Capital Gains Tax – how much more tax?

There’s some doubt about a claim by David Farrar that Labour to increase taxation by $5 billion a year through their proposed Capital Gains Tax.

On Q+A, David Cunliffe said:

By the way, a capital gains tax which at full running is going to bring in 5 billion dollars a year, close to, 4 to 5 billion is the single biggest change to New Zealand tax policy in decades and it’s one that I’ve personally championed for years.

That’s appalling. That’s an extra $5 billion a year ripped out of NZ families and businesses, to be spent by Government.

There is a case for a capital gains tax. I support a broad base tax system. However I’m sick of new taxes being added on, with no compensating reduction in income and company taxes.

If ’s capital gains tax was really about changing investment incentives, then they’d commit to reducing income and company tax by the same amount of revenue their CGT would bring in.

But in reality, their CGT is just about increase the tax burden on New Zealanders by $5 billion a year.

There’s doubt about the amount at least. Oddly Labour don’t list Capital Gains Tax in their announced policies.

It is mentioned in Monetary Policy:

Another step to encourage NZ savings, and investment in the export and import substituting real economy, would be to remove the tax bias which currently favours investment in land based investments by introducing a tax on capital gains from property, excluding the family home.

The current tax bias is unusual in western countries and contributes to underinvestment in the productive economy, and savings.

The tax advantages drive asset prices, and demand for mortgage borrowing, to higher levels than would otherwise be sustained. This increases demand for imported borrowings, which puts pressure on the exchange rate.

This distortion in the tax system also pushes up house and other property prices beyond the reach of many, while enabling wealthier New Zealanders to pay lower rates of tax on their economic income.

It’s not mentioned in their Fiscal Plan summary  but it’s in the associated media release (briefly):

“Labour will introduce a new, progressive top tax rate of 36 per cent on income over $150,000; that’s the top 2 per cent of income earners. We will also raise trustee income tax to 36 per cent to avoid trusts being used as tax avoidance vehicles.

“This combined with our capital gains tax will allow the Labour-led Government to run surpluses and pay down National’s record debt by the end of our second term,” David Cunliffe says.

David Parker says: “Everything is paid for, plus we are in surplus.

It’s in their detailed Fiscal Plan:

However this only claims to bring in an extra $1 billion per year:

This policy will raise an additional $25 million in its first year, growing in outyears to reach $1 billion a year by 2020/21.

Cunliffe or the Fiscal Plan must be inaccurate about how much extra per year Labour would tax.

UPDATE: a comment at Kiwiblog suggests another total:

From David Parker in the 2011/2012 budget debate

http://theyworkforyou.co.nz/debates/2011/aug/02/estimates_debate

Treasury’s estimate of the long-term revenue from a capital gains tax excluding the family home was $4.8 billion per annum. We remodelled that through our consultants, Business and Economic Research Ltd, and they cut that back by $2 billion per annum at the maturity of the scheme. So it is raising $2.8 billion per annum once it is a mature scheme, rather than $4.8 billion. The sensitivities in the Business and Economic Research Ltd analysis show that it could be $1 billion per annum more than that, but we have taken the conservative course and assumed the lower figure.

The maximum claimed there is $3.8 billion, still well under Cunliffe’s $5 billion.

Horan responds to speculatory accusations

Speculation about independent MP Brendan Horan at The Standard has been refuted by Horan.

A post by ‘Geoff’ was full of speculation and accusation and absent any facts – Why does David Farrar hate Winston Peters so much? Farrar responded in Best ever thread on The Standard.

The post included speculation about Horan’s motives and possible collusion with Farrar and National in his questioning of Winston Peters and NZ First in Parliament over the past few weeks.

Lately, Brendan Horan has begun to attack Winston in parliament, somewhat out of the blue.
What is his motivation? Is this National attacking Winston through the satellite state of Brendan Horan?

Why would National do that? Have they decided, in private at least, that a coalition with Winston is intolerable? That’s seems risky because they may need his help to form a government after the election.

Are they just trying to diminish his vote, hoping that most of his supporters would vote National if they abandoned Winston? That would explain the use of Horan as a means to attack Winston without completely jeopardising a post-election deal with him.

How much of a say does David Farrar have in the National party’s election strategy?

Perhaps Farrar is by-passing National and feeding attack lines to Horan directly?

It’s all very fishy. Can anyone shed any light on this?

Horan’s attacks on Peters are not “somewhat out of the blue”. He indicated to me last year that after his family business was dealt with (the excuse Peters used to kick Horan out of the NZ First caucus and party, absent any facts) he would be revealing concerns he had about NZ First.

