Granny needs a new bag



The NZ Herald – and in particular Savage, Armstrong and Roughan – have been such willing conduits of the National Party’s re-election campaign that old Granny Herald risks being taken to court for failing to be declared as a political advertisement. It is well inside the 90 day limit counting down to the general election and any reasonable person reading this publication would deduce from the ideological stance and the pro-National partisan rhetoric combined with using news content to spin discredited and unfounded rumours against the opposition – and in particular its leader – that the NZ Herald was nothing less than a political advertisement for the NZ National Party.

The NZ Herald is many things: profit-making corporation, a vehicle for commercial advertising, a vehicle for anti-Maori European supremacy since it was founded by pro-war/pro-confiscation/pro-land sales settler merchants in 1863; and it is also a propaganda tool of the settler and merchant class and their conservative, materialism. Always has been. Roughan’s official biography of the National Party leader, John Key, demonstrates the deep, simbiotic relationship between Tory party and Tory rag. It would be very difficult to have one without the other – indeed, one would have invented the other had they not existed (and much the same case could be made with the Dominion). The NZ Herald is many things, one of which is still propaganda for the right. That means doing the bidding of the National Party, running their lines, running to their timetable, taking their shots on cue. Sometimes – like the last week or so – it isn’t very subtle, it gets rather obvious, it all gets rather embarrassing.

The Cunliffe – Liu kerfuffle was most embarrassing to the Herald. It went something like this: Savage was going to drop a letter on Day X that showed that Cunliffe was a liar (but actually mistaken over understandably forgetting an 11 year old form letter he had signed), Trevett was going to drop a Labour Party rule technicality on Day Y that would put David Cunliffe’s leadership in play, and then on Day Z Savage was going to drop some signed statement from Liu that would destroy Cunliffe. The coup de grace would be delivered by the veteran political columnist – the Munchesquely hollowed John Armstrong – who would advocate for Cunliffe’s resignation on the basis of this concocted roll-out of innuendo and trivia mascarading as news.


Armstrong had never suggested the National leader resign despite the many instances of mistruths, renegs and mistakes for which he was responsible. Armstrong had never suggested resignation of Ministers overseeing police-protected teen rape gangs, suppression of investigating deaths in custody, divulging sensitive client information from WINZ, and so on. The media further down the food chain were to take his direction and complete the task. A Herald/National king hit was a fait accompli. If only people were as gullible as they hoped. They were not and Granny Herald has been burnt.

To press on as the Herald does in an extraordinary editorial is self-immolation. To continue to maintain – as they do – that this Liu saga leaves questions for Labour, but that National have nothing to answer, is patently absurd. It is obviously partisan and very far from neutral. To maintain that the articles they have published about Liu – done via intermediaries, interpreters and letters without any verification, interview or evidence – is somehow of a journalistic standard is just not credible. What they are doing is rumour-mongering and political campaigning. It should be declared as an expense.

Cunliffe dodged a bullet and it appears Granny Herald has shot herself in the foot.

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In a redemptive display of uncharacteristic evenhandedness the usually frothing Fran O’Sullivan, absolutely demolished her colleague and questioned the paper’s crusade. Armstrong’s position, O’Sullivan declared, was “bordering on risible”. What then would she make of the Herald’s Friday editorial leader? The defensive title, “Cries of bias will not stop reporting“, was sheer idiocy. It was in part apologetic, illogical, disingenuous and incredulous. The editorial spat back at O’Sullivan, using her word:

Liu’s mis-statement, however, has been grasped as proof of Herald complicity in a plot against Labour. The claim is risible, across the range of political coverage but also explicitly over the Herald’s investigation of National and Labour and their damaging cosiness with Donghua Liu.

We regret having reported inflated and conflated dollar figures.

The figures are purely made up. They keep changing. It is a joke. The Herald’s editorials and opinions are geriatric chorus line of conservative caterwauling. This one was internally contradictory and whatever committee it was from should be disbanded.

So, the deranged, bewlidered, ranting, reeking Granny Herald looks like she has finally popped her colostomy bag from her antics.  And everyone in her neighbourhood can smell it.  People have drawn damaging conclusions about Granny’s institutionalisation, her competency and her motivations.  Her own convoluted and contradictory explanations suggest it is time she was cared for by better guardians.


  1. Hear hear.
    I was heartened by ALL the comments on the Heralds web site, about articles on the Liu case. They were 95% ridicule !!
    It looks suspiciously like the Herald closed down further comments as it was almost non stop (well written and reasoned) negative remarks.
    Even their own supporters could only write the occasional positive remark, that were incredibly brief and parroting the Heralds ‘facts’, rather than explaining how the inaccuracies could be explained to any unbiassed person.
    Good on EVERYONE who took the time to let the Herald know we are in no doubt where their political allegiance lie, that you will MIS INFORM the people who pay for you to inform, and that you are now unquestionably JUST a political mouth piece for the National parties PR press releases.
    As one person wrote on your own web site, it’s cheaper to read on line what the National party PR press release says and cut out the middle man.

