The “Dirty Politics” ruse

The ruse being used with the campaign on “Dirty Politics” is illustrated in a comment at The Standard. It was in a response to this comment by ‘Mike’:

The Left DOES engage in “dirty politics”, god I hate that phrase. It’s become such lame meme now. It’s simply the age old tactic of trying to discredit someone by digging for dirt.

What did Labour spend the last 3 elections doing? You must be blind not to see that a huge part of their strategy was based on attacking John Key. Everyone whether left or right knows that JK is the strength behind National.

Remember the “H-Bomb” that was supposed to be dropped on JK in 2008?

There was a pretty big effort to do the same with Judith Collins. The only difference was Judith was discredited successfully because there were obvious conflicts of interest revealed and frankly she deserved to be bought to account.

‘Karol’ responded:

The Left DOES engage in “dirty politics”, god I hate that phrase. It’s become such lame meme now. It’s simply the age old tactic of trying to discredit someone by digging for dirt.

Nope. You clearly haven’t read Dirty Politics or paid any attention to the discussion of the content.

Dirty Politics is a particular kind of highly orchestrated and relentless attack politics that uses a two-track strategy. It’s about having John Key as a smiley front man, distanced from the attack politics (track one), while the second track via Slater_Lusk_Ede_Kiwiblog et al, gets the benefits of the Nats research digging endlessly for things (most often very trivial). And it involves feeding lines to mainstream journalist; threatening politicians and journalists who don’t follow their lines with disclosures about their sex lives.

It’s underhand, covert and extremely nasty.

It’s a continuation from the politics of deception, as practiced by the Nats and exposed in The Hollow Men.

The Left has never done anything like any of that.

There’s an attempt to create an meme of “Dirty Politics” using a “two-track strategy” from the Prime Minister down, with the apparent aim to blame anything done by bloggers like Cameron Slater on John Key.

There’s a number of problems and false denials in this.

Nicky Hager’s book made a number of claims and insinuations but it produced no evidence that came close to proving there was a dirty campaign being run with Key’s involvement and approval. All Hager proved was things that were already known, that Slater plays dirty and that Key and he communicated to some extent.

It hasn’t been proven that it has been all orchestrated from the top.

Having a Prime Minister or party leader keeping a distance from the dirtier side of attack politics is a common practice and has been for a long time. Trying to claim that a “two-track strategy” is some sort of revelation is disingenuous. It sounds much the same as playing “good cop, bad cop”.

Feeding lines to journalists has been practiced since journalists and politicians first discovered they could be of mutual benefit. Threats are also nothing new.

There’s been underhand, covert and nasty politics for a long time. Slater is towards the worse end of the scale at times as far as bloggers go – he’s often fairly open about being nasty rather than covert – but there’s no solid evidence that John Key is any worse than Helen Clark or any Prime Minister or party preceding them.

Claiming “the Left has never done anything like any of that” is naive, ignorant or dishonest.

At a blogging level I’ve been abused and threatened by people on the left (and people on the right) – and Karol should be well aware of dirty practices on the left, she supports or turns a blind eye the nasty side of blogging at The Standard and takes no action unless it suits her political leanings (which is Greenwards).

Judith Collins has been relentlessly hounded by people in Labour through this year, using Labour research and taxpayer funded travel. She was also hounded earlier in the term, talking defamation action against two Labour MPs at one stage.

John Banks was relentlessly attacked throughout the last term. He was targeted to try and bring down the National led Government.

And Hager’s book was also aiming at bringing down the National led Government, cynically timed to be in time to swing the election but not earlier enough to be countered thoroughly. It failed because failed to provide smoking gun level evidence, and it turned voters off. It was in itself a form of dirty politics.

“Dirty Politics”, a subset of dirty politics generally, has two sides. It did highlight dirty politics as practiced by Slater and his associates, and it pointed out that John Key was to an extent complicit, but it also used dirty practices.

Even the timing of the book launch was criticised (by media) – it was in time for highlighted points to be quoted on the six o’clock news but allowed no time for journalists to check anything about adequately.

Hager was “feeding lines to mainstream journalist” and trying to manipulate media coverage.

And karol is either a willing part of the ruse or she has been sucked in blindly by it.

The public didn’t buy “right dirty, left clean”. They disliked “Dirty Politics” as much as they dislike dirty politics.

UPDATE: And lprent has also responded to Mike’s comment:

[lprent: Oh what complete bullshit. You have to reach back to 2008 for an example from a single person? What are you? A particularly stupid child?

