When does gossip become news?

May 3, 2018

Social media can be beneficial, it can be benign and it can be nothing more than a fast moving vehicle to bad mouth people.

Into the latter category falls the rumours that have been circulating for weeks that got so bad it prompted Police Commissioner Mike Bush to issue a statement scotching them.

On this issue I’m with Andrea Vance who tweeted:

She is right about the danger of reporting on rumours in social media, just as it would have been, and still is, unwise, potentially stupid and even courting defamation to report on gossip, from the pub or anywhere else.

The line between gossip and news has always been grey. The ease and speed at which something can spread on social media makes it even greyer.

Now that the Commissioner has made a statement, what happens next time there’s rumours? Will he make a statement and if not will that become a story?

It is dangerous territory for the police and media when gossip and rumours become news.

At both ends of the political spectrum are people, blinded by their own bigotry who will attempt to use character assassination with absolutely no concern about letting facts get in the way of their stories.

Mainstream media should not buy into it and anyone with integrity in politics wouldn’t go near it.

There is absolutely no need to be personal about the government or any of its members.

There is plenty in their actions and policies to pick on and it’s easy to point out their many defects without stooping to personal attacks and innuendo.

NB: If you’re commenting please do not write anything about the rumours or anything at all that could be defamatory.

I have deliberately not elaborated on the rumours or the subject and any comments that do will be deleted.


Arrest for 1080 milk powder threat

October 13, 2015

A man has been arrested on charges relating to last year’s threat to contaminate infant formula with 1080:

New Zealand Police have arrested a 60-year-old Auckland businessman in relation to the criminal blackmail threat to poison infant formula with 1080, made public in March this year.

The man is appearing in the Counties Manukau District Court this afternoon on two charges of criminal blackmail, relating to threat letters sent to dairy giant Fonterra Cooperative Group and Federated Farmers in November last year. Blackmail is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

The arrest follows the execution of five search warrants in Auckland and the Rangitikei district this morning.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said today’s arrest follows a long and complex 11-month investigation, that has cost over $3 million and involved a 35-strong investigation team.

“This investigation is one of the biggest undertaken by police in recent times and reflects how seriously we view this kind of crime,” he said.

The Operation Conchord team had used a range of forensic techniques in gathering evidence, some that were innovative and could be used in future investigations, he said.

It’s believed the arrested man was acting alone and no further arrests are expected though Bush said he couldn’t comment on his motivations for the threatened blackmail.

More than 2,600 people were considered by the investigation team over the course of the enquiry.

Ministry for Primary Industries chief executive Martyn Dunne said the safety of consumers was paramount during the investigation. . . 

This is weclome progress in the case and police deserve credit for the work that must have gone into gathering evidence.

MPI and others involved in ensuring infant formula is safe have also done good work.


Recorded crime drops

April 2, 2014

More good news on the social front – recorded crime is at a 29 year  low:

 New figures show criminal offences have dropped by 4.1percent in the last year, the lowest crime figure in real terms in 29 years.

When considered against a 0.9 percent growth in population, offending dropped by 5 percent per head of population, or 15,602 fewer crimes were recorded in 2013 than in 2012.

Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush said Police were delighted with the historic figure.

“We are deploying staff more efficiently and pro-actively to ensure Police are in the right place at the right time to prevent crime from occurring.

“In 2013 we conducted over 104,000 foot patrols across New Zealand. Frontline officers are now spending an extra 30 minutes per shift out in communities preventing crime.”

“The sharp reduction in public place assaults is a great example of how our Prevention First strategy is making our communities safer.”

Nine of the twelve Police districts recorded decreases in recorded crime. Auckland and Wellington Districts recorded the biggest reductions at 9.9 percent, followed by Bay of Plenty at 7.4 percent and Southern at 6.6 percent.

In contrast, sexual assault offences rose by 11.6 percent in 2013 but Mr Bush believes this is likely to be due to increased reporting.

“We know that sexual violence is under-reported, and we are heartened that more victims of this type of crime are coming forward,” Mr Bush said.

There was also a 22.7 percent drop in illicit drug offences in 2013, mostly due to a reduction in cannabis cultivation and possession.

A 59 percent increase in the import or export illicit drugs offence category was the result of Police’s targeted campaign against organised crime groups that control large parts of the New Zealand methamphetamine drug trade.

 “The figures are a credit to our staff who are committed to making New Zealand communities safer,” Mr Bush said.

 Police Minister Anne Tolley congratulated Police on the announcement:

“Fewer crimes means fewer victims and safer communities, and I want to thank our officers for everything they are doing to serve and protect the public,” says Mrs Tolley. . .

Photo: More frontline policing is helping to bring down crime and make our streets safer. Read more at: www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=43511  What do you think of National’s progress on law and order?


Labour only for some workers?

June 13, 2013

Labour is supposed to be the party of and for workers but Trevor Mallard’s performance yesterday showed scant regard for employment law and the role of a select committee.

Mallard abruptly left a select committee after an exchange of angry words with Police Minister Anne Tolley after he questioned the decision of Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Bush to speak at the funeral of former police officer Bruce Hutton. . .

After Mallard attempted to question Bush on the issue Government committee members objected that his questions were out of order.

But Mallard hit back and appeared to threaten Bush’s job.

“We’re deciding whether or not to continue his salary, that’s what we’re deciding now,” he said.

Mallard then got embroiled in an exchange with Tolley who said that was not his decision before Mallard abruptly left the committee. . .

Perhaps he doesn’t regard a senior police officer as a worker or maybe his party is only there for some workers.

Regardless of that, after all his years in parliament he should have some understanding of employment law and know it’s not a select committee’s role to hire and fire people or set their salaries.

His behaviour provides more evidence for my theory that Labour’s motivation for strict employment law is because they judge all employers by their own sorry standards.

 

 


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