Is The Standard “a mouthpiece for Labour”?

Lynn Prentice keeps adamantly denying that his Standard blog is a mouthpiece for Labour. Technically he’s probably correct – but there’s no doubt many mouths of Labour are active at The Standard.

The denials of being very Labour are bizarre. It’s not like Peter three times denying Jesus on one day. It’s more like the twelve disciples denying Jesus throughout the writing of the New Testament.

In a radio interview yesterday Prentice was at best blatantly misleading – see Lynn Prentice on radio on The Standard.

Here’s a list of most of the current and recent Standard authors.

lprent (Lynn Prentice) – Standard trustee, editor, sysop, author  and chief moderator (banner of unwelcome opinions). Prentice is a long time Labour Party member, has often mentioned how much he helped Helen Clark in her Mt Albert electorate, attends Labour conferences but has pledged to vote Green this election. No disclosure on The Standard but this of the “brilliant blogger” is still at The Daily Blog.

lprent (also known as Lynn Prentice) is an ancient geek who fell out of management in the 90′s after getting irritated with accountants and doing an MBA and back into programming. During the process he became involved in real world politics as a reluctant socialist. He hasn’t really emerged from those twin obsessions since.

Lynn Prentice is Editor of The Standard, the largest left wing blog in NZ. Lynn is a brilliant blogger and resides in the high ranking Jedi Knight category. He likes Don McGlashan, a facebook page called Whaleoil Sucks and the Ponsonby Fish and Chips shop.

Currently he programs anti-collision devices in c++, linux, Qt, and touch screens. Since he also acts as the sysop of multi-author blog The Standard, that large left-wing nest of vipers that plague the NZ politicians of all hues. He finds the same predictive algorithms useful in educating the trolls who waste his time. Occasionally he finds time to write the odd blog post on whatever interests him.

Mike Smith – Standard trustee (since 2010) and current author. Retired as “the long standing party secretary of the Labour party in 2009″. Worked as an adviser in David Shearer’s leader’s office up until last year.

mickysavage (Greg Presland) – current author.  Former chair of David Cunliffe’s New Lynn electorate committee and presumably still on the committee. He was the lawyer who set up Cunliffe’s secret trust during the Labour leadership campaign last year.

Bunji - current author and active Labour Party member.

I’m a Labour party member – as I’ve mentioned that – and from my topics, that I’m based in Auckland. That’s further confirmed by the fact that I’ve blogged about Labour conferences in Auckland – which might cause an accurate assumption that I’m actively involved in my local Labour Electorate Committee.

Stephanie Rodgers – current author (also blogs elsewhere). On the Labour campaign team in Ohariu. Communications officer at EPMU.

Stephanie Rodgers is a communicator who lives in Wellington with her partner and two guinea pigs.  One of them was once the Dominion Post’s Pet of the Day (the guinea pigs, not her partner).  She is a communications officer at the EPMU and member of the Labour Party, but blogs in a personal capacity in her own time.  Opinions are her own.

UPDATE: Stephanie was grumpy at me because she has a disclosure statement – but it is on her own blog, not at The Standard. Some of her posts have a link to her blog ‘Boots Theory’ and if find a hidden menu with ‘About’ on it (the black square on the left) she has a different disclosure:

Disclosure statement

All opinions expressed on this blog are my personal views.

I work as a communications officer at the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.  I am a member of the Labour Party and have previously worked for Labour’s team in Parliament as a lowly receptionist.  Nothing on this blog should be construed as a statement made on behalf of any of these organisations.

Stephanie has been a lowly staffer working for Labour in Parliament but that was before she began as an author at The Standard (which was in February this year, she was working at EPMU last year).

karol – current author (since 2012). Strongly promotes Greens. Previously used the pseudonym ‘carol’. A recent ‘Disclaimer':

Disclaimer:  My primary political allegiance is to the Left. I am not now, nor ever have been, a member of a political party.  I don’t speak for any party.  I have party voted Green in recent elections, and intend to do so again this election.  I will give my electorate vote to Carmel Sepuloni.

James Henderson – author April 2010 until December 2013. Closely associated with Greens. There have been rumours he was Clint Smith who had authored under the pseudonym ‘Steve Piersen‘ until March 2009 when he went to work in Parliament for Labour.  Smith switched to Greens as media and political adviser (of “Hey Clint’ fame), and then in April this year switched back to work for Labour.

Rocky (previously as Rochelle Rees until 2009) – past author, has just started posting again (last posts before this week were in 2012). Prentice’s niece. Political and animal rights activist. Prentice blogged in 2008:

My niece Rochelle Rees has uncovered some unsavory practices operated by element of the NZ Police directed at peaceful protest groups.

You can read them either by buying the paper, or by these links to articles from Nicky Hager.
Police anti-terror squad spies on protest groups
Who the police were spying on
The activist who turned police informer
How Gilchrist was found out:

Twenty-two-year-old Rochelle Rees got involved in politics as a schoolgirl, determined to do something about issues such as cruelty in battery hen farms.

