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PM/Media Biffo, MFAT Loses Nat & Ching Pinged

Prime Minister’s Press Conference May 24th 2005

PM/Media Biffo – MFAT Loses Nat. – Ching Pinged


By Kevin List

In This Edition:
PM Not Happy With New Zealand Herald
MFAT Official Joins Nats And Sparks Government Anger.
Ching Looks To Have No Chance Of Being A Labour Candidate For 2005 Election

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PM Not Happy With New Zealand Herald

Many delusional media diarists of a right wing persuasion are of the opinion the current Government gets an easy ride from the media in New Zealand.

It is not clear why these internet commentators have this opinion. But after yesterday's post cabinet press conference it would be unlikely anyone could reasonably believe this opinion is shared by the Prime Minister herself.

The unrelentingly negative coverage of last week’s budget, specifically in the print media, has opened up a war of words between some in the gallery and the Prime Minister.

This air of tetchiness burst in to life when a robust series of questions from one New Zealand Herald journalist provoked the Prime Minister to accuse the reporter of sparking an argument rather than asking questions.

Later in the conference another journalist from the New Zealand Herald took offence at one of the Prime Minister’s answers and muttered a moderate oath beginning with c. (not the really bad one).

The results of this exchange can be viewed in this story: PM blames papers for tax hype - By Ruth Berry

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MFAT Official Joins Nats And Sparks Government Anger.

New Zealand’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, Tim Groser, has confirmed that he intends to stand as a list candidate for the National Party in the forthcoming general election.

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Murdoch, acting in conformity with the provisions of s.52 of the Electoral Act, has placed Mr Groser on leave. (Under this provision, public servants are required to step aside from their duties if they are contesting an election.)

The Prime Minister was adamant that Mr Groser had not been the Government’s first choice of candidate as Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation

“He was able to get that job because he was a Geneva based trade ambassador. And that is something that the WTO needs to reflect on,” she said.

Mr Groser’s position was seen by the Government as untenable not because of the National Party and Government’s respective trade policies, which the Greens have pointed out are broadly similar, but because of other information he would be privy to in his role (for example diplomatic notes).

Whilst the Prime Minister pointed out that Mr Groser’s dream job had supposedly been that of New Zealand ‘s Ambassador to the WTO, she acknowledged his new career would provide him the ability to articulate views he wouldn’t have been able to as a neutral public servant.

“One assumes that Mr Grosser having now declared will be quite happy to claim support for the invasion of Iraq and a whole range of other things where the National Party has not agreed with the present Government.”

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Ching Looks To Have No Chance Of Being A Labour Candidate For 2005 Election

In the media race to get scandalous stories on politicians associated with the Labour Party the Herald on Sunday has now opened a gap on most competition, albeit still remaining a mile or two behind the front runner TV3.

A series of stories in the Herald on Sunday relating to Labour list candidate Mr Steven Ching appeared to have scuttled any chance the 63 year old Chinese Businessman had of becoming an MP – at least for this election.

Mr Ching ranked number 42 on Labour’s list has been stood down as a candidate after the Herald on Sunday’s latest allegations - which the police are currently investigating, regarding Mr Ching supposedly misusing Government connections ( New allegations against Ching - by Jonathan Milne ).

“Well looking at the time frame and the time it takes to check such things out it would be surprising,” said the Prime Minister in relation to the likelihood of allegations levelled at Mr Ching in the Herald on Sunday being cleared up in time for this year’s election.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Mr Ching denied the allegations in the Herald on Sunday were true and considered his name would be cleared in time to stand for the upcoming election ( Loan-deal claims see Labour man out - by Ainsley Thomson ).

"I intend to sue the Sunday Herald [sic] because they are reporting rubbish things,” Mr Ching told the New Zealand Herald.

Questions relating to just when the election was going to be then followed.

“I’ve given a preference for going full term which I’ve defined as anywhere between the three year anniversary (July) and the outside date (Late September),” the Prime Minister replied.

ENDS

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