Conflicting claims over National’s Rodney selection

In the wake of “Dirty Politics” and associated data dumps there are conflicting claims by the successful candidate Mark Mitchell (who is now an MP) and Brent Robinson.

Mitchell claims he didn’t pay for help from Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk but a post by Slater in 2011 admits “If you want to be a National candidate there is a very small group of talented, experienced professionals who will greatly enhance your chances of winning. Yes they will cost…”

Newstalk ZB reported last Friday: National MP contemplates legal action against Nicky Hager

Rodney MP Mark Mitchell denies the suggestion he hired political strategist Simon Lusk and attack blogger Cameron Slater, to undermine his opponents for National’s candidacy in the seat back in 2011.

One of those opponents, Brent Robinson, told Newstalk ZB he’s considering legal action – as the revelations suggest Mr Mitchell broke the party’s rules to get elected.

But Mr Mitchell says that’s untrue – and after the election, he may take legal action of his own, over the book.

Robinson has just been interviewed by Radio NZ – Failed National candidate wants rogue elements kicked out:

Mary Wilson: A failed National Party candidate is demanding the party weed out rogue elements that he says sabotaged his campaign in rogue safe National seat of Rodney three years ago.  The Nicky Hager book dirty politics asserts party figures have used the Whale Oil and other right wing bloggers to attack opponents, but in this case the emails detail a campaign against one of their own during a candidate selection.

The emails between Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk discuss backing contender Mark Mitchell to prove they are crucial to people’s political careers. Mr Mitchell is now the Rodney MP.

Whale Oil blogs at the time attacked two other candidates, the front runners Brent Robinson and Scott Simpson.

Mr Robinson was called shameless, unethical, unscrupulous and unfit to hold office for signing up church members to the National Party. He says it was hard to take.

Brent Robinson: I’ve got to say the process itself was pretty atrocious. The accusations that were made slandered against my character, against my reputation, and it was very very hard on myself and on my wife and children. 

This was an orchestrated paid campaign to discredit other candidates.

And what was your sense in the electorate about how seriously these posts were being taken, and how much people believed them?

I think it made a significant difference to the selection process itself.  It was a tight run race, and there were seventeen National Party delegates that vote on it and I think it did make a difference.  Look whether I would have won or not, who knows, but the fact is it took place.

And were you signing up people from your church to become National Party members?

Look I’ve got an email from the National Party General Manager that he sends to all candidates encouraging people during the process to bring people in as members of the National Party.

So I think eleven people from my small church in Orewa joined the National Party..

As a result of a direct approach from you?

Yeah. Not for myself. Um there were all sorts of people wanting to join, and if someone came to me and said “I’d like to become a member of the National Party” I’d say goodie, here’s what you need to do.

But you were encouraging them, and there was nothing wrong with that?

No, no. And other candidates did the same thing. You know branches right throughout the Rodney area increased exponentially as a result of the selection process, but that’s not unusual, that’s what takes place during National Party selection processes. 

And so when you read this chapter, and I take it that you have…

Yes.

…we see Simon Lusk saying to Cameron Slater “I’d really like Mark Mitchell to win to prove it can be done, and that you and I are crucial in people’s careers”. Simon Lusk says there is the option of course in relation to you, in reference to you, of playing the man if necessary.

Yeah and that’s certainly what took place. I found out shortly after the selection process, a number people came to me from inside and outside the National Party, and said “look you need realise what went on here”, and so there’s no great revelation to me when the came out. You know it’s interesting obviously to see it in chapter and verse in conversations between these people, and that’s pretty distressing itself…

So who came to you and explained what had gone on?

Well, people within the party that had various ideas about that, and i don’t want to publicly name who they are, you know they’re individuals and if they want to come forward that’s fine…

And Simon Lusk saying at one point that Mr Mitchell was saying that posts were having a massive effect.

Yeah and I would concur with that.

Simon Lusk to Cameron Slater “we want Scott Simpson, the other candidate, we want his people to lean on Brent to get him out first, then we can smash Scott”.

Yeah, it was interesting seeing that, and obviously Scott left, chose to leave the selection process and went on to become you know the MP over in Coromandel.

And was that part of it though that Scott Simpson’s people were leaning on you to get you out first, is that how this all works?

I can’t think of any particular recallation where you know anyone rang me up and tried to muscle me out of the process or anything like that. I think it was a bit more subtle than that but certainly well orchestrated.

Have you got any other evidence that Mark Mitchell paid for this to be done?

At the very start f the selection process I was advised to contact Simon Lusk because he helped people writing speeches and so I rang him up and Simon Lusk said “I’m sorry I can’t talk to you because I’ve been engaged by Mark Mitchell”.

And what were you expecting to have Simon Lusk do for you?

