Standard reaction to non-hacking

Despite Slater cleared of hacking claims there’s been an unsurprising reaction at The Standard.

First reaction from Anne:

Oh dear oh dear,

The police are covering up for Slater. Claim he and Ede committed no offence when they hacked into Labour’s computer system. Slater’s going to demand an apology from Little.

Geez… I hope Little ridicules him and tells him where to get off in the strongest of language.

It clearly wasn’t hacking.

Detective Superintendent R T Drew said:

I am satisfied that there is no evidence of criminal offending in relation to the accessing of the Labour party computer records.

Take your pick.

Alan W has asked Anne:

pretty strong claim there Anne, got any evidence to back it up??????

That was at 6.05 pm. No response so far, even thought she has commented four times since on it on another thread [Edit: and has just comment above Alan’s request to back up her claim.] – Daily Review, where mickysavage kicked of the incredulousness:

Despite Slater filming his attack on the Labour Party crippled website the Police are not going to be taking any action. They have to be fecking joking …

As a lawyer he should understand the legal aspects, perhaps he doesn’t understand the IT aspects.

And Anne adds:

The proviso: they’re not protecting so much Slater but JOHN KEY AND HIS OFFICE.

I’m going to use stronger language ms. I call it bloody disgusting. I wouldn’t even rule out interference from some quarter on this one. But of course the police will deny it.

Actually I’m so disgusted I think I will write a letter to the police and tell them what I think of them. Can anyone advise me who to send the letter to… ?

She is probably as likely to get the response she wants as Slater gets from Andrew Little.

Draco T Bastard:

The police seem to be operating at the behest of the National Party.

Lynn Prentice posted on this recently in Charge Cameron Slater or let me hack systems:

  1. In 2011, Cameron Slater, Jason Ede of John Keys parliamentary office and an unnamed IT tech at National party head office accessed files without authorisation on the NZ Labour party website. Far from being the innocent accident that he and National portrayed it as being at the time, subsequent revelations in Dirty Politics (pages 28-36) and the rawshark email dumps showed that they’d actively opened files and paid someone to open database files.What is quite clear from those sources is that this group were deliberately attempting to gain political advantage using this material (which makes it a dishonest purpose under Section 249) and that it involved clearly reckless, unauthorised,and repeated access to the Labour party computer system. This was part of a formal complaint by the Labour party to the police in December 2014 after the election.There appears to have been no outcome from this to date, more than 6 months afterwards.2The Labour party deserves some flak for not laying a complaint with the police in 2011. They generously chose instead to believe the public lies that Cameron Slater and the National party hierarchy were using in 2011.

Slater cleared of hacking claims

Cameron Slater has been cleared of criminal offences related to the accessing data on a Labour Party website, but not cleared of ethical or privacy issues.

NZ Herald report Dirty Politics: Police clear blogger over Labour hacking claims

Not so Dirty Politics after all.

That’s the message from police over a blogger accessing Labour Party computer systems to gather financial and membership details.

The country’s most senior detective Rodney Drew today told the Labour Party that “there is no evidence of criminal offending”.

“While the matter may raise privacy and ethical issues, these are not the domain of criminal law.”

The details revealed in the book led to the Labour Party complaining it had been hacked, among other claims. The other matters were dismissed by police last year. The reason, in a letter from Mr Drew, was that the “only evidence being relied on was contents of Mr Hagar’s (sic) book and the entities and persons named did not want to pursue any action”.

Two government inquiries into matters raised in Dirty Politics found evidence given by Slater could not be relied on – and that he had overstated his contacts and influence.

I’m not surprised by this finding. Labour had acknowledged they left data open to access, and Slater publicised how easily it was accessed and ridiculed Labour.

But I think Slater went to far with what he did with the data, allegedly copying off financial and membership details and threatening to expose them. That is the bit that looks unethical.

I liken it to finding a bunch of papers on the footpath or roadside. It’s fair enough to check them out and  criticise someone’s mistake in losing them, but rummaging through them and threatening the information maliciously is where it can get dirty.

Labour Party general secretary Tim Barnett…

… said the police conclusions were “unbelievable”. He said the party was considering further action.

He said compared to the effort being put into investigating Slater did not compare to the energy put into investigating Hager.

“I would expect to see a level of energy from the police that was equitable and we certainly haven’t seen that in the treatment of us.”

