Grant Robertson’s leadership bid

After David Cunliffe’s resignation this afternoon Grant Robertson acknowledged he would contest the Labour leadership.

He is promoting a statement on Facebook:

This evening I announced my intention to put my name forward for the leadership of the Labour Party. Now is our opportunity to revitalise our party and to renew our connection with New Zealanders. We must be relevant to their lives, hopes and aspirations. We must be part of the communities we wish to serve. We must unify around our values – putting people first, fairness and opportunity. That will be the Party I would seek to serve as Leader.

I know that the members of our party and affiliated unions have just put their heart and soul into an election campaign and I am so grateful for that and I know that people are tired after that effort. Soon the Party Council will announce the timeline for the leadership election. In the meantime, I look forward to discussing the way ahead for our party and how we can contribute to a better and fairer New Zealand.


Labour spent weeks digging dirt and attacking National, in particular Judith Collins. Grant Robertson was at the forefront.

Now there’s some backliuash Dabvid Cunliffe is complaining that National are being mean to him. He doesn’t seem to be getting much sympathy.

And it doesn’t like he or Labour will get any respite.

A value has been put on the growing donation rumour at Dim-Post:

And it will get worse for Labour when the rumoured $300k issue emerges.

Meanwhile heralding tomorrow’s news is Tim Murphy:

Donghua Liu: more details in @nzherald tomorrow on the Labour minister and the chartered boat trip up the Yangtze River.

Will the avalanche of backliuash have Grant Robertson saying “bugger” or quietly congratulating himself?


Parliamentary disgrace

Parliament this week has been a disgrace. Our supposed House of Representatives has been more of a melee of mongrel misfits in a house of reprehensible behaviour.

If the sort of behaviour we frequently witness in Parliament and in the political arena was practised in councils, boardrooms, committees, bars and school playgrounds they would be seen as dysfunctional and it would be condemned.

It’s bullying, dirty destructive behaviour that wouldn’t be acceptable in most parts of our society. New Zealand’s leaders should be setting a good example but they are doing the opposite.

It’s equivalent to kids throwing stones at each other.
It’s equivalent to eye gouging in rugby.
It’s equivalent to drunks kicking victims in the head.

It’s not only condoned by our leaders and parliamentary representatives, some of them actively participate and promote obnoxiousness, disrespect and abuse. They try to break people, destroy careers and bring down governments.

It’s not robust, it’s not holding to account. It far exceeds reasonable behaviour. It’s a very poor look for our House of Representatives. At times they represent the worst ways of dealing with issues, differences and competing agendas.

This is a problem that goes right to the top and most practised and prevalent in what are supposed to be our two major parties. The leaders of those two parties, John Key and David Cunliffe, are at the forefront of problem in what they do or in what they allow of their caucuses. Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee and Shadow Leader of the House Grant Robertson are also heavily involved.

They should be setting good standards and examples but they lead and allow the worst standards.

Parliamentary behaviour is often bad but this week was worse than usual.

The Speaker has an unenviable task trying to referee the rabble. In any sport if the referee or umpire was challenged, argued with and defied as happens in Parliament the game would be farcical and dysfunctional.

At times on Wednesday the Prime Minister severely tested the mettle and patience of the Speaker, who at one stage gave Key a final warning in Question 1 on Wednesday. Ironically it involved Cunliffe challenging Key about “high standards”.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! The level of interjection now coming from my right is unacceptable.Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That answer is sufficient. [Interruption] Order! The Hon Gerry Brownlee—please tone it down a little.Hon David Cunliffe: If the Minister believes in high standards…does the Minister think that those are the standards that New Zealanders have a right to expect of him or his Government?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will resume his seat. [Interruption] Order! If members on my right want to stay for the full question time, I expect some cooperation. [Interruption] Order! A point of order has been raised. It will be heard in silence.Mr SPEAKER: No, I do not need assistance. [Interruption] Order! As to the first point of order, the Prime Minister should resume his seat immediately when I stand. I said that to him, so I consider that matter closed, but it better not happen again.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Supplementary question.Grant Robertson: To the rescue, Gerry!

