Gagging social media on election day

Now we have heavily promoted advance voting for two weeks leading up to the election, during which time campaigning for votes is full on, it’s more than a little anachronistic that on election day itself publishing anything that may influence how someone votes is forbidden by our electoral law.

This was originally an exclusion on media advertising or reporting. That is now extended to not only blogging but to all social media commenting.

Up until Thursday night (Friday’s figures haven’t been posted yet) the Electoral Commission report that 557,174 people had advance voted and they expect the final figure to be around 700,000.

In the 2011 election 2,278,989 voted. If a similar total votes this time that means about one third will have advance voted while campaigning and vote soliticiting was very active.

So it’s odd that the rest of us are protected from influence in election day.

The Electoral Commission states:


This guidance has been produced to help candidates, parties and third parties comply with the law by setting out the general rules for behaviour on election day and during the advance voting period.

Any activities (including advertising) promoting the election of a candidate or party, or attacking a party or candidate, are prohibited on election day before 7pm (Saturday 20 September 2014) and are a criminal offence. The full list of prohibited activities is set out insection 197 of the Electoral Act which effectively prohibits anything that can be said to interfere with or influence voters, including processions, speeches or public statements.

Summary of the rules for candidates, parties and third parties

On election day you must not:

  • Display any hoardings – all election signs must be taken down or covered up before election day.
  • Display any other election advertising – cover up or place away from public view vehicles advertising parties or candidates (this includes flags and bumper stickers).
  • Distribute any campaign material.
  • Distribute or display anything showing political party or candidate names.
  • Post election-related material online. This includes election-related posts on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. 
  • Take part in any election-related demonstration or procession.
  • Wear or display clothing that promotes a political party or candidate.
  • Conduct opinion polling of voters.

In relation to websites and social media:

Social media on election day

There are additional restrictions on election day.  On election day (from midnight on 19 September until 7pm on 20 September) there is a general prohibition of the publication of any statement that is likely to influence which candidate or party a person should, or should not, vote for. 

Election advertising does not have to be removed from social media so long as:

  • the material was published before election day
  • the material is only made available to people who voluntarily access it, and
  • no advertisements promoting the page or site are published on election day.  

If you use social media, do not post messages on election day that could breach these rules.  The Commission recommends candidates and parties temporarily deactivate their Facebook campaign pages to avoid the risk of supporters committing an offence by posting on your page.  For other forms of social media where others can post comments the Commission recommends that where possible security settings are changed so that other people cannot post messages before 7pm on election day. 

Posts on social media that are not connected in any way with the election can of course be posted on election day.

So as long as you post something prior to midnight on election eve it’s fine, even if it is prominently displayed during election day. But you supposedly can’t post anything on election day.

While most of the Electoral Commission advice relates to parties and candidates “a general prohibition of the publication of any statement that is likely to influence which candidate or party a person should, or should not, vote for” implies that these gagging rules apply to everyone.

To an extent this is understandable, if individuals were allowed to promote party and candidate voting then parties would find ways to sneak around the rules.

But when an increasingly large proportion of people vote while campaigning is in full swing this seems anachronistic.

I wasn’t going to tell you who you should vote for anyway. Just make an effort to vote if you are inclined towards voting.

Was accessing Labour data illegal?

The accessing of illegal data on a Labour Party server was extensively debated when it happened three years ago. Nicky Hager’s ‘Dirty Politics’ book has re-ignited the debate. Was it illegal?

Discussions revealed by @Whaledump between Cameron Sklater and Aaron Bhatnagar show that they were aware of the possibility it would be seen as hacking.

Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:40am

this will be massive

just have to be careful to cover accusations of hacking


Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:42am

hacking, they might try and accuse you of holding credit card data illgeally.

possibly abuse of spam or privacy laws.

maybe you post all the info for everyone to see on your Wikileaks site
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:42am

yep…got all those…i won’t publish any files

hmmm…maybe i do

a kiwileaks
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:43am

Wikileaks…. of course.
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:43am

that domain is taken

but hey

All relevant dump data is below.

The legality is disputed by lawyers. There appears to be no legal precedent so there’s uncertainty what a court would find. This is well covered by lawyer Jono Natusch in WAS A CRIME COMMITTED WHEN SLATER ACCESSED LABOUR’S COMPUTER SYSTEM?

He concludes:

Nonetheless, regardless of whether we’ve all got authorisation to access the Labour Party website, Slater’s posts of the time, and Ede’s Facebook/email correspondence with Slater, make it plain that they knew they were accessing something that the Labour Party did not want accessed by the general public.

To me, that clearly brings s 252(2) into play – you’ve got authorisation to surf the Labour Party website, but when you stumble on (or are tipped off about) a publicly accessible backdoor route into membership and donation databases, it should be obvious that you’ve gone beyond the purpose of access, thus negating the right of access you previously had.

Frankly, I don’t think Graeme Edgeler’s proposed defence would fly.

Which means we now await the outcome of the Police complaint, and see who they agree with…

Regardless of the law I don’t think there’s any doubt about the dirty and damaging intent.

This may or may not be judged in a court but the actions and discussions of Slater and Bhatnagar should be deplored on decency and democratic grounds.

