Hide versus Hager, and poxy houses

Rodney Hide speaks some truths about the “speaking truth to power” of Nicky Hager and the supporters that think Hager can do no wrong.

To the anointed left, Hager is an investigative journalist. He is good and true. Blogger Cameron Slater is a smear merchant and paid shill. He is evil and false.

That’s how it appears. To an extent it’s true, Hager is an investigative journalist at times – but so is Slater (at times). And both sometimes speak “truth”, but they also both speak falsely at times, despite claims from some that Hager has never been proven incorrect.

An anonymous hacker stole Slater’s emails and Facebook messages.

Hager then published them in Dirty Politics to implicate Prime Minister John Key in dark and evil plots. The links were tenuous at best.

Some have taken Hager’s claims against John Key and National as gospel but they are tenuous and have not proven much apart from the nastiness of Slater and associates – which was already known.

I warranted a brief chapter myself. Hager alleges Slater blackmailed me to resign the Act Party leadership. It’s not true.

The first I knew of any allegation or blackmail was Hager’s book.

Hager never rang to check his allegations. He published them without a rudimentary check. Left-wing commentator Chris Trotter publicly defended Hager’s not checking his allegations. That would alert those he maligned who might then injunct his book. And so Hager denied his victims the usual rights and legal protections.

Hager made allegations which Hide has strongly denied. Hager didn’t fact check, he made a case without checking both sides of the story. At best that’s sloppy journalism.

The extreme left has no problem with that. The anointed have no need for legal process. They have no need to provide rights of reply. They have no need to check facts. They are right. The rest of us are wrong.

To an extent at least that appears to be true, you just have to read threads at The Standard and Public Address to see this.

Hager pored through stolen private and personal information. There were emails to the wife. Messages about a sick and dying mum.

Hager then decided what was public interest and published it. We do not know what became of what he regarded as personal and private.

To me, it’s clear a crime was committed. Slater duly complained.

The police are investigating. In the course of their investigation they convinced a judge to grant a warrant to search Hager’s house.

The search was subject to the law. It was authorised. Hager’s personal information is to be protected. It won’t be made public.

Presumably the raid on Hager’s house was done correctly and lawfully, but there remain questions about whether it was on a scale that was justified.

Any alleged wrongdoing will have to be backed by evidence to be tested in court.

Those alleged to have done wrong will be presumed innocent. They will have their day in court.

Yes – but police action can have a major effect on their targets, including legal costs and in this case the confiscation of computers and information that Hager requires to do his work can be significant.

If only Hager’s victims had been afforded such rights.

Of course, there’s no need: his victims are made guilty by their politics.

Slater’s computer was ransacked. Information was taken. The hack was illegal, furtive and anonymous.

Hager then published the stolen information, wrapped his own story around it, and gave no right of reply.

Hager tried to convict Slater, John Key and associates in the court of public opinion. He failed to do what journalists are usually expected to do – allow those being accused to give their side of the story.

It has been claimed that this was necessary so those being accused wouldn’t injunct Hager’s book.

Journalists don’t usually package a grand conspiracy claim in a book and inject it into an election campaign. Journalists should normally check both sides of a story, give a right of response and publish revelations as they come to hand. Then there can be immediate reactions and follow up additions, corrections and counter-claims.

Journalism doesn’t start and end with a one-sided book that it’s supporters claim is beyond reproach.

Hager raised some important issues in his book, but it was not good journalism, it looks more like political activism.

His evidence was never checked or tested.

That’s not true.

Martyn Bradbury claims to have been interviewed while the book was being written. Bradbury is a far left activist and an adversary of Slater.

Lyn Prentice is a left wing activist and a long time strong critic of Slater. He claims to have been involved in researching the book. He sponded to a comment by RRM at The Standard:

Big old BS – the e mails were STOLEN, it is as simple as that.

Political-type people will make of that what they will.

Perhaps if Hager had interviewed a few people, instead of just writing a book of one-sided allegations ABOUT them, based on STOLEN e mails, and published at a slightly less cynical time than a few weeks before the election, he might not be in this position today?

[lprent: Based on reading the blog posts of the various people that were referred to in the emails passed to him. You really can't get much more independent that the actual actions of arseholes.

Plus doing a pretty widespread verification among many people who read those blogs and keep an eye on Slater, Odgen, Farrar, Ede, and others of that dirty brigade. Like me and the score of people that I pointed to and introduced to Hagers people.

Why would you ask Slater? He is currently saying that yes he made those statements in those emails, but that he was lying and bullshitting. What makes you think that he wouldn't lie or bullshit to a journo or for that matter the police or a judge?]

Hager appears to have got “verification” from “various people” who were the political opposite of Slater and had been feuding bitterly with Slater for years.