Geoff’s accusations themselves seemed very fishy, or fishing, and any questioning of them were slapped with Standard threats.

[lprent: Don't be stupid. You are likely to pick up a ban if you accused an author or the site of ulterior motives without proof or a reasonable theory. In the latter case it would usually be after you wank on about it repetitively for some time making assertions without proof.]

In other words you can’t question the “ulterior motives without proof or a reasonable theory” of authors who “wank on about it repetitively for some time making assertions without proof” without risking being attacked or banned – a normal double Standard.

Horan later posted a comment in response. It deserves a right of reply post but that’s not likely to happen at The Standard.

Hi all,

1) I’ve had no contact with David Farrer.
2) All questions I’ve asked have been on behalf of people bullied by the leader of NZ First.
3) I was challenged by media to supply evidence and I did.
4) My sources are Past employees, past and current party members and former NZ First Party MP’s.
5) The speaker is investigating the Leader of NZ First and I’m happy for due process and natural justice to run its course.

Regards,
Brendan

I’ve been following Horan’s questions in Parliament and I follow David Farrar’s posts and tweets and I have seen nothing that puts any doubt on what Horan says here.

I’ve also had recent contact with an ex NZ First employee who is not impressed by some of what Peters has done within NZ First.

The desperation of political sockpuppets

Political bloggers push stories, they speculate, they try to score hits against their opponents. Some of them make things up – they lie.

Naitional linked blogs Whale Oil and Kiwiblog are major players.

Yesterday David Farrar posted Are Labour planning smear campaign on Shane Jones?

This is very unusual. Whale blogs about a poll being done, presumably on behalf of Labour, asking if people’s view of Shane Jones was:

  • Shane Jones delivered amusing one liners but his political career was accident prone and did not amount to much. The most attention he got was for using his parliamentary credit card to pay for pornographic movies.
  • Shane Jones was one of the few politicians who tells it like it is and with his attacks on Countdown has been the most effective Labour politician this year. He will be a huge loss to Labour especially amongst Maori and blue collar voters.

If the polling was being done for a media client, then the question would be sensible – it would be for a story on the impact of Shane Jones. But presumably the poll is on behalf of Labour (as was being done by their normal polling company) and the question is why would you poll on Shane Jones…

It’s easy to make the presumptions made here. UMR is Labour’s usual polling company and it’s a Labour related poll question. but it seems very unlikely it was Labour, as pointed out in UMR poll on Jones not Labour.

Farrar did some research, possibly taking Russell Brown’s word for it but he may also have checked through polling company contacts (he is a pollster and runs polling company Curia). He appended his post.

UPDATE: I’m told from a very reliable source that in this case Labour is not responsible for this question. So it will be fascinating to discover who is, if it ever comes out.

Later in the day Farrar put up another post at Kiwiblog – Is this photoshopped? This showed a photo of David Cunliffe at a rally at Parliament. While the photo did look unnatural the implication that Cunliffe had not actually been at the rally was lame. Farrar again updated:

UPDATE: Have had confirmed that was at the rally. So the image may be touched up, but is genuine.

This isn’t unusual. It’s common for bloggers to float ideas without full details or evidence, often to initiate discussion and try to flush out more information – sort of crowd-sourced story development.

Farrar can be provocative and devious – note his masthead statement: “DPF’s Kiwiblog – fomenting happy mischief since 2003″.  He is also relatively open about his interests in About Kiwiblog which includes disclosure statement is here.

He sometimes oversteps, notably with an attempted hit job on Winston Peters just before the 2011 election. But as he said on Facebook yesterday “Umm, everyone knows my viewpoint”. If they don’t know they can easily find out.

Later yesterday Farrar and Whale Oil’s Cameron Slater were blasted by their main opposition in the blogosphere, The Standard. The iron fist behind The Standard, lprent (Lyn Prentice) posted The desperation of the National’s sockpuppets.

National Party pollster David Farrar must be seeing some numbers he really doesn’t like because he is claiming that David Cunliffe photoshopped himself into a rally that he was really at! Yeah right – a doyen of the local net governing body failed to use google before making a complete dick of himself on the net. I expect we will see a lot more of National’s paid for bloggers acting like fools heading into this election because National only being good at putting us heavily into debt (again!) rather limits the good news they can write.

There are a number of ironies in Prentice’s post and comments. Desperation comes to mind, as does sockpuppet. Pot/kettle stuff. In the thread Prentice says…

As you might have picked up, I am pretty pissed off about the lying that showed up today at the sewer. It is stupid, shallow, and something that needs quashing as a political technique.