Since then she has handed out leaflets, been arrested for locking herself to a shop selling clothing made with animal fur from China and made the news during this year’s election campaign for a cheeky “Google bomb” calling John Key “clueless”.

Ben Clark – occasional author.  Labour Party member. Brother of Labour MP David Clark. Stood for Labour in North Shore in 2011 and was 69 on the party list. Not on the 2014 list.

Irish Bill - past author (last post September 2013). Earlier in 2013 Prentice denied – “Labour party member”.In the words of a Tui ad – “Yeah right!” but IrishBill corrected him:

We’re a loose collective at TS. I’ve a policy of keeping myself to myself outside of what I write there but would like to correct a couple of things here. I am a Labour party member (and have been on and off for a long long time) and my call for joining up certainly wasn’t tongue in cheek – having seen what happens when the broader left walks away from the party I’m very keen to see as many lefties as possible sign up now – it’s more important for us to be in the party now than it has been since the dark days of the 80s.

Eddie – author until January this year. Seems to have been strongly connected to one of Labour’s factions – see a post from March last year Labour’s three factions. Many rumours since way back about the identity, notably that it is a pseudonym that has been used by a number of Labour insiders or staffers, both male and female. The name Jennie Michie keeps coming up back a few years. Always denied. From Dim Post in 2009:

It’s rumoured that Eddie, the author of the rumour is a senior Labour comms advisor so if there’s a story to be found here I think it’s that Labour are begging the gallery to start smearing cabinet Ministers.

UPDATE: Eddie and IrishBill from The Standard refute the rumour that Eddie is a comms advisor with the Labour Party.

Comments:

“Eddie is not a comms adviser. You need to quote her job title 100% correct then ask her and Irish to deny it again. That is the game they play.”

“Does anybody actually believe Rob and Jennie when they keep denying who they are via their nom de blogs? Ridiculous.
“Senior EPMU staff member and labour staffer spend all day trying to smear and build mountains from molehills. Quelle surprise.”

“So Eddie aka Jenny Michie senior Labour comms wallah and IrishBill aka Rob Egan, Communications Advisor of the EPMU are getting their nickers in a twist over being outed ? Why don’t they just come out of the closet, it really would be much easier for them in the long run.”

An article on blogging in 2009 got a response from ‘Eddie’ plus a counter claim.

Eddie: Sandra. Sorry that we didn’t get back to you on your email about us commenting for this article. Clinton used to handle the public stuff and he tells me he got your email when he was pulling out of the whole blog scene, forgot to pass on the email.

I’ll take this opportunity to clear up a few things.

The Standard is a broad-Left blog, about half the regular writers support the Greens and the other half Labour. We don’t toe party lines and we’re more likely to write critical articles on the parties of the Left than supporting ones.

You could have found this info on our About page and might be nice if you could edit the text to reflect them, at least noting we dismiss Hooton’s conspiracy theories.

Hooton’s got no evidence of any association with Labour, much less than any of us are paid by them. It’s simple lies from a man who has made a career out of spouting extremist rubbish. How’s his blog doing these days? Oh yeah, it died.

Roger: Eddie at the standard is Jenny Michie who is the communications officer at the labour party. When she says there are no labour party link with the standard that isnt credible.

Zetetic - current occasional author. Obvious Labour/left leanings. Rumoured to be many people including Trevor Mallard (I don’t think that’s credible) or associated with Mallard (feasible). Another denial from Prentice here, this time about Zetetic’s Labour-ness.

I can’t remember Zet ever mentioning unions and his posts that even mention Labour are usually somewhat disdainful. However as he mostly stirs in his posts it is frequently difficult to see the difference. He said he was voting for the Mana party in 2011 (and RAM in 2008).

But Zetetic was quite clear here early last year. In For a February leadership vote

No one in Labour can deny there’s a real issue with internal disunity. Not only is the caucus divided (and more than ever since the Shearer camp’s handling of the conference fallout), but there’s a major breach between the membership and the caucus. Unless this is fixed and we can get the party united we’re looking at another term in opposition after 2014.

Increasingly, people are coming to the view that the only way to heal this rift and unify the party is for caucus to take the leadership issue out to the membership this February so we can put it to bed once and for all. That’s what the conference was about. We wanted to make sure we were never ignored again. We simply want our right to vote, and whatever the outcome is I believe that will settle it.

Nearly all of these authors are proven to have close Labour links or are likely to have close Labour links. There are union links as well which isn’t surprising.

Later in the day on Newstalk ZB ex Labour candidate Josie Pagani named three people including Clint Smith who she says blogged as staffers at The Standard. The other two were Neale Jones (ex EPMU) and Rob Egan.

I’m baffled why Prentice and others keep trying to deny that The Standard is closely associated with Labour.

Sure it may be a group of semi-independent bloggers. But most of them have an obvious strong common interest – Labour.

Why do they try to hide from this? Prentice told blatant mistruths on Radio New Zealand about The Standard and it’s authors.

I would have thought they would be proudly promoting Labour, but they seem embarrassed or afraid of something.

They could be a very effective mouthpiece for Labour but they want to hide in semi-anonymity and denial. It’s bizarre. 

