Tracey Martin alleges National organised ‘troll’ attack on Andrew Little

I’m not sure why this has come out now, but NZ First MP and Cabinet Minister Tracey Martin has said she witnessed a troll attack being organised by a National MP against Andrew Little when he was Labour leader.

NZ Herald:  Cabinet Minister alleges that National MP directed trolls to attack former Labour leader Andrew Little

New Zealand First MP and Cabinet Minister Tracey Martin says she personally witnessed a National Party MP instructing online “trolls” to attack a political opponent.

Martin will not name the MP, but says she watched him direct a group of supporters on Facebook to personally attack then-Labour leader Andrew Little while they were sharing a domestic flight during the election campaign.

“During the 2017 election I was on a plane and there was another Member of Parliament sitting in front of me.”

“… I watched this person in front of me, who was running a group of 15 trolls on Facebook, give them the messages that they needed to start bombarding the other party that they were trying to have an effect on.

“The messages they sent changed the outcome of the election. It wasn’t the outcome they were hoping for, but that was what they were attempting to do.

That’s referring to Little standing down as leader. Did a few messages in social media cause that? I doubt it.

“They personalised the messages to try and get one individual to feel so uncomfortable about their position that they removed themselves from it.”

Martin told the Herald after her speech that she was certain of what she saw on the plane. She told her colleagues about the National MP’s actions but did not consider any further action or making a complaint.

“It won’t be a shock to anybody that it’s a political tool. I wouldn’t be surprised if Labour runs similar groups of people.

“But we need to decide whether that’s appropriate, because they run personal attacks against either the leadership or individual MPs in the name of politics.

This is hardly shocking. MPs and parties, and political activists, have run campaigns against political opponents for a long time.

It may happen more with social media. It has certainly widened to attacks on anyone involved in politics. Social media can be a fairly knarly political environment, but I have noticed a number of times a distinctly different, specific attack line on myself when I have raised issues on both Labour leaning The Standard and National leaning Kiwiblog. You get to recognise things like this when certain anonymous identities get involved in sustained attempts to discredit and divert.

Should we be concerned?

“I don’t think it’s reasonable or appropriate behaviour for any adult to be creating a group of others to specific target a single individual. If a young person did that, we’d all be calling it bullying.”

From my experience most political forum bullying comes from numpties who seem to see sustained attacks as some sort of game of attrition.

Party initiated attacks are less common, hence they stand out. Some have involved insidious threats.

There’s not much that can be done to prevent this, apart from pointing out when it happens – so I don’t know why Martin has waited until now to tell her story. Standing up to the political attackers and doing what can be done to hold to account is best done at the time.

I don’t think that the Harmful Digital Communications Act is the right thing to use to address political attacks. Sunlight is the best way of dealing with them.

 

80 Comments

  1. Sunny

     /  5th February 2019

    This was the most confused article and NZ1 hit job from the Herald yet – I get stupider every time I click on the Herald. Did National “organise” the troll attack as Tracey Martin alleges? What actually happened? The serious black-ops troll attack, worthy of NZ Heralds front page story, takes place on a public plane with numerous MPs. (Um, so not that secret.) First she says they are “a group of supporters.” So 15 people sitting on the plane who are already national supporters sitting next to a national mp having some fun and banter on facebook? Then she says ” I watched this person in front of me, who was running a group of 15 trolls on Facebook, give them the messages”. So now he’s actually “running a group of trolls”? What does that mean? Are they interns? Did he employ them? Did he pay for their plane tickets. And he runs his trolls from a public plane? Yeah, unlikely. “The messages they sent changed the outcome of the election” Now it just enters the realms of the absurd. So from her view behind the MP she was able to stand up and see the messages posted by 15 troll passengers? But she made no complaint at the time, didn’t name the mp, or give an example of any of the facebook posts. This is a scandalous piece of journalism from the Herald which no author puts their name to.

    • Duker

       /  5th February 2019

      What gibberish you talk…it was 15 people on facebook, not on the plane.

