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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow General arrow A review of Coastal Focus Magazine and its Landco article
A review of Coastal Focus Magazine and its Landco article PDF Print
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Articles - General
Written by Webmaster   
Wednesday, 08 February 2006
Coastal Focus magazine - cover You may have seen a copy of "Coastal Focus Northland". It's a 54-page glossy giveaway magazine. The magazine has been going for less than a year, I understand, and the present issue contains only 3 pages of advertising, although the articles themselves appear to be little more than puff pieces. I assume that the articles are, in fact, paid advertisements. To its credit, Coastal focus doesn't hide what it does. The magazine has a tear-out insert addressed to, "persons and organisations with news, activities or advocacy requirements that they wish to promote in 2006 pertaining to coastal matters."

The magazine's disclaimer says "The views and opinions expressed in Coastal focus are not necessarily those of the publisher, the writers or the editor." I applaud the magazine's honesty—This is the first time I've seen a magazine admit that its writers may not believe what they're writing.

Coastal focus has an article about Landco and its plans for the sandspit. It's called "An intricate balance" and it's written by Piers Hayman—a wildlife illustrator and author who has a particular interest in birdlife. Hayman interviews Bruce Waters of Landco and appears convinced that Landco will act responsibly. At the conclusion of the article, Hayman says:

The day after this interview, a colleague got in touch with me. "What about Landco, then?" she asked. "Do you really trust them?" I told her yes, I did.
Now, I realise that the article is just an advertisement and that the magazine does warn me about the author's porkies, so what disappoints me most about the article is the poor standard of spin-doctoring. Landco should ask for a refund! There's no attempt to give the impression of editorial balance. The readers are simply expected to believe that Hayman interviewed one person—a LandCo employee—and came to the firm conclusion that the company could be trusted.

Bruce Waters is quoted by Hayman as saying,

"Where we do develop residential land, we take immense care to gather as much knowledge about the place as possible before we take our first step forward. For example, at Long Bay in North Shore city, we have been working with acknowledged experts in the fields of marine ecology, geotechnology, sediment control, biology and archaeology, plus others, to ensure that we know as much as we can about all the features of our land there, and how any impacts of land use might affect the natural and cultural environment. For us, it is about doing it the right way."
I don't buy that for a second. It takes very little real journalistic investigation to reveal that the Long Bay development is not being done the right way.

It's fascinating how integrity can be bought and sold.

- Steve Marshall, Dunedin.
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