Ben Rachinger speaks again

Ben rachinger has kept popping up from time to time thrioughtout the year. He popped up here in Whale Oil jumping the Rawshark yesterday

This prompted quite a bit of reaction and discussion. Some tried to discredit Ben, some tried to shut him up, while some tried to push him into revealing things he was unwilling to talk about. Some did all three in various ways.

Here are some of the things Ben wanted to talk about.

I am not Rawshark. Always wanted to be an independent investigative journalist and to an extent I’ve done some good digging in all this. However I’m a young guy with my own upbringing and shortcomings. Those have long been on display.

The reason I’m here on this site now commenting is that I believe if you are going to be politically tribal, you police your own. Rawshark et al should be policed by their own – that didn’t happen. Slater et al should have been policed by their own – that didn’t happen.

So where does this leave us? It boggles the mind.


Due to the nature of the digital skills of the hacker we can only really find out the identity of the hacker from Mr Hager. Hager has stated he met the hacker and knows his identity. No amount of digging can provide info that isn’t there. Whether I was right or not with my initial musings means little.

This is really internecine political warfare writ large. I’ve done my time on both the Left and the Right. Neither is truly for the people in my opinion. So possibly what needs to happen is the writing of a book/story that is balanced and shines the light on all the players involved.


For myself, my ‘Moment of Truth’ was when Hager didn’t provide the details on the journalists who had been working with Mr Slater. To decide that one is a god, in a way, and to control the destiny of the media or a political faction is something that no one person should ever aspire to or want.

That’s the root problem here. Each side has, in their own and distinct ways, tried to play God with our system of governance. The clusterfuck that this represents, in that no side is clean or clear, has only exacerbated the general publics dislike of the political scene.

That is the issue. Instead of a new flag? We should look at what our democracy really is. Who we vote for. How they work. What tactics they use. Examination of their agendas and motives is both enlightening and disheartening. Because truly, we have no champions. Just bad and worse self-styled ‘liberators’.


I’m of the opinion that the identity of RS is a straw man for all of us. We are missing the point. The point is A) whom was involved in the hack and for what motives.. And B) Do we want what Mr Slater is alleged to have done with XYZ people to go unchallenged? I’m of the mind that both are important points but very difficult to balance in your mind unless you’re independent. Mr Hager will end up naming Rawshark or he won’t. But his relationship with Rawshark and the how/why/where and whom is not my story to tell.

Ben has had a chequered short history online but I think there’s some important issues raised here that haven’t been given enough attention, in particular the abuse of power, the abuse of democracy, and the abuse of journalism.

Please in comments stick to the issues raised in these comments, peripheral issues have had plenty of airing on other threads.

How to improve our democracy

I have some ideas on how to improve our democracy, apart providing an open non-partisan robust environment to discuss things here, but what do you think?

PartisanZ prompted a discussion on this here.

New Zealand elections are largely won and lost on the perceived capabilities and likeability of party leaders.

The media have got a lot to answer for – it makes it easier for them to concentrate on leader versus leader and they llike to ignore who they don’t think has any chance – a self-fullfilling agenda – but there is no easy solution to this.

Most of those active in politics outside the media have no inclination to enhance democracy, they only want to enhance their own chances.

That will only change if people promote alternatives.

I have one particular idea that i think will help but I’d like to hear other ideas.

Peters bigger than democracy?

The prospect of power seems to be going to Winston Peters head.

It’s good, even essential, for politicians to be ambitious. It’ doesn’t look so good when they appear to put themselves above democracy.

3 News reported: Peters: NZ First will decide 2017 election

At a glance that looks like a poor headline. Up until now voters have decided elections.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he will be more powerful than ever by the next election and will decide the next government.

Obviously Peters wants to hold the balance of power after the election and play National off against Labour, trying to use more power than the voters have given him. He may think he is due more power after the voters left him fairly powerless after the last three elections. But i a democracy parties don’t accumulate power credits that they call on in one hit.

Mr Peters’ first job of the day was to hurl criticisms at the media – “your polls are crap”, “stop this nonsense” and “you ask some stupid questions”.

And yet the media keep flocking to feed the beast.

Mr Peters also launched an attack on the Greens, saying it cost the Left last year’s election by attacking Labour, adding the Greens will be irrelevant by 2017.

His memory is different to mine. The Greens wanted to work closely in the campaign with Labour and look like a united option for Government, and Labour turned up their nose at that.

Internet-Mana scared voters away from the left.

While some vote for NZ First to stick one up National the fear of Peters overplaying power almost handed National a majority on their own.

