Phil Goff: “please explain” spleak

The media have now Phil Goff’s leaking of confidential information prior to the release of the Gwyn report, at the instigation of a “please explain” request to Goff after it was claimed and it was later admitted he gave information to journalists.

Stuff reports:

The inspector-general of intelligence and security yesterday issued a “please explain” request to Goff over why aspects of her report were given to journalists before it was released.

Gwyn said she was aware of Goff’s statements that he had disclosed some information concerning findings in her report.

She would be seeking further information from Goff and others. A conviction for a breach under the IGIS Act could trigger a fine of up to $50,000 against a company or corporation or a $10,000 fine and a year in jail, or both, for an individual.

Goff leaked selected parts of the report in an obvious attempt to pre-empt the publicity the report would receive. A classic spin leak (spleak).

Goff has a history of leaking – see “Goff is a serial leaker”. And that’s just significant ones that are known about.

Prosecutions for breaking the law involving politics are not common, hence the continuation of leaking with apparent impunity.

In this case it is very ironic as the Gwyn report looked in to the passing on of information for political purposes. It turns out that the report found nothing illegal about the information passed on to Slater, but Goff seems to have blatantly broken the law trying to set the narrative around the report.

Goff’s spleaking may have been counter productive anyway. Media and blogs got excited about the damage the report would deliver for Key and National and then the report delivered far less – and was called a whitewash by some.

Josh Forman and blogs

Josh Forman isn’t a name that’s well known in the blogosphere but that could be changing.


Josh Forman works closely with Annette King, his own emails show that.

Labour’s own willingness to play dirty politics team has now been busted. Their sanctimony in parliament is shown for what is is worth.

Andrew Little should very carefully ask some serious questions about the role of his deputy in Labour’s own dirty politics. In particular he should ask about the Health system information that Annette King is sharing with josh Forman and also the information that Annette King has regarding the EQC and CERA that was passed by Josh Forman to both her and to myself for the purposes of asking OIA requests in order to embarrass the minister responsible.

Slater has had some communication with Foreman, as posted last month in An Idea and a Challenge where an email was quoted:

Hey Cam,

Thanks for running my post about Bradbury ‘The Daily Poison’ on your site today. Generated somewhere around a thousand extra hits and counting.

I have to be honest, during the Dirty Politics saga at the last election I took the media line that you were a feral dog of a man to be true.

Funnily enough, since I have taken my time to read through some of your stuff, I can see that you are actually a pretty reasonable sort of character, most of the time, much like I am, most of the time.

For me, while sensationalist stuff may be exciting, I would much rather have a contest of ideas based on policy and general national direction rather than personality fights, and to do this, the centre left needs to engage with the centre right more, instead of constantly fighting off the deluded bastards the nip at our heals from their hideout slightly to the left of Leningrad.

Long term, I want to build my site to be the a centrist, though slightly left force to be reckoned, that can engage in meaningful debate with the right, instead of focusing on the small self interested groups that make a lot of noise, but represent a tiny minority of the public.

In my view, The Standard and The Daily Blog should be and be seen to be representatives of the tiny minority that they actually espouse the views of.

I would be happy to work with you to build such a blog, if doing so meant that you actually had a decent online adversary to engage with on a policy level, hailing from the left. I know it may seem like a counter intuitive suggestion, right working with left, but there isn’t enough of it in NZ and it may do us all some good.

Think about it, and get in touch if you are interested.


Josh Foreman

And a comment suggests change of status for the Slightly Left of Centre blog.

LOL, it seems “slightly left of centre” is now “please wait to be invited before you can see anything” (see screenshot). Is that the rattling of a gate being closed after the horse has bolted?

And a new post at Whale Oil: Josh Forman and his attempt to leak information from his government job

Little did he know that I had smelled a rat some days ago and set him up.

He details how this was done, then concludes:

Time now for Andrew Little to step up and instead of joking or going all feral like yesterday in parliament he should get some straight answers out of Annette King.

Labour have been busted doing what they have always done but professed not to do. Their sanctimony has been exposed.