And I think John Key has made a major error of judgment refusing to condemn this and other examples of a deluge of despicable politicking.

Facebook discussions as released by @Whaledump:

June 3, 2011
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:34am

That website info will hit soon. Watch teh damage that ensues
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:34am

I’ve been meaning to ask you!


when do you run it?
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:35am

been working thru it all

making videos

was going to do it this week but goff is away

far better to do it when the putz is back
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:35am

probably over 3 gigs of stuff on it all compacted ?

what are the vids of?
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:35am

the most damaging is the 18000 emails

and the Credit card transactions
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:35am

fuck me, I hadn’t been that forensic myself

this will be huge
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:36am

got the whole of their email database
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:36am

oh no

Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:36am

plus the civicrm stuff…the backup weren’t encrypted…rebuilding it now
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:36am

this is violence writ large

could cause multiple heads to roll
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:36am

i think some teaser videos of screenshots and stuff drip fed over a few days

then drop the bomb say wed morning so general debate is awesome
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:37am


I knew there was heaps there, but I hadn’t actually leached it all

Credit card info? That’s insane. Labour will be ruined
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:38am

got tbeir donations for two months
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:38am

no way
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:38am

no wonder they are doing soc med stuff…they are broke]

the privacy act breaches in the collation of the emails is massive
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:38am

I’m sure Chaos and Mayhem ltd will find a way to use all this left wing online data
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:38am

got First name, Last Name and email

in 3 files

main labour mail list
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:39am

could set back the online left wing community for 3 years
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:39am

aECE campaign supporters

which is mostly teachers
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:39am

do the Nats know?
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:39am

using school email addresses
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:39am

I’ve told no one
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:39am

and don’t

working with senior nats for release
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:39am

I wouldn’t wreck what might potentially be your greatest story
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:40am

this will be massive

just have to be careful to cover accusations of hacking
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:40am

NBut wouldn’t mind a wee wink and nod one day in appreciation
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:40am

will do
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:40am

It’s all open

open door.

you’ve made my night

Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:41am

yep…but i need to make sure when the story drops that i cover all that off so it makes labour explain…they will lie then i hit them again

they lie again and i hit them again

i’m working all the possible defences out and going to pre-empt them
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:42am

hacking, they might try and accuse you of holding credit card data illgeally.

possibly abuse of spam or privacy laws.

maybe you post all the info for everyone to see on your Wikileaks site
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:42am

yep…got all those…i won’t publish any files

hmmm…maybe i do

a kiwileaks
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:43am

Wikileaks…. of course.
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:43am

that domain is taken

but hey

publish their database files
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:43am

so everyone knows you have evrything.

Drip feed the files slowly onto an anon server

Point the media there.
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:44am

or just upload everything to an anon server…and then drop the bomb and set them off


the media are far oo lazy to do what i have already done…so prob best to package it into bite size pieces.
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:45am

I think slowly torturing them is better.

agree. Link to the file. Provide the precis so the media know what to look for, bingo
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:45am

this is going to bite big time
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:46am

what did you think when you found all this info?
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:46am

force labour to answer hard questions about data privacy

force them to audit, review and perhaps even change their systems
Aaron Bhatnagar, 6/3, 9:46am

At the very least, Labour’s IT person will have to resign in disgrace. Arguably the Chief of Staff too.
Cameron Slater, 6/3, 9:46am

i thought I couldn’t believe they would be so stupid…its what National would ahve done

possibly their campaign manager…who is busy trying to beat me in a cycle race

Hoax Collins resignation

Duncan Garner at Radio Live has posted what appears to be a hoax resignation letter from Judith Collins. Colins has tweeted:

Screen shots:

Collins resignation hoax


Collins hoax resignation letter

 RadioLive has now updated the headline: Judith Collins resignation, written by Duncan Garner

Collins resignation hoax new headline

 Very poorly done by Garner and by RadioLive.

It’s called satire, Judith. Not dirt.

Very borderline.

Kiwiblog steps up

David Farrar has stepped up to a major challenge and is promising improvements at Kiwiblog – see Some changes for Kiwiblog.

Farrar has always been one of the most open bloggers on disclosure, and he is are taking that even further. 

I receive up to a dozen unsolicited e-mails a day, suggesting stories to me. Most are from people who are not politicians or staff – just ordinary readers. Some are just links to stories, some make some points on a topical issue. I sometimes quote these e-mails in posts. I have always been very careful to distinguish between content I write, and content people may send me (which I quote as coming from a reader). But I’m going to go a further step and if any content substantially comes from a parliamentary, or political party staffer, source I will state so when using it. I will not name individuals, but if I quote someone I will include information on their affiliations, when relevant. You will find this is very infrequently.

The comments and commenters at Kiwiblog have a reputation for being many things, usually negative. There’s no doubt it can be a very abusive and insenstitive forum at times. Amongst the noise there are also many very worthwhile and interesting comments and commenters, but reputation focuses mainly on the worst.

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.

Moderation can be very time consuming, a difficult beast to confront. It’s a REAL SHAME that more responsibility and respect isn’t shown by commenters who are guests on Kiwiblog. This will be a challenge but it’s worth doing.

