Collins should return as Minister but Williamson unlikely

In an interview on One News’ Breakfast yesterday John Key indicated the chances of Judith Collins and Maurice Williamson returning to ministerial positions.

Somebody who does have a closer relationship with Cameron Slater, no doubt ongoing, is Judith Collins…

John Key: Yeah.

…and it make have been what, you know, what led to her demise effectively by the end of it but we know it was. 

John Key: Yeah.

Tell us about you know you have opened the door a wee bit since being re-elected, or rather since she was cleared…

John Key: Yes.

…to saying one day we’ll see her back. What about herself and Maurice Williamson, I mean realistically   2015, could that be a year that one or both of them could be back up there in the powerhouse with you?

John Key: It’s possible. I mean I think if you take, they’re in different situations probably in their career.

I mean Maurice is getting near the end of his career, um, he’s been a very good Minister …

But he has shown that he would quite like…

John Key: Yeah yeah and he’d like and he’d like, look I think he’d like to do other things. I mean but I’m just saying he’s, I think he’s our longest serving MP, um it doesn’t mean he hasn’t got lots of other good things to do, I’m just slightly different stages.

A fairly clear signal that Williamson should be looking for other things to do.

John Key: In the case of Judith, Judith was a very good Minister. You know people, people attack her and criticise her and yep, she had the persona of being Crusher Collins if you like, but lots of political parties have people that have, you know a slightly tougher personality.

I mean it didn’t stop Trevor Mallard from being a Minister the whole way through, and lots of other people.

The point is that she was actually cleared of the very thing that she stood down for. So can she come back? I think the answer to that is yes.

It sounds like Collins will be strongly considered the next time Key reshuffles his Cabinet. That’s likely to be about a year away at least, unless there’s a resignation in the meantime.

Goff to write for Sunday Star Times

Last week Judith Collins started a weekly column for Sunday Star Times. It was promised that someone from ther left would also have a column, and today they announced that it would be Phil Goff.

New columnist Phil Goff goes toe-to-toe with Judith Collins

When we announced last week that Judith Collins would be writing a column for the Sunday Star-Times, it excited comment across the broadcast and digital media.

1) Love her or hate her, Judith Collins is without doubt one of the most uncompromising, no-holds-barred personalities in New Zealand.

We think it’s time to respect our readers’ intelligence and let them make up their own minds on what she has to say for herself.

2) This is not new and shocking. Indeed, there is plenty of healthy precedent for senior MPs writing columns for the country’s big papers – among them, David Lange, Simon Upton, Deborah Coddington, John Tamihere, Jim Anderton and George Hawkins.

3) Finally, for those who believe commissioning Judith Collins was an outrage, I have more bad news … as foreshadowed, I’ve taken on a second MP, too. Phil Goff will go toe-to-toe with Collins in the Sunday Star-Times every week. Goff, once the leader of the Labour Party, has now been moved off new leader Andrew Little’s front benches. Like Judith Collins, he is freed of the constraints of collective responsibility – both of them can call it like they see it. If that means they sometimes criticise their own leaders, so be it. This weekend, the former foreign affairs minister will examine whether Kiwis should be allowed to go take up arms in foreign wars like those in Syria and Iraq.

David Farrar posted on this, saying that after Collins’ first column was published “The outrage on Twitter was hilarious.” It was.

And on this announcement he said “This is hilarious as many on the left regard Goff as a right wing sell out. I look forward to more howls of outrage.”

And sure enough the far left aren’t happy, or still aren’t happy (are they ever?)

At The Standard Phil Ure:

but..but..two rightwing neo-lib/fuck-the-poor warmongers..

..what will they find to disagree about..?

And Mark:

What – Two right wingers having a column in a Sunday paper. You would have thought that they would have gone for someone from the left for balance but why break the habits of a lifetime.

And I checked out one who spluttered the most on Twitter, Giovanni Tiso. But he seems to have taken offence at me posting Giovanni Tiso et al versus Judith Collins a few days ago, when I tried to view his Twitter account I got “You are blocked from following @gtiso and viewing @gtiso’s Tweets.”

Many on the hard left are intolerant of different opinions and especially of criticism. Tiso would probably shut down most of the media and most of the Internet if he could. He tries – after the Collins column last weekend he started a campaign against the Sunday Star Times.