When a newly created author pushed a post about the “H-bomb” on this site, a number of authors here looked at it, decided that it was probably crap, and booted the author. We then did a post a month later after the NZ Herald wrote about it saying that it looked fishy, and a followup post the day later saying that the Herald was probably wrong. That wasn’t to say that John Key looked innocent. Simply the evidence used simply didn’t look credible.

That is why most of the left activists looked at it and dropped it as being toxic stupidity.

The job of an opposition in Westminster system is to look at the Ministers of the Crown and to examine their behaviour. Same for all types of media. All of the Collins stuff was done above board and in public. Most of it was done with OIAs. There were far too many coincidences in the patterns between the toxic attacks by the arsehole bloggers and Collin’s interests. That was obvious long before Dirty Politics.

Frankly if you think that the examination of Ministers is dirty politics, then I guess that you really really need a lesson in civics or you are instinctive fascist with the arselicking fetish with powr.

But I guess even a poor thinking fool like yourself must realize that. Look at your last paragraph.

So what are you left with as evidence? Nothing…. apart from displaying your asine bigotry. ]

That’s how clean Karol’s Standard is. Or two-track perhaps.

Leave a comment


  1. Of course the attacks on you were “politically motivated” rather than your obnoxious way of reframing everything that people say to fit your particularly ignorant conservative world view?

    Face it, almost everyone who runs across you on the net from the right to the left thinks that you are a pompous dickhead. Why not learn from that and change your behaviour.

    I notice that you don’t bother to deal with either karol’s actual points nor mine. Instead you just lie about them. But of course you really aren’t into dealing with reality or honestly with what other people say.

    • I’ve quoted you fully Lyn. How \can that be a lie?

      “Face it, almost everyone who runs across you on the net from the right to the left thinks that you are a pompous dickhead. Why not learn from that and change your behaviour.”

      You could learn from that yourself, but I don’t expect you will.

      • kathy maddren

         /  27th October 2014

        WOO-HOO Pete !!!
        Ya pissed Elle-Pee off.
        Good on you mate. LOL.

        • He’s a lot like Cam in ways, ego, nasty and proud of it, bans views he doesn’t want, stuck in old-style politics and they’re both the biggest strengths and the biggest weaknesses of their blogs.

          • kathy maddren

             /  27th October 2014

            Back-lash will come.
            Trust no-one Pete.
            That includes me.

            • I give everyone the benefit of trust until proven otherwise Kathy, but am also wary and vigilant because I’ve found some to be untrustworthy.

              Both Cam and Lyn have tried to do dirties on me so I’m well aware of what they can be like.

    • “Nicky Hager’s book made a number of claims and insinuations but it produced no evidence that came close to proving there was a dirty campaign being run with Key’s involvement and approval.”

      That doesn’t really address Karol’s point that “Dirty Politics”, in the context of Hager’s book, is about the two-faced nature of right-wing politics rather than the general shit-flinging that Mike was referring to. The point that the dirty politics described by Hager favours the right is important because it identifies institutional rot which the right (and to a lesser extent also the left) ignores.

      I don’t believe that Pete is lying about anything, for lprent to make that accusation without any supporting argument indicates to me that lprent doesn’t understand the issues and is simply buying into the left vs right punch and judy show that diverts attention away from the real issues that people like him are unable to cope with.

  2. Iceberg

     /  27th October 2014

    … Its no surprise, is it, that the left got such a massive kicking. With you as one of their cheerleaders LP. The sort of stuff you leave on the public record is bizarre.

  3. kaykaybee

     /  28th October 2014

    The activist left and their ongoing efforts to frame their book “Dirty Politics” as revealing anything we didn’t know already know about politics is farcical. That people like lprent continue to frame this ‘revelation” as solely the realm of the right is cringeworthy. Yes, bloggers and the use of social media may have added another layer to the machinations, but for anyone to think Joe Blow-Voter doesn’t believe that the political gutter isn’t well rolled in across the spectrum is ludicrous. It’s typical of the sanctimonious left to rate themselves as above the fray, when those involved in the production and support of this book were judged by the public (and the election reflected this), as the dirtiest of all. As for the obsession they have with Slater, we know he likes it double dirty. However the emails highlighted in the book showed me nothing much more than I can read on his blog. Nothing of any substance rubbed off on Key and the very worst of Slater’s indiscretion, or as he calls it “exaggeration” only served to see Collins wrist slapped and back benched awaiting an enquiry into something she assures us she is innocent of. She’ll no doubt be resurrected in due time.

