Newspapers reflect their owner’s bias. On Waiheke the Gulf News is often referred to in the community as the “Green News” reflecting the political bias of its owner. It’s well understood. It's also well understood she is not backing the 'A' Team. However, the community still has a right to expect even-handedness, as do candidates. Alas, no such luck with the Gulf News.
A particularly glaring example of that bias occurred in this week’s issue. I was emailed the following question by one of their writers. The same question was sent to Faye, Don, Sue McCann, Graham Hooper and John but not apparently the others. "How appropriate do you believe the process surrounding the proposed marina at Matiatia has been so far? What would you like to see happen from here? What action, if any, would you as a Local Board member take on the issue if elected?"
I responded directly to the question asked as follows.
“What a peculiar question. The Resource Management Act process is a legal process and ‘appropriate’ doesn’t come into it. What has happened so far, and will happen from here on, is that the RMA process will take its course. It is what it is. As a Local Board, we have already made our input. This is a list of our concerns about the possible impacts of the marina application and it has been made via the Reporting Officer's report, just as Council's process requires. The Board's input will go to the Court like all other input and will be assessed as part of the process.”
Suspecting some skulduggery I posted the question we were asked and my reply on Facebook on Wednesday night – after the GN had gone to press and before it was published on Thursday, so everyone could see it wasn't me who was changing the goalposts. I wasn’t disappointed. The question published was different, making it look like I wasn’t answering it at all.
Instead we got ‘how did candidates think the marina proposal had been handled so far’ (quite different from the original first part of the question. No mention of ‘process’, which is all important).
Is that fair or even-handed or is it biased? You be the judge. I’m left with a dilemma. Do I continue to engage with a paper that stoops this low? I think I will, but I will also continue to shine a light on their Muddy Waters, exposing the negativity which is so damaging to the island.