But it’s not hard to find out what his response to the Goff news was.

@gtiso responds predictably:

HAHAHAHAHAHA! oh my God.

Milne must have been on the phone for like six days straight until they got to Goff. Fuck me.

A hard-hitting left wing politician! HAHAHAHAHAH!!! I swear they are trying to kill me. They’ll find my corpse under my desk. HAHAHAHA!!!

I’m dying over here. Goff. Christ. Mr TPP! Hehehehe… [wipes tear] Okay I’m good now.

He might have fancied his own chances of being a left enough balance, but having tried to organise a subscription cancelling campaign against the SST I doubt he would be considered favourably. They are unlikely to pander to the perpetually pissed off.

I doubt whether Tiso and others will be happy until and the government conform to their ideals. Which will be never.

Giovanni Tiso et al versus Judith Collins

Giovanni Tiso launched a social media campaign against the Sunday Star Times because they published a column by Judith Collins.

Tiso has a history of this sort of action. He attacked Radio Live for a Roastbusters interview. Praise and support for this wore off when Tiso took his attempts to shame advertisers too far.

He campaigned against Canon for sponsoring awards when a best blog award was won by Cameron Slater. Tiso’s own blog was a finalist.

And he started campaigning against the Sunday Star Times in the weekend because they published a column by Judith Collins. he got some push back but kept fighting.

you and have no problem with people who poisoned the political conversation to get rewarded

If everyone who Tiso thought “poisoned the political conversation” was banned from media it would be a severely diminished forum.

Danyl joined the Tiso campaign at Dimp-Post.

Liberal media watch, Sunday edition

There’s been a big debate on twitter about Judith Collins’ Sunday Star Times column. The column itself is here, and it is about concrete fiber board. It is possibly the most boring thing there has ever been a twitter debate about.

Some people are upset about the column because they feel Judith Collins is disgraced: Oravida, her role in Dirty Politics, etc. I don’t have a problem with disgraced political columnists per se. After all, Rodney Hide has a column.

But he admits that…

I do have a few problems with the SST appointing Collins. One is that – as Finlay Macdonald said on Twitter – the media is supposed to be holding MPs – especially government MPs – to account, not giving them jobs. Also, the government already has a huge platform to communicate to the public.

His Green Party seem to get quite a bit of material out via the media. And shouldn’t we hear more from MPs, not less?

So various people on Twitter are calling for boycotts and canceling their subscriptions. I’m not quite there yet. Not over a column about concrete fiber board. But I’m thinking about it, and encourage anyone else troubled by all this to do the same. Various journalists on twitter are up in arms over this suggestion: ‘What about all the good content in Fairfax papers? What if good people lose their jobs, etc?’

Here’s my question to them. The Dirty Politics saga was a media scandal as much as a political scandal. What are people who are offended by it supposed to do, exactly, when they’re confronted by an editor like the SST’s Jonathan Milne, who is cheerfully demonstrating that not only has he learned nothing, but that he’s determined to keep pushing the barrow out, get dirtier, make his little corner of the media more sleazy, more compromised, more biased? Canceling your subscription is pretty much the only power we have.

So he seems to be on Tiso’s side there. And as compromised and dirty as him, suggesting that “the most boring thing there has ever been a twitter debate about” is “get dirtier, make his little corner of the media more sleazy”.

Martyn Bradbury also jumps in the bashwagon,

Collins appointment to Sunday Star Times cements Rights dominance over mainstream media

That the Sunday Star Times would appoint a Politician so mired in the filth of Dirty Politics shows that the mainstream media have learnt nothing from Dirty Politics and they actually just don’t give a damn about any pretence towards balance.

I don’t read the Sunday Star Times. I don’t care if Judith Collins writes columns for them or not. I don’t care if carefully balanced lefties are also allowed to write for them (Tiso discussed the need for an equal and opposite MP to balance the newspaper).

@gtiso

Rewarded with a megaphone. Rewarded with a shot at rebuilding her credibility.

Every MP disgraced by Tiso should be banned from trying to rebuild their credibility. We can’t have them repairing any damage and trying to do their jobs.

Perhaps newspapers could set up a social media system where very article and column was vetted and approved or rejected by Giovanni, Danyl and the rest of the self appointed media police.