      Anyway . Ive been saying for a long time that National , either as Mps or from the party itself sends information to trusted sources or just influencers. Its much more widespread than an individual Mps ‘troll army ‘ – a giveaway that the Mp is Judith Collins. She has that nasty mien , which isnt helpful for her public persona, but passes on her preferred lines to others who have no hesitation

      • Sunny

         /  5th February 2019

        Tracey Martin said the MP is a HE, so not Judith Collins. Hmmm you are right however – she could have meant the person was running the 15 facebook trolls online. But she was sitting behind the MP in business class, and so she didn’t hear him discussing orders, she just stood up and had a go at reading his computer and it just was lucky enough to contain the information she wanted. Does she book the seats behind Nat MP’s specifically for this purpose? I wonder if this is how other leaks are occurring. How lucky that on her first spying attempt she found this trolling scandal or does she regularly stand up mid flight to check the other mps computers. And by standing up in business class she was able to stand their long enough and close enough to read the message/s in enough detail to confirm that an mp was “running” facebook trolls and they were definitely being sent orders and count how many people were tagged in the message. How many messages did she see sent. What did it say. And she was invited to be the speaker about online ethics?

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  5th February 2019

          When did wifi roll out on AirNZ domestic flights?

          • Duker

             /  5th February 2019

            Who said the plane was in the air? mobile devices are allowed until the doors close

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  5th February 2019

              To watch for some time that would be necessary for this story you would need to be behind and across the aisle. And before the doors closed there would be a stream of passengers shuffling past blocking the view.

        • Duker

           /  5th February 2019

          “Does she book the seats behind Nat MP’s specifically for this purpose? ”
          hehehehe…

      • Duker

         /  5th February 2019

        Opps. I missed the word ‘him’ first time around. But who inational -apart from Collins, who had history as Whaleoils puppet master- would be savy on Facebook.
        Bishop , nationals ‘youth adjacent’ Mp is well known for his snapchat exploits with pre teens

        • High Flying Duck

           /  5th February 2019

          The irony of you posting that and at the same time accusing National of dirty politics…

          • Duker

             /  5th February 2019

            Im not being directed to do so by Ministers or the Beehive- thats what dirty politics is about..the hidden hand…but of course is ‘someone’ directing you to shutdown comments about what Bishop did on snapchat. Its not disputed that it happened as the mother complained!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  5th February 2019

              I’d notice if someone was leaning over and gawping at my computer. If the person did it before the plane took off, they must have been blimmin quick at typing.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  5th February 2019

              Thee Snapchat comments happened – regarding policy and interaction on the youth portfolio he held.
              It’s the sleazy innuendo you throw in that makes your posts on it so revolting.
              The mother complained but the important bit you gloss over is:
              “None of the parents were concerned that Bishop’s intentions were anything other than misguided.”
              https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11992215

        • Trevors_elbow

           /  5th February 2019

          What smeary little troll you are Duker…. again from the Left with the little trap Labour supporters in Hutt South set Bishop….

          So when is Labour going to face up to the sex abuse camp? Why has it defended the groper so ardently?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  5th February 2019

            She must have had a periscope.

            Has anyone checked to see if the plane was one of the ones with wifi at that time ? Not all did by any means !

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  5th February 2019

              I think it is only offered on international flights. This was domestic she says.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  5th February 2019

              Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…and the image of someone being able to look over and see what was being done without the person noticing is a bit far-fetched. Nobody’s that absorbed in what they’re doing !!!

  2. Loki

     /  5th February 2019

    It’s a bit rich her moaning when they own Whaleoil

  3. High Flying Duck

     /  5th February 2019

    • Duker

       /  5th February 2019

      Are you part of Seymours Trolls ?
      he wants a policy debate but does publicity stunts instead ?
      Gets on a bandwagon for Ukrainian family who switched from a business visa to an Enterprenuer visa and then complain that that category doesnt cover people just buying an existing business which they ‘over staff’

      • High Flying Duck

         /  5th February 2019

        Wow, that was a stream of off-topic irrelevancy.

  4. Blazer

     /  5th February 2019

    the simple approach…

    is this the sort of thing a National member would do?

    Of course it is…look at their form.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  5th February 2019

      Those poor little left wing parties trying so hard to do the right thing, but being undermined by the dastardly Nats and their dirty tricks?
      Pull the other one.

