Ethical vacuum at The Herald

Cactus Kate has picked a rather unsavoury scab in her article about the Herald and APN who appear to have confused the ethical lines between advertising, content, editorial and the high moral ground.

As readers will well know the Herald has been running a remarkable campaign of denigration about Mark Hotchin and Hanover, especially in the pst 10 or so days with story after story after story about how Mark Hotchin got scammed in a Ponzi scheme.

They posted an editorial as well taking the moral high ground and ticked off a judge and sounded all po-faced and sage in talking about name suppression. They spent a not inconsiderable amount of money with top end of town lawyers, reputed to be well over $100,000 attacking a victim’s rights to privacy as ordered by a court through a suppression order.

Sure I attacked suppression orders myself, but I only named kiddy fiddlers, rapists and thugs. This is why I have been so hot under the collar about this. The Herald went after victims and played for the high moral ground in doing so.

What Cactus Kate has done, and I am slapping myself for not thinking of this myself, is go straight to the source and asked Carrick Graham, spokesperson for Hotchin/Hanover about how much Hanover loot the Herald pocketed, all the while knowing that the two principals of Hanover were the victims in an elaborate Ponzi scheme.

The Hanover Group in total spent just with the NZ Herald. Here is the excerpt table that I received back from Graham:

2006 – $342,695 (Only November on)
2007 – $1,146,280
2008 – $328,807
2009 – $94,469 (all for FAI Finance)
Total – $1,912,251

As you can see from November 2006 onwards almost $2 million of Hanover related funds were placed in the Herald. The largest year saw over $1 million placed.

So The Herald, knowing as they did that the principles of Hanover had been scammed, continued to repeatedly take truck loads of loot for their advertising.

Cactus Kate rightly points out the ethical dilemma for the Herald in continuing to accept their advertising revenue and also waxing lyrical in cu/paste opinion pieces about Hanover and their various investment vehicles. She also quite correctly asks whether or not the gamblers investors in Hanover would have been more influenced by the Herald opinion pieces by Adam Bennett and Maria Slade amongst many others along with the millions in advertising featuring a former newsreader spent with the Herald than with the prospectus proffered by some spotty investment advisor across the desk of one of myriad of advisory houses who likewise pocketed Hanover coin.

I just bet that Hanover’s and Hotchin’s lawyers are licking their chops with joy, salivating at quenstioning  gambler investor after gambler investor just exactly where they obtained their investment advice from: “Was it from advertising? Or perhaps you read something in the paper? Or did you actually read and digest with some solid research from a truly independent investment analyst the prospectus provided by Hanover?

You can see where that is going to end can’t you. Badly…for the investors and possibly for APN.

The Herald took the high moral ground in spending huge amounts of money in overturning a victim’s name suppression, they stood on a pedestal and proclaimed their moral righteousness when all along they should have been on the naughty step for palming almost $2 million in investors cash to enable Hanover to take more investors cash from them, all the while knowing that Mark Hotchin was subject to a name suppression order.

Their retrospective moral righteousness is nothing but shameful hypocrisy. I wouldn’t mind betting that Cactus Kate has much more information about other media outlets and journalists and the large amounts of cash they similarly received. If she wasn’t so busy working in her Guangdong sweatshop she could bother to return my emails.


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  • naylor

    How juicy is this! The Herald has run a campaign against this guy Hotchin and winding up Hanover investors making them feel all stupid all the while pocking millions in advertising spend from the guy they are persecuting! While you can’t call pollies hypocrites, the Herald has been rightly exposed as HYPOCRITES of the highest order.

    Cactus suggestion that Slater & Gordon bring APN and the Herald in as defendants is brilliant and should expose them for the hypocrites that they are.

  • mediatart

    I would have thought there was a ‘Chinese wall’ betwwen the news and marketing departments. But of course there is more gossip in a newspaper office than other building in town. The marketing people probably then raised his rate card knowing that he was financial dunce
    The kicking Hotchins getting now is because they can. Yes they have had his money, but he was a bit of a Lord Archer before hand- “repeat that and Ill sue” so why are we sorry for the poor little princess.

    • I note you used quote marks around Cinese Walls…for good reason no doubt…they don’t exist…Chinese walls should be followed with the very kiwi ‘Yeah Right’.

      Lawyers and Accountants and ad agencies love to speak of chinese walls, competitive bidders in the same firms like to speak of chinese walls but the reality of chinese walls in all instances are the same as for the real chinese walls which Genghis Khan walked right around the outside of….they are a figment of everyones imagination.

      If the the only defence the Herald can use is ‘Chinese walls’ then they are dead in the water…a subpoena of the minutes of management meetings where IT, Advertising, Editorial etc all co-habitating in a single room would destroy that defence in a heart-beat. Any email or memo sent around that shows editorial and sales on the same header would likewise sink that argument.

  • reid

    I’m not with you on this one Cam. Sure, I get it, but this guy is scum just IMO like those other scum you took down with your name suppression.

