Reactions to spy reviews

There is a general review starting this year of the GCSB and SIS as stipulated for in legislation passed in 2013, and the Inspector General of Security and Intelligence has initiated a review of the way the GCSB undertakes foreign intelligence activities.

Radio NZ political editor Brent Edwards in Spy agencies come under scrutiny:

What is most needed from the review is a clear summary of how the intelligence agencies can best work to protect New Zealanders’ safety and interests while not compromising their privacy and freedoms.

Most people accept there is a need for spy agencies.

The challenge is to ensure they are able to do their job without trampling on the rights of the citizens they are meant to protect.

If Sir Michael and Dame Patsy can achieve that they will do much to improve public confidence in the country’s intelligence agencies and ensure those agencies have the appropriate powers to keep the country safe.

In the meantime, too, the investigations by Ms Gwyn might also reassure the public.

Mr Key will argue, with some justification, that this is all evidence that under his government the country’s spy agencies face greater, not less, accountability.

But the critics will wait for the review and inquiries to report back before deciding whether he is right.

Green MP Kennedy Graham in Warning Govt must not influence GCSB review:

Green Party security and intelligence spokesperson Kennedy Graham is happy former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Michael Cullen and lawyer Dame Patsy Reddy are leading the review.

“You’ve got two good people undertaking the task, but the precise terms of reference will determine a lot of what the two reviewers can do and can say.”

Graham asserts the most important thing is for the Government to be totally hands-off.

“Subliminal or even explicit messages from the Government as to what the reviewers can or can’t do or should or shouldn’t do…whether the Government signals an advance.

“[It’s to be seen] whether it will take certain aspects of a review seriously.”

David Farrar at Kiwiblog in Cullen to head up security law review:

Having Michael Cullen as one of the reviewers is an inspired move, as he will take a sensible approach to such a vital issue, and it will be very difficult for certain political parties to attack the recommendations if he is part of them.

Green co-leader Metiria Turei in Spy agencies investigated for political gain, again:

John Key’s lack of oversight of our spy agencies has once again made them the subject of an inquiry by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) into their political spying.

The IGIS review is oversight in action.

The IGIS has announced she is looking into allegations that the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was spying on Tim Groser’s rivals for the position of the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This investigation comes in the wake of IGIS investigations into allegations contained in the Dirty Politics book and allegations of spying in the Pacific.

“It is unprecedented for a government agency to be investigated by a watchdog three times in the space of nine months,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“Once again, the investigation relates to John Key using our spy agencies for his political purposes and gain.

“Every major allegation made against John Key and his spy agencies has been, or is being investigated, by the IGIS; yet John Key continues to deny our spy agencies are out of control.

“It is further evidence that John Key’s hands are off the wheel in his own department.

“We need a comprehensive and independent review of our spy agencies; the two person beltway panel the Government has set up appears to be a stitch up.

“We need independent experts who can fix our spy agencies and make sure they operate within the law,” said Mrs Turei.

The Greens may never be happy as long as there’s a GCSB and an SIS.

Greg Presland at The Standard in Spy watchdog to investigate GCSB’s help for Groser’s campaign:

All strength to Spy watchdog Cheryl Gwynn.  She is probably going to drop off John Key’s christmas card list for doing so but she has announced an investigation into the GCSB’s spying on friendly nations to help Tim Groser’s tilt at the top trade job.

Farrar on Minister’s brother being charged

David Farrar at Kiwiblog has a carefully worded post Why standing down a Minister for their brother is absolutely wrong.

Most people accept you should not stand down a Minister because a family member has done something wrong.

In general I think that’s correct.

Now a few have argued that it is different if the Minister holds a portfolio in the justice sector, such as Justice, Police, Corrections etc. Again, they are wrong. They are not wrong that it may create a conflict that needs managing, but they are absolutely wrong that the way you manage that is by the Minister standing down.

And that’s a fair point. The Opposition tend to cry resign or cry stand down too readily and too often.

Let’s say the person charged is the brother of the Minister of Justice. Should they stand down because their brother has been charged? Well if you stand down the Minister of Justice because their brother has been prosecuted, then you’re saying that they may have been able to interfere in the case if they had not stood down.