However I am pretty sure that it is simple to make up such mischief. Farrar will make quite a good target between now and the election. With a bit of luck we can see if he appreciates the attention enough to donate me some discovery time.

Threats of a blogger war, one way at least. In the post…

This looks like another odd attempt to smear a man that the Nats are clearly worried about. It looks David Farrar finally realised how much of a dickhead he looks as he goes from this incorrect assertion (ie a lie) with a touch of plausible deniability.

Irony keywords: smear, worried, dickhead, incorrect assertion.

And on to a series of justification about why he David Farrar really is not just a petty dipshit putting out this kind of nonsense and never bothering to check it. I guess he is trying to remember the glory days when he was the single big voice in the local blogs and could lie like this for his paymasters with relative impunity.

He pushes the paymaster/sockpuppet theme strongly.

But even weirder (as usual) is the under-employed Cameron Slater, a blogger with no visible means of support and with lots of friends in the Prime Minsters office, posting creepy, paparazzi style pictures of David Cunliffe eating his lunch at parliament.

This picture was prominent on The Standard yesterday:

The question one has to ask is from whom did the bloated moron get this photo from? John Key our Minister for Photo-ops or his personal blogmeister Jason Ede perhaps?

And accusations of the Prime Minister’s office being involved in it all.  More pot/kettle.

The previous day The Standard ran a Q&A for David Cunliffe. When someone said “@ Lynn – thanks for organising this” he responded:

I didn’t. The request came from Cunliffe’s staff. They did most of the work.

I just went to work early so I could go home early to moderate.

And Prentice often brags, like yesterday:

I’d also point out that I spent several decades in volunteer work working for and with Helen Clark across 7 elections (whilst usually in disagreement with her) so I have a fairly good idea what is required for the task.

But you only find out about things like this if you see them in the comments. The Standard has very vague and misleading disclosures. From ‘About’:

We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization.

The Standard doesn’t disclose it’s own connections and it protects it’s authors’ anonymity – Prentice says they are not anonymous because he knows their identity, but most of the authors’ identities are either not publicly disclosed or are vigorously protected. Attempts to speculate on identities is discouraged with threats of bans – threats and bans are the standard way of discouraging questioning anything to do with authors.

Apart from Prentice who are the authors? They state:

Why don’t you say who you are?

Some of the authors here use their real names, but others choose to blog anonymously for a variety of reasons. Some of us have professional reasons for doing so, others of us are reluctant to expose ourselves to the kind of personal threats sometimes made online.

While there is no formal disclosure some details about authors have dribbled out over time.

Mike Smith is Prentice’s co-trustee of The Standard. Until recently he worked in David Shearer’s leader’s office.

mickysavage (Greg Presland) is closely associated with David Cunliffe via his New Lynn electorate committee and recently became known as the lawyer behind Cunliffe’s secret donations trust.

Ben Clark stood for Labour last election and is the brother of MP David Clark.

Stephanie Rodgers is “a member of the Ohariu LEC and campaign team I’m obviously very biased, but Ginny is a fabulous candidate and a wonderful person.”

Geoff has started to post and you can get an idea of where he’s coming from in Judith vs John and Moving Collins On.

Bunji is relatively mild but does his bit for the team. See John Key challenged!

Zetetic is unlikely to have been used by Trevor Mallard as some have alleged but has  fairly obvious intent. See Cabinet Club.

The ‘Eddie’ handle seems to be in remission at the moment but had strong hints of various internal hands.

Karol is currently the odd one out claiming to be a Green supporter.

James Henderson seems to have retired from The Standard but had close Green connections (which may have turned red again).

And the author messages are not to be messed with. Criticising authors is severely frowned on, proving them wrong usually invites wrath commonly leads to being banned.

Prentice illustrates this in his latest thread.

[lprent: That may be your opinion - and I'd say that it is impossible to tell. Go and raise your pet lies, assertions and conspiracies on your own post on your own blog or comment in Open Mike. Don't do it on mine, they really are just a diversion troll.

My post is almost entirely about David Farrar and Cameron Slater being a complete dickheads stalking Cunliffe with silly picture posts. ]

‘Diversion troll’ is Lyn-speak for questioning his bull and bluster.

But the post isn’t about the image it is about Farrar and the bloated moron being dickhead stalkers. So this is your warning. Try Open Mike for conspiracy theories.. or return to the banned… ]

Lyn is the only one who can refer to images apparently.

