But is Peters being pursued by a lynch mob after making bribery claims?
TV3 political editor Jenna Lynch was among the corps of political reporters who bridled, when Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told them what he thinks of them (which is not much).
She was unabashed about letting her audience know she had bridled.
It’s the $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF), which provided post-Covid succour for financially struggling newspapers and broadcasters from early 2021 to June this year.
The PIJF provided seven rounds of funding, dishing out dosh for 73 projects, 219 roles and 22 industry development projects.
Allocations were completed in June, but some of those roles and projects are funded to run until January 2026.
Peters contends the media have been bribed and lost their independence
Journalists are huffing that he is making false allegations of corruption and bribery against them.
Jenna Lynch’s contribution to the huffery can be savoured in the opening sentence of her report on Monday headed
Winston Peters makes false claim Government bribed media just after becoming Deputy PM
A new Government was sworn in and the old Winston Peters turned up, accusing the outgoing Government of bribing the media, and issuing an indirect edict to state broadcasters to stop using te reo Māori.
When it was put to Peters that the media are independent, he said he had “never seen evidence” of that over the past three years.
He also outlandishly and incorrectly claimed the Government had bribed the media through the public interest journalism fund
“You cannot defend $55 million of bribery. You cannot defend $55 million of bribery. Get it very clear,” said Peters.
Lynch chided Peters in another report headed:
Jenna Lynch analysis: Winston Peters’ baseless accusation of media bribery is unbecoming of a Deputy PM
Other journalists are rebuffing him, too.
But are they being too precious?
On Kiwiblog today, David Farrar says Peters is being hyperbolic when he talks of bribery –
“… and the media deliberately are avoiding the elephant in the room”.
No, the media were not bribed to be left-wing, he says – that comes naturally.
But the media were given $55 million of taxpayer funding.
The eligibility conditions included:
Commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to Māori as a Te Tiriti partner.
Applicants can show a clear and obvious commitment or intent for commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, including a commitment to te reo Māori.
This commitment will enhance public interest journalism, resulting in stronger Māori representation and greater bi-cultural collaboration within the wider journalism sector.
Editors who sought advice on what this commitment entailed were told that early in 2021, during “the stakeholder consultation”, the Māori and iwi journalism sector provided guidance
“… of what demonstrating a commitment or intent for commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi could look like in practice.”
Furthermore, an independent report from Kupu Taea (an Auckland-based Māori and Pākehā media research group) had been commissioned. The document, titled TE TIRITI FRAMEWORK FOR NEWS MEDIA, was described as an overview with action areas and some critical questions that should be useful for the development of media strategies and practices.
The document says:
News media organisations have an obligation to be accountable and responsible in the ways they represent Māori and decide what is newsworthy, as well as how they organise their own structures and processes to align with te Tiriti o Waitangi.
A highly political section headed “Rationale” declares:
As tangata whenua o Aotearoa, Māori have never ceded sovereignty to Britain or any other State. He Whakaputanga/Declaration of Independence (1835) and te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840) asserted and continue to assert Māori sovereignty, and were signed by hapū and the Crown. Te Tiriti carries rights and obligations for both parties, with implications for social justice. Despite te Tiriti, colonial constitutional practices have entrenched Pākehā systems of governance that continue today. This means our society has a foundation of institutional racism, where organisations, agencies and institutions continue to benefit Pākehā, and routinely produce policies and practices that result in avoidable inequalities between Pākehā and Māori.
In his article today, Farrar points out that insisting the Treaty is about partnership rather than equality is a highly partisan view.
“It is a view in fact rejected by the parties that won a majority of seats in the last election. So it is no surprise that some of those MPs think the media were not neutral as a result of accepting $55 million conditional on accepting Labour/Greens views of the Treaty.”
The Taxpayers’ Union monitored who queued up for funding and in June reported on who had signed up for and secured how much of it:
Who Has Received Public Interest Journalism Fund Money?
June 26, 2023
Now that the Public Journalism Fund’s excessive spending has come to an end, which media companies received the most unneeded welfare? Here’s our top ten government-funded media organisations for the last three years, and what that money has gone to!
The list of Top Ten Recipients showed Jenna Lynch’s employers secured $2,356,696.00.
37 Journalism Cadetships for Māori, Pasifika and diverse journalists, an online tool detailing Pakehā land ownership over time, Kaupapa Māori and Audio Innovation role for accessibility for low-vision mana whenua, 15 roles for coverage of remote court proceedings, support for community journalists in provincial newspapers, weekly bilingual section in Rotorua Weekender about iwi issues.
*Includes $635,020 in indirect funding.
New journalism unit covering topics in Hindi & Mandarin for Asian communities, strengthen Māori knowledge across the organisation, 20 local democracy reporting roles across New Zealand, The Detail podcast, the Party People podcast.
Stuff Circuit – project covering more risky topics in New Zealand, Te Reo Māori translator, 20 Pou Tiaki & Community reporters to cover Māori and minority issues, retaining community coverage in Marlborough, The Whole Truth – limited series covering public health, Xin xi Lan – multimedia project about first Chinese immigrants to Aotearoa, cultural competency course for Stuff journalists.
Tagata Pasifika – flagship Pacific news program, two journalists for Tagata Pasifika, Ifoga – documentary on Pasifika abuse in state care, Maisuka – documentary about Type 2 Diabetes in Moana Pasifika youth.
Q&A with Jack Tame – current affairs program, 2022-2023, News 2 Me – news program for children, series 1 & 2, Ohinga 2 – reo Māori-fluent show focused on Māori current events, Manutaki Māori role for cultural competency.
*Includes $264,386 of commissioned projects
Newshub Nation, 2022-2023 – current affairs programme, Pacific Affairs Correspondent for Discovery NZ TV shows, Newshub Cultural Partnership Navigator to bring kaupapa māori framework to newsroom.
Newsroom Investigates – (2022-2023) series of investigative news videos, The Detail – near-daily podcast covering news issues (2021-2023), four Te Rito graduate roles for new journalists, Video Content Creator to share news stories wider, Climate Change Interview Series – videos about New Zealand’s low-carbon future, Sub-Editor for more online content, four part-time South Island reporters and one Māori Editor, upskilling of two graduate journalists.
Great Southern Television
The Hui Series 7 & 8 – weekly bilingual Māori cultural affairs programme, The Hui: Summer Edition Series 1 & 2 – six cultural stories and training for four cadet journalists.
Two Sub-editors for fact-checking, vetting, captioning and accessibility of videos, 10-month upskilling program for editors with partner publications, Local Elections 2022 coverage, The Quarter Million – series on royal commission into abuse in care homes, IRL – series covering online life after the pandemic, Nē? – Podcast and articles covering te ao Māori issues, Māori politics and Pacific communities reporters for dedicated coverage, mentorship programme for journalism cadets.
*Includes $544,654 of commissioned projects.
Paakiwaha – bilingual radio programme broadcast on Radio Waatea, about Māori perspective on news and current events, 6.5 FTE staff (editors, senior & trainee journalists) for Radio Waatea.
The public’s view of the journalism generated by the fund was reflected in a poll which showed public distrust of taxpayer-funded media
Most New Zealanders believe that government funding for private media companies undermines media independence, reveals a new poll commissioned by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
The scientific poll of 1,000 New Zealanders was carried out by Curia Market Research.
It found that 59% percent of respondents believe the funding undermines media independence, compared to just 21% who believe it doesn’t. Twenty percent were unsure.
Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton