Dirt and “Dirty Politics” yet to come

This is the third related post, following On Slater and dirty politics and “Dirty Politics” and On Hager and “Dirty Politics and dirty politics.

If Cameron Slater follows through on claims he has made then his brand of dirty politics looks set to continue, that’s how he sometimes does things.

Related but separate to that is what is yet to come about Nicky Hager’s “Dirty Politics”. Hager and whoever else has been involved in the illegal hacking of communications data have themselves been involved in some dirty politics.

“Dirty Politics” both exposes and practises dirty politics.

While Hager seems to have exposed all he has (or had up until the publishing of his book) there is an inquiry under way into whether Judith Collins was too involved in dirty politics – she certainly seems to have been to involved with Slater for her political good.

And Slater is promising that after that inquiry there is much more to be revealed. Time will tell.

He indicated what could be in store over the next few months in a post yesterday at Whale Oil – Fran ‘O on Key’s awful handling of the “Slater” issue. I agree on some points and disagree on others.

He starts with a dig at John Key.

That’s the point really.  And funnily enough, by not talking to me Key is totally off the pace on certain critical issues – including developments around Dirty Politics.

Key has been publicly distancing himself from Slater, which Slater seems to be annoyed about along with the demotion of his friend Collins and political confidante and ally, but I’m not sure why Key should be involved and “on the pace” with what may yet come out. He probably wants to be as far from it as possible.

Due to an uncritical media (if we are charitable), but essentially a media hostile to the government, Nicky Hager’s book does stand uncontested as the only, speculative, narrative.  For now.

I don’t think the media is “hostile to the government”, they investigate and hold to account both Government and Opposition MPs and parties, insufficiently and imperfectly but with the resources available they generally try yo be politically balanced.

This is because people like myself are tied up in legal matters that make it a wise move, for the time being, to keep these matters out of the public until the legal process has completed, and the results published.

That refers to “for now”.

You can take this to the bank:  Dirty Politics has only just started.  The case for the prosecution has been laid out.  With what is about to unfold, the case for defence will be as spectacular as it will stretch into 2015 and beyond.

He promised election changing revelations that never came out. He’s been hinting since the book was launched that he has much to counter with, although he has also claimed to be bound by source confidentiality to not reveal some things.

There will be (conceptual) blood on the floor.  In the sense of the game of politics, it will be glorious.

Typical Slater, revelling in the repercussions of playing politics dirtily. Most people won’t like the gory and won’t see the glory.

I’ve stated for a long time Dirty Politics was but the tip of the iceberg of what was, in essence, a criminal conspiracy to subvert the election of a democratic nation.  I know that reads like hyperbole right now.  I’m just putting out the larger framework of what is about to unfold.

It involves political parties.  It involves media.  It involves radicals.  It involves…

I’ve stated similar as a distinct possibility for a long time too. Hager claimed “public good” in using illegally obtained data. I think there’s a far greater public good in confronting illegal political operations designed to bring down Governments and swing elections.

My perceived powers will appear even larger than people imagine them to be, and a lot of bad guys are going to have to consider why on earth they decided to go so far as to become criminals in the attempt to destroy me and a National government with it.

I’m not sure if he is trying to ego inflate his “powers” or if he is saying that people will perceive his powers to be imagined.

Referring to “a lot of bad guys”, not a single opportunist hacker.

The detail of it is breathtaking, and if I wasn’t at the center of it, I would be able to enjoy it more.

I’m just waiting for the right time when speaking about it publicly does not present a negative to my own position.

He has said a number of times he needs to wait until current inquiries are complete.

From early this year Slater claimed he would publish election changing revelations but he never did. Perhaps the heat of “Dirty Politics” made it too risky, perhaps he decided it wasn’t necessary because the election was in the bag, or perhaps he was overstating what he had.

If you thought Kim Dotcom was a big story… he’s just a minor bit player in this one.

That’s a big toning down. Slater had accused Dotcom of being behind the hacking. After a string of posts linking Dotcom with Hager and the hacking on August 17 he posted BREAKING: KIM DOTCOM PAYMASTER FOR HACKER..

