Dave Brown on “the dinosaur in the backyard “

Dave Brown pops up at The Standard from time to time with some fairly left wing views. It’s interesting to see how others see things.

The dinosaur in the backyard here is the global crisis of capitalism as it goes down the historic drain into climate chaos and human extinction.

This doesn’t leave any room for ideological purity or ideological grandstanding just survival instincts.

The reason why the NACTs have an agenda to smash the unions, drive the surplus army of unemployed into misery, and terrorise us to death, is that they have little time left to rip off the rest of the wealth in NZ before they pull up the drawbridge against the seething rabble.

Screwing the last 10 minutes of labour power from workers, selling off state housing, contracting out the state functions and so on, is all rational when viewed as the emergency plan of the ruling class.

Such is their drive for the preservation of their wealth this is misconstrued as an arbitrary war on the poor driven by bloodymindedness and ideological mania.

Which leads to the delusion that if we lock them up in the madhouse we can save ourselves.

No. Nothing arbitrary about it. This is the reason of classic liberalism. Freedom of the class that owns private property and un-freedom of the class from which the private property was expropriated.

The survival instinct of the dispossessed is to repossess this property as the means of subsistence and species survival.

We are the vast majority and have the power to take control before it is too late. The only thing missing is our consciousness of this fact.

Karol (a leftish Green supporter) responded:

I do not think the majority of right wingers who promote and/or lead such policies, actually think in terms of a long term self-preservation plan: nor that they are involved in such a vast rightwing, well-planned and orchestrated conspiracy.

Their thinking appears to me to be far more short term and self-serving.

I think you may be confusing a possible outcome, with the main intent of such right wing policies.

Typical generalisations. Dave replied.

The “emergency plan of the ruling class” does not need to be a “vast, long-term …orchestrated conspiracy”.

It need only be short term, as in, say, each electoral cycle and NACT parliamentary agenda.
The main reason that this plan can be entrusted to the political representatives of that class is that the dominant ideology of capitalism already prevails in the general population, so no conscious orchestrated conspiracy is necessary to justify the existence of capitalism.

The “emergency plan” as I use it here is a short-hand for the daily profit drive when facing a global crisis of falling profitability so that what David Harvey calls “accumulation by dispossession” becomes a reflex.

This explains cutting wages (hence extracting more unpaid labour), selling off state houses (profits into speculators/cronies pockets) and every other policy the NACTs force through to make the working class pay for its crisis.

Capitalists are individually motivated but collectively organised to advance their class interests. They delegate to the state the function of defending their interests.

One does not need a ‘conspiracy theory’ to explain an actual conspiracy.

“Cutting wages” is a common claim – I’d like to see actual evidence of this.

National’s policy to move state housing to social agencies is not selling to “speculators/cronies”.

“Capitalist” is a class term that’s meaningless in a modern New Zealand context. We have a broad mix of capitalism and social policy, individually (most of us) and especially as a country, whether under a National or Labour led Government.

This is one of Dave’s less radical posts.

Gander sauce all over Winstons’ face

Winston Peters, like Russel Norman, is suggesting the police raid John Key’s house. 3 News reports Winston, Norman: Raid Key’s house over hacker claim

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman think police should raid Mr Key’s house and office if he claims to know who the hacker is.

“[Mr Key] says he’s not actually certain – another brain-fade. If you do know conclusively, you should say so, but he says he doesn’t know,” Mr Peters says.

Peters should be wary of bringing brain fades into the discussion, he’s not exactly as sharp as he once was.

It’s nothing like a brain fade to say that you are not certain whether something you have been told is correct or not.

Peters may think that rumours he’s told are sufficient to try and wreck political careers but many of his attacks are far from conclusive. Most seem to be little more than hot air.

Asked if police should search Mr Key’s property he replied: “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, isn’t it?”.

If the police searched a politician’s property every time they made a hearsay claim they would virtually have to live with Peters.

He’s probably made more unsubstantiated claims – trying to discredit and destroy careers – than all other current MPs put together.

There is gander sauce all over Winston’ face.

Is Norman too close to the hacking, to the hacker and to Hager?

Russel Norman’s persistence in trying to hammer John Key over “Dirty Politics” seems to be adversely affecting his judgement.

