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Live UpdatesJul 29 2022

NZME pays Clarke Gayford ‘confidential sum’ after publishing ‘rumours’

It’s the end of another week, welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for July 29. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, you can reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • Media organisation NZME has paid Clarke Gayford a “confidential sum” after it published “baseless lies” about him.
  • A “preliminary analysis” is under way determine whether New Zealand could once again host the Commonwealth Games.
  • Beyonce’s new album has dropped (and early!)
  • It’s Ashley Bloomfield’s last day. He tells The Spinoff how he avoided burning out during the pandemic.
  • Covid-19 update: 24 virus-linked deaths, 799 now in hospital.
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NZME pays Clarke Gayford ‘confidential sum’ after publishing ‘rumours’

It’s the end of another week, welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for July 29. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, you can reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • Media organisation NZME has paid Clarke Gayford a “confidential sum” after it published “baseless lies” about him.
  • A “preliminary analysis” is under way determine whether New Zealand could once again host the Commonwealth Games.
  • Beyonce’s new album has dropped (and early!)
  • It’s Ashley Bloomfield’s last day. He tells The Spinoff how he avoided burning out during the pandemic.
  • Covid-19 update: 24 virus-linked deaths, 799 now in hospital.
Jul 29 2022

NZME pays Clarke Gayford ‘confidential sum’ after publishing ‘baseless lies’

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.

Why Auckland’s growth needs to focus on its people

Image: Richard Parry

As Tāmaki Makaurau continues to grow and evolve, urban design experts say our historic approach to intensification could use a slight reset. Ben Fahy learnt why this is, and how our unique place in the Pacific is the perfect starting point from which to build a city that works for all its people. Read the full story, in paid partnership with Auckland Council, here(Sponsored)

Ashley Bloomfield’s final farewell

Ashley Bloomfield’s shared a final farewell message to the New Zealand public as he leaves the Ministry of Health.

After four years as director general of health (of which more than half were spent in a pandemic), Bloomfield wraps his tenure today and is preparing to head on a holiday.

Bloomfield thanked the public in a video shared to the ministry’s Facebook page. “We’e been successful because we did it as a team,” said Bloomfield of the Covid-19 response.

Covid-19 update: 24 virus-linked deaths, 799 now in hospital

There have been another 24 deaths attributable to Covid-19.

Another 16 people with the virus have also died, though the cause of death has not been linked to Covid-19. There are now a total of 1,479 deaths confirmed as attributable to Covid-19, either as the underlying cause of death or as a contributing factor.

The average increase in deaths each day attributable to Covid-19, over the past seven days, is now 18.

Another 7,605 community cases of Covid-19 have been registered, bringing the rolling average to 7,618 each day.

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has dropped just below 800 to 799.

The Friday Quiz

After a brief Bleed Week hiatus, The Spinoff’s weekly news quiz is back (and the same as ever). Test yourself below.


Young Nat vape sales rep believed to be behind fake Efeso Collins site

A Young Nat has been revealed as the owner of the “efescocollins.co.nz” website that redirected to the campaign website for Leo Molloy.

The faux Efeso Collins website and another for Auckland mayoral hopeful Craig Lord both automatically send people to Molloy’s official website.

Molloy denied any involvement and told media he was normally “the subject of dark arts, not the giver of dark arts”.

According to the Herald, the individual who first registered the address is Young Nat and Vapo sales rep Tristram Speedy. He could not be reached for comment.

The discovery came after a complaint was laid with the Domain Name Commission by Aucklander Paul Brislen, who believed fake details had been used in the records of the efesocollins.co.nz site. Brislen said: “My concern wasn’t with the content of the site but that the process around registering a domain name. This is important for all websites but doubly so for those relating to political parties and elections.”

Andrew Little ditches health ‘crisis’ debate with National counterpart

The health minister has pulled out a scheduled debate with his National Party counterpart, Shane Reti.

Andrew Little had told Stuff he would participate in the live debate but later said he was out of town. “Addressing the current problems in the health system must be my priority,” he said.