      • Blazer

         /  5th February 2019

        Jason Ede.

        • Duker

           /  5th February 2019

          Judith Collins
          her twitter feed has this headline
          “People shouldn’t be used like ATM machines by Ardern/Peters/Whoever Government”

          Guess what , there is fake Twitter account ‘Adern DJ’ which had an ATM machine spewing money and comments intented to be ‘sound alikes’ to the ‘real ardern’

          I would say it Collins whos feeding the fake twitter trolls.
          I seem to recall the ATM meme appeared in other feed , but clearly not as a Collins troll

          • High Flying Duck

             /  5th February 2019

            Adern DJ is a parody account that has been around since the election. Parody is not Dirty politics. But then lefties and humour rarely get along,

            John Key’s run as PM had this account:

            With gems such as this from 2014:

            • High Flying Duck

               /  5th February 2019

              Sorry – not sure why all those other tweets came up…

            • Duker

               /  5th February 2019

              Well Not John key was at least humorous, Ardern DJ seems to be Collins ventriloquist dummy

            • High Flying Duck

               /  5th February 2019

              It’s only funny when it’s about my enemy?
              I think both accounts have had some excellent satire.

          • Sunny

             /  5th February 2019

            “Martin will not name the MP, but says she watched HIM direct…..” Yeah. Sorry to disappoint, it’s not a female. Well it might not be anyone at all. Just a random unsubstantiated smear.

            • Duker

               /  5th February 2019

              Collins is known for the instance where she set her Troll Army onto one of the first kiwibuild couples – and she then threatened defamation when she was called out on it.
              This was her smear job that ‘set them off’

            • High Flying Duck

               /  5th February 2019

              Duker, that was another BS story.
              The Kiwibuild couple were bragging on Facebook about their instant capital gains and got called out about it.
              Judith rightly pointed out that they were not exactly the target market the Government had originally been talking about.
              Then the lefties got up in arms and clutched their plastic pearls to smear her.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  5th February 2019

          Mike Williams.

          • Blazer

             /  5th February 2019

            ‘I agree with…Matthew….Michelle…insert right wing name…🤢

    • Corky

       /  5th February 2019

      What about free lance deep cover Lefty trolls who work in little groups.. Blazer?

      • Duker

         /  5th February 2019

        Slater never seems to have found any… have you

        • Corky

           /  5th February 2019

          Yes, some frequent this blog.

          • phantom snowflake

             /  5th February 2019

            Okay I’ll bite. There are only a handful who comment here who have left wing views. None of them sound like they are aligned to any particular party. What are you suggesting?

            • Corky

               /  5th February 2019

              Now you want me to bite, and get moderated.

              ”There are only a handful who comment here who have left wing views.”

              Yes, but these trolls express both right and left viewpoints..either for fun, as a strategy..or to plump blog threads out.

            • Corky

               /  5th February 2019

              Should have written: ” these type of trolls.”

            • phantom snowflake

               /  5th February 2019

              No, that wasn’t any kind of trap, and your answer has left me just as puzzled as I was before.

            • Gezza

               /  5th February 2019

              Yes, but these trolls express both right and left viewpoints..either for fun, as a strategy..or to plump blog threads out.

              They might just be like me; able to comprehend both liberal and conservative viewpoints and not feel ideologically driven toward either, depending on what the issue is.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  5th February 2019

              Thanks for clarifying, Gezza. So you’re a “free lance deep cover Lefty troll”?? I’m stunned!

            • Gezza

               /  5th February 2019

              Shit. Maybe I am. I had no effing idea ! I’ll have to have a think about this.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  5th February 2019

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  5th February 2019

          This type of troll or these types of trolls, not these type of trolls; singular nouns take the singular demonstrative, plurals take the plural. One wouldn’t say these person. Well, most people wouldn’t.

        • Fight4NZ

           /  6th February 2019

          Talkback is for the troll, by the troll, of the troll.

  5. Corky

     /  5th February 2019

    Talking of trolling…what has Jonsey called Don Brash and Brain Tamaki? And this leading up to what should be our National Day.

    At least the latter have done something. What has Jonesy done apart from wanting to regulate our shower heads and waste a billion dollars.