Now that is wrong. The Police and Crown Law have statutory independence in their functions (apart from a few small areas where the Attorney-General plays a role). No Minister can interfere in decisions around police investigations, charges, bail, prosecutions, trials, convictions, sentencing, or parole.

The proof of an independent justice system is when (as has happened here) the Police can and do investigate the sibling of a cabinet minister, and do decide to prosecute them and charge them. The fact this happens while the Minister remains in office is a strength, not a weakness.

Yes, it can be seen as a strength. Except by some people who will inevitably claim political/police collusion.

If a minister who holds a portfolio in the justice sector has a family member charged with an offence, the only thing that needs to be done is to make sure that the Minister is not briefed or in the loop in any way on the prosecution. As Ministers are not briefed on such things anyway, that should not be difficult.

Sounds reasonable to me.

In praising Martyn Bradbury

Greg Presland has joined the list of bloggers praising Martyn’ Bradbury’s handling of the Key/waitress/hair story.

Firstly in relation to the story I wish to praise Bomber Bradbury’s handling of it.  Unlike Cameron Slater and his attempts to bring down Len Brown with the Bevan Chuang story Bradbury did some important things.  He let the story be the story and did not inject himself into the story at all.  He let the waitress tell her own story in her own words.  And unlike Slater whose grandiose yet ridiculous plan to have Len Brown removed from office and John Palino somehow installed as mayor Bomber had no intention of achieving any particular goal.  He just facilitated the telling of a very creepy story.

He also quotes Danyl Mclachlan of Dim-Post:

[Bomber] simply published the waitress’s own account as a primary, information-rich source that the mainstream media could base their stories off. Reporters called the PM, but the scandal had already broken and the media were all matching each other’s stories. It couldn’t be shut down. And Bomber kept himself out of it all. That approach – publish a primary source and make it available to all media simultaneously – turned out to be a really awesome way to get the story out there.

I have also said that Bradbury deserves some praise for how he presented the initial post that broke the story.

But Presland and Mclachlan take a very narrow view, focussing on the first post only. Bradbury has gone on to try and link it all with Dirty Politics – his next post on it headlines this:

UPDATE: The Prime Minister and the Waitress Part 2 – Dirty Politics?

This post, about the horrendous Herald coverage of the issue – opened with a photo of David Farrar with Rachel Glucina with this caption:

Rachel Glucina and Government pollster and right wing political blogger, David Farrar

Glucina was at the centre of that controversy. I haven’t seen anyone – including Bradbury, Presland nor Mclachlan – provide any evidence that Farrar (or Cameron Slater or the Government) had anything to do with this issue.

But Presland and Mclachlan compared Bradbury extensively with Cameron Slater.

In pushing Dirty Politics links they are all playing dirty, while praising Bradbury for playing it clean. Sheesh.

I don’t think it’s deliberately hypocritical. Most likely they are blind to their double standard.

And before Greg accuses me of suggesting a conspiracy again, this is probably not a co-ordinated or planned approach.

Left wing bloggers seem so obsessed with ‘Dirty Politics’ and the narrow definition they try to apply to the term they are blind to their own mode of operation.

To keep Felix happy I won’t say they’re playing ‘Dirty Politics’ themselves (I understand what you want that term to mean Felix) so I will describe it as playing dirty to promote a political attack.

As Presland did in his post after praising Bradbury.

Rachel Glucina’s attempt at turning the story around by suggesting there was a political angle in the complaint failed miserably and only succeeded in providing an institutional target and showing that Dirty Politics is alive although not so well.

If Felix was consistent he would point out that this doesn’t fit his version of Dirty Politics.

The right had no where to go on this.  Every time one of their nodding heads in the media tried to turn the story around there was blow back.  And as the story took off and international media ran with it you could sense John Key’s credibility ebb.  Crosby Textor will have their work cut out to repair this fiasco.

I think Greg pushes the CT conspiracy quite often. And he brought Farrar into the post:

The response of the right wing bloggers has been interesting.  David Farrar obviously wanted to have nothing to do with it and his early post inappropriate if accurate was as realistically as positive as he could go.

So Farrar “obviously wanted to have nothing to do with it” but Presland said “I wish to praise Bomber Bradbury’s handling of it” – that’s in relation to the story which was Bradbury’s first post but that’s disingenuous considering Bradbury’s ‘Dirty Politics’ follow-up.