Farrar is setting a higher standard for himself – now it will be interesting to see if the blogs to the left who have been busy claiming they are not as bad as those on the right step up and follow your example.

As Bunji has just posted at The Standard – Left wing blogs aren’t “the same”.

No, they are not the same. Are they willing to up their standards too? What about it lprent? 

UPDATE: Already The Standard has indicated where they stand on this, showing their hypocrisy in claiming the moral high ground – No Changes for Kiwiblog.

Whoever wrote and posted that didn’t even have the guts to disclose their name or pseudonym.

@Whaledump looks fishy

A new Twitter account called @Whaledump has been linked to the source of Hager’s hack material and is promising ‘Small dump coming today’. But something looks fishy. Their profile:



A wholly pnwed subsidary of C&M Ltd. 9284C4A9EB9268918E03313DCDAD5C12EFF3D467

Flat 3b, 3 Hans Crescent

Mega is a company started by Kim Dotcom, it seems ludicrous to be that open about links to him.

David Fisher seems to have been taken in hook and line – Hacker comes forward: I’ll publish more material on Twitter @whaledump

Documents described as detailed email transcripts of conversations between Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater and his anonymous sources have been provided to the Herald by an individual claiming to have hacked the website.

The person who provided the information says they are Nicky Hager’s source for his Dirty Politics book and further information will be made public today through the Twitter handle @whaledump.

The Herald has been in communication with the person claiming to be the hacker for a week.

The hacker made contact with the Herald after Hager announced a book would be published but made no comment about its contents until it was released.

The Herald sought additional information from the hacker to prove claims they were the person who had hacked Slater’s website.

The information, which was provided yesterday, showed a range of details which could be directly linked to Slater.

@Whaledump is following a school of reef journos, a few of the protagonists in the Hager saga – and @TheCivilianNZ

But the Herald explains the profile:

The information provided through the link is hosted on the encrypted Mega website set up by Kim Dotcom, who has denied any link to the hacking. Dotcom’s Mega website – which is open for public use – allows secure encryption for users, giving the hacker a layer of protection.

The Twitter handle carries the address 3 Hans Cres – the address of the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is exiled.

A lot of game playing going on.
Take from that what you like.

Key links to dirty politics confronted

On Radio New Zealand Guyon Espiner has strongly challenged John Key of his stance and apparent acceptance of dirty politics as played by Cameron Slater on Whale Oil.

This is a compelling interview. When I get time I’ll look at it in more detail.

Prime Minister stands by minister and staff

Originally aired on Morning Report, Monday 18 August 2014

Five days on from the release of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, the Prime Minister has told Morning Report he is standing behind his staff and ministers.

I have tweeted:

Thanks @GuyonEspiner for that interview with @johnkeypm – questions that needed asking and deserve better answers @rnz_news

See also Key’s reasonable point about the left being left out of Hager’s book but again sidestepping responsibility for National’s part in dirty politics:

PM says Dirty Politics book omits the left

John Key says if Mr Hager’s book was a serious attempt to look at politics, it would have shown Labour’s up to its eyeballs in the same activities.

That Labour do it to is a very poor stance by the Prime Minister. He should set standards, not accept that dirt in politics is ok.

Key is avoiding responsibility, he is complicit at least by association.

TRANSCRIPT: (from The Standard)

KEY: What we do know is, you know, you’ve got a a book that’s pretty selective, in its in its emails and they’re based on one perspective. And probably a bit out of context and with a whole bunch of assumptions that are either aren’t correct or are made up and now can’t be backed up.  But whose behind it? You have to go and ask yourself the question, “Who has the motivation? And who has the capabilities?” The answer is I, I don’t know the answer to those.

ESPINER: Well let’s have a look at some of those specifics in the book. Cameron Slater gets an OIA request granted from the SIS which embarrasses Phil Goff. It’s approved in a few days, which is unheard of for information to be released that quickly, especially from the highly sensitive SIS.

KEY: Well

ESPINER: Did that did that request come across your desk?

KEY: No.

ESPINER: So you’re the minister responsible for the SIS, yet you did not sign off on that request?

KEY: No.

ESPINER: You had no knowledge that a request had been made?

KEY: I knew there were requests cause, you know, I would have known cause generally they say, you know, there’s a series of requests into the into the SIS or the GCSB, but they often sign off on, well they would sign off on things on their own timetable. We’ve got slightly better processes now so they’ll tell me.

ESPINER: So, you had, I mean this is very unusual for a minister

KEY: No.

ESPINER:  not to get, not to get OIA requests put by them before they go out.

KEY: Not always, to be honest. Sometimes I I myself am amazed the stuff I see on the paper that’s been released under the SIS.  But, look, at the end of the day, I mean Phil Goff made either a genuine mistake, or he was incompetent. This is an issue from 3 years ago which probably most voters aren’t that interested in talking now but

ESPINER: So, why did Cameron Slater get the information that the general media sought, asked for, and didn’t get?

