Surpise award plus Dirty Politics

I missed this on Monday – Te Reo Putake at reviewing This Year at The Standard.

As the year winds down, I’ve been thinking about The Standard, particularly this blog’s influence in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We’re sometimes called an echo chamber, a far left talk fest or, memorably, a “dreadful 21st century bastardisation of a once proud Labour broadsheet“.

The truth is that The Standard is very, very representative of the broad left and its allies. The authors range from Marxist through anarchist, social democratic, green, centrist, centre right to libertarian. The commenters also cover all strands of political thought, mainly being the voices of Kiwis who are engaged in politics and concerned about their country. We like to argue and we’re not afraid to do so publicly.

TRP is not afraid to come here and argue, and his views are welcome to the mix here.

He dishes out some awards in his post, including:

Politician of the Year: Andrew Little. He has got the LP caucus humming after 7 years of division. And he is starting to look like a potential PM.

Predictable from a Little fan and promoter. Little and his leadership team does seem to have sorted out much of the dissent and division that had been a major Labour handicap. But I think Little has a way to go before he looks like a potential PM.

Citizen of the Year: Helen Kelly. Nuff said.

Fair enough. Kelly’s cancer is very sad. I’ve heard she is now very unwell, although in recent television appearnces she looked more relaxed and at easy than when promoting her political views. She has been a staunch Union and Labour supporter. I hope she can convince Little and Labour to address cannabis law in some way. A referendum to decide if it should be reviewed would be best.

And a surprise award:

Best other blog: Your NZ. Yes, I know; rolly eyes all round. But Pete George has steadily lifted his blog’s profile, readership and reader comments. It’s easily the best of the righty blogs right now, even if it is regularly pompous and disingenuous about issues like Dirty Politics.

I’m happy to take the compliment, but take issue with a couple of points.

I understand that Your NZ may look like a ‘righty blog’ to someone from as far left as TRP, but this isn’t a righty blog, it’s an ‘any view blog’ with input from across the political spectrum welcomed and received.

And I don’t know how I have been “disingenuous about issues like Dirty Politics”.

In general I’ve argued that dirty politics is far more than Slater/Eade/Key/right wing. Some on the left have gone to great lengths to try and limit “Dirty Politics” to a narrow part of the murkier side of politics. I have always spoken up about and against dirty politics wherever I see it.

Regarding the Cameron Slater flavour of dirty politics I’ve spoken up about and opposed that going back much longer than “Dirty Politics” was launched. Hagers book added some detail but there wasn’t much in general that surprised me because the gist of much of what he revealed was already apparent if you had observed as I had.

I have no problem with the dirt of Slater et al being highlighted and criticised. I welcome that in general.

I think John Key’s involvement with Slater was unwise at best.

But, and this may be what TRP thinks is disingenuous, I have also been critical of the illegal hacking of Slater, as hypocritical as Slater may be about that.

And I’ve been very critical of the way Hager held back revelations he had obtained to package it in a book and inject it into a general election campaign. To me this was a clear intention to swing en election.

And Hager failed to follow a basic journalistic practice of seeking counter views from those he attacked and accused in his book.

I think a ‘real journalist’ with the interests of the greater public good would have checked and then revealed the revelations as soon as possible.

As soon as you think of timing of stories to suit one’s own aims then it’s fair to query ulterior motives.

So like most things in media and in politics I have very mixed views on ‘Dirty Politics’ and call things as I see them. I fail to see how that is being disingenuous.

Leave a comment


  1. Reginald Perrin

     /  17th December 2015

    And Hager follow a basic journalistic practice of seeking counter views from those he attacked and accused in his book.

    Don’t you perhaps mean “And Hager failed to follow…”?

    Other than that, congratulations.

  2. I am not defending Hager’s alleged protection of journalists in the MSM that we keep hearing about, BUT I also think it would not have been feasible for him to have sought opposing views as per the criticism, as then the book would have been injuncted by numerous parties, and would probably never have seen the light of day. I think it had to come ‘out of a clear blue sky’ the way it did, to even come out at all, is what I mean.