The two aren’t comparable. Slater legally saw data and dirtily threatened to disclose details but didn’t (he has a record of threatening disclosure and not delivering).

In comparison someone illegally hacked Slater’s data and supplied it to Hager and later journalists, and then Hager used that data to make money off a book and appears to have attempted to defeat a Government.

That’s a very different scale of offending and unethical behaviour.

Andrew Little trying to sabotage democracy

Andrew Little continues to devalue our democratic process in an ongoing two faced attack on the flag referendums.

NZ Herald reports in Second flag referendum should be scrapped if voter apathy continues – Labour

Labour is opposing the bill despite leader Andrew Little’s own desire for a new flag and its 2014 policy to start the process to secure that change.

Putting petty politics before principles.

“New Zealanders all around the country have told us now is not the right time to change the flag. Almost no one turned up at public events to promote it, millions of dollars were wasted on websites and postcards and a celebrity panel of experts.

“And now John Key is continuing to push his pet project through despite overwhelming opposition.”

Over ten thousand entries were submitted as alternate flag possibilities. Many of those involved considerable thought and effort.

We have a robust inclusive consultative and democratic process in place including two binding referendums, and Little wants that all scrapped on his say so.

If fewer than half of eligible voters take part in the first flag referendum the second should be scrapped, Labour say.

Little is using a binding people’s referendum to try and score points against John Key.

He is actively trying to sabotage a referendum for his own political purposes, contrary to his and his party’s stated policy on flag change.

I think this is disgraceful Andrew. You should be ashamed of this cynical abuse of our democratic process.

But if Little thinks things should change based on popular opinion how about the latest 3 News/Reid Research poll for Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Andrew Little 10.2% (down 1.4)

That’s a lot less than half – will you scrap your leadership Andrew?

I doubt you will do that.

But more seriously, will you stop shitting on our democracy?

“National govt have become deeply cynical”

I don’t know if Chris Hipkins ran this tweet past Party HQ before posting it or not (see Labour HQ asks members to check with them before tweeting)…

The National govt have become deeply cynical and more concerned about their own prospects than those of everyday NZers.

…but it may have struggled to pass the irony test.

Labour HQ asks members to check with them before tweeting

Labour Party President Nigel Haworth has asked members not to “launch immediately into a commentary” on Twitter but to run things by Party HQ instead.

Ex Labour Party member Phil Quinn must either still be on the Party mailing list or is being forwarded party emails. He has blogged on an email sent to members.

Equally, the modern era provides multiple opportunities to comment publicly on political issues. Blogs are one thing, but I think media such as Twitter are probably more important.

It is easy to read a newspaper report, or pick up a news item on the TV, and launch immediately into a commentary that may be widely shared.

We see this regularly, and it is sometimes founded on incorrect information, as events subsequently show. Spokespeople in Caucus, staff in Party HQ, Council members, members of Policy Council and I are available promptly to respond to queries about issues before public comments are made.

“It is sometimes founded on incorrect information” could also apply to Labour MPs on Twitter.

We are happy to talk to you if you hear or read something that worries you, or makes little sense. And a quick check with the Party about the issue allows you to comment in an accurate and informed way, even if you disagree! We are all the better for debate founded on accurate information.

Debate founded on accurate information is laudable.

Debate founded on HQ vetting is more of a worry in a modern political party.

So what are we to think now? Should we treat all tweets that look like they might be from Labour Party members with suspicion of being managed by Party HQ?

I wonder what the turnaround time will be if, say, a hundred party members are itching to say something on Twitter. Maybe HQ are set up to respond quickly, or maybe they hope that people will have moved from touchy topics before they get a reply.

I suspect Quinn didn’t run his post by HQ before launching into commentary – but he’s not a member any more so exempt from Party control.

Farrar and Salmond agree on TPPA bottom lines

Last week Labour announced bottom lies on their support or opposition to any TPPA agreement – Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty:

“Labour will not support the TPP if it undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. This means:
•    Pharmac must be protected
•    Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest
•    New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of farm land and housing to non-resident foreigner buyers
•    The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld
•    Meaningful gains are made for our farmers in tariff reductions and market access

“The bottom line for Labour is that New Zealand’s sovereign rights must be protected. Anything else is unacceptable.”

David Farrar says these are reasonable conditions in Labour’s TPP conditions at Kiweiblog:

These are not unreasonable bottom lines. It is good to see have not abandoned their previous support for free trade.

