Hard News by Russell Brown


PEDA: Who, what, where, why

While it's understandable that people will want to explore the political dimensions of the decision to fund the Pacific Economic Development Agency, I'm just as interested in it as a media story: who got the story, who didn't, why. And that's what we'll be looking at on Media7 this week.

We'll be joined by Radio New Zealand's Pacific correspondent, Richard Pamatatau, and Radio 531pi host Efeso Collins, who was taken off air after repeatedly demanding answers about PEDA and it was allocated $4 million in the Budget.

It can't be assumed that Collins was yanked because he was talking about PEDA. We approached 531pi and got this statement:

Efeso Collins Matter An Internal Issue

The CEO of Pacific Media Network says Efeso Collins has been rested from his show for performance not his assumption about the PEDA debate.

Tom Etuata confirms Mr. Collins has been rested from his Saturday talk show on the Pacific radio station 531PI.

531PI is an integral part of Pacific Media Network which is owned by the National Pacific Radio Trust.

“While I will not comment on any internal staff matter I can discount any notion Mr. Efeso Collins was rested because of his discussions and debate of the PEDA issue,” says Mr. Etuata.

“It is in the best interest of Pacific Media Network and in particular Radio 531PI, to bring about debate and raise issues that affect Pacific peoples here in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific region.”

We were informally told he'd slagged off his boss on air, and that was the issue. I expect Collins will be keen to respond.

Also, I'll be talking to the new editor of Metro magazine, Simon Wilson, who has his first issue at the helm on the shelves next week. He has looked to go new places with the magazine, and the July issue features 25 new editorial features and 14 new writers. Among them, the provocative columnist Emma Hart …

I'll also lash together some coverage of Australia's leadership #spill in a Newsmash.

If you'd like to join us, we'd need you to arrive at TVNZ tomorrow between 5pm and 5.30pm, and have you away by 7pm. Click "Reply" to let me know and I'll give you the details.


Bill Ralston got in touch yesterday to say that while he's still giving occasional, unpaid advice to John Banks, he's not running any negative media strategy in the mayoral campaign, he's not aware of one and he thinks these things usually backfire. I'm very happy to take him at his word, but explained here why the past form of some other people around Banks requires me to be suspicious of them.

Also, while Barry Colman's NBR paywall seems to be working fairly well for him on a business level, it's having the effect of obscuring some stories that would benefit from greater currency.

Notably, this one from Jock Anderson in last week's paper (it's a PDF – forgive me, Barry), under the headline "Brown ‘appalled’ by dirty tricks ‘head-wetting’ claim".

Jock writes that "a person linked to Auckland mayor John Banks" tried to shop him a story linking Len Brown's family to the Volare dinner in quite a creepy way. The story happened to be demonstrably bogus, but I gather Brown saw it shortly before his unfortunate Herald on Sunday interview last week – hence the unexplained and out-of-context stuff about his family.

As I noted yesterday, Brown's job is not to open his heart to passing journalists. And he should also know by now that if he makes an offhand comment when he thinks the interview has finished – the Jesus thing – it will go in the story. Quite the noob mistake, that one. But it's useful to have some context for the story.

I'm pleased that Jock has seen fit to indicate the connections of his would-be source – that doesn't always happen in these situations – but I frankly think he should go further. Tell us the name, Jock, if only to clear those who aren't involved.

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