Posts by Nick Bryant

  • Hard News: Mighty Indeed,

    "Public sector productivity..." I love it, tears rolling down my face; still hillarious after all these years!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Taking the rise,

    What I'd like to know is did Trelise get in the ear of One News? Not seriously, of course, but given last night's report you could be forgiven for thinking as much. The reporter, Juliet McVeigh I think, spent the whole report referring to Tamsin as Tasmin, despite frequent shots of the brand showing the correct spelling, even alongside the footer graphic showing her name incorrectly spelled Tasmin. It was hysterical, but also pretty tragic. I wondered whether McVeigh simply couldn't get her emms in front of her esses, or whether there hadn't been any editors on duty. Anyway, I agree, it was a dumb suit to take, but thanks to One News Trelise got the last laugh anyway.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Maxim-ising the vote,

    Morning Manakura, I saw that and couldn't help but chuckle; unintended consequences and all that.

    Have a good one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Maxim-ising the vote,

    Hi Joel, I don't disagree at all, I definitely do have an axe to grind. My family was largely spared mention in Secrets and Lies, but I suspect there are people named in this book going through a pretty gut-wrenching experience; most of them people who are far less cynical, clinical and machievellian than Hager asserts by presenting a carefully selected bundle of "evidence" to back his thesis of the day. Such is Hager's extremely narrow view of the world and its inhabitants, and his cleverness at spruiking his thrice-yearly tales (he's a damn good publicist, I'll grant him that), that good people do get hurt by him - people who often don't have the time or resources to take legal action against him. I think he'd be as tricky a litigant as he is a writer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Maxim-ising the vote,

    While we're posting interesting links, here's one that I hadn't seen until last week when I was recalling that whole sorry saga. I have no links whatsover with the author, who appears to be a former TWC employee or similar.

    http://homepages.caverock.net.nz/~bj/beech/papers/secrets.htm

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Maxim-ising the vote,

    Hi Russell,

    I struggled with whether to put in some sort of disclaimer when I posted but decided against because my effort was really to provide background to Hager writing the book. Since you raise it, when it comes to Shandwick's work for Timberlands I can only vouch for any detail (all of it from memory) prior to the two year period (about 97-99) upon which Hager based most of his book. My father sold the business in 1997 but Shandwick had the Timberlands account since 1993 (I think). So what was done on the account post 97 is something I can't really shed light on.

    Cheers,

    Nick

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Maxim-ising the vote,

    Manakura,

    I attempted to make it clear that my criticisms weren't of Hager's book on Brash and National - I've only flicked through it and the letter was the view of my more eloquent father - rather Hager's credibility given that following a drawn-out process of independent review in 2000 (in part by Hugh Rennie QC) it was determined that none of Shandwick's actions that Hager fingered as being worthy of punishment, sanction, call it what you will, was in fact worthy of any such thing; in fact, quite the opposite, with Rennie finding Timberlands to have been under such a state of seige from Hager's friends at Native Forest Action that Shandwick's efforts to disseminate the truth about Timberlands' operation were not only justified but in the client's best interests.

    Out of multiple reviews into complaints against Shandwick only one tangible thing stuck. Rennie posed the question: was it unethical of Shandwick to label Native Forest Action members "extremists" in correspondence to newspapers on its client's behalf. The Public Relations Institute, in an appallingly gutless decision decided it was and gave Shandwick a ticking off, despite extremist being a superbly accurate label for most NFA members. (One suspects the reason for the finding was that having wasted so much time and the Institute members' money on a witch hunt it was deemed politically advisable, lest the PRINZ executive be deemed completely incompetent, that they find something wrong).

    The history and result in a nutshell: obviously environmental activists have no industry body they must answer to, so the way was clear for Native Forest Action to use the sorts of tactics that would make the puritan Mr Hager blush. An example would be to disseminate photos of clear-felled forest sites that had nothing to do with Timberlands and represent them as being recent proof of "State destruction of rare native bush" to a chosen member of the media hungry for an emotive scoop. Variations on this tactic continued throughout the late 90s. The photos ran, the electorated was successfully piqued and efforts to clarify the issue never had a hope of gaining traction. And Hager knew of these methods to sway the electorate; his friends claiming it was a legitimate tactic for the greater good - the end of all native forestry in New Zealand, no matter how selective or sustainable it might be.

    Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund was calling for examples of sustainable native forestry for official sponsorship in an effort to squeeze out black market operations across the globe. New Zealand could have been a shining environmental light. Instead, thanks to a man who requires a greater threshold of ethics for others than himself, the issue became a political football, the West Coast lost an industry that was not only lucrative but effected a tiny percentage of the forest estate (and was socially responsible - as a trade-off for logging Timberlands did a much better job of controlling possums on the West Coast the DoC now does), and the global blackmarket in native hardwoods got an unexpected boost.

    Nice work Nicky!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Maxim-ising the vote,

    Agree, it sounded odd but listening to it again I do think that's what Sean meant.