Note: I’ll amend this with any credible corrections or additions. Put in comments or email me at petedgeorge@gmail.com

UPDATE: Duncan Garner writes in Politics is a sleazy business – regardless of who is in power

Senior Labour  ministers and press secretaries rang to point me toward The Standard, a Left-wing blog, to read its vitriol on certain days. Who had written those posts? I’m told many were written under fake names by Labour staffers paid by the taxpayer.

More Labour connections

The Standard re-posts from Polity by Rob Salmond:

Rob has wide experience relevant to public affairs. He has been a Parliamentary adviser to two leaders of New Zealand’s Labour party (Helen Clark, David Shearer), and through Polity continues to work with Labour leader David Cunliffe.

They also re-post from Imperator Fish by Scott Yorke:

My name is Scott Yorke. I’m a lawyer, but this site doesn’t really have anything to do with my day job, because, really, what kind of twisted job would that be if it did?

This blog is my own, and the posts do not represent the opinions of anyone other than me.

Nor does anything on this blog represent legal advice. This is my hobby, not a job. I don’t give out legal advice over the internet.

Disclosure

Yes, I am a bit left leaning. But some of my best friends, etc. etc.

I am also a long-suffering member of the Labour Party. Now you can’t say I didn’t tell you.

Scott is also active in electorate campaigning for Labour.

These are both very good disclosures and they both do some very good posts, but it makes a nonsense of The Standard claiming no Labour input into their blog. 

 

The Standard on power of blogs

Anthony Robins has posted at The Standard on the power of blogs. He writes about recent publicity about National ‘consultant’ Simon Lusk and his relationship with Cameron Slater and his Whale Oil blog. He raises the issue of paid blogging.

As to the vexed relationship between blogs and money, as is clear from recent rants on the Lusk/Slater Whaleoil blog, with a right wing blog you don’t know if posts have been bought and paid for.

But then he tries to differentiate his own Standard blog:

I think I can pretty safely state for the record that no Standard author has ever been paid to write anything here, and would never accept money to do so under any circumstances (authors please contradict me if I am wrong!). 

I don’t expect some authors to say anything, they would rather not reveal that they are paid to promote party PR and use The Standard to do this.

Mike Smith is open about the fact he works for David Shearer, and his posts are often obviously on behalf of his employer.

Some of the other Standard authors are widely believed to be employed by unions or political parties and use The Standard as a part of that employment. They are being paid to blog.

Round here what you see is what you get.

That’s a laughable claim. I’m sure Anthony believes it, and with him it is true, but there is a lot of deceitful political posting by other Standard authors.

Pseudonyms are used to try and hide who Standard authors are paid by and post on behalf of.

At least names like Eddie and Zetetic are obvious pseudonyms. Deceitful, but openly deceitful.

But using what appears to be a person’s name, like ‘James Henderson’, to disguise the real identity of the writer and hide from the readers who they are working for is blatantly dishonest.

lprent, who is widely known as Lynn Prentice, will huff and waffle in an attempt at diversion – including his usual attack-the-messenger pettiness – but that won’t hide the facts.

Despite Robin’s naive claims some of The Standard authors are paid political mouthpieces.

No one is likely to be surprised that Labour uses anonymous propagandists.

But the lack of openness and transparency of the Green Party  is not only deceitful but also hypocritical.

Hey Clint, it simply isn’t good enough for a party that used to have principles. The power of blogs is not always positive.

Farmers unhappy about lower power prices?

Mike Smith at The Standard asks: Farmers unhappy about lower power prices? and comments:

Former banker Bruce Wills and current head of Federated Farmers has joined the chorus attacking NZPower. He invokes how horrible  life was before 1984, as thought this had something to do with NZPower. You can read the full list of his horrors here.

He wonders:

It would be interesting to know if real farmers would rather have lower power prices, or banker Bruce as their spokesman.

I’m not so sure that this latest addition to the NZPower naysayers chorus has much in the way of real arguments. His reaction seems more based on specious history and knee-jerk ideology.

There was a quick reply from a farmer, ‘Jimmie':

I’m a farmer and let me think:

If the Lab/Greens get in well lets see what the net benefit of their combined policies would be in relation to power bills:

- NZ Power = -$300 p/a (maybe)

ETS increase = + how much??
Petrol tax increase = + how much??
Income tax increase = + how much??
Interest rate increase = + how much??
RMA red tape cost increase = + how much??
Capital Value lost through CGT = + how much??
Land Use restrictions = + how much??

Hmmmm I wonder which option I would rather go with the status quo or the watermelon nightmare?

‘Karol’ responds:

Oh, so increases for the better off people, but ignoring that a lot of your list will have little impact on those who are, right now, struggling to pay their power bills. The latter people will be better off with lower power prices.

Such things as NZ power, and any other changes to taxes, will be a correction after the tax cuts for the wealthy in recent years, which have been at the expense of the less well off.

And Jimmie again:

Well then maybe the Lab/Greens should have been honest then.