[lprent: I didn't say that you did. I said that David Farrar did? Is this a sockpuppet? But you didn't heed my warnings about what I the author considered this post to be about. Do not repeat the offense for which you got warned - banned 2 months. That is one fast way to de-amnesty yourself. ]

Lyn-speak translated means that if you say something they don’t want said you will be banned.

[deleted]

[lprent: Banned 4 weeks. ]

That one may have been fair enough.

As the most widely-read and influential leftwing blog in New Zealand, The Standard is a great platform to get yourself heard.

Only if you toe the line and are accepted as one of the comrades.

But there has been a significant change of tone at The Standard over the last few weeks. The resident trolls are protected from this sort of moderation for obvious reasons, anyone deemed a threat to Labour can be freely attacked, abused and harassed.

Some trolls are specialists at trying to initiate bans on people they decide are not welcome. They frequently make things up (lie). And the end game is for Prentice to use an excuse to ban them.

When Prentice posts about sockpuppets and desperation wry and black comedy (inadvertent) come to mind. There’s plenty of same old, but it seems to be deteriorating into sad farce. Debate on the left is dire.

The abuse will continue until the disillusioned absentee voters return to Labour. /wry

UMR poll on Jones not Labour

Yesterday  Whale Oil and today Kiwiblog have had posts claiming a poll asking a question on Shane Jones was done by Labour, speculating it was with an aim of attacking  Jones.

Whale Oil: Labour getting ready to shaft Shane Jones?

Kiwiblog:  Are Labour planning smear campaign on Shane Jones?

The poll question:

Which of the following is closer to your own view even if not quite right?

o Shane Jones delivered amusing one liners but his political career was accident prone and did not amount to much. The most attention he got was for using his parliamentary credit card to pay for pornographic movies.
o Shane Jones was one of the few politicians who tells it like it is and with his attacks on Countdown has been the most effective Labour politician this year. He will be a huge loss to Labour especially amongst Maori and blue collar voters.

Russell Brown says that it definitely wasn’t Labour who commissioned the poll.

The “UMR polling commissioned by Labour” being touted by Whaleoil is nothing of the kind. Not commissioned, received or paid for by Labour.

Not that I’d be hanging out for a correction. Just saying he’s firmly holding the wrong end of the stick.

And no, I didn’t get that information from Labour either. I’m surprised they haven’t made it clear though.

I asked him if he knew who.

No, but definitely not Labour. I would naturally *like* to know :-)

Not the first time whoever-it-is has been mistaken for internal labour polling, I gather.

More tweets on this as David Farrar checks it out:

What is your source? Will update if it is someone on the record.

Considering the same poll was testing potential policies for Labour, I’d be sceptical short of an on the reecord denial.

And Russell responded:

Or you could offer some evidence that it is what you say it is. It usually works that way.

Fair call. Then @publicaddress

But no, sorry, it’s a confidential source, but one I’m very confident is correct.

@dpfdpf

I think one can use common sense. Who would want to poll on Shane Jones except media and Labour?

Considering the same poll was testing potential policies for Labour, I’d be sceptical short of an on the reecord denial.

All it takes is for Labour to say on the record “Not us”.

Well whoever it is, is presumably the same person or party polling on a $3 billion a year carbon tax.

So who would have the inclination and the money to do apparently multiple polls that look like they are Labour orientated?

I wonder if NZ First commission polls. The Conservative and Internet parties are both known to commission polling.

DPF’s Himalayan adventure

David Farrar runs one of the most widely read and respected (and hated) political forums – Kiwiblog. He doesn’t stick to politics, he often posts about what he does, he reviews arts and he reports on his frequent travels. He gets some friendly criticism for this but they can be a good diversion from hard core politics.

He is currently trekking in the Himalayas and has posted a series of accounts with numerous photos. It’s a very interesting look at something very different to New Zealand politics.

A lot of the trekking is at 4,000-5,000 meters, with a peak of 5360 metres going over the Chola Pass. Mt Aoraki/Cook is 3,724 metres.

DPF described this as “Just to prove I was here” but he’s been known to use Photoshop.

The region of the trek (from Google Maps)

Sagarmatha

The trek went was past the Gyoko lakes that can be seen just above and below the text “Sagarmatha National Park” beside the glacier.

On the eleventh day…

A view of Everest.

Internet Party polling

Stuff have reported on poll support for the Internet Party in Media man takes on role with Dotcom:, quoting party media advisor Jim Tucker:

At the moment the party was polling at 2.6 per cent, he said.

David Farrar has queried this in Gamekeeper turned poacher:

So here’s my question to any of those journalists who were trained by Jim Tucker. Considering that the Internet Party hasn’t registered above 0.1% in any published poll, should a Jim Tucker trained journalist just report such an assertion without challenge, knowing that gullible members of the public may read it and assume it to be true?