So, Kim Dotcom is seeking a reconciliation with Wayne Tempero and at the same time admitting he has hired the people responsible for my hack and the hacking and robbery of other people associated with the opposition to Kim Dotcom.

I don’t think that stacked up. A month later he posted a survey WAS DOTCOM BEHIND THE HACKING OF MY EMAILS? but And Dotcom had already responded to earlier accusations:

For the record: I haven’t hacked Whaleoil. I have nothing to do with Hager’s book. There will be legal action against Slater & co

I’m still tuned. Funkstille so far.

But it looks like Slater has backed of laying that blame on Dotcom.

Back to yesterday’s post. It concluded:

Media advisory:  It’s time you pick a side, like you did with Dotcom.  With Dotcom you got it wrong.  Want to play double or nothing?

Stock tip:  buy popcorn shares.

The media are understandably wary and weary of Slater claims and demands to pay attention to him. He is widely regarded as politically toxic, and also tainted with media.

Time will tell whether Slater has obtained credible information about who was behind the hacking and attacks on him and National.

But it’s almost a certainty that “Dirty Politics” is far from over. Slater will almost certainly try to strike back. And he does dirty like no one else.

Or maybe there are others who operate on the same scale of dirt in politics as he does.

Exposing it may help the cleansing our democracy needs.

On Hager and “Dirty Politics and dirty politics

This follows the previous post On Slater and dirty politics and “Dirty Politics”

Was the hacking of Cameron Slater’s personal data a reactive attack on Slater by one individual that happened to uncover information that happened to make it’s way into Hager’s possession that was a useful coincidence as it supported an ongoing issue of interest to Hager?

Or was Hager a tool used by a black ops campaign by political operators to discredit Slater and bring down the Key Government?

How much was Nicky Hager a participant and how much was he a pawn?

It’s interesting to see a sequence of events as described by Hager in the preface to his book “Dirty Politics”.

  • Dirty Politics follows my earlier book, The Hollow Men, which told the story of the National Party from 2003 to 2006 under the former leader Don Brash. This sequel describes the years of John Key’s leadership between 2008 and 2014.

The Hollow Men doesn’t tell “the story of the National Party”, it tells a small part of the story based, coincidentally, on leaked or hacked information from Don Brash’s office. Dirty Politics does not describe “the years of John Key’s leadership”, it tries to make a story out of hacked personal communications of a small group of people.

The Hollow Men played a part in ending Don Brash’s leadership. Fran O’Sullivan wrote about the police investigation of the source data for the book.

It now seems abundantly clear Quinn’s pursuit of Hager’s sources was little more than a polite run around the traps. But the police had no qualms about obtaining a search warrant for the Herald on Sunday offices to try to get hold of a tape recording of the exclusive interview celebrity sports journalist Tony Veitch gave to its star columnist shortly after his bashing scandal became public.

Or about trying to force TV3 news host John Campbell into revealing the identity of the exclusive source on the theft of Victoria Cross medals from the army museum.

Harry Quinn resorted to neither measure. Bizarre really – police use the full extent of the law to retrieve information from professional journalists. But a political activist is a no-go zone.

This is frankly unacceptable in a democratic system where authorities like the police should be expected to get to the bottom of what was obviously a politically motivated burglary.

While the way the Brash data became available has not been proven it’s of note that some claims are that it was a politically motivated burglary.

Dirty Politics being a sequel suggests that it wasn’t a one off reporting of hacked data, it was a continuation of an ongoing anti-National campaign.

  • The origins of this book can be traced to a political event in October 2013, when extremely personal details of Auckland mayor Len Brown’s sexual affairs were published on the right wing blog site, Whale Oil.

The timing of those revelations seem to have been to try and overturn the result of the mayoral election.

Ironically Hager wrote “it became clear the exposé had been arranged by his political enemies to try and push him out of office and replace him with their own mayoral candidate”. Hager timed his book this year to try to push John Key out of Government.