Mr SPEAKER: Order! All members have a right to ask a supplementary question.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Has he seen any reports of interesting and innovative fund-raising methods deployed by political parties? [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is no prime ministerial responsibility for other parties. [Interruption]

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I just want to clarify before I take the point of order that the member is not in any way attempting to relitigate an answer I have given, because if that was happening, I would be tempted to ask the member to leave. If it is a point of order, I will hear it, but it better not be—

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. There is always that temptation, but what I am simply saying is that I asked the question whether the Prime Minister has received any reports.

Mr SPEAKER: It is a matter of prime ministerial responsibility. It asked about any reports but then you went on, Mr Brownlee, about other parties’ innovative means of fund-raising, or words to that effect. I ruled instantly that I did not consider that was prime ministerial responsibility.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order. It will be heard in silence.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! My patience is fast running out with members on the right-hand side of this House. If the source is the Labour Party website, then that is freely available to all members and I will not be putting—[Interruption] Order!Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: Again, can you just clarify whether this is a fresh point of order?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It is a fresh one—yes. I seek leave to table a document that shows people had paid $500 to attend a lunch—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Again, I want the source of the document.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, I am not sure of the source but I am sure I can get it for you—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Dr Russel Norman: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order. [Interruption] Order! The noise is coming relatively equally from both sides. On this occasion I will not be ejecting any member. But I have points of orders raised. I call for silence; I expect silence.

Dr Russel Norman: Mr Brownlee asked a supplementary question and you ruled it out of order. Then you said to Mr Brownlee that if he disputes your ruling, you will be tempted to throw him out. He did dispute your ruling and you, in—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! No. What I took from the second point he raised was that he sought clarification rather than to dispute. That is the way I ruled it.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: From the source Scoop, I seek to table—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume his seat. Scoop is available to all members, and if this sort of nonsense continues from the Prime Minister, to restore order, again, I will have no choice but to ask the Prime Minister to leave the Chamber.

And so it went on, with antagonism and acrimony from both sides. The previous day Trevor Mallard was ordered from the chamber for making an accusatory interjection he refused to withdraw. Both Mallard and Chris Hipkins were ordered from the chamber on Thursday . That’s an indication of the degree of difficulty the Speaker had maintaining order.

The media are complicit in this. They report the worst of Parliament, that’s their job. But I don’t see much holding to account of Members of Parliament for a lot of their bad behaviour.

Thomas Carlyle in his book On Heroes and Hero Worship:

“Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.”

I haven’t seen any holding to account from  media this week of poor Parliamentary behaviour.

It’s election year and political stakes are high. That should not be an excuse for the worst of dirty politics. In any sane situation it would encourage people to present their best behaviour and abilities.

In general people, voters, hate the negative obnoxious, abusive and destructive side of politics. They look at politicians with derision. Increasing numbers show their displeasure through their non-participation at the ballot box.

And many of those who vote are left choosing what they see as the least worst option.

There should be an opportunity for a perceptive leader and a perceptive party to recognise the problem and address it. That would take real leadership because it would mean having to confront entrenched negative behaviours.

John Key? David Cunliffe? The first to act on this – not just poliwaffle but act and continue to act on it – could gain a considerable advantage in the run up to the election.

Appealing to politicians to improve their poor behaviour is quite a sad situation. Pointing out the bleeding obvious shouldn’t be necessary.

Leaders should rise above some of the worst sorts of human behaviour, not promote and practice it. Anarchy in the streets would not be acceptable so why should virtual anarchy in Parliament be allowed to continue?

Parliament has been a disgrace this week. Our leaders are letting us down badly. They keep tearing the Emperor’s credibility to shreds, and seem blind to the tatters, or think that crap behaviour is acceptable. They keep shitting in our highest House.

Grant Robertson’s ‘same milk’ accusation refuted

Grant Robertson has claimed that “same milk”, “milk from the same supplier” and “the same two litre bottles” was given different Chinese border control treatment, with Oravida milk accepted while Ruima Food milk was rejected.

Corrie Den Haring, general manager of Green Valley Dairies who supplies the milk to both the companies, says the milk products involved were not the same, and he is “not aware of any favouritism”.

Robertson continued his ‘holding to account’ of Judith Collins yesterday on Oravida. Most of the media focus was on the drama and the pressure on Collins, for example Judith Collins survives torrid session in Parliament and Collins survives bruising barrage.

