What’s up with Richard Griffin and National’s Melissa Lee?



Frank Macskasy - letters to the editor - Frankly Speaking


Interesting to note this little item which has been all but over-looked by the mainstream media;



Which begged these questions;

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date: 31 March 2018
subject: Letter to the editor
.The editor
NZ Herald

The recent furore over the so-called “secret” meeting between broacasting minister Clare Curran and RNZ’s Carol Hirschfeld revealed that Board chair and former National government advisor, Richard Griffin, phoned National MP, Melissa Lee to inform her that Ms Hirscheld had tendered her resignation. This barely reported event raises several questiins that have yet to be fully answered;

Why did Griffin contact Ms Lee?

Is it appropriate for a Board member to be discussing sensitive employment matters with an Opposition National MP?

Did Griffin get Board approval to discuss this with Ms Lee?

What other contact has Griffin had with National MPs?

If Griffin’s discussion with Ms Lee was inappropriate, will he be resigning as RNZ’s chair of the Board?

And who advised National MP Melissa Lee of the not-so-secret meeting between Clare Curran and Carol Hirscheld?

There is more to this story than coffee-chats beteen two people. The apparent behind-the-scenes machinations hint at something far deeper between the National Opposition and an unknown “agent” working from within Radio NZ.

Plans to expand the public broadcasting service of Radio NZ may be threatened by a secretive faction at work.

Frank macskasy

[address and phone number supplied]


Questions remain – and not just of Minister Curran to answer.





Radio NZ:  Richard Griffin ‘gobsmacked’ by details of interaction


Radio NZ:  Political commentators Matthew Hooton and Stephen Mills

Fairfax media:  Melissa Lee was given a heads up about Carol Hirschfeld’s resignation

FYI.org:  Communications between Melissa Lee and Richard Griffin

Twitter: Tim Murphy

Other Blogs

Werewolf:  Gordon Campbell on Clare Curran’s dim future

Previous related blogposts

National pissed off: Labour is nicking John Key’s dodginess!



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  1. Thanks for applying your much respected talents to this Frank. This Curran/Hirschfeld beat up has the unmistakable stink of National’s dirty politics brigade. Blue Radio is coming under the much needed scrutiny to rid our airwaves of the puerile B grade “hostile” blue propaganda fed to us on a seemingly daily basis.

  2. Thanks Frank heard Ms lee say same thing on the Spinoff politics podcast and I was wondering when it would get picked up. Come on Labour stop being so nice Griffin has acted with hypocritical nastiness. Call him to account.

  3. No matter what exactly happened, and even though it has created more of headlines than that bizarrely arranged meeting deserved, the previous actions by Clare Curran have often left to be desired.

    She seems inept or at least unprofessional, or naive or even stupid at times, and should never have let things take the turn it has.

    I think Mr Gordon Campbell has made some good considerations and spent some sensible thoughts on all this.


    Get her out of the misery, a back row seat perhaps to take some leave, and an opportunity for some new blood to have a try at the portfolio. Much is ruined now, no matter what Labour and the government may still plan, it will be considered ‘controversial’.

  4. One other question Frank could be; Why was Griffin appointed to the Board, let alone the Chair? Just political cronyism or does he have a “brief” from his previous National party paymasters?

    • It’s a travesty, Ne Oublie. RNZ is our mini BBC or ABC. Would either of those public organs have a director of a PR firm as its chair? Not on your Nelly. It’s purely political cronyism by the previous Nats. And if it’s true about old Dickie boy tipping-off Melissa Lee, then he should be given his marching orders.

  5. (a) People aren’t really that interested in the Curran/Hirschfeld coffee-ing.

    (b) Richard ringing Melissa has a touch of the old-white-man-trying-to appear-important look about it. Sad.

    • People aren’t really that interested in the Curran/Hirschfeld coffee-ing.

      Most likely correct, Christine. I suspwect 99% of New Zealanders wouldn’t know or care about the whys and wherefores of the ” the Curran/Hirschfeld coffee-ing”.

      The only thing that sticks in the public psyche is the hint – through massive media coverage of this “incident” – that Minister Curran “did something wrong”.

      Add enough of these over-hyped incidences over time, and the public perception begins inexorably to change.

      That must be National’s long-term game-plan here.

  6. Political hit job from the purveyors of Dirty Politics. Stumbled in to by hapless minister.
    Fire the board at RNZ. – here’s the chance. Rebuild a decent public broadcaster.
    The Labour led government has to start fighting back instead of laying down and getting kicked by every branch of media.

