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.
  • 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.

This could be of interest: Good blog commenting

Open forum – Thursday 23 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.

This could be of interest: Good blog commenting

The Press editorial is anti flag choice

The Press makes it clear in an editorial that they oppose changing the New Zealand flag. They don’t want the people to choose for themselves, they want to fob off any debate by waiting for “an organic deeply felt discussion about who we are”.

In other words they want to put off any debate and any choice.

The editorial runs through the standard anti-change arguments in Do we know who we are?

They don’t like how John Key is proposing to see if the people of New Zealand want a flag change, they have the usual anti-black arguments (it’s easy to come up with arguments against most colours), they are anti-silver fern.

And they want to postpone any flag debate until we have some vague exploration about “who we are”.

So far the question of whether New Zealand actually needs a new symbol to represent itself has not taken place. This attitude seems to reflect the general indifference to any change to the constitution found by the panel set up to elicit views on that subject a few years ago.

Given that the flag will be the symbol to represent the country virtually in perpetuity, a wider, more deeply felt discussion about who we are needs to occur first. That must be organic. It is not something that can be generated by prime ministerial fiat.

That sounds like a long-winded way of saying they want to put off a flag debate indefinitely.

There’s no reason why we can’t have a discussion about whether we want to change our flag and decide whether to do so. It is not dependent on vague notions of “who we are” that can never easily be answered. We are many things and are continually evolving as a country and as a people.

One thing is for sure, we have evolved long past having close ties with the United Kingdom and the Union Jack.

And we have evolved way past wanting to be confused with Australia.

A flag debate can easily happen on it’s own. Trying to involve constitution and national identity are excuses to not have a debate.

People who don’t want a flag change don’t want a debate. They want to deny choice, presumably because they fair that the people will choose something different to what they want, no change.

New Zealand voted on to Security Council

New Zealand has just been voted on to the United Nations Security Council, topping both Spain and Turkey on the first ballot. A second ballot will decide who of the other two also get a seat for 2015 and 2016.

First ballot vote (a two third 129 votes from 193 members required):

  • New Zealand 145
  • Spain 121
  • Turkey 109

(Update: after two more ballots Spain got the second seat).

The Government, particularly through Foreign Minister Murray McCully have worked hard to secure this seat but have been helped by Labour’s David Shearer.

Having Helen Clark in the number 3 position at the UN (head of United Nations Development) will have continued to help, it was Clark who initiated the campaign for the seat ten years ago.

New Zealand and the other successful country will represent ‘Western European and others’. Angola, Malaysia and Venezuela stand uncontested for the seats in their regional groups.

There are 15 seats on the council, five held by the permanent members China, France, Russia, the UK and the US, plus 10 non-permanent members serving two-year terms.

Topping the ballot is an indication of the degree of respect given New Zealand internationally. New Zealand was last represented on the Security Council by Colin Keating in 1993/94. Last year Keating gave a speech supporting and explaining this bid:

The UN Security Council: What is in it for New Zealand?

by Colin Keating
Presentation to the United Nations Association of NZ 2013 National Conference, Wellington | 18 May 2013

As everyone in this audience is aware, New Zealand is a candidate for election to the UN Security Council. If elected, New Zealand will serve a two-year term as one of ten elected members of the council, and will also sit with the five Permanent Members of the Council, China, France, Russia, the UK and the USA.

The election will be held in October 2014. So it is just 17 months away. It is a closely fought contest. There are two vacant seats and three candidates, New Zealand, Spain and Turkey.

New Zealand is not a stranger to contested elections for the Security Council. New Zealand last served on the Council in 1993/94 – exactly twenty years ago. To win that seat New Zealand had to defeat Sweden. So we know what it takes to win against larger and richer countries.

Part of our appeal is that New Zealand is not greedy in seeking election too often. In this regard, when campaigning, we don’t need to rub in the fact that our competitors seek election much more often that we do. This is watched closely by the 109 small states that are members of the UN and who are our natural constituency. They know very well that Spain was last on the Council only 8 years ago – and Turkey only two years ago.

I believe that New Zealand is very well placed to win. We already have very strong support in all regions. And the New Zealand story resonates very well everywhere. But there is no denying the fact that this will be a very hard election. We are up against two significant competitors.