  • In January of the following year (2014) I travelled to Dunedin for a conference, where I met a series of people who raised their concern about Cameron Slater, the Whale Oil blogger and son of a former National party president.

Hager was a keynote speaker at Surveillance, Copyright, Privacy: The End of the Open Internet. Conference Jan 30 – Feb 1, 2014 at Otago University.

Across the Internet, immense changes are affecting ordinary users with urgent implications both worldwide and locally. New Zealand has been the test case for changing practices surrounding copyright, surveillance, sovereignty and privacy.

The conference is designed to create an engaged, cross-disciplinary and critical dialogue regarding the intensification of control and policing of internet usage, including both commercial activity and democratic participation in New Zealand.

Amongst other things it coincidentally looked at online privacy.

Another keynote speaker was Vikram Kumar, who had been CEO of Kim Dotcom’s Mega company but just prior to the conference became Chief Executive of Dotcom’s new Internet Party. Dotcom and Slater had had a long running feud.

  • The third experience that led me to investigate Whale Oil and the growth of attack politics was an account I heard at a meeting in a major news organisation. The point of the meeting had been to discuss Slater and whether news resources should be allocated to scrutinising his activities. According to one of the people present, however, senior staff began expressing their fears about attracting attacks from Slater on themselves and their organisation. By the end of the meeting they had decided to do nothing.

That a major news organisation would not investigate someone for a “fears about attracting attacks” seems bizarre, and if true it is somewhat eyebrow raising.

According the above conference bio of Hager is “a regular contributor to the New Zealand newspaper Sunday Star-Times”. Slater has had ongoing battles with media, especially with NZ Herald and senior journalist there David Fisher.

  • Finally, in this same period, Slater hit the news after making yet another personal attack. A young West Coast man named Judd Hall had died when the car in which he was a passenger crashed off the road. Slater copied a newspaper article on his blog and casually headed it with “Feral died in Greymouth, did the world a favour”.
    More than any single thing Slater had written, it provoked a furious public reaction.

The sequence in Hager’s preface implies this followed the latter two of the previous events. He doesn’t date his media meeting.

But Slater’s “feral” attack was on Saturday 25th January, the week before the Otago conference. Hager doesn’t say it but surely it was a part of his discussions there.

Hager then writes:

This time, apparently, as part of the angry backlash to his West Coast comments, hackers targeted him. A ‘denial of service’ attack was launched against his blog site, overloading his server and shutting down his website for three days. It appears that online hackers also gained access to his computer. Thus an insensitive comment about a car accident victim may have led to the long-held secrets being revealed about Slater and his political collaborators: right up to the level of senior government ministers.

It’s possible a nasty attack by Slater provoked a spontaneous denial of service attack to cover a hack of his data (apparently one commonly goes with the other). The attack began about two days after Slater initiated the outrage.

It seemed odd at the time that an obviously angry group of people on the West Coast would launch an unprecedented denial of service and hack attack on a blog site.

After getting Whale Oil back online on January 30 Slater wrote:

What was then unleashed was literally hundreds of death threats and a social media bullying campaign. Ironically their behaviour online proved conclusively that there is a serious problem on the West Coast with a feral underclass.

What I said may have been offensive, but that is not illegal. What is illegal is issuing death threats and threats to rape my daughter. Furthermore a DDoS attack was also set upon my site in an effort to silence me. Whether or not it was connected to feral outrage remains to be seen.

Yes, whether or not it was connected to the outrage remains to be seen.

It seems more credible to assume that it was a cover to launch a previously planned attack and hack by someone or some people.

  • Some weeks later, out of the blue, I received a package: an 8 gigabyte USB digital storage device, the contents of which appeared to have originated from the attack on Slater’s website. On the USB were thousands of documents that revealed different parts of the National Party attack politics, a subject that until then had largely been a matter of speculation and denial.
    This was very different from my usual sources – I have not used this type of source before – but I believe not a single major news organisation in the country would turn down such fascinating and important material. Supplemented by National Party sources, it has allowed stories to be told that the public has a right to know.
    I had no part in obtaining the material and cannot say anything else about it’s origin.

