A whimper, a confidentiality agreement and a bank transfer — that seems the likely end to the Ports of Auckland’s dirty tricks PR campaign against its unionised workers [details here: Of bloggers, dogs and fleas. The Ports of Auckland’s ‘ethical and legal breaches’].

click to read at NBR

click to read at NBR

I almost (almost) feel sorry for companies who are ‘sold’ on the supposed power of ‘influencers’ like attack-blogger Cameron Slater by their PR flacks. It must sound so appealing. (Well, until you’re caught out and the NZ Herald calls your dubious actions ‘lamentable‘.)

Someone within the company had decided to hit back at unionist critics by way of the personnel filing cabinet. Someone on the industrial, human resources or public relations strategy teams, no doubt. Someone sufficiently senior to risk ethical and legal breaches to send a message to the union that fire would be met with fire.

Here’s the test: If readers don’t know the ‘influence’ is being paid for … it’s dodgy.

And on that topic, undeclared payments, I don’t believe the weasel words expressed in this inane ‘explanation’ from a year ago:

Cameron Slater interviewed by Russell Brown on Media3 Nov 2012 (MP3 file here)

(see details here: ‘As playful as he is psychotic’).

Some discussion in comments here.

– P