I’d add a sixth condition on – that NZ does not have to make changes to out intellectual property laws in a way which would harm the Internet in NZ.

Rob Salmond notes that Farrar “broadly agrees” at Public Address in Too much to swallow on the TPP, and thinks that the eventual TPP agreement will be unpalatable to Labour.

There is no way the TPPA will meet those five or six conditions. No way. That means Labour will be opposing, not supporting, the agreement that makes its way finally out of the smoke-filled room. And I think that is a good thing.

He goes to to explain why, then concludes:

So I’m pretty clear that, given its current position, Labour will oppose the eventual TPPA text. The bigger question is: what will Labour do in government if it passes? Unraveling an agreement like this is massively harder than opposing it in the first place.

Sadly, my own guess is that, if National saddles us with an agreement that does undermine our social legislation or our rights to regulate who owns our country, then Labour will be pretty much stuck with it.

Getting out of an agreement may be political reality.

But we’re not there yet. An agreement is still to be reached. And National plus sufficient support votes are not guaranteed.

It could be that the Government broadly agree with Labour’s conditions too.

And it could be that that is why Labour has stated them as bottom lines.

Labour ignored Barfoot & Thompson approaches

Peter Thompson, chief executive of Barfoot & Thompson, says the company offered to talk to Labour about real estate issues but they didn’t even approach the company before going public using company data.

NZ Herald reports:

Labour recently used leaked sales figures from Barfoot & Thompson to underpin its claim that too many overseas buyers dominated by Chinese were acquiring residential properties and adding to the Auckland housing price spiral.

Thompson said Labour’s claims were in excess of reality. “But I think there does need to be some form of establishing where these buyers are actually coming from.”

He is disappointed that Labour – to whom he earlier this year extended an open door to come and talk about the Auckland housing market – did not approach him before going public with their conclusions.

“I had made an offer a couple of times but they never take it up.”

That makes it look more like Labour were on a political mission rather than being interested in being as well iformed as possible.

Prison violence concerns beyond Serco and Mt Eden

There are sufficient concerns about alleged violence at Mt Eden prison and about the private management of the prison by Serco to prompt the Department of Corrections to temporarily take over management of the prison.

That seems fair enough.

But there are potentially wider issues. While Labour MP Kelvin Davis has successfully publicised this and has got a result one could wonder about the timing of bringing this up in Parliament, at a time that Labour were facing considerable embarrassment.  If it was designed to divert some of the political heat then it’s also been successful.

But the spotlight on one privately run prison has major political ideological implications. Labour have used this to try and discredit privatisation in general.

But what they haven’t done is make a case that this one prison is significantly worse than any other prison.

Many of the most violent people in New Zealand are in prisons, so it will be difficult to make them violence free zones.

Peter Dune put this media release out yesterday.

24 July 2015

Prison Violence Should Be Eliminated Wherever It Occurs

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne wants a strong focus on eliminating violence in all prisons.

“The current allegations about what has been happening at the SERCO run Mt Eden prison are appalling, and SERCO needs to be held to account.

“However, it is fatuous and naïve to suggest that violent attacks on prisoners occur only in privately-run prisons, and that the state-rune system is free of such behaviour.

“The sad and unacceptable truth is that violence is an endemic feature of prison sub-culture across the system, and has been forever,” he says.

Mr Dunne says the overall focus of government policy has to be on ending prison wherever it occurs, not just Mt Eden.

“Otherwise, the current campaign looks much more like part of the ongoing opposition to privately-run prisons, than a genuine effort to eliminate prison violence across the entire prison system, “ he says.

Perhaps Labour could now pressure the Government into a wider investigation into prison violence.

Then we would find out whether it’s the private running of prisons that’s the problem or not.

If Labour are not interested in a wider investigation them it could be assumed their motives are more political than concerned about reducing prison violence.

Labour’s ‘race card’ taint remains

In a blog post 3 News political reporter Tova O’Brien sums up Labour’s Chinese Surname Saga.

Opinion: Labour’s risky race card flop

Labour is pissed off. It’s pissed off and it’s pissing people off.

That’s what happens when you play the race card.

The race card is designed to offend. You play it in the hope that there are more people that agree with you than disagree with you.

Yes, Labour have pissed a lot of people off. It has been claimed it was a deliberate and cynical strategy to try and engineer a poll bounce like National got after Brash’s Orewa speech (they jumped 17% two weeks later), but this is much different to Orewa.