    • Reginald Perrin

       /  17th December 2015

      In other words, Hager had no alternative but to do a hatchet job on National; is that what you’re saying belledejour?

      Isn’t that the very same kind of “dirty politics” Hager was complaining about in his book Dirty Politics?

  3. Brown

     /  17th December 2015

    Well done Pete. Its a good award because it was qualified that he doesn’t agree with you. Calling you “righty” shows what a twat he is but still, a compliment from the dark side to a perceived opponent is praise indeed.

  4. “Hager failed to follow a basic journalistic practice of seeking counter views from those he attacked and accused in his book.”

    Had he done that would the book have attained different levels of acclamation, condemnation or derision?

    Did that shortfall see it not being accepted as ‘scholarly’?

    Do authors on political blogs and columns seek (and present) counter views from those they attack and accuse in their work?

    Did Hager simply present a one-eyed view of a situation?

    It is easy for me to use a rugby analogy. There are tackles which are legal and those which are not. The point is to stop a try. A legal tackle in the corner might prevent a score, an illegal one the same. After the illegal one the attacker has a grievance and recourse. Unless points are scored it doesn’t matter, the try wasn’t scored.

    In politics of course there are no rules you only have to win. To some Hager couldn’t win, to some he couldn’t lose. Seeking counter views is a nicety, a convention and an irrelevance.

    Such a cynical view can be fairly disparaged. To reference a different context though, the treatment of the Prime Minister yesterday (prison soap, pony tails) and his ‘great, fun guy’ performance suggest niceties and conventions mean nothing.

  5. Kevin

     /  17th December 2015

    “The authors range from Marxist through anarchist, social democratic, green, centrist, centre right to libertarian. The commenters also cover all strands of political thought”

    What absolute bullshit. As soon as you identify yourself as centre right to libertarian your days there are numbered. The only people on the right there who are “safe” are people with a known name.

  6. Why is it impossible to find a single dissenting intellectual or thoughtful voice on the left commenting on the ethics and analysing the real political implications of Hager’s book? To a man, they’re all on message and that’s precisely where I’d point the allegation of “disingenuous” TRP.

    Like most here and most on the right, I find the way WO operates distasteful. He’s not only vulgar but he rates himself beyond both his relevance and capability. That said, like anyone else he has the right to privacy of his communications – however twisted they are. Why do the left think that HIS private communications can be stolen, curated and given a context that gives political impetus to their election campaign? Why go on record justifying this privacy breach and the theft? “The means justifies the end”.

    I have never understood why certain voices on the left never stepped out of their bubble of righteousness and attempted to see the way Kiwis did when they voted. That goes doubly for the Media. Their frothing at the mouth behaviour changed the way I saw our fourth estate and the MSM forever.

    There were the Kiwis who saw the Rawshark theft as simply counter to common decency. There were the cynics who thought “so what, they’re all at it”. There were those who said “it was hardly if Slater was an axe murderer or selling state secrets”. He is a bigot, hateful at times, economical with the truth and has a poor choice of friends. I would debate with anyone as to just how clever he actually is. His bumbling and clumsily application of the dark arts have not made him wealthy, wise or courted. Nobody will ever trust him again. In my opinion he’s more Alfred E Neuman than Frank Underwood.

    What about Hager? How clever is he ? Yes, he’s devious, but how smart? Nobody saw him coming and he tripped up Slater. Critically his book was hastily and poorly written & edited. Importantly though it utterly lacked balance. He showed us Beagle Boys over Mossad. It was abit of a laugh, no matter how they all got into a pious lather.

    The voters spoke, even now the Nats are still on 50% and the left still in denial as to the fact Hager’s book was more negative for them than it ever was for the right.

  7. G’day, Pete.

    To cover your questioning of the ‘dirty politics’ aspect, you have occasionally spotted something minor the Greens or Labour has done and asked if that was dirty politics too. You know it’s not, hence the ‘disingenuous’ tag. Hager’s Dirty Politics book exposed the worst corruption in NZ politics since, I dunno, Muldoon had the SIS staking out Wellington public toilets. Whatever the criticisms of Hager’s methods, NZ is a better place for his exposures.