Cameron Slater  is obviously no longer running pro Key lines and is preparing to support his mate Judith Collins in a leadership battle that when it occurs will be bloody and divisive and will leave National in far worse shape.  Let’s be real here.  There is no other leader of the quality of John Key in National.  The possibility of a leader emerging from the ranks of Collins, Joyce, Bennett, Adams or Bridges is one that fills me with confidence that the the next Government will be a progressive one.  Key is their only chance.  And he has been significantly damaged.

Slater’s lack of complicity (despite Presland associating him with it) is turned into a lame leadership hit.

Slater’s line on the story, that the left had stuffed up the chance of a political hatchet job spoke volumes about his world view.  He could not believe obviously (donotlink link) that a left wing blog could publish a story with no intent other than making sure that the story was told.  Subsequent posts suggesting that the waitress should toughen up just reveal a shallowness of human understanding that has always been apparent.

So “subsequent posts” at Whale Oil are relevant but Presland tries to judge Bradbury on one post in isolation “with no intent other than making sure that the story was told”.

If Presland wishes to “praise Bomber Bradbury’s handling of it” then he is in effect praising Bradbury’s attempts to widen the issue in to another example of ‘Dirty Politics’ – which Presland also does himself. He commented here yesterday:

Basically I thought Bomber did really well, way better than Slater in his attempts to achieve similar things.

Presland has been an integral part of an attempt to tie the Herald, Slater and Farrar into the hair story as an example of ‘Dirty Politics’.

He speaks on behalf of all at The Standard:

The rest of the posts were spontaneous. We do not sit down and coordinate and plot posts as part of some conspiracy. Well intentioned individuals post about aspects that they think are important and interesting.

A number of bloggers at Dim-Post and The Daily Blog may have also been spontaneous and un-coordinated.

But they all seem to be singing the same tune – Bradbury impeccable, Key/Herald/Slater/Farrar/right dirty.

If it’s all spontaneous (and it may well be) does that just indicate “well intentioned individuals” are already thoroughly indoctrinated in the ‘Dirty Politics’ campaign?

In praising Martyn Bradbury for one isolated play they have ignored the bigger game and seem oblivious to theirn involvement in the whole dirty sport of politics.

The Left’s handling of Key’s hair pulling

Labour and the Greens have had a bit to say about John Key’s hair pulling but this is a look at how left wing blogs have handled the hair story.

It began with EXCLUSIVE: The Prime Minister and the Waitress at The Daily Blog, and was introduced:

This is a guest blog from an anonymous waitress about the way John Key kept touching her when he repeatedly visited her place of work.  The waitress contacted us with her story, The Daily Blog did not seek her out or pressure her in anyway to write this blog. We are protecting her identity so she is not punished by her employer or social media victim blaming.

The question to ask after reading her words is if this bullying behaviour is acceptable from the Prime Minister of NZ.

It was entirely predictable that protecting her identity and preventing social media victim blaming was never going to succeed. Was ‘anonymous waitress’ duped and used by The Daily Blog, or were they really that dumb that they thought they could protect her?

The post has a date stamp only – April 22, 2015. It shows Last Modified: April 22, 2015 @ 6:02 am. The first comment was posted at April 22, 2015 at 6:22 am.

Two days later, on Friday evening, Danyl posted The story behind the story at The Dim-Post:

The other interesting (to me) thing about ponytailgate, or whatever we’re supposed to call it, is how the story broke.

If you take it to a blogger then that check for a balancing comment doesn’t happen. Bloggers don’t play by the rules. But what they do – and I’m thinking of Cameron Slater here, as well as his homologues overseas – is insert themselves into the story. They write it up, in imitation of a mainstream media story and then accompany it with commentary and interviews on the MSM outlets they affect to despise, and attempt to frame the story and promote themselves. In Slater’s case that tends to dilute the story since the attack is so clearly partisan and motivated by malice.

Bomber didn’t do that. Instead he simply published the waitress’s own account as a primary, information-rich source that the mainstream media could base their stories off. Reporters called the PM, but the scandal had already broken and the media were all matching each other’s stories. It couldn’t be shut down. And Bomber kept himself out of it all. That approach – publish a primary source and make it available to all media simultaneously – turned out to be a really awesome way to get the story out there.

