The National Press Club seeks the opportunity to draw your attention to elements of the laws of defamation and libel and the interpretation of them in the context of this recent case.

We perceive the danger in which the sources of an international story become revealed and in doing so become inevitably disclosed to the world at large.

We would like these points in the case to be considered:

  • An absentee plaintiff through their agents can precipitate a defamation action in the New Zealand High Court.
  • This same absentee plaintiff and their agents can successfully order the handing over of correspondence such as emails that have passed between the journalist and their source.
  • In spite of New Zealand’s court system said to be already congested with cases of varying degrees of magnitude of severity a civil case such as this one was accorded a ready fixture.
  • The defendant who had substantial costs awarded against them was given no indication of a countervailing deposit made by the plaintiff or through their local agents.

The reason that we seek the attention of the Commission in this matter is that the outcome of this case has created alarm within a number of organisations with which we are affiliated or involved internationally

These include the Overseas Press Club of America, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom.

The common cause in seeking the consideration of the Commission of a review of laws is that the case indicates that international stories covered in New Zealand can be suppressed through an action brought about by an absentee plaintiff and that a Court here can order the handing over of documents revealing sources and their information.

We note the Commission’s willingness to evaluate ideas leading to the review of laws and our particular anxiety aroused by this case is about the determined and continuing move for the defendant to hand over information connected with the case, and thus their stories.

The Court was made aware of the plaintiff’s urgency expressed via their agent to have this story source data made available to them.

We note that the original stories underpinning this case were derived from events and actions in other countries, the United States and Russia.

Therefore the possibility must be considered of the consequences to individuals connected with the original series of stories should their involvement in them become more widely known.

Should New Zealand be perceived internationally as a door of entry to successful litigation in this sphere then we suggest that rules embodying discovery and disclosure in a case such as this one be reviewed in order to protect third parties.

In regard to disclosure we suggest that full disclosure be mandated in regard to a plaintiff’s deposit, its presence or otherwise, in the matter especially of absentee plaintiffs.

These submissions are made in cognisance of the Commission’s stated belief that it “is critical that the current views of New Zealanders inform our recommendations,” and similarly in the spirit of the Commission’s objective of seeking ideas in this context.

We note in the judgment summary the reference to “fishing expedition”.

Our submission centres on our worry that in the matter of a globalised case such as the one under discussion here that the order of disclosure inherent to this case is likely to pose severe consequences for third parties in countries beyond the New Zealand jurisdiction.

In any deliberations we may take the liberty in the matter of jurisdiction of reminding the Commission of regulations applying in the UK which provides that the Court will not have jurisdiction to hear a defamation claim where the prospective defendant is resident outside of the UK, European Union or the Lugano Convention states (Norway, Switzerland and Denmark), unless it can be satisfied that England and Wales is clearly the most appropriate.

Isaac is greeted by Wanganui Club’s Henry NewrickClimate of Fear

Mainstream media’s horror of association with any scepticism about climate doctrine meant that it was unable to assess the result of the general election with any objectivity, claimed National Press Club president Peter Isaac addressing a Central Districts audience at the Wanganui Club.

Speaking immediately after the general election Isaac cited as an example of the reporting of events through the “climate filter” the mainstream’s failure to explain the disappearance of Winston Peters and his NZ First party.

Mainstream commentators could not bring themselves to point out that the party had been evicted as any meaningful political force at all just because it was seen by its own loyalists as having forsaken them in being captured by the climate ideology of its coalition partners.

There followed now a quicksand effect in which the New Zealand First party the more it tried to extricate itself from direct association with climate ideology was viewed by its base as sinking deeper into it.

The mass pine tree planting scheme was designed to appease its Green and Labour party coalition partners yet the most obvious outcome was in alienating NZ First’s base in the productive sector which saw pastoral farming being eliminated and thus the disappearance of small rural communities.

Isaac told the meeting that Winston Peters’ mentor the late Sir Robert Muldoon had privately told him (Isaac) that Winston Peters was destined to be a future prime minister.

Mr Peters however now failed to follow Muldoon’s and his own principle of putting the practical needs of New Zealand “first.” Especially above any foreign ideology.

