Ian Wishart (journalist)

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Ian Wishart (born 1964) is a New Zealand journalist, author and publisher, and the editor of Investigate magazine. He is a conservative Christian, an opponent to the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change, and has been described as a "professional controversialist".[1]

Early career[edit]

Wishart went to Onslow College, and studied journalism at Wellington Polytechnic, graduating in 1982. He has worked for Radio Windy, Radio Hauraki, Radio Pacific, TV3 and Television New Zealand. [2]

Winebox affair[edit]

In 1992, New Zealand politician Winston Peters began raising a series of allegations in Parliament about prominent business leaders trying to bribe politicians. Wishart was assigned by the TV3 network to report on the case, and came into possession of some confidential business transaction papers that became popularly known as "The Winebox documents" because they had first turned up in an old wine carton.

The documents detailed extensive tax avoidance and tax evasion schemes run through Cook Islands offshore companies associated with an entity part owned by the New Zealand Government state bank, the Bank of New Zealand, and merchant bank Fay Richwhite & Co, whose principals Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite were closely connected to both the Labour and National political parties.

Although Winston Peters and other financial journalists and newspapers also had copies of the Winebox documents, it was Wishart who first identified the key "Magnum" and "JIF" transactions,[3] later confirmed by the Privy Council and the New Zealand Court of Appeal to be prima facie criminal fraud.[4] against the revenues of New Zealand and Japan respectively.[5]

Wishart continued working on the project as a special investigation for TVNZ, to be carried out in secret with the assistance of Frontline journalist Michael Wilson and producers Carol Hirschfeld and Mark Champion. The documentary was originally scheduled to air in December 1993, but was prevented from going to air by TVNZ management after the intervention of the TVNZ board of directors. Wishart and his colleagues decided to leak details of the banned programme to other news media, turning the blackout into a public issue.

The network was enjoined to an injunction forbidding broadcast of the programme, but the leak of further information made the gagging writ worthless and the documentary finally aired in June 1994 as a special primetime two hour broadcast. The revelations forced the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Winebox transactions. A senior Inland Revenue Department investigator, Tony Loo, subsequently told the Commission of Inquiry that he and other IRD staff did not understand how the transactions had worked until they watched Wishart's documentary on TV.[6]

Although the Commission report initially exonerated the transactions, the Commission findings were overturned by New Zealand’s highest court which found the transactions were prima facie fraudulent and that the Commission had made substantial errors in finding otherwise.[7] Ian Wishart published three books detailing his investigations and the outcome: The Paradise Conspiracy (Howling At The Moon, 1995), The Vintage Winebox Guide (Howling At The Moon, 1996), and The Paradise Conspiracy 2 (Howling At The Moon, 1999).

Part of Wishart's first book, The Paradise Conspiracy, was loosely reworked as a feature film, Spooked, starring Cliff Curtis and directed by Geoff Murphy.[8]

Post-TV career[edit]

After leaving TVNZ, Wishart covered the Winebox enquiry for the National Business Review, the Waikato Times, the Evening Post, the Christchurch Press and other daily newspapers. He has also written for the New Zealand Herald, Sunday Star-Times and Metro magazine. In 1997 he was named as the host of the New Zealand version of reality series Real TV,[9] which screened on the TV3 network. In 2000, Wishart began hosting talk radio shifts on the Radio Pacific network,[10] taking over as regular evening host in the 7pm to 10pm slot. On one occasion he broadcast the phone numbers of Green Party MPs and urged his listeners to make protest calls, jamming the party's phone lines.[11] Around this time, Wishart became a born-again Christian.[12]

Publishing operations[edit]

Wishart established his own publishing company, Howling At The Moon, in 1995. A subsidiary company was established in 1999 to publish the monthly Investigate magazine.

Wishart is the editor of Investigate magazine, which addresses controversial current affairs issues from a conservative Christian editorial standpoint. It drew mainstream attention for articles critical of policies and members of the centre-left Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand, particularly the interview with former Cabinet Minister John Tamihere,[13] which ended his prospects of a return to Cabinet.

Howling at the Moon has published 15 of Wishart's books, as well as books by other authors, mostly general non-fiction/current affairs titles.