Much less emphasis is being put on holding Grant Robertson to account for his accusations. Before Question Time he put out a media release:

Same milk, different friends, different result
Grant Robertson | 6 May 2014

There is further evidence Judith Collins’ assistance of Oravida resulted in her husband’s company getting its milk into China, Labour MP Grant Robertson says.

“Documents show that Oravida had its milk shipment accepted by Chinese border control in December, while milk from the same supplier exported by a different company was rejected.

“Oravida’s fresh milk supplier Green Valley Dairies also supplies the same two litre bottles to Guangzhou Ruima Food Limited, simply with a different label.

“However, Guangzhou Ruima Food’s fresh milk shipment in December was rejected by China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

“Judith Collins’ intervention was designed to benefit Oravida.

“Evidence is building of a correlation between the Minister’s October dinner with a Chinese border control official in Beijing and later visit to Oravida’s Shanghai office, and her husband’s company’s export issues disappearing.”

However tagged on to the end of a Herald article Embattled Collins digs in for long haul which also pushes the pressure on Collins is this:

Meanwhile, Corrie Den Haring, general manager of Green Valley Dairies which supplies milk to both Oravida and Ruimi, said Mr Robertson’s initial attack about Oravida receiving preferential treatment from Chinese authorities was wide of the mark.

“It is not the same two-litre bottles simply with a different label,” he told National Radio. Ruimi’s milk was a flavoured or extra-calcium product which required extra testing at the border. Delays meant the milk was too old for sale and was destroyed.

I had to search Radio NZ to find this, it isn’t currently featured on their Political News page.

Dairy company refutes Labour’s claims ( 3′ 18″ )

Labour is claiming it has further evidence that Judith Collins’s help for Oravida resulted in it getting its milk into China, while other companies missed out.

From Checkpoint on 06 May 2014


Mary Wilson: Green Valley’s general manager Corrie Den Haring refutes what Labour says.

Corrie Den Haring: It is not the same two litre bottles just simply with a different label. First of all Ruimi Food’s was taking what’s called enriched milk. They were taking flavoured milk, particularly strawberry and chocolate milks as well as standard white milk in various bottled formats.

Oravida at that stage were simply taking two litre milk with their label on it.

Some products going to Ruimi Foods in Guangzhou were blocked, and that was through extra testing that was done, namely the strawberryv chocolate and calcium milks that actually took longer than the shelf life of the product.

Mary Wilson: The milk shipment that was rejected was rejected because the testing process took so long that milk was off by the time it got through the process.

Corrie Den Haring: That’s correct, so that the shelf life of the milk only effectively has ten days once it’s in China. Some of these testing took I think up to eight days and if any product has less than I think thirty percent or fifty percent of it’s available shelf life then it’s rejected at border, and that is recorded by the Chinese border inspectorate as being a failure.

Mary Wilson: Why wasn’t Oravida’s milk then subject to the same testing over the same time frame?

Corrie Den Haring: Because they were testing for different, partly for different issues, so in and around the flavoured milks there was a question mark around some of the flavourings and some of the potential colourings, whether they actually met a fresh milk specification, and also in the calcium they were checking the levels of calcium within the milk which obviously take a lot longer time period than the standard testing being carried out.

Mary Wilson: But some of that testing surely should have applied to Oravida’s milk?

Corrie Den Haring: They weren’t taking any of the flavoured milks or any of the calcium milks, they were taking the standard fresh milk which simply have a micro-biological testing programme attached to them.

Mary Wilson: So you’re saying this is merely a technical issue, it has got nothing to do with favouritism?

Corrie Den Haring:I’m not aware of any favouritism and I don’t see any evidence from the position that Green Valley has in supplying product that the same level of orders were coming through, the same demand was coming through.

The same level of, one could argue,  frustration in and around some of the testing regimes that were being implemented at that stage, and we saw no difference between the two businesses.

The fact that Ruimi Food had some product rejected was for other reasons other than favouritism that we can see from this end.

Grant Robertson has been asked if he has any evidence contrary to this.


Sad face of politics

One of the things I like least about politics is seeing politicians humiliated and having to deal with it in a very public glare, regardless of the reasons for their fall. It’s a sad face of politics.

