Investigate (magazine)

Last updated
L NZoctcov-copywb.jpg
The cover of the October 2006 issue of Investigate.
Editor Ian Wishart [1]
Categories Newsmagazine
Frequency Monthly [1]
Circulation 8,278 [1]
First issue January 2000 [1]
Final issue June 2015 (print) [1]
Company Howling at the Moon Publishing Limited
Country New Zealand
Language English

Investigate was a current affairs magazine published in New Zealand. It had a conservative Christian editorial standpoint and published a number of controversial articles. Many of the more notable articles were critical of policies and members of the centre-left Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand which governed from December 1999 until November 2008. It was edited by Ian Wishart. New New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser used to write a column called Eyes Right in the magazine, and his book Uncommon Dissent has been heavily promoted by the group. In June 2015, Investigate ceased print publication and announced that it would become a solely online publication; citing declining circulation and sales at supermarkets. [1]

The Christian right or the religious right are conservative Christian political factions that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies. Christian conservatives principally seek to apply their understanding of the teachings of Christianity to politics and to public policy by proclaiming the value of those teachings or by seeking to use those teachings to influence law and public policy.

The Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 10 December 1999 to 19 November 2008. Labour Party leader Helen Clark negotiated a coalition with Jim Anderton, leader of the Alliance Party and later the Progressive Party, and New Zealand First. While undertaking a number of substantial reforms, it was not particularly radical compared to previous Labour governments.

Ian Wishart is a New Zealand journalist, author and publisher, and the editor of Investigate magazine. He is a conservative Christian, a denier of the scientific theory of anthropogenic climate change, and has been described as a "professional controversialist".



Investigate magazine was established by Ian Wishart and his wife Heidi in January 2000. [2] The first issue was published in February 2000. In 2011, Investigate magazine underwent a radical redesign into a "HIS/HER" format with content being divided into separate male and female sections. This redesign received mixed responses from its readership base. [1]

Agent Orange production in New Plymouth

In October 2000, Investigate published a story of alleged chemical contamination in New Plymouth by the Dow Chemical Company's local subsidiary, which had produced the herbicides 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D at their factory in the city. [3] In January 2001 Investigate then published an interview with a former senior executive of the chemical company who confirmed not only that the two herbicides had been mixed to produce the defoliant Agent Orange for Britain's use in the Malayan Emergency and the U.S. use in the Vietnam War, but also that surplus drums of the toxic substance had been buried on nearby land now covered by a housing subdivision. [4]

New Plymouth City in Taranaki, New Zealand

New Plymouth is the major city of the Taranaki Region on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is named after the English city of Plymouth from where the first English settlers migrated. The New Plymouth District, which includes New Plymouth City and several smaller towns, is the 10th largest district in New Zealand, and has a population of 74,184 – about two-thirds of the total population of the Taranaki Region and 1.7% of New Zealand's population. This includes New Plymouth City (58,300), Waitara (6,483), Inglewood (3,380), Oakura (1,359), Okato (561) and Urenui (429).

Dow Chemical Company American chemical company

The Dow Chemical Company, commonly referred to as Dow, was an American multinational chemical corporation headquartered in Midland, Michigan, United States, and the predecessor of the merged company DowDuPont. In 2017, prior to the merger, it was the second-largest chemical manufacturer in the world by revenue and the third-largest chemical company in the world by market capitalization. It ranked second in the world by chemical production in 2014.

Agent Orange military herbicide

Agent Orange is a herbicide and defoliant chemical, one of the "tactical use" Rainbow Herbicides. It is widely known for its use by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. It is a mixture of equal parts of two herbicides, 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. In addition to its damaging environmental effects, traces of dioxin found in the mixture have caused major health problems for many individuals who were exposed.

The magazine then obtained a file kept by a former senior hospital matron in the 1960s and 70s, documenting dozens of bizarre birth defects in local children often associated with dioxin poisoning. The magazine published those pictures in its April 2001 issue. [5] A Ministry of Health report in 2004 found increased levels of dioxin in the blood of long-term residents of the area, but with no clear indication that this had increased rates of disease. [6] A larger study in 2008 of former workers in the Dow factory showed low levels of dioxin in their blood and no link between dioxin and health issues. [7]

Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds class of chemical compounds

Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds (DLCs) are compounds that are highly toxic environmental persistent organic pollutants (POPs). They are mostly by-products of various industrial processes - or, in case of dioxin-like PCBs and PBBs, part of intentionally produced mixtures. They include:

Ministry of Health (New Zealand) New Zealand government ministry

The Ministry of Health is the public service department of New Zealand responsible for healthcare in New Zealand.

