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Jun 10 2023

RNZ pledges external review as more Kremlin-friendly story changes are detected

RNZ CEO and editor-in-chief Paul Thompson. Photo: Supplied

As it works through the archive identifying further examples of syndicated stories published with “inappropriate editing” on its website, RNZ is now promising an external review of editing processes, and that its findings will be made public. At the latest count, the public broadcaster’s audit had turned up 15 examples of articles that had been changed to provide a more Kremlin-sympathetic slant. Fourteen of those originated with the Reuters international wire service, and one with the BBC.

In a statement, an RNZ spokesman said: “RNZ advised yesterday that it had become aware of instances of inappropriate editing of several wire service stories relating to the war in Ukraine published on its website. RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson initiated an immediate investigation and has today announced  an external review of RNZ’s processes for the editing of online stories to ensure these are robust. The outcome of the review will be made public. The terms of reference for the review and the external experts will be confirmed as soon as possible.”

He added: “RNZ is continuing with a detailed audit and analysis of all stories with the potential for inappropriate editing of wire service stories on the website. While there is still work to complete, to date it has identified 14 instances of inappropriate editing going back to last year. [One further has been found since.] These stories have been corrected and an explanatory note added to each article. RNZ is checking other stories and continues with a thorough analysis which may take some time. As indicated previously an investigation is under way into the alleged conduct of one employee relating to this matter. That employee is on leave and does not have access to RNZ computer systems.”

Paul Thompson at RNZ
RNZ CEO and editor-in-chief Paul Thompson. Photo: Supplied

New poll points to National-Act government despite bump for Greens

Image: Archi Banal

A new poll by Curia for the Taxpayers’ Union shows levels of support bedding in for the parties, with the exception of the Greens, who jump by 2.3 percentage points from a dismal showing last month to 9.7%. The combined support for National, up 0.1 points to 35.7% and Act, unchanged on 12.7%, would translate to 62 parliamentary seats (46 for National and 16 for Act), enough to assemble a majority of the 120-member parliament.

Labour drops 0.9 points to 32.9%. Te Pāti Māori is down 0.2 points to 3.5% and NZ First falls by a point to 1.6%. Among the other small parties, the New Conservatives registered 1.3%, Democracy NZ 0.9%, and TOP 0.8%.

The average across the latest versions of the various polls, as above, would create what looks like a dead heat. National's 45 and Act's 15 seats would bring them a total of 60, the same combined allocation for Labour (43), the Greens (12) and TPM (5, assuming they won at least one electorate).

An Ipsos poll published in the last few days showed National are judged the better equipped to manage three of the five issues New Zealanders consider most important.

When it comes to assessments of the party leaders, the gap is narrowing in the TPU/Curial poll, though Chris Hipkins remains well in front. The prime minister falls three points to +19% on net favourability, with Christopher Luxon up five points but still just below the zero line, on -2%. David Seymour is up seven points to -4%.

The poll was conducted from May 31 to June 6.