Hooton lobbying or stirring over National leadership?

When a lobbyist floats leadership change of the governing party I’m naturally sceptical.

Bryce Edwards has tweeted about a paywalled column in NBR where by Matthew Hooton either promotes a National leadership change or is trying to stir one up.

Hooton has been floating ideas about Key needing to go or is due to be replaced for quite a while.

Matthew Hooton: “Joyce associates openly talking about leadership change” (paywalled) – http://bit.ly/PmJoyce  Rumours of Joyce becoming PM

Hooton says Nats caucus too docile to challenge if Key hands power over to Joyce: “MPs are not encouraged to ask questions or even speak.”

Hooton says National caucus now docile: “Caucus meetings are shorter than ever and are dominated by briefings by Messrs Key and Joyce”

Hooton: John Key’s “knighthood depends on him handing over to a National prime minister rather than losing an election to Labour”

It would be sad if Key’s leadership decision is based on the best way for him to get a knighhood.

I don’t think a knighthood would suit him. Would he still goof around?

If Key & Joyce waited til “Paula Bennett was out of the country, they would have a good chance of presenting a handover as a fait accompli”

Joyce “is sure he could do the retail aspects of the prime ministership – clowning around on commercial radio and so forth – as well as Key”

I don’t see Joyce in that role at all.

Hooton: Murray McCully “may seek the chairmanship of World Rugby, formerly the International Rugby Board, when it comes up in May”

I don’t know about the Chairmanship of World Rugby but it’s time for McCully to move on from politics.

And Joyce responded:

@bryce_edwards All complete rubbish from a commentator who has proven once again he is as close to the National Party as Catherine Delahunty

Sanity prevails

After a couple of weeks of escalating incursions and disruption here from certain parties it looks like sanity has prevailed, for now at least.

Perhaps it finally dawned on them what damage they were doing to their own cases.

It was interesting that after a bit of a frenzy on Monday Spanish Bride posted at Whale Oil on Tuesday about how moderation wasn’t working here. I think it worked ok a number of numpties attempting to disrupt and compromise this site. Your NZ kept operating, unlike Whale Oil when at times they have claimed to be under attack and have been unloadable.

Something interesting was pointed out last night after someone linked to an interview of Cameron Slater by Heather du Plessis-Allan shown in July last year on Seven Sharp.

Note that this was the month before Nicky Hager launched Dirty Politics and Slater’s world and probaly his contact list changed substantially.

Intro: Recently the Prime Minister told us where he gets some of his gossip from, one of the most controversial bloggers around. John Key and the guy known as Whale Oil apparently chat on the phone.

Apparently that is now history.

You may remember Whale Oil as the man who kept breaking name suppression orders or indeed revealed those details, remember this he revealed all the details about Len Brown and his penchant for the Ngati Whatui room.

So what’s the PM doing talking to him? Well Heather du Plessis-Allan found out he’s actually a changed man, sort of.

HPDA: I wouldn’t want to get on your bad side, I tell ya that.

Slater: That’s a very wise thing, you know you should put that, you know, you should put that in the show, now I don’t want to get on your bad side.

HDPA: Cam Slater has powerful friends.

Shots of Slater’s phone list were shown:


There’s some familiar names there.

HPDA: Judith Collins. Patrick Gower. Ooh, Paul Henry. Very nice.


HPDA: These are just his favourites, you know the ones he calls all the time.

He won’t be on the Favourites list of some of those names any more, including John Key given the amount of complaining Slater has done since about being cut adrift since he became politically toxic.

One or two of those at least would appear to be still working with Slater.

DISCLOSURE: I have never been on Slater’s unfavoured list let alone his favourite list.

The only list of is I’ve been on is his hit list, having got on his bad side around about when this interview was done actually, and he seems to hold grudges for quite a while.

He and his associates have chosen to “fuck over” (a term Marc Spring seems to like) many people. It was inevitable that eventually some of them would fight back.

Something else was raised here recently – a term Slater has often repeated about wrestling with pigs, like.