Hide concludes:

But that’s okay. That’s because those he attacked have their politics wrong.

What’s not okay is the police investigating the crime and exercising a lawful warrant.

As far as the extreme left is concerned, Slater has no rights and Hager enjoys super ones.

And they wonder why we laugh at them.

I don’t laugh at them. I think it’s a sad reflection on politics and those involved at the extremes.

Has Hager used the left in a major political hit job? Or has he been used by the left? Possibly a bit of both.

Some of the revelations in Hager’s book bring attention to the very sad side of Slater, Whale Oil et al. But the nature of the book and it’s political one-sidedness and it’s attempt to bring down a government doesn’t look flash either.

Hager’s hit job was a poor advertisement for both political activism and for journalism.

All their houses look poxy.

“Not as bad as Whale Oil”

Since the release of Nicky Hager’s book ‘Dirty Politics’ there has been much discussion and condemnation of what has been revealed – even though much of the dirtiness of Cameron Slater was already well known. He has boasted about his political uncleanliness.

Last year after the Len Brown revelations just after the local body elections Slater said on The Nation:

Mr Slater argued that Auckland politics was “a dirty disgusting despicable game”.

“It involves dirty disgusting despicable people at all levels,” he said.

“And to have this high and mighty belief that New Zealand politics is clean, it isn’t.”

(Frontpage)

He repeated this on his Whale Oil blog recently. He often quotes ” Never wrestle with pigs, two things are for certain if you do. You will get dirty and the pig will enjoy it”, along others from his list of ‘rules’.

Whaleoil’s Rules of Politics

1. If you are explaining, you are losing

2. Utu is good, even necessary

3. Never hug a corpse – it smells and you end up smelling like the corpse too

4. Always know where the bodies are buried

5. Don’t let mongrels get away with being mongrels

6. Don’t mess with The Whale or Cactus Kate

7. Never wrestle with pigs, two things are for certain if you do. You will get dirty and the pig will enjoy it.

8. Never ask a question if you don’t already know the answer

9. Speak plain, Speak Simple

10. Remember, I’m telling this story

11. Never trust a politician if you aren’t close enough to them to hit them in the back of the head with a bit of 4×2

12. Never trust a politician with a moustache or a hyphenated name

There might be a lot of people, especially politicians, giving serious consideration to rule 3 right now.

Slater’s personal attacks and vindictiveness are well known. There’s no one who comes close to his media prominence and dirtiness in New Zealand politics.

So all other bloggers can comfortably claim they are “not as bad as Whale Oil”. But that sets the bar very low and should not excuse lesser levels of dirtiness.

One of the more long serving and respected bloggers Russell Brown posted  We can do better than this at Public Address and concluded:

In one of the early reports that annoyed me, Radio New Zealand’s political editor Brent Edwards, talked about smears being unleashed to “blogs” and “the blogosphere”.

Actually, we’re not all like that. The multitude of bloggers, political bloggers included, have no part in this. And while the cynical side of politics is not new, I do believe that the scope, scale and nature of what is described in Hager’s book is unprecedented.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can, all of us, do better than this.

Russell is right, we’re “not all like that”. No one else is as bad as Whale Oil. I agree that “the scope, scale and nature of what is described in Hager’s book is unprecedented” – although it shouldn’t really have been a surprise to Russell if he was aware of what Whale Oil has been doing for years.

But in comments Russell seems to think that the ‘all of us” in “We can, all of us, do better than this” doesn’t apply equally to all of us.

It’s over to you, Pete, to identify a left-leaning blogger with even a tenth of the venality and vindictiveness of WhaleOil.

I feel kind of icky agreeing with Pete (sorry, Mr. George) but if our baseline is “not as bad as Whaleoil” that’s a depressingly low bar you can clear without lifting your feet.

Which is really just a morally elevated way of saying “everyone does it”. It’s simply not true. What has happened in and around Whaleoil these past few years is actually of a different nature.

He seems to be claiming it’s not true that everyone doesn’t do it, despite calling for “all od us” to do better.

Some of what Whale Oil has done has been of a different nature” and of a more extreme nature, but there are many examples of dirt mongering across the blogosphere. Russell moderates Public Address fairly well but even his own blog shouldn’t be exempt from criticism. There’s dirt at different levels but there’s dirt – there were even mild attempts to attack me personally to divert from the issues being discussed on that thread (eg ScottY and Kracklite).

Public Address is relatively mild but still allows personal political attacks and dirty comments. The other major left wing blogs The Standard and The Daily Blog allow and promote a lot of abuse and attempts to emulate some of Whale Oil’s “success”.