The Government has made it clear that New Zealand is not going to try, as some countries do, to buy votes. For New Zealand that would be silly. Once you start down that track small countries can easily be outbid.

Nor will New Zealand shift its policies or values to attract votes. Again, to do that would be silly. One of the things about New Zealand that really appeals around the world is its consistency and its honest, constructive and balanced positions. Tilting our positions to curry favour with this or that demandeur would actually undermine our strong value proposition.

It also needs to be acknowledged that this election campaign has to be managed in a very tight fiscal context. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is funding the campaign from within its existing budget. This of course requires some very careful reprioritisation of expenditure. The Ministry has had to limit some of its other activities accordingly. Again this is not a new experience. The last Security Council campaign in 1991/92 was similarly fought under very tight budget constraints. And the refocusing of effort that occurred at that time, in my view, actually strengthened and reenergised the Ministry in many ways.

But, given the real electoral challenge that we are facing and appreciating the time and effort that is required by Ministers Special Envoys and officials to campaign across 192 countries, I think it is very important to be able to set out exactly why this is a good idea and what is in it for New Zealand.

There will be some New Zealanders who wondering why we are doing this. Others may ask why don’t we spend the money on something at home or on promoting New Zealand business overseas. These are important questions and need to be answered.

The short answer is that the campaign is not taking money away from domestic priorities or from funding for overseas promotion. It is only using money that MFAT would have been spending anyway.

But this does not address the underlying question of why we would want this in the first place.

I want to set out for you my answer to that question. It is very much a personal opinion. It is based on my experience of the 1991/92 Security Council campaign, of my time in New York as the New Zealand Ambassador representing New Zealand on the Security Council in 1993/94 and also my recent experience in New York setting up and running for 7 years a brand new think tank called Security Council Report to monitor and make accessible to the public the work of the Security Council.

 I must stress that I am not speaking for the Government – although as many of you are aware I am helping the Government with the campaign as an independent adviser and as a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister.

The first point that I want to make is that, when you are campaigning for election to the Security Council, you never need to answer the question why are you running for election when speaking to other Governments. Election to the Security Council is the most highly coveted electoral prize for countries around the world. Almost all Governments would like to get it and they understand completely why it makes sense to go for it. Often they have slightly different reasons, but the bottom line is that everyone understands intuitively why it is a priority.

So what are the drivers for New Zealand? Why would New Zealanders be interested in this?

I believe, and this is based on a lot of years of hearing from New Zealanders on foreign policy issues, that there are probably three quite distinct reasons, which may make sense to three different groups of New Zealanders.

These three groups, in very general terms, might be called:

  • The peace and justice community
  • The business community
  • The security community

There is of course quite a lot of overlap in practice between these three groups, and all the more so when global crises may affect all three.

Let us start with the peace and justice community. There is a strong sense amongst many New Zealanders, often based in the Churches, the NGO groups, the academic world and the Unions that, as a country blessed with resources and being a safe distance from conflict situations, we have a moral and political obligation to show leadership in helping resolve conflicts and promoting peace and justice.

For this community being a member of the Security Council offers a unique opportunity for New Zealand. The Security Council is the only global institution with real power. Many media commentators focus on its coercive powers, its ability to sanction countries and individuals, its power to bring the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to bear on individuals, its role as the only legitimate source of authority for intervention or even the use of force.

To my mind an even greater power of the Council is its capacity, in practice, to take decisions that result in the collective appropriation of money so that all 193 members share in the cost of peace operations. This is a hugely important tool in bringing resources to the field to help bring peace and justice.

There are currently 13 peacekeeping missions and 34 special political missions being overseen by the Security Council. The budget for these missions is almost US$8 billion. How these operations are working and how well they are delivering for affected populations are things that the Churches, the NGOs and the advocacy groups follow very closely. In New York, the delegations of civil society lobbying the Security Council are probably better informed and better resourced than many of the elected Security Council members.

The value of being on the Security Council and having a capacity to make a difference in conflict situations is therefore well understood by most in the peace and justice community. And the good experience from NZs term on the Council in 1993/94 gives encouragement that NZ can make a difference.

Turning to the business community, it is important to understand that for a country like New Zealand the competitive edge for our exporters is absolutely critical to our economy, to jobs and ultimately the quality of our society. But for small or new exporters making deals in foreign markets is very difficult. You need networks you need access to decision makers. You need national visibility and – when things go wrong – as they often do – you need political access with real impact.