KEY: Well, you’d have to ask the SIS that. It must be to do with the way the request was written. But, and I think he actually didn’t get the information. I, look I can’t remember cause it was so many years ago now, but I think he got the [type?] of what was in there. But that was because Warren Tucker did brief him. I was saying that publicly Warren Tucker briefed him. I was saying everywhere, because we knew he was briefed on the issue. Now he either just genuinely forgot, or he was incompetent and didn’t realise it.  But what ultimately happened there, was that he was wrong, and Warren knew he was wrong and was, maybe he was offended by it but it was a pretty simple thing so he released it. Lots of OIAs go out quite quickly. It was nothing to do with me.

EPSINER: OK.  The accessing of the Labour Party computer. You have said it is OK for Jason Ede to have looked and poked around in that material.

KEY: Well, could I jus, firstly there’s a few assumptions in that in that whole thing. One as I understand it, [?] rehash the whole thing. But one is that you know somehow National hacked into the thing. That that’s just not true. Secondly it was nothing to do with us in terms of, you know, the initial sort of thing.  My understanding of it, only because generally

ESPINER: Yes but, but you, but you have conceded you think it’s OK for Jason Ede to have been looking around in that material.

KEY: Yeah, I do. Because there’s the, the point here was that there was no hacking of anything. Obviously a couple of these guys, one of which includes Cameron Slater worked out.

ESPINER: But it was supposed to be private material though isn’t it?

KEY: No.

ESPEINER: But you think it’s OK for one of your staff members to go looking around in it, even if it was mistakenly improperly secured.

KEY: So are you genuinely saying Guyon, if National made a bit of a mistake, and on its website, where people can donate to us or where there’s a there’s information about our members, if we, if we took our security off, made a mistake and left it open, and that a left wing blogger became aware of that, very much like

ESPINER: No, your own staff member and you haven’t.  No one’s denied this,


ESPINER: Your own staff member picked through the information.

KEY: No, no, but let’s say a left wing blogger, because we had that

ESPINER: Well, no we don’t need to deal in hypotheticals, because we’ve got a real scenario right here. What is appropriate about the fact that someone in your office, was poking around in another party’s private information?

KEY: Take a breath for a second, and let’s just let me finish. OK so if a left wing blogger, went around and found out that there was a situation where the security had been taken off, right. And we’ve been told that to, I don’t know, someone who works in David Cunliffe’s office, would they potentially go and have a look? And the answer is , Yes, and that would be totally fine. If theall.  If the Wallabies, on Tuesday night, left their starting line-up, up on, on, on their website, on their private website, would the All Black’s go and have a look? The answer is yes. And the reason I know that is it’s happened. And

ESPINER: So this, this is just a way that dir, that politics is, now is it? This is dirty politics, but it’s OK?

KEY: Well

ESPINER: This is the moral leadership you seem to be presiding over here? Oh, well, it’s fair game, the door was open, so we came in and had a look around.

KEY: Well, a left wing blogger worked out that the WINZ sites were open. And went.

ESPINER: And so you uphold the same standards as some blogger do you, as the Prime Minister of New Zealand?

KEY: No, what I’m saying to you,

ESPINER: Well they are the analogies you’re giving me.

KEY: No, they’re not, what I’m saying to you is, that a whole lot of assumptions were made in the book, or were cast that way, that were either would knowingly have been wrong because Nicky  Hager must have known that was wrong: this is [?] that was broken into, or he was, you know, in such a rush to get the job out that was basically gone and run roughshod over the facts. But what I’m saying to you is that in the end, yeah, look, at the end of the day, people do look at things, and that’s just, that’s just the way it works.

KEY: I mean

ESPINER:  OK. Well what about the behaviour of your minister Judith Collins?  Is it acceptable for her to divulge the name of a public servant, because he may have leaked details ?

KEY: Well I don’t have the details on that one

ESPINER: she suspected he did.

KEY: I just don’t

ESPINER: Well, why don’t you ask her?

KEY: Well because I. A: it’s very. Sorry it’s.  Look to be

ESPINER: In fact, in fact, with respect, Mr Key, she has admitted that. She conceded she did pass on that name.

KEY: Yeah, but I don’t know the details under, of all of that scenario.

ESPINER: So why don’t you ask her?

KEY: Because, 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. He can see that he can’t back a lot of them up.

ESPINER: Well, I’m talking about one that can be backed up. You’re not going to get away with that.

KEY: See he

ESPINER: Because, because, this is one that can be backed up, because the Justice Minister of New Zealand has conceded publicly, that she did pass on the name of a public servant.  That resulted in him getting some pretty severe death threats. And you think that’s, OK?

KEY: And people can see that


KEY: And people can see

ESPINER: Yes or no? Is it OK?

KEY:  And people can see that this


KEY: People can see

ESPINER: Is it OK that Judith Collins did that, yes or no?

KEY: And people can see that this is a smear campaign by Nicky Hager and

ESPINER: I’m not asking you for a critique about Nicky Hager’s motivation

Key: Well I

ESPINER: I’m asking you about something that is publicly in the arena. Judith Collins has said, “I passed on the name of this public servant.” And we know what happened after that.

KEY: But the

ESPINER: I’m asking you a simple question. Was that appropriate, Yes or No?

KEY: context  is totally relevant, because at the end of the day, I don’t know all the context of what happened here and in all those situations

ESPINER: You know the context here, Prime Minster. Please answer the question.