“They still have standard bloggers on staff”

In a text to John Key on Monday Cameron Slater said “They still have standard bloggers on staff”. ‘They’ meaning Labour.

Lyn Prentice has long denied this has ever been the case, but while posts continue at The Standard from unidentified sources they will have difficulty batting this sort of claim away.

On Saturday I posted Attacker hides behind ‘Notices and Features’ and was attacked at The Standard for asking why ‘Notices and Features’ was being used for attack posts. The degree of attack suggested a sensitivity to this being raised.

Despite claims ‘Notices and Features’ was only used to “report” and not to post opinions it has continued to be used through this week to attack political opponents.

I would post proof of this but currently The Standard is out of action.

Prentice has also been involved in “Dirty Politics” and The Standard has promoted a one sided slant on who plays dirty.

Being devious and dishonest runs a high risk of blowing up in one’s face. Prentice may not care, he is likely to bluster on regardless.

But Labour should be very careful about how they deal with this.

“Dirty hypocrisy” is not a good look.

Key texts to Slater

John Key has released texts he exchanged with Cameron Slater on Monday – and admitted he made an incorrect statement in Parliament: Stuff reports in PM reveals Slater texts.

This evening, during the second reading of the Parole Amendment Bill, Key returned to the House to make a personal statement acknowledging his answers were wrong.

He claimed that he believed Woods was only talking about one of the reports, when in fact she had asked about both.

“On Monday the 24th of November I received an unsolicited text message from Mr Slater with a reference to the IGIS report. There was a very short exchange where I briefly acknowledged that text message.”

Stuff quotes from some of the texts but curiously leaves a name out. Here are the texts as published on Whale Oil:

The Goff leak (yet another) could blow up in Labour’s face. But there could be more explosions. Labour chief of staff Matt McCarten has been named as being involved in the hack of Slater in January.

New Labour leader is attacking Key on “Dirty Politics” strongly. On this he said (NZ Herald Key comes clean over Slater texts)

Labour Leader Andrew Little said there was “an air of unreality” about the texts. “Some of them look somewhat delusional.”

He scoffed at the claim Mr McCarten was involved in the hacking. “I don’t think his computer skills go that far.”

Slater didn’t claim the McCarten did the hacking, he said “he was involved in the hack”. Little and Labour are in very risky territory attacking on “Dirty Politics” This could come back to bite them. Hard.

Haka wimps

The All Blacks, Kiwis and other sports teams have performed hakas before matches. They were not always what they have become – a part of pre-match TV entertainment (for those who like them, I can take or leave them).

When the All Blacks played the Barbarians in 1973 they did a haka, but it is a big contrast with what they do now.


The dude on the left seems to be familiar with the routine. The one on the right looks a bit out of his familiarity zone.

And the one in the middle looks truly ferocious. Not.

I remember who some of these All Blacks are but on that performance most should remain nameless here.

Interesting to see them facing the main stand and not the opposition as they always do now.

Here’s the video:

Ironically that game is sometimes referred to as the greatest ever and it included what is sometimes regarded as the greatest try.

This video shows the haka and the try.

On that tour the team of haka wimps drew with Ireland, was beaten by France and was beaten by the Barbarians 23-11. The Barbarian game was near the end of the tour and they would have performed the haka in several tests prior. It’s not something that would have been practiced much by the look of it.

Open Forum – Thursday

Thursday 27 November 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.

“Goff is a serial leaker”

Keeping Stock comments at Kiwiblog on Phil Goff’s record as a leaker, the latest example the leaking of

Phil Goff was allegedly warned by the police recently for breaching a suppression order over the circumstances of the death of an NZDF member. Now it seems that Goff is responsible for knowingly breaching the embargo on the Gwyn report, in contravention of the instructions of Ms Gwyn when advance copies were released; potentially a criminal offence, punishable by up to one year in prison. Here’s how Bill English described it yesterday:

This is the man who leaked the findings of this report yesterday in direct breach of the confidentiality order that he signed, which states that it is an offence to leak it. So why would the public believe anything that the Labour members say about this report? This is the confidentiality order, and on the bottom it says: “Received and acknowledged”. That is, when you give evidence you sign it to say that you acknowledge that you are under a confidentiality order and that you acknowledge that it will be an offence if you breach it. Despite him personally acknowledging that, he leaked it.

