“Dirty Politics” – the fall-out continues…
As the shock-wave from Nicky Hager’s book, “Dirty Politics” continues to engulf everything in it’s path, it’s worthwhile looking at the damage caused by the ever-expanding fallout…
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 1oom
Farrar wrote on 19 August (and later told Radio NZ) that he would be signing up Kiwiblog to the Online Media Standards Authority (OMSA). He would also be introducing moderation onto his comments board;
After the election (ie when I have more time) I am going to consult on a tougher moderation policy for the comments. I want them to be robust and forceful, but focused more on issues than people. I have very limited time to read them myself, so probably will ask for some readers to step forward as moderators. We’ll have that discussion in October.
Now personally, I don’t particularly have any interest in what David Farrar does with his blog. (Though I hope he never walks away from it. Despite disagreeing with him on practically everything, like Matthew Hooton he still comes across as one of the saner ones on the Right. It would be a shame to lose his point-of-view.)
It’s fairly clear that Farrar is pretty keen to distance himself from the noisome odour wafting from the National government’s ninth floor on the Beehive and from the even more toxic brand of “Whale oil“. Joining the OMSA and introducing moderation would go some way to demonstrate that distance and present himself as “above it all”.
The idea for moderation is long over-due anyway. Bloggers cannot allow any wacky-doodle, extremist material to be posted on their websites and divorce themselves from all responsibility.
Interestingly, as of 9.18pm, 21 August, the chairperson of the OMSA, Clare Bradley, has stated she has yet to hear from Farrar.
It will be interesting to see what develops on this matter.
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 2oom
It seems that Key’s ‘black ops’ man, Jason Ede has his phone off-the-hook for his former “partner-in-crime”, Cameron Slater;
Slater has been positively ranting at Ede “going to ground”;
“You are all claiming there is this vast conspiracy – it simply doesn’t exist. That Jason Ede is some sort of ringmaster? In my view, Jason Ede is squeamish, and gutless.
And the fact he has gone to ground and hiding and not speaking to anybody suggests that’s true.
My advice is front-foot everything. My advice is speak and tell your story. If you don’t tell your story, everyone else is telling your story with their narrative.”
It seems curious that Slater has taken to the mainstream media to make these pronouncements. Curious indeed… unless Jason Ede is refusing to talk with Slater, the National Party operative being told in no uncertain terms; talk to no one; open the door to no one; and answer the phone to no one, unless the call emanates directly from the Ninth Floor.
It must be frustrating for Slater to be calling Ede on his landline, cellphone, leaving messages on email, Facebook messaging – and not having the phone picked up.
Last resort – send a message to Ede via the mainstream media.
Clumsy and brutish, but aside from smoke signals, Slater has run out of options.
Has Slater woken up to the fact he is being “hung out to dry” by his former handlers?
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 3oom
Is it just me or is Key handing Judith Collins the fourth or fifth “last chance”?! (I’ve lost count.)
When asked by the media if Collins had used up all her “last chances”, Key’s response was a delight to listen to;
“What she’s on is on her last chance after what happened last time.”
Say whut, Jethro?! It’s like watching John Cleese in a classic Monty Python skit…
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 4oom
Well, it seems that someone is positioning himself for the inevitable leadership bid;
Once National loses the election and Key resigns, there will be a scramble for power in National (see previous blogpost: The Rise and Fall of John Key – who will be the next leader of National). It certainly won’t be Judith Collins – her “brand” is now so toxic it makes tobacco smoking and KFC look like a healthy life-style choices.
English’s statements are as clear as spring-water in their intent;
“It’s not a style that I like and I don’t participate in it. I wouldn’t do it, I wasn’t involved in any of it it’s not my style of politics, it’s certainly not John Key’s style.
I certainly wouldn’t condone an attack by a blogger on public servant doing their job.”
I hope Collins is not planning to sing “Stand By Me” to Bill English any time soon. It may not be his favourite song at the moment.
Perhaps more suited to the moment would be this…
(Well played, Bill. Welcome back to being Leader of the Opposition.)
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 5oom
It seems that Key has thrashed the strategy of “plausible deniability” to it’s nth degree;
“This is a cynically timed attack book from a well-known left-wing conspiracy theorist. It makes all sorts of unfounded allegations and voters will see it for what it is.”
“Mr Hager’s making claims he can’t back up and they’re not factually correct.”
“I think this is an over-hyped, under-delivered book from a left-wing conspiracy theorist five weeks before an election” – Justice Minister Judith Collins
See TV3 video here. Note @ 2.33:
Journo #1: “The IP Address went back to your office.”
Key: “Nah, I don’t think that’s right. It’s nothing to do with our office.”
Journo #2: “There was an IP Address that went back to your office and to the National Party, National.Org.Nz.”