    • Actually I was surprised they published a lot of those comments. At least I’ll give them credit for doing so – I’d given up commenting on the Herald website as whenever I’ve pointed out the holes in their articles (completely unrelated to the Liu affair), my comment would never be ‘approved’ and show up.

  2. great read- very refreshing to read the truth for once- this person should start their own newspaper….

  3. Good article and sums up the Herald position very well. Reading the Herald and also listening to the likes of Mike Hosking, Leighton Smith and Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB – is akin to reading and listening to a “Poltical Broadcast on behalf of the National Party”. Keep up the good work Dailyblog all we ask is for fair and balanced political reporting

  4. People seem to be forgetting that it wasn’t just the NZ Herald.

    Both TV channels and their political commentators all ran with the bullshit as well. All look equally incompetent and stripped of their credibility as sources of information and intelligent analysis.

    • Quite right Richard.
      And where are the journalists hounding Key for the ‘gaffe’ of all gaffes, when he stated that Labour had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, when clearly that was a lie.
      Going by their own standards levelled at David Cunliffe ,Key should be gone by tomorrow.
      Key’s was a blatant calculated lie .Gower’s response :”National set the trap and Labour fell for it. Tough luck Labour, that’s just politics.”

      Cunliffes was an honest mistake. Gower’s response:
      “This is yet another gaffe by David Cunliffe and he should do the right thing and step down as leader. Labour are now in deep, deep ,deep trouble.”

      Tova Obrien’s response: “This was a silly silly silly mistake by David Cunliffe and it looks like it could be all over for him”.

      So, this is the current state of journalism(sorry that’s disingenuous to the proper journalists out there); I should say reporting, in this country.
      What a mess! What a mess! What a mess!

  5. Loved the abstract ….. “The NZ Herald – and in particular Savage, Armstrong and Roughan – have been such willing conduits of the National Party’s re-election campaign that old Granny Herald risks being taken to court for failing to be declared as a political advertisement. – See more at:

    Are payments to the Herald being claimed as political donations? Or are they claimed advertising budget?

    Either case would be cause for electoral investigation.

  6. Good point Tim – leaving aside the issues of ethical journalism that clearly many Herald writers are not equipped to understand – destroying the Herald’s credibilty as a media organ is fabulously expensive to its brand and Fairfax ought to be commercially concerned.

  7. Blatant smear campaigns have been known to come back and bite the perpetrators where it hurts most (on the ballot paper) at times. The most modern classic example was in the 2005 Bretheren-Don Brash dirty duo club election campaign; and before that we had the Peter Shirtcliffe anti-MMP lies. In both these cases they went too far and incurred a backlash at the polls. Keep up the grubby tricks boys! the backlash is waiting around the corner!

  8. Not to mention that there wasn’t truth in The Truth either. Oh yes, who was editor of The Truth when it went down the gurgler last year? You guessed it! Cameron Slater! If he is a real journalist, then he is a pathetically bad one.

  9. When the National Party declare their election expenses they should in all honesty declare all profits from Fairfax and APN. They would certainly be well over the limit, eh? Problem is that National Party and honesty are mutually exclusive terms.

  10. Speaking of bias, but at a more subtle level, it was interesting to see Mike Hoskings and Seven Sharp consciously block out the Green Party in a Friday night story it did on a far north school near Kaitaia (Peria School) that has now got solar panels, thus saving it many thousands of dollars. The school invited Green Party co-leader Russel Norman to cut the ribbon and this was shown momentarily during the item, with Norman captured in the background a couple of other times as well. At no point was Norman named, or it was it mentioned that Norman was officially invited to be there by the school. He could have been the janitor as far as Seven Sharp was concerned. Also, when they interviewed the principal he said the government should look at supporting solar power, but Norman wasn’t invited to give his opinion even though the school obviously thought he was the most appropriate member of parliament to cut the ribbon. I posted my opinion on this on the Seven Sharp Facebook page.

    Here’s the background to the school and solar power –

    Here’s the Seven Sharp item –

  11. (From the photograph at the top of this article):

    The only truth in the NZ Herald is the date.

    The New Zealand Herald can’t even report the date correctly, numerous times over the past two years reading the mobile version I noticed the date was the year-two-hundred-thousand-and-something.

  12. Thank you for that. When I read the articles on David in the Weekend Herald I will regard them as a load of rubbish.

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