TERRY DUNLEAVY AGAINST NEW ZEALAND HERALD
Case Number: 3112
Council Meeting: SEPTEMBER 2021
Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed
Terry Dunleavy complained about an opinion piece published on 11 September 2021 on the New Zealand Herald website, headed The Spinoff: New Zealand urgently needs a serious opposition leader. It was initially written by Toby Manhire for The Spinoff. The piece was a “scurrilous opinionated attack on the Leader of the Opposition”, Mr Dunleavy said. It appeared online the same day as the print edition of the Weekend Herald claimed it was “proudly independent”. Such “mendacity” should be stopped by the Media Council, Mr Dunleavy said.
This is a straightforward opinion piece, clearly labelled as such. Mr Manhire is entitled to express his opinion and the NZ Herald is entitled to publish it. The Media Council notes that although balance is not required in an opinion piece, Mr Manhire did record his support for Judith Collins’ trip to Wellington to question the Government in Parliament and was open about The Spinoff’s connection with Dr Siouxsie Wiles, the scientist Ms Collins had criticised. Content sharing arrangements are common and completely acceptable in New Zealand, and the Council can see no evidence of untruthfulness on the part of the Herald as claimed by Mr Dunleavy.
There are insufficient grounds for the complaint to proceed.