    As for ‘righty’, well, you’re a conservative, Pete. You stood for parliament for a conservative political party and the vast majority of the posts comments here are right of centre. Nothing wrong with any of that, but it’s a bit silly quibbling about the obvious truth.

    Still, it’s all grist to the mill and I wish you and your readers a great holiday break and a fantastic 2016. More power to your elbow, Pete.

    If anybody is keen to read the whole article, but doesn’t want to go to the Standard, this is the alternative link:

    All the best, folks.

    • Mike C

       /  17th December 2015


      You are a bit of a dork … and it will be an interesting 12 months next year I reckon.

      Merry Xmas to you too TRP 🙂

    • I don’t think I’m anywhere near being a conservative. Just obviously a bit to the right of you in general, but not on everything.

      Something ‘minor’ to you by Labour may easily be seen as dirty by others less close to the party.

    • Timoti

       /  18th December 2015

      Mate, if Petes blog is right of centre, just how far left are you?

      “Hager’s Dirty Politics book exposed the worst corruption in NZ politics since, I dunno, Muldoon had the SIS staking out Wellington public toilets.”

      Try since Helen Clarke was in office. Remember the Dundien police incident? And just how close was Jevan Goulter to Labour?

      As for Hager…..yesterdays news. Key saw to that.

      • My politics and the politics of this blog are unrelated. There is simply no correlation at all. Your NZ is certainly not as right wing as some blogs, and I think small ‘c’ conservative is about right for the posts and most of the commenters. It’s not a criticism, Timoti, just an observation.

        Jevan Goulter? I have no idea what you think he did, but I bet he never ran a dirty tricks department out of the PM’s office. All I can recall about the man is that he once made Michael Lhaws cry or somesuch handbags.

        • Timoti

           /  18th December 2015

          No offence was taken. I guess we will have to disagree on everything. It doesn’t take much to make ML cry, or for him to answer with a quick retort. You are correct about Goulter not running dirty tricks from the PMs office. In truth he wouldn’t have had time, what with gallivanting from one end of the country to the other at Labours expense.. And of course those weird parties at senior Labour mps residences would have made him about as useful as a Greenie attending a Tory fund raiser.

          Have a great Xmas..

          • Ha! Thanks for the info about Goulter. It really doesn’t sound likely, as Labour haven’t got spare funds for flying anyone around the country. Plus, isn’t he in his early twenties? He wouldn’t have had much time to have got up to much mischief, and certainly not in HC’s time. He would still have been at school! Anyhoo, all the best to you and yours for Xmas too, Timoti.

      • Jevan Goulter! ha that must be straight outta Wishard.

  8. Kevin

     /  17th December 2015

    My awards:

    Best blog (drum roll) ,,, WO. WO is the most entertaining, easiest to read blog bar none. Plus it’s also the most must-read blog out there as the Len Brown affair proved. And the fact that the comments section has a community feel despite it getting far more visitors than it’s nearest rival demonstrate the incredible job that the moderators there do (incidentally, the community feel is in my opinion why reason people get so upset when banned).

    Most potential … YourNZ. What YourNZ has going for it is that it is essentially a centrist site where both Right and Left can hang out without fear of getting banned for not towing the party line. Also it has the same kind of community feel as WO. Whether or not YourNZ can keep this community feel a it grows and gains more readers remains to be seen but so far so good and that’s of course entirely thanks to PG.

    Could have been a contender – kiwiblog. Ok, I admit I haven’t been on kiwiblog much. But the reason this blog gets this award is because of the seemingly complete lack of moderation of the comments.

    Most tragic … LF. Hard hitting, entertaining, must read, except … they make crap up. And not just any old crap but defamatory crap and smears.

    Worst – The Standard. The layout is awful and the headlines do nothing to make the reader want to read more. For example “Obesity is a structural problem”. What the hell is that meant to mean anyway?

    And there you have it. My blog awards. 🙂


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