Politics ulimately is akin to wrestling with pigs. Two things are absolutely certain when wrestling with pigs, you’re going to get dirty and the pig will enjoy it. I suggest it is time for the Libertians of our nation to get a little bit dirty and learn to wrestle with pigs. Then we can truly get some of their fine ideals into the mix.

Slater only seems to know one way, doing politics the dirty way. It doesn’t have to be that way, and in my opinion it shouldn’t be.

If don’t allow political pigs to drag you into their mire they end up wallowing in their mud on their own.

If you fight them on your own terms using sunlight and a cleansing of the muck they don’t know how to deal with it. They seem unable to function without mud on their hands. Alongside rancid bacon on their plate they end up with egg on their faces.

Sanity can prevail if you don’t let them drag you down into their mud, and if you allow them to reveal themselves for what they are.

New Zealanders can leave Christmas Island

After all the rhetoric and outrage last week (and possibly in part because of it), New Zealanders being detained on Christmas have a choice – stay there or return to New Zealand. After the riot there wil be more incentive to get out of there.

So some are choosing to return to New Zealand.

NZ Herald reports: Kiwis prepare to return from Christmas Island

Prime Minister John Key say more than 10 New Zealand-born criminals being detained by Australia on Christmas Island are preparing to return to New Zealand within days to continue their appeal against deportation.

“I think the message has got through that they actually can go and register their appeals from New Zealand,” he told reporters in Hanoi last night. [SUBS MONDAY NIGHT] “The number is moving around a little bit so I probably wont put a number on it but it is certainly more than 10 is the number, I have been advised.”

They will be returned on a flight chartered by the Australian Government.
It might be bit longer than a couple of days away “but not a lot longer,” Mr Key said.

He said he had just been in text contact last night with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about the G20 in Turkey which Mr Turnbull is attending, and about catching up at Apec in Manila.

So Key does quietly advocate for New Zealanders abroad after all. Kelvin Davis may acknowledge this in Parliament or via his media sources.

While New Zealand was putting pressure on Australia to hasten its procedures for appeal or repatriation the New Zealand to appeal, the delay lay partly in New Zealand’s end as well, because it wanted new laws to monitor deportees, which they had no legal right to do if they had completed their sentence, and in an Australian prison to boot.

Mr Key said Parliament would today consider a bill under urgency that ensured that Corrections and Police had the ability to conduct “proper oversight” of people who came back.

“These are, as I have pointed out in the past, some quite dangerous people potentially and we have a responsibility toe ensure we protect New Zealanders as best we can and that the oversight provision are the same as if the person had been in a New Zealand Corrections facility.”

The Government was slow to get this legislation going, having known about this issue since the beginnikng of the year. But it’s important it is in place before potentially dangerous ex-prisoners return to New Zealand.

Vietnam protests?

There were TPPA protest marches in the weekend. Again. Repeating the same futility.

Will they switch their focus to protesting to against Vietnam trade? 3 News reports:

NZ and Vietnam to boost trade ties

Vietnam’s youthful population is growing wealthier by the day and New Zealand exporters look set to be able to cash in on it.

Prime Minister John Key is in Hanoi, where he’s leading a trade mission aimed at growing the relationship between the two countries.

Mr Key met with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung and the two leaders have agreed to increase trade and other bilateral links.

Among the new initiatives is a plan to maximise education links, as well as agreements to increase cooperation in the health and aviation sectors.

With an economy growing at 6.5 percent a year and a population of 90 million, Vietnam is a potential goldmine for New Zealand exporters.

In the five years between 2009 and 2014, two-way trade between New Zealand and Vietnam increased 120 percent, making it New Zealand’s fastest growing market in South East Asia.

Earlier this year New Zealand and Vietnam set a goal to double two-way trade to US$1.7 billion a year by 2020.

Vietnam is also a part of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Young on Key’s refusal to apologise

Audrey Young writes in the Herald that Key attack leaves him offside with women. 

Key has certainly risked getting offside with some women, but I think it’s far from universal.

PM’s refusal to apologise harms him and future of Speaker.

Almost certainly yes on both counts, but it’s very difficult to quantify by how much.

The refusal of Key to apologise after accusing the Opposition of supporting murderers and rapists suggests he is willing to squander his reserves of political capital – in particular with women.