After Brash’s speech the left in particular were angry about racism.
After Labour’s Chinese Surname saga the left in particular were angry about racism.

Labour may not have thought that through very well.

In this case Labour decided more people would be riled by the prospect of Chinese offshore buyers snatching Auckland houses from the clutches of New Zealanders, than there would be people angry about Labour’s perceived racism.

So it went ahead and singled out Chinese home buyers, not based on any real facts, but because their surnames sounded Chinese.

3 News did something Labour didn’t. We visited Liu’s and Zhou’s on that list. They were happy, proud new homeowners in Auckland and most we spoke to were New Zealanders or applying to be.

One woman thought it was unfair Labour had judged her based on her surname. Another was concerned – like many New Zealanders – about offshore investors.

Of course our door knocking wasn’t scientific but neither was Labour’s analysis and at least we got a better idea of the people behind the surnames.

Labour have tried to talk up a massive problem (a ‘tsunami’ of Chinese investment) but didn’t back up their claims with any evidence. All evidence I’ve seen so far has suggested Labour’s ‘guesses’ were wrong.

NBR reported recently that of the over half a million rates bills sent out by Auckland only about 5,500 go overseas, and about half of them to Australia.

See also Auckland property sales today and Who’s buying Auckland property?

National has been poor in being slow to act on Auckland property issues, but Labour has acted poorly.

National’s being tricky, trying to have it both ways:

On one hand, it’s not rolling out a comprehensive register because that would mean capitulating on its long-held stance that a register is unnecessary.

On the other, voters want a register so National needs to be able to say it’s doing ‘something’ – albeit a piddly excuse for ‘something’.

Labour could have framed its data like that: the need for a register to clear things up because there’s no real way of knowing.

That would have been a sensible argument that flies.

But Labour didn’t frame it like that. It chose to employ scare tactics and declare as fact that three quarters of Chinese home buyers don’t live in New Zealand.

Bad call.

Now, Labour has to own it.

Labour hasn’t backed down, but they haven’t remained convincing in holding their lines.

So far Andrew Little is holding the line. Phil Twyford – the architect of the release – seems less certain.

He’s not racist so you can bet that being called racist and accused of inciting racism is smarting like all hell.

Little’s not racist either but is still holding out for ‘dem gains’ from the silent majority of non-Chinese sounding Aucklanders furious by Labour’s figures.

I’m not so convinced those gains are coming. And if Labour does get a bump in the polls my guess is it will be small and short-lived.

Long-term Labour needs to ask itself will it have been worth it? Jeopardising all those Chinese New Zealand votes – not to mention anyone else offended by the analysis.

Labour has to own those losses along with any ill-gotten gains.

My feeling is that regardless of any short term poll fluctuations Labour may have caused themselves serious longer term damage. They can’t un-whistle the race card, it’s out there and will linger longer than this month’s property stories..

It’s bee a huge risk for Little to take, either promoted by him or foisted on him by Labour’s strategy team. Little has remained staunch, sort of, but he looks uncomfortable in the role.

Labour can hardly afford to go through another leadership contest. But can they afford to retain Little’s race taint?

Shameful Labour campaign against referendums

LabourAgainstReferendumsFlyingYesterday Andrew Little upped Labour’s campaign against the flag referendums by launching a petty, cynical, shameful website trying to sabotage the flag change referendums. Putting petty politics before the people’s choice.

Shameful

I’m usually fairly easy going with what happens in our politics, but this Labour campaign against a fundamental democratic process is really annoying me. I think it’s disgraceful, despicable. Little is shitting on New Zealand democracy by campaigning against something both he and Labour have previously supported.

They are putting petty politics ahead of giving New Zealanders what will probably be a once in a lifetime choice on our flag and our national identity.

Here is Labour’s anti-democracy anti-flag referendum website.

LabourFlagCampaignThat site is asking for names and addresses and for people to join Labour in opposing the flag referendums, opposing democracy in action, opposing what their policy supports – see Labour still campaigning against it’s own flag policy.

So I won’t be submitting any suggestions. But something I would like money spent on is a decent opposition, one that doesn’t oppose things out of spite, one that doesn’t put trying to score cheap political points ahead of people voting.

How much would it cost for an Opposition that doesn’t shit on our democracy?

How low can Labour and Andrew Little go?

Last week they dumped on Chinese New Zealanders.

This week they are dumping on our democracy, dumping on all New Zealanders.

Shameful.

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