Or they could ignore them.

Judith Collins cleared

Judith Collins has been cleared of allegations she was involved in a smear campaign against former Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley.

Dirty Politics: No evidence Judith Collins acted inappropriately – report

Again the Herald headlines “Dirty Politics” when the dirt has again backfired or been grossly overblown.

Ms Collins resigned her ministerial portfolios in the lead-up to this year’s election after an email emerged that appeared to link her to a blog campaign to undermine former Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley.

Prime Minister John Key initiated a government inquiry into the matter, headed by High Court judge Justice Lester Chisholm.

The inquiry found that while Ms Collins had provided information about Mr Feeley to WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater, “there was nothing improper about the provision of this information”.

Today Mr Key released the findings of the inquiry, saying he received the report yesterday and wanted to get it out at the earliest opportunity.

“I am pleased the report shows no evidence that Ms Collins acted inappropriately.”

He also said he would recommending to the Governor-General that Ms Collins she granted use of the title “The Honourable” for life.

The “Dirty Politics” campaign always looked like it was making more of snippets of information than the facts justified. That seems to be how things are turning out.

Key has apologised to Slater

John Key has apologised to Cameron Slater for releasing a personal email. Stuff reports John Key says sorry to Whale Oil.

The prime minister has apologised to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater over the release of an email that forced Justice Minister Judith Collins’ resignation.

An email from Slater, obtained and released by Key, implicated Collins in the smear against her own official, saying she had been “gunning” for SFO director Adam Feeley.

Collins resigned, insisting she would clear her name. Key called an inquiry. Slater countered by lodging a privacy complaint against the prime minister for disclosing a personal email.

The email indicated Feeley may have been the target of a campaign to undermine him involving two bloggers, Cathy Odgers and Slater, and seemingly endorsed by Collins.

Justice Lester Chisholm is due to present his report to the prime minister this week. It is likely to clear Collins of any illegal actions. However, the bloggers may be the subject of criticism.

Despite this, Key has been forced to say sorry to Slater and Key’s office has confirmed: “The Prime Minister recently wrote to Mr Slater to apologise.”

But he stood by his actions. “The Prime Minister believes, however, it was in the public interest to release the email in question publicly,” a spokeswoman said.

The Prime Minister’s Office said it would not release the letter as it related to a privacy issue, but it was up to Slater to decide if he wished to make it public.

Slater yesterday agreed to issue a copy of the letter.

In it, Key says there was “intense media and public interest in matters concerning you and Judith Collins, following the publication of the book Dirty Politics”, creating an “election issue”.

Slater’s email raised serious questions about Collins’ conduct, he says. “In my view the reasons for Ms Collins’ resignation were of real and legitimate public concern, and it was in the public interest that the fullest possible factual background be available.”

But Key acknowledges the release of the email provoked increased media scrutiny of Slater and his family. “I regret any harm that may have been caused to you or your family by the release of the email, and hope that this letter may help to bring this matter to a close.”

The report from an inquiry into an alleged smear campaign against the boss of the Serious Fraud Office is due out soon (by Friday 28th).

Neither Collins nor the bloggers were willing to comment before the report was released.

That’s understandable.

Collins and Slater appear to have lied about Facebook

On Monday Judith Collins and Cameron Slater denied having any Facebook communications and suggested they could have been forgeries.

@JudithCollinsMP

I have no record of any FB conversations with Whaleoil. Cam Slater has advised that he had no FB conversations with me. Forgeries?

@Whaleoil

Latest smear is false, I have never had FB conversations with @judithcollinsmp. Hackers break the law, media ignoring crime

However @Whaledump has tweeted and dumped:

.@JudithCollinsMP and @WhaleOil think there’s no evidence because they deleted the account that JC was using.

The content of the messages identify them as @JudithCollinsMP’s, clear as day.
http://pastebin.com/URchZJyJ

This includes:

————————-
July 31, 2011
————————-
Facebook User, 7/31, 2:44am

Yes, saw it! She will too as will the others. AB was helping young Nats distribute my Collins Courier newspaper yesterday. I was surprised.
————————-
Cameron Slater, 7/31, 2:45am

as am i

maybe he is looking for some young blood

This is a strong suggestion Collins and Slater may have lied about not using Facebook.

