The NZ Herald this morning launched an attack on Justice Minister Judith Collins and her husband David Wong-Tung using a photo taken at the funeral of Wong-Tung’s mother.
The story makes allegations that Collins appointed Robert Kee to the Human Rights Commission mainly because Collins’ husband once worked in the same multi-story office building as Kee and Collins also worked on another floor below. It is also alleged that sometime in the 90s they all had drinks together at DeBrett’s bar in the hub of the legal district, where presumably many, many other lawyers also drank.
The reporter who wrote the article, David Fisher, described the article on social media platform Twitter as “how a real newspaper works”.
TRUTH spoke with Collins about the allegations and can reveal that the photograph used, which the NZ Herald labelled as ‘supplied’, did not come from family sources.
They did say however that they are disappointed that the photographer they had hired for the private function had chosen to give the photo to the Herald without permission, especially considering he was paid for the job.
“It is essentially stolen from the family, and shows private moments of grief amongst family members, including my son” said Collins.
The photographer, Clinton Bowerman is no stranger to controversy. He is a well known conspiracy theorist and was once busted spying on the home of Auckland’s Hobson Community Board chair Desley Simpson. He is also subject to other media speculation, also reported in the Herald, about involvement in conspiring to break into National party president Peter Goodfellow’s parents’ apartment on Tamaki Drive and of being involved in a plot to steal two dogs.
It is perhaps surprising that a publication of the repute of The NZ Herald would resort to using photographs of uncertain ownership and veracity supplied by a person alleged to have been involved in criminal activities such as dog-napping and breaking and entering.
Collins says she “is very disappointed that personal family moments have been used to score a shabby political point in a story of no merit”.
TRUTH asks is this really ”how a real newspaper works”.
The question posed by Truth at the foot of its story is a most interesting one. David Fisher no longer seems to be leading the Herald's defence of Kim Dotcom. Perhaps there was a conflict of interest there, as well. We wonder what those who made the New Zealand Herald into the country's greatest newspaper in years past would think of Mr Fisher's methods in compiling this "scoop".
And the motives of Mr Bowerman are very much open to question. We wonder what photography jobs he has coming up, and whether any of those who have paid services in the past will be anxious about photographs suddenly appearing in the public domain without their consent or authority.