Prime Minister and the media owe charities an apology


On Tuesday 10 May in the House of Representatives Prime Minister John Key used a tactic that I thought and hoped that New Zealand politicians were above. As another day of Opposition attacks over the Mossack Fonesca papers (a.k.a. the Panama Papers)continued in the House, Mr Key decided to to try a deflecting move. His means of deflection was to try to link three charities whose names had been used in a scam to the Mossack Fonesca scandal.

Amnesty International, Greenpeace and the Red Cross were the charities. In a database that had been outed as fraudulent, the three charities names were listed. The scam had been outed sometime ago and it was determined that the charities had had their names improperly used in it.

Unfortunately for all three, it was case of political expediency that seems to have paid off for the Prime Minister to try to implicate them. More unfortunately elements of the media including, but not limited to, Yahoo! New Zealand News seem to have fallen for it hook line and sinker. Despite bringing it to their attention on Twitter and Facebook, no acknowledgement has been made by Yahoo! New Zealand News.

Amnesty demanded an apology. As did Greenpeace. In the case of Amnesty International since such corruption is often linked to human rights abuses on the side, the attempt to implicate the organization in money laundering and ill gotten gains because all the more incredible. I doubt though that either the Prime Minister or Yahoo! New Zealand News have the maturity to apologize for their mistakes – the Prime Minister for knowingly dragging the charities into the mud, and Yahoo! New Zealand News for falling for it hook, line and sinker without checking their facts.

But they should. Now.

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