Associated with this is a distaste for the glee and smugness of opponents, journalists and people in social media at the misfortunes and embarrassment.

We’re getting a double does of all this at the moment with Judith Collins and Maurice Williamson. Both are largely responsible for their situations, but I wonder how much of that is due to missteps and how much is misfortune. Most politicians would struggle to maintain perfect records and most would  have difficulty dealing with the degree of scrutiny they receive.

Holding to account by opposition politicians is an important part of democracy. The degree to which some politicians and their staff go to destroy careers regardless of the relative seriousness of circumstances is not pretty. Winston Peters has a long history of dishing out dirt and rubbing it in, or trying to.

In Collins’ case an otherwise decent looking man, Grant Robertson, seems to be revelling in the ritual burning of a witch as the culmination of what at times looks more witch hunt than holding to account. I wonder how he feels when he reflects on the carnage. If he reflects.

Many people in social media, especially those who are anonymous/pseudonymous, enjoy putting the boot in. Abusing, discrediting, lying seem to be the main online occupation of some. So it’s not surprising to see applause, derision and ongoing hostility when a victim succumbs to the pressures of their job.

(For the record I have not liked the bloodsport part of politics no matter what party or leaning the political victims belonged and I have spoken against the excesses for years.)

Journalists are major players in the holding to account. When they smell political blood they can be relentless, merciless. I guess they have to be.

Some of them seem to really enjoy it when they claim a victim. To some it seems to be just business as usual. But it can be surprising and disconcerting to see some of the gloating.

One image that stood out for me last night was on 3 News last night when Patrick Gower was discussing Collins and Williamson with Hilary Barry.

Gower has a record of being a media hound with fangs. His self congratulatory look of satisfaction is normal. It was very ironic of Gower to blog:

Collins’ gutter politics a liability for Key

Judith Collins is engaging in gutter politics and John Key has let her off with a slap on the wrist with a wet Oravida donation receipt.

Gower in Parliament

While Collins was totally out of order with her attack on Katie Bradford gutter journalism jumped out at me from that comment. Collins overstepped once, journalists often test the limits of the footpath they tread on.

What stood out though was Barry, who normally anchors 3 News with decency and usually looks reasonable and nice, rubbing her hands together and appearing to celebrate the political discomfort with glee.

Gower and BarryJudith Collins says apology was ‘genuine’

Barry seemed very happy with the story they were able to tell. To me it was a very sad face of politics.

What if Grant Robertson…

What if Grant Robertson put as much time and research and effort into rebuilding the Labour Party as he seems to be putting in to trying to destroy Judith Collins’ political career?

What if Shane Jones was an outspoken advocate for a constructive and co-operative approach within his caucus and between Labour and Greens?

What if Labour’s social media campaign promoted positive things Labour would do and the strengths of Labour MPs and candidates?

What if Labour’s poll results improved rather than deteriorated?

Some MPs, parties, political activists and journalists see politics as a dirty murky no holds barred battle of attrition, where taking down an opponent is a primary goal and taking down the Government is the ultimate aim of the opposition.

Voters tend to be turned off by negative attack politics.

Non-voters are turned turned off altogether.

David Cunliffe in Labour Pains, an interview with Gordon Campbell:

Now, we got 660,000 votes last time around, roughly speaking. We are aiming for a million votes this time around. We’ve closed some of that gap. We have a very good idea where we are going to find the balance.

Labour have indicated that they want to get the votes of some of the 800,000 who didn’t vote in 2011.

What if Grant Robertson and Shane Jones and David Cunliffe and Matt McCarten learned that in politics, negatives repel?

Hoping you will emerge victorious out of an almighty shit fight seems at odds with encouraging and persuading disillusioned people to vote.

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).


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.

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…

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).

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.


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 …

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.


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.

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…

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

@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.


@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.

Re-orientation more pressing for Robertson

While Labour flounders and risks foundering on rocks Grant Robertson continues to relive his student days doing the rounds of the university Orientations. He just tweeted:


My Orientation tour continues. Today it’s Auckland. Come on down and say hi at @PrincesStLabour stall. #labour4students

What about labour4election? #MPsforsupportingleader?