Or would a Jim Tucker trained journalist ask the person making the claim to substantiate it?

As one commenter said, it’s up to Tucker to promote the party he’s now working for. It’s up to the media reporting on this to provide details of the polling – perhaps Helen Harvey should look at the just published Research Association Code of Practice which suggests:

Polling Best Practice Guidelines for Media

  1. If possible, get a copy of the full poll report and do not rely on a media release.
  2. The story should include the name of the company which conducted the poll, and the client the poll was done for, and the dates it was done.
  3. The story should include , or make available, the sample size, sampling method, population sampled, if the sample is weighted, the maximum margin of error and the level of undecided voters.
  4. If you think any questions may have impacted the answers to the principal voting behaviour question, mention this in the story.

I asked Internet Party Chief Executive Vikram Kumar about poll details.  He said:

The figure is from independent polling commissioned by and for the Internet Party.

It’s impossible to judge the poll from that. Kumar then said  they won’t give out polling details, and points out that other parties don’t either (they don’t, although the sometimes mention favourable results).

The Internet Party is happy for people to make up their own mind about its polling numbers via public, widely accepted results that are likely to show a rapidly increasing level of support in time

We’ll have to see over the next month whether public polls start to reflect similar support. Obviously publicity around the possible Mana co-operation and their launch this Thursday could make a difference.

One thing in their favour is that the media will give them a chance to boost their profile, although their main target is younger demographics via social media. Tucker in the Stuff article:

“The target demographic is 18 to 35, people who are disaffected with politics, people who have never voted, who are looking for something different. That’s a good reason not to plant ourselves right or left or whatever. There’s a strong feeling about not ruling out anyone along the spectrum.”

It will be a challenge getting accurate poll results from that demographic, let alone party members and votes.

Mathers story seems odd

Just about everything about the story about the Mojo Mathers seems odd – see Taxpayer Union versus Mojo Mathers (the story has developed since then).

Summary

There was an article in the Herald on Sunday by Patrice Dougan about deaf Green MP Mojo Mathers that asked more questions than it answered.

Mathers is a very unlikely and unwise target for a petty political attack regarding MP travel when many questions could be asked about use and possible misuse of travel.

Jordan Williams of the Taxpayers’ Union poorly answered questions put to him by the HoS but he denies initiating the issue and he went into damage control quickly.

David Farrar, also involved with the Taxpayers’ Union, had no apparent involvement until making a late comment on Facebook, and posted nothing on Kiwiblog.

Through the day a number of Greens, including co-leader Russel Norman and communications director Andrew Campbell, kept trying to link John Key and National to the attack on Mathers.

Blogger Danyl Maclachlan (who’s partner works in the Green communication team) posts twice making serious accusations about funding of the Taxpayers’ Union and links with the TU and National and reacts aggressively when confronted.

There was no apparent involvement of Labour with no post and from what I can see no mention of this at all on The Standard (very unusual for something like this). Grant Robertson jumped on the bandwagon late yesterday.

The first question asked by the Herald remains unanswered – who asked it in the first place?

The Article

It started with an article in the Herald on Sunday this morning. It was odd. It was by Patrice Dougan – not a name commonly seen associated with political stories. It began:

Questions are being asked about a taxpayer-funded trip for deaf MP Mojo Mathers to be interviewed on a small provincial radio station.

It then detailed Mathers’ trip to Masterton, and quoted her explanation. It then said she “did not know the cost of the trip” but then provided a detailed cost estimate.

It then closed with:

The Taxpayers Union questioned whether it was value for money.

“It’s amazing that she has so little to do with her time to actually travel to a community radio that probably has as many listeners as you can count on your hand,” director Jordan Williams said.

“The only silver lining is that the time spent travelling to go on the station in the middle of nowhere is less time spent dreaming up new ways to spend tax payers money.”

Much criticism of Williams and the Taxpayers’ Union ensued. But Williams later claimed that he didn’t initiate the story or ask any questions, the Herald cam to him and asked him for comment.

Back to the opening sentence – “Questions are being asked about…” – who asked questions? That wasn’t answered, but it was implied that it had been the Taxpayers Union.

Green indignation

Social media was buzzing with Green indignation and criticism through the day. Much of it was the usual sort of quick reactions common when something controversial and potentially damaging politically.

But there were some unusual Green reactions as well.

@RusselNorman
The National Party’s ally doesn’t want Mojo speaking at a rural disability event. Seriously?