The hacker Rawshark chose to release more hacked information after the book release, first via Twitter (@Whaledump) and then via major news organisations, including the Sunday Star Times and NZ Herald.

I have no reason to doubt Hager’s claim he played no direct part in hacking the data.

But some of Hager’s claims here are contradictory. In the preface ot his book he says “Some weeks later, out of the blue, I received a package: an 8 gigabyte USB digital storage device, the contents of which appeared to have originated from the attack on Slater’s website. “

But David Fisher at NZ Herald quoted Hager in August:

“I heard a rumour about someone who had some stuff,” says Hager, whose books on spies have generated contacts in IT circles. “He already had a plan in his mind to set up a Twitter account and splash it all out there.”

Hager says he spent weeks talking the person into letting him see the material and use it to build the narrative which became Dirty Politics. The hacker, says Hager, gave him everything. “I’ve seen everything. I’m 100 per cent sure.” The hacker then expressed a desire to keep back some material for himself. “We kind of negotiated how much,” he says. “I said ‘can I have all the political stuff’.” Hager got what he asked for and so, the book was written.

That doesn’t sound anything like “out of the blue”.

Hager wrote:

Thus the National Government had the political advantages both of the friendly face and the attack machine. Naturally this would not work if people could see both, so considerable effort went into hiding and denying these activities.

There seems to also be a lot of hiding and denying of things with Hager’s “Dirty Politics”.

But not everyone remains silent. Two days before the launch of Hager’s book left wing activist, blogger and big noter Martyn Bradbury posted:

Here are my 3 guesses on his book.

1 – Right wing spin doctors in Wellington will be crying harder than Matthew Hooton post the Hollow Men.
2 – We won’t hear from the Taxpayer Union for a while.
3 – This won’t be the only time Nicky makes an impact before the election.

When his “guesses” were queried he responded on Twitter:

pfft – Nicky contacted me months ago asking specific questions which helped my guesses – the lesson is read TDB

So Hager was researching amongst left wing activists, as Lyn Prentice has also admitted an involvement.

Perhaps if Hager had interviewed a few people, instead of just writing a book of one-sided allegations ABOUT them, based on STOLEN e mails, and published at a slightly less cynical time than a few weeks before the election, he might not be in this position today?

[lprent: Based on reading the blog posts of the various people that were referred to in the emails passed to him. You really can't get much more independent that the actual actions of arseholes.

Plus doing a pretty widespread verification among many people who read those blogs and keep an eye on Slater, Odgen, Farrar, Ede, and others of that dirty brigade. Like me and the score of people that I pointed to and introduced to Hagers people.

Why would you ask Slater? He is currently saying that yes he made those statements in those emails, but that he was lying and bullshitting. What makes you think that he wouldn't lie or bullshit to a journo or for that matter the police or a judge?]

“Like me and the score of people that I pointed to and introduced to Hagers people.”

Prentice has openly feuded with Slater. He is not an unbiased observer – in fact he seems to be claiming to be very involved in Hager’s book. Again here he admits being a party to the investigation:

There was extensive checking done before the publication of the book. I helped with putting people in contact with other people. We’d long known what kinds of things were going on. We had just never had any proof of how much of an arsehole that Cameron Slater and his friends were.

It just wasn’t done with the arsehole perpetrators. That was because they already had a port of redress if the material was wrong. The courts.

Is that what you are offended by. That the arseholes of the local blogs and their puppet masters in National and corporates weren’t warned?

Idiot. If Cameron Slater or Odger or Ede or anyone else wants to challenge the veracity of the emails and the conclusions of the book, then all they have to do is to use the courts. It is called a defamation suit.

You’d have to note that they don’t appear to be using it?

Of course they will then be up for cross examination and discovery motions. I can understand why that isn’t something that they want to face.

Obviously Hager wouldn’t work alone on this. He claims he discussed accessing the data for weeks with “the hacker”. Prentice claims to have played a significant part, along with others – “We’d long known what kinds of things were going on. We had just never had any proof .”

Who is “we”.