    Dr Michael Bassett with unfailing clarity has addressed this issue and reminds us of the way “Dirty Politics” used to roll under Labour.

    “…. (when) Helen Clark was in office 1999-2008… releases and exaggerated criticism of opponents were filtered to “The Standard”, (Labour’s electronic broadsheet ) ……..the priming done by cabinet minister Ruth Dyson each morning of her email tree with sleaze that the government wanted to be widely disseminated. …………Helen Clark had a list of journalists she’d ring to exchange gossip”

    On the dreadful book he says:

    “Hager acquired a huge number of stolen emails and proceeded to snip and paste and weave the matter into a book that he sold, pocketing the royalties, and availing himself of taxpayer funds from the Author’s Fund. Making a profit in other words from stolen goods. The journalist’s goal of selling news, they are claiming, has a higher priority than obeying the law. In this view, the end justifies the means. It’s the logic of Lenin, and of dictators over time. And it turns the basis of our legal system on its head.”

    As for lprent’s description of you Pete, I’d wear his invective as a badge of honour. If he’s not up to his scrawny neck in this production, he’s certainly a shameless Hager acolyte and in his quest for left wing ascendancy he and his mates have ignored and underestimated the middle’s pragmatic political meinung. The Hager book didn’t pass what I call my bookclub litmus test. Our group is an intelligent and diverse group, a third left, a third centre, a third slightly righty, but essentially we’re all social and economic liberals. Okay, so most of us have been around a long time, we’re politically aware, but not a one of us was horrified by the narrative in Hager’s book.

    “What’s worse?” we asked ourselves. A thief and hacker, a recidivist receiver (cough) of manipulated and stolen communications who fails to give anyone the right of reply, a man in cahoots with the despicable German or those he pillories?

    John Key knew the answer (thanks to Farrar and Curia) and as predicted the people overwhelmingly agreed with him.

  4. “Hager acquired a huge number of stolen emails”

    Basset is an idiot. You can’t steal something unless you deprive the owner of possession of it, and that didn’t happen.

    • kathy maddren

       /  28th October 2014

      Those emails and facebook messages were either of a personal or business nature. They belonged to the sender and recipient. Just because the Hacker used a software device to duplicate and remove 8GB of information from Slaters computer hard drives, does not mean it was not a criminal act.

      • Copying data isn’t a criminal act because there is no loss or injury.

        • In this case the apparent intent was for there to be a loss as a result of the copying and disseminating of illegally hacked data – the loss of an election.

          Regardless of whether that sort of loss is covered by the law or not it’s a serious issue in a democracy.

          • The loss of the election could be interpreted as a just and proper outcome resulting from public servants acting against the public interest. I agree that it’s a serious issue.

        • kittycatkin

           /  28th October 2014

          Yes, it is when the person who has it hasn’t given permission. If it’s not a crime, why does someone have to be a hacker to do it ? If it wasn’t a crime, one would be able to go online and look at it quite openly, like going into The Warehouse or Briscoes sites. Would you like me to be able to see your bank accounts and other personal records ? They’d still be there, wouldn’t they ? But I’d know all your private information.

          If someone peered through my window, they haven’t physically harmed me, but it’s still a crime.It’s the same principle.

          Copying any data can be a crime; see the notice over any public photocopier. I bet that if you wrote a book and thousands of people copied it rather than buying it, you’d think it was a crime-which it is. Copyright laws mean that one can’t copy anything one likes.

          • Copying data isn’t a criminal act because there is no loss or injury.

            “Yes, it is when the person who has it hasn’t given permission.”

            If someone took your photo in a public place without your permission, would that be a criminal act?

  5. kittycatkin

     /  28th October 2014

    I agree, Kathy, and can’t see why people think that hacking’s not a crime because the material is still there.Cybercrime like hacking, copying films and songs and other material are as much a crime as any other. If I wrote a book or painted a picture,and someone copied it and sold it, I still have my book or picture, but….

    I wonder if those who don’t see it as a crime would still see it as not being one if it was their private emails and material that had been hacked.

    • I think Hager and most others accept that it’s a crime but claim public good justifies using the hacked material.

      This is how Hager put it in the preface to his book:
      “Important issues surround the use of leaked communications. First, everyone has the right to keep their private communications private.and there must be a very high public interest to justify publishing them. In this case I believe most readers will agree that the material raise very serious matters of political accountability”.

      I think that’s highly debatable. Very high interest from political activists to oust the Government doesn’t come anywhere near close to justifying it, and the election suggests that the wider public had no such interest.