One thing is clear from our term on the Council in 1993/94 – when you are on the Security Council – especially if you are taking a high profile role – you do get visibility in all of the major markets around the world. You are seen sitting at the top table. The influence that that carries can be very significant when exporters need help. When you want to raise something bilaterally you get taken much more seriously. You get unparalleled political access. And even more importantly we found in the 1990s that if you are effective on the Council and pull real weight, the benefits are not limited to the two-year term. They can continue for a decade or more.

This lifting of the NZ profile, this enhanced visibility and the access opportunities that go with it can be leveraged very effectively to assist wider NZ interests. And this can only be of assistance to the business community.

Next I would like to talk about the benefits of a Security Council term for the security community. In doing so I not only include the NZDF and the families of our military personnel and our veterans, but also in a wider sense all New Zealanders.

We are all affected when risks are taken and NZ forces are deployed into combat situations overseas. Losses, when they occur, are felt by everybody. The evidence of this is clear from the huge support around the country in recent years for ANZAC Day events including by young people. And the same is true for New Zealanders overseas, who flock to ANZAC Day events in large numbers.

If you visit the Army Museum in Waiouru, you will see the compelling displays and the graphic reminders that across the whole history of our country every 20 years or so, on average, young New Zealanders have been sent into situations of combat or armed violence.

Another thing you will learn at the Army Museum is the determination to learn from the experiences in the First World War, and some also in the Second World War, where New Zealand suffered unreasonable casualties because of bad command decisions by commanders from other countries.

Recently, although the numbers of New Zealand personnel deployed overseas have been lower than in the past, the frequency has been much higher. Think of where we have been since the end of the Cold War – Somalia, Angola, Mozambique, Bosnia, Bougainville, Timor, the Solomons and Afghanistan – to name just the most prominent. 

In the light of this trend, the security community, all of us, have a very strong interest in maximising the New Zealand voice at decision-making tables. This means not only in the Security Council, where very important decisions are sometimes taken, but also in terms of influence and leverage by other decision makers whose decisions may be the difference between life and death for our military personnel.

A strong and effective New Zealand term on the Security Council every now and then gives us the credibility, the mana and the political access to be taken seriously on these matters. And our military personnel and their families and the New Zealand public at large have every reason to expect the Government and our diplomats will seize such an important opportunity as a term on the Security Council to reinforce that sort of credibility, mana and access.

And finally, although our geography means that we live in about as safe a part of the world as you could imagine, it is clear that in the 21st century security is threatened increasingly by unconventional risks, be they terrorism, narcotics and people smugglers cyber attacks and criminal networks. And, for our pacific island neighbours, the unconventional security risk presented by climate change is becoming increasingly real. All these issues can only be addressed by multilateral collective responses and they are already on the agenda of the Security Council.

I believe that in a country like New Zealand there is a real convergence of interest between the peace and justice community, the business community and the security community, and that it makes real sense for all of them to be strongly behind our determined race to win a seat on the Security Council.

O’Sullivan on Whale Oil versus SFO

I agree and disagree with Fran O’Sullivan in We need to know who tried to fit up SFO boss.

The issue is too big to be swept under the carpet by mere politics and a focus on chasing whistleblowers instead of the real issues.

She’s right that the SFO/Feeley issue is too big to be swept under the carpet, but I think she’s wrong explaining the Rawshark hacking as “mere politics and a focus on chasing whistleblowers” – if political hacking is given tacit approval by police as well as journalists then “dirty politics” could get much dirtier.

And even on the Feeley/SFO issue she may be getting ahead of proceedings.

But while the police have been busy poking about in Hager’s affairs – hacking is, after all, a crime – they do not appear to have actively followed up on Acting Opposition Leader David Parker’s pre-election complaint over various actions disclosed in the Dirty Politics affair, including the alleged “SFO/Hanover Sting”.

This suggests to me a failure of prioritisation on the part of police chief Mike Bush and his team.

I believe he could start by requiring Odgers, Graham and Slater to say just who paid them for apparently trying to fit up Feeley.

Fran may be too close to this issue, having been included in the emails revolving around Rawshark. She wants journalists left alone but others “required to say”.