How much has Hager driven this? He has had an obvious interest in exposing National tactics for more than a decade.

Was the attack and hack a spontaneous reaction or a planned illegal action?

The identity of Rawshark is of obvious interest, but it’s reasonable to be suspicious of who else was involved.

Many people bore grudges against Slater – not surprising considering his mode of dirty politics – and there were obvious interests in defeating Key and National. There have been many comments online alluding to using any means that would be justified in achieving this.

Hager claimed that “a very high public interest” justified overriding “everyone has the right to keep their communications private”.

The election result suggests that Hager and others may have confused “very high left wing interest in defeating Key” with “very high public interest”.

Political activists often incorrectly presume their strong opinions and aims must be shared by most people so achieving those aims by any means is justified.

After the Left’s election disaster some activists bitterly criticised voters for getting things wrong and for being traitors.

There seems to be much more to this story than one civic minded journalist who chanced upon some evidence that happened to support a long running ant-National campaign.

It will be interesting to see what else is revealed over the next few months. Revelations are promised.

This leads into the next post, the third of three on this. Will “Dirty Politics be uncovered?

On Slater and dirty politics and “Dirty Politics”

Since taking an interest in politics a few years ago I’ve spoken against dirty politics and abuse in social media. This has meant I’ve clashed a number of times with Cameron Slater, on Whale Oil and Twitter. I disagree with his approach to politics where he promotes and brags about it being nasty. I think political debate and campaigning should be robust but civil so we have totally different approaches.

On the other hand some of what Slater has done in social media has been ground breaking, innovative and successful. Whale Oil is now probably the most read blog in New Zealand and has grown markedly over the last couple of years. That takes a lot of effort so good on him for that.

I’ve had occasional direct contact with Slater on issues of common interest via email, that always seemed amicable.  But presumably due to me confronting him a number of times on approaches and things we disagree Slater has turned on me, and he has tried to do the dirty on me at least twice. When he decides to be vindictive and nasty he just is, that’s how he operates and he brags about it.

But while I don’t like his trademark style and I don’t always agree with what he promotes I agree with him on some things. Unlike what is common amongst political activists I don’t see people as enemies if they’re not friends.

I’ve disagreed strongly with his dirty approach to politics and having seen how he operates and behaves so when Nicky Hager’s book “Dirty Politics” was launched most of the content didn’t really surprise me. While there was some new specifics in general it was illustrating what I already knew about Slater.

There were a few things in the book that deserved greater scrutiny. I think the inquiry into things Judith Collins may or may not have done is justified. I await the outcome with interest having not taken either side. Unlike Slater I think John Key was justified taking action and removing Collins from her portfolios pending the outcome, as much due to an accumulation of issues involving Collins.

I should point out here that I’ve had contact with Collins several times via email and unlike most MPs she has taken the time to respond to queries and has willingly provided with information I have asked for.

Having said I disagree with Slater on dirty politics I want to differentiate between that and “Dirty Politics”. There are aspects of the book and associated issues that I find potentially disturbing and in this I agree with Slater. “Dirty Politics” would appear to involve some dirty politics.

To me Nicky Hager seems to have started with a premise that John Key and the National Government have had an abnormal approach to black ops and playing dirty, and he used a raft of emails to build a case for this. However I don’t think he has proven much apart from the already known facts that Slater and associates can be nasty and play dirty and that they have had some contact with Key and people who have worked in Keys office.

Confronting a claim on Public Address that Hager had never been proven wrong in any of his books – and proving him wrong or refuted on a number of things in “Dirty Politics” – led to a familiar style of campaigning against me that resulted in me being banned from there. Left wing blogs don’t like alternate views and especially don’t like being proven wrong, and a common reaction is to shut out voices they don’t like.

I share particular concerns with Slater on what has happened with the illegal hacking of his private information and how this has been used to not only attack Slater – he was always a big target for counter black ops – but was used by Hager to try and bring down the Key government, as it turned out unsuccessfully.

Hager’s credentials as a journalist are lauded by some by I question his methods with “Dirty Politics”. As has been claimed by others he has provided little hard evidence and instead has joined conversational dots to try and claim things I think are far from proven.

