Ponytail saga: Herald admits confusion but denies deception over waitress approach

The NZ Herald has responded to damning allegations of deception by an Auckland waitress over an interview run by the newspaper this morning.

NZ Herald’s Shayne Currie says the café owners initially thought Rachel Glucina was working on a statement for all media. Source: 1 NEWS

Amanda Bailey, who outed John Key as a serial ponytail puller yesterday, wrote a damning post on the Daily Blog today, alleging journalist Rachel Glucina duped her into believing she was a public relations specialist.

Responding just before midday, the Herald said: "Rachel Glucina approached the Hip Group yesterday after The Daily Blog broke the story.

"Regardless of any confusion over the initial approach, all three agreed they wanted to make a public statement."

The Herald statement doesn't address why Ms Bailey thought she was talking to PR consultant.

It goes on to add: "They also agreed to pose for a photograph and a Herald photographer was dispatched. They were told by the photographer that the photo would be appearing in the Herald.

The statement says Herald editor Shayne Currie also spoke to the owners of the Hip Group yesterday, following a call from a PR firm that had already been helping them.

"When I spoke to the owners, they told me they had initially thought Rachel was working on a statement to go to all media, along with the photograph.

"Given the situation, I wanted to absolutely ensure they knew this interview and photograph were for the Herald. To further ease any concerns, we took the very rare step of agreeing Rachel should run the quotes past the parties before publication.

"By then, no one was in any doubt that the article, quotes and photograph would be appearing in the Herald."

But Ms Bailey's version of events was very different in her blog post this morning, writing: "Questions were asked of me by Rachel, under the guise of a Public Relations expert working confidentially for my employer.

"And all responses given were with the effect of trying to separate clearly that the issue was a personal issue (personal, not political) with the way I had been treated by John, and not at all an issue with my employers, or their management of the situation, which they had not even been made aware of prior to Wednesday.

"I questioned my employers over her name and they admitted that, yes, she works for the New Zealand Herald, but she was doing this as a favour for them for their personal use and not in her capacity as a journalist.

"I made it absolutely clear that all and any comments I had made were given under false pretences.

"I later contacted my employers reiterating that I revoked any permission to use my photo or comments for any press release, and my disappointment that I had been misled to such a gross degree whilst having my identity knowingly confirmed with the New Zealand Herald at the same time."

Ms Glucina tweeted this morning about the claims, posting "this is utterly not true" and that she will "be responding in due course."