Except that this isn’t The story behind the story, it’s only the first chapter.

If Whale Oil had posted an exclusive and David Farrar had picked up on it (or vice versa) possibly Danyl and certainly many on the left would have been shouting ‘two track Dirty Politics!’.

At 9.49 am on Wednesday morning there was a post at The Standard – My Little Ponytail. It looks well researched and carefully written post (not a rush job) by Te Reo Putake. He may well have been able to put that together in three hours. But he probably wouldn’t excuse a time lag between posts on Whale Oil and Kiwiblog. The concluding paragraph:

I simply don’t know if it’s accurate, but I do think we should be told Key’s side of the story. Or be presented with his head on a platter if it’s true.

So ” if it’s accurate” TRP wanted Key’s political head on a platter. And comments that followed feasted on a similar diet of downfall.

The Standard has been busy since then. Related posts so far:

22 April:

23 April:

24 April:

25 April:

Dirty politics was a common accusation – directed at the ‘attack as defence’ from Key defenders. The left forbid calling it dirty politics when they do similar.

And Danyl is wrong when he claims “Bomber didn’t do that. Instead he simply published the waitress’s own account ” and “And Bomber kept himself out of it all.”

That may apply to the initial post but on a blog you can’t look at one post in isolation.

Bradbury posted a follow-up statement from the waitress: UPDATE: The Prime Minister and the Waitress Part 2 – Dirty Politics? While he introduced it with this…

I think the young woman at the centre of the Prime Minister’s bewilderingly abusive and arrogant privilege is a hero. She has shown courage and fortitude that is pretty rare. To tell the Prime Minister to his face to stop touching her took enormous strength when you consider the power dynamics.

I did not believe her bravery should be denigrated by a mainstream media who look to get a victim blaming ratings kick. That was why I said I wouldn’t confirm her identity to any of the media who contacted me.

She thanked me for this but accepted that her name might be made public. This understood,  she was determined to direct that voice and allow it to be her narrative and her story told on her terms.

Out of her genuine concern for the reputation and economic ramifications her possible outing might have on her employers, she met with them Wednesday afternoon and was left in a position she had not agreed to.

She also challenges some of the comments the Prime Minister has made.

These are her words. She raises hard questions about the NZ Herald.

…the use of Dirty Politics in the headline and two photos, including this one…

gluc

Rachel Glucina and Government pollster and right wing political blogger, David Farrar

…make it fairly clear that Bradbury is far from keeping himself out of it. As far as I have seen Farrar has had nothing to do with this issue, he has commented a little (two posts) but has kept out of it far more than Bradbury.

I’ve seen no evidence Farrar had anything to do with Glucina’s hit job on the waitress in The Herald. Linking them like this is disingenuous. Some would call it dirty.

The Daily Blog currently features that same photo in it’s headline post. Dirty.

The Daily Blog (that Bradbury is a very prominent part of) has also been busy with other posts that aren’t ‘keeping out of it':

22 April:

23 April:

24 April:

25 April:

26 April:

Danyl himself has also been busier than usual, beginning with this:

I’ve already printed this out and posted it above my desk

ponytail

I wonder what else he has posted above his desk. It’s easy to see what else he’s posted at Dim-Post:

Left wing blogs have been very busy on this story. The haven’t simply let the waitresss story speak for itself. They have promoted and exaggerated the hell out of it.  They have made all sorts of claims, assumptions, accusations and demands.

Like Psycho Milt encapsulated::

Which left-wing prime minister has been bullying service staff and then getting their friends in the media to do a hatchet job when the person complains?

That’s blogging.

I’ve posted a few times on this myself. But I don’t claim one side does Dirty Politics while trying to pretend the other side is squeaky clean.

There has been a concerted effort from the left to bag Key and damage him as much as possible. Some of them think that at last they have found the straw they can break the back of his Prime Minister-ship with.

As I’ve shown in Key “didn’t deliberately intend” to abuse power Key accepts that what he did was “very very silly”.

But left wing blogs – authors and particularly commenters – have been overplaying their hand, as blogs often do.

They saw blood and scratched for all they were worth.

It could all be completely uncoordinated spontaneous series of attacks. And every attack and perceived from the right could be orchestrated by John Key and his minions.

But both sides will be somewhere in between those extremes, despite their screams.

