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Press Council Ruling Finds NBR At Fault



At Work Insurance Chief Executive Sam Knowles has welcomed a Press Council ruling which has upheld its complaint against the National Business Review. He said it highlighted the need for greater honesty and higher ethical standards within parts of the NBR.

In early February the NBR published a front-page story falsely claiming that Mr Knowles was eligible for a $1 million redundancy pay-out, together with several other errors of fact. Mr Knowles complained to the Press Council that the report was inaccurate and misleading. He said that during the initial interview the NBR reporter had not been truthful and did not understand some of the basic facts involved.

The Press Council upheld all aspects of At Work's 8-point complaint. Mr Knowles said he was satisfied with the result, but regretted that the issue had arisen out of the NBR failing to do its job professionally.

"There is no place within the media for the kind of inaccurate reporting and sloppy journalism that the NBR undertook on this story.

"During the interview, the reporter failed to honestly identify the true nature of her inquiry thereby preventing me from refuting her claims and correcting her mistakes. Once the article had been printed, neither she nor the Deputy-News Editor accepted responsibility for the mistakes."

The Press Council also found the NBR had failed to suitably correct the story the following week, despite At Work giving them opportunity to do so.

The complaint was the first ever considered by the Press Council against the NBR - since the Council expanded its jurisdiction.

Mr Knowles said the false claim of a $1 million redundancy pay- out for one individual was refuted by At Work in February. The SOE's Chairman Mike Cashin said at the time that the total redundancy for all 45 staff was expected to be less than $900,000.

As a result of the Government's accident insurance reforms, Work will be disbanded from 30 June 2000 with its responsibilities for workplace insurance transferring back to the ACC.


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