    • Duker

       /  5th February 2019

      So Rocket Lab should get government money , Peter Jackson get government money and yet jobs centres in low growth provincial areas get nothing?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  5th February 2019

        Everyone should get Government=taxpayers money, Duker?

        How much tourism do you think Jackson has brought NZ?

        • Duker

           /  5th February 2019

          Last year his Weta Group got $40 mill or so, more than Radio NZ
          and this is what the Tourists will be coming this year to see? A box office flop

          • High Flying Duck

             /  6th February 2019

            A lot it seems:

            “Government subsidies may have cost New Zealand taxpayers $550m since 2010, but a report prepared by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research shows film-making has created thousands of jobs in the region, and added an estimated $260 million to the capital’s economy last year alone.

            The report found that in 2017 the business of bringing things to the silver screen provided about 2500 jobs and generated $705m in revenue for Wellington-based film-making businesses.

            Nearly two-thirds of that – $449m – comes from post-production work.

            [Mortal Engines] provides a snapshot of the wider benefits of film-making to the region, providing 5000 hotel nights for cast and crew, using 1500 vendors, and involving 926 crew members and 800 digital artists.

            Wreda spokesman David Perks said the report wasn’t able to measure the flow-on impact on tourism.

            But figures showed paid visitors on the Weta Studios Tours at Weta Workshop in Miramar had risen from 48,873 in 2013 to 149,579 in 2017.”

            https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/109065701/wellington-film-industry-added-260m-to-economy-in-2017-provided-2500-jobs–report

            • Blazer

               /  6th February 2019

              win-win for-WETA.

            • Fight4NZ

               /  6th February 2019

              So it’s a great result.
              But why aren’t you spluttering about welfarism and Govt staying out of business and how much better it would be left to the private sector, and the rest of the liberal economics agenda?

          • Pink David

             /  6th February 2019

            “and this is what the Tourists will be coming this year to see? A box office flop”

            I wonder why you picked one out of hundreds?

            Current production, Avatar sequel, Game of Thrones, Marval Avengers, Gemini Man, amongst others.

            Oh, and the masterpiece that is Rampage. Because monkeys, always with the monkeys.

      • Corky

         /  5th February 2019

        The thing is..Rocket Lab and Jackson deliver. I can tell you some of these pampered boffins from overseas who have been hired by Rocket Lab spend up large..They want the best and prepared to pay for it. I’m told the local Mahia Cafe is importing special food lines to cater for Canadian workers. And the local DHB makes good money from blood testing that all these workers are required to under go.

        • Duker

           /  5th February 2019

          Rocket Lab HQ is in Huntington Beach California

          • Duker

             /  5th February 2019

            I can see all those pampered employees in this picture …well a few sheds and maybe some sheep

            • Corky

               /  5th February 2019

              Didn’t know you live at Mahia, Duke. Tell us your story.

          • Duker

             /  5th February 2019

            There are hardly any employees at Maihia .
            And DHbs dont ‘do’ blood tests like you say , they use contracted labs for that, I think their contractor is SCL

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  5th February 2019

              It’s PathLab here 🙂

            • Corky

               /  5th February 2019

              Let mew enlighten you, Duke.

              ”There are hardly any employees at Maihia ”

              Well, that depends on what stage of their work they are at.

              You do realise they fly and out from the main centres were other work is done in conjunction with Rocket Lab?

              ”And DHbs dont ‘do’ blood tests like you say , they use contracted labs for that.”

              Nice bluff and completely wrong. I know this from first hand experience watching some of these people ( short tempers and a sense of entitlement) come in for blood tests.

              Now, RL may have contracts with others for other blood testing and medical care..I don’t know. But I know they frequent the DHB..

    • Gezza

       /  5th February 2019

      How very Trumpian. He hasn’t wasted a billion yet, Corks, to be fair.

      • Corky

         /  5th February 2019

        No, but you can read the writing on the wall as well as me.