And amongst that there’s a bit of Dirty Politics Derangement Syndrome

Kiwiblog troll

Posted on Kiwiblog:

Quite funny, but not so funny was what prompted it, a series of deliberately provocative and abusive posts over the last few days. This resulted in:

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Lucy scares all decent and intelligent people. Her type is behind every religious inspired war, genocide, torture and horror in the world today.

She longs for a past time where she could have tortured mutilated and killed non Catholics with impunity. She is more dark and evil than most people could fathom, but some of us see straight through to her rotten hateful heart.

[DPF: This comment, and many others are unacceptable. This is your seventh strike and a three month suspension. The 10th strike is permanent inclusion. You need to change your style if you want to remain here]

DPF would have meant “The 10th strike is permanent exclusion”, his policy details Strike 10 – permanent ban.

Seems fair enough. Kiwiblog can get quite abusive at times but this is at the extreme end, and it was after repeated abuse by a recidivist – in fact this person was on the receiving end of DPF’s first strike:

Kea (13,924 comments) says:
And that Scott Chris shows you are fundamentally unsuited to make that choice. You are a coward and intellectually dishonest. Your own contributions are worthless dross for those reasons.

But I would allow you to share your brain-farts in total freedom. They make other contributors look good and fill the diversity quota [for the handicapped] at the same time.

[DPF: Thanks for the perfect example of an unacceptable comment. You’re the first person to get a strike under the new regime]

Looking through the strike list shows someone out of control – these are just a handful of the worst examples.

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Scott Chris has pushed the “Report abusive comment” button FIFTY TIMES. What a cowardly wanker.

DPF gives me a strike but sees none of the abuse thrown at me by this, and other, abusive bigots on a daily basis. DPF has form for this sort of thing and his bullshit claims about lack of bias further erode his remaining credibility. The primary reason he demerits me is for my views.

I am out of here folks for good and are closing my account. Though I will pop in to watch KB continue its decline into a fanatical Christian anti-Muslim hate site.

[DPF: And that was strike two. You’re not yet suspended if you change your mind]

Abusing the blog owner is not a good idea, especially when they are trying a new system of trying to tone down the abuse.

Note the statement that they were ‘out of here folks for good ‘. Twelve days later:

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

stupidboy, it is you an Lucy supporting the annexation of he Crimea made under the USSR. Not me, not Andre and not Putin.

[DPF: Warning – use his proper monicker]

A day later:

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Lucy, I know exactly what you are talking about and I told you exactly that I did not report you. I told you I was kidding.

Are you on the Sherry or something ?

You are not normally this retarded unless you have your god-goggles on.

[DPF: 2nd warning – unacceptable]

Five days later:

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

Padriv Ustoev, in CATHOLIC South America, be-headings are so common they are not even news. Nor are mutilations and torture. All the words most dangerous cities are in CATHOLIC South America.

And sorry folks, impotently down voting and typing troll on your spittle soaked keypad will not change the reality.

[DPF: And that is strike three and a one week suspension]

That toned things down, until a month later.

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Kowtow reaches a new low in race hate baiting.

The attacks on Hindu folk in Auckland is proof that Christian immigration is not compatible with New Zealand values and should be stopped now.

If the Jew does not like it here it can crawl back to its nest in Israel kowtow, surrounded by Muslims ! :lol: (they are Arabs themselves of course)

[DPF: And that is strike 4. Two weeks holiday]

That lesson was more quickly forgotten or ignored.

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

For the newbies, Lucia is a radical Catholic and Nazi apologist. Her view of the churches involvement in the Croatian (and German) Holocaust contradicts the findings of respected holocaust research organisations, eyewitnesses, scholars and the people who admitted what they did. That makes her a holocaust denier.

She will lie and deny facts, refusing to answer questions, to protect her precious church. She runs to DPF to try and get people who expose her banned.

[DPF: And calling someone a Nazi apologist is a good way to get banned. This is Strike 5 and a one month ban.]

A pattern of behaviour and defiance.

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Yes, I think it is. Right now, I’m not in the mood for calling DPF’s attention to Kea’s comments. However, I’m sure as the days unfold, how I feel will change.

There you go, Kea. Annoy me enough and your own words will condemn you.

What a raging narcissist.