KEY: We don’t know

ESPINER: Was it appropriate for your Justice Minister to pass on the name of a public servant doing his job, who was then severely sanctioned on a website?

KEY: So, I don’t know all the details behind all of that. But what I do know, is that this is a series of selected pieces of information. Many of which can’t be backed up. I know that this was

ESPINER: I’m asking you about one of them.

KEY: Yeah, well, I’m not going to go into your individual ones, because in the end, this is a smear campaign, about which, I gotta say, started the week with with people, you know, out there

ESPINER: No, I’m not, you’re not going to talk about burning effigies, etc, because it has nothing to do with this.

KEY: Well, it does [voice hits a squeaky note]

ESPINER: I’m talking No

KEY: to do with this, because, at the end of the day,

ESPINER: No. this is about the behaviour of your Justice Minister. Do you stand by her today?

KEY: Yeah [slightly squeaky voice] I stand by her. And in the end, it does have a lot to with it, because we started the week with burning effigies. Then we went into, into, sorry, FU videos. Then we went into into burning effigies, then we went into Bill

ESPINER: OK, we’re not going to traverse the whole history.  Here’s a final question for you.

KEY: but

ESPINER: Were you aware that Jason Ede was running, effectively, a dirty tricks campaign from your office? Did you know about that?

KEY: He’s he’s been briefing bloggers and, of course he briefs people on the right – just as people – I’m in the Labour leadership over the years have briefed people on the left.

ESPINER: Yeah, but he’s not just briefing a blogger. There’s a guy who writes, “Feral dies in Greymouth did world a favour”; calls people in Christchurch after the earthquake a a scum

KEY: Yeah b

ESPINER: Are you happy to associate yourself with Cameron Slater of Whale Oil?

KEY: Well at the end of the day, he’s not, he’s not my guy, Cameron Slater. I don’t run anything. Anyone who knows Cameron Slater, knows that he’s a force unto himself. And at the end of the day, yeah, he gets

ESPINER: Yeah. And what do you think of him?

KEY: information from a whole bunch of things. I’m not here to, to either defend the guy

ESPINER: But you are, because you engage with him and your office was in a systematic campaign of feeding him information.

KEY: No, no, what happens is, there’s certainly. Of course we would brief bloggers and talk to bloggers. And there’s a whole wide range of them. And so does the left. And if they don’t, then you’re either naïve or

ESPINER: Do you respect the work he does?

KEY: That’s not for me to critique his stuff. What I have to

EPSINER: Well, it is because you engage with him. You’ve told us that.

KEY: I’m not a political

ESPINER: You text him and you talk to him.

KEY: OK. I’m not a political commentator. What I have to do is be aware of what’s on blog sites.  And the truth is, Guyon, you and I would have fifty thousand more conversations than I have with that guy. So, you can deny that if you want

ESPINER: So, are you

KEY: even though


KEY: In your previous


KEY: roles I’ve spoken to you


KEY: I hardly the talk to this guy

ESPINER: So are you equating the work that journalists at Radio New Zealand, Television New Zealand, TV 3 and the other mainstream media do, to a guy who says “Feral dies in Greymouth did world a favour” and calls people in Christchurch scum

KEY: Well I don’t agree, I don’t agree with those comments. But he’s a shock jock right wing

ESPINER: Are you equating him with with the work that most mainstream journalists do, and the public listening to this, who consume their material? Are you saying to the public of New Zealand, “That’s just the same as Whale Oil”?

KEY: Well, all I’m saying is, whether we like it or not, social media is part of the overall media network these days. And I have to deal with those issues, just like  anyone else.

Hat tip: Karol Muddying the waters: transcript Key on RNZ

See (hear) also Marcus Lush with Our Leader John Keys weekly chat.

Comment crackdown at Whale Oil

There have been a number of warnings to commenters at Whale Oil to comply with fairly strict rules about commenting. They have and still are permanently banning people, and have issued another far from moderate warning.

Moderators have just blocked about a dozen regular commenters (in addition to dozens and dozens of trolls suggesting suicide, death and other vile things). Some of these have been with us for years; thousands of comments to their names.

I can’t figure it out. Somehow people have stopped applying self control.

The warnings that were given for a week now have run out. Off topic, low calorie comments (“I agree!”), using the comments as a chat room, discussing how to kill another commenter with overdoses of meds or rat poison…

And if you don’t know the rules, tough – and you read this one quickly…

You may be having a good time, but you are hindering instead of helping, so now you’ve been moved out of the way.

This notice will be deleted after 2 pm.

The post was put up at 12:29 pm so that’s not long to leave a warning up, bizarre that it would be deleted at all.

While the Whale’s away the moderators play (Cameron Slater is currently overseas).

Whale moderation

This follows another warning post on Monday:

INTERNAL NOTICE to our commenters
by Pete on August 12, 2014 at 7:29pm

The following people are now on IMMEDIATE probation

  • Havesome Morpork [aka Jester]

Please read the rules.

I’m not kidding. This is getting out of hand. If I don’t see some sanity return in the comments sections, there are going to lots of people permanently blocked. THERE WILL BE NO 2ND CHANCES. You idiots should know better by now. You didn’t just come here yesterday.