Any Prime Minister gradually bleeds their reserves of political capital.

Key damaged himself this week because we no longer know what to believe.

He said for weeks he was concerned about the plight of Kiwi criminals locked up in Australia awaiting an appeal of their immigration status.

He took a more moderate tone than the Opposition but that was acceptable as long as the Government was actually on the case, keeping up pressure on Australia to expedite matters and to make fair calls on Kiwis who call Australia home.

Justice Minister Amy Adams was dispatched as the hard cop to demand answers from Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

Then as we know, under pressure from being called gutless, Key attacked Opposition MPs, accusing them of supporting murderers and rapists.

His refusal to apologise is inexplicable. There is no advantage to him not apologising for a slur that was aimed at Labour MPs but was felt by a much wider constituency.

I don’t think his refusal to apologise is inexplicable. He has dug in doggedly under attack before.

By sticking to his cause, we are left wondering what he truly thinks.

Had his previous concerns been a sham – had he just said what he thought the public wanted him to say?

Was his moderate tone a reflection of a lack of motivation by the Government to do the right thing by its citizens?

Inflaming a furore and then stoking it along certainly risked bleeding a bit more support, and it distracted from and sign of sensibly addressing the Christmas Island detainee issue.

If he had apologised in part and then turned to explaining his efforts and stance on detainees he would have limited any damage. But he chose to escalate the stakes.

One day, and particularly one election, Key will come unstuck.

Certainly his comments undermine faith in the convention that it is a fundamental obligation of government to look out for its citizens in trouble abroad – not by seeking special treatment but by seeking fair treatment.

Watching Key’s behaviour over this week has been similar to watching him during the Teapot tapes in 2011, which he still believes was deliberately set up to tape his conversation with John Banks.

He has moments of absolute doggedness.

Key has disappointed me in the way he has handled the issue this week. About the only thing in his favour is that other leadrs, MPs and parties have been diasppointing as well.

Many will still staunchly support Key but it is inevtiable that he will have lost some voters over this. Too often for Key sorry seems to be the hardest word – even strong leaders should use it occassionally. In this case it would have been appropriate.

It’s sad that we seem to be choosing our Government on a ‘least bad’ basis, and too often judge their performance on a ‘least disappointing basis.

Jan Logie’s ‘many rapists are not always monsters’ comments

There is now a clip at One News of Jan Logie’s comments on rapists – ‘Rapists are not always monsters’ – Green Party MP


Logie: The problem is, and what makes it so hard to disclose in this country and anywhere else is we create the perception that rapists are monsters, that nobody could ever associate with them.

But the truth is that many rapists and sexual offenders are known to us, they’re our family members, they are people that were previously our friends.

So when the Prime Minister creates this impression that this is the absolute worst possible thing it is silencing so many survivors and victims of violence.

Interviewer: Isn’t it though for some people the worst possible thing?

Logie: It is truly an awful awful experience, and these are peoeple we know, and part of what makes it hard to disclose and to hold those people to account  is that we also know them, in many cases as people who are not always monsters.

Now I think I sort of get the point that she’s trying to make, but this is likely to dismay many peoeple who have suffered from rape and sexual assault. And others.

Yes, many people convicted of sexual crimes were friends or family of the victim. (Some are strangers).

And yes, there’s a wide variety of levels of seriousness of sexual crimes.

And yes, some sexual offenders don’t always act like monsters. They may have only once acted like a monster. And they have to live in society after committing their crimes.

But this is a very strange approach from Logie.

If John Key had tried to play down the seriousness or monstrosity of rape like this my guess is that he would have been widely and strongly criticised. He woulld have been hammered. He would still be getting a hammering.

Very odd comments from Logie.

UPDATE: Logie had also posted this the previous day:

The Government’s treatment of sexual violence survivors and history of cutting funding to sexual and family violence services stands in stark contrast to John Key’s tirade about rapists in Parliament yesterday, the Green Party says.

Prime Minister John Key caused widespread offence yesterday with his outburst claiming that members of the opposition were “backing rapists” when they questioned his Government’s unwillingness to challenge Australia’s record on human rights.