Isaac suggested that Mr Peters himself had become lulled into thinking that he could be seen to be part of a foreign-originating ideology, and somehow reconcile it with his New Zealand first foremost and always stated priority just because the mainstream media in its zeal presented the climate doctrine as universal holy writ, unchallengeable.

His voter base meanwhile remained unimpressed by compromising with an abstract ideology centred in New York and instead saw only the practical and applied damage it was inflicting on New Zealand’s productive sector. So Mr Peters’ base melted away silently and until the last moment, unseen.

PICTURED: Isaac is greeted by Wanganui Club’s Henry Newrick. Wanganui City Councillor Helen Craig presents a copy of From The Sea to the Mountain. See also:- https://www.mscnewswire.co.nz

Wanganui City Councillor Helen Craig presents a copy of From The Sea to the Mountain

Greatest Living Adventurer Dies

Greatest Living Adventurer Dies

Bernard Diederich who has died in Haiti was New Zealand’s greatest living adventurer. The National Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award holder sailed before the mast on the Pamir during World War 2, graduated to tankers, and then took up ocean sailing as a hobby which is how he arrived in Haiti.

It was here that he started a newspaper, jousted with Papa Doc Duvalier, and then became during its heyday Time magazine’s Central America correspondent, a position which made him the global expert on all the region’s various dictatorships, and in this he was much assisted by his personal friendship with Fidel Castro.

Another friend was Graham Greene and he and Greene toured the region together giving Diederich the material for his last book Seeds of Fiction.

Bernard Diederich’s career coincided with the high point of print journalism before electronic media eroded the status of practitioners and their freedom to follow a story wherever it led them.

He returned quite regularly to New Zealand to visit his family roots in Martinborough and also to speak to the National Press Club, notably about his coverage of the US incursion into Grenada in which he interposed himself on a dinghy.

Krystyna Tomaszyk’s Last Journey

Krystyna Tomaszyk’s Last Journey

The death of Krystyna Tomaszyk QSM concludes the most storied of all New Zealand’s immigration epics of living memory. The National Press Club stalwart and her mother were part of a near thousand-strong contingent that fled Europe in 1944 via Siberia, Isfahan, and Bombay, eventually settling in a refugee camp home in Pahiatua.

Most of them stayed in New Zealand and Krystyna became a prominent civil servant while authoring several books on this experience known as the Polish Children.

Always superbly turned out and talking in perfect English, Krystyna over many years brought an aura of cosmopolitan class to the club’s proceedings. She was active in many other organisation, notably the National Library Association. She travelled widely, often on charitable work, notably those connected with Mother Theresa.

Women who step outside their contemporary stereotypes still detonate a wide field of conflicted emotions and responses. A new documentary on hard line infectious diseases clinician Dr Siouxsie Wiles provides the evidence.

Dr Wiles carried the bad news about the severity of Covid. She said the virus was the priority and not the economy or even the comfort of the population.

Her various prognostications were justified.

The documentary reveals how attention focused only slightly on Siouxsie Wiles the scientist and instead focussed on the clinician’s persona which is underwritten by her signature purple frizz hair do, and by her general flamboyance characterised by her choice of nom de guerre, Siouxsie.

The camera follows the colourful clinician in a domestic milieu point-counterpoint style in which she alternately giggles at herself and fires off life-and-death pronunciamentos about the virus threat.

Social equity desiderata permeate the politico-media class.

This documentary by National Press Club member Gwen Isaac indicates however that there remains beyond the elites and their world, well, another world.

It is inhabited by those exhibiting a bewilderment amounting to suspicion and hostility about females who having ventured into the sharper edges of real science then proceed to cross over into other preserves such as entertainment and public education

The outbreak in the United States of the Covid 19 contagion ripped through Washington and New York. An eyewitness was and remains National Press Club NZ member Victoria Gaither. She was swept into the pandemic when an entire branch of her family was wiped out by it. In the Washington press she recorded her feelings on discovering that that for her the plague data had taken on a new face, one comprised of her own close relatives........


Washington, DC

Today news broke the drug Remdesivir might help patients recover quicker from the corona virus. Today, I also received a text saying my auntie Leslie Leake of Southeast Washington, DC died from the corona virus. While the drug isn't going to help Leslie, her daughter Nicky Leake or son John Leake Jr, who all died within weeks of contracting the deadly virus, I'm hoping it helps other Americans. 

