NBR withdraws from awards over story ban

  • 28/07/2017
NBR
One of the awards' judges resigned after the piece was removed from judging. Photo credit: National Business Review

The National Business Review has withdrawn from the Ernst and Young business journalism awards over a story that was disqualified.

NBR says the reason the story was disqualified was because it was critical of one of EY's clients.

One of the awards' judges resigned after the piece was removed from judging.

NBR calls the story one of it's "finest pieces of investigative work in a long time"; a story by Karyn Scherer about photocopier and printing company Fuji Xerox New Zealand.

NBR's chief reporter Duncan Bridgeman says it's an "expose of questionable sales tactics and dodgy accounting".

"Karyn's investigation lifted the lid on an accounting scandal that has now seen numerous international Fuji Xerox bosses resign and led to $350 million of losses directly related to the New Zealand subsidiary," Mr Bridgeman says.

"With the awards tainted by the disqualification, NBR cannot participate further and has decided to withdraw from the competition."

Following Ms Scherer's story, there were calls for an independent inquiry into government contracts with the firm, as well as a Serious Fraud Office investigation.

Xerox is one of EY's audit clients, and it audited the company for five years while the "accounting irregularities" occurred, Mr Bridgeman says.

An independent judge on the four-person awards panel, journalist Rebecca Macfie, immediately resigned, in what Mr Bridgeman says was a protest "as the integrity of the awards went out the window".

Ernst and Young have been asked for comment.

NZN