Norman has suggested that the police should raid John Key’s house because Key has admitted being provided with a possible identity of the hacker ‘Rawshark’. NZ Herald report in John Key won’t reveal Rawshark’s name:

‘If this is the Prime Minister now saying that he thinks he knows who Rawshark is the question for the police is why aren’t they raiding his house?

“The police spent 10 hours going through Nicky Hager’s house because Nicky Hager supposedly knows who Rawshark is, well the Prime Minister is now on the public record saying he knows who Rawshark is. I would expect the police to be consistent and even handed and to raid the Prime Minister’s house and his office to find out who Mr Key thinks Rawshark is.”

This is a bizarre suggestion. What if Norman knew the hacker’s identity – should his house be raided?

I would expect the police to be consistent and even handed and to raid the Prime Minister’s house and his office” – if a Green MP’s home or office was raided by the police I suspect Norman would have a very different attitude.

Apart from the political implications it’s absurd to think that Key would have evidence of the identity in his home or office.

Key said ““Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was” – so if the police wanted to investigate that they would presumably look for phone records from telecommunication companies. It would be very unlikely there would be evidence in Key’s home or any of his offices.

Norman has also made some erroneous assertions.

“The police spent 10 hours going through Nicky Hager’s house” – this is a common claim. As far as I’m aware ten hours elapsed between the police arriving at Hager’s house and them leaving. Some of the time in between was spent talking with Hager, lawyers and superiors by phone, and waiting for responses. I don’t know of any facts about how long the searching took.

“Nicky Hager supposedly knows who Rawshark is” – because he has described in some detail his contact with the hacker, as reported by David Fisher at NZ Herald in August:

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

That’s a lot more involved than being told a name.

Ok, I presume Norman doesn’t seriously think that the police should raid Key over this.

But Norman has been increasingly looking obsessed over nailing John Key over “Dirty Politics”. His frustration at not scoring any significant hits seems to be affecting his judgement.

This abnormal Norman nonsense adversely affects the credibility of Green Party leadership and of the campaign Hager and his associates is trying to wage against Key.

How close is Norman to the hacking, to the hacker and to Hager?

That’s not for the police to investigate, but perhaps some journalists should be curious. Norman’s abnormal nonsense raises suspicions.

It may be nothing more than hope there is something in it to finally knock Key of his Prime Ministerial perch, but it seems to be clouding Norman’s judgement.

More on Key and ‘Rawshark’

It was revealed yesterday in the release of a new chapter in John Key’s biography that John Key had been told of the identity of the hacker “Rawshark’. NZ Herald reported John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’

In a new chapter in John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, devoted to this year’s election campaign, Mr Key is quoted as saying: “Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was, but other than having a look at this person, I thought, ‘Oh well … nothing will come of it. Life goes on’.”

Mr Key did not divulge the name of the person to the biography’s author, senior Herald editorial writer John Roughan. Asked yesterday whether the PM had referred the name to the police investigation into the stolen emails, a spokeswoman for Mr Key said that though he believed he knew who the hacker was, “he cannot be certain”.

Key has been asked if he will reveal the identity. He won’t. A follow up Herald report – John Key won’t reveal Rawshark’s name

The Prime Minister John Key says he won’t reveal the name given to him as the identity of the hacker known as Rawshark, and won’t pass it on to police.

“In the end if the individual who told me wants to tell the police they are welcome to do that,” Mr Key said at a media conference today.

“I could spend my life worrying about people who undertake activities to try to discredit the government but at the end of the day it doesn’t take you anywhere.”

Asked whether he thought the police should be focused on investigating potential identities of Rawshark rather than investigating journalist behind the “Dirty Politics” book, Nicky Hager, Mr Key said: “That’s a matter for them…they run their own inquiries.”

There are quite a few people who have been closer to the action than Key who could probably help the police identify Rawshark. There have been rumours since before the election that they know who it is.

Whoever revealed the identity to Key should have also advised the police to help them with their inquiries.

As Key acknowledged, he “can’t be certain”, there is no guarantee that the person identified to Key was the hacker.

Nanaia Mahuta – Standard Q & A

Yesterday Labour leadership contender Nanaia Mahuta had a Q & A at The Standard. Her introduction:

Greetings Standarnistas!

