Nippert slammed for tweet in Press Council finding

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 5.53.22 PM

Rodney Hide has partially won a Press Council complaint against the NZ Herald and Matt Nippert, one of their more dishonest reporters.

Columnist and former politician Rodney Hide has partially won a Press Council complaint against theNew Zealand Herald in which he took issue with a journalist’s personal tweet.

Mr Hide complained to the Press Council about an article by Herald business journalist Matt Nippert that covered proceedings in the High Court involving David Henderson.

The article referred to earlier proceedings and mentioned the current hearing was “undercutting many of Hide’s claims” he made in previous columns he wrote about the issue.

Mr Hide’s complaint said the article was unfair and inaccurate for a number of reasons but this complaint was not upheld.

Furthermore, Mr Hide filed a secondary complaint about a tweet on Mr Nippert’s personal Twitter account.

“Short write-up of court ruling morphed into 1600-word Greek-style epic featuring crimes, c*nts, lulz and ex-MPs. In @nzheraldbiz Saturday,” the tweet said.

Mr Hide said the tweet lacked accuracy, fairness and balance and was “offensive and displaying a lack of professionalism by a senior journalist.”

And who is having the Lulz now?

21. Turning to the complaint about the tweet, it is worth noting that this is one of the first times the Press Council has been called on to determine a complaint about this form of communication.

22. The tweet was effectively advance publicity for the article in the same way that a poster or headline is advance publicity, with the difference that the tweet was made before the article was in final form and did not go through any sort of editorial process. However, it was clearly made by the reporter in his capacity as a reporter for theNew Zealand Herald and the editor has properly taken some responsibility for it and reminded the reporter of his obligations. Moreover the tweet has been deleted, although apparently it remained accessible for some weeks.

23. For the sake of clarity, the Press Council records that the same standards apply to a tweet of this nature as apply to other published material. The tweet in question in this case was unprofessional in its inaccuracy and use of unacceptable language and certainly did not conform to the highest professional

The reality is that the Press Council are pretty toothless even though they’ve ruled that journalists’ tweets have to meet the same standards as anything else they write.

Still, I’m glad it is Nippert who got a light tickle in the nuts from the Press Council.

Nothing actually happens, though there is a formal record of his poor conduct.

At least we also now know that the Drinnan defence for tweets won’t hold water. It is certainly an interesting angle that any “these are my personal tweets and not the company’s” statements on their Twitter accounts are null and void because of this decision.


– NBR, Press Council


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Lance Ralph

    Now I know who / what Matt Nippert is. I will do my best to forget.

    • He is allegedly also donkey deep into Whaledump.

      • Dave

        After reading a lot of his articles, the other sides of the stories, and the work of some of his colleagues in the (cough) business section, I am surprised A Newspaper continues, they should have lawyers fact and details checking all articles they write

        • WBC

          Unfortunately the reason they don’t bother with lawyers and truth is fairly clear. David Fisher is a senior Herald creative writer. With the likes of him guiding things, the chances of truth sneaking into any article is slim. Nippert is fairly atrocious but still fairly lightweight as far as dishonest storytelling is concerned.

          They seem less able to see their own faults then the Labour party and the trust of the New Zealand public in them seems to be heading into Labour party territory too…

          • biscuit barrel

            Wasnt Hides claims that it was inaccurate not upheld.?

            “Mr Hide’s complaint said the article was unfair and inaccurate for a number of reasons but this complaint was not upheld”

            The Press Council seemed to prefer Nipperts version of the truth over Hides. And this was for the substantive case of the story, not a tweet.
            Its like making a claim someone is a liar, losing that case but winning the bit when you say they poked their tongue at you .
            [oops just seen Rodders reply]

          • biscuit barrel

            Just read the ruling and it seems Nippert was told by Hide it was rubbish but didnt change his claims.
            “The reporter knew the claim of undercutting was false as Mr Hide had supplied him with repeated explanations prior to publication.”

          • WBC

            The simple fact that he managed to convince the Council that it was “opinion” not a factual piece is disturbing as it means a creative story teller can alternate between truth and total fiction with impunity.

            On that basis, Rodney would be well within his rights to air the opinion that Matt tends to the needs of his pet goat every Thursday night, more then Nippert has the right to slander Rodney actually as Nippert should be bound by a level of integrity as a part of a professional creative writing organisation. But I doubt the media would let it go if it was the other way around…

            No wonder we trust them less then politicians.

  • Chris EM

    Reading Matt Nippert is a senior journalist goes some way to explaining why the msm are in the predicament they’re in these days.

  • Michelle

    Don’t bother to read anything in the Herald these days but looking at the colour of his tie were his loyalties lie

    • WBC

      IT can still be worth a glance (not worth paying for of course). It provides a heads up on what might be of interest from which you can then do a few seconds of searching to find out the actual facts of the story. Reading the bulks of what the Herald puts in their story is of course pointless as they clearly don’t do that couple of seconds of research, or if they do they conveniently ignore anything that makes sense.

  • Uncle Bully

    I wonder why Hide’s complaint of unfairness and inaccuracy was not upheld? Was it because the article was fair and accurate?

    • Rodney_Hide

      No because Mr Nippert claimed “honest opinion” despite his feature having all the appearance of a factual account.


      • biscuit barrel

        This from the ruling
        ” Mr Hide was consulted before the publication of the article and the final article included some of his comments – certainly enough to provide balance and to indicate to a reader that he did not accept that his arguments had been undercut.”

        From memory, Hide was saying that Xero cant provide ‘access to IRD’ to customers data ( and not tell them), and had asked 2 barristers , who agreed with him. The associate judge didnt agree and there seems to have been a strong rebuttal to the judges decision from Mr Hide.
        Nippert seems to have used the judges decision in his view( they used to be called “masters’ but have got the judge title when really they are still employees of Courts dept, which real judges are not.)

        Hopefully it should go up the judicial food chain, as it isnt right that a software company that provides cloud storage passes the core of your data over to others [They should only provide a string of 1 and 0s and say its encrypted by the customer get the key from them]

  • benniedawg

    Matt Nippert was regularly feted on RNZ ‘the panel’. Haven’t heard him of late. Wonder if he has been dropped from this programme? A bit too toxic for them to handle perhaps?

    • biscuit barrel

      Wouldnt he be exclusive to NZ ME now ?