Presland on ‘Digital Harm Bill’ and ‘Dirty Politics’

At The Standard Greg Presland tries to link the passing of the Digital Harm Bill with Dirty Politics in The Cyber bullying law and Dirty Politics.

I saw this graphic last night online.  It is one of those perfect Crosby Textor focus group graphics that you cannot fail but to admire.

National cyber bullying graphicGet that?  If confronted about Dirty Politics National can now say it is doing something.

Get that? It looks like a long bow to me.

This particular bill is a PR smokescreen to try and reduce the negative effect of Dirty Politics.  We should have seen this and we should have called it for what it is, instead of thinking the best of National’s intentions and trying to improve their bill.  Tim Watkin is right, the law is poorly drafted, will have a chilling effect on media reporting and cartoons, and is an example of cynical politics.

This bill has been in the making for far longer than left wing activists launched the ‘Dirty Politics’ campaign less than a year ago. I’m not sure how the Bill’s origins go but submissions were being made on it in February last year, for example: Harmful Digital Communications Bill submission.

I’ve just checked and it looks like it goes back years. The Harmful Digital Communications Bill 2013 was introduced to Parliament on 5 November 2013 and had older origins:


This Bill implements the Government’s decisions on addressing harmful digital communications, which were largely based on the Law Commission’s 2012 Ministerial Briefing paper Harmful Digital Communications by:

  • creating a new civil enforcement regime to quickly and effectively deal with harmful digital communications;
  • creating new criminal offences to deal with the most serious harmful digital communications;
  • making some small amendments to existing legislation to clarify their application to digital communications and cover technological advance.

To try and slap a ‘Dirty Politics’ motive on this bill looks like, well, a bit like doing dirty politics.

And Presland heaps on the irony.

The left’s desire to engage rationally in the debate about the bill and try to make the bill somehow better is understandable but they should have realised that this was all a PR job and should have opposed it as a threat to the freedom of speech.

Some of the efforts to ‘engage rationally in the debate’ on the Standard thread.


 Just a case of Judith Collins masturbating her ego up as she produced a stupid law for publicity reasons (like the rather useless “crusher” law), and then fools in parliament putting in a law that will be used way way outside of the purposes that they recorded in Hansard. I suspect that the instances of its use for the purposes stated in the record will be minimal simply because it will be too hard legally.


Isn’t the poster meant to say:

“Bully the Government or any of our MPs online and you could face two years in prison.”

Emelia Lovett:

They got rid of John Campbell, now we losing our right to free speech, they already bully people to death, next the pricks will be popping people off!

Our government has so much class!

Judith, John, they come from what you call ‘proper breeding’.


If you look any Fascist state this is pretty much the same process they utilize. Legalize spying on people, undermine journalist standards and gag any who step out of line and then take away freedom of speech. Lets see what comes next……

I think there’s valid concerns about how the Bill may be used in practice but playing the Dirty and paranoid cards is hardly a showcase of ‘the left’s desire to engage rationally in the debate’.

Leave a comment


  1. Shagger

     /  2nd July 2015

    Prentice will be off to jail quick smart will all his cyber bully boy bullshit

  2. kittycatkin

     /  2nd July 2015

    Some people have far too much time on their hands and too little to think about-and think that everyone else has, too. There’s no answer to the remarks you quoted. Let us be thankful that we are us and not those poor fools who think that everyone else’s mind is as twisted as theirs.

  3. Missy

     /  2nd July 2015

    This is standard operating procedure from TS. Ever since the book came out everything that is negative to Labour is explained away as dirty politics, everything they don’t like or that National does is explained away as dirty politics, and dirty politics is the reason Labour can gain no traction with the public and in the polls. They don’t see that everyone else in the country has moved on, and is no longer interested in Dirty Politics, most people see that both sides play dirty (most people see that the Nicky Hager book was just Labour / Left dirty politics), and they don’t see that the more they blame everything on dirty politics the more harm they are doing to the Labour brand.

    On a side note (but sort of related), I seem to recall something a few weeks ago when TS were going on about dirty politics (can’t remember the non-issue), and at the same time Andrew Little was parroting the same thing – and they try to claim no connection to the Labour party, it definitely looked like coordinated opinions between TS and Labour.

  4. Reginald Perrin

     /  2nd July 2015

    Ever wondered why The Standard is sometimes referred to as the Last Bastion of the Loony Left? Just read some of the comments Pete has quoted above.


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