She is not happy with the Police “poking about in Hager’s affairs“, and may not be happy if the Police saw fit to poke around in her affairs and ‘require’ her to say things.

Fran also details a current inquiry into the SFO/Feeley issue.

Key’s response to the email was to announce an inquiry, which is headed by respected High Court judge Justice Lester Chisholm.

The Chisholm Inquiry’s terms of reference are to the point. It will investigate whether:

  • There is any evidence Ms Collins acted inconsistently with the conduct expected of a minister by undermining or attempting to undermine Mr Feeley’s tenure as director of the Serious Fraud Office.
  • Ms Collins provided information about Mr Feeley during his tenure as director of the Serious Fraud Office to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater or any other party not entitled to it.
  • Ms Collins inappropriately sought or received information about Mr Feeley from Slater or any other party.

It would also identify and report on any other relevant issues.

I think it makes sense for police to largely wait and see what the outcome of this inquiry is.It’s not as if there is urgency, Judith Collins is parked up on the back benches.

Justice Chisholm may or may not go far enough with his inquiry, but it should at least be a substantial starting point should a Police investigation prove justified.

More of the dirty on Slater versus Blomfield

David Fisher has a detailed update on the long running Matt Blomfield versus Cameron Slater feud that’s wending it’s wqay thorugh the courts. There’s some disturbing stuff in it, including a possibly related assault involving a shotgun (no culprit has been identified).

What was the purpose of it all? Some sort of vindictive payback? Going gungho over the top and not being big enough to back down?

Ex-pizza boss Matt Blomfield: Whaleoil and me.

And in another article at the Herald Blomfield pushes the police on a relatively old complaint.

Police are reviewing a two-year-old criminal complaint against Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater over material he used on his website.

The review is studying how Slater obtained a vast quantity of private emails which were used as the basis of posts on his blog.

It comes as police investigate a complaint from Slater over the hacking of his computer. Detectives investigating Slater’s complaint this week executed a search warrant on the home of author Nicky Hager, who used material obtained by the hacker known as Rawshark to write Dirty Politics.

The police review stems from a complaint laid in May 2012 by businessman Matt Blomfield, who has taken a defamation case against Slater over articles on the Whaleoil blog.

- Police review complaint against Whaleoil blogger

There’s a number of ironic similarities to the Hager/Rawshark versus Slater issue with Slater at the opposite side of proceedings, especially as both Slater and Hager claim to be protected as journalists while using allegedly illegally obtained communications data.

Slater has legal action swirling all around him. It’s not surprising to see some of his excesses finally catching up on him.

Press on online abuse and bullying

From the Christchurch Press Editorial: Stamping out online ugliness:

The internet has been responsible for many good things, as a Google executive has observed, but the dark and horrible practice of “trolling” – spreading abusive and offensive comments – and similar such activities is not one of them. In the past, nasty and ugly remarks made by people generally did not go much beyond those they were in close touch with. It was limited by the size of social circles and naturally limited from spreading further by the general reluctance of people in civilised company to pass on wounding stuff said about others.

Now, thanks to the internet, such stuff can go at practically the speed of light all over the world, and where formerly only a few would know of a hurtful comment, now thousands can learn of it in an instant. Once on the internet, it also tends to endure. Large outfits like Facebook and Google may remove it and links to it, but such efforts are rarely entirely successful. And not only is there no shortage of people prepared to create obnoxious stuff, there also seems to be no shortage of those who will slaver over it and even worse commend it, add to it and pass it on.

Those who engage in trolling may, of course, be deeply troubled themselves as was illustrated by a tragic example in England last week when a middle-aged woman was identified as one who had engaged with many others in a what has been called a “vile” campaign of abuse against Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of the five-year-old who disappeared while on a family holiday in Portugal seven years ago. When asked why she did it, the woman said she felt “entitled” to. A few days later, however, she was found dead, an apparent suicide.

The creation and spreading of this kind of stuff is largely enabled because of the anonymity of the internet. Many people engage in it because they know they will never have to face their victims and are confident they will not have to answer for what they have done. Many of them may also not be aware of the full effects they will have on their victims. Putting it at its most charitable, these people may not realise that the words they heedlessly tap out in isolation at a keyboard can have far-reaching and shattering consequences.

