Sunday, May 29, 2022

Point of Order: Mainstream media may be checking claims about the Mahuta family – or maybe they hope MPs will raise the matter in Parliament

The latest post by my friend and former colleague, Karl du Fresne, draws attention to the paucity of mainstream media coverage of questions raised about an array of posts filled by members of the Mahuta family and payments made to companies with which family members are associated.

The Platform – for example – recently reported:

More questions are raised after two payments come to light from Ministry for the Environment to companies owned by Nanaia Mahuta’s family members for their roles in expert group

In another article, The Platform said:

Co-governance roles filled by family members of Minister Mahuta amount to the whānau wielding extraordinary influence on the restructuring of New Zealand’s governance.

In response to questions put to her by The Platform, Mahuta’s office has denied she had any conflict of interest over the appointments of members of her family to government roles.

But where are the mainstream media headlines and reports on these matters?

Du Fresne updated his post this morning to acknowledge that an overnight story on NewstalkZB quotes ACT leader David Seymour as giving Mahuta the benefit of the doubt over conflict-of-interest allegations.

Apart from that and a New Zealand Herald article by Kate MacNamara, he wrote, the mainstream media (at time of his update) had ignored the story.

“In other words the vast majority of New Zealanders know nothing about an issue that goes to the heart of government integrity.”

Perhaps that’s not quite right. It seems Otago Daily Times readers know something about the issue. In a comment beneath the reproduction of du Fresne’s article on Breaking Views, BB writes:

The ODT published this story in its Thursday or Friday print-edition although I couldn’t find it online.

Du Fresne’s article has attracted several comments on its original site, too. These include the observation by Wellington blogger Eamon Sloan that Parliament will be in session on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week.

He says he will be tuning into Question Time (presumably to hear what the Nats or Act have made of of this, although someone in the ranks of the Labour, Green or Maori Parties might surprise us by drawing attention to the issue). Point of Order will be tuning in, too.

Sloan also observes that MPs and Cabinet Ministers sometimes try to pre-empt matters by making a personal statement to the House. He muses on whether Mahuta’s staff might be working through the weekend to come up with such a statement.

Let’s see.

The article which du Fresne posted yesterday – can be read here

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton

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