But the biggest culprit of the Left losing last year was Labour.

“Every Green voter knows they can’t make it,” says Mr Peters.

That’s stupid talk. I think in general Green voters have more passion and belief than others – especially Winston voters.

“I expect us to do better than we’ve ever done before by miles.”

Votes are earned, not expected. It looks like Peters’ success in Northland has gone to his head.

Mr Peters also vowed to grow the party membership by more than 10,000 members, or he’ll resign. Moments later, he did a dramatic U-turn, claiming he didn’t say that.

“Maybe I didn’t hear it properly.”

He seems to only hear what he wants to hear. Maybe he didn’t think it through before making a rash promise.

Politicians need to be ambitious, but if they look too cocky, if they look like they want to overplay the power that voters give them, and if they make claims that they don’t mean then it can make enough voters wary to cause an electoral backlash.

Peters will be loving all the attention he gets at his party’s conference, but that looks like it’s going to his head and over inflating an already large ego.

One of Peters’ aims is to out-poll the Greens to give him more coalition negotiating power than the Greens.

Greens co-leader James Shaw tweeted: “Dreams are free.”

“James has been in the game five minutes,” says Mr Peters.

And Peters would hate to have to play second fiddle to a five minute leader.

Another of Peters’ aims will be to be in a position to play National off against Labour. If National and Labour end up close, within a few percent, then Peters may get away with it.

But if National retain a healthy margin over Labour and Peters negotiates baubles of power with Labour over National – and Labour will be more desperate to lead the next Government, then whatever gains NZ First might make this term will probably evaporate, and then some.

If Peters loses credibility again, alongside Labour, then it risks being a one term Government and if that happens it would likely be the end of Peters political career, effectively if not actually.

One thing is certain – there will be many more things in play than Winston Peters come the 2017 election. One thing will be Peters having to divide his attention between holding his Northland electorate and campaigning nationally.

Then there will be how well National weather their third term, whether Andrew Little and Labour manage to look competent, whether Colin Craig is silly enough to through a few more million dollars at an ambition that is now surely futile, whether a hacker feeds Nicky Hager ammunition for another campaign impacting book, whether Kiwis embrace the idea of a new flag identity, and other things we don’t know about yet.

Much of Peters’ success is being seen as anti-power, the maverick fighting against powerful odds.

If Winston promotes power hunger and power monger to much it could backfire on him and New Zealand First.

Democracy has a way of dealing to politicians who play power above the people’s preference.

Shameful Labour campaign against referendums

LabourAgainstReferendumsFlyingYesterday Andrew Little upped Labour’s campaign against the flag referendums by launching a petty, cynical, shameful website trying to sabotage the flag change referendums. Putting petty politics before the people’s choice.


I’m usually fairly easy going with what happens in our politics, but this Labour campaign against a fundamental democratic process is really annoying me. I think it’s disgraceful, despicable. Little is shitting on New Zealand democracy by campaigning against something both he and Labour have previously supported.

They are putting petty politics ahead of giving New Zealanders what will probably be a once in a lifetime choice on our flag and our national identity.

Here is Labour’s anti-democracy anti-flag referendum website.

LabourFlagCampaignThat site is asking for names and addresses and for people to join Labour in opposing the flag referendums, opposing democracy in action, opposing what their policy supports – see Labour still campaigning against it’s own flag policy.

So I won’t be submitting any suggestions. But something I would like money spent on is a decent opposition, one that doesn’t oppose things out of spite, one that doesn’t put trying to score cheap political points ahead of people voting.

How much would it cost for an Opposition that doesn’t shit on our democracy?

How low can Labour and Andrew Little go?

Last week they dumped on Chinese New Zealanders.

This week they are dumping on our democracy, dumping on all New Zealanders.


Are Greens ignorant or deliberately misleading?

The Greens have made two misleading claims today, one of them being a continuing misrepresentation of democracy.

The first:

Does he accept that only 25% of NZers want to change the flag whereas 87% of NZers are concerned about #climatechange? – @jamespeshaw #nzqt

That’s a basic misunderstanding of democracy – or a deliberate misrepresentation of how democracy works. A binding people’s referendum is about as democratic as you can get and about as good a measure of what people want as you can get. Greens wanted one for asset sales, but they don’t seem to want the flag referendums.

We won’t know how many New Zealanders want to change the flag until we have had both referendums on the flag.