      • Duker

         /  5th February 2019

        What has been ‘wasted’?
        Like this one for ‘Lidar’
        https://www.linz.govt.nz/data/linz-data/elevation-data/provincial-growth-fund-lidar-call-for-applications-and-expressions-interest
        ‘We anticipate that the PGF co-funding will contribute approximately 50% of the cost for procuring region-wide LiDAR data coverage.
        Sounds like it as sleaze written all over it- says Goldsmith-DJ
        or this
        Projects to upgrade transport links in Kaipara (Roads and Moana) will receive $19.41 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. With $6.84 million from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF), $1.0m from the Kaipara District Council and $10,000 from Te Roroa Iwi, the total investment in Kaipara transport infrastructure will be $27.26 million.

        Roads ? What they mean is roadways to corruption says Goldsmith-DJ

        • Corky

           /  5th February 2019

          To many maybes and anticipations, Duker. Now,you may be right, and more good than not comes out of this.. but from inception to delivery, many things can go wrong.
          Too much whim spending and not enough targeted spending on projects that have a business plan.

          Hopefully Labour get the boot at the next election…and all can be revealed regarding Jonsey’s machinations.

          • Duker

             /  5th February 2019

            Whim ?
            Every project needs to have a paln and money only goes as they meet their targets…some will fall by the wayside no doubt.
            Others are council or government agencies just doing what they do… just sooner

        • Gezza

           /  5th February 2019

          I was thinking of $160,000 worth of 400,000 seedlings bought by the government to plant in Northland that went to waste after the land was too wild to plant on. That 160k wasn’t what you could call a great return on the investment for the local region.

          Plus I vaguely recall a couple of other grants that seemed to have generated few jobs.

          But I’m not writing the PGF off by any means Duker. I’m all for putting funds into regional development to generate new & sustainable jobs, remedial education & skills training, and in particular where they will assist Maori youth and workers who have been cut out of the economy as regions have floundered.

          What I am a bit leery of is how sound the proposals submitted and approved are, and whether the Minister actually gives a damn that they are sound proposals and will generate self-sustaining jobs and employment.

          There have been several reports that the bureaucrats Jonesy likes to accuse of hampering his largesse and slowing the process down are actually people who are spotting holes in the proposals & are wary of them not because they love red tape but because they don’t look like sound business plans or possibly because the governance arrangements look wobbly or murky.

          • Duker

             /  5th February 2019

            Seedlings went to waste ?
            What, do they have a use by date..like goods in supermarket .
            The real story tells a different picture
            “It ordered about 1,100,000 seedlings, but the number that could be planted collapsed to 191,000 because the land was too choked with scrub and weeds.
            We will actively seek to place the purchased seedlings elsewhere for the 2018 planting season.”
            The weeds and scrub was because it was 6yrs or so since the harvesting

            Who knew seedlings can be planted elsewhere… isnt that cunning
            https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12159156

            • Gezza

               /  5th February 2019

              I wonder if it happened. That article indicates the relevant Ministers expressing hope rather than conviction. But fair point.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  5th February 2019

              They can’t be kept too long or they go rootbound and don’t flourish.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  5th February 2019

              “1.2 million seedlings were bought to be planted.

              Mr Jones said only 200,000 seedlings were successfully planted because the land wasn’t up to scratch.

              “Well the land is untamed land, it’s wild, and obviously the analysis that was done on the ground was a lot more ambitious in terms of what could be delivered upon,” he said.

              About 600,000 of the seedlings were re-distributed to other forestry ventures – many of which are with iwi and have existed for many years.”

              https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/375816/local-iwi-takes-blame-for-160k-tree-planting-botch-up

              So 600,000 were given away to other ventures and 400,000 were wasted.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  5th February 2019

        Blood tests are done by labs like Pathlab. They should know, and so should GPs and the hospitals..

        Why would these Canadians need blood tests ?

    • Corky

       /  5th February 2019

      ‘Brian’ geez.

  6. Strong For Life

     /  5th February 2019

    Why would they need to troll Little? It was unnecessary as he was unpopular with the public and had zero chance of winning the election. Little made enough blunders, as he still does, and he doesn’t need anyone else to troll him as he does it to himself.

  7. High Flying Duck

     /  5th February 2019

    • Blazer

       /  6th February 2019

      we’ll get the ‘Flying Squad’ onto it Paula…front page too.

  8. Seabird

     /  5th February 2019

    If she has got any guts she would be telling the world who this MP is