“John Key should ditch the playground abuse and turn his energy to backing the rights of sexual violence survivors who, by and large, have had a tough time under this Government,” Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“Rape crisis centres, and other sexual and family violence services have been forced to cut services under the National Government, victims of sexual violence have been denied help because of ACC changes, and John Key backed decisions to shelve the Law Commission’s work on alternative trials for sexual violence crimes and gut family court protections.

“John Key himself has a history of publicly minimising sexual violence, once telling the young men known as Roast Busters, who got young girls drunk in order to abuse them, to “grow up”.

“My Select Committee inquiry into sexual violence services funding has highlighted huge problems in funding for services, including the need for secure, long-term funding.

“The fact remains, that only about one percent of sexual violence offences result in a conviction, but despite this, the Government has given the Law Commission an impossible time frame to come up with good solutions on alternative trials or other ways to improve the low conviction rate.

“The Government has corrected some of its mistakes lately  – including an emergency funding allocation to keep some services afloat, – but much more is needed before victims feel safe coming forward, and violence is prevented from occurring in the first place,” Ms Logie said.

Dunne on Christmas Island

Peter Dunne is not on Christmas Island, but he’s written a reasonable assessment of how things have been and what should be done from thbis side of the Tasman.

Somewhere along the way this week the plot got well and truly lost. Uproar in Parliament, walk-outs, protests and people shouting at and over each other may be all good theatre, a modern form of gladiators in the arena if you like, but after it is over, the fact remains, nothing has changed as a result.

Moreover, the issue itself seems to have become secondary to the noise it has generated. And the issue here is simple: Australia is treating people in its detention camps – in the main New Zealanders awaiting deportation – in a way that is appalling, no matter which way you look at it. Yes, there are definitely very evil people amongst them who have committed unspeakable crimes, with whom we would not usually wish to associate, but they still have the same basic human rights as the rest of us. The argument should be focussing on how these rights are being upheld in the detention camps. On the strong face of it, the detainees are now worse off than when they were in prison, even though they have presumably paid for their crimes in Australia. This cannot be just.

And that is the real issue here. Are these detainees being justly treated, and if not, what can we in New Zealand reasonably do about it? There has always been a more frontier approach to justice in Australia, as the treatment of their indigenous people has shown, and the current treatment of boat refugees continues to show. I suspect most New Zealanders are far from comfortable with the notion of holding such people captive on offshore islands, and would not let a New Zealand government even consider doing so.

That different approach is where our focus needs to be. The modern concentration camp approach Australia has taken is simply wrong. It was wrong when the British tried it in Northern Ireland in the 1970s; it is wrong in Guantanomo Bay, or in Israel today. Australia is no different. The right to due process and fair and open trials is inalienable. So New Zealand needs to be asserting basic human rights and freedoms, not stooping to the name-calling and abuse that has passed for debate over the last week.
Australia is a sovereign state. We cannot automatically require it to change its laws, just because they affront us. The Prime Minister is right on that score. But we can, and should, be speaking out as loudly and frequently as we can against abhorrent practices, especially given the mantle of family the Australians like to drape upon us. After all, most families are blunt with each other and speak out about what they do not like. We should be as well.

The political civil war of the last week has done nothing at all for any of the detainees on Christmas Island. Rather than turning their guns on each other to pointless effect, the Government and the Opposition need to be turning on the real villains of the piece – Ministers like Peter Dutton and others in the Australian Government who continue to promote and support such savage and inhumane policies.

John Key may or may not doing as much as he can to quietly push for better treatment of New Zealanders in Australia, but more should be seen to being done.

It may be that Key is not wanting to put the building of realtionshiops with yet another Australian Prime Minister at risk but his first priority should be the well being of New Zealanders.

Jan Logie on Key’s rape comments

Green MP Jan Logie was interviewed on Breakfast this morning.

Initial Twitter coverage:

“I’ve spent a huge number of years fighting against rape culture and have experienced sexual violence myself” – @janlogie

“I really hope the Prime Minister listened… and thinks twice about the impact of those comments”

“The Prime Minister’s comments were knowingly offensive and provocative.. he was using it to distract from a very real concern”

She made some odd comments about rapists, appearing to defend them. According to feedback some people are incensed by her comments.