I was advised by another National Party MP who’d just been elected that he helped people write speeches. That’s fine. I had no idea of the for the lack of a better word the black ops type scenario that Mr Lusk did for his candidates.

Look Mark and I, I’m still a National Party member, Mark and I have worked on various things in Rodney since the selection process since mark’s been elected as an MP, and we’ve talked about it, we’ve openly discussed it, and I expressed to him my disappointment and disgust in what took place in the process.

So for Mark now to say that he didn’t engage these people, that he didn’t pay these people, I just find absolutely mind blowing.

But did he tell you that he’d paid them.

Yes.

He told you that he’d paid both Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk?

Mark told me that he hired them to perform this programme of work for him to get him the selection.

The programme of work being a smear campaign?

Well yes. We’ve openly discussed it in the past. That’s why I’m really surprised by this.

And understand I don’t do this to get any form of retribution. My reasoning for now for answering questions to persons like yourself , is because I wouldn’t want anyone else who put their hand up to be involved in politics in New Zealand to go through what I’ve gone through and what my family’s gone through.

Well you’re saying that the National Party needs to clean up it’s act.

They’re your words not mine. Certainly there is a rogue element that’s grown in the National Party that I think needs to be weeded out.

That’s Brent Robinson. We’ve been unable to contact Mr Slater or Mr Lusk whp’s phone message says he’s away hunting til the end of the season.

The MP Mark Mitchell says he’s very surprised by Mr Robinson’s comments. He says he’s never had a discussion with him about the Rodney selection process, or Cameron Slater or Simon Lusk.

He says he has never paid a cent to either.

  Just after the Rodney selection in 2011 Slater posted this on Whale Oil – Rodney Selection Winners and Losers.

Mark Mitchell won the acrimonious selection in Rodney last night, and it was a privilege to have been in the room during the process.

Winners
Mark Mitchell: Mark’s reputation is such it would have been an absolute travesty not to have had him selected. Reputation alone is not enough, and delegates in Rodney have told me what a fantastic guy he is, very good with people, and very genuine. It is hard to remember the last time a National candidate met delegates by helping them bail hay and then had a few beers afterwards, but this kind of touch builds loyalty, loyalty that helped Mark win on the first ballot.

Peter Goodfellow: Peter was ultimately responsible for the selection process and deserve credit for taking bold decisions to stop a deeply flawed process. Good work Peter, you have done the right thing.

Losers (0r as Phil Goff would say Not Winners)

Brent Robinson: Brent was outed as a branch stacking, immoral fundamentalist, and his preachy style on selection night really grated. He should never have tried to rig the selection as he probably would have won if he had not tried to rig the process.

Cehill Pienaar: As branch chair this man tried to ensure the fundy take over of the electorate by colluding with Brent over membership and events. His horrible political past has been exposed, and his backing the losing candidate now makes it inevitable he will be told to resign if he does not resign himself.

Karen Rolleston: For someone I keep hearing such good things about she needs to stop making dumb decisions, engage proper professional advise and start listening. She was told by respect senior party people she would lose Palmerston North. She did. She was told she would lose Rodney. She did. She was told she could well win North Shore, and she ignored this, meaning Maggie Barry is now the presumptive candidate in a field of pygmies.

Amateurs: Some boneheads in the Auckland region hierarchy have been putting about that candidates should not pay for advice or pay for strategy. They are as prissy and as puritanical as the old amateur era rugby people and need to stop this silliness. Laughably the main proponents of this argument are people who earn a living by charging for their services themselves.

If you want to be a National candidate there is a very small group of talented, experienced professionals who will greatly enhance your chances of winning. Yes they will cost, but who else won’t you pay – your lawyer, your accountant, your printer, your speech coach, the petrol station for the gas to get to delegate meetings? Professional advice costs money all over town, why not in politics?

What I can’t understand is why paying for someone who gives you the best chance of a long career in politics is wrong or unethical or whatever else the buggers muddle in Auckland seem to think is reason for not engaging professionals. Aspiring candidates should call the tip line if they want introductions to competent political advisors.

Blog readers are well aware of my views on people who behave unethically, and the best way to out them is to publish information. I realise pride is a sin, but I’m feeling just a little bit proud that I have contributed so meaningfully to the selection of a really good candidate and future National MP. I am also proud that National know that they cannot cover up skullduggery in the party. The tipline callers are many and varied and the truth will out.

There’s a number of very ironic comments in that.

Slater makes it clear who he supported. He also makes it clear about the need to pay “professionals” for results.

