Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ZenTiger Public Relations over Ethics

Home Paddock pointed me to an article in Scoop listing the Top 30 PR disasters of 2011. It is an interesting list, and mainly because I would reclassify some of these not as PR disasters, but as examples of ethical and moral failures. On that basis, even to label them a mere PR failure highlights that many actions are often weighed up according to how much PR damage they may do, and not what the right thing to do is.

18. Human Rights Commission Adviser Marama Davidson publicly apologises to Ngapuhi elder David Rankin for insulting him on Facebook. However, she then sends him a private email withdrawing her apology thinking no-one else will find out about it and states: “In my personal capacity, I completely withdraw in full the apology that I have made to you in public...you are not worthy of an apology from me...”

Assuming the summary is true, this one is interesting. The HRC adviser decides to issue a public apology, but didn't mean it. Therefore, they decided it was more expedient to be seen to be "nice" and less important to say what they mean. And I'd be interested to find out if the hatred that this person inspires in the HRC adviser.

4. Darren Hughes. In early March the police receive a complaint from an 18-year-old male [who ran from his house naked and distressed in the early hours of the morning]. Although Labour Leader Phil Goff knows about the police complaint for two weeks he takes no action and his office tells the media that no Labour MP is involved in any such complaint to Police...After being grilled by the media Phil Goff then admits Darren Hughes is at the centre of the Police investigation...He then refuses to accept Darren Hugh’s resignation (but changes his mind later on). Labour Party President Andrew Little only finds out about the matter when it hits the news headlines.

We see again the strong human reaction to believe the best in people, to think this is a misunderstanding, and therefore not act. The requirement to act was thrust upon Goff, and thus leaves people wondering.

16. Greens vandalism of billboards. Greens Party member Jolyon White and Anne Heins (the secretary of Green Party Co-Leader Russell Norman) admit to being involved in the vandalism of over 500 National Party billboards.

This was just poor form all around. Some of the justifications and excuses that came following this was not in keeping with the standards the Greens like to place on others.

19. Valley Animal Research Centre. Margaret Harkema of the Valley Animal Research Centre in Himitangi says no dogs have been dumped or disposed of on the property. A Campbell Live story shows that is clearly not the case. The media investigation followed complaints from people who purchased Beagles on Trade Me and then found out they were from the research centre and had all types of ailments (with some dying within weeks of being with their new owners).

Caught lying, and the damage is just to their reputation. Not nearly enough. Still on their website: "NONE of these projects has involved harm or death to any dogs. Under constant veterinary supervision the care of our animals is foremost." This might need updating. I've also written to the RNZSCPA National Office asking them what they are doing about it, since they appointed a representative to the Valley Animal Research Centre Ethics Committee, and I want to see which end of the dog the Ethics Committee operate from.

21. Hutt Valley High School. An Ombudsman Report finds that Hutt Valley High School failed to take violent bullying seriously including the torture and sexual abuse of students on the school grounds.

PR Disaster? You reckon?

25. Ruth Dyson. Labour MP Ruth Dyson uses tax payer’s money for a private trip for her and her husband to Ethiopia. She then agrees to refund the $16,000 once the media question her about it – stating she planned to refund the money all along.

Labour feature well in the list. This one is typical in that there have been so many examples recently of MPs being caught out over this, with ex-Labour MP Chris Carter leading the way and yet they still don't learn.

You can read through the list and decide for yourselves how many others stem from major ethical or moral failures. Again, my point is to view these actions only as PR failures becomes yet another failure in the way we look at ethical behaviour in our society.

Link: Top 30 PR Failures of 2011

2 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

Found the story on the HRC blow up. David Rankin has a point:

Public Face, Private About Face

Psycho Milt said...

He had even more of one a few months later, by the looks of it: http://business.scoop.co.nz/2011/07/08/commission-disciplines-staff-member-for-third-time/. He does seem very annoying, mind you.

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