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NZ Herald links “Threat from Outer Space” to NZ News Essentials – Part 3

Fact blocks
In brief
  • Business Desk wrote about NE in an article that also ran in the NZ Herald. 
  • BD’s recipe for writing about us: sound neutral, link to soft smear (to taste), don’t look deeper.  
  • Does BD understand that a ban on Facebook during COVID was heavily influenced by government pressure, both in NZ and overseas?
  • Their expert says be on guard against anonymous material. We say the same scepticism should be used for all media, including BD.   

Parts 1 and 2 (of our response) can be found here and here. As in previous parts, we continue to refer to Centrist and NZ News Essentials, together, as NE. 

Link to The Curious Case of NZ News Essentials original article from 1 September 2023 on Business Desk (Paywall) here and the NZ Herald E-edition, p30, 4 September 2023 here.

Sometimes you have to go legal

In general, BD’s approach was to say something that sounds neutral (ish) followed by something that sounds a bit off. We won’t address each and every one of these, but we will touch on the Canadian tax disputes mentioned in connection with Jim Grenon – the person identified as the money behind NE.  

In respect to the current tax dispute, which is technical, there were five issues being contested. Only three of these have been concluded and all were decided in favour of Grenon.

The earlier dispute regarding deducting child support legal expenses was a matter of principle. In Canada, the recipient of child support can deduct their legal fees, but the payer cannot. The judge recommended this law should be made to apply equally to both sides, but decided he was powerless to change it (Grenon v. Canada [2014] T.C.C. No. 265)

NZ Herald links “Threat from Outer Space” to NZ News Essentials – Part 3 - Centrist
Do you really need an expert to tell you to be sceptical of any source regardless of which one?

As far as legal cases Centrist is prepared to support, those would be any we identify as being the result of systemic unfairness such as violations of free speech and censorship. The Centrist has not said it will pay its readers legal fees, as erroneously reported in the BD article. One wonders about the editorial controls at BD, allowing such an obviously suspect line through.

Not using bylines

BD correctly advised that Chantelle Baker had her Facebook account closed down. 

Something you won’t likely know, from BD or its related publications, is that during COVID the US government was actively trying to control the narrative with social media channels. Ditto for the NZ government and Baker. Being shut down by Facebook, particularly during this period, is not, without considerable extra investigation, a meaningful strike against anyone

The NE team

It is not all tight collared at NE. There is some high level sporting experience (Glenn Arthur played and coached rugby overseas), as well as some weak golf, in the incomplete list of NE team members that BD has identified.  Tameem Adam Abdul-majeed Barakat’s background, as a rapper, is mentioned. 

BD acknowledges NE’s extensive experience in a very wide range of both small and large businesses. And  access to support with extensive and varied expertise

BD’s also acknowledges that  members of the NE team have considerable legal experience, including working with the criminal justice system. 

The BD Expert

BD incorporates the advice of a journalism expert, Merja Myllylahti, a senior lecturer in the journalism department at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). She says you should be very suspicious if you do not know who is behind something, and notes there may not be any actual journalist. But what do you really know about any other media? Isn’t it really the work product that is more important? 

With respect, the disclosed experience is at least equivalent to a journalism degree, but NE  also has a journalist behind the curtain.

We agree  scepticism is a good practice. You don’t need to be an expert to know that. We would apply it to all media, including BD.

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