I am proud of our country and the Labour Party and I know that it can be better.

We are a progressive movement for change and we are at an important juncture. We must take stock to assess the challenges we face in a political landscape where we must earn back the confidence of New Zealanders.

Hard-working Labour members and supporters campaigned for the types of policies that could lift our desire to become a smart, innovative and caring nation in the 21st Century. The election outcome told us that we just didn’t get cut through, the missing million didn’t mobilize, the prospect of Dotcom raised more concern than support and ‘Dirty Politics’ may have turned punters off altogether. We must keep confidence with the base of support we do have as we work out our way forward.

We need to be prepared to do things differently. The Party has started its programme to modernise the way we do things and that must continue. The Parliamentary wing needs to modernise its approach and represent the aspirations of New Zealanders who despite their working class roots may see their needs better responded to by other political parties. We need to reclaim this space.

My upbringing and my world-view are different. Leading a life of service, contributing to the collective aspirations of community and working amongst diverse groups are just some of the experiences that have shaped my approach.

Being involved in change programmes has given me insight. The Organisational Review for the Party and the Governance and Representation Review for my tribe have tackled challenges of structural, cultural, organisational and leadership change.

When I entered Parliament the caucus culture was that one must ‘do their time – look, listen and breathe through your nose’. Mentoring was a myth and it wasn’t until the 2004 foreshore and seabed issue, I took my place in the caucus as an elected equal with my colleagues. I used the process to effect change for my electorate where they have never been prejudicially affected by any subsequent piece of legislation.

Where you stand in the hard times are a good test of character. After 5 elections I have retained the confidence of Hauraki-Waikato people whom I have never taken for granted.

New Zealand is now more diverse as a nation. The challenges of modern society require a collaborative and sustainable approach. Communities, Business, Local Government our academic institutions are already moving in this direction.

We can uphold our values of a fair and decent society. We can promote economic prosperity and environmental responsibility as mutually inclusive aspirations.

We can ensure that our children and old people are cared for at the most vulnerable times of their life cycle.

We can affirm to working people, and those who share our aspirations in the productive sector that there is everything to gain when we have thriving communities and regions.

We can explore the rich contribution of diversity.

We can be stronger when we work together.

Mauriora!

Nanaia Mahuta

Edited questions with full answers.

Will you work collaboratively with other parties on the Left?

In opposition I think that building a strong relationship with potential coalition partners is important and I would take a constructive approach across the parliamentary and party levels of leadership over the next 3 years.

Do you consider a strategy for the LP to get MPs on the ground over the next 2.8 years working on a nationwide education programme with Unions, utlising their extensive infrastructure to educate NZ workers about the value of union membership as a way to improve their wages, working conditions, security of job and family a worthwhile strategy? If yes, how would you instigate it. If no, why not.

I would tend to agree with the approach you have imied and would work in partnership with unions to achieve that objective. Our effort in Parliament would amplify to hard working New Zealanders that a productive economy and the protection of worker rights have mutual advantage to regional growth and productivity.

Very general answers to begin with.

I am interested in caucus dynamics. I am not breaking any confidences by saying that the dynamics within Caucus are not ideal.

What changes do you think should be made to improve things?

It appears to me that this decision will again be one where the membership will express a preference and Caucus will need to act in a more disciplined way or risk further perception that the party and parliamentary wing are not in sync. We must be disciplined in the next phase to rebuild confidence that we will get our house in order.

Very good. Thank you Nanaia for that gracious and thoughtful, in depth, reply.

“Thoughtful, in depth” seems out of sync with her answer.

More specifically are you able and/or willing to face down the Right Wing ABC faction to give David Cunliffe a senior role in your shadow cabinet?

All members will be treated without fear or favor based on their aspiration to work towards a united team, a focussed opposition, a strong voice for working people and able to build credibility around a credible Labour alternative to Create a vision for NZ where all peoples can live, work and thrive.

I believe that DC has a huge contribution to make as do other members of our caucus. Our commitment to the team will determine how talent will be recognised.

Mahuta has been a supporter of Cunliffe and only stood for leadership when he withdrew.