John Hart@farmgeek 
If you had any doubt the @TaxpayersUnion is a right-wing attack organ…

@RusselNorman
Whaleoil, Kiwiblog, Taxpayers Union, John Key. The four legs of the National Party attack dog.

Except Whale Oil and Kiwiblog do not appear to have been involved in this story. Slater reacted late in the morning – he is likely to break stories he is involved with. And Farrar was away on a walk for most of the day and still hasn’t posted on Kiwiblog about it (he covered it on his Facebook page late this afternoon).

@louise_bee
@RusselNorman
Interesting that they’re going after the Greens so much. They must consider you a bigger threat than Labour.

It’s common to see Greens talking up their importance like this when a scandal breaks, there was a lot of it during the Turei jacket episode.

@Andr3wCampbell 

Really glad @mojomathers gets out to rural communities to talk to people with disabilities. National’s attack petty.

@nzheraldnznews are people with disabilities in rural communities questioning the trip? Or just a @NZNationalParty aligned operative?

in actual news @JordNZ, here is a real story on tax payer spending @NZGreens uncovered whole you were chasing $500.

I think Andrew Geddis sums up the National Party attack on @mojomathers pretty well here http://pundit.co.nz/content/lets-all-pick-on-the-deaf-girl …

Andrew is “Aotearoa New Zealand Green Party Communications Director”.

Repeatedly linking National to the story and to the Taxpayers’ Union.

Support act

Danyl Mclauclan used to be an accomplished satirist at his Dim-Post blog, but he has evolved into a usually occasional political commentator/activist. Unusually he posted twice today, both on this topic.

Another question for the Taxpayer Union

Here’s my question for the Taxpayer’s Union and the journalists who run their copy. How much of the revenue of the various companies, consultancies and law firms run by the founders and directors of this ‘union’ is taxpayer funded? Given the individuals involved – eg Jordan Williams, David Farrar – I’d be shocked if the taxpayers were paying less than a million dollars a year to the people involved in this organisation who run around planting attack stories against opposition parties.

And:

Slightly more thoughts on the Taxpayers’ Union

Here’s how I’m guessing this works. The (taxpayer funded) opposition researchers in the National Party find a smear story they like. They pitch it to an editor at the Herald and – because they can’t provide comment themselves for obvious reasons, such as John Key’s taxpayer funded golf game – they say, ‘Call Jordan Williams at the Taxpayers’ Union and he’ll give you comment.’

So, that’s sort-of how political media works.

That sounds odd too, as if he is trying pin something on an opponent. Danyls insists he isn’t a Green but has been open about the fact that his partner works in the Green communications team.

I suggested to him on Twitter that “As much chance that #NZGreens could be playing this game as easily as @NZNationalParty are? Party and surrogates could be spinning?”

He usually ignores me but this time responded:

When is the last time you saw me quoted in a media story, vegetable?

And to a tweet from someone else:

Where did you get the idea that I was a member of the Green Party or shared their values? Fuck off lick-spittles.

That’s uncharacteristic and could suggest some sensitivity.

Labour’s involvement

What’s most notable about Labour’s involvement was the absence of any. The Standard didn’t post on it and remarkably there seems to be absolutely no comment on the most talked about political issue of the day.

Grant Robertson joined the issue very late, 8.36 pm last night, with a single tweet.

@grantrobertson1
Lets be clear Jordan Williams and his so called Taxpayers Union are simply a right wing political front. They should be reported as such.

Labour to have been right out of this loop

National’s involvement

Tau Henare tweeted early in support of Mathers…

@tauhenare
@mojomathers
Dear Mojo, tell these self serving pricks to go find something else to do. You are doing your job. #Endofstory

…and reacted to accusations later:

@Andr3wCampbell So which Nat MP supports the outrageous attack on a fellow MP?

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP Ok bro so there are NO #NatMPs involved as far as we know. Just tell the truth FGS

@Andr3wCampbell And where’s the answer to my question. What MPs belong to #TPU? Answer the blinking question!

This is the face of the @NZGreens Coms Director. 1 He said #NatMPs were involved in the #TPU Debacle. Nope 2. dear #TPU, thanks for nothing.

The @NZGreens Coms Director. 1 He said #NatMPs were involved in the #TPU Debacle. Nope,Liar pic.twitter.com/W7eFU7SNcI

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP Shutup you backed the greens Coms director, he said it, you tried to support him! U got caught, you deny it

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP and BTW don’t woah me. Your supposition isn’t the point. There are no MPs and it’s not Nat party apparatus.

@iamjordanking @JudithCollinsMP I have no raw nerves, your mates lied and you over cooked it. Our MPs wld be outrAged at #TPU stupidity.

