Health Ministry accuses misinformation reporter of reporting misinformation

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Mar 29, 2023 |

A Wellington journalist who covers “misinformation” stands accused of doing exactly that by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.

Marc Daalder, who works for Newsroom, wrote a story claiming an anti-trans pressure campaign forced the Ministry of Health to remove transgender health advice from its website.

He said “while the ministry previously told media it had made the changes because it didn’t want to provide specific clinical advice, correspondence released under the Official Information Act shows the webpage was actually edited “in the hopes it creates fewer queries”.

Daalder reported that “at issue was a line stating that puberty blockers “are a safe and fully reversible medicine”. The senior advisor who asked for it to be edited said “the statement is no doubt true”, but that some people disagreed with it.”

However, in an unusual move, the Ministry of Health hit back at the story on Twitter, telling a user “much of Marc’s story is false, including the headline.

The website was not changed due to an anti-trans pressure or any other external pressures.”

The Ministry of Health account said, “the website was updated in light of new studies underway in Sweden and the UK, the outcome of which will inform the Ministry’s position on the effectiveness and reversibility of puberty blockers.”

It said “Manatū Hauora will always endeavour to ensure advice and guidance it posts to its website reflects the latest clinical evidence.

We have taken a clinically cautious approach to updating our public-facing guidance while the new work is being done.”

Marc Daalder and the Ministry of Health have been approach for additional comments.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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