Key: “Well, look, I don’t have those details. But what I can tell you is, that Mr Slater has made it quite clear, it’s nothing to do with the National Party…”
“He should knock his socks off and release anything he wants because most of the assumptions are now dissolving before his eyes,” says Mr Key.
“The only dirty politics here is from the left,” John Key told ONE News.
“All I know is that Nicky Hager is a left wing conspiracy theorist and makes stuff up,” he said, suggesting reporters talk to Helen Clark about her views on Hager’s Corngate book.
“He really is having a bit of a problem now because most of the assumptions and accusations he’s made are dissolving before his eyes, and I think that’s because he didn’t do what a true journalist would do; he didn’t go and check out the facts, he didn’t get the other side of the story,” Key said.
“He should knock his socks off and release anything he wants and if he continues to do that he’ll continue to demonstrate to New Zealanders that he’s politically motivated with a very Left-wing conspiracy agenda,” Key said.
Ms Collins yesterday confirmed she had given Mr Pleasants’ name to Slater. “What I was asked for was the name and the title of the guy and that’s publicly available and I’ve simply given him that,” she told NewstalkZB
“Prime Minister John Key says he can’t explain why “black ops” spin doctor Jason Ede still has a staff access card to Parliament.”
“I don’t know, you’d have to ask whoever is responsible for that. But it’s not me,” Key said.
“He works for the National party now, that’s all I know.”
Key didn’t know why Ede was at Parliament and he wasn’t visiting his office.
“You’d have to ask him. He hasn’t been in my [physical] office for years… He was originally a press secretary years and years ago. Again Hager’s got it wrong, he’s not two doors down from me. I hardly ever talk to him. Most of the work he did in research and communications was either with backbenchers or other people.”
Key said he doesn’t know what Ede’s role with National was now.
“At the end of the day, should people pass names, I don’t know… Labour does that too,” Key said.
Labour has called on National to release the name of a staff member who accessed its database.
“I don’t have that information,” Key said.
“What I do know, is that it is a series of selective pieces of information, many of which can’t be backed up.”
“At the end of the day we’re five weeks out from an election, people can see that Nicky Hager’s made a whole lot of things up in his book, (they) can see he can’t back a lot of them up,” he said.
Mr Key was asked if he was happy to associate himself with Mr Slater. “At the end of the day he’s not my guy, Cameron Slater … anyone who knows Cameron Slater knows that he’s a force unto himself.”
Mr Key said the Official Information Act (OIA) request did not come across his desk and did not sign off on it.
“I knew there were requests, I would have known because generally they say there’s a series of requests into the SIS or the GCSB but they often sign off on, well they always sign off on, things on their own timetable. We’ve got slightly better processes now, so they’ll tell me.”
Asked if he was aware that Mr Ede was running a dirty tricks campaign from his office, Mr Key said: “He’s been briefing bloggers, and of course he briefs people on the right, just as people I’m sure in the Labour leadership, over the years, have briefed people on the left.”
“At the end of the day, he’s not my guy, Cameron Slater … anyone who knows Cameron Slater knows that he’s a force unto himself, and the at the end of the day he gets his information from a whole bunch of things. I’m not here to either defend the guy.”
Asked if he respected Slater’s work, Mr Key told RNZ: “That’s not for me to critique his stuff.”
“They’re based on one perspective and probably a bit out of context and with a whole bunch of assumptions that either aren’t correct or are made up, and now can’t be backed up.”
On RNZ, Mr Key would not say whether it was appropriate for Ms Collins to divulge the name of a public servant, who was thought to have leaked information, to Slater.
“I don’t have the details on that on,” he said.
When pressed, he would not give a yes or no answer, adding: “People can see that this is a smear campaign by Nicky Hager.”
“What she’s on is on her last chance after what happened last time. But at the end of the day she’s also subjected to a left-wing smear campaign. And people will actually see that as well for what it is.”
Mr Key on Wednesday told reporters the SIS went through the OIA process.
“No information came from me.
“The SIS have said the request came in, [head] Warren Tucker made the decision and handled the release and it confirmed what I had said – Goff had been briefed.”
“I can absolutely, categorically tell you that’s not correct. There are a number of factors that would support my view of that.
“One, I know it’s factually not correct. Secondly I’ve checked with the director himself who says it’s not correct. Thirdly the Ombudsman has confirmed that when she put Prime Minister… they meant my office. Fourthly actually I was on holiday in Hawaii over the period of time this was all happening.”
However, speaking after a visit to Mt Roskill Grammar in Auckland today, Key said there was no contradiction between the video and what he has said recently.
“In the context of that video, ‘me’ meant my office,” Key said.
Key would not say who it was who was had been briefed on the SIS’s actions.
