MPs’ families should be off-limits

Deborah Hill Cone’s column  asking why does Clarke Gayford bug me?, has not surprisingly caused an uproar.

Some media used to focus on former Prime Minister John Key’s son, Max, but that doesn’t make it right.

MPs’ families should be off-limits.

If, as in Gayford’s case, they have a public profile of their own, comment and criticism shouldn’t stray into the political and personal.

Rotary has a four-way test for thought, word and deed:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

I would add is it NECESSARY?

This would be a good guide for journalism and commentary. Had Hill Cone tested her column against those questions would she have written it?

It is her truth, but it’s questionable if it is fair, it definitely didn’t build goodwill and better friendships, it wasn’t beneficial to all concerned and it simply wasn’t necessary.

6 Responses to MPs’ families should be off-limits

  1. Andrei says:

    Hang on Ele – Clarke Gayford is a public figure in his own right

    He puts himself out there in the public eye for his own purposes and also almost certainly advance his “partners” agendas involving her vision of creating a gender neutral utopia

    Similarly with John Key’s children – Max Key posted videos of himself with beautiful girls, beaches, helicopters, cars that cost more than the average New Zealand family home. And he did this to advance his own agendas

    And John Key’s daughter Stephie, an aspiring artist posted pictures of herself in the way she did to attract attention to advance her artistic career

    On the other hand John Keys’s wife Bronagh was more circumspect and showed a lot more decorum

    There is a difference between paparazzi hounding the relatives of prominant pollies and those self same relatives putting themselves out there to advance their own agendas or those of the people they are associated with.

    There are perks with being related to the powerful – you can get treated extremely leniently by the Court system which has happened more than once in my lifetime for people with powerful political connections – We will say no more


  2. adamsmith1922 says:

    Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    Unusually I have to disagree. Clarke Gayford has purposefully put himself ‘out there’ prior to the election. He has been an active supporter of Ardern and has seemed to revel in the attention, so I am of the view that ‘as ye sow, so shall ye reap’. Further on his return from Europe he stoked the fire with his calling Hill-Cone a bottom feeder. Plus for months Ardern and Gayford have played the media at every opportunity, so sorry, Gayford is fair game


  3. I also disagree in this particular case. He is firmly in the political arena because he appears on The Panel and discusses political matters in addition to seeking a public profile historically and presently. There is a wider relevant story at play of which I see the Hill Cone piece as the beginning point of.


  4. Nevertheless, it’s not the sort of topic that cuts it on this forum and that is part of the magic of this blog.


  5. Andrei says:

    There is a wider relevant story at play of which I see the Hill Cone piece as the beginning point of.

    Indeed James – but when we pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves we are not like the more primative types who live in banana republics perhaps it is because there are things that are kept deeply buried and we do not talk about


  6. I don’t think anyone is under the illusion that ‘we’ are not like banana republics. Some politicians here flagrantly abuse power and when they are caught out it doesn’t necessarily get framed in the way it would if we were a banana republic. Winston’s behaviour with suddenly being a free trade advocate seems suspicious. Shane Jones ‘forgot’ that he was advised against giving money to the outfit on the West Coast. Sometimes it’s purely their position that lets them get away with it. Todd Barclay avoided court altogether. Andrew Little and Russel Norman both avoided convictions of defamation purely because of their position in society. There may be a good reason behind such qualified privilege from their point of view but it certainly creates a double standard from the public point of view. As such while I won’t condone petty or personal politics I won’t cry tears of pity for anyone at the top if the media does break with convention and call out political actors for personal illegal and immoral actions. You reap what you sow, and the traditional firewall between political actions and personal actions will continue to be weakened if the political actions reflect a republic that sows bananas.


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