Given #climate submissions outnumbered flag submissions by 15,000 to 2,300, does he think changing the flag is the right priority? #nzqt

The number of submissions is not a measure of support, but the Greens seem to often claim it is some sort of democratic measure.

It doesn’t measure anything other than the number of people who saw fit to submit. Or as seems oftne the case these days, the number of people the Greens can encourage to submit Green cu and paste templates so they can claim an erroneous level of support.

The Green PR machine even went to a bit of effort to embellish this bollocks.

A #climatetarget for the 0.5% #nzqt

Embedded image permalink

The graphic is sort of correct – it depicts a proportion of submitters.

But the tweet implies it was against 0.5% opposition, but against this is just a measure of how many people the Greens and others motivated to make mass submissions.

The only way of having an accurate measure of support is via a referendum – but as the first example shows, the Greens choose to disregard them when it suits their PR.

Are the Greens ignorant of how democracy works? Or do they deliberately misrepresent it?

Greens confuse democratic process with democratic votes

Despite what some try to claim he number of submissions in a democratic process is not a measure of popular support.

Submissions are not votes.

A high number of submissions promoting one view has become common, but they often mean that one view has been organised and promoted with mass submissions.

Green co-leader Metiria Turei recently sent out an email that was predictably critical of the Government emissions target announcement but her argument is a bad example of the confusion of democratic process versus democratic votes.

Here are five reasons why this weak target should be a concern for all New Zealanders:

  1. This target undermines our democratic process. Back in May, thousands of New Zealanders participated in the Government’s climate consultation. An overwhelming majority (99% of those who specified a target) asked for a more ambitious target than what the Government is proposing. John Key’s administration has effectively ignored almost everyone who participated in the consultation, from doctors and business leaders to scientists and conservation groups.

For a start this doesn’t even give the total number of submissions, she just claims “an overwhelming majority (99% of those who specified a target)”.

How many submissions were there?

How many submissions didn’t specify a target?

But claiming “this target undermines our democratic process” is based either on ignorance of democracy (which is alarming from a party that claims to be more democratic than any other) or it is deliberately deceptive.

Submissions are an important  part of the democratic process, a means of giving the public a say.

But organising mass submissions has become common practice from parties like the Greens and also allied activists:

Like Generation Zero: Use our quick submission tool to call on the Government to commit to a pathway towards zero CO2 emissions by 2050 or earlier, and call for a global zero carbon target in the Paris deal.

This is our chance to call for a plan to Fix Our Future. Take a few minutes to add your voice by submitting below.

It’s easy to have your say. Just fill in your details and tick all the points you agree with.

Personalising your submission will really add weight to it so please add your own thoughts and comments at the end of the form.

In an open democracy like ours groups are free to organise mass submissions, a form of group speak.

But claiming that the number of submissions is some sort of democratic measure of support is an abuse of democracy, or ignorance of how democracy works.Metiria Turei

Either way a party leader should know better than to make claims like Turei has.

Are the Greens confused about democratic processes? Or are they deliberately trying to confuse?

Slater on democracy and free speech

Following the previous post Cameron Slater has joined the irony onslaught at Whale Oil in HANDS UP WHO WANTS TO HAND OVER ELECTIONS TO SCUMBAGS LIKE “RAWSHARK”?

The left wing doesn’t believe in democracy, they certainly don’t believe in freedom of speech or association. They constantly mount boycotts and threats, and resort to breaking laws to try to defeat their political opponents.

Democracy: Whale Oil has taken payments in return for political hit jobs, including interfering in candidate selections and campaigning on referendums.

Freedom of speech: Like in their live blog for the Decade of Dirt party, for example…

4. An editor will review your entries.  If they pass the censor and aren’t dull or repetitive, your entry will make it onto Whaleoil.

That was a rule for posting comments for their ‘Decade of Dirt’ party but sums up Whale Oil’s general censorship. In the past Slater promoted free speech and meant it. Then he promoted Belt to a censorship role.

Resort to breaking laws to try to defeat their political opponents: there’s a current police investigation into Slater allegedly doing just that.

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).


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.


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.

ODT: Transparency vital in a democracy

The Otago Daily Times editorial today is on the National Government and Transparency vital in a democracy.

Watching the Government’s desperate lolly scramble as it tries to shore up votes in the Northland by-election has made uncomfortable viewing.

The big guns are being brought out to bolster support for National candidate Mark Osborne, with visits by Prime Minister John Key and a raft of other ministers.

Critics view the Government’s sudden interest in the province with scepticism.

With good cause, what National are piling into Northland hints of abuse of power and misuse of taxpayers’ money.