Judith Collins was only briefly drawn into it.

@JudithCollinsMP

@tauhenare: @Andr3wCampbell So which Nat MP supports the outrageous attack on a fellow MP?”Tau, you can’t expect the Left to tell the truth

Where does this leave it?

I’ve seen many attempted political hit jobs in media and online and this looks quite different to normal. There’s no sign David Farrar was involved and Jordan Williams did not appear to be pushing the story, to the contrary, he tried to retreat from it. He said it was “a hard lesson learned.”

It looks like a job done by people who are not practiced in the dark arts of politics.

While it’s possible it was opportunist reaction to the story Green leadership and their communications team were actively pushing a wider story, trying to taint the Taxpayers’ Union and also trying to smear National and Act.

But this currently left where it started in the Herald article – “Questions are being asked about …” – what questions? And who asked them?

We know who kept asking questions through the day, but we can’t be sure who put the question to the Herald in the first place.

The Herald is based in Auckland. It reported on a minor trip to Masterton by a Christchurch MP with a low profile. And it’s primary question seems to have deliberately implied something mischievous without answering the question.

There is something very odd about this story.

Herald on bloggers – odd man out

Jonanathan Milne has done a profile of bloggers in NZ Herald – In bed with the bloggers. He looks at the biggest and the worst of bloggers and blogging but doesn’t look at the blogging scene in any real depth.

But is there a softer side to these abrasive, divisive voices? Nah, naff off.

He focusses mainly on the extremes, Cameron Slater and Martyn Bradbury, and misses the diversity of the blogosphere.

The leading bloggers trade on one core asset: the power of personality. They are loud, they are brash and they are, ahem, manufactured. The top ones admit creating personas that are more in-your-face than the real person.

David Farrar is mentioned but otherwise omitted – he is one of the “top ones”, one of the best established political bloggers. His knowledgeable and well-informed political commentary is widely respected. And he isn’t manufactured.

His Kiwiblog is his personal soapbox – he recently posted a series on a Tongariro tramp, he has just posted about Fringe Festival performances.

Sure, there’s plenty of load, brash and manufactered (and plenty more) in the comments section, but that isn’t Farrar’s domain.

Russell Brown only gets mentioned in a quote…

Slater wins.

He accepts the yellow trophy, and asks: “Is Russell Brown here? Any of you leftie suckholes who think I’m irrelevant? F*** off.”

…but has been around that long you can probably find him with Alta Vista, and seems to be his slightly snobby self. His political leanings are clear but far more subtle than the brash Bomber and way over the top Whale.

But the biggest odd man out in Milne’s lineup:

Public Address blogger Graeme Edgeler filed a submission with Parliament’s regulatory review committee demanding a change to draconian Teachers Council suppression rules.

Graeme Edgeler filed a submission! Demanding! How evil is that? Graeme pops up all over the blogosphere, always non-partisan, reasonable and willing to give advice on legal matters to anyone who asks. And in this case he was trying to improve the way we do our politics based on sound, sensible principles.

Graeme is one of the most respected and influential participants in the political blogosphere. It was good of Milne to mention him, but remiss of him for not differentiating the Edge from the loud and brash.

Back to the other side, the Herald headliners.

Whale Oil is well known for saying politics is a nasty business and he works hard to keep it that way. I disagree and have confronted him on this, we continue to disagree.

Bradbury leans forward on his elbows at the cafe table: “The old rules are gone,” he grins. “This election is going to be incredibly vicious.”

Maybe vicious is all Bradbury has got left, he lost a lot of credibility over his involvement with Dotcom’s Internet Party after party hopping from a paid position with Mana.

I don’t think the old rules are gone. Dirty politics just has a new forum, a new means of being nasty, smearing, trying to manipulate politics and power.

But it doesn’t have to be all dirty and vicious. There are some who are the opposite, like Edgeler. I’m also strongly opposed to dirty politics and to abusiveness on blogs, and often challenge and confront it. I often get abused for doing it, but that makes more determined to keep pushing for better standards.

There are other quiet achievers scattered across the blogosphere. They stand out for their sense and reason, if you care to look for it.

And there are signs of more political decency emerging,  with the establishment of Politicheck:

Politicheck.org.nz’s goal is to analyse all statements made during the election by all parties and say whether or not, based on evidence available, they are telling the truth. The website looks to operate in a similar way to the US political fact checking website Politifact.com - although we have no affiliation with that website.