That the only specific outcomes so far are for the Key Government to be strongly supported to return for a third term and for an investigation to be instigated to determine if claims and insinuations can be backed by actual facts is indicative of the nature of “Dirty Politics” – in fact a common form of dirty politics is to smear opponents with vague or largely unsubstantiated assertions.

What is particularly concerning for me is what is really behind “Dirty Politics”. It is mostly based on private information being illegally hacked.

Was it a reactive attack on Slater by one individual that happened to uncover information that happened to make it’s way into Hager’s possession that was a useful coincidence as it supported an ongoing issue of interest to Hager?

Or was it a black ops campaign by political operators to discredit Slater and bring down the Key Government?

This is 1 of a series of 3 posts on this issue.

Open Forum – Sunday

Saturday 28 October 2014

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome.

Some basic ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
  • Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
  • Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised.

Fight against name suppression protection racket

There is growing opposition to the continued name suppression of sex offenders. A small but growing number of victims are confronting a protection racket for offenders.

Chuck at Kiwiblog has commented on a fund raising campaign to fight against name suppression that protects sex abusers.

I hope some on this blog will consider giving to this worthy cause. These brave women have unsuppressed their names hoping that it will help name their abuser. It may be a cliché but the the law is an ass. If either of these two sisters name the paedophile who did a short time in jail for abusing them when they were children they could go to jail. This law much be changed and hopefully a judicial review will help.

I believe Nicky Hager’s defence fund is over $60,000. Surely $30,000 can be raised not just for these women but for all victims of sexual and physical abuse.

He links to the fundraising of Anne-Marie and Karen at Givealittle:

Victims rights

Our names are Anne-Marie and Karen. We were sexually abused as children and need your help to ensure that all of our children are kept as safe as possible in the future. We were automatically given name suppression in court as victims of a sexual crime but now many years later we’ve found that our abuser has hidden behind our name suppression. We need to try and raise $30,000 to take this all the way to the top court of NZ if necessary to change the law around name suppression so that ONLY the victims benefit from it. Thank you :-)

http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/name-suppression-lifted-for-victims-not-offender-2014081418

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/252159/sex-abuser’s-name-to-remain-secret

The current total is $2562.

It can be a difficult balance protecting the victims of abuse but not protecting abusers at the same time, but this case seems nuts:

Name suppression lifted for victims, not offender

Two Christchurch women sexually abused as young girls have won a battle to have their own name suppression lifted.

They did it so they could expose their abuser and hoped it would be a test case, but it is a hollow victory because his identity is still protected.

Twenty years after the man who sexually abused Karen Beaumont and Anne-Marie Forsyth was convicted, they are still fighting for justice.

Today the judge removed the sisters’ name suppression, but not his.

“That’s gutting, absolutely gutting,” says Ms Beaumont.

By law their attacker still gets name suppression by virtue of the fact that identifying him might identify them, even though as of 5pm today they were legally allowed to go public.

“They are hoping to be a test case, to make it easier for others, but what it seems to be proving is just how difficult it is and will continue to be unless there’s some changes to the law,” says lawyer Nikki Pender.

They will now seek judicial review of his suppression order, meaning more court hearings, more stress and more money.

There’s another name suppression case being raised on Sunday on TV1.

Justice denied?

He’s a high profile Kiwi, who committed a sexual offence against Louise Hemsley in her own home. It had a profound impact on her but she was determined to stop the man who offended against her from ever doing it to someone else.

However, the justice Louise was seeking would never come. Her case went on in the courts for more than two years.
And the man – who pleaded guilty – ended up walking away with no conviction and permanent name suppression – meaning he can never be named.

This week on SUNDAY Louise bravely goes public to tell her story.

Capital Gains Tax versus Land Tax

A guest post at Kiwiblog suggests a land tax would be more effective than a capital gains tax

However, a capital gains tax would do little to discourage the middle class from continuing to invest in rental properties. A capital gains tax is not payable until way into the future, if ever, in their minds so would cause them little immediate concern. Furthermore, with Labour’s version the CGT rate would only be 15%.

