22 October 2009

Any investigative journalists in New Zealand?

David Farrar raises an issue which only state radio has yet confronted, but which has not been picked up by newspapers or television.

The Leninist way Helen Clark is controlling media access to UNDP.

It sounds scandalous. No press conferences involving Clark as head of UNDP since she arrived. Absolutely no progress at all or reports or responses to a number of scandals, which were bubbling when she arrived. It doesn't help that the UNDP does not have transparent audited accounts.

I wrote on how the NZ media treated Helen Clark at the UNDP like a Womens' Weekly story, with no scrutiny at all of the serious issues surrounding the organisation. It is like Helen is "one of us" "doing good overseas" and "we should all be proud", and have no interest at all in the issues she confronts and, more importantly whether or how she confronts them.

There are major issues regarding nepotism and the UNDP's North Korean operations, which are being renewed, that aren't being answered.

This isn't an issue about the Labour Party, or the New Zealand government, but the reputation of New Zealand in putting forward Clark for this high profile role. If she hides from the media, if she wont openly declare her position on issues, if she wont confront them, it will be a damning indictment on New Zealand, and its chances to gain ANY traction at transparency and accountability at international organisations.

If Helen Clark is no better than any other UN bureaucrat, spending large amounts of money with accountability that is better suited to Malabo than New York, then she is an embarrassment.

An embarrassment the Key Government can only bear its fair share of blame for, in supporting her candidacy.

However, perhaps equally so, is the almost universal braindead silence of the sycophantic New Zealand media. With the notable exception of Radio New Zealand, none of the rest have shown any interest in serious issues surrounding Helen Clark's appointment as head of the UNDP.

Is it not time that some actually went to New York to find out why the former Prime Minister wont answer questions about the organisation she leads on a salary, paid by global taxpayers, of US$500,000 per annum, tax free?

UPDATE: David Cohen at the NBR essentially repeats what David Farrar and Radio NZ said, adding his small comment about his experience with Clark. Gee, newspapers in New Zealand are really at the cutting edge of journalism aren't they? Well done Mr. Cohen, given your "cutting criticism" of the blogosphere, you're really showing us up.


Anonymous said...

Leninist? Hmmm sounds more Trotskyist to me. Only $500,000 per annum? She should have become boss of Telecom. The CEO scores about ten times Helen's pay and it also doesn't matter there either that company performance is less than stellar. Perhaps "someone" should go to Wellington to sort that lot out.

Libertyscott said...

Fortunately there is a board of directors, and shareholders vote for them, so there is accountability. Nobody is forced to pay Telecom anything. If you're a shareholder you have a say.

Herein lies the difference.