General Debate posts are for general debate only

Stick to the topic

Do not respond to trolls

Do not do personal attacks


Personal conversations. NO! Warnings were given earlier in the day. This is the very last one.

Some of you are getting way too relaxed about this commenting business.  This is NOT a chat room!  7am and 6:30am posts are the ONLY posts where you can chat freely.  NOWHERE ELSE.

There will be no more warning.

If you find your commenting blocked, don’t even BOTHER to come crying.

Signed: severely annoyed mod team

This is way more draconian than lprent at The Standard. They risk annoying a lot of people- those they don’t filer out altogether by banning – and the commenters who are left will be feeling far from free to openly express themselves.

Signs that perceptions of self importance and power going may be going to a few heads.

Harré defends Internet Party video

Laila Harré has defended the “Fuck John Key” video as young people speaking but has failed to respond when it has been pointed out to her that it was that has been posted on Youtube by the Internet Party to promote itself.

3 News reported in John Key vs Kim Dotcom battle heats up:

Dotcom wasn’t available for comment, but Internet Party leader Laila Harre jumped to his defence and wouldn’t apologise if anyone was offended.

“Offence to who?” she says. “Young people have their right to have their voice heard.”

The video doesn’t show young people who want their voice to be heard, it shows them joining a chant that has been claimed to have been orchestrated by Dotcom and the Internet Party.

And regardless of the intent at the meeting there was clear intent by the Internet Party to publicise this via the video.That was not young people speaking, it was the party promoting itself in a carefully edited way

In fact it was the reverse of what Harré claimed, it looks like it was trying to speak to and attract support from young people.

It had anarchist tones and many people felt it also had a chilling Nazi feel – mentioning this has been condemned as godwinning but the fact is that people genuinely and immediately perceived such a link.

Stuff also reported PM quiet on Dotcom’s ‘f*** John Key’ rally:

Harre said she was completely comfortable with the video.

“If I didn’t think it was appropriate then it wouldn’t be there.”

“When you get a room of a thousand young people together and you give them a political message, then they will respond that young people respond to politics. 

“The response that those young people is typical of youth expression, and we’re not about censoring youth expression.”

She said Dotcom’s message was positive, and the message from the students was not the first time a young crowd had responded in that way.

Many people may feel that:

Hey! How are you doing?Are you ready for a revolution?

Are you ready to take down the Government?

…is not a very positive message.

Harre also rejected claims that the video undermined her position on comments made be Key earlier in the week. 

Key called Dotcom her “sugar daddy”, and yesterday stood by those comments, which Harre said called “sexist and offensive”.

She claims Key’s comment was offensive but is happy to defend and promote an offensive video.

Harré has also been responding to comments and defending the video on Twitter.

Seems @lailaharre hasn’t heard about the paid IP staffers in the crowd who began the chant on cue. Not spontaneous.

Completely untrue. This has been a common chant for ages at youth gigs. You need to ask why.

In this instant people are asking why the Internet Party chose to use it for publicity.

.@lailaharre also kind of dancing on the head of a pin when “fuck John Key” is fine but there’s an issue with KDC being your “sugar daddy”.

If you can’t tell the difference btw PM’s gross sexism & rebellious kids I can send a reading list.

I really hope this isn’t representative of the “youth vote” that’s missing.. Rebellious kids. BS. Imagine what you would say if that “chant” was about you? Oh, that would make it sickening & sexist wouldn’t it?

Rebellious kids? Are they all 18+? Laila, how would you feel if it was your kids? If it was your name inserted?

@lailaharre 46m
R18 event. My kids aren’t saints. Are yours? And if it was my name I’d work on my rep with youth.

@ClareYFletcher 21m

There’s been questions about “rebellious kids” versus an orchestrated crowd, and the point has been made that a party using footage of it to promote themselves is quite different anyway.

Bullshit Laila, I want a sugar mommy and I don’t know how that’s sexist.

.@JimmyH_03 stand on your own two feet kiddo. That’s how I roll.

“That’s how I roll” Seriously, Laila?

Michael Horne ‏@mashley_h
And in this country we have elections we don’t ‘take down the government’.

Come on. Don’t you know Internet terms?

‘Take down the government’ is not an ‘Internet term’ as far as I’m aware and I suspect I’m quite a bit more Internet aware than Laila.

After exchanging tweets for about half an hour Harré then disappeared. She may have had other commitments but returned to Twitter later – but nothing more on this issue.

I think it’s fair to point out that Harré is paid a substantial amount by Dotcom to lead his party. She may have little choice but to defend what he does at meetings and what he promotes via video.

Greens promoting love, practicing hate?

While the Green Party is promoting love activists connected to the party seem to be continuing a campaign of hate.

The ‘nice Green’ image from the days of Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons are long gone as Green activists seem to be continuing a hate campaign against John Key in a spate of hoarding attacks.

The current Green slogan of ‘Love New Zealand’ doesn’t seem to apply to political opponents. I’ve seen and been on the receiving end of Green nastiness in social media. This arrogant attack streak in Green ranks seems to be prevalent this election campaign.