Instead of bleating on at a press conference about reducing everyone’s power bill by an average of $300 they should have said rich pricks are gona pay more and poor folks will pay less.

(Though why you think that poor folks don’t buy petrol or that the ETS increase will somehow be aimed only at rich pricks beats me)

NZ Power was a ill-thought out and dishonest attempt to interfere with the MRP float – it may have given a vague short term boost to the far left morale but how will it be read by the general public – many of whom are in the process of buying the MRP shares.

NZ Power might end up being Shearer’s ‘show us the money’ moment and also the moment when the MSM decide that the Green’s economic policies require a fair bit more scrutiny.

There has been a few fairly muted follow-up comments.

The Standard seems to be getting a second wind on promoting NZ Power (or more accurately, fighting back against opposition to it), ‘Eddie’ has also posted – Why Doug Heffernan wants you to keep paying too much for power:

NZ Power is a direct threat to the health of Heffernan’s bank accounts. It will cut Mighty River’s profits by about two-thirds – with a similar effect on the share price. It will mean that its directors will have to cut their clothe, and their over-blown executive pay packets.

So, no wonder Heffernan, the most highly paid public ‘servant’ of all time, took the extraordinary and unconstitutional step of commenting on political parties’ policies. He called NZ Power ‘socialist‘ (as if that’s a bad thing) because it means lower power bills for you and me, which means less pay and lower share values for him.

Remember, when Doug Heffernan pops up to say that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for you to pay less for power that he has made millions off the current broken system and stands to make millions more if we stick with National’s broken system. Doug Heffernan’s bank accounts will be a lot more healthier if you keep on paying too much.

That continues the rich prick envy versus poor people paying too much for power lines favoured by the left of Labour.

This has become a battle between narrow ideology and wider economics.

Mike Smith works in David Shearer’s office.
‘Eddie’ is a Labour Party activist pseudonym.

“Labour’s three factions” and talk of coups

Last week Chris Trotter alluded to three Labour factions in a satirical post at The Daily Blog – Lies, Damned Lies and Imagined Conversations.

“So, now the Labour caucus is divided into three, roughly equal groups, Goff’s and King’s rear-guard of has-beens and Beagle Boys – with Mr Mumbles as their figurehead. David’s loyal ten, and Robertson’s cast of the young and the restless. You must have at least one of the other factions, plus your own, to mount a successful coup.”

‘Eddie’ at The Standard has expanded on this theme in a post at The Standard – Labour’s Three Factions. Eddie knows about coups, he was a participant in the blog side of the supposed Cunliffe conference coup last November.

Broadly speaking though, Labour’s three factions are as follows:

The Right
David Shearer (leader)
Phil Goff
Annette King
David Parker
Clayton Cosgrove
Shane Jones
Damien O’Connor
Kris Fa’afoi
Ross Robertson

(total 9)

Within this faction is most of Labour’s experience, and it shows. While only a small minority in caucus, these guys know how to organise, scare, and run a solid internal political game. But while they’re good at the internal game, they’re completely shit at national politics as the last four years has shown.

Goff, King, and Cosgrove are the core, and they’re currently running the show. Fa’afoi seems an odd fit here, much newer and younger than the others; it could be because he was taken under King’s wing.

The Right hold five front bench positions.

The Left
David Cunliffe (leader)
Nanaia Mahuta
Louisa Wall
Sue Moroney
Su’a William Sio
Lianne Dalziel
Parekura Horomia
Rajen Prasad
Rino Tirikatene
Carol Beaumont
Raymond Huo
Moana Mackey
Iain Lees-Galloway
Andrew Little

This is the largest and most diverse faction. You’ll find most of caucus’ Maori and women here. They haven’t done well with organising internally, and it shows because they’re currently out in the cold. But a lot of members believe this is real Labour – there is not a single former parliamentary staffer in these ranks.

Andrew Little is a bit of wild card here, while his politics are firmly left you can’t count him on him voting for any one particular faction. The Left hold no front bench positions.

(total 14)

The Careerist Left
Grant Robertson (leader)
Chris Hipkins
Jacinda Ardern
Phil Twyford
Clare Curran
Maryan Street
David Clark
Trevor Mallard
Darien Fenton
Megan Woods
Ruth Dyson

(total 11)

Of the 11 MPs in the Careerist Left, 7 are former parliamentary staffers. This group has some good people but there’s a strong thread of personal advancement running through it, which is why they’ve brokered a deal with the Right.

Robertson is wary of the ‘Left’ faction, because he doesn’t think he’ll do as well out of a deal with Cunliffe.

Many of his backers have made the same decision, and they’ve been duly rewarded in the reshuffle. Mallard and Dyson are in this faction by accident – they simply don’t like Cunliffe.

Street is an odd fit with this faction, and no one I’ve talked to can explain what she’s doing there.

None of the factions by themselves have the numbers to control caucus, which is why the Right has built an alliance with Careerist Left. That’s who’s in charge now.

Eddie’s post has more detail – there is likely to be a lot of discussion on this at The Standard so keep a watch there, it has already started.

