This morning the Herald on Sunday carried a story about Mojo Mathers trip to the Wairarapa to appear on a community radio station. Now, let me make it clear, I have no issue with this trip. It is the job of an MP to get out and interact with the community. It can be debated if there were other ways the interview could have been facilitated. But that is not the purpose of this blog.
The Herald on Sunday started their story:
Questions are being asked about a taxpayer-funded trip for deaf MP Mojo Mathers to be interviewed on a small provincial radio station.
Now, this to me, implies that the story came from a source who was critical of this trip and the spending associated with it.
That view is reinforced by the final quote of the story:
The Taxpayers Union questioned whether it was value for money.
“It’s amazing that she has so little to do with her time to actually travel to a community radio that probably has as many listeners as you can count on your hand,” director Jordan Williams said.
“The only silver lining is that the time spent travelling to go on the station in the middle of nowhere is less time spent dreaming up new ways to spend tax payers money.”
However, if the Taxpayers Union had been the source of this story, we would expect to see mention of it on their website:
The same goes for their Twitter account. (again time and date included in the top of the screen).
Now lets have a look at the last time Mojo’s spending was in the media.
After the last election Mojo requested extra funding to pay for a transcription service so she could follow what was happening in the House, due to the rules at the time, this was not fully funded:
Speaker Lockwood Smith has defended a decision not to grant special funding for deaf MP Mojo Mathers’ parliamentary note-taker, saying he does not have the authority to approve it.
This was a large story at the time. But the part that is of most interest in relation to today’s story is this from this story:
Speaker Lockwood Smith has accused Green party MPs Mojo Mathers and Gareth Hughes of inexperience in the row over deaf technology.
Smith said he was ”deeply concerned” that a meeting with officials this morning has been ”politicised” and what has been portrayed publicly ”bears no resemblance to what happened in the meeting”.
”I’ll put a kind interpretation on lack of experience. Gareth is the new musterer for the Greens and Mojo is a new member and they may not realise that private meetings with the Speaker to do with …what they need, their support, naturally I always assume those are confidential.(emphasis added)
So this establishes the fact that the Greens are willing to break confidentiality, and use funding and money use around Mojo’s needs as a way to score political points.
Add to this the following Tweets.
Both of these tweets appear to assume that the Taxpayers Union is the source of the story.
These are all retweets by Mojo.
Mojo has replied by email. (I have reducted my phone number at the bottom, so I don’t get bombarded with calls. But everything else as is).
Jordan Williams has responded via a post on Facebook:
I have emailed and Tweeted Patrice, with no reply in over 90min. I have also contacted Andrew Campbell for comment, with no reply.
So the question must remain, if neither side is admitting tipping off the Herald, who did and why? Also, why Patrice Dougan? Why not a political reporter? Or is there more to this than meets the eye?
Have just spoken with Andrew Campbell, Green Party Communications Director, they did not tip off The Herald on Sunday. When they were contacted, the reporter already had information on the fact Mojo had traveled to the Wairarapa for the interview.
The fact that Mojo retweeted a picture of herself in an interview could be the source. But it still does not explain why it has been run as a story.