John Tamihere Interview

The 4 April 2005 issue of Investigate contains an interview with then Labour MP John Tamihere. In the article Tamihere makes a number of allegations, including accusing Prime Minister Helen Clark of being unable to deal with emotions, that Labour deliberately lost the 1993 General Election, and that it is "very dangerous" to be in the Labour Party if "you're a free and independent spirit". He also is recorded as making insulting remarks about Michael Cullen, Steve Maharey, the gay MPs of the Labour Party, and about women in leadership generally. [8]

John Henry Tamihere is a New Zealand former politician, media personality, and political commentator. He was member of Parliament from 1999 to 2005. He served as a Cabinet minister in the Labour Party from August 2002 to 3 November 2004. He was intending to stand again for Parliament in the 2014 election, but decided not to. In January 2019, he announced his intention to stand for Auckland mayor in the 2019 election.

Helen Clark 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand

Helen Elizabeth Clark is a New Zealand politician who served as the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, and was the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme from 2009 to 2017. She was New Zealand's fifth-longest-serving prime minister, and the second woman to hold that office.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark claimed that rumours about her husband's sexuality reported by Investigate were connected to the Exclusive Brethren, after members of the church hired a private investigator, Wayne Idour, to follow Labour MPs and their spouses, and a letter to the editor from a member of the church was published in the Dominion Post referring obliquely to allegations published by Investigate. [9] Idour is one of the sources for Investigate's May 2007 story about police corruption. [10] Wishart responded by calling Labour's allegations a "baseless conspiracy theory", and said he had previously accounted for all his investigations into Labour MPs, and the Exclusive Brethren had not contributed in any way. "I wouldn't know an Exclusive Brethren person if I fell over one," he said. [11]

The Exclusive Brethren are a subset of the Christian evangelical movement generally described as the Plymouth Brethren. They are distinguished from the Open Brethren from whom they separated in 1848.

Preachers of Hate

The March 2007 issue contains an article entitled Preachers of hate, [12] alleging that Islamic terrorists have infiltrated New Zealand's Muslim community. The article was condemned as "negative stereotyping" in an open letter penned by political activist Grant Morgan and signed by well over a hundred New Zealanders, including many academic, religious and community leaders. [13] A follow-up article alleged that some of the signatories had not actually read the magazine article, despite signing the letter condemning it. [14]

Richard Prosser's 'Wogistan' article

Prosser has written the 'Eyes Right' column in Investigate magazine for 10 years. [15]

In his February 2013 column, Prosser stated; "If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you're a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West's airlines." [16] [17] Prosser further stated that the rights of New Zealanders' were being "denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan, threatening our way of life and security of travel in the name of their stone age religion, its barbaric attitudes towards women, democracy, and individual choice". Prosser wrote that "Abdul" should not be allowed to fly, and should instead "go ride a camel". [18] It subsequently emerged that Prosser's column was written after a pocket-knife he was carrying had been confiscated by airport security. [19] [20] NZ First leader Winston Peters initially said that he would not apologise for Prosser's conduct, that he had been writing in his capacity as a columnist, as opposed to an MP, that Prosser stood by his statements, and that he had spoken to Prosser about the article as the article "lacked balance". [21]

Subsequently, Prosser came under criticism from the Government and Opposition parties for the content of his article. Prosser stated that his intention had been to draw attention to the issue of passenger profiling at airports, and stated that his writing style was intentionally one of a "shock jock". He initially refused to apologise, [22] but later admitted his article lacked balance, apologising for the offence that he had caused. He stated he would not continue to write for Investigate. [23] [24]