While open to debate this is very interesting – especially as it has been claimed vehemently at The Standard in the past that Eddie is just one individual author expressing his opinion. Like…

As for the Left faction, you may be wondering why they failed to trigger a leadership vote in February when their faction had one more vote than they needed.

It was simple bluffing. Moana Mackey and Iain Lees-Galloway voted Shearer because they thought he had the votes, and quite sensibly didn’t want to be punished by the Right – though it doesn’t look like it did either of them any good in the reshuffle.

How would an individual blogger at The Standard know exactly who voted for whom in a supposedly secret ballot? Note that it has been reported that Labour Whip Chris Hipkins was added to the secret ballot vote counting brigade ath the last minute.

Why has first Chris Trotter and then ‘Eddie’ trotted out this Labour faction speculation? It could be that Trotter’s post prompted Eddie to expand on the theme.

It may or may not be a coincident this is happening just after another major Shearer embarrassment for Labour.

Both Trotter and Eddie support Cunliffe replacing Shearer as party leader.

Is this an attempt at stirring up another coup attempt? Or just good healthy discussion of Labour’s dirty linen in public?

Keywords: popcorn, The Standard

Shearer’s reshuffle challenges

It is being reported that David Shearer will anounce a caucus reshuffle this week, with one source (‘Eddie’ at The Standard) suggesting it will be today.

Shearer has three main challenges:

  1. to strengthen a front bench that is widely considered to have been underperforming
  2. to give the appearance of rebuilding and promoting new talent over the old guard
  3. to be seen to unite a caucus that has looked split by leadership backing factions

There may be conflicts in those goals. For example NZ Herald is suggesting that Annette King and Shane Jones will get promoted:

King, Jones tipped for return to front bench

Labour’s reshuffle this week is expected to include a surprise move in the return of one of the party’s longest-standing and most effective MPs, Annette King, to the front bench, where she is tipped to take over the health portfolio.

The reshuffle is also likely to see the return to the front bench of Shane Jones in the Maori Affairs portfolio.

That may strengthen the front bench but it is the return of the old guard.

Eddie is not optimistic in his post Something about deckchairs:

I’m still picking Mahuta, Street, and Sio demoted, Cunliffe to health and the old guard not moving one iota.

That points to one of the biggest challenges for Shearer – how he appears to deal with unity. In particular if he is seen to reward loyal supporters and punish perceived dissent. IrishBill on the same thread at The Standard:

I’m not sure Cunliffe will get health. I’m expecting the third of caucus that voted no-confidence in David Shearer to get punished for it. It’s bad politics but Trevor and Phil are holding the reins and they’ll put themselves and their vendettas over the political well-being of their leader.

Eddie and IrishBill are from within the Labour Party, this shows how much dissillusionment there is in some quarters.

Greg Presland (mickysavage), who is on Cunliffe’s electorate committee, stears clear of his MP but has concerns:

The demotion of Sio and Dalziel if it occurs will be retrograde and stupid. Both are experienced and hard working local MPs. Sio had the biggest increase in the party vote last time and Dalziel’s work in Christchurch is legendary. This will make divisions worse.

The Herald predicts some more responsibity but no promotion for David Cunliffe:

There is likely to be some redemption for David Cunliffe who will be allocated some portfolio areas, although a promotion up the ranks is unlikely. Mr Cunliffe was stripped of his front bench seat and portfolios after refusing to rule out a challenge to David Shearer’s leadership in November last year.

Cunliffe made it clear he would be supporting Shearer in the caucus vote on leadership earlier this month. We’ll see if that is enough for Shearer to make use of one of the most capable MPs in his caucus.

Just as important is what Shearer does with Cunliffe will be a signal to how he values being seen to mend divisions.

How will Shearer know who was loyal?

There have been various rumours and reports that 10 or 11 MPs did not endorse his leadership. Cunliffe signalled his intention so who are the MPs who wanted the question on leadership to go to a partywide decision?

Shearer and his team will have a good idea based on who supported Cunliffe’s leadership bid in December 2011. They will also probably have ‘done the numbers’ to see if the caucus vote would challenge his leadership.

But one of the pro-Shearer MPs (sometimes referred to as the ABC club – Anyone But Cunliffe) was apparently helping count the votes in what was purportedly a secret ballot. IrishBill claims:

In a late rule change they added the whip (Chris Hipkins) to the ballot count.

If true that’s remarkable. The fact that one of the MPs could be involved in counting secret votes is bad enough – that would be yet another signal to MPs who might be thinking of challenging Shearer’s leadership that their dissent may not go unnoticed.

And there is still deepseated disatisfaction amongst pro-Cunliffe and anti-Shearer party activists over Hipkins’ comments in November over the so-called Cunliffe conference coup, as reported in the Herald:

Labour MP and senior whip Chris Hipkins said Mr Cunliffe had “openly undermined the current leadership” and should either openly challenge Mr Shearer or leave.

“He’s made it clear he intends to challenge for the leadership. I think saying he’s not going to do so until February is dishonest and disingenous. He needs to bring it on.”

He said Mr Cunliffe should be open and upfront about his intentions.