If at the next election Mana were the make or break for the formation of a left wing government, would you choose to take their support on confidence and supply or would you choose to remain in opposition? (note, I am not asking if you would go into coalition with Mana, just if you would accept their support on C and S). If you would accept their support, how will you communicate this to the electorate pre-election?

It seems to me that it will be very hard to regroup with no presence in Parliament. I remain open to conversations to opposition parties represented in Parliament as a first step to build the campaign to change the Government.

Do you intend for Labour to develop policy specific to Work and Income beneficiaries, esp those who are not in a position to enter the workforce? (as opposed to policy directed towards low income people in general). Will you support Labour rolling back the worst of the Paula Bennett welfare reforms?

How do you intend for Labour to address the cultural and structural problems within Work and Income? How do you intend for Labour to address the wider society cultural issues regarding welfare eg the bludger memes?

The team I lead will be highy motivated to present an alternative economic vision where regional development will provide tangible opportunities for the productive sector to grow jobs and transition to a low carbon economy, we will further establish credibility and support for education and training investment and ensure that our public health and education system become a hallmark of a caring society and where opportunity is available to all.

There doesn’t seem to be anything original or informative in that answer.

What policies will you bring forward to address and eradicate poverty in NZ?

We will emphasise policies that promote a high value productive sector to grow good quality jobs, we will push for targets on child poverty in order to keep the Government accountable to its responsibility, and we will further advocate for the rights and interests of the most vulnerable.

For those modest hardworking families we will ensure that there is a coherent policy package that addresses their needs so they can see that we support them. Housing, Working for Families, the cost of child care and cost of living pressure are the range of issues that would need to be factored into this approach.

Interesting to see her emphasis on “we”.

[1] Have any of the Pākehā caucus members (non Maori, non PI) indicated their first preference vote for you? If yes, is that number at least two?

No

[2] Please describe briefly what your approach will be to reduce the ever increasing wealth and income gap in our country.

Please see previous comments above. In addition to that I would take the approach that Labour would need to lead an inquiry on the changing nature of work to better understand sector by sector the extent of the challenge to reduce the wealth and income gap and to better inform where our ‘investment’ approach might best be focussed. As we move from a high volume to high value economy we need to transition the current and future labour market towards that goal.

[3] Do you have enough confidence that you can take on and fight Key for the Prime ministerial position during the next election campaign?

With a United and Focussed Team Labour is formidable. I will certainly change the landscape on which that fight will take place.

[4] Will you be able to be a fair and effective leader for all New Zealanders?

That can only be assessed over time.

That’s right – until anyone becomes a leader and is seen in action over time it is difficult to assess how they will perform. Some rise to the challenge, some don’t.

During your 18 years in parliament what 3 achievements would you consider your greatest triumphs?

1. Being an effective advocate for my Electorate where I was unafraid to test my mandate on the hardest of issues (Foreshore and Seabed) where Labour suffered huge electoral damage. I continue to serve my electorate and hold their confidence.

2. I have always put my name to comments to the media and have not brought the Party into disrepute.

3. As Minister of Youth Affairs I initiated exactly the types of projects that grew participation of young people in decision-making, that fostered mentoring, that tackled issues of their time mental, sexual and reproductive health initiatives and teen pregnancy.

There are other things but these particular three speak to the values that I hold as a person.

Mahuta’s lack of apparent impact and visibility over 18 years in Parliament is a common criticism. Maori MPs often seem to have a lower public profile, I’ve wondered if that’s due to lower effort or if the Maori way of representing is just more discrete, or regarded as not newsworthy.

Would you consider overseeing the establishment of an independent commission against corruption for NZ, tasked with cleaning up all relevant areas?

In the first instance I support greater transparency in the political system as we unravel issues raised in ‘dirty politics’ there may well be greater impetus to pursue your suggestion.

If you are elected leader of the LP do you accept that the right both directly and through their channels will seek to undermine you with fact and fiction? If you do accept this what strategy do you and your advisors have to get beyond that to ensure the LP messages are heard?

Connect with more New Zealanders and enter into a broader range of relationships with stakeholder groups and communities that tend not to have affinity with Labour. It will take effort to earn the confidence of more New Zealanders they need to know how and why we think the way we do and what motivates us to build a New Zealand that works for everyone.