Regulations and laws have been put in place to try to control the worst of this material and they have been effective up to a point. But laws and regulations, though they may deter some people, generally operate after the event, by which time damage may have been done.

The best deterrent may be to try to bring home to internet users the fact that obnoxious behaviour is obnoxious wherever it occurs. There needs to be the cultivation of a greater awareness, possibly starting with young people who seem most likely to engage in ungoverned behaviour, that if it is not acceptable to say or do something directly to others, it is just as unacceptable to do or say it online.

It’s up to participants on blogs and other social media to confront and speak up against abuse and bullying online.

Blogs are communities, albeit with anonymous input. The quality of any community requires good people to stand up against the worst of human behaviour.

Police explain Hager raid

There have been a lot of claims and assertions about the police raid on Nicky Hager’s house last Thursday, based on very little information other than a statement from Hager.

Questions have been asked about why it would take five detectives ten hours to search a house.

The only police report on this is relayed from here from an a Press report (which doesn’t appear to be online):

Police explain Hager Raid

Police have defended the 10 hours it took to search author Nicky Hager’s home, saying it was because they respected his claim to journalistic privilege.
…This necessitated a process where all items had to be catalogued, secured, sealed and countersigned by both police and Mr Hager’s lawyer prior to being removed from the address. The exhibits were delivered into the custody of the Auckland High Court pending determination of the privilege claim.

(Thanks Ian Dalziel)

Here’s more detail from Stuff:

In a statement, police confirmed they had “removed computers and related items under search warrant from a Wellington address as part of [an] ongoing investigation into alleged hacking of Mr [Cameron] Slater’s emails”.

The evening they defended the 10 hours it took to carry out the search, saying it was because they respected his claim to journalistic privilege.

Police said the time taken to search Hager’s home was due to police respecting his claim of privilege.

“This necessitated a process where all items had to be catalogued, secured, sealed and countersigned by both police and Mr Hager’s lawyer prior to them being removed from the address.

“The exhibits were delivered into the custody of the Auckland High Court pending determination of the privilege claim. As the matter is now before the courts Police is unable to comment further.”

- Hager vows to protect hacker’s ID

Mana candidate reveals online identity?

There’s an open implication at The Standard that a Mana candidate has been operating under a pseudonym there during the election campaign.

It appears that ‘Weka’ is Pat O’Dea, “electrician and union activist, Auckland” who stood in the Epsom electorate for Mana and was thirteen on the Internet-Mana list.

In this year’s campaign Weka was actively promoting the Mana Party and Internet Mana at The Standard without disclosing any  party affiliation or candidacy – but he posted (as Guest) under his own name at The Daily Blog.

In 2011 Weka seems to have taken a break from commenting during the campaign period at The Standard.

Lyn Prentice, who often tries to deny the degree of political subterfuge at The Standard, appears to know Weka/O’Dea personally so will have been actively allowing the anonymous campaigning. That’s his call of course but it makes some of his claims over the years about a distance between parties and The Standard look more dubious.

It seems to have been a quiet self outing of identity.

A week after the election there was a ‘Guest’ post at The Standard – Pick up the ball – that was openly authored:

Pat O’Dea

Mana Movement climate change spokesperson

The first comment:

Rosie 1

Kia Ora Pat. Nice post :-)

Followed by:

weka 1.1

thanks Rosie.

If that was accidental I would expect O’Dea/Weka would have asked lprent to remove the comments, so it is an unnoticed mistake or was knowingly revealed.

That is the only comment by ‘Weka’ on the thread and appears to be the last comment by ‘Weka’ (until a rush of comments today by “wekarawshark’ which may have an explanation).

Pat O’Dea starts to comment further on in the thread associated with his post, and has continued since, also commenting today. It wouldn’t be the first time someone has commented under multiple identities at The Standard, I’ve seen “whoopsies”.

Pat, Weka or Lynn will no doubt clarify on this if they see fit.

The Standard can operate however it likes, there is already not much credibility about claims of party independence there.

But a party candidate operating under a pseudonym in social media during an election campaign is not being open and honest with the public. I can only presume that the party would know this was happening.

Weka has a history of some reasonable comment but has also resorted to nastiness and abusiveness at times including a few shots at me. He has also been actively involved in trying to shut people and opinions he didn’t agree with out of The Standard and seems to pop up before and after an lprent ban at times.