“Weasel words about supporting the leader for now simply don’t cut it.”

He said Mr Cunliffe had actively undermined two leaders in a row – Mr Goff and now Mr Shearer.

“That has made it impossible for him to continue in a senior role within the Labour team.”

He said Mr Cunliffe’s allies should also “take a long, hard look at themselves”.

“We want to go into the next election campaign as a unified team, ready to make David Shearer the Prime Minister. If they’re not willing to sign up for that, they need to think about whether they are sticking around.”

These comments prompted an official complaint from Cunliffe’s New Lynn electorate committee, the outcome of which has not been made public.

Charles Chauvel announced last week that he won’t be sticking around – it was suggested he had been offered a demotion by Shearer.

To entrust Hipkins with counting the secret ballot – the results of which seem to have been leaked – could easily seen as blatant monitoring of support and dissent.

Will Cunliffe’s assurances he would support Shearer in the ballot be still seen as “simply don’t cut it”?

One thing is certain – if Shearer’s reshuffle has the appearance of punishing those who may have not supported him in the ballot the chances of going “into the next election campaign as a unified team” are not high.

We may find out today whether Shearer manages a masterful balance with a nod to unity, or continues a climate of dissent and disatisfaction.

Cunliffe’s responsibilities and placing in the pecking order will be a major pointer.

John Armstrong refutes Eddie’s accusation

Once again ‘Eddie’ has been found out promoting incorrect claims in now familiar Standard attempts at political muckraking.

Yesterday ‘Eddie’ attacked David Shearer’s press secretary Fran Mold:

It looks like Armstrong’s piece yesterday was fed by Mold too (you know, if she spent half the effort attacking National as she does on attacking Cunliffe and the Greens, she might be worth half her $200K+ pay packet).

As usual ‘Eddie’ made no attempt to substantiate this accusation.

And John Armstrong denies anything like this happened. I queried him on it and he replied:

As usual, Eddie and The Standard are looking for conspiracies where there aren’t any. I have long stopped worrying about what is written about me, especially as most of the people posting or comnmenting have not got the guts to use their real name. 

Still, The Standard has been essential reading lately … 

For the record, I haven’t spoken to Fran Mold since the Greens released their “Home For Life” housing package. Neither has she “fed” me anything. The part of Saturday’s column dealing with the Greens’ package is my own work and view and mine alone.

‘Eddie’ has a right of reply here but I wouldn’t expect him to front up. He usually sticks to anonymous attacks under the protection of Standard moderation. When I challenged him on another of his smear attempts last year he banned me for not proving he was wrong quickly enough. He made no attempt to prove he was right.

So decide for yourself who is more credible, a longstanding political journalist writing for NZ Herald or whoever in a Labour faction happens to be allowed by lprent to use the ‘Eddie’ smear pseudonym at The Standard.

Extraordinary inside attack on Shearer’s press secretary

Labour insider ‘Eddie’ at The Standard continues to be highly critical of David Shearer, but his latest post also includes an extraordinary attack on Shearer’s press secretary Fran Mold.

There seems to be general acceptance at The Standard  The Standard that Shearer is safe as leader. Labour’s caucus gets a leadership confidence vote tomorrow and all indications are that this is sewn up by team Shearer.

Having failed in a second bid to foment an uprising against Shearer whoever currently uses the ‘Eddie’ pseudonym has changed aim.

There is a very critical post at The Standard today on Living together (with the Greens). It opens:

There’s a thought in some parts of Labour – in fact, only the Leader’s Corridor, far as I can tell – that they need to ‘put the Greens in their place’, then they will get back the votes that the Greens have taken from them, and that will lead to victory. It’s an Underpants Gnome strategy, missing the crucial link of how doing what they want to do emotionally results in the supposed objective.

That’s a clear diss of the leadership team. Then criticism is aimed directly at Shearer…

KiwiBuild is very much Shearer’s baby. It is fundamentally flawed…

Remember that this is a Labour insider attack on party leadership, strategies and policies. Then the target changes…

The other approach is to seek to undermine the other party’s policy, which has blowback because your own similar policy gets discredited too. That’s what Labour’s Fran Mold seems to have advised Shearer to do on housing in the mistaken belief that discrediting the Greens’ policy would let Labour ‘own the space’.

‘Eddie’ then made an extraordinary attack on Mold.

It looks like Armstrong’s piece yesterday was fed by Mold too (you know, if she spent half the effort attacking National as she does on attacking Cunliffe and the Greens, she might be worth half her $200K+ pay packet).

Here a Labour faction spokes-pseudonym accuses Mold of being instrumental in ‘feeding’ John Armstrong’s weekend column in NZ Herald.

And ‘Eddie’ also reveals Mold’s salary level, suggesting this is being fed by someone who knows about senistive employment information. Or  is guessing or bullshitting – ‘Eddie’ has a reputation for the latter.

It’s hard not to see this as a blatant attempt to discredit Mold and to stir up feelings inside Labour against her.

There is no shortage of grounds to criticise Mold. Team Shearer’s media and communications strategies have dismayed many. And Mold was directly linked (via her partner) to Shearer’s GCSB accusations that emabarrassed him when no backup evidence was forthcoming.

