Slater does dirt on Joyce and Bennett

When Cameron Slater runs sustained attack campaigns against anyone it’s not unreasonable to be suspicious, given his past admissions and behaviour. Natural reactions can be “who is he attacking on behalf of” and “who’s paying him for that?”

Yesterday ‘Missy’ brought attention to another in a series of attack posts at Whale Oil:

I see Cam Slater has another hit job on National today, this time attacking Paula Bennett and Stephen Joyce. He has written it in the guise of critiquing a story be Andrea Vance.

He talks about how Paula Bennett treats her staff like scum, however, I knew someone who worked for Paula Bennett, and that person left due to health issues (receiving treatment for cancer), but that person said they would happily go back and work for her, even better Paula Bennett was willing to accommodate the fact the person had moved to the South Island as well. That view of her as a boss does not tally with what Cam Slater is saying about her. To be honest I don’t know either of them, but also from what I have heard they are not the most difficult Ministers to work for, so it is suspicious he is targeting them, or not

Se was referring to this post – THE VACUITY OF ANDREA VANCE’S ANALYSIS.

Slater (presuming it’s Slater who has written the post, that’s another suspicion that arises whenever he posts anything like this) attacks Steven Joyce and Paula Bennett, regarded as potential leaders-in-waiting in the National caucus.

Anyone talking regularly to the back benchers would know that Joyce is impossible to get into your electorate, impossible to get time with to discuss policy and employs difficult staff who treat back benchers like they are scum. Anyone running a tally of back bench support for Joyce finds it hard to count more than one or two loyalists who are inside his camp.

Paula Bennett has a different reputation than Joyce, but one that is perhaps worse for an aspiring leadership candidate.

She personally treats staff and backbenchers like scum, rather than leaving her staff to treat them like scum as Joyce does. She is fond of a drink and is known to get very familiar with much younger men or do the rounds with donors sitting on all their knees, or worse all of that with Labour staffers. The tally of Paula supporters on the backbench is even lower than the tally for supporters for Joyce.

Alan Wilkinson responded:

I guess Cam would know since he treats his readers like scum.

This is typical smearing from Slater. He tried similar attack lines in relation to National’s Northland candidate selection.

Dirty politics hasn’t disappeared – but it now raises instant suspicions.

It’s well known that Slater has been promoting Judith Collins as a future leader. Expect attacks like this to increase as Collins recovers her last year setbacks. She’s expected to be re-appointed to Cabinet and ministerial duties at the first opportunity this year.

It would be interesting to know what back benchers thought of a candidate for leadership with Slater’s taint hovering.

Slater is the whale in Collins’ room.

And he would willingly take down the government to achieve his longer term aims – which are seeking power by subverting democracy. And revenge.

And when it was put to him Slater denies it’s a leadership move:

No one is counting…there is no move, but Joyce had to shore up support after his appalling stuff up in Northland.

Just groundwork.

It’s interesting to see him continually connecting Bennett to his attacks on Joyce. Perhaps she’s doing things well if Slater is trying to discredit her.

National rejuvenation

National did a reasonable job of rejuvenation last term, with a number of MPs resigning, most of whom had minimal political futures. National have also turned over some ministers too, like Simon Power from the first term and Tony Ryal last year.

Andrea Vance has a look through the current ranks to see who might exit this term and who might be on the rise in Reshuffle likely as Nats rejuvenate.

Wellington’s worst-kept secret is that Trade Minister Tim Groser is shortly off to relieve Mike Moore as New Zealand’s ambassador in Washington.

Also likely to be waving goodbye to Parliament in 2017 is Assistant Speaker Lindsay Tisch, whether he likes it or not.

Murray McCully was talked about as a potential retiree before the last election and is a possible but it looks like he remains unwilling to indicate what his intentions are.

Bill English must also be considering his future. He gave up his Clutha-Southland electorate last year and is now a list MP, making it easy to retire without disruption this term.

And who will be looking to rise? As far as rising to the top goes this depends on how long John Key wants to stay, and there’s no sign yet that he wants to give up the top spot.

Amid the wreckage of the Northland by-election, there was conjecture about the damage it would do to the career prospects of Steven Joyce and Paula Bennett, who led the campaign.

After Judith Collins‘ sacking during the Dirty Politics saga, it became accepted Joyce and Bennett were front-runners to replace John Key as leader.

