issue only a short statement saying simply that the TRUTH story was “wrong”.

We stand by everything we have printed and this story is developing.

I repeat what we said in our original story.

The Dominion Post and its investigative journalist Phil Kitchin need to answer the following questions so that NZ can judge for itself whether their investigation was news worthy or just another chapter in the NZ book of chopping off tall poppies

  1. What was the nature of the investigation that the Dominion Post was undertaking into Greg King and his legal practice?
  2. What contact did the Dominion Post (either staff, contractors or freelancers) have with Greg King and his wife or anybody in his legal practice in the week prior to his death, including on Friday 2 November?
  3. Who specifically from the Dominion Post has had contact over the last few weeks with an inmate of Rimutaka with regard to the investigation into Greg King?
  4. At what time on the evening of Friday 2 November was the decision made to pull the story that was scheduled to appear in the Dominion Post on Saturday 3 November? And why?
  5. When did they learn of Greg Kings death?

 

The King is Dead, Read the Full Story

We are releasing the full story online about Phil Kitchin, the Dompost and Greg King.

All the while the Dompost remains silent despite feeling the need to report live from the funeral and photograph people in grief. The only thing they seem not to have done is properly answer the questions that TRUTH asked. Other media organisations are asking too..so far the editor has been obtuse.

TRUTH has uncovered that in the days leading up to the death of Greg King, the Dom Post was preparing to publish a damning article on King.

Like many New Zealanders, Truth is a huge fan of Greg King and the work he has done. We are very mindful of the profound grief his family and close friends must be feeling at this time but the information in our possession is far too important to be left untold.

Greg King was facing enormous pressure. His health was deteriorating and his workload was incredible. This was a man who just could not say no to helping people.

It is our belief that this pressure reached boiling point when King discovered that the Dominion Post was about to break a story on him and the legal aid system.

…Read the full story at Truth’s website.

Huge Dom Post ACC Beat-up Continues

Huge ACC Salaries? ¬†How “huge”?

The maximum someone receives under ACC is 80% of $113,768 or $91,014.40, pretty close to the “huge” salaries of ACC staff will Stuff’s follow up story be about how many people are earning the maximum payout rather than painting them as “victims”?

The ACC Dom Post hate campaign continues based on disgruntled claimants and sensationalist media beat-ups.

The incorrect claims with correction have had to be repeated here and here.

Stewart wrote that the revelations about the privacy scandal was a ”defining moment” for ACC. A survey showed public confidence in the insurer fell from 58 per cent to 49 per cent.
The report also showed ACC accepted 1.7 million new claims over the year. Total claim payments were $2.6b – or just over $7m per day.


Falling from 58 to 49 per cent seems to not be so large given the size of the campaign against the Organisation and staff is not surprising.

The most obvious conclusion from Vance and Kitchin’s reporting is the need to privatise ACC.

ACC Privacy Breach Overview – What Was Sent To Bronwyn Pullar

Forget about the tripe the mainstream media are feeding you, I have had a review commissioned of my own of the KPMG Independent Review & Auditor-General’s report and as time will allow will summarise some important points the media have missed out because they suck every word up a recidivist exploiter of insurance companies has told them via her new best friend Phil Kitchin.

For background read Jock Anderson’s excellent work on uncovering the scam pulled on Sovereign Insurance¬†in an attempt to extort¬†encourage $14 million from them¬†by using the media, in particularly this letter and read alongside.

The mainstream media need to put in a bit of time now their busy Thursday is over and actually read both these reports after they’ve taken off their rose-tinted glasses because a critical analysis says a very different thing to what they are publishing and repeating. ¬†Yes ACC are tits (and should be privatised) but in this case the “client” is a manipulative schemer and the reports are not as damning and conclusive as you read in the papers Thursday churnalising the summaries and reporting on the boring processes. ¬†What about the detail?

This post outlines (just how little) “sensitive” data was sent to Bronwyn Pullar. ¬†This is what kicked it all off. ¬†All the data showed was that you were a client of ACC’s. ¬†And this is New Zealand’s most serious breach of privacy? Hardly. ¬†The redacted columns are showed here at Appendix 5 of the Independent Review.

Yes that is right – NO real details of the claim. ¬†No gory personal age, weight, height or bra size. ¬†THIS is what all the fuss has been about. ¬†A persons name and claim number and the outcome of the case. ¬†NO further information. ¬†Repeated over and over. ¬†The only remotely damaging detail is “Sensitive Claims” written at Table 4 for the few people who are sexual abuse or assault victims. ¬†No details of their cases appears to be in the data however. ¬†This was severely overplayed.

The Independent Review team explain the data themselves in the Appendix 5

The Independent Review actually concludes Pullar made out that she had more information than there actually was as she was gloating to the ACC Managers.

“conditions” and “details” – ughm where? ¬†The redacted information above? Hello?

The report even states the damage was for “limited personal information”. Very limited by the looks.

Mainstream media need to first look precisely at what data was sent to Bronwyn Pullar and how bad this breach actually was? ¬†In effect it is a client list without any explanation or information as to what the client is with you for. ¬†The report itself said “limited personal information”.

A client who is very often hobbling or off work so very easily detected by friends and neighbours if say, oh I don’t know, hanging out on a roof doing some painting at night?

Or in Pullar’s case – she had no privacy expectation as she already had told the world her problems with ACC and Sovereign.