Do you think that there are enough activists in the Labour Party who you can work with to further the interests of the country and the people on the lower to middle-income strata? Do you agree what is needed is more supportive and effective welfare and creation of jobs through work schemes, small loans and business and government service initiatives?

I agree that there needs to be a strong emphasis on work that is genuine and sustainable. I also recognize that by ensuring the most vulnerable are cared for we create a fair society. Work and better paying jobs has to be a core motivation. But we can’t stop there as people should aspire to achieve more no matter where their starting point.

Will you consider measures to stop the sale of NZ land and assets to foreign interests?

Our policy on the first issue proposed to do just that stop further asset sales and raise the bar for foreign ownership.

That didn’t answer the question, she says what was Labour policy, not what she would consider.

Do you like Bob Marley?

Yes.

Do you think liberalism as an economic theory works for Maori?

No.

Your husband is awesome, does he look after the tamariki [children]?

Yes with whanau help.

Is it ok to call you kaitiaki?
[kaitiaki: trustee, minder, guard, custodian, guardian, keeper.
Kaitiaki is a term used for the Māori concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land.]

Mmm not sure about that one.

How do you propose to deal with National’s lack of aroha [love]?

That’s not for me to do we as a Labour team need to practice the values of aroha through a fair and decent society.

It’s wise to avoid a loaded question like that but not useful to end with a “fair and decent society” generality.

There were a handful of mixed responses to Mahuta’s Q & A. It wasn’t very illuminating and unlikely to have won or lost any support.

I haven’t seen Mahuta reveal much about herself in any of her engagements apart from her ability to memorise well worn phrases, something she shares with many bland politicians.

‘Labour West’ promoting Little and Mahuta leadership

An apparently authorised Labour group (Labour West) is promoting a ‘Meet Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta’ event in West Auckland that currently appears to exclude the other two leadership contenders. The group has strong connections with ex leader David Cunliffe.

‘Labour West’ on Facebook states:

This is the page for the New Zealand Labour Party in West Auckland. Have a look at our posts, check out what our leaders are up to, and visit events.

It has a photo of Labour MPs including David Cunliffe (MP for New Lynn) – the Facebook page seems to have mainly been a promotion for Cunliffe’s leadership and Labour’s election campaign.

LabourWest

Note also the promotion of an event this Saturday – an opportunity to meet leadership contenders Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta. Despite the photo including all four contenders it seems that Grant Robertson and David Parker are not included. This seems very odd for a Labour Party promoted event.

The Facebook page ‘Description':

This is a page for West Auckland Labour members and supporters. No parliamentary services money has been used in the construction of this website and if it needs authorisation (which is denied) it is authorised by Greg Presland of 512 South Titirangi Road, Titirangi. Go Labour!

Authorised by Greg Presland, a well known supporter and associate of Cunliffe.

There is also an event page on Facebook promoting this meet half the candidates event – Meet Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta:

An invite for westies to meet with Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta and chat with them about their aspirations for the Labour Party and what they want to achieve if they become leader.

“If they become leader” is an interesting phrase.

Labour West leaders edit

It’s easy to guess who might be behind this promotion.

There have been obvious signs of some angling towards favouring a Little/Mahuta leadership team at The Standard, where Presland happens to be an author and sometimes posts under the pseudonym ‘mickysavage’.

Although it is under the generic name of ‘Notices and Features’ this event is also being promoted at The Standard.

Meet Nanaia and Andrew in West Auckland this weekend

By: Date published: 11:44 pm, October 29th, 2014 – 5 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour, Nanaia Mahuta – Tags: , ,

Labour West are hosting an event this weekend where you can meet two of the Labour leadership candidates:

Meet Nanaia Mahuta and Andrew Little

5pm to 7pm Saturday 1 November

Ghazal restaurant, Glen Eden

An invite for westies to meet with Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta and chat with them about their aspirations for the Labour Party and what they want to achieve if they become leader.

Facebook event details here.

The West Auckland husting is a week and a half later, on 10 November at the Massey High School Performing Arts Centre. Facebook event here.

One can presume who is responsible for that post.