    On Hager - and in offering the letter below I'm not saying his book isn't illuminating in a number of regards - I rather liked the summing up of his modis operandi penned by my dear old Dad last week (which ran in the Dom Post).


    Dear Sir

    In 1999 Nicky Hager wrote a book based on papers stolen from our company office. By slanted and selective use of these he made outlandish and damaging claims about the public relations programme we implemented on behalf of the Government-owned company, Timberlands West Coast Ltd.

    On close inspection the negative conclusions he drew were proved to be unfounded. Everything we did was authorised, responsible and lawful.

    Nonetheless to counter Hager’s slanted presentation was time-consuming and costly. Damage was briefly done to corporate and professional reputations – but in the longer term only to that of Hager himself.

    That is the heritage of Hager, who consumes the stolen wholemeal ingredients of the contest of ideas, and by assertion and innuendo disgorges them as the waste of the rumen.

    It is sadly predictable that this publicity-seeking controversialist is again the conduit of such waste.


    And in regards to Hager's claims on this occasion that the Brash emails were not stolen - rather, they were forwarded to him by people within National who were senior enough to legitimately hold them - and thereby his hands are cleaner than National is making out, the files he based the Timberlands book on were stolen in a break-in that saw only that client's files removed from the office. In my opinion he is one of the last people who should be given an opportunity to lecture others on ethical behaviour.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Maxim-ising the vote,

    I think clearly (though I haven't heard the whole interview - just the soundbite - so I don't know how "tetchy" it was) that Plunket was just cramming too many words into the sign-off.

    "Unfortunately," as I heard it, referred to Key not being prepared to discuss what he'd be saying to Brash on Morning Report, which, as a journalist, Plunket would have loved to have extracted from him. I certainly didn't get the sense Plunket was saying it was unfortunate that Key was the leader.

    But who knows, perhaps it was a Freudian slip? Perhaps Sean's been doing Bill English's media training? (Being facetious). Certainly Sean and Bill had a very agreeable interview later in the programme.

    And perhaps RB knows this too and his currently having a laugh at my expense for having taken the time to explain it? If so, I'm only too happy to have fallen for it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Aiming for mediocrity. Again.,

    Taking a 30-50 year view, the waterfront is the best place for it. When you hear "white elephant" arguments along the lines of how seldom stadiums in Auckland are used today I believe one has to take into account (so I'm told, I'm not an expert on this - RB probably is) how few large music acts have been coming to Auckland in recent years for lack of a suitable stadium. If this is true it's a situation that has an impact on the rest of New Zealand too. I'm told that when promoters and music labels assess the financial viability of a tour to a place as far flung as NZ they look to whether they can get one or more really big sold-out gigs, and the best chance of them doing that is in the largest population centre, Auckland. Once they've made the effort to get here many of the biggest costs (freighting staging a long distance, long-haul travel etc.) are over, which means it becomes feasible to hold concerts in Wellington and Christchurch too. So it seems that lack of a decent entertainment venue in Auckland - one that's large, comfortable, modern and doesn't have the restrictions of residential stadiums - has been impacting on the rest of New Zealand's exposure to international music.

    Another point - which is far more important - is what I call, as a former resident of Melbourne, "the MCG effect." When people talk about the waterfront stadium's proximity to Auckland's only multi medium transport hub being a big reason for its being built, they have a huge point. A second, linked and equally important point is the proximity to the central city. Not only is the MCG almost at the hub of Melbourne's train, tram and bus depots, it's a gentle walk down the hill from Collins St. The ability for people with high disposable incomes who work in the CBD to wander down to the stadium for the final session of a cricket test, followed by a drink or dinner nearby, or to spend less than 10 minutes walking to a Friday (or Monday) evening Super 14 rugby match, not to mention catching most of a day-night one day cricket international, is a huge part of keeping a stadium like that proposed for the waterfront filled. Where's the precedent? The MCG, where personal membership is so popular that sons and daughters are placed on the waiting list at birth and corporate entertaining is able to be done to a standard not seen in this country because of the venue's popularity. That’s on top of the thousands of Melbournians who regularly attend “the G” every year.

    The argument over whether Aussies or Kiwis love sport more is un-winnable. A large section of both populations are as sporting mad as each other. But why are Melbournians always highlighted as a group of people who love sport so much they'd attend a flea race en masse? I proffer that it's because of the MCG's proximity to the city's major transport hub and the CBD. As a result "going to the ground" has become part of Melbournians’ DNA.

    Auckland could use a bit of the vibrancy and energy generated by Melbourne's status as a great place to host sporting and other events. What is standing in the way is too many half-arsed stadiums dotted around residential and semi-industrial sites of Auckland and in the case of Albany stadium, being miles from Auckland's CBD. Many of my demographic never consider stuffing about with traveling to Eden Park and then finding a car park, let alone taking membership. It's TV or nothing for huge numbers of CBD workers, yet huge numbers of us prefer live sport.

    Build it and we will come - Melbourne has been proving that for decades.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

Last ←Newer Page 1 2 Older→ First