Bennett is probably fairly unscathed but Joyce was the face and the ‘mastermind’ of National’s Northland disaster and following his handling of the Sky City embarrassment he must have damaged his future chances.

Collins has been quietly rebuilding her career and is expected to be reinstated to Cabinet at the next reshuffle, presumably later this year (unless forced by an earlier resignation). She will have support but the Whale Oil taint might be hard to forget,

Vance also lists four up and comers, although three are rookies so may have to wait for promotion.

Alfred Ngaro, Parliament’s first Cook Islander and a thoughtful community worker, is almost certainly next cab off the rank into Cabinet. His campaign to win Te Atatu off Labour’s Phil Twyford has already begun.

I met him early in his first term at a National Party event. He seemed nice but was not very outgoing.

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller (a former Zespri and Fonterra high-flier) is not new to politics: he was a staffer to Prime Minister Jim Bolger and has served on National’s list-ranking committee.

Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger, like other female backbenchers, has kept a low profile.

Chris Bishop (list MP), a protege of Joyce and a former tobacco lobbyist, was tipped to rise through the ranks even before he entered Parliament.

So there looks to be scope for rejuvenation in National this term, but the latter three would have to leapfrog quite a few other longer serving MPs.

A big issue for an overall perception of rejuvenation could be whether Key can look revitalised or at least interested. Being Prime Minister is a hard grind. More and more often he looks frustrated or annoyed at what he has to deal with.

Especially if English retires I think it’s likely Key will try and stay on to try for a fourth term.

Justice Minister reignites de Bain debate

Minister of Justice has announced that Cabinet will start from scratch in investigating whether David Bain will be compensated for being imprisoned or not.

This will please all those who relish an excuse to debate the merits of the case.

Press release:

CABINET TO TAKE FRESH LOOK AT BAIN CASE

The Government has agreed to set aside all previous advice relating to David Bain’s compensation claim and conduct a fresh inquiry, Justice Minister Amy Adams has announced.

In November 2011, former Canadian Supreme Court judge Justice Ian Binnie was appointed to provide advice on the claim. He completed his report in August 2012.

After being made aware of concerns raised about Justice Binnie’s report and receiving advice from the Solicitor-General, the then Justice Minister Judith Collins decided to seek a peer review by former High Court judge Dr Robert Fisher. Dr Fisher found that Justice Binnie’s report contained a number of errors and was, therefore, unsafe to rely on.

“Given these events, it’s my view that Cabinet doesn’t have the information in front of it on which it could reasonably reach a decision,” says Ms Adams.

“For that reason, the advice of both Justice Binnie and Dr Fisher will be set aside and I will appoint a new inquirer to conduct a fresh inquiry into Mr Bain’s claim.”

Ms Adams says it’s important that the final decision on Mr Bain’s claim is durable and withstands the close scrutiny the case attracts.

“The New Zealand public rightly expects the Government to make a decision with the full set of facts and reliable advice in front of them. A fresh look will safeguard the integrity of the process and reassure the public that Cabinet will act on the best advice available,” says Ms Adams.

“Despite the further delay, conducting a fresh inquiry is the best approach in the circumstances and enables Mr Bain’s claim to be progressed on a proper and robust basis.”

Mr Bain’s claim for compensation falls outside existing Cabinet guidelines because when his conviction was quashed, a retrial was ordered. However, Cabinet has also reserved a residual discretion to consider claims outside the guidelines in “extraordinary circumstances … where this is in the interests of justice”. To satisfy the test for the payment of compensation that applies in his case, Mr Bain will need to prove his innocence on the balance of probabilities and be able to satisfy Cabinet that the circumstances are sufficiently extraordinary that it would be in the interests of justice for compensation to be paid.

“I have notified Mr Bain’s representatives of Cabinet’s decision and I understand they are comfortable with the process. All parties have agreed to draw a line under what’s happened and move forward in a constructive manner,” says Ms Adams.

Ms Adams will now seek advice on an appropriate inquirer and develop their terms of reference. There will be a further announcement in due course.

Related Documents

“I don’t owe the National party a single thing”

Cameron Slater at Whale Oil:

I am not beholden to the National party. I’m not a member, and as I said standing on a balcony doing a live interview in Israel…Prime Minister’s come and Prime Minister’s go, long after John Key retires I’ll still be here.