But this is dirty politics, red on red.

Shearer might be secure as leader in the meantime, but the undermining and fomenting of unrest and division via anonymous party linked bloggers looks set to continue. Labour’s civil war appears to be nowhere near over.

“His talk of a rift in the Labour Party is crap.”

Yeah, right.

Labour’s heavy hitters at The Standard are going hammer and tongs. The blog has again highlighted Labour’s civil war with accusations of lying, and there is  obvious conflict amongst the site authors.

It could be an interesting weekend at The Standard.

Background

Last Saturday Eddie started the current spate of infighting with his post Shearer to put it to the vote. It’s probably not coincidental this was a week before David Shearer’s big opening speech of Labour’s political year. Unlike his post in November that sparked the ‘Cunliffe coup’ the response to this one seemed to fizzle. Until now.

Phase two of the stir arrived yesterday from partner in grime, Zetetic, with For a February leadership vote.

That restirred the leadership pot, as well as highlighting some obvious questions about Zetetic’s loyalties and motives, as I blogged in Zetetic’s loyalty and pseudonym confusion.

Zetetic’s post got the infighting going again, but nothing out of the ordinary in relation to what has been happening over the past few months.

Last night’s flareup

Mike Smith, representing Labour’s leadership office, fired a broadside last night at ‘Zetetic’ and ‘Eddie’ in Tell the truth.

Zetetic’s telling porkies.

I don’t think Zetetic and Eddie and all the other prophets of gloom on this site have a clue about what’s going on in the Labour Party – or the electorate for that matter.

Lynn Prentice (lprent) tried to get involved but has been overshadowed by the party heavies.

IrsihBill stepped into the fray.

I’d caution you against describing authors as liars, Mike. You’ve never been abused by other authors here, regardless of political differences, and it would behoove you to show a similar degree of respect in return.

Prentice:

Nah – reread it.. (I did). He is quite specific about what he thought the “porkie” was.

Now I have no idea if Zet said that (and I don’t think that he did from recollection). But Mike is correct in what the rule is.

Until the caucus doesn’t get its shit together, the vote isn’t going out to the membership.

Interesting dynamic isn’t it….

IrishBill:

Sorry Lynn, but I don’t think the tone’s appropriate. I would never, for example, write a response post to Mike that stated “I don’t think Mike has a clue about what’s going on in the Labour Party – or the electorate for that matter.” What I would do is say “I disagree with Mike and this is why”.

I think Mike’s done his argument a disservice and I’ll sort it out with him offline but my comment stands.

Interesting that he’s openly saying he will “sort it out with him offline” – no mention of sorting anything out with Eddie and Zetetic offline.

Technical arguments ensued over whether Smith’s accusation of lying was supported by facts, but that’s a side issue.

Both Eddie and Zetetic bullshit. There’s little doubt they are using The Standard to try and game play within Labour and it’s obvious they are trying to undermine Shearer’s leadership. Again.

So it’s easy to understand Labour’s head office being annoyed at a blog that mainly represents Labour interests (albeit factional) stirring shit with bullshit.

But through Mike Smith’s post all they have done is throw petrol on the inferno.

And Smith is also bullshitting.

His talk of a rift in the Labour Party is crap.

I guess that could be an indication of ignorance from the Shearer camp, but but surely they can’t be that blind.

It is obvious there is much discontent withing Labour membership.

It is obvious there is much discontent and a rift between Labour factional authors at The Standard.

It its very hard to believe the claims by Shearer’s office (and his loyal supporters at the Standard) that everything regardling party leadership and in caucus is hunky dory.

It’s obvious there’s bullshitting and rifting galore.

Expect a lot of heated comment over the weekend. Oh, and in amongst that Shearer has his first big speech of the year tomorrow. That already looks doomed to derision at The Standard.

Zetetic’s loyalty and pseudonym confusion

‘Zetetic’ is a pseudonym used at The Standard. There seems to be some confusion as to what it stands for.

In ‘Cunliffe coup’ November Zetetic followed Eddie’s trigger post with one of his own that (intentional or not) added to the leadership challenge speculation.

Zetetic has again followed Eddie’s last Saturday at raising the Labour leadership issue – that attempt had seemed to fizzle even before Cunliffe made it clear he won’t be challenging Shearer in February.

But there’s some confusion over what Zetetic stands for.

Yesterday Zetetic posted Greens offer pathway to home ownership, better renters’ rights

The Greens have launched a big new housing policy (interest.co.nz has the most comprehensive report so far, Herald piece here) called Home for Lifet that fixes KiwiBuild and gives renters more rights. The problem with Kiwibuild is a lot of the target families can’t afford the mortgage.

Zetetic is promoting Green policy and criticisng Labour policy. And his closing remark…

Nice one, Metiria. Got my vote.

Sounds like he is supporting Green policy and leadership.

