Home > Media, Social Issues > NZ Herald mis-represents Green Party spokesperson on synthetic ‘highs’

NZ Herald mis-represents Green Party spokesperson on synthetic ‘highs’

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Legal highs linked to deaths - coroner

Acknowledgment: NZ herald – Legal highs linked to deaths – coroner

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In a shocking piece of misleading journalism, the NZ Herald yesterday (14 June) mis-quoted Kevin Hague, the Green spokesperson on Health issues.

Herald journalist Kurt Bayer claimed that the Greens supported using animals for testing “party pills” (also known as synthetic ‘highs’).  Bayer wrote,

The SPCA and Greens today finally agreed that some animal testing of party pills was necessary for the sake of keeping young people safe.”

Source: Legal highs linked to deaths – coroner

This was shown to be wrong when the Greens posted their actual media release on-line on their website. The release stated,

The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf

The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf

“The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee…”

Source: Bill a win for communities and animals

Bill a win for communities and animals
Bill a win for communities and animals

The Green Party statement went on to specifically state their opposition to animal testing,

“However, we will still be putting forward our amendment to rule out the use of data from animal testing being used as proof of safety.

“Our amendment is much simpler and more practical to enforce than the Minister’s amendment and doesn’t allow any animal testing.

We have not seen any evidence that we need to allow animal testing of recreational drugs. In fact, the evidence we have seen is that all the proposed animal tests can be replaced with modern and effective non-animal tests,” said Ms Mathers.”

Source: IBID

The Green Party statement was in stark contrast to the story penned by Bayer and published online at 3:15 PM on Friday Jun 14. The offending portion stated,

 The SPCA and Greens today finally agreed that some animal testing of party pills was necessary for the sake of keeping young people safe.

An amendment limiting animal testing has now been included in the Psychoactive Substances Bill.

“This bill is a necessary and practical step to end the harm caused by allowing untested drugs to be the market,” said Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague.

“We support strong regulation for party pills and legal highs – we can’t continue to put our communities at risk.”

The third and fourth paragraphs appear to indicate Green support for the first paragraph, which is erroneous.

The Green Party position was more accurately reported on Radio NZ’s website,

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Animal testing must be last resort in legal highs tests

Acknowledgment: Radio NZ – Animal testing must be last resort in legal highs tests

The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf
The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf
The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf
The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf

This issue was brought to this bloggers attention by Facebook user Jeanette Wilkinson who, at first, took the Herald story at face-value. Ms Wilkinson wrote on the DiscussioNZ page,

“I am extremely disappointed with the Green Party right now…in fact your credibility has taken a huge dive in my eyes upon reading this article below …especially where it mentions the Green Party finally deciding that SOME animal testing is required on animals for vile dangerous and totally unnecessary evil party pills and substances … I thought the Green Party would have some common sense and not support this at all and be inclined to have unnatural and dangerous chemical highs banned completely!”

When the actual Green Party policy was brought to Ms Wilkinson’s attention she accepted that the Green Party’s actual position had been mis-represented,  and also added,

” I also believe that synthetic highs should be illegal and banned then none of this controversy would be happening and wouldn’t that be a much better result for all moreso our young people?”

In a series of tweets by this blogger, I brought  Kurt Bayer’s attention to the mis-reporting of Green Party policy on animal testing, and asked for his response,

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Kurt Bayer twitter profile

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@KurtBayerAPNZ Hi Kurt. Your story “Legal highs linked to deaths-coroner” appears to have misquoted Green policy. http://tinyurl.com/mq6k6gx

@KurtBayerAPNZ Will you be publishing a correction? Note, I am in process of blogging this story.

@KurtBayerAPNZ I can email you my draft blogpost for you to comment on. Would like your response on the record.

As at midnight on Saturday, no response had been received from Bayer.

It will be interesting to see if the Green Party pursues this matter through the Press Council.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 June 2013.

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References

Green Party:  Bill a win for communities and animals (14 June 2013)

Bill a win for communities and animals

NZ Herald: Legal highs linked to deaths – coroner (14 June 2013)

Facebook link: Discussion NZ

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  1. Free Willy
    22 June 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Thank god for truly independent citizen journalists who can give us the real story instead of media bullshit. Nice work Frank, keep it up! (By gthe way, I think I made the right decision not to renew my Herald subscription last year.)

  1. 11 July 2013 at 10:35 am
  2. 14 July 2013 at 9:02 am

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