Phil Goff is a serial leaker; “gone by lunchtime”, MFAT, NZDF suppression order and now this. I hope this matter is referred to the Police, and that on this occasion, it is decided that is IS in the public interest to prosecute Mr Goff, if for no other reason than to prove that NO New Zealander, even a 27-year veteran of Parliament, is above the law.

Will the media pick up on that?

Somewhere between Key and Goff/Norman/Hager

John Key hasn’t dealt with the fallout from “Dirty Politics” well. He has batted off many accusations, that’s normal for playing politics. But he should accept some responsibility for what has been played out of his office via Jason Ede.

Some of the claims against Key have been overplayed. Anthony Robins at The Standard in John Key vs the truth:

RNZ sums up:

Prime Minister John Key is refusing to accept there was a link between his office and right-wing blogger Cameron Slater, despite the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) watchdog finding his official passed on information.

Key thinks he can simple lie and refuse to accept facts. He can’t get away with it. Can he?

It depends on what “link” means.

Certainly Key’s office – and Key himself – have had contact with Slater and have used him for playing political games – and Slater has used Ede and Key for his own agendas.

But there is no proof yet that an out of the ordinary smear campaign was orchestrated by Key through his office.

Many of the mainstream media are not neutral bystanders here. They have been used far more than Slater has been used for a long time, by Prime Ministers, their offices and by other party leaders and their offices.

The question that none of them seem to be asking is was the collusion with Slater any different to what politicians have done with journalists for yonks? He may have received favourable feeding in the Goff/SIS case but one channel or newspaper often get political exclusives from informants. So was this much different to politics/media as usual?

And how different was it to Hager playing the media when he released his book? And since?

And how different is it to Goff leaking favourable (to him) parts of the Gwyn report a day before it was due to be released? Did he leak to all media equally? Or did he feed journalists who he thought would promote his spin best?

“Dirty Politics” is supposed to be “Key evil, the Left exemplary”, and mainstream media are aghast – to an extent at Whale Oil stealing their thunder and doing little different to what they have done with politicians for much longer.

I’d like to see Key and Goff and Norman to all own up to playing politics, and playing it dirty at times. Hager and Norman won’t think they are part of the dirty brigade but they involve themselves in gamesmanship, promoting selective facts and over the top attacks as the other lot.

I don’t expect Cameron Slater to change his spots, but they are polka dot in effectiveness now anyway.

Will anyone in the media take a step back and look at their complicity in all of this? That’s just about as unlikely as Whale Oil becoming modest and reasonable.

Somewhere between Key and Goff/Norman/Hager there is some decent, honest and balanced politics, but it’s not evident at the moment.

Most of the public are likely to see this as “a pox on all their parties, press officers, journalists and bloggers”.

Open Forum – Wednesday

Wednesday 26 November 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.

Judith Collins cleared

Judith Collins has been cleared of allegations she was involved in a smear campaign against former Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley.

Dirty Politics: No evidence Judith Collins acted inappropriately – report

Again the Herald headlines “Dirty Politics” when the dirt has again backfired or been grossly overblown.

Ms Collins resigned her ministerial portfolios in the lead-up to this year’s election after an email emerged that appeared to link her to a blog campaign to undermine former Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley.

Prime Minister John Key initiated a government inquiry into the matter, headed by High Court judge Justice Lester Chisholm.

The inquiry found that while Ms Collins had provided information about Mr Feeley to WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater, “there was nothing improper about the provision of this information”.

Today Mr Key released the findings of the inquiry, saying he received the report yesterday and wanted to get it out at the earliest opportunity.

“I am pleased the report shows no evidence that Ms Collins acted inappropriately.”

He also said he would recommending to the Governor-General that Ms Collins she granted use of the title “The Honourable” for life.

The “Dirty Politics” campaign always looked like it was making more of snippets of information than the facts justified. That seems to be how things are turning out.


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