Reti said that was all well and good – but Little needed to admit there were more than just “problems” in the health sector. “He’s out in the health sector looking at a crisis. Call it what it is. It’s a crisis,” said Reti.

“It may just be a couple of words, but when you do that, you acknowledge things are pretty serious and the sector’s looking for an acknowledgement that you’re in touch… that you understand their pain. Calling it a crisis then moving on with the plan is really important.”

Shane Reti talks to reporters on the way to a caucus meeting on August 4, 2020. (Photo: Lynn Grieveson – Newsroom via Getty Images)

How Ashley Bloomfield avoided burnout

It’s Ashley Bloomfield’s last day as director general of health, a role he has held since 2018. Since the start of 2020, he’s been a household name (and developed an almost unbreakable level of popularity).

I spoke to Bloomfield this week to reflect back on his time as New Zealand’s public face of the pandemic. During our chat, he admitted he nearly burnt out in the early days of Covid-19. “I had moments where I realised I was at the limits of my resilience and needed to take some time out and spend time with family… ripping down a hill on a mountain bike or reading a book,” he said.

“Resilient people aren’t the people that keep going, they’re the ones that know their boundaries and stay within them.”

After working a number of days in a row, Bloomfield said he felt under a lot of stress and chose to step back a bit. “It was a real wake-up call for me, it was deliberate after that to make sure I didn’t reach the point where I burnt out.”

You can read my full interview with Ashley Bloomfield here

And for a flashback: here’s the very first Covid-19 press conference in late January 2020.

 

When the Facts Change: Could full transparency solve our pay equity problems?

Imagine living in a society where details about everyone’s earnings and taxes are publicly available. With a gender pay gap of just 4%, Norway has operated under this system of pay transparency since the 1800s and some argue it’s time for a similar approach in Aotearoa. On the latest episode of When the Facts Change, Bernard Hickey talks to AUT professor Gail Pacheco, who heads the NZ Work Research Institute, about whether pay transparency is the answer to help address our pay equity gaps for women, Māori, and Pasifika.

Listen below or wherever you get your podcasts

We got Beyonce’s new album… early?

If you’re a Beyonce fan you’ll already be fully aware of this, but for some inexplicable reason the star’s new album Renaissance released at midnight instead of the traditional 4pm.

Most big name singers drop their album at the same time everywhere in the world, meaning New Zealand usually gets to hear it in the afternoon. For some reason, Renaissance was released to us at midnight – meaning we’re the first in the world to hear it.

Wild.

The Bulletin: Expansion of ACC cover of birth injuries

A bill that will increase the number of birth injuries covered by ACC from six to 12 has passed its second reading. The National, Green, and Act parties all supported the bill in its second reading. ACC minister Carmel Sepuloni said ACC now expects to support 28,000 women per year to access the support they need for birth injuries, 10,000 more than initially estimated.

I think it’s worth mentioning the excellent reporting by RNZ’s Anusha Bradley on this issue over the last year or so. Bradley first reported on a policy change from ACC that reduced the number of claims being approved for perineal tears from about 30 a month to less than four in March 2021.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Subscribe and join over 36,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture.

Could New Zealand host the Commonwealth Games again?

The government has confirmed it’s undertaking a “preliminary analysis” to determine whether New Zealand could once again host the Commonwealth Games.

The tournament is getting under way today in Birmingham, but it’s been more than 30 years since it was last held in New Zealand.

Sports minister and deputy prime minister Grant Robertson is on his way to Birmingham this week, and told Stuff he wanted the games to be hosted here. “No decisions have been made about hosting a future Commonwealth Games… we are undertaking a preliminary analysis of the feasibility of hosting,” he said.

“The hosting of the Games is a considerable undertaking and a lot of work will be required to carefully assess the benefits and costs associated with doing so before any further decisions are considered.”

And if you want to follow along with the Birmingham Games right now (it’s opening ceremony time as I type), you can check out any number of live blogs except the one you’re reading now. Here’s The Guardian’s coverage.