The data dump of online conversations between Lusk and Slater also make it clear there was a relationship between Lusk/Slater and Mitchell and that money was involved:

Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:53pm

classy

i’ll try to line up the woman in palmerston north

i can sort out mark no worries, he doesnt mind spending

i’d really like to have him win

to prove it can be done

and that you and i are crucial in peoples career
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 9:55pm

i want to stamp out the nasty whispering campaigns like those run by HP and the cunt in Rodney
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:55pm

yes

which cunt in rodney?

i beleive in going negative if an opponent does
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 9:56pm

the one spiking the outsiders
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:57pm

i dont blame him, he has worked for it

and it isnt nasty yet, just patch protection

i want to see mark selected

but if brent plays fair i am going to play fair
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 9:58pm

well a post about sometimes when an MP has been there forever it is time to look outside the party hierachy because the MP has stifled the best
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:58pm

obviously with the option of playing the man if we decide it is necessary

yes

and that we need a genuine star

someone that has made it on a global scale
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 9:59pm

yep
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:59pm

and while brent is a willing toiler for the party

we must stop selecting second raters
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 9:59pm

youve got it
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:59pm

i’ll have a proper post when we pull the trigger

nice but create doubts in the minds of the delegates
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:00pm

yep
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:00pm

frame the race as a very successful man who is turning down millions a year to do the best he can for NZ
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:00pm

yep
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:00pm

and from a family with a history of public service
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:00pm

succesful but tough
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:00pm

yes, is excellent under pressure
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:00pm

not a panty-waist
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:01pm

not a bent cop becuase he didnt go up the ranks
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:01pm

we can sex it up with the war sotries then the media will pick it up
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:01pm

his dog stories are awesome

czar nailed a lot of bad bastards

including ripping a monsoon sheild of a car to sort out three gang members that were taking on mark
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:01pm

hope it chewed on them hard
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:02pm

i believe it did

mark said you when they start screaming you know the fight will go out of them
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:02pm

lol
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:02pm

one other collar czar broke a guys elbow
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:02pm

so tough in business, tough in terrorists, tough on crime
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:02pm

that is fucken impressive, bite hard enough to break and elbow
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:02pm

just plain tough
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:02pm

compassionate though
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:03pm

doing for the underdog

nabbing bad bastards since xxxx
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:03pm

how good are your media contacts to get coverage of some of his stuff protecting his staffers after the iraqi terrorists killed lots of people
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:03pm

easy
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:04pm

all his non western staff were in the same gear as the westerners, same weapons, same everything

reckoned it worked a treat
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:04pm

once i start pumping his story they will pick it up anyway
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:04pm

we need to set the scene

brent is an ok guy, a bit arrogant and not good at pressing the flesh

people dont warm to him

dont want to waste as safe seat on him

can you start finding stories about him

i think it would also be worth talking to jason ede about mark, not yet but soon

saying that he is a good news story that will appeal to the masses
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:06pm

ok will work on that

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10702986

nailed

another Gotcha
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:10pm

yes we need to think about this

how to tell the story about the nailing

that it isnt random

it is smart people making smart decisions to fuck up opponents

ede needs to know that it is your set up
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:12pm

he has two trips scheduled for next week

i bet the car drops him off and legs it into town
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:13pm

can you OIA mileage records?
————————-
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:14pm

yepo

SST is already doing it
————————-
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:14pm

good

Simon Lusk, 2/3, 9:01am

we need to sort out marks facebook page tomorrow if possible
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/3, 9:02am

i need an awesome photo…i will make it look cool….we also need to ditch all the cheesy shit out of the photos and tidy up his personal info
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/3, 9:03am

ok can you email me with what you need as far as photos go

i will write the story tomorrow though it might be tomorrow evening i have to get on a ferry at 110

 

————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/3, 9:05am

for the phot i need a high quality photo of him…doesn’t matter if it is warry…i’ll crop out an guns or stuff…just crisp and good quality, the bigger the better

I’m going to cut it into 5 and array them in his profile….it look scool done right
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/3, 9:07am

hes got professional ones i have asked him for them
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/3, 9:07am

good

send a selection

also need his login details for FB and I’ll get it sorted tomorrow
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/3, 9:08am

ok

good message that at risk stuff is always good

 

————————-
February 7, 2011
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/7, 8:46pm

what time and where tonight
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/7, 8:47pm

puhoi dunno the edetails will let you know after 3 when i have met mark off the plane

 

————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/20, 4:34am

can you tell hooton that mark is a good option etc

he will be asked about it on red radio tomorrow
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/20, 4:34am

ok

 

————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/21, 2:09am

you bet, the best way to be

did they work out you were on JLRs side

or think you remained neutral
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/21, 2:10am

no they knew i was on jlr side

they have no idea that im on marks though

just that you are
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/21, 2:10am

yes peter warned mark off me

in october

 

————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/21, 2:43am

sweet

mark has access to a good deer block

i think four private huts in the kaimanawas

 