Lynn Prentice (lprent) at The Standard often boasts about his nastiness:

That is because in my sysop role I’m deliberately a nasty vindictive mean old man with abuse of power issues, whose only redeeming quality is that he is too lazy to be bothered exercising those traits, but who often and almost randomly goes totally over the top when roused.

And as chief moderator that sets the tone for blog with support of a one sided attack culture.

And Martyn Bradbury is well know for over the top rants and abuse, as well as doing party promotional blog posting without revealing he is being paid by or seeking payment for his work, one of the things Slater is correctly criticised for.

Josie Pagan is very familiar with how nasty the left wing blogs can get, they have blasted her a number of times. She recently posted The politics of vilification.

Nicky Hager’s book exposes both the politics of demonisation and the National Government’s role in facilitating it. The right wing blogs have been more extreme, more violent and more coordinated with the parliamentary party and so the book is their comeuppance. 

I agree with that. Whale Oil is obviously the main culprit but Kiwiblog can be very nasty in it’s comments and I think the generally and widely respected David Farrar would admit to overstepping lines of decency at times (as most if not all bloggers do to varying degrees).

But imagine how much harder would it be for the government to deflect some of the disgusting stuff they’ve been involved in if some on the left blogs had not spent so much energy vilifying and demonising people they disagree with.

I’ve been suggesting to left wing blogs for a long time thatthey would be fdar more credible and effective if they cut down on the crap – I’ve been banned from The Standard for giving them advice along those lines.

At least Farrar recognises problems and has pledged ttake measures to try to improve Kiwiblog – Some changes for Kiwiblog.

Josie concluded:

But there is also a wider lesson to everyone about the way politics is conducted. 

As I wrote back in December, “The fundamental principle of the left is our compassion…. Ours is the politics of redemption, forgiveness and humanity.” 

Or, as Nicky Hager elegantly stated on The Nation this morning, “if anyone is doing it, they should stop.

It’s hard to see Whale Oil changing it’s degree of nastiness but if we are to improve political discourse in New Zealand it’s up to all of the rest of us to do what we can to improve – bloggers and politicians.

Directing all the blame at the other lot and demanding action from them ignores those shitting in our own nests.

Yes Russell, we can, all of us, do better than this. ‘All of us’ means not opting out because we’re are not as bad as Whale Oil.

UPDATE: Russell has responded via Twitter:

Thanks for another droning restatement of what you’ve already said. I’m at a loss as to what I’m supposed to do about it.

I replied: Try using your stature showing some leadership in the blogosphere in raising standards perhaps?

I’ve also been hacked

A major part of the Nicky Hager ‘Dirty Politics’ book revelations is who hacked Cameron Slater and apparently illegally obtained emails and Facebook conversation data.

It would be an even bigger issue if the hacking was more widespread.

  • my Xtra email was hacked last year (Xtra were having major problems with email security)
  • at the end of last year one of my gmail accounts was hacked (the account I use for political correspondence only)
  • early this year my Facebook was at least flagged as under attack

I have no idea if this is related or not but one does wonder.

I have a fairly minor voice in the blogosphere and in especially politics in New Zealand, but I have been labeled by some as right wing alongside Cameron Slater and David Farrar, by people like Lynn Prentice at The Standard and Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog (in fact Prentice’s debut post at The Daily Blog did just that – Pete George – an example of right wing blogging falsehoods)

I’ve exchange a small number of emails with Cameron Slater of the years – and also with David Farrar of Kiwiblog, Prentice and other authors at The Standard, Bradbury and other authors at The Daily Blog, and other bloggers across the spectrum.

I’m not exactly on good terms with Slater (and never have been):

  • I’ve had a number of confrontations and debates with Slater on Whale Oil and in Twitter
  • I was banned from Whale Oil about a month ago with a trumped up excuse (I was arguing contrary to Slater’s views on issues around rape and cultures).
  • A few weeks ago Slater posted ‘Breaking News’ that tried to dump me in legal trouble over breaking name suppression.

While Slater has been ground breaking with his blogging/on line media and has had unprecedented levels of success – and I applaud him for that, to an extent – I have always been opposed to his dirty approach to doing politics and have argued against him on that.

But as stated some saw me as linked to the right wing conspiracy.

I would be flattered if I was the target of political hacking – but would also view it with extreme concern.

Data being stolen from Slater is a serious issue. If political hacking has been more widespread then it would be even more serious.

The hacking aspect of Hager’s revelations should get as much scrutiny as the dirty politics Hager claims to have revealed.

 

Good guesses or prior knowledge?

There was a lot of guessing about the topic prior to the release of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics. Some people seemed to have a particular interest.

Martyn Bradbury made some uncanny ‘guesses’ two days ago in 3 guesses about Nicky Hager’s new book:

Here are my 3 guesses on his book.