I think Labour’s reason for setting it at 15% was to allow for capital gain due to inflation.

A more effective way to make residential property less attractive and raise revenue would be to impose a tax that immediately hits the pocket and is impossible to avoid.

A land tax set at a small percentage of the value of land owned, payable annually or maybe quarterly, would do this. A tax free threshold of around $200,000 could exempt the land occupied by the average family home while discouraging the pouring of more money into low yielding property.

A land tax would be better at reducing inequality and do less to discourage productive activity than a CGT or raising income tax.

Other taxes on the stock of capital such as inheritance and gift taxes have similar advantages. Such taxes were used in the past to break up big estates and reduce inequality. Any party serious about reducing inequality needs to consider using them.

A land tax is an interesting alternative. If it has a simple threshold it would be far simpler than Labour’s exemption laden Capital Gains Tax.

Local Body rates are already calculated off property values. It wouldn’t be difficult to use a similar system for gathering a land tax.

Despite persistent claims by Labour that a Capital Gains Tax would “fairly” clamp down on property speculators we already have a tax on capital gain for speculators. The difficulty is in ensuring it is not unfairly or illegally avoided. Inland Revenue has been working on improving compliance.

From Wikipedia:

Capital Gains Tax

The most common capital gains are realized from the sale of stocks, bonds, precious metals and property. Not all countries implement a capital gains tax and most have different rates of taxation for individuals and corporations.

Land Value Tax

There are several practical issues involved in the implementation of a land value tax. Most notably, it needs to be:

  • Calculated fairly and accurately,
  • High enough to raise sufficient revenue without causing land abandonment, and
  • Billed to the correct person or business entity.

A Whale of a mess compared

This was how Whale Oil looked after the first post this morning.

Whale of a mess

Amongst that the Daily Proverb says “If you fail under pressure your strength is too small.”

It reminds me of a Superstar quote:

“My temple should be a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves. Get out! Get Out”

That’s what appears to be six advertisements plus a “donate” promotion. There is more advertising further down the page.

Cameron Slater may claim to have the most popular blog in New Zealand – he certainly built it to an impressive level – but as the advertising and banning increases the popularity seems to be waning, going by the number of comments and the tone of comments both on and off the blog.

Kiwiblog is a contrast:

Kiwiblog home page

I’ve always liked Kiwiblog’s clean simple layout and it’s functionality. It’s one of the easiest blogs to keep up with comments on.

The Standard is clean and informative, allowing you to quickly assess blog content.:

Standard home page

They have some advertising further down the page and sometimes have an advertising banner but this is much cleaner and more informative.

The Daily Blog is more like Whale Oil with a lot of advertising and clutter.

DailyBlog front page

I’ve never much liked the Daily Blog look nor it’s functionality. Like Whale Oil it seems to be designed more to harvest clicks and advertising revenue. Both seem to be trying to emulate (and compete with) the old media model online.

Public Address has some relatively discrete advertising but is overall a much cleaner and informative look.

PublicAddress front pageThe “new kid on the block is On The Left:

OnTheLeft front page

That’s more magazine style with a lot of graphics but no advertising clutter and flash so is easier on the eye.

Back to Whale Oil – it’s not always that messy but the example at the top is common. Here is a screen shot of the Daily Roundup from yesterday.

Whale Daily RoundupThat’s another massive mess making it very hard to know what the post or the blog are about.

To be fair when a post at Whale Oil has more text content it doesn’t look as cluttered. For example:

Whale Oil home page

Like The Daily Blog revenue and click harvesting (which can be used to sell advertising) seem more of a priority at Whale Oil, while Kiwiblog, The Standard, Public Address and On The Left are designed more as functional blogs designed Oto invite readership and participation.

Open Forum – Saturday

Saturday 25 October 2014

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome.

Some basic ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
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Mana, Socialists and “the looming crisis”

A fascinating post at Socialist Aotearoa about a looming crisis, the election and the Mana Party – 2014 Elections and the Revolutionary left – closes with:

Revolutionary socialists must work within the MANA movement to be the most active leaders, with the most advanced strategies, tactics and politics, we must win our arguments through their strength.

