Media organisation NZME has paid Clarke Gayford, the partner of prime minister Jacinda Ardern, a “confidential sum” after it published “baseless lies” about him. The published “lies” related to false allegations of criminal activity by Gayford. The two parties settled out of court.
In a statement issued through a consultancy firm, Gayford said the “damaging and untrue” statements were made on the KICK Fresh Music Friday podcast and on KICK social media pages. “The statements were based on rumours about Mr Gayford that are baseless lies. NZME Radio has apologised to Mr Gayford for these publications and the hurt and distress they have caused and accepts that he has never been the subject of criminal charges and is not now the subject of criminal charges in any court in New Zealand.”
The statement concluded: “In a settlement between the parties, NZME Radio agreed to pay a confidential sum to Mr Gayford.”
Rumours about Gayford have been bubbling online for much of prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s time in office. Back in 2018, then police commissioner Mike Bush commented on the rumours publicly – a move that was highly unprecedented.
“While in general we do not respond to enquiries which seek to confirm if individuals are under police investigation, on this occasion we can say that Mr Gayford is not and has not been the subject of any police inquiry, nor has he been charged in relation to any matter,” he said at the time.
KICK published the statement (in its house style) on Facebook at the same time Gayford’s was sent to media. KICK’s Facebook page has just 245 likes.
KICK is a youth-focused music service. It only launched last year and was the brainchild of broadcasting school interns at NZME.
The Spinoff has approached the prime minister’s office for comment. NZME wouldn’t say anything beyond the written statement.