It’s not online yet.

Video of a brief part: John Key’s rape comment was ‘deeply personally offensive’ – MP

Leader should lead the damage repair in Parliament

Key stirred up some major indignation and offence with his remarks in Parliament in Tuesday. This blew up further yesterday when Key refused to withdraw and apologise his accusations that Opposition MPs sided with rapists.

It should be remembered that it is Key who was being criticised and attacked for not doing enough on the detained New Zealand citizens in Australia – but there weas little he could do about Australian measures to deport ex-criminals.

Kelvin Davis provoked Key – very inappropriately – by confronting him in the halls of Parliament and calling him gutless.

The Opposition is to an extent responsible for what transpired in Parliament.

I think Key went too far with his comments – they were designed to hit back politically, hard, but he may not have considered that the consequences of accusing MPs who (it turns out) have been sexually assaulted of siding with rapists was going to be very emotive.

Key was justified in hitting back against over-emotive attacks but deliberately or not he made a serious mistake in the manner of his response in Parliament.

I think that Key has a responsibility to front up on this and acknowledge he has caused undue hurt with his comments. I think he should apologise in part.

But he still has a right to rephrase his counter to the provocation of Davis and other Opposition MPs on the Austrlaian detainees.

Key may believe he has major public support for his stance on the detainees. But in stirring up serious angst on rape issues he should recognise how deep this will hurt many people, and I think he should deal with it appropriately and with care.

This has become a major mess in Parliament. Key is far from the only one responsible for the whole furore but in situations like this leaders should lead, and the leader of the country should lead the repairing of the significant damage that’s been done.

Shaw hits back, continued disorder threatened

In a speech in Parliament yesterday Green co-leader James Shaw has hit back at John Key and the Government and National after Key’s remarks in Parliament about opposition MPs supporting rapists and murderers and ‘child molesterers’.

He said that Key ” lacks leadershipand his comments were “completely unparliamentary”, and until Key withdraws his comments “this House will continue to see a high level of disorder”.

He also said that “the members of the Opposition now have no confidence in the procedures of this House and no confidence in the Chair” (the Speaker)  and “you have to accept that because of the nature of those rulings that we are going to see continued disorder”.

Shaw got into tricky legal territory in turning the focus on Key’s and National’s embarrassing secret – this is currently subject to court ordered suppression so some details are edited and PLEASE TAKE CARE IF COMMENTING.

JAMES SHAW (Co-Leader—Green): The last couple of days have been a very sad time in this Parliament. Given that the last speaker, the Hon Hekia Parata, spoke about the quality of leadership provided by our Prime Minister and some of the statements that he has chosen to stand by, to not resile from, and to not apologise for, I am just going to read out a few other quotes of his that I think he may want to stand by in the future as well: “He made a very significant contribution to our caucus.” “He’s a loss in terms of the contribution I’ve seen him make as a politician.” “I’m very happy for him to continue in the position that he does.” “He is a fully functioning member of the caucus.” Those are in relation to [Edit – identification of person]. So when we stand accused of backing rapists and murderers we take great offence.

Alfred Ngaro: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Those comments—that current issue is actually before the courts and so I would like to take a point of order about it being sub judice.

Mr SPEAKER: I think on this occasion those remarks are OK within the general debate. I will listen more carefully. If there is any reference to a matter that is before the courts, that would of course be out of order. At this stage the speech is in order and it can continue.

JAMES SHAW: So when we stand accused of backing rapists and murderers and paedophiles, I say that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. The quality of leadership—so-called—that has been provided by our—

Mark Mitchell: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I just want to draw your attention to the fact that in the member’s speech he spoke about [Edit – identification of person] and then immediately started talking about rapists and drawing the Prime Minister into the debate. I do not know whether that is appropriate. I do not think it is because he is trying to link the two together.