    He’s an arsehole.

    If he done what he’d done but had acted in the least contrite, my opinion would be different. But he hasn’t acted in the lest contrite, and this is not because the media haven’t covered it.

    I’ve watched videos of him defending the indefensible and read reports that are true, of where he lived and what he did, while his investors were facing mortgagee sales.

    This is a man full of hubris, pride, arrogance and contempt for others.

    This is all he knows, from his every reaction to his plight, ever since he first burst forth into the headlines.

    I don’t give a fuck about vapid lurid headlines, I’m talking abour trends and patterns of behaviour over time, from which one experienced in life can draw reliable conclusions.

    I understand at the same time I may be quite wrong and stand prepared to turn on a dime if that’s the case and he is in fact an altruistic Samaritan.

    I just don’t think he is.

    • None of the people I took down with name suppression were victims Reid. They were scum, they were raoist, child molestors, kiddy fiddlers and wife bashers. None were victims. I don’t agree with name suppression everyone knows that but Cactus’ post and mine were about the why’s and where-fore’s of Mark Hotchin’s name suppression they were about the rank hypocriy of the Herald to palm $2million in silver while KNOWING.

      Frankly I think people who lost money in hanover deserved it. They were greedy mostly, they were chasing the extra 1%, and they VOTED not once but TWICE to go for more greed.

      A good friend of mine who is not short of a few quid says that very often the best investment advice is this: When you find you are riding a dead horse the best strategy is to dismount.

      In the case of Hanover investors they not only elected to keep riding the dead horse, they then booked a round of show jumping at the pony club and then decided to take the dead horse to the rodeo for another ride.

  • gazzaw

    I go along with reid. A voluntary organisation that I have worked with has had to deal with some of the social wreckage that Hotchin & his ilk has left behind. The most distressing are elderly women from a generation where women barely knew how to write a cheque never mind handle their investment capital. Some now survive in cheap rental accommodation & exist from week to week on national super. The lucky ones get some financial support from their children. They weren’t greedy, just beguiled by the newspaper & TV ads and the so called financial ‘advisors’ working for fat commissions in the full knowledge that Hanover & the rest were already goneburgers.

    • reid

      Indeed they should have but are you saying that we should therefore let snake-oil salesmen run around with slick brochures spouting unfulfillable bullshit in order to earn that month’s share of their commission-only salary? Are you suggesting that is a good thing?

      …beguiled by the news­pa­per & TV ads and the so called finan­cial ‘advi­sors’ work­ing for fat com­mis­sions…

      This to me was the inexplicable evil or carelessness one or the other, behind Liarbore during Cullen. The most mind-bogglingly mental hole in the whole swiss-cheese apparatus that were NZ’s financial regulations, it was the non-declaration loop-hole in the financial advisor’s regime. I mean hello. Now maybe Bolger didn’t care much about it cause things weren’t booming, but since they did during Liarbore’s reign and since Liarbore claims to be of the people for the people, you woulda thunk, wouldn’t ya, Cullen woulda found a few weeks to turn himself to this glaring issue. But he never, ever, not once ever did, did he.

      Now this is not something small, this is something obvious, like real estate commissions at 10%. I mean, Cullen woulda had to be thick to miss it, and he wasn’t thick, was he.

      And now look at the wreckage.

      Do you seriously think “the market” benefits from allowing such creatures to pray on the vulnerable? For this is what they are, mostly. These are people who believed that nice Richard Long, that’s how der they are and newsflash, there are hundreds of thousands of them. Why do you think

      • reid

        gazzaw disregard the first para, that was actually my opening lines to bevan but then it all went to hell… Forget it, long story short, start from the italics..

  • bevanjs

    reid, anyone “fac­ing mort­gagee sales” should probably have listened to their Gran and not stuck all their eggs in one basket.

    • reid

      bevan, advertising wouldn’t work if everyone was always rational.

      I agree with you. That’s what I do. However even though it’s hammered into everyone, at the end of the day your average couple in Onehunga or Fielding with a few hundy from an inheritance will listen to the slick salesman.

      What’s always been missing from the legislation is a clause saying that if said slick salesman steps over the line in anyway whatsoever he’ll be liable to incarceration in a small cage with a horny male gorilla, and he has to wear the girl gorilla’s suit, for a period not exceeding five (5) years.

      I don’t think there’d be too many more “misunderstandings” after we passed that law.

  • cactuskate1

    Mediatart – my argument centres around the fact that the Herald so badly blurred the editorial and advertising lines, it does not exist. The advertising – tick ok, the reporting back then – tick ok…..what is not okay is the sanctimonious crap going on in 2011 whereby the Editor has the gall to call out a Judge for suppression when a) his paper profited to the tune of $2 mill plugging the investments and b) they now argue Hanover investors wouldn’t have invested had they known of the ponzi details.

    Reid – completely irrelevant as to Hotchin or Hanover’s conduct in this instance. I analysed the gushing hypocrisy of the Herald.