But in today’s stir For a February leadership vote Zetetic says…

No one in Labour can deny there’s a real issue with internal disunity. Not only is the caucus divided (and more than ever since the Shearer camp’s handling of the conference fallout), but there’s a major breach between the membership and the caucus. Unless this is fixed and we can get the party united we’re looking at another term in opposition after 2014.

Increasingly, people are coming to the view that the only way to heal this rift and unify the party is for caucus to take the leadership issue out to the membership this February so we can put it to bed once and for all. That’s what the conference was about. We wanted to make sure we were never ignored again. We simply want our right to vote, and whatever the outcome is I believe that will settle it.

So a pseudonym that supported Green policy over Labour policy and said “Nice one, Metiria. Got my vote.” is now talking as if they are a Labour Party member wanting a right to vote on Labour leadership.

Are these two Zetetic posts by the same person?

But in reality, if Shearer could show he was willing to give members a say by putting his leadership up for endorsement then I think he’d be rewarded for that and would likely emerge even stronger at the head of a united party. What loyal party member could not swing in behind his leadership if he’d been elected fairly by the caucus, the membership and the affiliates in a transparent and democratic process?

If the Zetetic posts are by the same person it does not portray the words and actions of a “loyal party member“.

It’s possible the Zetetics are one split personality.

Or is Zetetic like Eddie, another one entity trying to stir and pressure and influence the democratic processes that were agreed on at the Labour Party conference in November?

For all we know Eddie and Zetetic could be being used by the same Labour faction to try and influence the leadership outcome. Or Green faction (joke).

Such is the farce of political blog pseudonyms. Very undemocratic.

The Standard threat, again

When ‘Eddie’ started the ‘Cunliffe coup’ discussions in social media in November  some other unusual things were noticeable at The Standard. There was a substantial increase in comments, many being far more candid and revealing than usual. It made the blog much more interesting to follow.

There was also a noticeable increase in bans, and it was obvious that showing sympathy for David Shearer carried greater risks.

And Standard moderator IrishBill, who doesn’t show himself very often, got more involved than usual.

The same pattern may be emerging with Eddie’s latest launch. Earlier yesterday ‘Zetetic’ posted a not dig at John Key’s trip to Antarctica.

Being there

Written By: – Date published: 9:47 am, January 19th, 2013

Johnny’s million dollar treat for his wife at your expense has turned into a bit of a farce. The delayed flight, the weird fainting (not jet lag, not overwork), and now they won’t get to the pole because of snow. The justification for the Keys’ South Pole trip was to learn about its science projects

Implied criticisms with no supporting facts were commented on, which started a chain of bans:

Populuxe
19 January 2013 at 1:28 pm
After that bitchy tone and fact free hate fest (sorry, it was more FailOil that what I would expect to see in The Standard) – I couldn’t even bring myself to click on the link. If Key had turned out to have had a brain tumour would you have displayed as much glee? Playing the man and not the game is a Rightie tactic and it saddens me to see it happen here without at least some content to back it up.

 IrishBill
19 January 2013 at 1:54 pm
I think the tone is forgivable given the trip was arranged because Bronagh Key wanted to go to Antarctica. I imagine that will come out via OIA in time.

Populuxe1
19 January 2013 at 2:08 pm
Care to actually cite a source for that?

IrishBill
19 January 2013 at 2:31 pm
Do you have difficulty with reading? I said “I imagine that will come out via OIA in time.”

chris73
19 January 2013 at 3:10 pm
So just making shit up again?

IrishBill: Take a week off

 Populuxe1
19 January 2013 at 3:26 pm
Pretty much. Because PMs always reveal that sort of nonsense in political meetings. Irish might as well have said the Illuminati told him to do it.

IrishBill: Take a week off

TheContrarian

19 January 2013 at 5:36 pm
Someone calls you out making shit up and the response is “banned”.Stay classy.

IrishBill: Take a week off.

And Chris73 commented again this morning (he may not have noticed his ban,).

chris73
20 January 2013 at 9:55 am

[IrishBill: you were banned for a week for calling an author a liar. See you next Saturday]

Zetetic made unsubstantiated slurs about John Key, so did IrishBill, and he banned anyone questioning him for that. No one called him a liar – but his overreaction suggests he may have felt some guilt and wouldn’t back down. Or simply wants dissent out of the way over the next week. (Or of course he could just be cranky, coincidentally).

Rules for commenters, especially unwelcome ones, are different than for site authors and moderators.

I’ve seen this before, it happened last year when I challenged a post by Eddie that had obviously inaccurate accusations. He threatened a ban if I didn’t prove he had lied, and then banned me when I didn’t do so quickly enough. I later proved him wrong and under pressure from others for unusually draconian moderation (even by Standard standards) the ban was reversed.

The moral of this is if you want to comment at The Standard while Eddie’s campaign unfolds then beware, especially if you show any support for Shearer or threaten the narrative that The Standard wishes to display to the media.

And that was probably IrishBill’s intent – warning off anyone that may threaten their game playing over the next week. Labour activist democracy in action.

But once again The Standard could be a fascinating blog to observe this week. It’s not just what’s said but who gets involved – and who gets attacked or shut out – that makes things interesting.

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