That would make the hole Collins is in even deeper.

Slater’s long game as good as pig shit

Cameron Slater has often claimed to be playing a ‘long game’, as he stated in a recent blog post: “You people know I play a long game.”

His ball is now seen as toxic and many people will have been rapidly re-assessing their willingness to play with him in the future.

His short game is in tatters with his friend Judith Collins’ career teetering on the edge of a cliff largely of Slater’s making. And National’s election chances have been severely dented, as noted by ‘Mark’ on Kiwiblog:

Key and the National leadership have very little time to try to get the election agenda back onto policy issues. The concept of a Labour/Greens coalition ruining the country is an awful prospect but thanks to Collins apparent indiscretions what looked highly unlikely is now becoming a very real threat

Despite Labour’s awful second term and Cunliffe’s inherent lack of popularity Collins and Slater may have achieved a defeat for National.

Also thanks to Slater Collins’ long game appears to be in tatters. She may be able to recover to Minister level but I doubt Key would giver her that back if National cling on. But Collins must have slipped down the National pecking order significantly, and any leadership ambitions must be burnt toast.

And Slater is toxic damaged goods. His revenue options must have been severely affected. And who in politics with serious ambitions would want to be seen to be associated with him. Apart from Collins the other MPs assisted by Slater and Lusk are remaining very quiet on any links. If they have any ambition or sense they will have cut their mentors off altogether.

When you keep abusing and kicking the referee, all the players of the other team and many players of your own team once the ball has burst as it has done future game prospects must be severely limited.

In a recent blog post Key’s not my guy either Slater wrote:

As Key knows, he’s not my guy either.

He also repeated something he often says:

You wrestle with pigs, two things are certain. You get dirty, and the pig likes it.

But sooner or later the number of people willing to go near or be associated with the sty will dry up.

On Q & A two weeks ago Slater seemed to suggest he was bigger than the current Prime Minister.

Susan Wood: You must realise now that from the Prime Minister’s perspective you’d be pretty toxic. He’ll be wanting to keep away from you to distance himself. Surely he will be doing that won’t he, and you’ll find yourself out in the cold?

Cameron Slater: It’s of no concern to me. Prime Ministers come, Prime Ministers go. You know in my lifetime I’ve met and dealt with almost every Prime Minister from Robert Muldoon till the present day. Long after John Key has disappeared from the political scene I’ll still be involved.

(Video)

What future Prime Minister or prospective party leader or Prime Minister would want to be associated with the dirty politics of Slater?

Slater has always been and remains unrepentant about his methods, but they must surely be consigned to a less than savoury part of our political history.

He may well be still involved in the political scene after Key has departed but his ambitions of being a major player must be as diminished as his credibility.

Bloggers come, bloggers go.

And hopefully the Slater style of dirty politics is as good as gone. It’s not the long game most people want in a decent modern democracy.

Slater may see his future as wrestling in mud but his long game is as good as pig shit.

Collins career dying by Slater’s sword

Cameron Slater has been slashing his way through politics and business on social media for years. Judith Collins has been and remains closely associated with Slater. She has ,lived by his sword, her political career is dying by his sword.

Collins resigned as a minister yesterday over yet another released email. Slater claims…

…he had embellished Ms Collins’ role in an email he had written, in which he stated that Ms Collins was “gunning for” former SFO head Adam Feeley in 2011.

Today Mr Slater said he was simply “talking up a big game”.

He said he was not lying when he used the term “gunning for”.

“Embellished is a good word. It’s better than a lie, isn’t it? … If Judith Collins was gunning for somebody, she’d have got them.

“I’ve not proved the downfall for my good mate’s career. A criminal hacker mounting a political conspiracy to subvert our democracy and undermine our election has done that, and the media and all of you are complicit.”

(NZ Herald: Blogger backs mate)

Despite his Slater has proved to be Collins downfall. Blowhard or not, his dirty campaigns and his continued bragging that dirty is good have severely damaged Collins, and it looks like there’s more serious dirt to emerge.

With mates like Slater who needs enemies?

Collins says she will still stand in Papakura and wants to remain an MP.

If she remains mates with Slater that’s the best she can hope for in her political career now. Slater is toxic, and remaining closely alongside that Collins is toxic.

