Vance and Lusk probably just a coincidence

It’s easy to link Andrea Vance with some involvement in not keeping strictly to journalisms strict source confidentiality code, if not directly then indirectly (unless someone Fairfax IT gained access to emails).

It’s also easy to link Fairfax reporter Andrea Vance with Simon Lusk, she wrote a profile of him recently – Seriously happy to upset the status quo.

Simon Lusk is one of the most intriguing figures in politics. The arch political fixer shuns the limelight, rarely venturing from his home in Havelock North to Wellington. He maintains a strict silence about his clients – mostly wannabe National MPs.

Except unusually Lusk did this interview with Vance.

Some blogs claim Mr Lusk was behind leaking the identity of ACC whistleblower Bronwyn Pullar last year, (his response: “I can’t comment on specific cases”).

And more recently, Mr Lusk has been suggested to be the bagman National brought in to persuade rogue MP Aaron Gilmore to quit. Certainly, Mr Gilmore appears to believe Mr Lusk was the architect of his downfall – he was a recipient of one of the infamous “utu” text messages.

So does he do National’s dirty work? Like any true political animal, he is the master of (very politely) avoiding questions he doesn’t like.

“I am detached from the day-to-day and can look beyond the next 36 hours and see likely outcomes and how to prevent them. Change in politics is predictable and I like to be on the right side of change.”

He admits that some “object” to his methods.

“Political parties always need people who are willing to upset the status quo . . .”

Peter Dunne was as status quo in politics as you could get.

“Currently, I am not doing anything for National, but pragmatism dictates if they were to ask I would likely accept contracts where I could be useful.”

He says he prefers to work for individuals – and only those on the Centre-Right.

He occasionally offers a glimpse of the ruthlessness that concerns his critics.

That interview was published on Saturday 25 May.

On Wednesday 29 May Winston accused Dunne of leak:

At a select committee today, Winston Peters asked Peter Dunne if he leaked Rebecca Kitteredge’s report into the GCSB.

The Kitteridge report was leaked to Andrea Vance. Winston claims to have a journalist source that would just about have to have been someone at Fairfax.

There’s a few coincidences here. Someone calling themselves Parsupial noticed:

I would have added something about Vance coordinating her operations with Lusk under the guise of her recent puff-piece profile.

The end result is likely to be the removal of Peter Dunne from the Ohariu electorate and the demise of United Future.

And it is also highly embarrassing and awkward for John Key.

And there could be more. Much more.

If Dunne resigns soon there will be a by-election in Ohariu. This prospect has already been reported as being potentially destabilising. Most predict National would win Ohariu but that is not guaranteed. If Labour or Greens won the seat it would remove one majority option for National and make them reliant on the struggling Maori party to pass any legislation. This would in turn make things more difficult for the Maori party.

Some people are suggesting a snap election already.

If a hired political gun and a journalist were involved in precipitating any of this it should raise serious concerns.

And it would have to be asked who could be behind this sort of political skulduggery that abuses democracy.

Unless it’s all a coincidence.

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