Voters are left wondering what can be taken at face value, and some critics suggest obfuscation has gone beyond pattern to habit.

Yes, that seems to have become the expected norm. Not a good look for a Government in it’s third term.

The editorial details a number of examples of questionable actions and inaction over reasonable disclosure, then concludes:

There are times when information is genuinely required to be withheld to keep New Zealanders safe, some sensitive negotiations are required to be done away from the public, and some comments may be inappropriate to make in a police or legal case.

But regularly providing obscure, incomplete, or partly true answers to questions inevitably results in ”boy that cried wolf” scenarios.

Trust is fundamental to any individual or government, transparency essential for any democracy, and robust oversight mechanisms and a free and active press equally crucial (particularly when there are claims the former two are lacking).

Mr Key and his Government would do well to remember that as they ask Northland voters to trust them and make more promises for the future.

Trust can be difficult to maintain during an extended term in Government. It tends to get whittled away.

Once lost trust is much more difficult to get back. John Key is struggling with this.

He has to be seen to significantly change direction meaningfully towards far better openness and transparency or he will keep gradually sliding out of favour with voters.

Transparency is vital in a decent democracy.

Paddy pimping Peters

Winston Peters has a campaign bus on the road in Northland. And some of the media seems to be actively pushing the Peters blusterbus while they sideline some other candidates and ignore the rest.

Media driven democracy at it’s worst.

Leading the charge is 3 News political editor Patrick Gower, who even commissioned a poll for Peters. Ok, it wasn’t ‘for Peters’ but the nature and timing means it was virtual pimping.

The appearance is that some media are actively promoting Winston’s chances and want him to win the Northland seat. And they rule the rest out of anything like equivalent coverage.

Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime announced her candidacy nearly a month ago and launched her Labour campaign nearly two weeks ago. The media, especially the television media, seems to have virtually ignored her.

National’s Mark Osborne was selected last Saturday and seems to get little other than incidental coverage, and his inexperience is often emphasised.

In start contrast Winston Peters announced he was standing last Saturday. He had already arranged (and been given) promotional slots on TV3’s The Nation on Saturday and 3 News’ Q&A on Sunday.

Peters launched his bus campaign on Tuesday near lead news television coverage.

He was given a slot on 3 News Frontline on Wednesday morning.

And yesterday he was to the forefront of 3 News with a poll result, presented by a seemingly ecstatic Gower. It’s not surprising that the poll result favoured Peters, 35% to Osborne’s 30%. Peters has been splashed all over the headlines and the other candidates have been barely mentioned or ignored comparatively.

This is media driven political campaigning at it’s worse.

3 News website headlines yesterday:

Peters: ‘Labour can’t win – we can’

Winston Peters is calling on Labour voters in Northland to give him the tick in the upcoming Northland by-election.

Peters on track to win Northland seat

A 3 News political poll has found Winston Peters is on track to deliver National a shock defeat in the Northland by-election.

It appears as if plenty who voted for National in the last election feel wronged and are holding a grudge.

The latest 3 News-Reid Research poll shows Mr Peters with a clear lead over National’s Mark Osborne.

A poll taken pretty much before the campaign has started with a result of 35% to 30% is not “on track to deliver”, unless Gower means he is on track to deliver the campaign to Peters on a platter.

And the margin of error for the poll is over 4%. meaning there is substantial overlap on the potential response.

The poll is certainly a significant boost to Peters chances but the way it has been promoted is far from balanced coverage.

And the pimping of Peters continues today with Age no barrier for Winston Peters.

Going back to Tuesday the 3 News headlines:

You have to go back to Sunday to find a headline on a Peters opponent:

Ok, that’s not an opponent, it’s John Key’s view and doesn’t mention the National candidate tell near the end of the article, tacked on after another promotion for Peters:

However, Mr Peters says the National Party is panicking because of how much support he has from its own members.

NZ First had a record of achieving outside of government, he told the programme.

He had brought bridges to Tauranga and could bring roads to Northland, Mr Peters said.

“Northland has been a forgotten province. It needs a voice and we’re being asked to put our hands up put it all on the line for Northland and I intend to do just that.”

The by-election on March 28 is a four-way contest with National’s Mark Osborne, Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime and ACT’s Robin Grieve also standing.

And even that’s factually incorrect. There are eleven candidates. 3 News has chosen to ignore seven of them. Candidates have no show if the media chose not to include them in coverage.

This is media driven democracy at it’s worst.

Paddy pimping Peters is very poor political coverage.


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