I have wiped better things off the sole of my shoe than a hate filled harpy like you. You are filth. Go fuck yourself.

[DPF: And that is Strike 6, just a day after you are back from Strike 5. That is a two month suspension]

And two and a bit months later was yesterdays ban, which won’t have been a surprise considering the whole day leading up to it in General Debate 19 April 2015.

Whale freed from Economy

I didn’t know until now but Cameron Slater and his Dad are off to Gallipoli.

As you will all know Dad and I are on our way to Gallipoli.

We decided to fly Emirates and stop off in Dubai for a week to see my brother and his family.

Good for them. His finances can’t be so bad now.

We arrived at Auckland airport and were pleasantly surprised to find we had been upgraded to Business Class the whole way. We didn’t even realise we’d been upgraded until the check-in staff handed over the boarding passes and directed us to the lounge.

What a pleasant surprise.

He then goes on to praise Emirates to a fairly extreme extent. Not like the usual Whale Oil post. Except the promotional ones not written by Slater perhaps.

I guess this post now makes me a travel blogger like David Farrar…but who cares I am on a bucket list trip and Emirates just made it an extremely enjoyable one.

It doesn’t sound much like Farrar’s travel blogs – he’s being posting a few about his current trip around Australia on Kiwiblog.

Comparing Farrar’s Stanley to Slater’s EMIRATES A380 –  AUCKLAND-BRISBANE-DUBAI is like comparing the Travel Channel to the Shopping Channel.

But here’s a funny thing – one of Slater’s other revenue earners is the prolific advertising on Whale Oil. While he gushes about Emirates his blog is advertising Singapore and Malaysia Airlines.

WhaleOilEmirates

I guess Freed won’t be launching over the next week or two.

Bridges too far?

Did Simon Bridges got to far in seeking cost details on Northland bridges?

Mr Bridges’ office asked the NZ Transport Agency for information on the bridges and estimated costs of upgrading them prior to the byelection announcement that National would upgrade 10 one-way bridges.

Andrew Little thinks he did.

Labour’s leader Andrew Little said that was a clear breach of the rules for ministers’ use of public officials and Mr Bridges should be sacked.

John Key thinks he didn’t.

Mr Key said he did not believe it was a breach.

“My understanding is it’s quite okay to ask for information. You’re quite free to do that. The issue is whether you’ve got policy advice and Mr Bridges didn’t do that.”

The Cabinet Manual seems unclear.

The Cabinet Manual states that “any requests [ministers] make for advice or information from their officials is for the purposes of their portfolio responsibilities and not for party political purposes”.

Bridges would be responsible for fulfilling the bridges bribe so should be basing decisions on advice and information. Many policy decisions can be both part of Governance and for party political purposes – trying to get re-elected.

Anthony Robins at The Standard thinks it’s clear in Burn the Cabinet Manual:

Key won’t take any action over Simon Bridges’ clear breach (excellent work by Rob Salmond at Polity) of the Cabinet Manual. So, might as well burn the thing, at least for the remainder of this government’s term. Key has no intention of being held to account, or holding his ministers to account, by or for anything at all.

Did Helen Clark and Michael Cullen get advice and information before making their famous election rescuing Student Loan bribe? Was any Minister sacked as a result of that? I’m sure there are numerous examples of advice or information from officials being used for election (party political) purposes.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog calls it A beltway beltway issue.

I don’t believe that anything Simon Bridges did, is a breach of the Cabinet Manual. But regardless this is what you call a classic beltway issue. The number of people who get excited over this is miniscule. Mrs Jones in New Plymouth and Mr Smith in Hamilton want jobs, incomes, decent schools, good healthcare etc.

The sort of people who think this is great politics are the same sort who orgasm over who won question time in the House. I know, because I used to be one of them.

Ecch. But he may have a point, no matter how awfully he has put it.

In comments yesterday on Your NZ Alan Wilkinson commented:

This is b.s. If a Government makes a promise before a by-election it has to implement it and therefore it has to cost it responsibly and accurately.

Totally different to before a general election when it may not be reelected. No matter what the Cabinet manual says the Minister was making a promise in his ministerial capacity which he would have to implement and therefore fund.

