Case Number: 578

Council Meeting: JULY 1995

Verdict: Upheld

Publication: New Zealand Herald

An item published in the New Zealand Herald on 4 May headed "Racing not only game in town" led to a complaint being made to the New Zealand Press Council. Mr Andy Easton of Rotorua complained that the report indicated that the executive director of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mr Brian O'Flaherty had spoken at a meeting at Ellerslie addressed by the Minister of Racing Mr Falloon and opposition spokesman David Lange.

Mr Easton, who was at the meeting, complained to the editor and the Press Council that Mr O'Flaherty quoted in the Herald as making "a long overdue point" had not spoken. In his letter to the editor Mr Easton said he believed the Herald had an obligation to publish a correction.

In his response to the Press Council, the editor of the Herald, Mr Peter Scherer said that it was not disputed that Mr O'Flaherty had not made his remarks at the meeting -- he made them after it --but there was some confusion and misunderstanding by those who, in the absence of the racing editor, had prepared the published version from a report supplied by Mr O'Flaherty. In all the circumstances he did not believe a published correction sought by Mr Easton two weeks after the original report had appeared, to be necessary.

The Press Council believes it a matter of no great concern, but also believes it would have been better had the Herald run a few lines of explanation on its racing page at the earliest opportunity after the error had been pointed out. The complaint is upheld.

Mr Scherer, who is a member of the Press Council, was not present when the Council considered the complaint.