When is a Herald article not a Herald article?

The below article had not one, not two, not three, but four photos.

It had the headline: $10m wrecks on prime real estate


Squatters have been living in one of the Sarsfield St houses. Picture / Dean Purcell

I wondered what the story was about, as empty buildings on prime land is nothing new and neither is graffiti. The more I read the more puzzled I became as I still could not find the reason behind the story.

Two abandoned Herne Bay properties decay as foreign owners fail to raise funds.
Squatters have been living in one of the Sarsfield St houses. Picture / Dean Purcell
Two multimillion-dollar neighbouring waterfront sections in Auckland are falling into disrepair, with a house on one abandoned and decreasing in value and plans for what may have been the country’s most expensive apartments on the other, being scrapped…

…The house had been used as a film studio by a previous owner in the 1990s.

Its next owner contracted Dr Robert Donald of Donald Design in 2012 to develop plans for a four-level building with eight apartments across the two sections.

“We did a detailed design proposal for it, for which we got consent,” Dr Donald said…
…Estate agent Gavin Han of Barfoot and Thompson said the owners couldn’t raise enough money to go ahead with the development.

He said the property had been on the market for about three months and despite the hefty price tag, there had been a lot of interest.

He had been told by the owners not to pass on any information to the media.

• 79 and 81 Sarsfield St, Herne Bay have a combined CV of $8.35 million.

• A house worth $4.4 million on the property has not been lived in for at least two years and has fallen into disrepair.

• The combined value of the properties had decreased 4 per cent from $8.7 million in 2011 to $8.35 million in 2014.

• The 2014/15 rates for the two properties is $30,554.33

• The section is zoned R7, with the potential to develop with multi-level apartments.

• The combined size of the sections, which stretch from Sarsfield St to Sentinel Rd Beach, is 1787sq m.

At this point I was still scratching my head but then I read the final line and all became clear to me. It was not an article, it was an advertisement. What they call in the game an advertorial or in the new parlance “native advertising”.


– NZ Herald

It is a sneaky and unethical development in “journalism”, one that John Drinnan has no trouble at all defending his employer over.

An advertorial is an advertisement in the form of editorial content. The term “advertorial” is a blend of the words “advertisement” and “editorial.” Merriam-Webster dates the origin of the word to 1946.[1]

In printed publications, the advertisement is usually written in the form of an objective article and designed to look like a legitimate and independent news story. In television, the advertisement is similar to a short infomercial presentation of products or services. These can either be in the form of a television commercial or as a segment on a talk show or variety show. In radio, these can take the form of a radio commercial or a discussion between the announcer and representative.


Do you want your news to be advertisements in disguise?

I think it time we were FREED from this kind of subterfuge .

P.S I just realised how ironic my post is as I sucked you into thinking it was a legitimate Blog post when in fact my despicable intent was to make the Herald look bad and promote Freed.

I have sent myself to the naughty corner.




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  • dumbshit

    when you are sliding down the gurgler you grab anything you can, it seems that MSM wear very narrow vision blinkers, quite dumbfounding that they cannot see the route cause of their decline

  • All_on_Red

    The other thing is that it’s “Chinese, Chinese, Chinese”. Nothing like a bit of Xenophobia eh.

    • BigDes

      Actually, it only sees “foreign owners” so I guess you draw your on conclusions.

  • david

    I spotted that one. On some days there can be 3 or 4 property ads in the herald masquerading as articles.

  • All_on_Red

    When’s the Roy Morgan annual survey out on readership stats? Must be soon. NZH down another 10%?

  • cows4me

    “but wait there’s more”

  • Dumrse

    They are losing subscribers, they are losing advertising, they are losing at newsagents, they losing at news stands, they are losing at street sellers, they are losing…… I guess anything that plugs a leak will reduce the speed with which the once proud ship sinks.

  • Reid

    Amazing the lack of integrity in this so-called profession, isn’t it. At least NewsTalkZB has the grace to make their advertorials blindingly obvious when the hosts read them out, but by contrast with The Herald, it’s as subtle as it could be possibly be. If they had any actual professionals working at that rag, they would have refused to go along with such blatant misrepresentation, given that such tactics penetrates and degrades the very heart of their profession, their news integrity and the vital need to maintain trust with their readers. Abusing that trust in such an insidious manner seems neither here nor there to them. They will find that selling their professional soul for thirty pieces of silver is not a wise move, but it says a whole heck of a lot doesn’t it, that they’re so profoundly twisted that they clearly can’t even work out that basic fact of life for themselves.

    • 1951

      And here I thought it was another pre-Christmas Aesop’s-type-fable ….no matter how much money you have, it won’t last long if you lack common-sense. Those at the Herald are showing an extraordinary lack of judgement, but so too is B&T. The real estate agensies have worked hard over a long time to rid themselves of the ‘just-above-the-lowest-rung’ reputation. This places them right back near the 2nd-hand car salesmen status.

  • Platinum Fox

    It’s really no surprise that a property article on The Horrid site is an advertorial – both the residential property and commercial property sections of the paper have made little pretence of being anything other than advertising for as long as I can remember (I’ve lived in Auckland for well over 30 years). While there might be an occasional article discussing market trends, in every case a feature article regarding a property in either category is paired with a large display advertisement for said property.
    In the case of these particular properties, the vacant site has been vacant for yonks. On at least two occasions that I can recall a scaffolding tower has been erected on site to enable prospective buyers to see the views achievable if an apartment complex was built. That no development has occurred demonstrates that the price point targeted for the apartments is too high to achieve enough pre-sales to convince any financier to commit to funding construction. Given there are to be a relatively small number of apartments in the complex, a risk averse financier should want them all sold before his first dollar is advanced to the project. The number of potential buyers for multi-million dollar apartments is small and the financier will be reliant on the last sale in order to be repaid while the developer will also need that sale to complete before it can get its profit out of the development.
    It makes no sense that the corner property has been allowed to become derelict as it could easily have been rented out to produce some cash towards the owner’s holding costs (the council rates on the two properties are about $30K).

  • caochladh

    There is an old saying “today’s news is tomorrows fish an chip paper”. In the Herald’s case, its today’s news is today’s fish and chip paper because apart from lighting fires that’s about all its good for.

  • SlightlyStrange

    Stuff has been doing similar recently, with a series of ones they’ve just taken across from Fairfax AU about big sales and other things in Australia. I’ve assumed they are genuine real estate news, but turns out, just advertising some agent doing well in Sydney. Irrelevant and boring!
    Their regular feature of “homes that fit XX qualification that are currently for sale” at least has some interest – its neat to see what you can get for under $500k across the country without having to search yourself, but some of the other gunk? Gah.

  • Davo42

    I hope next time someone asks John Key what he is doing about housing affordability in Auckland he replies” Were shutting down the Herald”.

  • jonno1

    Just noticed another one at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11372674. This is a series on building an unusual house, which turns out to be a Kiwibank advert. The articles are genuinely interesting, so why not be upfront about the sponsorship?

  • Reaper

    I certainly hope John Drinnan is completely wrong re Freed.

    “In my opinion the most viable funding source will be for Lentino to pick up the role of PR blog, allowing firms to buy opinions.”


  • peterwn

    And another – caught too by Google News (Business) – land agent trying to flog off an Epsom shop.