Just to add the obvious corollary to this, in a by-election if the Cabinet Manual rule were to be applied it would mean the Government’s opponents in the by-election would be free to promise anything they wished and the Government’s candidate would be unable to promise anything new. Farcical nonsense. It shows exactly how incompetent or biased MSM journalism is that this is not pointed out and the opposition’s arguments rubbished.

There might turn out to be some sort of technical breach of the Cabinet Manual but Alan’s comments make sense to me.

Flipper at Kiwiblog:

The closest that anyone has comes to the true worth of “The Cabinet Manual”: is Helen Clark. She amended “it” to suit each circumstance…and to her benefit.

The reality is that the manual is just a collection of “thou shalt nots” (well if it suits the PM), and “:thou shalls”. It has no stranding in law because it is not backed (compiled pursuant to) by a statute. Many matters upon which it offers guidance may well (probably are) covered by Statute. At best the manual is a collection of Executive fiats.

Back to the instigator of the beat-up to far, Rob Salmond at Polity, who responded to Farrar’s post in The “beltway” response:

By “acted in a political way,” of course, he means “breached the rules of his office.” Also, good luck passing off the actual job of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, to hold the government to account for its actions, as “crying wah wah.”

I agree about Mrs Jones and Mr Smith, though. This is not an election defining issue. I’m guessing Labour’s 2017 election campaign won’t have much to do with this issue, in the same way National’s 2008 campaign didn’t say too much about Taito Philip Field.

The thing about so-called “beltway” issues is that they aren;t much good at election time in their own right, but if a number of similar issues emerge around a government then it forms a more general impression which does matter in elections. That was how National used Field. In National’s case, that general impression might be “arrogant” or “liars” or “duplicitous” or “corrupt.” They’re certainly handing out plenty of material…

So Salmond doesn’t seem to think think this is much of a big deal but is trying to chip away at National’s credibility.

Rob would help his own credibility on this if he didn’t try and compare what Simon Bridges did with what Taito Philip Field – Field was charged with “15 counts of bribery and 25 of attempting to pervert the course of justice”.

Field was jailed for six years on corruption charges, with the sentencing judge saying his offending threatened the foundation of democracy and justice.

Likening this to Bridges going too far seeking Ministerial information and advice looks like a beat-up too far.

Newspaper opinion bias

David Farrar has been collating data on newspapers’ political opinion and rated how pro and anti National and Labour they have been over the last five months.

Partisans on both sides of politics often make sweeping claims about the media. Some on the left have claimed that the NZ Herald is relentlessly pro-National and that (for example) John Armstrong is a cheerleader for the Government. Others think the opposite.

For some time I’ve wanted to try and collate data on the media, to try and ascertain where the opinion of certain editorials and columnists tends to end up, and for the last five months have been doing so. The data below is imperfect,but it is also new – in that we’ve never seen before a comprehensive analysis of the opinion columns of major newspapers and their columnists.

More attention is given to the governing party and more negative opinion is not unexpected but to varying degrees especially from columnists.

It’s quite interesting and worth a look:  Inaugural Media Opinion Statistics.

I expect there will be a few lefties who find the results hard to believe, it’s common to see claims that the media is supportive of the hard right and promotes it’s interests.

One of the stupidist arguments for clinging to a monarchy

David Farrar has posted Prince Charles’ letters to be released at Kiwiblog and says:

The advantage of a monarchy is that it is meant to be a politically neutral institution. These letters will show beyond doubt that Prince Charles is not in any way politically neutral. I don’t want him to be New Zealand’s next Head of State.

Some of one of the stupidest arguments for retaining a monarchy in New Zealand are repeated (they are often made).

Scott:

Prince Charles is fine. We like the monarchy, it is not broke and there is no need to fix it.

And I don’t want a NZ President because the President will one day be Helen Clarke and that thought I cannot abide.

That’s as good as saying that Scott can’t abide the thought of a democratically elected head of state. It’s stupid in the extreme to say we shouldn’t allow the people to choose in case Phillip John Smith  or Kim Dotcom get to become a symbolic head of state.

big bruv:

“So if you want to avoid Charles III, or George VII, or whatever he intends to call himself, you really have to start doing something about that now.”

As bad as Charles might be I will take him any day of the week over President Clark, Bloger, Peters, Fitzsimmons or some fat truck driver from the Waikato.