Press Council complaints

The New Zealand Press Council has made two rulings concerning Investigate. The first, in 2001, concerned a complaint by the Immunisation Advisory Centre about two stories on vaccine safety. The complaint was not upheld, and the council noted that "Campaigning magazines such as Investigate aim to jolt readers into looking at things differently, and use hard-hitting tactics. It was unfair of the magazine to headline Dr Sinclair’s response to Simon Jones article: gutter journalism scares parents: health authorities, implying she had used that derogatory term in her response. However, the Press Council does not think that, taken overall, the Investigate articles go beyond what is acceptable in this adversary style of journalism." [25] The second upheld complaints by Air New Zealand about an article in the September 2007 issue of Investigate magazine headlined on the cover: "Exclusive. Air NZ’s secret flights. Why our state-owned airline is flying US troops into war". The Press Council criticised the lack of opportunity Air New Zealand had to respond to Investigate's allegations, saying "The editor conceded and apologised for one mistake, and sought to minimise others. Those mistakes, however, would likely have been amended or at least challenged had the magazine referred its story to the airline. The editor’s explanation for not doing so reveals a regrettable lack of faith in Air New Zealand that serves neither journalism nor the airline well. Good journalism demands fairness and the editor’s allegation that taking such a step would have led to his scoop effectively being sabotaged is disturbing." [26]

Shift to online publication

In June 2015, Investigate's editor Ian Wishart announced in the magazine's June/July 2015 editorial, entitled "The famous final Scene", that the magazine would be ceasing all print publication. The editorial cited several factors including plummeting circulations (13,500 in its heyday to 8,278 copies in early 2015), declining magazine sales in supermarkets, and a shift towards online advertising in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. The magazine's management had also toyed and ultimately rejected a plan to increase the price from NZ$8.60 to NZ$15.90. Due to high traffic on its website (averaging two million pageviews a month), Investigate magazine had decided to shift all operations online. Besides the website, Investigate magazine also operates Facebook and Twitter accounts. [1] However, the website is now only sporadically updated and seems to be little more than an aggregator website for news stories from more mainstream news websites. Investigate appears to have shifted to a new website called "InvestigateDaily" [27]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Ian Wishart, "Editorial: The Famous Final Scene", Investigate, June/July 2015, p, 2.
  2. "Company profile". Investigate. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  3. "The poisoning of New Zealand". Investigate.
  4. "Agent Orange". Investigate.
  5. Table of contents. Investigate.
  6. "Ministry releases blood dioxin report". Ministry of Health. 15 March 2005. Retrieved 3 February 2009.[ dead link ]
  7. "New health study eases dioxin concerns". University of Otago. 16 April 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2009.[ dead link ]
  8. "The full monty - John Tamihere interview". Investigate.
  9. "Clark fury grows at alleged slur campaign". The Sydney Morning Herald. 19 September 2006.
  10. "Idour denies being tape source". Television New Zealand . 14 May 2007. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  11. "Labour denies hiring private eyes to go through Nats' rubbish". The New Zealand Herald . NZPA. 23 September 2006. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  12. "Preachers of hate Archived May 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine .".
  13. "Leaders abhor mag's negative Muslim stereotyping". Scoop.
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  15. "Columnist to Stand for NZ First". Voxy. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  16. NZ First MP: Ban Muslims from flights New Zealand Herald, 12 February 2013.
  17. "NZ First MP: 'Muslim men shouldn't fly'". 3 News NZ. February 12, 2013.
  18. "Parties coy on Coalition with NZ First after MP's "Wogistan" rant". TVNZ. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  19. "Editorial: The man revealed". 18 February 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  20. "No apology over Muslim statements". 3 News NZ. February 12, 2013.
  21. Andrea, Vance. "MP's "Wogistan" rant too extreme" . Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  22. "No apology over Muslim statements". 3 News NZ. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  23. Vernon, Small. ""Wogistan" MP should resign - Islamic leader" . Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  24. Burr, Lloyd (13 February 2013). "Prosser says 'sorry'... kind of". 3 News NZ. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  25. New Zealand Press Council, Case Number: 847 IMMUNISATION ADVISORY CENTRE AGAINST INVESTIGATE MAGAZINE, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  26. New Zealand Press Council, Case Number: 2023 AIR NEW ZEALAND AGAINST INVESTIGATE MAGAZINE, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-05. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  27. "Where news breaks first". Investigate. Retrieved 22 April 2018.