1 – Right wing spin doctors in Wellington will be crying harder than Matthew Hooton post the Hollow Men.
2 – We won’t hear from the Taxpayer Union for a while.
3 – This won’t be the only time Nicky makes an impact before the election.

Then just after the release in The Nicky Hager Book – Dirty Politics. How Attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment

PPS – I don’t think this will be the only time Nicky will step forward before the election.
Bradbury has a habit of bragging about what he knows, but he also makes many predictions. I’ve never bothered to check how many he gets wrong or right.
UPDATE: Bradbury has responded via Twitter:

pfft – Nicky contacted me months ago asking specific questions which helped my guesses – the lesson is read TDB

 So Hager interviewed at least one left wing blogger on this. And he didn’t attempt to get the right wing blogger side of the story.

Key ‘lying’ versus Mana accusations

Internet and Mana campaigners are shitting in the campaign nest, then crying foul.

There’s an interesting comparison of posts at The Daily Blog. In one Martyn Bradbury blasts John Key for ‘lying’

What’s worse than Key lying about Internet MANA effigy burning on Breakfast TV?

The shrill scream of the right at trying to paint Internet MANA as some sort of fascist movement would be laughable if it wasn’t actually being promoted by the mainstream media.

No attempt is made to substantiate the accusation  the John Key lied about anything, although Laila Harre has also promoted the lie claim.

“The Prime Minister cast a slur and told a lie on your programme yesterday,” she said.

“You presented that video to the Prime Minister and you knew from your research, or should have known from your research, that it had no relationship with the internet Party.”

The effigy-burning video appears to have been first posted on a Facebook page called National Party Billboard Makeovers, which features pictures of defaced National Party hoardings.

TVNZ aren’t apologising.

However, although a TVNZ spokeswoman confirmed last night that a complaint had been received from Internet-Mana, “we’re not making an apology”.

Mr Christie had not suggested any connection between Internet-Mana and the video, she said.

“It was the PM who made this association”.

And neither is John Key but he has explained further.

Mr Key later said he was “not in the slightest” worried about the threat of legal action over his comments.

Asked whether he thought Mr Dotcom was behind the effigy-burning video, Mr Key said: “I don’t honestly know. That was the way it was indicated.

“My broader comments were really around the one that internet-Mana put up on their site that they actively encouraged people to watch, and look, in the end New Zealanders will judge whether that’s all positive.”

Harre’s Internet Party left itself wide open to being connected to less savoury campaign tactics after it promoted an abusive video featuring Kim Dotcom with a chanting crowd – a video that Harre defended.

Now she is complaining that an association is made with another video showing similar chants.

Immediately below the ‘lying’ post at The Daily Blog is a featured guest post by Mana Party candidate Joe Trinder:

GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – National still destroying billboards? 

This post makes no attempt to back up the headline accusation.

DailyBlog hypocrisy

 

The Daily Blog is strongly promoting the Mana Party, the Internet Party and Internet Mana, led by Martyn Bradbury.

Both Bradbury and Harre seem to be so wound up in campaign attack mode they fail to see their double standards and hypocrisy.

Internet and Mana are dishing it out but taking offence when it’s thrown back at them. They’re reaping what they are sowing, and crying foul when they are the substantialy behind the fould wind to blow over this election campaign.

Martyn the mastermind

Martyn Bradbury has masterminded a plan so cunning and so effective that polls and policies are irrelevant to this election. Everything is organised so the outcome of the election is inevitable no matter what anyone else tries to do.

Martyn was instrumental in setting up the Mana Party. He was instrumental in setting up the Internet Party. He engineered that planting of Matt McCarten in Cunliffe’s coterie and into the middle of Labour’s campaign team.

He was the brains behind the Mana-Internet Party merge for the election. He was right behind installing Laila Harre as leader of the Internet Party.

And Martyn is the communications guru for the New Auckland Left agenda, with central command being his The Daily Blog. He converted Chris Trotter from left wing columnist to his left hand man.

Ok, some of this could be a tad exaggerated, but Martyn is not shy of blowing his own trumpet and he has been unable to resist bragging along these lines.

And in a blog post this week he couldn’t resist broadcasting the culmination of his masterminded plan. This is quoted verbatim, no embellishment is required.

Why the polls, policy & smears now don’t matter until after 7pm September 15th 2014

There are so many twists and turns to come until the 15th, that I can not imagine that the entire Nation’s attention won’t be on the Town Hall at 7pm.

Martyn really was closely involved in the anti-GCSB protest meeting at the Auckland Town Hall last year. To remind everyone of his triumph he includes a picture of it.