There was “no dispute” that someone had been, he said.
Asked if those who were briefed discussed the detail with Jason Ede, the staffer long believed to pass information to Right-wing blogs, Key said: “I don’t have any details on that.”
Weather forecast; cloudy, intermittent showers, and continuing strong denials from the Beehive…
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 6oom
Key says he wasn’t briefed on the SIS disclosing OIA information to Cameron Slater because he “was on holiday in Hawaii over the period of time this was all happening.”
Mate, don’t they have telephones in Hawaii?!
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 7oom
Expect Slater’s sleazy little blogsite to suffer an ongoing, endless, drought of “tips”.
Judith Collins may be sufficiently vindictive enough to carry on providing leaks, gossip, and personal information to Slater – but most other previous informants will suddenly find reasons to avoid him like the Ebola virus.
The risk of being ‘outed’ in any future hack’n’dump by an irate hacker will be one of Slater’s on-going nightmares. So really, only a fool would collaborate with a sleaze-merchant like Slater. Who would want to be named in “Dirty Politics, part 2”?!
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 8oom
Is it me or has New Zealand democracy sunk to an all time low when a Prime Minister announces,
The sub-text to Key’s declaration is fairly self-evident; his credibility has taken a serious king-hit and many (if not most) voters suspect that Key is not telling us the whole truth.
Note: my own discussion with apolitical – often non-voters – confirms that there is a strong belief that Key has been sparse with the truth. After one specific video segment on TV3, two people independently and separate of each other said that at one point he (Key) was clearly lying.
Anyway. It’s too late. Lies can be repeated under Oath. It’s called perjury.
At this stage, nothing less than a professionally conducted lie-detector test would re-store his credibility.
The Teflon Man is no more. He has been terminally weakened by his own ‘kryptonite’ – truth.
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 9oom
As the shock-wave continues to be felt throughout the country, and the import of “Dirty Politics” seeps inexorably into the consciousness of apolitical New Zealanders, the consequences were inevitable;
If Key and his taxpayer-funded party strategists thought they could “ride out the storm” – they were badly deluded. This is New Zealand’s own “Watergate” Moment – when the reality of National’s hidden dirty tricks operations is laid bare for the public to see. As the Herald-Digipoll reported,
More than half of voters surveyed believe the fallout from Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book will damage Prime Minister John Key – but only 11 per cent believe it would cause a lot of damage.
Today’s Herald-DigiPoll survey began just after the release of that book, and 43 per cent of respondents said it would cause a little damage while a further 11 per cent believed it would cause a lot of damage. About one quarter said it would cause no damage.
(Though how Herald journo, Claire Trevett, can possibly insist that the “Book fallout [is] not all bad, poll shows” – quite stumps me. She really needs to lay off the wacky-baccy when she’s writing up this stuff.)
This is politics that New Zealanders cannot abide, whether from the Left or the Right. (And which should serve as a clear warning to the Labour Party not to be tempted to engage in similar tactics: they will eventually be found out.)
Key’s consistent defence has been that “every does it”. He is again being manipulative and deceptive. No, not “everyone” does it.
The Greens certainly do not engage in this kind of Dirty Politics.
And – *Surprise! Surprise!* – the Greens are the party which have benefitted from revelations of National’s dirty tricks ands mis-use of ministerial power.
Expect further poor poll results for the Nats. They are in free-fall.
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 1000m
- political career terminally damaged
- credibility nil
- prime ministerial ambition terminated
Fallout Dispersal Zone: 10,000m*
Meet the next Prime Minister of New Zealand,
Photo acknowledgement: Otago Daily Times
* Dispersal Zone estimated to cover the entire country by 20 September.
Radio NZ: Blogger to bring in tougher rules
Kiwiblog: Some changes for Kiwiblog
Radio NZ: Bloggers haven’t joined standards code
NZ Herald: Cameron Slater: Ex-PM staffer is ‘gutless’
NZ Herald: Judith Collins on her last chance – Key
MSN News: John Key trashes Nicky Hager’s book
TVNZ News: PM challenges Nicky Hager to release emails
Interest.co.nz: Key defiant over Hager book and defends both Ede and Collins
NZ Herald: Bloggers revealed Hager’s address
Fairfax media: Jason Ede still has Beehive access
Radio NZ: No details on Hager allegations – Key
NZ Herald: John Key: Ede ‘briefing the bloggers’
NZ Herald: Judith Collins on her last chance – Key
NZ Herald: John Key ‘absolutely’ denies briefing
Fairfax media: Key’s ‘position correct’ on SIS briefing
NZ Herald: Greens spring in polls as National takes hit
NZ Herald: Book fallout not all bad, poll shows
Previous related blogposts
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 24 August 2014
= fs =
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