      On top of that Hager didn’t come close to proving his assertions and insinuations.

      In no way should political hit jobs justify illegal access of private data, it sets a very disturbing precedent if it is deemed acceptable.

      • kittycatkin

         /  28th October 2014

        I would have to admit that it could be justified in cases of terrorism.

        Nicky Hager can hardly claim that, though.

      • “In no way should political hit jobs justify illegal access of private data”

        Release of information that the public has a legitimate interest in is more that a political hit job, it is part of the process of finding a remedy for a public wrong.

        • But if it’s effectively one political side versus another with democracy at stake so it’s very difficult to argue “public good”.

          What public good came from Hager’s book? It didn’t reveal much that wasn’t already known, and it didn’t seem to do much good for the left wing activists involved.

  6. For something to be a crime it has to be a breach of a rule or a law, and that rule or law has to be applicable to whoever committed the act. Regarding the hacking of Slater’s data, the Crimes Act refers to acts which cause damage or loss, and applies to persons bound by the NZ legislation. Slater alleges that the hacker broke the law, but I haven’t seen anything that would substantiate that. His allegation is in a sense political, because if the information in Hager’s book was obtained unlawfully then it is inadmissible as evidence against Slater and his associates.

    • Law professor Andrew Geddis says:
      “the Police are investigating a real crime here. Even certain bloggers whom we do not name have a right to keep others out of their computer systems, and this right is protected by criminal sanction.”
      He references: Crimes Act 1961
      252 Accessing computer system without authorisation
      (1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who intentionally accesses, directly or indirectly, any computer system without authorisation, knowing that he or she is not authorised to access that computer system, or being reckless as to whether or not he or she is authorised to access that computer system.
      (2) To avoid doubt, subsection (1) does not apply if a person who is authorised to access a computer system accesses that computer system for a purpose other than the one for which that person was given access.

      No reference to damage or loss there, simply unauthorised access.

      Incidentally, while it seems to be generally accepted that Hager wasn’t the hacker (including by me) should that be ruled out without investigation?

      • kaykaybee

         /  28th October 2014

        ” while it seems to be generally accepted that Hager wasn’t the hacker (including by me) should that be ruled out without investigation?”

        No – this is the fourth time that this author has used stolen data to write a book for political and pecuniary gain. We need to get a ruling around this

      • “Even certain bloggers whom we do not name have a right to keep others out of their computer systems, and this right is protected by criminal sanction.”

        If that right actually existed then any information obtained by the police from unauthorized access of a suspect’s computer would be inadmissible.

        “No reference to damage or loss there, simply unauthorised access.”

        Yes, but the fact that an act is described within the Crimes Act doesn’t mean that it is a crime in the general sense. Legislation doesn’t define what crime is, it defines what is prohibited or required by the state. “Crimes Act” is a title, not a reference to an actual act about crimes, although of course most of the acts described in the Crimes Act are actual crimes.

        “while it seems to be generally accepted that Hager wasn’t the hacker (including by me) should that be ruled out without investigation?”

        The presumption of innocence applies. Without prima facie evidence implicating him there’s no warrant for an investigation.

        • Having openly acknowledged having possession of illegally obtained data he must feasibly at least be a potential suspect. Otherwise hackers could just claim to have been given data by someone else with effective immunity.

          • Lawful purpose isn’t grounds for suspicion. If a police officer confiscates contraband from someone, is there grounds to suspect that the officer’s possession of that contraband is illegal? If not, then how is the situation different for a journalist writing about something that is in the public interest, even though the information may have originally been obtained illegally?

  7. kittycatkin

     /  28th October 2014

    UglyTruth; If someone looked in through my bathroom window and photographed me naked, that would be a crime. If they photographed me in public, of course it wouldn’t be-unless they took one up my skirt or in a changing room.

    It cannot be denied that going into someone else’s emails and records is a crime. The fact that the material is still there is not justification for doing it, any more than photographing someone in a changingroom and saying that the person wasn’t touched makes it all right and legal.

    If I wanted my bank account and other such records to be public, I’d make them public. So would everyone else. The reason we have some things private and needing a password before they can be seen means that they are NOT for anyone to see, Would you be worried if I hacked your computer and read everything on it, like bank accounts and (if you happened to have any) criminal records ? Or your private emails, things like (if you had gone bankrupt) details of your bankruptcy and things like that ?

    • “If someone looked in through my bathroom window and photographed me naked, that would be a crime.”

      The law looks to the intent. Would it be a crime to take a photograph of a naked newborn baby? If not, then how are the two situations different?


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