That’s Martyn in a commanding position dead centre, with Dotcom under his watch.

Couple of polls out today, Roy Morgan and the stuff.co.nz/Ipsos Polls – and they don’t matter.

John Key could announce tax cuts from a live press conference in Hawaii, and it wouldn’t matter.

David Cunliffe could be mocked on ZB by Mike Hosking for 10 hours straight. And it wouldn’t matter.

All that matters now is 7pm Monday 15th at the Auckland Town Hall.

The beauty of what Kim, Internet MANA and those fighting the mass surveillance state have generated here for the price of just hiring out the Town Hall is the entire nations attention and total dominance of the election campaign.

Journalists like Duncan Garner, Vernon Small and Guyon Espiner have been highly critical that Kim doesn’t reveal the evidence linking Key to a conspiracy to collude with the US to entrap him right now so that they can decide if the evidence stacks up. This point ignores that throughout this case the Government have broken law, acted outside the rules and have been manipulating this process with ‘political pressure’ from the very beginning and Kim has every right to counter that by releasing the information when it’s going to be most damaging to Key.

5 days out from the 2014 election is the time that would be most damaging to Key.

There are so many twists and turns to come until the 15th, that I can not imagine that the entire Nation’s attention won’t be on the Town Hall at 7pm.

Laila Harre’s comments that Kim wouldn’t be allowed in have been seized upon as a giant awkward moment between the two. I think that’s a terrible misreading of why she said that.

The meeting will be live streamed on The Daily Blog.

Five days out from the 2014 election is the time that would be most damaging to Key. Not four and a half days. Not six days. This is how pin point Martyn’s planning has been.

We might as well forget the election campaign and ignore all the other parties. The outcome of the election rests on the Kim and Martyn show on September 15.  Trust Kim. Trust Martyn. We will have to get used to trusting them, they will be the brains and the management behind our next government.

Neither of them are standing for Parliament but don’t worry about small details like that.

What Martyn doesn’t explain is that if everyone ignores polls and policies and smears and parties and campaigning then how will they know who to vote for?

Bradbury doesn’t hint that he knows what Dotocm will reveal, which based on his usual keenness to brag about what he knows probably means he doesn’t know. But he knows that September 15 is the BIG THING and nothing else is relevant to the election. Trust or bluster?

Even if what Dotcom reveals on September 15, something so secret that he hasn’t shared the information with his party leader Harre, even if Dotcom blows Key out of the election, how will voters know who to vote for?

Will September 15 be so decisively dramatic that no one will vote? That’s not going to happen, although Martyn’s farcical circus is likely to disillusion more voters and reduce the turnout.

Or everyone will have a revelation and vote for the brilliance of Kim and Martyn? Ok, for Laila and Hone but we know they are just useful tools in this grand plan.

All eyes will be on Dotcom and The Daily Blog to see hints drip fed.

Or voters will not stand for this personal crusade of Dotcom, nor for the Bradbury bull.

Even if Key and National are seriously compromised it’s likely most of the voters won’t look kindly on the hijacking of our democracy.

A collapse in voter turnout and an election lottery is possible. I wonder if Martyn has bought a ticket. That might be his best hope on September 20.

Martyn seems to think he has masterminded a dead certain election result.

But remember that he masterminded a grand left wing co-operative for the election, and that was quickly dashed when Labour made it clear they would have nothing to do with it, and Greens had already recognised the dangers in a Dotcom led political revolution.

It has been suggested that the September 15 town hall meeting will be a bomb shell. Martyn would like it seen as a Bomber shellacking of John Key  – but we’ve seen Bradbury flops before.

Martyn’s master of his own mind but his left wing revolution may be spinning in his head.

Footnote: the comments on Martyn’s post have been mostly very sceptical and negative.

Faint hopes of addressing cannabis and abortion

Martyn Bradbury has written an uncharacteristically reasoned column at the Herald – Unmentionable issues need champion.

On cannabis:

At last year’s International Cannabis Policy Symposium in Auckland, Professor Richie Poulton pointed out that 10.3 per cent of users who smoke cannabis by age 15 go on to have psychotic disorders, whereas only 4.7 per cent of those who used cannabis by aged 18 went on to have psychotic disorders. The conclusion from the symposium was that cannabis isn’t the major health risk it’s been built up to be. If protecting adolescents from early cannabis use is the solution, prohibition is the problem.

Regulation removes tinny houses near schools, prohibition builds them. Between 2007 and last year, 890 New Zealanders were jailed for possession of cannabis and 737 more have been imprisoned for possession of a bong.

Our war on drugs has led us to the awkward position where the US is becoming more progressive on cannabis than we are.