There appears to be a continued defacement campaign around the country and in Dunedin. Last Wednesday the Otago Daily Times highlighted hoarding hate with a National hoarding smeared with “casual Fascists – MP slams sign taggers:

A picture of the defaced billboard was uploaded on Facebook, with the first comment ”Vote Green not the fascist regime!”

Another post recommends another National Party billboard be defaced as it was ”gagging for a tagging”.

Mr Woodhouse said he was aware ”that there are some posts of this nature online”.

”While some online correspondents are apparently connected with the Green Party, I don’t think one can conclude there is official Green Party involvement.”

That was confirmed by Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, who is also standing in the Dunedin North seat held by Labour MP David Clark.

”We don’t want people defacing ours, and we don’t approve others defacing other parties’.

“They are expensive and they are part of the democratic process to allow parties to put forward their policies,” she said.

She confirmed she knew one of the Facebook posters, but reiterated the party ”does not endorse the defacement of billboards”.

More National hoardings continue defaced in Maia in Dunedin and a Labour hoarding was also attacked, but the Green Party hoarding was untouched.

HoardingGraffiti1Side 1: “Please release me let me go” with an obscene image

HoardingGraffiti2Side 2: “I don’t love you any more”

It’s hard to pick up in this picture but a Labour hoarding showing David Cunliffe (just to the left of the lamp post) is also badly defaced.

There’s no evidence this was done by anyone connected to the Green Party but it doesn’t look good for the Greens trying to advertise ‘love’ while opposing party hoardings are attacked again with obscenities and cross references to the Green campaign.

Whale Oil shows that this isn’t isolated to Dunedin, similar attacks are happening in other parts of the country with examples in Christchurch and Wellington in The Nasty Party supporters are out in force.

Turns out it was an orchestrated attack. A number of hoardings in the area have been branded with similar diatribes.

One of them is so high it would of needed a ladder to deface, suggesting it was more than your average opportunist.

And it looks like the defacement campaign is continuing in Dunedin this election. It’s not a good look for the Greens to be associated with vandalism and obscenities. No party can be in control of radical activists but it’s unlikely to help Greens and is more likely to backlash against them.

Last election a nationwide hoarding attack campaign was orchestrated by a Green Party member whose partner worked in Russel Norman’s office and was very embarrassing for the Green Party – Election 2011: Vandalism links blow for Greens.

The man who co-ordinated the vandalism of 700 National billboards has resigned his Green Party membership and his partner has been stood down from her role as co-leader Russel Norman’s secretary.

Greens spokesman Andrew Campbell said fellow co-leader Metiria Turei lodged an official complaint about Jolyon White’s role in the orchestrated action on Sunday night.

When White was told today he faced an internal Greens process he offered his resignation.

Anne Hein, Norman’s executive assistant, was now the subject of an investigation by Parliamentary Services, Campbell said.

Norman announced this morning that White co-ordinated the campaign.

“I believe the defacing of the billboards is vandalism and condemn these actions,” Norman told reporters at Parliament.

“I am incredibly disappointed about what they have done.”

The Green campaign looks to be very well organised in general. It would be surprising if they haven’t issued instructions to party members about hoarding vandalism but obviously they can’t control the actions of all party activists.

After his vandalism campaign last election White seems to considered the possible repercussions of his actions.

Meanwhile, the Christchurch-based campaigner told The Press he hoped the billboard campaign would not hurt the Greens.

White, who did not personally take part in Sunday’s raids, said the stunt had cost $500, which he paid himself.

White said he had no association with Norman – rather, he was in a relationship with someone that worked for him.

”It would be a shame if it had blowback on any political party  I would really love this to stay about the issues rather than about personality politics,” he said.

That last statement is very ironic, and a bit late for vandal’s remorse.

No matter how closely related the current vandalism is to the Green campaign – it is most likely to be rogue activists rather than anything officially Green – it is more likely to damage Green campaign efforts rather than help them.

Polls and election prospects

A number of recent polls have given pointers to where the parties stand with less than two months to go until the election.


National have been polling in the high forties through to mid fifties but are expected to drop back a few percent in the final count. They are aware of this and are trying to minimise that drop by playing as safe a game as possible.

They have had some hiccups with embarrassments through Claudia Hauiti (now withdrawn from candidacy) and Gerry Brownlee’s airport security slip-up. Hauiti was National’s lowest ranked MP so she won’t be a loss, and Brownlee has front footed the damage control with what appears to be genuine contriteness.

National have just announced their list with no real surprises. They will say this week what other parties they will be prepared to work with and give a nod to some potential support parties in electorates.

They have yet to reveal much about policies. There main plank seems to be more of the same, steady sensible management of the economy.

That will be enough to win the most seats by far but they are not expected to get enough to rule on their own so their fortunes may be dictated by small parties. They will be hoping Winston Peters isn’t the main dictator.

Likely result range 45-50%.


The polls have not been good for Labour with the last twelve results being in the twenties, as low as 23%.

David Cunliffe continues to fail to impress as leader. He says his string of apologies are behind him but he is dropping in preferred Prime Minister polls, the latest having him on 8%. Some hope he will show his mettle in leader’s debates but it’s unlikely he will do enough to shine over the seasoned Key.