Tracey Martin: Speaking to the point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! No, I do not need assistance from the member. It is a dangerous territory that we are in. At this stage I have ruled that the speech can continue. If it moves to an area that is before the courts, then I would cease the speech immediately, because I am very conscious that Parliament has the responsibility that the judiciary has. In future if any members wish to get close to this line, the Standing Orders are quite clear that you need, in writing, to take this matter up with Speaker so he can be better prepared. But I have ruled that the speech at this stage and certainly where it has now moved to can continue. I do not want further objections unless we go into an area of territory that is dangerous, and, frankly, I will be listening very carefully, so I will be the first on my feet, I suspect.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: I have ruled on the matter. Is it a fresh point of order?

Chris Hipkins: It is a fresh point of order. I will try to be very careful in doing so. It is that where members suspect that the particular Standing Orders that you are referring to—and I think we all know what they are—are being transgressed, I think we get ourselves into some difficult territory that it may be useful for you to provide some further guidance on to the House. Members may interpret a comment a member is making as traversing that material that either was not intended or so, but in raising a point of order they may themselves actually introduce material that links comments that either were not intended or were not intended in that way. I wonder whether you can give us some clarity on how members can raise that without themselves getting into the difficulty with the courts.

That’s an interesting and valid point. While initial comments may go close to a legal line it’s possible that comments in response could combine to threaten to trip over that line.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Well, I do not think there is any guidance I can give on that, but I accept the point the member is making. The issue now has been highlighted by the points of order raised. That is, effectively, what the member is saying. As I said, I have not ruled anything out at this stage but I am listening carefully. I invite Mr Shaw to continue his contribution.

JAMES SHAW: When we stand accused of backing rapists and paedophiles and murderers, we take great offence—particularly those members who have been the victims of rapists and paedophiles and murderers and who have fought for years and years and years for the rights of those victims. I find it absolutely extraordinary that the Prime Minister has chosen to distract from his own troubles by choosing to go on the offence and to say—for some inexplicable reason—that the records of members on this side of the House in fighting that fights are somehow the exact opposite. That is what he is accusing them of.

Key obviously hit a raw nerve. His attack was deliberate but he may not have considered the potential rammificatins of what he said.

That is an extraordinary thing. I mean, the lines that he is using—I get that they have been dreamt up in the Australian offices—

Hon Clayton Cosgrove: Crosby/Textor.

JAMES SHAW: —of political consulting firm Crosby/Textor, because they have been trotted out here and in Australia. He wants to look tough on crime, and I know it is a dog whistle to the kind of red meat brigade who consistently vote for National. But it is absolutely unacceptable in this House to accuse members of the Opposition of backing rapists and murderers. It is completely unparliamentary. It lacks leadership. It brings this House into disrepute. It is quite clear that until an apology is made for those comments and until they are withdrawn that this House will continue to see a high level of disorder. Mr Speaker, I would like you to reflect on your own rulings. I recognise that you have made a number of rulings in relation to this matter over the last several hours and looked at the events of yesterday, but you have to accept that because of the nature of those rulings that we are going to see continued disorder. Essentially, what has happened is that the members of the Opposition now have no confidence in the procedures of this House and no confidence in the Chair.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will stand and withdraw that comment.

JAMES SHAW: I withdraw and apologise, Mr Speaker—unlike our Prime Minister, who does not have the grace to do so.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Just carry on with the speech.

JAMES SHAW: What we have seen here is that the Opposition has been attempting to hold the Government to account on its human rights record, attempting to hold our Australian friends to account for their transgressions of human rights.

What has happened is that in order to distract from that issue and in order to look tough on crime and boost the poll ratings amongst the sort of “Stamp them on the neck until they stop what they’re doing” crowd, the “Lock them up and throw away the key” crowd—I think it is the Prime Minister who should be locked up.

Emotions were obviously high but that’s starting to look like tit for tat abuse.

The extraordinary thing here is that they have just gone on the offensive and decided that in order to distract from all of that they are going to lay it on this side of the House—that for some reason members who have been abused, members who have stood up for the victims of abuse for their entire career are somehow backing rapists and murderers and paedophiles. It is utterly absurd. It is completely offensive. It lacks leadership. It is unparliamentary, and it brings into disrepute this House and our proceedings.

Parliament looks set to be a very unhappy place unless this is dealt with apropriately by all concerned.


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