I agree with this, I’ve been promoting the addressing on addressing cannabis law for several years, the current laws and application of them are not working.

On abortion:

Decriminalisation of abortion is needed now. It’s not just the nonsense of Section 187A of the Crimes Act, whereby women must feign mental distress to get a basic medical service, it’s the manner in which pro-life fanatics have managed to isolate and constrict access to abortions that desperately needs challenging by decriminalising it.

I’m 100 per cent pro-choice. Those attempting to tell a woman what to do with her body in the 21st century should be outed for the misogynistic medieval glee club that they are. Women have every right to safe, legal access to any medical procedure they require.

I agree with Green Party policy on abortion.They clearly differentiated themselves from other parties by promoting this policy recently.

But Bradbury then moves to wishful thinking.

The Green and Internet parties have shown vast courage to bring these issues into the open. Progressive voters should consider rewarding that bravery this election.

While it may be ‘brave’ introducing these contentious issues into the election debate it looks to be futile and therefore unlikely to decide many votes. Bradbury explains a major reason why:

Ever since the “anti-smacking law” fiasco, Labour has been terrified to promote any social policy that can be warped into politically correct social engineering gone mad. Amending Section 59 of the Crimes Act closed a legal loophole abusive parents exploited to escape assault charges by claiming discipline as a defence.

Watching such a noble gesture get twisted into a narrative of the PC stormtroopers of Helengrad, kicking down the front doors of honest Kiwi mums and dads to arrest them for lightly tapping little Johnny on the bottom, shellshocked Labour into never mentioning social policy again.

This has depressed the quality of political vision for the left, which is why the Greens and Internet parties’ policies on decriminalising cannabis and abortion are so welcome.

Regardless of whether that is an accurate portrayal of Labour’s position indications are that Labour don’t want to campaign on these issues. During the Labour leadership contest David Cunliffe supported reviewing abortion law:

I want to see a woman’s right to choose protected. The current law hasn’t been reviewed for many years and I think that is now urgent. The Law Commission would be best placed to undertake this review as it is a conscience issue which splits across parties.

But when Greens announced their policy he wouldn’t back it. And there seems to be no enthusiasm for addressing cannabis either.

Unless Greens or the Internet Party make these policies bottom lines in any coalition or support agreements with Labour they are not likely to get anywhere.

And that is if the left get to form the next government.

If National get back in there’s virtually no chance either cannabis or abortion reform will get anywhere in any Government programme. They would have to take their chances in the member’s ballots.

There seems to be faint hopes of these issues being prominent in election campaigning or post election negotiations.

The ‘new Auckland left’

Who is involved in the ‘new Auckland left’? There are a number of pieces in common in an interesting political jigsaw.

The well signalled deal between the Internet and MANA parties and the surprise appointment of Laile Harre as the acceptable-to-MANA leader of the Internet Party has set the cat amongst the campaign pigeons.

Kim Dotcom has done the rounds of parties looking for a way into Parliament for his new Internet Party. It’s been reported (and admitted) that Dotcom has been visited a number of times by Winston Peters, Russel Norman and Clare Curran. He ended up finding a willing partner in Hone Harawira.

Despite much bluster from some in promoting a cosy electorate deal between MANA and Labour it also seems to have set Labour against Internet/MANA – see Labour staunch in contesting Te Tai Tokerau.

A number of interconnections have become apparent.

Harre has been a member of Labour, New Labour, then an MP for the Alliance Party, eventually becoming leader. She has recently worked for the Green Party and considered putting herself forward as a candidate. There have been conflicting reports, of her pulling out and of Greens rejecting her.

Matt McCarten also began in Labour, and then progressed to New Labour and the Alliance, taking over leadership from Harre. He then switched to the formation of the Maori Party, and then moved on to the Mana Party.

In February McCarten was recruited as David Cunliffe’s chief of staff with claims he would be a significant driver of Labour’s campaign this year.

Interestingly Wikipedia says:

McCarten has previously distanced himself from attempts to forge a new Left Wing party in New Zealand.

It would be interesting to know what McCarten thinks of the Internet-MANA deal and of Labour’s apparent commitment to strongly contesting Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.

A close friend and union associate of McCarten, Gerard Hehir, is secretary of the Mana Party and as such is set to be on the Internet-MANA campaign committee.

Left wing political commentator and columnist Chris Trotter, who also has a union background and has served on the Labour Party’s council, seems to have embraced the Internet/MANA movement and has been highly critical of Labour for not giving up Te Tai Tokerau to Harawira – see Authoritarian Labour: Why Kelvin Davis needs to STFU – and soon! at The Daily Blog. He has also just posted Keeping Our Eyes On The Prize at his Bowalley blog.

What does all this mean?

