Response To Incorrect And Highly Misleading AAP Fact Check Article

Written by:
1 May 2023
Response To Incorrect And Highly Misleading AAP Fact Check Article - Featured image

Dear Ms Atkinson

Response to incorrect and highly misleading AAP Fact Check article.

This letter is to respond to an article published by the AAP on April 19, 2023. The article is entitled “Voice comparisons with NZ tribunal are just wrong” and was published on the “Fact Check” page of the AAP’s website.

The article makes serious allegations that the Institute of Public Affairs’ research is factually incorrect, and that, as an implication, the IPA is spreading misinformation. Such false allegations have the potential to materially damage the reputation of the IPA. Assertions that an organisation’s research has been “fact checked” and proven “false” should only be made and published based on the most rigorous research supported by clear and compelling evidence. No such research has been conducted. The allegations made by AAP are supported almost exclusively by unsubstantiated subjective opinion rather than objective fact, and other “evidence” provided to rebut the views of the IPA are either wrong or in fact wholeheartedly reinforce the IPA’s research.

Even the most basic standards of competent journalism have not been met with this article.

As is demonstrated in more detail below, the statement that the Waitangi Tribunal has a “veto” over certain legislation is an entirely fair and reasonable description of the legal position and practice in New Zealand. It certainly is not proven “false” or “wrong” by the mere unsubstantiated opinions of other individuals, none of whom even mention or discuss the leading New Zealand authority on this exact topic. Indeed, the AAP article itself is contradictory as to the legal role and powers of the Waitangi Tribunal. The Tribunal is variously described as “a permanent commission of inquiry”, as acting “like a court” and as “a judicial body”. It is absurd for the AAP to assert the IPA’s analysis of the Tribunal’s powers have been “fact checked” when its own article cannot clearly describe its role and functions. Other claims made in the article are either similarly baseless, mere contrary opinions not evidence, or simply wrong.

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