  7. time for griffin to go. he has been around for so long now that he believes the usual rules dont apply to him

  8. Frank you do investigative blogs so well. Remember National’s asset sales and how Key said the resulting income would go towards Health and Education? So not only did this not be used for its stated purpose we now know the result of underspending in these sectors as well as others. They call National good financial managers. What a joke. Is there a blog in this for you to show more of Mr Key’s mendacities?

  9. To me the NZ Herald is a perfect example of being viewed as the ‘Mouth-piece of the NZ National Party’.
    Perhaps many years ago, long before John Key carried out his witch-hunt on journalists who deeply questioned or even criticised the National government, the NZ Herald had abit of respect and credibility.
    Now the typical ‘old boys National Party supporting network’ still has control and influence of the NZ Herald then each article the Herald has written in regards to the current government and its MPs reeks of National Party bias.
    It does look like also that the previous National government placed National Party supporters in ALL forms of NZ Media so as to manipulate and control the opinions of the NZ public whilst they had a chance.
    National now has the aura of the Nazis firmly over every aspect of itself.
    Still with each biased towards National article that is in the NZ Herald the articles have the opposite effect on me and probably many other NZers.
    Even the rantings and ravings of Mike Hosking in his articles helps to demean the NZ National Party further and further.
    And so to the NZ Herald all I can say is keep up the good work in helping to demean the NZ National Party. You are doing a superb job at that.

  10. Curran/Hirschfeld meeting hasn’t had coverage so much as media saturation.

    Does anyone give a fuck about this?

    Said another way, if our news media suddenly switched to running articles on SteemIt how long would they survive?

  11. Oh dear females networking such a threat !
    Males have done it endlessly.
    Richard Griffin’s appointment to chair that board was cronyism
    that was clear to most long term Radio NZ listeners.

    • I’m unaware of Minister Curran making any comments, Gosman, but Radio NZ reported this interesting exchange between Richard Griffin and two Labour MPs;

      There were also questions from Labour MPs about the phone call Mr Griffin made to Ms Lee minutes before RNZ went public with Ms Hirschfeld’s resignation last week.

      Mr Griffin said he made the call as a matter of courtesy because she had been the MP asking the questions about the meeting.

      He bridled at the remark from Labour’s Paul Eagle that “there’s courtesy, and there’s collusion”.

      “That’s a ridiculous question,” Mr Griffin shot back.

      Another Labour MP, Deborah Russell, put it to the RNZ chair “there would be a lot of concern around the fact that someone who is appointed to this role, a former National Party press secretary, has then contacted…”

      Mr Griffin interrupted saying he was not a National Party press secretary but a “press secretary to the Prime Minister of New Zealand”.

      “He happened to be a member of the National government. To suggest I’m a member of the National Party is just nonsense.”

      ref: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/354198/richard-griffin-gobsmacked-by-details-of-interaction

      I repeat my questions, Gosman, which have yet to be satisfactorily answered;

      1. Why did Griffin contact Ms Lee?

      2. Is it appropriate for a Board member to be discussing sensitive employment matters with an Opposition National MP?

      3. Did Griffin get Board approval to discuss this with Ms Lee?

      4. What other contact has Griffin had with National MPs?

      Interestingly, one person (not me) has lodged an OIA request, with Radio NZ’s Richard Griffin, demanding all communications between Griffin and Nation MP, Melissa Lee.

      See: https://fyi.org.nz/request/7532-communications-between-melissa-lee-and-richard-griffin

      If there has been collusion, it should be pursued with the same vigour that National used/is using against Minister Curran and Carol Hirschfeld.

  12. Thanks, Frank, for stating so meticulously the questions and points that I cannot do in an acceptable format. I smell several rats and can only rage at the distraction from other more important stories and issues. Labour must beware of moles. I also believe the Nats use a lot of their money to fund creation of storms, like this teacupful, to cover up the emerging news of their last 9 years of corruption and inadequacy. Expose the Nat secrets, and you will wonder at all the poison we’ve had to swallow from them. Write on!

  13. It’s disturbing just how many public organizations have been left with former National MPs and other Nat partisans in charge of them. Bob Simcock heading the Waikato District Health Board comes to mind (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/102783092/bob-simcock-says-nigel-murray-spending-debacle-wont-force-his-retirement). Let’s be clear, I don’t think that replacing them all with Labour partisans will improve things.
    But surely we have some competent and public-spirited people in this country who are not close buddies of either major party, and who could do a good job of running public organization in the public interest, regardless of who is the government of the day?

    • Yes ,you would think an incoming government would purge the political bias elements of the state funded media.
      There has been wide spread dissatisfaction with the MS media for a good decade, with the acception of Mike Hosking and Patty Gower’s departure.But still a good clean out would be good.

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