Perhaps it was felt that dirty blog politics should not be risked being linked to Mana during the campaign.

Pat O’Dea profile at Key Wiki.

I’m not the only one who sees a link - see it pointed out here.

If what appears to be the case is not I’ll update here with a clarification.

Left troll good, right troll bad

In contrast to Kiwiblog’s tentative steps to clamp down on abusive behaviour The Standard continues to hand out bans almost left, right and centre – the left of the left continue to abuse with impunity while unwelcome contributors are excluded with bans, often accompanied by a tone setting abusive lecture from Lyn Prentice.

Here are examples of abuse and bans on a single thread at The Standard yesterday.

Hard left regulars can be abusive and make unsupported assertions while relatively innocuous responses can cop a harsh ban:

infused

cry me a river.

Another regular abuser makes an unproven assertion – “Prime Minsiter’s Office stealing”…

One Anonymous Bloke6.

Prime Minsiter’s Office stealing NZLP membership data and credit card details. Perpetrators admitted emails boasting of the crime are genuine. Prime Minister’s Office confessing crime to NZLP.

Open and shut case: a theft from the opposition by the government.

Your position: to cheer and wave a little Quisling flag.

  • Del Griffith

    I’m not sure why you saw fit to say I was waving a Quisling flag when I asked a genuine question. I don’t think people should be able to hack into other peoples computers and write books based on the stuff they find in there and profit from it.

    [lprent: That is an assertion that is defamatory, not supported by any facts, and recklessly puts this site into danger. Plus you look like a simple troll with your brains in a tiny deformed dick that you obsessively pump as you comment. Banned permanently. Don't come back ]

..and a relatively reasonable response cops a permanent ban, plus some typical abuse from the ‘moderator’. Yeah, his blog etc etc but he sets the tone and gives favoured lefties a free shot at anyone and typically if the target reacts he bans them.

It can’t be defamatory when it is a general comment and not directed at anyone in particular.

framu 

“He published stolen emails.”

ok – real slowly now – everyone clap along so infused can keep track

He published stolen emails. – AS…. A…. JOURNALIST. – not as an MP sneaking about someones computer system or as a hate blogger

Granted 

Oh, so are journalists entitled to steal emails?

[lprent: Asserting a crime that never happened - which is defamatory. Banned for simple trolling and simply being too stupid to be bothered with as well. ]

Being “too stupid” is Lynspeak for making the wrong arguments so the excising of unwelcome opinions continues although in this case it’s unclear how long the ban is.

Naki man

“they raid journalists over the tea cup tapes…

what is your definition of a journalist?’

This so called journalists hid a microphone at the table,
the smart arse little prick should have lost his job.

[lprent: You mean hidden like this?

See that wee bag in the foreground - that is it being "hidden"

Take 2 weeks off for bullshitting just a tad too much. If you want to make myths up, then do them on your own time. Stop wasting mine looking up an image for you. ]

A response to the ‘Infused’ ban:

greywarbler

Infused is hardly a worthy RW commenter is he. Just a twisted, sneering little twerp. If we want anyone to argue with, we actually can do that amongst ourselves without providing him with his perverse pleasure.

[lprent: I came to that conclusion after reading a series of his comments today. He needed time to refresh himself away from this site. So I gave him that time. ]

One Anonymous Bloke and Weka both abuse with impunity and both have been involved in actions aimed at driving away or prompting bans of commenters they don’t like.

On just the one thread One Anonymous Bloke continues a string of abusive comments and highly questionable claims with no moderator demands to provide evidence.