It is in the interest of all New Zealanders that we hold our politicians accountable for what they say, or print- they are the voice of this nation chosen to represent us. All fact checking will be shown through a transparent process, open to the public, and ready for scrutiny.

There’s certainly loud, brash and vicious prominent in the blogosphere, but promoting facts and truth in politics is something that has been long called for and will be popular.

Politics must be strongly debated. But it can be done with decency. Social media can become a powerful force for promoting honesty and decency in Parliament.

Whale Oil and Bomber Bradbury are a new incarnation of old school politics, old boy dirty dealing, attack and destroy tactics.

The strength of the blogosphere can be accessibility and transparency. It is as easy to confront crap as it is to spew it. If enough people push for a far better – and more effective – political forum then we will get it. Political thugs will remain and will be loud, but it can be made much better.

And then more women might get involved more openly – most of half of our population can’t be bothered with the crap, or venture into the blogosphere with caution and usually under cover.

If enough people get involved and stand up to the loud and vicious and dishonest the old school bullies will become odd men out.

And our democracy will be the better for it. And if that’s something the Herald would like to see perhaps they will give more sides to their story.

Labour’s worst week leading to an omni-shambles?

The TVNZ/Shane Taurima issue looks like being a major embarrassment to Labour. While there is virtual silence on it at The Standard it is the hot topic of the day at Kiwiblog where David Farrar blogs: An appalling breach of neutrality at TVNZ

 

And it’s not the only embarrassment – Labour is looking very vulnerable with disaster after cock-up occurring,

Farrar also posts: A day of horrors for Labour

Monday started off badly enough for Labour with the weekend poll showing them 17% behind National.

Then they veered towards the ridiculous with David Cunliffe saying that he thinks the National Party may be paying people to follow MPs about.

It got worse when Cunliffe attacked John Key for living in a $10 million mansion, as this shifted focus on the fact he lived in a $2.5 million mansion himself.

Then the news broke that TVNZ had been hosting Labour Party campaign meetings, and that a senior TVNZ manager has resigned after hosting a hui which David Cunliffe attended.

A disaster of a day for Labour. No political management. And just to make it worse, the Taranaki Daily News reports that a young photographer was asked by David Cunliffe to delete a photo she took of him.

And in the comments section davidp rates the Labour’s worst weeks.

Third worst week in politics, any where, any time: A few weeks ago when Labour lied about the Baby Bribe. Their leader was clueless about the policy. They wanted to ban Facebook and then changed their mind. They announced a neonatal policy that was identical to the government’s current scheme. And Cunliffe didn’t know how to spell Lorde’s name.

Second worst week in politics, any where, any time: Norman and Peters both sold out NZ’s justice system in return for political favours. Peters lied about his secret meetings. Curran and Ardern had secret meetings too. And most of Labour, NZ First, and the Greens dressed themselves in tinfoil hats when they alleged GCSB were monitoring Winston Peters, when the “super secret” information they were concerned about was already in Whaleoil and the Herald.

First worst week in politics, any where, any time: Cunliffe climbs on to the Moonbat Express when he implies that GCSB must be Whaleoil’s source, rather than a small army of irregularly paid and disgruntled Dotcom staff. And it turns out that the Labour Party have taken over TVNZ and run it for corrupt purposes. AND it is only Monday.

The Labour – Greens – NZ First coalition is the reason Malcolm Tucker invented the word “omni-shambles”. Just when you think they can’t get any more corrupt, any more hopeless, or any more deranged… they pull out all the stops and take themselves to a whole new level of failure.

It’s not an omni-shambles yet, but it’s only Tuesday.

There has to be a major turnaround to prevent a Labour shambles at least (if it’s not too late). If Labour bomb out in the election it will be an omni-shambles because they will ruined Greens’ best chance yet to have a taste of power in Government , and it will keep Mana on the sideline.

And if it result’s in Winston Peters enabling a continuation of National in Government that could well lead to an omni-shambles.

Public meeting for Act leadership contenders

John Boscawen is organising a public meeting for Act leadership contenders:

7.30 pm Thursday 30 January

Somervell Presbyterian Church, 497 Remuera Road 

@JohnBoscawennz

I am organising a public meeting this Thursday in the Epsom electorate. Jamie Whyte and David Seymour have been invited

It will be in the Somervell Presbyterian Church, 497 Remuera Road 7.30 pm Thursday 30 January.

I am proposing a similar structure to recent Labour Party leadership meetings where the press can come for speeches, but not questiontime.

David Seymour has advised will speak at the Somervell Church meeting Jan 30. Public meeting and media are welcome for entire event.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog gives his thoughts on Epsom and the ACT Leadership.

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