23 Apr 2015

Newspaper responds to #ponytailgate claims

5:56 pm on 23 April 2015

The New Zealand Herald has defended its handling of an interview with Amanda Bailey, the 26-year-old at the centre of the so-called #ponytailgate controversy, who was named by the newspaper this morning.

Amanda Bailey / John Key

Amanda Bailey / John Key Photo: Facebook / RNZ

In a statement added to the online story, editor Shayne Currie said the waitress knew the interview would be published.

The statement follows a blogpost this morning in which Ms Bailey criticised the newspaper's reporting tactics.

It was her second blogpost after she yesterday wrote anonymously about the events surrounding Prime Minister John Key's apology for repeatedly pulling her ponytail while she was at work.

More on this story

Ms Bailey, who works in Mr Key's favourite cafe in Auckland, used today's blogpost to thank people for their support following her revelations yesterday.

She said her decision to reveal the Prime Minister's behaviour was a moral decision to put herself second and tell the truth.

"There is no shame in telling the truth, and it's a lot easier to keep track of than a lie," she wrote.

"A lie would be claiming that I accepted an apology or spoke the words 'that's all fine, no drama'."

But she criticised the Herald for allegedly obtaining her comments under false pretences.

Ms Bailey said a Herald reporter posed as a public relations person offering to help her, and her employers, draft a press release to send to the media.

"We then waited for the email she had promised so that we could look over what she had penned and discuss it further," Ms Bailey said.

"Eventually a final statement would be agreed upon and my employers would personally forward that to any media. We waited. And waited. And waited."

She said when she realised the person was a journalist, she revoked her permission for the Herald to use her photo or any comments.

Newspaper responds

Mr Currie said Rachel Glucina - who has a byline on the story - approached the cafe's owners, who she knows personally, yesterday.

He said he personally intervened to ensure the cafe owners knew the interview and photographs were for publication in the paper.

"When I spoke to the owners, they told me they had initially thought Rachel was working on a statement to go to all media, along with the photograph.

"Given the situation, I wanted to absolutely ensure they knew this interview and photograph were for the Herald. To further ease any concerns, we took the very rare step of agreeing Rachel should run the quotes past the parties before publication.

"By then, no one was in any doubt that the article, quotes and photograph would be appearing in the Herald."

The cafe's owners, Scott Brown and Jackie Grant, have declined to comment.

Ms Glucina's brother Henry is the manager at one of the HIPGROUP's cafes.

He said his sister knew the owners personally, but he did not put her in touch with them.

He did not want to comment further on the matter.

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