————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/23, 6:56pm

there are a number of people who dont want scott

they should be paying you to write for them
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/23, 6:56pm

lots of people should be paying me to write for them

i hope Mark is up with the play on these posts
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/23, 6:57pm

yes am talking to him a lot

he is telling me that it is having a massive effect
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/23, 6:57pm

hehe

 

————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/24, 6:48pm

i imagine my old man will explode

the pressure is going to be intense

the fact that Alistair is trying to knock out Mark shows that they know where the threat is from

he will shit himself reading that post that he is next to be outed
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/24, 6:49pm

yes, and the extra time means mark can out compete him on the ground
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/24, 6:49pm

yep

 

————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:11am

Alistair was up seeing delegates directly, including John Evans

he is showing them the print out of the website article about mark and saying he has a dodgy past

Kate set John Evans straight…he will now be working aginst scott on that

bad move by Alistair

muckraking without substance
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:12am

he wants to be careful, mark likes lawyers
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:12am

lawyers take too long
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:13am

for a weakling like alastair

they dont

it is a threat
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:13am

I reckon a post saying that I have been asked to leak this article suposedly because it is about mark and a dodgy past
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:13am

he is not the kind of guy to say “Dear Lawyer”

please fuck off

yes thats a good idea
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:13am

by Simposn loyalists
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:13am

yes dirty pool
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:13am

, so I thought I would check a few things out before publishing it
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:13am

and apparetnly the 9th floor are furious

and those behind it are going to find it career limiting
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:14am

and the provide a link and an explanation
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:14am

why dont you write something, email it through to me, i will sort it out with mark and it can go online
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:14am

ok

i’ll write it up about how they are saying it is supposed to be bad but not actually showing people the info, so in teh interests of getting things out in the open here it is…seems pretty above board to me etc etc
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:16am

yes thats a pretty sound idea
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:16am

then theirmuck raking is exposed, it turns out to be bullshit

and we can link alistaor to shopping it at the board level in an effort to have Mark chucked out because scott fears a fair fight at selection
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:17am

with the threat that you are hearing that legal action is almost inevitable in rodney no matter what happens

yes and we need boag in to crack heads and feast on corpses to make sure everyone stops playing silly games
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:17am

also fits with President’s claim that I was to be putting in teh hit on Mark

also call for Boag, Kirk and Slater to be appointed to oversee delegate selections

 

————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 6:55am

the quote is taken from another web page and used out of context

mark reckons that the original quote is a real good one
————————-
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 6:55am

send me the link then
————————-
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 6:55am

so that needs to be in there, i have asked him to send the link
————————-

Simon Lusk, 3/3, 7:12pm

aotearoa legalise cannabis have a bloody funny earthquake policy

i might write something up on this, depends on how much work i do with mark i guess

 

————————-
March 28, 2011
————————-
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:23am

did you talk to mark?

he is pretty pissed of with scott et al going after him with an H fee type scandal
————————-
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:24am

not yet

another scandal?
————————-
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:24am

they are saying part of his business has a dispute with the US

it does but it is a separate subsidary
————————-
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:24am

the cunts
————————-
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:24am

no link to mark at all
————————-
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:25am

sue
————————-
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:25am

yes i think some lawyers letter sstart soon
————————-
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:25am

what are teh details
————————-
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:25am

you could tell your father that people need to be careful as mark has very deep pockets and is not interested in the results

just hammering opponents
————————-
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:25am

i will
————————-
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:25am

because he can afford it and they cant

cant remember the exact details but they found it on google
————————-
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:26am

give kate a call

does this mean he is still in rodney
————————-
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:26am

i told mark i am happy to make some calls
————————-
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:26am

Time for Julian Miles
————————-
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:26am

i think it is just a reflex reaction from scott and his mates

try ot run down anyone in any way possible
————————-
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:27am

so he has bolted and laid a minefield

cunts

Mark should sue them…is this recent
————————-
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:27am

i think we should play a big game of pker with them and bluff them out of the game completely

yes today

based on yesterdays article
————————-
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:28am

fuck they must be bitter about the sst articel

Well I will do what ever is required

 

March 29, 2011
————————-
Simon Lusk, 3/29, 3:00am

heard from mark?
————————-
Cameron Slater, 3/29, 3:02am

nope

he has just rung

 

 

Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. “Mitchell, their selection candidate, was paying big money for this dirty campaigning, and was well aware of what he was buying.” ~ Nicky Hager, Dirty Politics, p62

    “Well yes. We’ve openly discussed [hiring Slater and Lush for a smear campaign] in the past. That’s why I’m really surprised by [Mitchell’s denial].” ~ Brent Robinson

    Robinson is surprised that Mitchell, who he knows to have conspired in a smear campaign, is now acting to discredit Hager’s allegations? What part of “lying to cover up a conspiracy” does he not understand?

    Reply
  1. Collins staunch with Slater | Your NZ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s