Some things are becoming clearer but much remains uncertain. Perhaps an inveterate bragger has let slip a hint.

Martyn Bradbury advertises himself as be a leading left wing political activist, organiser, recruiter and party starter.

Last year it was revealed he was a paid adviser to the MANA Party (he didn’t disclose it in his blogging and media activities). He was later linked to the start up of the Internet Party where he had asked for remuneration – also not disclosed.

But Bradbury has a propensity to broadcast his political prowess, activities and ambitions.

On the announcement of Harre as Internet Party leader – The potential for a Labour-Green-Internet-MANA majority.

This will become a game changer if Internet MANA pull the don’t knows to their flag.

What should excite progressives this election is the possibility of a Labour-Green-Internet MANA majority. The Left have never been able to be truly progressive because conservative brake pedals like NZ First and United have always dragged it back, if the majority were Labour-Green-Internet MANA however, there would be no conservative or neoliberal brake pedals.

A Labour-Green-Internet MANA majority is a unique opportunity for genuine progressive change, such opportunities rarely come by and when they do they must be risked.

There could be a bit of a problem here. Both Labour and Greens seem to have recognised the substantial risks of working with Dotcom and they seem to have backed off any involvement. They also presumably recognise that if Internet-MANA succeeds it could deplete their share of the party vote.

If the Internet-MANA gambit fails it could destroy Labour and Green election chances, and if it succeeds it could seriously reduce Labour and Green power if they end up dependent on Harawira and Harre for votes in Parliament.

And Labour probably won’t appreciate being told which electorates to throw by people with obvious interests in other parties and potentially detrimental outcomes.

Today in Q&A: Josie Pagani as a commentator Bradbury at least embellished the chances and possible effects of a minor comment by Josie Pagani:

The constitutional crisis that Josie’s idea would plunge NZ into if Cunliffe had taken her advice, would become a global news story. To change the rules of the election 4 months out from that election would create catastrophe as an immediate legal challenge to that decision would be forced by those political parties currently using that strategy. There would be rioting in the streets as those whose vote suddenly becomes voided by this unprecedented and unconstitutional change go berserk at what would be perceived as an illegal tactic to erase the voice of everyone not voting Labour, National, Green or NZ First.

Now I appreciate I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and that my setting up of political parties to provide parliamentary math game changers annoys some in the established left and has the Wellington Twitternati in constant fits of rage, but I don’t think I’ve ever suggested tactics that would see the country plunged into a fucking civil war.

The likelihood of riots in the streets and civil war are very dubious from a population increasingly bored and turned of by politics. Fits of rage are fanciful effects of Bradbury’s claimed prodigious party setting up .

Bradbury then may have revealed a bit more about what may be behind much of the current left wing arrangements, if he is not exaggerating that too.

What’s going to be interesting this time around for the election, despite the best attempts by some msm pundits, is that the Left may against all predictions and odds win. Unfortunately for the msm however, they don’t have any actual insights into the new Auckland Left that is now influencing so much of these strategic moves.

Election night coverage by both major networks could sound like crickets chirping if their lack of analysis starts to fumble when the results begin rolling in.

Internet MANA means the game has changed, the msm haven’t comprehended this yet.

Internet-MANA may have changed then game, for the time being at least. The media will presumably be looking into various political possibilities, including the influence of the ‘new Auckland left’.

Bradbury’s overstatements are well known. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t provide useful hints – and he might one day strike the political jackpot.

Politics can be fickle and ambitions don’t always work according to plan, especially when requiring the buy-in of multiple factions and multiple parties. Labour seem to be already resisting being organised to play a wider game.

Kelvin Davis tweeted:

@NgatiBird

Sorta ironic that in 1914 Mata Hari was a German agent, and in 2014 there’s Laila. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mata_Hari

Harre is now very openly working for (and is being paid by) the big German – although the Greens may feel a bit betrayed, she presumably has what could be useful inside party information.

It could be prudent for David Cunliffe to check out where Matt McCarten’s loyalties lie.

Gower asks tricky donations questions

The debate about political donations took a tricky turn on The Nation this morning. As a result of Patrick Gowers tricky questioning activists are calling for John Key to identify all people who donate to National. They don’t seem to have thought this through to it’s logical conclusion.

Patrick Gower manoeuvred John Key into a tricky position. He first got Key to confirm that he thought David Cunliffe should reveal who the two donors were that declined to be identified. Then Gower pointed out that Key had been at National Party fundraising dinners where $5,000 ticket prices for a meal were effectively donations.

Key claimed that it was different, that he had nothing to do with the donations and that it was within the rules. But handled to questions adeptly as he usually does but he looked a tad uncomfortable as he (presumably) realised he had been skewered.