But, today, I'm not thinking about all the other Americans just my two cousins, Nicky and John Jr, and auntie Leslie. Nicky worked at Washington Hospital Center and if you look at her Facebook page you can tell she loved her job but most of all she loved her family and children. She wanted the best for her kids and would stop at nothing to make sure they had the best. When her daughter, Eniah, graduated from high school last year, she pulled out all the stops. Eniah walked the red carpet at grandma Leslie's house, the hub, of family activity. Eniah's uncle John Jr would have been in the mix taking photos and fussing over Eniah. John Jr. was the clown! He always had a laugh and had the ability to make people laugh. A long career at the USPS, love of food, travel to Africa, and active at his family's church, Master's Child Church Worship Center. When the USPS come out with Journalist Gwen Ifill stamp John Jr. made sure I knew about it being a Broadcaster and fan of Ifill. Cousin Nicky also give me permission to use her photos in my presentation on Slavery in America in Foxton Beach, New Zealand. That was Nicky willing to help her cousin broadcaster and photojournalist. 

Mother Leake as many called her was the core, strength, glue, and lifeblood of the Leake family! She was the face of strength! Before covid-19 took her, she was heartbroken over daughter's Nicky's death but she died never knowing her youngest son, John Jr, was gone. While she was fighting for her life at George Washington Hospital, son John Jr. was fighting for his life at Howard University, so tragic and sad. In one family, three deaths and as I write, her husband John Sr. and grandson, Donte, have tested positive for the corona virus. The President calls this a silent virus but today its not silent as a church family, friends, extended family, colleagues, neighbors from near and far all grieve and asking 'why'? Why did this virus take so many in one family? Why did this invisible virus creep through the Leake family and wipe them out? Why are African American and Hispanic communities suffering from corona virus? Why, why, why? On his Facebook Live, Bishop Melvin Robinson Jr. the family's pastor, notified church members of Leslie's passing. It was just a day before he notified the church family of John Jr. passing. 

A mother, daughter, and son all gone within weeks of contracting the corona virus! The 600 Block of Alabama Ave Southeast Washington, DC will never be the same, summer cookouts, 4th of July, Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving will never be the same because at the end of the day three souls are gone. It's like the puzzle isn't complete and you can never find the pieces to put it back together again. Leslie Leake, Nicky Leake, and John Leake Jr., you are our missing piece to the puzzle! We love you!

Victoria Gaither

Mainstream journalists can break their state of United Nations-induced trance and the first step is to investigate a massive donation that the New Zealand government appears scheduled to transfer to the UN.

National Press Club president Peter Isaac urged print journalists especially to start asking questions about the pending donation to United Nations, find out how much was going to be transferred, why, and when?

Stepping out of the United Nations thrall will allow the mainstream to return to the era in which it covered a diversity of opinions and attitudes.

As it was the subscription readership had been subject to a United Nations mono cultural diet of climate along with subsidiary and now demonstrably-flawed doctrines such as the globalisation one.

Shamelessly, United Nations having sown this distraction sought to link it with the Coronavirus pandemic which its entire apparatus had failed to detect in the first place.

The investigation into the Labour-led coalition’s past and pending contributions to United Nations would be the start of breaking the UN’s monopoly and obvious hold on the journalistic mind set here all too often seen by subscribers as a posturing one.

In practical terms it should also have the effect of keeping in New Zealand money needed for the welfare of its own citizens.

Isaac said that United Nations had been founded with the finest of motives.

Journalists in New Zealand especially had failed to recognise what Isaac described as the “policeman-becoming-preacher” in the UN transformation from its original peace keeping role into a self-serving propaganda one.

Isaac was talking in the context of the New Zealand newspaper chains themselves seeking donations or government financing in lieu of paid subscribers.

Some tough questions asked about the New Zealand role in financing the UN and would be a better option he said.

This was because it will signal to subscribers and potential subscribers a return to the era in which local imperatives elbowed aside showy international ideologies.

Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan Affiliates -- FCCJ consistently at Hinge of History

The Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan has affiliated with the National Press Club, reinforcing the New Zealand club’s international linkages. In fact, no other such club anywhere can claim to be so close to the hinge of history as the FCCJ.

The club began in 1945 under the occupation lead by General Douglas MacArthur and the FCCJ was again to find its fortunes hitched to the MacArthur star during the Korean War.

The club has been a consistent unifying force for journalists with its over-arching status across the entire sector.

It’s presence in Tokyo is also a reminder of the Japanese enduring passion for print led by the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of the nation’s five national dailies and which has a circulation of over nine million.

The club was a listening post for journalists covering the Cold War.

It afforded its members eyewitness status to the most remarkable economic surge of modern times and notably so to New Zealand journalists as Japan became the first and largest Asian trading partner following Britain’s original membership of the Common Market as the EU was then known.

The FCCJ forged an early reputation for the inclusiveness of its membership and also for the way in which it platforms a diversity of speakers. Our illustration shows Euro-Asian car czar Carlos Ghosn at the podium.

With several thousand members the FCCJ over the years has hosted members of the British Royal Family and the Imperial House.

Banished Botanist Dr Bob Brockie Revealed As Antipodean David BellamyDr Bob Brockie’s role as the antipodean version of his fellow botanist the late Dr David Bellamy was a discussion point at the 21st annual gathering for Central Districts journalists held at the Te Horo estate of the Morgan family.

Dr Brockie confirmed at the convocation that he now received journalistic assignments but now only on a bi-lateral or barter payment basis such as for a “bottle of wine.”

All this is a far cry from the era which ended so recently for the internationally-acclaimed botanist when he was resident commentator for the Fairfax chain and also the National Business Review.

The New Zealand division of Fairfax appears to have dispensed with Dr Brockie on doctrinal grounds, a process hastened by a Brockie column proclaiming that the Treaty of Watangi had “no place” in “scientific endeavour.”

This followed Dr Brockie’s lukewarm editorial posture toward the chain’s own ardently self-proclaimed uncritical advocacy of fashionable climate theories characterised by the candidly-proclaimed policy of banning anything contrary to this stance.

. Dr Brockie’s exile from the print mainstream echoes that of his equally flamboyant botanical comrade at arms Dr David Bellamy who, following his refusal to endorse the United Nations line on climate lost all his broadcasting contracts, everywhere.

In discussions at the gathering Dr Brockie, globally considered the foremost authority on Erinaceinae, the hedgehog, declined to specify if the bottles now offered to him as payment were premier cru, vintage, or of the cleanskin supermarket grade.

Mike Moore Had Built-In Shock Absorbers

In the modern history of careers there are few who can match the trajectory of Mike Moore who has died at the age of 71. Starting as an unskilled manual labourer he became for two years the head of the World Trade Organisation.

A regular guest at the National Press Club Mike Moore possessed built-in shock absorbers that allowed him to circumvent university education, and indeed, any real formal education at all, and yet attain the highest offices such as the WTO one, and the prime ministership of New Zealand, however briefly.

Mike Moore, pictured here being introduced by National Press Club president Peter Isaac on the occasion of Moore’s launching a campaign for a formal Constitution, was a constant communicator with the happy knack of an equally consistent ability to engage his audience, be they individuals or groups. His trademark was a candour blended with a humorous analysis of the driest of situations.

He was among the last of the authentic working class Labour Party potentates and a winning aspect of his persona was that he never sought to explain or promote his humble origins in order to draw attention to his spectacular rise in the world.

As ambassador to Washington his vernacular style accurately mirrored his country, as did his obvious enthusiasm to help out personally when the opportunity arose.

A curiosity about Moore was that one could never imagine him alone and thus without the constant human interaction, hostile or friendly, that appeared to fire his brimming energy in spite of much of his career being beset by his own anything but robust physical constitution.

In the event Moore turned any solitude to advantage by causing to be published boisterous political tracts in the form of books with titles such as Beyond TodayA Pacific Parliament, and Fighting for New Zealand.

His last communication with the National Press Club was two years ago in response to an invitation to participate in an event and in its way typical of his simple yet evocative delivery. It read:-

Dear Peter,

I must be quiet for another 6 months.

Sorry’

MIKE

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