There are other National MPs and candidates who are associated with the Slater/Lusk “long game”. They seem to be keeping their heads down hoping they won’t also be tainted. They already are bloodied by Slater’s sword.

If they don’t distance themselves their hopes of a big political future will die by his sword as well.

UPDATE: And just as I’ve posted this the Sund Star Times has posted this:

The real reason behind Judith Collins’ demise
Justice Minister Judith Collins’ resignation was sparked by a Sunday Star-Times investigation into a smear campaign by bloggers apparently backed by controversial financier Mark Hotchin.

The newspaper was passed hacked emails that appear to show Hotchin secretly paid bloggers Cameron Slater and Cathy Odgers to write attack posts undermining the Serious Fraud Office, its director Adam Feeley, and the Financial Markets Authority, who were probing his collapsed Hanover Finance in 2011 and 2012.

And…

All the financier’s men
Threatened by litigation, his business in tatters, former Hanover Finance boss Mark Hotchin appeared to back a public relations campaign aiming to discredit criminal investigations into his company and attack personal enemies, documents suggest.

The picture is painted by a cache of emails and documents hacked from Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater and released to Fairfax Media.

That’s a major investigation by Matt Nippert. More in the print version of Sunday Star Times.

Peters admits he wouldn’t protect his source

In a bizarre series of interviews today Winston Peters has morphed from an absolute protector of his supposed source to saying he would produce them as witnesses if his challenge to Judith Collins to sue him was taken up.

On Radio NZ:

I’m trying to find out exactly what what happened, so what day did it happen on and what time of day?

Winston Peters: Oh look, I’m not going to answer a silly question like that, it did happen I can assure you of that, but I’m not going to finger people who thought they were having a confidential conversation. It’s that simple.

Did you agree to keep it confidential?

Winston Peters: I always keep confidential conversations confidential. I have never ever given a source away to anyone.

But did they ask you to keep it confidential?

Winston Peters: No it was clear as daylight that they wanted it to be confidential.

With Sean Plunket on RadioLive:

Was it Simon Lusk that approached you?

Winston Peters: I can tell you that I do not intend to break any confidence on these matters.

I’m going to ask you direct, was it Simon Lusk?

Winston Peters: I’ll say it again, I’ll answer you direct, I do not intend to break confidence on these matters.

I’m going to put myself out on a limb here Mr Peters. Would you be prepared to privately give me that name on the grounds that I would not disclose it?

Winston Peters: Um well I’ve done that once before with you and you’ve kept your word, but the answer’s no because I’d be breaching confidentiality with someone else and I’m not going to do that and I’ve never done that in a long career.

So he would absolutely honourably not breach confidence.

Ok you do understand that in the absence of further information you know and I’m not saying I don’t believe you, but you know if I was Woodward and Bernstein for example I probably wouldn’t run this.

Winston Peters:Oh no no if I was Woodward and Bernstein I would take that information and work on it and sooner or later you’re going to strike pay dirt with others knowing about it, that’s what Woodward and Bernstein did in their case, they just followed the money as they were told by Deep Throat to do. In this case you follow the power.

But he’s happy encourage journalists to find out who his source is based on what he’s fed them, and that they previously knew nothing about.

On that basis I wouldn’t trust Peters to keep something confidential.  He would do enough to see that confidentiality was breached but try to avoid responsibility for discovery even though that was his intent in going public.

Later on 3 News:

Winston Peters is challenging Judith Collins to sue him for defamation over his claims she plotted against the Prime Minister.

Winston Peters: I bet she won’t, because then I will produce the witnesses.

So these sources that “I always keep confidential conversations confidential. I have never ever given a source away to anyone” would be produced and revealed after he promoted investigation of the story and if Collins sued him after he pushed her into doing so.

Trust Winston Peters?

John Key’s choice – Collins or Peters

After the latest revelation (or publicity seeking stunt) from Winston Peters – see Peters slams dirty politics, then gets dirty – I think John Key has two clear choices.

If Peters can prove (don’t hold your breath) that Judith Collins has totally flipped and tried something this ludicrous then Key should dump Collins.

If Peters can’t prove this was anything more than a casual hypothetical quip loosely related to Collins then Key should make it clear who won’t do any deals with Peters after the election.

If Key doesn’t act then whoever is at fault here will get away with doing something disgraceful.

 

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