We must continue to fight against racism, sexism and nationalism within the MANA movement, and call upon the movement to be the first to oppose these injustices wherever they present.

We must also work to win the most advanced section of the MANA movement over to revolutionary socialism and promote socialist ideas in general. Only then will we be ready for the looming crisis.

Are they ready for the Mana Party’s looming crisis?

Will Dave and the others at Socialist Aotearoa have anything to say about the revelations of the involvement of two convicted sex offenders plus one person arrested just before the election for rape of someone under twelve actively involved with and employed by the Mana Party?

Once Were Mana

As previously posted 3 News has revealed that three people associated with convictions or charges for sexual crimes have been employed by Hone Harawira and the Mana Party. One person closely associated with Harawira’s election campaign was arrested for rape of a child under twelve just prior to the election (so it’s at this stage an allegation) but still spoke at Harawira’s election night function.

Harawira is refusing to comment. The convictions, allegation and silence could all be highly damaging to an already severely wounded Mana Party.

In more ways than one this could signal Once were Mana.

Harawira employed his brother Arthur through Parliamentary Services with public funds – he’s spent time in jail for violent offences, including a sexual attack charge laid in 2008.

The Herald reported in 2008 MP stands by brother despite violence charges

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says serious charges his brother is facing, including indecent assault and kidnapping, will not damage the party’s strong anti-violence campaign.

The Tai Tokerau representative has vowed to stand by 50-year-old Arthur Harawira, who was last week released from custody on charges of assault with intent to injure, wounding with intent to injure, indecent assault, kidnapping and avoiding arrest. Suppression orders have been imposed to protect the alleged victim’s identity.

Harawira said last night he felt sorry for the person involved, but Arthur was his brother. “I can’t condone his actions, but neither will I walk away from my family.”

While one could claim that people who have paid the price for their crimes deserve another chance but alongside the other two cases this doesn’t look flash.

The second case involves Daniel Taylor:

The records show Daniel Taylor was also a casual Mana Party staffer

The records show he was hired by Mana in December 2010 and was jailed in November 2013.

Also from 3 News:

Prominent Far North community figure Daniel Taylor has been sentenced to five years and seven months in prison for sexually abusing young boys.

Taylor, 34, was sentenced in the Whangarei High Court today on nine charges of indecent assault and attempted sexual connection. His minimum non-parole period is two years and 10 months.

The Child, Youth and Family-approved carer pleaded guilty to the charges in September, one month before his trial was due to commence.

He has been in custody since his arrest in November last year after being denied bail on several occasions.

So he was hired by Mana in December 2010 and arrested and remanded in custody in November 2012. There is no indication Harawira knew of any offending before Taylor’s arrest, so this could be nothing more than an unfortunate association with Mana.

One News reported on the third case on Monday: Prominent Maori leader pleads not guilty to raping young girl

A well-known Maori leader in Kaitaia has pleaded not guilty to serious sex charges against a young girl.

65-year-old Patrick Rivers, also known as Mangu Awarau, appeared in Kaitaia District Court charged with raping a girl under 12 and two counts of indecent assault. The court entered a not guilty plea on all charges on Rivers’ behalf.

The charges are historic and are alleged to have occurred during 2009 in Awanui.

Rivers is well known in the Far North and in Maori political circles.

He was out on bail at the time he was filmed with the Mana Party on election night. Two days earlier he had been charged with raping the young girl.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is a close friend. Mr Harawira declined to comment on their relationship and the nature of the charges when contacted by ONE News.

A Herald profile says he is Harawira’s cousin:

He joined his cousin Hone Harawira, now a Maori Party MP, another cousin Labour list MP Shane Jones, and Maori Language Commission chief executive Haami Piripi in the Maori protest movement.

The charge is still before the courts.

But this combined with the other two who have been convicted is an awful look and Harawira should front up and address it.

Otherwise – Once Were Mana.

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