While it is not unusual for The Standard to be taking sides in leadership contests or attempted coups it seems odd that an apparently authorised Labour organisation is promoting two contenders – and excluding the other two from an event that is obviously leadership contest related.

John Key on ‘Rawshark’

The biography John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister has been updated with a new chapter. In it Key claims to know the identity of ‘Rawshark’, the hacker who illegally obtained data from Cameron Slater.

John Armstrong at NZ Herald reports John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’.

The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published biography of John Key.

In a new chapter in John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister devoted to this year’s election campaign, Mr Key is quoted as saying: “Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was, but other than having a look at this person, I thought, ‘Oh well … nothing will come of it. Life goes on’.”

Mr Key did not divulge the name of the person to the biography’s author, senior Herald editorial writer John Roughan.

Asked yesterday whether the PM had referred the name to the police investigation into the stolen emails, a spokeswoman for Mr Key said that though he believed he knew who the hacker was, “he cannot be certain”.

The spokeswoman said the PM had had no involvement in the police inquiry, which has included a lengthy search of Hager’s Wellington home.

If Key has been advised of the identity of “Rawshark’ it would be surprising if the police haven’t been given the same information.

“Someone phoned and told me” is sure to raise questions and accusations about who phoned Key, with Cameron Slater being an obvious candidate.

However a lot of people will have some sort of contact with Key so it could be any of many.

And with an apparent identity in circulation it seems likely the police will know about it, there have been rumours for weeks that they know who it was.

Air shot #1 – Norman versus Key

Three questions in Parliament yesterday tried to hit John Key over “Dirty Politics” but they all missed the mark.

The first was by Russel Norman, who was primed by a Speaker ruling last week that described what sort of questions should get a response from Key rather than avoidance.

Norman sharpened his spear and was careful to relate the question to Key’s job as Prime Minister, but a well prepared Key parried it off easily.

1. Prime Minister—Communications with Blogger

[Sitting date: 28 October 2014. Volume:701;Page:1. Text is subject to correction.]

1. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister : Did he tell Cameron Slater that he recognised the mother of a car crash victim—a young man described by Mr Slater as “a feral”—from his Pike River meetings?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes, as I stated publicly when this matter came up during the election campaign. I would note that I did not use the language paraphrased in Mr Slater’s stolen emails.

Dr Russel Norman : Was Cameron Slater correct to tell Television New Zealand that the Prime Minister texted Mr Slater to say that the Prime Minister recognised the mother of the dead car crash victim Judd Hall as being the same person he had encountered at Pike River meetings?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I do not believe that to be correct. I believe that the only conversation I had with him in my capacity as leader of the National Party was one on the telephone.

Dr Russel Norman : Why did the Prime Minister text Mr Slater to say that he recognised the mother of the Greymouth crash victim Judd Hall, described by Mr Slater as “a feral” who did the world a favour by dying? Why did the Prime Minister give that information to Mr Slater?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I do not believe I did. As I said, I had a phone conversation in my capacity as leader of the National Party and as part of that phone conversation the particular woman in question was raised. From memory, I said to him that I recognised her from Pike River. That was the extent of it, as I recall it. I do not have a copy of my text messages.

Dr Russel Norman : Is this the correct sequence of events: he was notified that Whale Oil had posted an answerphone recording of Mrs Hall on Slater’s blog, he listened to the recording and recognised Mrs Hall’s voice from the Pike River meetings, then he contacted Cameron Slater to tell him he recognised her?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : No.

Dr Russel Norman : Given that he recognised Joe Hall as a mother from Pike River who had lost a son in a mining tragedy, why did he not put on his prime ministerial hat and offer his condolences over the death of another son rather than contacting his friend Cameron Slater to gossip about her instead?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I made it quite clear at the time that I did not know the particular details of this story. I just simply said in passing that I recognised her.

Dr Russel Norman : Will he now admit that he was the Prime Minister when he texted or phoned Cameron Slater to talk about a women who had lost all four of her sons; and will he say sorry to Mrs Hall?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : No; I was leader of the National Party. What I said was that I recognised her, and that does not deserve an apology, just as the member himself was the leader of the Green Party when he went grovelling up to the Dotcom mansion.