After the important things are done why not try -re-Orientation in caucus? There seems to be a major disorientation and loss of direction there.

Blogger linked to Cunliffe suggests incredibly vicious campaign

Blogger Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury has already had links to the Mana Party (as a paid consultant) and Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party (as a paid consultant) exposed.

Now NZ Herald reveals:

Bradbury says he regularly talks to Labour leader David Cunliffe, and his goal this year is to see Cunliffe elected Prime Minister.

No admission that Cunliffe or Labour are paying him.

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.”

Is he promising a vicious campaign on behalf of Labour or just out of the goodness of his heart? More likely it’s the only left wing party left for him to try and cosy up to.

Bradbury has separated from the Internet and Mana Parties and the Greens are unlikely to condone let alone utilise his firebrand of political activism.

What can we make of the Bradbury/Cunliffe/Labour connection? This is what Grant Robertson says about it.

Politicians can “manage the message” by talking through politically affiliated bloggers, says Robertson – whether that be Key talking to Slater, or Cunliffe talking to Bradbury.

“Bradbury is not someone I know that well, but I don’t have a high level of discomfort about him,” Robertson says.

Did Robertson say that knowing about Bradbury’s vicious intent?

It will be interesting to see how The Standard attacks this. They attacked John Key relentlessly for admitting an interest in Whale Oil.

  • KAROL: Dotcom snoopers: The “dirty, disgusting, despicable game”
    “This is looking like a sophisticated circular shell game.  Normally it’s thought that the PM’s office leaks stuff to right wing bloggers.”
  • ZETETIC: Rotten
    “We’ve always known that there were close ties between National and the abomination that is Whaleoil but now we know that the ties go right to the top.”
  • MICKYSAVAGE: John Key, Blogsters and the Dotcom leaks
    “And the confirmation that Key is regularly in contact with Cameron Slater shows how deep the relationship is between National and the Sewer is.  And there was the use of, as Key calls them, blogsters to smear opposition MPs with hints of corruption.”

With Bradbury admitting direct links to Cunliffe, an admitted lack of ‘discomfort’ from Robertson, The Standard should be horrified.


First response at The Standard, from ‘marty mars':

I have to say that I am still struggling to get my head around the recent news that the prime minister rings slater up and chats – and the killer is, that is only if the lying dirty wanker is telling the truth – and he hardly ever does that! Dirty, dirty fight, dirty tactics, fight to win. Wake (further) up lefties the skirmishing is here.

He missed something.

Is Grant Robertson playing the long game?

Grant Robertson’s name comes up amid reports of dissatisfaction in Labour including MP go-slows to deliberately impede David Cunliffe’s leadership (see Garner – Labour MPs to lose the election then roll Cunliffe) .

Robertson is officially Labour’s shadow leader of the house but Trevor Mallard seems to have taken control from the back bench.

This exchange between MPs while Parliamentr was sitting on Wednesday (similarly chatted about by journalists):

Interesting innovation from the Labour Party today. Cunliffe, Parker and Robertson all missing in action today. Never before have I seen it.

… with Trevor running the show. surest sign yet they’ve flagged the election.

An observation from an avid Parliament watcher:

The resurrection of ABC? Both Mallard and Cosgrove were to the fore today; just sayin’.

And a comment by Fisiani at Kiwiblog:

For ages I have been telling you that Grant Robertson is playing the long game. It is not in Grant’s interest for The Cunliffe to win in 2014. For Grant to be the leader in 2017 the Cunliffe has to be rolled.

This will happen not due to active sabotage but by simply not putting in the effort to get out the vote as we previously saw in 2011 in Wellington Central when Grant Robertson managed to put Labour into third place for the first time ever. Grant Robertson believes that he should be and will be Prime Minister. He can wait 3 years to try.

While there could be a degree of opposing MPs and party supporters stirring or exaggerating. But there could also be more than an essence of reality in this.

Being ambitious isn’t a problem, but if personal ambitions are to the detriment of an MP’s party and to the detriment of Parliament and the governing New Zealand then serious questions need to be asked of those involved. Ultimately those questions need to be asked of the voters.

If Grant reads this and think’s it’s an unfair representation of how things are I welcome a right of reply.


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