Another Herald journo judged by his peers to have lied

On November 7 last year David Fisher ran a shabby hit piece against Customs and also Maurice Williamson about OIA processes inside the department.

Despite complaints to the NZ Herald they refused to withdraw the article even though factual errors had been pointed out to them. Shayne Currie the editor fought the complaints vociferously.

Customs persisted and complained to the Press Council.

The Press Council has found that David Fisher essentially made stuff up, in effect he lied in his article.

Wide concerns among the media and the public have led the Ombudsman to launch an investigation into Official Information Act practices in the public sector.
The Herald may have been entitled to form the view that departmental rules and guidelines, including requirements for consultation, do open the way to political influence and interference in information releases.
But the documents provided to the Herald, and referred to in the article, do not grant the minister the freedom to change whatever is released.
Therefore the part-sentence included in the article is factually incorrect and the Council upholds the complaint on that basis.

Press Council members considering the complaint were Sir John Hansen, Chris Darlow, Tim Beaglehole, Liz Brown, Jenny Farrell, Sandy Gill, Marie Shroff, Vernon Small, Mark Stevens and Stephen Stewart.
John Roughan took no part in the consideration of this complaint.

There you have it, David Fisher and Shayne Currie judged by their peers to have made stuff up…although they couch it in far more polite words by saying it was “factually incorrect”.

But what really happens when your senior reporter is found to have made stuff up?

Will his pay be docked? Will he be stood down like an MP would be if caught lying?

Unlikely…it might be a bit embarrassing for David “Tainted” Fisher but I doubt he will face any sanction from his bosses who are actually his enablers.

The actions of Shayne Currie are deplorable too. By running this story he has caused an inquiry to be launched based off the back of making stuff up. The cost of that inquiry will be considerable, I think an OIA for those costs might be in order to see how much Shayne Currie and David Fisher have cost the taxpayer.

This is what happens when the fourth estate conducts wonky crusades based on the personal biases of their staff.

But who really holds the media to account…there is no fine, no sanction and the Herald will bury this tomorrow well inside the paper when the story they made up was front page news.


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