Dr Russel Norman : Why did the Prime Minister not behave like a Prime Minister on hearing that this was the mother who had lost four sons and actually offer condolences to that women, instead of contacting the attack blogger Cameron Slater to offer him information about this woman—instead of behaving like a Prime Minister who should have offered condolences?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : The member should stop making things up.

Norman’s problem, as was Nicky Hager’s, is that he doesn’t have damning evidence that directly links Key to specific actions.

So he has resorted to trying to guess what might have happened and hope that Key might admit to something.

Key will be confident that Hager used the worst of the illegally hacked communications and there is no whammy waiting to wallop him.

With a lack of success so far it will be interesting to see if Norman keeps trying on this. Without coming up with anything new it is starting to look like futile flailing.

Whatever Key may or may not have done there is just not enough evidence to nail him.

Berners-Lee on staggering hate on the web

Tim Berners-Lee played a major role in establishing the Internet as we now know it. He has expressed dismay at how hateful some people are in their use of the world wide web. I feel a bit the same way.

The Guardian reports in Tim Berners-Lee: hateful people on the web are ‘staggering':

Speaking to BBC News, Berners-Lee said that it was “staggering” that people “who clearly must have been brought up like anybody else will suddenly become very polarised in their opinions, will suddenly become very hateful rather than very loving.”

I don’t expect people to be “loving” on political blogs but the degree of apparent hate and open nastiness does stagger me.

The Internet seems to bring out the worst of some people, and this is sadly prevalent in politics in social media.

Nastiness is all to common at blogger level and commenter level. At times it is flaunted.

Two of New Zealand’s most prominent blogs promote their nastiness, with Cameron Slater (Whale Oil) and Lyn Prentice (The Standard) often boasting about and promoting their nastiness.

That’s a very sad look for the New Zealand political blogosphere and it sets a very poor example which is followed by others.

Our political leaders should set good examples. We would be far better served by or political social media if they led by good example and cut the hatefulness.

There will always be political polarisation (most pronounced amongst a small minority of activists) but it serves us very poorly.

Clare Curran survey: 1 = not at all related

Clare Curran has a 2014 Post-Election Survey on Survey Monkey that suggests a failure to understand what when wrong for Labour in the last election, but is an inadvertent indicator of why Labour has lost touch and lost support.

It has four questions repeated:

1. From your perspective, which core theme or policy area was the most central to Labour’s campaign this past election? (you will have the opportunity to list up to three other core themes or policy areas later in the survey)

4. From your perspective, what was another core theme or policy area that was central to Labour’s campaign this past election? (you will have the opportunity to list up to two other core themes or policy areas later in the survey).

7. From your perspective, what was another core theme or policy area that was central to Labour’s campaign this past election? (you will have the opportunity to list up to one other core theme or policy area later in the survey).

10. From your perspective, what was another core theme or policy area that was most central to Labour’s campaign this past election?

My guess is  that the number of ordinary voters interested in responding to any of these questions would be close to 0% – but what is her target market for this survey?

There is no sign of it on her web page, nor on her Facebook page. Nor on her Twitter, which has this profile:

Dunedin South Labour, communications and IT, regional & economic development. Never gives up on impt stuff.

For someone into communications her activity on line has been very sparse lately. Her last tweet was on October 8, her last post on Facebook on October 18.

Each of her survey questions asked for this feedback:

How well did this theme or policy area relate to issues that matter to you, with 1 = not at all related, and 5 = extremely related?

How well did this theme and policy area relate to issues that matter to your neighbours, with 1 = not at all related, and 5 = extremely related?

The survey is probably 1 = not at all related to me but I don’t think “themes or policy areas” were Labours main problems – failing  present themselves as a credible potential leader of Government and failing to relate to voters were far bigger issues, and if this survey is any indicator then 1 = not at all related continues.

When I first decided to get involved in politics I approached Clare to see if she was interested in fresh ideas and input – this was just after Labour’s loss in 2008 and I thought they would be keen on re-establishing relevance with voters and rebuilding.

That offer stills stands, but this survey doesn’t look promising, it appears to be 1 = not at all related to what Labour need to be doing.

(This survey was brought to my attention by two journalists on Twitter who were far from complimentary about the survey).

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