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A Week of It: MP's Cash And A Media Bash

A Week of It: MP's Cash And A Media Bash

Public Purse - The Gift That Keeps On Giving To Aspiring Journo
Ecologically Unfriendly Muck Biffed At Green Co-Leader
Simon Gives and Gets A Media Pounding
Thank you very much for your kind anonymous election campaign donation

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Public Purse - The Gift That Keeps On Giving To Aspiring Journo

Ms Deborah Coddington, a likely public purse beneficiary till Xmas 05

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Two weeks ago, in the always lively Liberty Belle column, Deborah Coddington assured her loyal readers that she would no longer be remunerated via the hard working kiwi taxpayer.

"If you think I've gone soft, think again. I'm off the public purse. I don't have to be nice any more. I'm joining the staff of this organ and I'm counting the days until September 17 when the gates are open and I can really let rip," wrote the soon to be Herald on Sunday journalist.

Sadly for the eager readers of the Herald on Sunday, Ms Coddington won't actually begin full time work till October 31 during which time, as it turns out, Ms Coddington will also still be dipping into the public purse.

In a bid to ease the transition to civvy-street of retiring and defeated MP's following a general election these fallen warriors of the parliamentary precinct each receive a further three months pay. According to parliamentary services this wedge isn't in a lump sum either – it's paid every couple of weeks. This means Ms Coddington will be on the public purse till nearly Christmas.

After being informed about this generous provision, Ms Coddington nobly informed A Week of It that she would "put off being paid by the Herald on Sunday till I'm off the public purse."

When Ms Coddington was asked if this was an absolute assurance similar to John Tamihere's famous 1999 pledge to not take a golden handshake, Ms Coddington told A Week of It

"I'm not going to swear anything like that. It's my business what I do with [the money] – it's nobody else's business."

Given Ms Coddington's initial noble offer to forswear payment from the Herald On Sunday it would appear being an MP is slightly more lucrative than working for APN.

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Ecologically Unfriendly Muck Biffed At Green Co-Leader

Ms Fitzsimons prior to picking up her Sunday paper

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Halfway out the door of Parliament, Ms Deborah Coddington, is proving adept at a good spot of political muck-racking, prior to joining the ranks of the Herald on Sunday.

However, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons who featured rather prominently in Ms Coddington's last Herald on Sunday column told A Week of It that she thought Ms Coddington's research skills may need a bit of work prior to returning to the fourth estate.

"If Ms Coddington wants to be an investigative journalist, I suggest she investigate something that's not [already] emblazoned all over the media," Ms Fitzsimons said today.

Last week Ms Coddington thought she may have stumbled upon an eco-capitalist controversy involving Ms Fitzsimons. Ms Coddington considered that because Ms Fitzsimons had shares in a wind-power company, it would be in Ms Fitzsimons interest to keep the price of electricity high.

Ms Coddington then pointed out that Ms Fitzsimons was the chair of a select committee through which legislation passes that deals with electricity generation. Ms Fitsimons pointed out to A Week of It that her interests in wind technology where no great secret and had been reported in the media a number of times

Ms Coddington contends however that MP's who could achieve financial gain directly through the process of legislation are supposed to declare this to the other members of the committee. However whether Ms Fitzsimons has gained any direct financial assistance through working any of the legislation is highly debatable. Ms Fitzsimons and the Greens championing of energy conservation [likely to lower the cost of electricity] would seem to be slightly at odds with Ms Coddington's accusations of sinister motivations.

Interestingly only ACT and NZ First opposed the recent motion for MP's to make public their financial interests after the next election. This proposal to increase the transparency of Parliament - if it had been adopted some years ago – would more than likely have lead to no story at all for Ms Coddington.

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Simon Gives and Gets A Media Pounding

Mr Simon Pound in the middle of dishing out a verbal media 'bash'

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"Extraordinary" was the verdict from Tom Frewen of Radio New Zealand's Media Watch in regard to last week's media-watch piece on TVNZ's Agenda program.

In last week's episode of Agenda the work of the student media in covering Parliament was explored by Simon Pound. Two thirds of the way through the piece the tone changed from celebrating the work of the student press's first gallery member into a full frontal panzer attack on another gallery journalist's work.

Mr Pound who had been concentrating on the ability of the student press to break news stories mysteriously decided to attack the column writing style of the Sunday Star-Times political editor. Mr Pound then compared the Star-Times' journalist's column writing style unfavourably with that of someone whose current job is to write political 'opinion' pieces for the NZ Herald.

Mr Pound neglected to point out that the object of his attack's duty is to write news, features and a column. Mr Pound finished his media piece by suggesting that the student press member his article was supposedly about, could replace the Star-Times political editor.

Mr Frewen told A Week of It such a singularly personal attack would never have gone to air on Media Watch.

"The Agenda piece was emotionally loaded from the start, talking about a journalist leaving the sinking Tamihere ship, which made it sound like she was some sort of rat leaving a sinking ship. It was so directed against her I thought there must be some reason for it, " Mr Frewen said.

Mr Frewen considered the piece was in the realms of "literary bitchiness" and also thought it was very poor form to single out one particular journalist, as Mr Pound had done.

  • A Week of It gave Agenda a number of opportunities to make a comment however no replies were forthcoming prior to publication.
  • Thank you very much for your kind anonymous election campaign donation, thank you very, very, very much.

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    Is the Taxathon campaign paid for by an anonymous Donationathon?

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    This week National's president, Judy Kirk explained to TVNZ's Breakfast program that she believed the party had the biggest fighting fund since it had kept records.

    Sadly where most of this spectacularly large fighting fund comes from will probably remain a Loch Ness monster sized mystery – without seaweed. In past elections money donated to National has been channelled through trust funds which enable individuals who want to make large donations to do so without being subjected to the glare of public scrutiny.

    Voters in this election have been able to enjoy a huge amount of advertising aimed at telling them that middle [income] New Zealand is being overtaxed. Whether anyone will ever know if upper [income] New Zealand is financing these advertisements through a 'donationathon' is likely to never be known.

    ENDS

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