  • PS: Oh look everyone: a National Party representative advocating that the Police use powers of search and seizure to punish witnesses.
    No wonder the National Party are trash with that attitude.
  • Didn’t take you long to expose your true character, did it, Wormtongue.
  • Keep denying reality, you already look like a complete idiot.
  • They’ll be raiding Slater and the Prime Minister’s Office to ascertain exactly who in that office hacked the New Zealand Labour Party’s computers, stealing membership and credit card details, any day now.
    Unless they’re enemies of society, operating under double standards, that is.
  • So Slater is either a thief or a perjurer, just to bring you up to speed.
  • Are you witless as well as ignorant? You’ve already been informed of the Police complaint.
    We need better wingnuts.
  • Please try and get up to speed Mike: Slater gave evidence in the High Court that the emails are genuine. In the emails he boasts about stealing credit card and membership details from the NZLP with as-yet un-named accomplices from the Prime Minister’s Office.
  • Please stop exposing your cretinous ignorance in public. You’re a joke.
  • It seems to you, and no-one else. Evidence that the Prime Minsiter’s Office has admitted to be true: they stole from the NZLP, doesn’t seem to concern you.
    That’s because you’re either mendacious or ignorant or twisted by bias. Which is it?
  • No murder has taken place. The theft, on the other hand, has already been acknowledged by the perpetrators, although the Prime Minister’s Office (which has also acknowledged its part in the crime) is harbouring one of the accused.

That’s a common tone day after day. One Anonymous Bloke has an undisclosed connection with Labour (lprent discloses a long time connection) and this image is quite damaging to the Labour Party.

It’s also quite ironic on a blog with frequent claims that ‘dirty politics’ only comes from National.

It’s not about reasonable or balanced discussion, it’s about ‘fun':

Once Was Tim 

Back to Hobbitville – the trolls there are just funny rather than frustrating me with their UTTER stupidity despite lprent’s valiant efforts.

[lprent: I don't try to eliminate them. I just try to keep the rabbits down to an acceptable level. Why would I spoil the fun. ]

Another regular from the left gets far more lenient treatment for making a far more blatant assertion, this accusation against a Labour MP and leadership contender:

Colonial Viper

Grant has solid left wing values, and stood up for the membership’s right to be heard and involved in that process, while still being a respectful chair and a loyal deputy leader.

I’m sure that is the case. However, a large number of notable MPs voted against the inclusive, democratic leadership selection process that the NZLP now uses. Grant Robertson was one of them.

[lprent: Offhand I can't think of anyway to prove this one way or another unless you were watching him in the 2012 conference. There are no records of the hand or card votes there down to branches or people. If you want to assert that, then you should also say how you know otherwise I will satrt getting finicky. KL below is completely correct in their objection. ]

If someone deemed from the right (which means moderate left to right) made an assertion like that (or probably if it was a similar claim against Cunliffe) proof would be demanded to avoid a ban. This accusation was strongly refuted…

  • Keir Leslie

    That is a bare faced lie. Robertson voted for, organised for, fought for, helped win us the inclusive, democratic process we use now.

    I don’t know how or if he voted on Cunliffe’s divisive and self-interested attempt to make it easier to roll a leader chosen by that inclusive and democratic process by giving a minority in caucus the ability to depose them. That was a different fight, and one the membership at conference was pretty closely divided on.

    But Robertson was a staunch driver of the party democratisation process, while making sure that the leader of the party wasn’t undermined.

  • Roztoz

    I was next to GR at that vote. He voted for democratisation.

    And that was only after a year of pushing the changes through caucus and keeping NZ Council and caucus talking on it.

…but no action was taken despite two witness accounts.

And on another recent thread an ominous response that hints that moderator mood could play a part in behaviour.

  • Don’t the Nat$i party supporters wish fisi !, why are they so afraid of DC?(why are you going so RED prime mincer?)

    [lprent: sigh, still auto-spamming. I will be back later so will look then if I am sober enough.. ]

Political blogs like The Standard and Whale Oil (which also bans prolifically) continue to do a disservice to political discussion. They seem to be vehicles for the egos of bloggers and little consideration is given to bettering democratic debate. That’s their choice.

Kiwiblog has it’s problems but at least the discussions are not politically biased by bans of unwanted opinions.

At The Standard it’s very much left troll good, right troll bad.

The term “troll” refers to someone who deliberately incites or disrupts a social media discussion but it is more often used as a pejorative meaning little more than “I don’t want you or your opinion here”.

On blogs irony is very common, rationality far less so. Noting that Kiwiblog and Whale Oil seem to carry significantly larger audiences than The Standard and acknowledging that Prentice likes to have the last word (often enforced with a ban) I’ll end with this “more rational” comment:

Many blogs won’t carry much of an audience because of what people write. The arseholes of the net will choose to hang off the self-destructive like Slater or dive into the older sewer at Kiwiblog. The more rational will come here or to Public Address or Transport Blog where the conversations may be robust but their comments can be heard.

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