Wishart's books are listed in full below. They include:

  • Eve's Bite (2007) [14] The book argues that New Zealand society is being "poisoned" and the Western world as a whole undermined "by seductive and destructive philosophies and social engineering that within the space of a generation have intellectually crippled the greatest civilisation the world has ever seen".[14]
  • Absolute Power (2008),[15] concerning Helen Clark's years as Prime Minister.
  • Air Con (2009) [16] The book argues that man-made climate change is not significant against the scale of natural forces, and that climate change is being used primarily as a revenue-generating exercise by the climate-industrial complex.
  • Arthur Allan Thomas: The Inside Story (2010), reviewing the murders of Harvey and Jeannette Crewe. In it, Wishart presented new evidence on the role of a police officer, Detective Lenrick Johnston, and suggested he may have been the killer of the South Auckland farmers.

In November 2011, Wishart published the book The Hunt, co-authored with George London, chronicling the search for two children kidnapped off a London street in 1981 and never seen again. The day the book was published, one of the children made contact with their mother for the first time in 30 years.[17][18][19][20] Lindsay Smallbone, the former husband of George London's wife, successfully sued the authors for defamation in 2013 over the book's description of Mr Smallbone as sexually perverse, voyeuristic and otherwise deviant. The jury found that the material was published recklessly, and awarded NZ$300,000 in damages. Despite the jury's verdict, the case is still ongoing over the issue of damages and whether the book will be enjoined, considered likely by commentators.[21][22]

Five of Wishart's books—The Paradise Conspiracy, Lawyers, Guns & Money, The Paradise Conspiracy II, Absolute Power and Air Con—have achieved number one bestseller status on the NZ Booksellers national "Bestsellers" list, while several more-Daylight Robbery, The Vintage Winebox Guide, Ben & Olivia, Eve's Bite and Arthur Allan Thomas-reached No.2 on the list.

Role in "Climategate" controversy[edit]

In November 2009 Wishart became involved in the "Climategate" controversy when he obtained confirmation that leaked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit were genuine, after reaching CRU's Phil Jones by phone. Wishart published stories on both the Investigate magazine blogsite "The Briefing Room" and in the online newspaper TGIF Edition confirming the authenticity of the emails, which formed the basis for other news reports on the developing story worldwide.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Wishart has married twice with children from his first marriage and from his second. He and his second wife, Heidi, are Anglicans, Wishart having formerly been an atheist.[12] He is also a proponent of intelligent design.[12][24]


All published by Howling At The Moon Publishing Ltd unless otherwise stated:


  1. ^ Hewitson, Michele (23 February 2013). "Michele Hewitson Interview: Ian Wishart". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Masters, Catherine (16 April 2005). "Reporter who became news". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  3. ^ The Independent Business Weekly, "Vindicated", 25 August 1999
  4. ^ "Judges' findings point to fraud in Magnum deal". The New Zealand Herald. 23 August 1999. 
  5. ^ NZPA, "Peters weeps as winebox findings declared invalid", 20 August 1999
  6. ^ The Independent Business Weekly, "Editorial", 28 April 1999
  7. ^ New Zealand Listener, "Magnum Force", 4 September 1999
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Watching our telly". The Press. 18 January 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "City & County Information, Town & Community Information - ePodunk - WordIQ.com". Wordiq.com. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "Hands up all those who listen to Pacific AND vote Green…". Andrew Dubber. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c Catherine Masters and Greg Dixon (16 April 2005). "Reporter who became news". New Zealand Herald. 
  13. ^ Ian Wishart (April 2005). "The Full Monty". Investigate. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Ian Wishart, Eve's Bite (2007) ISBN 978-0-9582401-1-6 page?
  15. ^ Ian Wishart, Absolute Power: The Helen Clark Years (2008) ISBN 978-0-9582401-3-0
  16. ^ Ian Wishart, Air Con (2009) ISBN 978-0-9582401-4-7
  17. ^ "After 30-year hunt, mother finds children snatched by their father". The Evening Standard. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "My hunt is finally over: 'Overjoyed' mother reunited with two children 30 years after father snatched them in bitter custody battle". Daily Mail (London). 30 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "אחרי 30 שנה: הילדים החטופים אותרו בישראל". Nana10.co.il. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  20. ^ "Breakthrough in abduction case after 30 years". 3news.co.nz. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  21. ^ "Major Defamation Loss for Wishart". Lawfuel.co.nz. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  22. ^ "Wishart defamation case not over yet". Radio New Zealand. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  23. ^ Goodwin, Morgan (2010-03-30). "Climategate: An Autopsy". DeSmogBlog. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  24. ^ "NZ Herald 27 Aug 2005 - Intelligent design - coming to a school near you". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 

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