Key not talking about fundraising dinner

Fancy fundraising dinners raising thousands of dollars from undisclosed donors aren’t “tricky”.

Spoiler alert! On 3 news tonight Gower will emphasis his tricky wee points win over Key and highlight the fact that National have anonymous donors, which looks a bit tricky. It’s often obvious from Gower’s interviews what story he is angling at. That’s how he works.

But it gets trickier than this.

There was an immediate reaction on Twitter, pointing out some hypocrisy from Key. That’s a fair call, to an extent.

Blogs have followed up with the attack on Key.

Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog in Guess who’s coming to dinner – questions about Key’s $165 000 fund raisers:

Key has said of Cunliffe that he had to be transparent over the donations ‘‘or he’s going to be guilty of being labelled as having a secret agenda which none of us can verify one way or another’’. Well Mr Key, by your very own words, don’t you have to reveal who your donors were and if they aren’t prepared to be named, do as Cunliffe has done and pay back the donations?

And ‘Zetetic’ (who has jumped back into action for Labour this week) at The Standard in Give us the names or pay the money back, John:

David Cunliffe had a trust set up for campaign donations. The structure kept donors anonymous and was within electoral rules, but was a bad look. He named three of the donors and paid the other two back. Total donations equaled $17,800 with $8,300 of that returned.

At the time, John Key called for Cunliffe to name his anonymous donors (even though the money was returned to them).

John Key received 21 five thousand dollar campaign donations (total $105k) via a dinner, and another $60k through another. He acknowledged there have been many other dinners.

Paddy Gower asked him to name these anonymous donors on the Nation this morning, Key refused.

By Key’s logic he now has to either pay back the $165k – and all the other secret dinner money – or name the donors.

Not to do so wouldn’t just be tricky, but hypocritical.

The money or the secret names John. You can’t keep both.

Those wanting to divert attention from Cunliffe and turn the heat on Key need to be careful. For one thing, the circumstances are different between Key and Cunliffe.

Zetetic makes a false claim. Key did not receive any donations. He attended the dinner and would have been the main draw-card, but any donations were paid to the National Party (via president Peter Goodfellow).

In contrast Cunliffe’s donations were for him personally, for his leadership campaign.

And Cunliffe with Labour have made a big noise about shutting down secret donation trusts. And have legislated against them. So Cunliffe’s hypocrisy is greater.

But that’s not the trickiest part of this for Labour.

If Labour activists and other political activists like Bradbury insist that Key divulges the identity of National donors, even though the size of the donations is less than the amount where disclosure is compulsory, then if they want to avoid double standards and hypocrisy they should insist that Cunliffe identifies all Labour Party donors. And Norman/Turei identify all Green donors. And Harawira identifies all Mana donors.

In Zetetic’s words, “not to do so wouldn’t just be tricky, but hypocritical” - far more so than Key.

Bradbury’s right, journalists can be ‘tricky’

In Tricky Patrick Gower at The Daily Blog Martyn Bradbury makes several points claiming Patrick Gower has made too much of his story about David Cunliffe’s late declaration of an investment trust.

This second trust issue is minor for Cunliffe albeit of some interest among the other issues of the week, Cunliffe’s leadership campaign trust, his flash house hypocrisy and the sending IT policy stuff-up.

I can’t work out what is happening with Patrick Gower. He seems to either be conducting a live job interview to be John Key’s next Press Secretary or the National Party have a few of Paddy’s family held hostage somewhere under threat of grammar lessons with Chris Finlayson because this story about Cunliffe’s ICSL Trust is bullshit.

I don’t think it should be ‘Tricky Cunliffe’, I think it should be ‘Tricky Paddy’.

That’s a bit of typical Bomber hyperbole plus a bit of humour, and I don’t think Gower is favouring Key nor National, but he is making a story more dramatic than it warrants. It’s what he does regardless of what party the target belongs to.

It is the manufactured framing by Gower that is the issue here, the attempt to validate that narrative by musings on values is deceptive at worst and useful idiot at best. 

I agree with Bradbury on this.

Some journalists try to have too much influence on news and politics, and they are not accountable to voters. It can adversely affect any politician or party who gets in the firing line.

Political careers can soar or crash and burn at the whim and heavy handedness of the media. Cunliffe is copping a lot of flak, mostly brought on by his and his party’s ineptitude. ACT leader Jamie Whyte learned how brutal the media spotlight can be.

Our top politicians need to be examined and held to account and the media take a lead role in this.

But when they over do things it can have  a corrupting influence on our democratic process.

Journalists need headlines like politicians need votes. Both sometimes ignore decency and democracy when trying to achieve their respective targets.

Both sides of the media battle can get a bit too tricky with the truth.

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