Case Number: 2872

Council Meeting: FEBRUARY 2020

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: New Zealand Herald

Ruling Categories: Balance, Lack Of


Peter Sullivan complained about an item published in the New Zealand Herald on February 12 under the headlineBarry Soper: Mike Moore, one of the kind, think about it.

The article was a tribute to former Prime Minister Mike Moore and a recollection of two or three amusing anecdotes that reflected on the character of the politician Mr Soper had known for many years.

Dr Sullivan said the article was unbalanced and omitted any significant discussion of Mike Moore’s part in Rogernomics and the resulting public backlash. “It simply praises his free market attitude without any discussion of the public results.”

Mr Soper replied to the complaint saying “I’ve got better and more important things to do with my time. Take your complaint to the Press Council, I’m shaking in my shoes! Please don’t email me again.”

A committee of the Media Council has decided there were no grounds for complaint as there was no serious question that any of the Council’s principles were breached.

The article was an expression of opinion by Mr Soper, an affectionate tribute and reflection on Moore’s character and abilities. It clearly was not presented as a serious obituary in which readers would expect to see a more detailed and nuanced account of his life and record as a politician.

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed