Former owner of the Herald has strong words about latest developments

Michael Horton is the former owner of the NZ Herald, when it had a reputation as a newspaper of record and credibility as a prestigious media organisation.

Sadly, those times have passed and now it is a shadow of its former self.

He has written on Facebook, in rather strong terms for him, about the proposed merger and new corporate structure.

With the lack of critical financial reporting now endemic in the media, perhaps one could reflect on a few oddities of the imminent float of NZME on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. For the NZX not to insist on a prospectus for this new vehicle aimed at attracting fresh capital from New Zealanders would be one’s first misgiving. This means no audited accounts and no forecasts for which directors should be legally liable ( viz Feltex).

Punters may feel they can take a chance with their own money but with other people’s money they might like to think about a board some of whose directors transferring to the NZME board received a massive lift in fees last year despite another statutory loss and after years of not paying dividend and despite the company about to halve itself in size.  

The shift to the New Zealand entity of the “$64 million” GST liability court case brought by the IRD and therefore finally off the Australian APN books whose directors incurred this liability should also not go unnoticed. Typically the very recent press announcement of NZME about their liabilities excludes mention of this.

No doubt also there will be some unpleasant surprises for shareholders when the true state of the business is finally revealed, as it must be. Those who are still keen punters should ideally wait for a full years audited results to be prudent.

Shareholders need to know for instance if directors are to be financed into a superannuation scheme as in their outrageous past.

It is a pity that a new local media player cannot be a leader in ethically sound financial practices. How will that be reported?

Unfortunately, our media has descended into clickbait headlines with a lack of intellectual rigour, a debasing of ethics and sloganeering akin to political parties.

I welcome the coming media changes as they create opportunities for new and innovative players in the marketplace. I look forward to sharing more information with readers about that in due course.

Michael Horton is dead right, and he must sit there shaking his head at what his former newspaper has become.


– Facebook

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.