 

NBR – Money, Mayhem and Murder

ŠĒ• NBR

The NBR has an in-depth look at a Bronwyn Pullar that has studiously been hidden. It is an astounding look behind the scenes at her association with Michelle Boag, Melanie Read and how they work together to extract cash from their targets.

Bronwyn Pullar wrote herself into history when she toppled former ACC minister Nick Smith, three ACC directors and the corporation’s chief executive.

The ACC claimant with friends in high National Party places became a central player this year in a scorching political drama which led to a top level boardroom clean out the likes of which New Zealand has rarely seen.

A raft of official inquiries were launched around allegations of leaks, privacy breaches and who told who what about whom.

Two of those inquiries are due to report in August.

Aided by public relations spin doctor Michelle Boag, Ms Pullar ‚Ästclaiming she remains brain injured from a 2002 cycling crash ‚Ästlaunched an all-out attack on ACC through the media.

In this special investigation, NBR takes a closer look at the woman referred to by associates as ‚ÄúBronCorp,‚ÄĚ NBR Print and ONLINE editions follow the money trails to investigate the Bronwyn Pullar Affair and the parts played in her life and times by Money, Mayhem and Murder.

Go and read all the details…and wonder no more what was really behind their assault on ACC.

The letter from¬†Sovereign¬†Insurance is very telling. It outlines Michelle Boag’s threats to¬†Sovereign¬†Insurance to go to the media unless their demands are met…and then outlines how exactly she used her slots on Radio New Zealand and her friendship with Melanie Read to do precisely that. There is a word for that sort of behaviour.

and;

Most damning is point 6;

There are many, many questions that Bronwyn Pullar, Michelle Boag and now¬†Melanie¬†Read need to answer…and you may as well add Phil Kitchin to that list.

It is clearly also from the letter that Board members and executives at Sovereign Insurance were pressured. This all sounds now all too familiar when you look at what has happened with these two and ACC. Except this time they tried to pressure a Minister on the way through.

If anything the NBR exposure shows a pathology of how Bronwyn Pullar and Michelle Boag operate against anyone who gets in their way.

 

Herald Editorial on ACC saga

ŠĒ• NZ Herald

The Herald editorial this morning is pretty much on the money, particularly with regard to the actions and motivations of Bronwyn Pullar:

Accident compensation claimant Bronwyn Pullar and her friend Michelle Boag say they have been vindicated by a tape recording they made at a meeting where they were said to have tried to take advantage of an email accident. But this tape leaves neither side with much credit.

Certainly, the tape has not recorded an overt threat in the terms that ACC officers alleged. But it remains strange that the subject was even raised at a meeting that was arranged, as Ms Boag says, purely to discuss Ms Pullar’s personal case. Why did she feel it relevant to tell the officers, “An email was sent to Bronwyn … and it contained thousands of elements of highly sensitive information … ,” before she returned to the subject of her friend’s needs?

Understandably, the officers inferred they were being offered a deal and the tape records that when one of them said, “I guess from our point of view, one of the things that when we reach a settlement … is we will want the information back”, Ms Boag replied, “Absolutely”.

She presents Ms Pullar to the public as a “whistle-blower” on the ACC’s shoddy computer security but whistle-blowers do not agree to suggestions that they remain quiet, or if they do they cannot claim to be acting purely in the public interest.

Bang on the money, and frankly her excuse for not deleting or handing back the data was simply not believable.

Ms Pullar has a long-running resentment of the ACC’s refusal to satisfy her claim. Nevertheless, when one of her email exchanges with her assessors accidentally dropped information on thousands of other people’s claims into her lap she ought to have either deleted the material immediately, or made the ACC’s privacy breach a matter of public knowledge very quickly, then deleted the evidence. Waiting three months can only suggest she was more interested in her own case.

Uh-huh…that has been what this is about all along…a¬†petulant¬†Pullar set on getting her own way in what ever means possible. When the meetings didn’t pan out like she wanted all of a sudden Phil Kitchin is writing bad articles. ACC then is in an unenviable position of not being able to defend itself due to privacy issues and having a “claimant” hurl shit all over the place.

I’m not defending ACC, but the Herald editorial rightly questions the motives of Pullar and by extension those of her “support person” Ms Boag.

There are definitely systemic issues in ACC, but what on earth does anyone expect from a state welfare behemoth that faces no competitive challenges which would help sharpen their work practices?

It seems though that the Herald is right and Judith Collins needs to swing the axe at the board level long, hard and deep.

Franks on Crusher’s defamation case

ŠĒ• Stephen Franks

Stephen Franks analyses how the latest Pullar/Boag story fed to Phil Kitchin affect Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little. It isn’t looking good for them, which is ironic in that the duck season starts this weekend.

A month ago I predicted a win for the Hon Judith Collins in her law-suit over the claim that she or her office had leaked ACC information.

Catching up on several week’s papers I thought of how sick Messrs Mallard & Co must have felt on seeing¬†Phil Kitchin’s latest report on the ACC/Pullar affair.¬† Their source might¬†seem a less reliable witness for pleading justification in light of at least one misleading ACC internal report. ¬†Phil is such a good journalist¬†I read his¬†report as a fair indication of ACC scrum twisting. Where there is some there is usually more.

Trevor Mallard could be getting advice right now to settle this, even if it involves a complete and abject apology and withdrawal. I hope the Minister makes them pay all her costs, plus some, to cover the risk she took, plus some more against RNZ for its low-grade coverage of the Mallard allegations without balancing comment.