I don’t owe the National party a single thing…it is actually the reverse.

But given there is an ongoing campaign of animosity from the senior ranks of the party frankly they can suffer in the stew of their own making.

Meanwhile I’ll continue to tell the truth whether you guys like it or not.

He doesn’t say what he thinks the National Party owe him.

Pete Belt:

I don’t owe the National party a single thing…it is actually the reverse.

…talk about arrogance!

/snigger

These comments are on a lengthy post from (presumably) Belt promoting how wonderful and clever Slater and Whale Oil are in FROM THE PASSENGER SEAT: WHY DOTCOM AND KEY ARE THE SAME. Cavalier pointed out the obvious:

No DotCom and Key are not the same. One is a convicted criminal who is wanted on further serious charges and who is here on false pretenses, having deliberately lied on his residence application. The other is a genuine and ordinary bloke attempting to do his best for our country, even though he doesn’t need (and doesn’t take) the money. I can see the difference clearly.

But mostly Belt was angling at Slater versus Key’s National.

So.  Who do you trust?  Cam’s Slater’s judgement on matters political, or what you personally wish to be true based on less and filtered information?

A silly choice. I don’t “wish to be true’ and I am very wary of trusting Slater.

Purely from a practical point of view, National should be concerned with succession planning.  Key won’t last forever.  We only have to look at Labour to see what happens when nobody is ready to take over after a decade of someone who eliminates all the pretenders to the throne.

Slater is feeling highly aggrieved at his own succession planning being dealt a setback. He blames Key for Judith Collins falling from grace but Collins (aided substantially by Slater) has been the architect of her own fall.

Sure John Key will sometime step down or be dumped.

That leaves opportunites for others to rise in his place. Time will tell whether the party or the public will approve of Collins should she rehabilitate, and whether they will tolerate with Slater style political manipulation.

The National Party owes Slater nothing – surely he doesn’t expect a handout of power.

And Collins has to earn her way back into favour, which won’t be easy. Once tainted it is hard to erase the risks.

Bain given new hope for compensation

David Bain has been given some hope of getting his compensation claim considered. He had previously hit a l;egal brick wall in Judith Collins but the new Justice Minister Amy Adams seems prepared to deal with it,

Stuff: Bain has a fresh chance for compensation

David Bain has been given fresh hope in his fight for compensation after court wranglings came to an end.

The Government and Bain’s lawyers have agreed to end judicial review proceedings over a report that suggested he was innocent of the murder of his family.

It means the decision to award him compensation for wrongful conviction and for the 13 years he spent behind bars will go back before Cabinet ministers.

Justice Minister Amy Adams announced the move this afternoon.

“This discontinuance does not resolve Mr Bain’s underlying compensation claim, just the separate judicial review process,” she said.

“I plan to discuss next steps with my Cabinet colleagues over the coming weeks. 

“While the details of the agreement are confidential, I can confirm that there was no contribution made towards Mr Bain’s compensation claim as part of this discontinuance.”

Bain’s bid for redress stalled in early 2013 after a row over a report commissioned by then justice minister Judith Collins.

Written by retired Canadian judge Justice Ian Binnie, it found that Bain was innocent of the murder of his parents, brother and two sisters “on the balance of probabilities”.

Collins publicly questioned the findings and ordered a review by High Court judge Robert Fisher. Fisher pointed to errors in Binnie’s findings.

Bain’s legal team took the matter to the High Court and asked for a judicial review.

And they now seem to be making some progress.

I don’t have an opinion on whether Bain deserves compensation.

I’m not neutral on the Bain murders, but I’m uncertain. There doesn’t seem to be compeling evidence either way. And from what I’ve seen some evidence points one way and other evidence points another.

The fact is that legally Bain has been acquitted. And he’s trying to get financial redress.

If he is innocent (and that’s a distinct possibility) then he has a crap twenty years, having had the rest of his family killed or topped, copping all the blame and being locked away for years.

If he killed his family (and that’s also still a possibility) he has either got a massive cheel seeking compensation.

Or he’s been swept up in the Karam campaign and doesn’t know how to tell them to leave it now he’s at least out of prison.

I’m sure others will have views on this, many feel strongly one way or the other.

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.

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