Herald runs Fake News story and gifts Winston another news cycle

Yesterday ‘Red’ Claire Trevett ran an article that supposed that Winston Peters was being disingenuous about his commitment for a referendum on Maori seats.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has dismissed suggestions of a revolt in his ranks over the Maori seats, but said he will reveal soon whether his proposed referendum on the future of the seats would be for all voters or for Maori.

Peters announced plans to hold a binding referendum on the future of the seats at his party’s annual conference – a shift from the 2014 position which favoured abolishing the seats but leaving it to Maori themselves to decide when.

That was assumed to be a referendum of all voters – but Peters is now hinting that may not be the case.

Asked about recent comments by both candidate Shane Jones and NZ First MP Pita Paraone about leaving the fate of the seats to Maori voters, Peters said he believed it should be up to Maori.

What was exceptionally fake was that she framed something up as a matter of recent discord about the Maori seats within NZ First. What she didn’t tell readers though was that Shane Jones actually made those comments months ago, not recently.

Winston tweeted:

That tweet could have been better if he had added “SAD!” at the end of it.

Fairfax delivered up the real news:

A vote on a referendum to abolish the Maori seats will be for everyone “regardless of race”, says Winston Peters.

The NZ First leader has ruled out only those on the Maori roll voting in a referendum on whether to keep the seven Maori seats – a bottom-line policy announced at the weekend.

Peters said he made it “very clear” in his speech to party supporters on Sunday that this is a “vote for everybody who is over 18 years of age, who is entitled to be on the New Zealand electoral roll regardless of race”.

In an NZME article on Tuesday Peters was quoted saying, “of course it should be up to Maori to decide if the seats go, but I’m making a speech about it very shortly and I will tell you the full parameters of that”.

Speaking on Wednesday, Peters was furious at the suggestion he was “flip-flopping” on the issue saying, “have you ever seen me change my position?”

“Some people would say that the only people that should be able to decide are Maori on the Maori roll – what about the mass majority of Maori who are not on the Maori roll?

“Those (on the general roll) should be entitled to vote on it as well and in that case so should everyone else, on the roll or not, it’s a constitutional issue,” he said.

Changes to the electoral roll system in 1975 meant the qualification for being Maori changed from being “half-Maori” to being a “Maori capable of reciting an ancestor”, Peters said.

“So if that’s the qualification for being a Maori then the Maoriness of it doesn’t depend on whether you’re on the roll or not, it depends on whether you can, according to this political system, recite that you’ve got a Maori ancestor.”

The NZ First caucus had several meetings about a referendum on abolishing the Maori seats prior to the convention at the weekend where the policy was announced, he said.

“I can tell you it was agreed without demur.”

Good, people like David Farrar should know better, but the fake news from Claire Trevett ensured that Winston Peters go another news cycle and continued to squeeze Labour and National out of the headlines.


-NZ Herald, Fairfax

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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.