Media are writing Labour off and talking more about how low they might go instead of how much they might get. There’s good reason for this, they look divided and disorganised.

Labour’s best hope seems to limit the damage and not get any lower than their record low in 2011 of 27.28%. A more common hope is probably that their vote doesn’t collapse.

Likely result range 20-29%.

Green Party

The Greens bounce around in the polls, usually in the 10-15% range.

They look to be the best organised party by a long shot, and seem determined to finally get into Government. They deserve it on their own efforts but they are relying on Labour who will be worrying and disappointing them.

Without Labour improving substantially Greens look like at best competing for attention and influence amongst a mish mash coalition but more likely being denied by Labour’s failure.

Many voters are happy to see Greens in the mix but one negative is there is a wariness (and in some cases fear) of Greens getting to much influence, especially on economic matters. Some Green good, too much Green scary is a common sentiment.

Likely result range 10-15%.

NZ First

NZ First have been polling from a bit under to a bit over the magic 5%.

Most expect them to lift a bit in the run up to voting as happened last year but National will be taking as much care as possible not to hand Winston Peters another opportunity like the cup of tea debacle.

Peters is a seasoned campaigner and the media help his cause because he is good for stories, but time will tell whether there is too much seasoning in the old warrior and too little substance in the rest of the party as the other MPs have failed to impress.

One thing that may make it harder is direct competition for attention  and votes with the Conservative Party.

Likely result range 4-6%.

Maori Party

Poll results have been low for the Maori Party. That doesn’t usually matter because in all elections they have contested so far they have got more electorate seats than their party vote would give them so it has been unnecessary. Last election they got 1.43%.

It’s tougher for them in electorates this time with Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia retiring. It will be challenging for them to retain their current three seats, with some suggesting they might lose most or all of them.

There will be strong competition from the Dotcom financed MANA Party, but they may be helped by Labour’s woes.

For the first time the party vote may matter to the Maori Party, especially if they only hold one electorate seat.

Likely result range 1-2%.

Conservative Party

Polls have been in the 1-3% range. It’s now looking unlikely National will help Colin Craig in an electorate so they may have to get 5% to make it. That will be difficult, especially if Winston Peters competes openly with them.

Formed just before the last election the Conservatives got 2.65% and hope to improve on that. They have had much more exposure but that may have lost as much support as it has gained. Craig still seems politically naive. He has tried to turn the ‘Crazy Colin’ meme to his advantage but that’s a risky strategy.

Conservative fortunes are relying on National’s decision this week but it’s not looking positive for them.

UPDATE: John Key has just stated that National won’t help Craig in East Coast Bays so Conservatives only hope is getting 5%, which looks a big hurdle.

Likely result range 2-3%.

ACT Party

Act has been polling poorly, often under 1%.

Act were in turmoil last election with a very Brash takeover and installing John Banks as Epsom candidate. Banks won to save Act but has had a troubled term.

Act have made a concerted effort to rebuild over two elections. They have split responsibilities between Jamie Whyte as party leader and David Seymour in Epsom. Seymour looks a good bet in Epsom but the political jury is still out on Whyte and Act.

Much could come down to how Whyte looks in the minor party debates. He is intelligent and has good political knowledge but can look to serious and too polite – he hasn’t been forceful enough in interviews.

Act may benefit from being an alternative to giving National sole charge.

Likely result range 1-3%.

United Future

UnitedFuture has been languishing in polls, as often on 0% as slightly above.

More than ever UF hopes seem to rest solely on Peter Dunne in Ohariu. His chances are reasonable there. He has held the seat for thirty years so is very well known. He hasn’t had the best of terms but seems determined to rebuild his credibility.

Dunne looks to have been helped by all the major parties:

  • National have a new candidate who looks likely to campaign for the aprty vote only and has been given an almost certain list position.
  • Labour’s Charles Chauvel resigned mid term and has been replaced by a relative unknown.
  • Green’s Gareth Hughes has withdrawn from the electorate to promote youth and party vote and has been replaced by someone.

Like last election voters are likely to return Dunne and ignore the party. The party seems to be virtually ignoring the party.

Likely result range 0.3-0.7%.

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

ALCP rarely feature in opinion polls, but they manage to get votes in elections. In 2011 they got 0.52%.

They are under new management this time and are likely to get some stoner and protest votes but 5% is just too high a hurdle for the influential media to pay them any attention.

Likely result range 0.4-0.8%.

Internet Mana Party

As a newly formed combo IMP have been polling 1-2%. They have a huge budget so will feature in the attention seeking stakes.

And while Kim Dotcom can’t stand as a candidate his attention seeking will keep him to the forefront of party success or failure.

Dotcom is promising a town hall circus five days before election day – he thinks this will destroy John Key and National but it could just as easily backfire.

His personal crusade is to oust the National Government. He is more likley to fracture the left wing vote and scare people off a Labour let government.

IMP’s monetary might will gain them some party votes but may fail in the ultimate aim.

Likely result range 2-4%.


IMP could be pivotal in the final result but it looks most likely to be a failure for them and a win for National with a few small allies.


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