If New Zealand could elect a head of state and the people chose Helen Clark or Jim Bolger or Winston Peters then they should have them as their head of state. That’s what democracy means, as opposed to having a head of state imposed by some archaic system of succession from the other side of the world  by a country that effectively dumped New Zealand in the seventies.

mudrunner:

The energy of the anti-royalists seizing the weaknesses that he has shown swamp the benefits he brings.
I don’t want a President Clark or Bolger or Devoy either!

All this opposition to an elected head of state when they participate in electing Helen Clark or John Key or potentially Andrew Little as the Prime Minister with a primary level of power.

We don’t need a head of state on the other side of the world, no matter how noble or stupid they are.

We don’t need a symbolic head of state at all.

All we need is our current democratic system that elects a Government and effectively elects a Prime Minister, with the addition of a democratic mechanism that allows the people to overrule our politicians if the need and appropriate level of support dictates.

Little slammed and slammed again

The Little payment debacle seems to have been played down here. It’s an awful look for Andrew Little and will take a lot to recover from.

The problems are detailed by David Farrar: Incompetence from Little and Labour

1. Hiring a right wing journalist to advise on your Labour Party leadership campaign in the first place
2. Not paying him promptly when invoiced on 10 November
3. Not responding to the next three e-mails from Cohen asking to be paid
4. The Leader’s Chief of Staff gets involved on 22 December and doesn’t get it paid that day or even tell the Leader
5. Two weeks later still unpaid, and COS gets e-mailed again.
6. Another three weeks goes by and it is unpaid, and the journalist (NB journalist!) has to e-mail again
7. The COS finally tells Little at the end of January and Little doesn’t get it paid that day
8. Another week and another reminder and still no action
9. Little gives a speech on how Labour wants to help small businesses, infuriating the self-employed journalist who e-mails again, now angry. Warning bells should be ringing loudly by now.
10. Two more weeks later Cohen writes an article in NBR that appears in their print edition last Friday complaining he has not been paid. The incompetence is so huge that this does not result in a payment being made by end of day, but is ignored
11. Four days later Steven Joyce raises the non payment in the House and finally it is paid
12. When confronted over the bad look for the Labour Leader to not be paying a worker the money he is owed, Little gets angry at the media and demands they call him a contractor not a worker!

Farrar also points out:

The public rate competence well ahead of ideology.

It’s not just the public who will be querying his competence (in particular the small business part of the public that Little is targeting for support).

But when the media spot incompetence they punish it. And when they get a bad reaction from their target they punish that too.

And a comment at Kiwiblog slams Little some more.

Little’s leadership campaign was a personal campaign and nothing to do with the Labour Party machine per see, so McCarten isn’t to blame at all. Thius is Andrew’s mess pure and simple as the CEO of his Leadership Campaign…..

Little should have had his campaign staff organised with a simple Accounts Payable spreadsheet recording all entities engaged, their tasks, agreed costs, whether those costs had been paid in part of in full, contact details etc.

The fact his staff weren’t organised and didn’t under take simple management of the engagements and costs indicates Little doesn’t have good organisational skills and/or good leadership skills – as obviously his campaign staff cocked it up completely and the work of his staff is a reflection of him interms of staff selection and management

He then compounds it by getting angry with the media. Why just not say yip organisational snafu by the campaign team, just found out about it and have paid up.

And then to top it off the Contractor v Worker BS. Personally as a CONTRACTOR myself I find his characterisation of a CONTRACTOR as not a WORKER bloody insulting!!!! Just because I’m not a Corporate/SME employee or a Unionised employee doesn’t mean I don’t damn well work for a living and am therefore not a WORKER.

Andrew thanks for confirming I shouldn’t listen to Labour any more – you have confirmed if I’m not an employee then I am not someone you give a damn about except as a potential source of additional taxes to fund your redistribution dreams…

Oh and great job distracting from Nationals multiple mismangaments of issues lately [Sabin/Sky City] I am sure Joyce will shout you a drink in Bellamys in thanks….

Little’s learning curve suddenly turns his public image to looking far less favourable.

And to top it off Cameron Slater gets in a payback dig:

And Cameron Slater points out of course that one of the condemnations in DIRTY POLITICS was that certain journalists did work for politicians, and lobby groups, and other interests without clearly revealing full authorship.

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