James Shaw speaks on NZF/BFD use of photos against journalists

After growing pressure to make some sort of statement Green co-leader James Shaw has commented carefully on NZ First handing photos to an attack blog who then threatened the journalists.

NZ Herald: NZ First Foundation saga: Greens break silence on ‘chilling’ photos of journalists

The Greens have broken their silence and expressed alarm at published photos of an ex-NZ First president with journalists who have been reporting on donations to the party.

The photos were published on website The BFD, which has been linked to Whale Oil, the blog at the centre of the 2014 book Dirty Politics.

The BFD has increasingly been used to promote NZ First and to attack the Greens, Jacinda Ardern, Simon Bridges, National and the media.

Shaw told the Herald that the details of what had happened were unclear.

“But regardless of who took the photographs and why, the fact they were passed to a blog that is designed to undermine trust in our political system is a concern.”

Shaw also took a step further in relation to questions about the NZF Foundation and whether it has properly declared donations to the NZF party.

“The allegations are concerning and due process must be followed while they are investigated,” Shaw said.

“We know New Zealanders will be looking at this issue and worrying about what it means for their democracy, which is why we are focused on making the system more transparent and fair.”

This is something, but seems a lot more measured than Green condemnation of John Key and National when Hager’s Dirty Politics in 2014 revealed the use of Whale Oil for political attacks.

Shaw has previously answered questions about the foundation by saying that the country’s electoral system needed to be strengthened.

He is now calling for an independent citizens’ assembly to “clean up” political donations, which have been clouded by questions over the NZF Foundation, as well as the SFO charges laid in relation to a $100,000 donation to the National Party.

Perhaps an alternative to fixing the laws would be a good idea, rather than politicians dominated by the large parties who receive large donations doing what suits their own interests.

Shaw’s response tends towards too mild and too late.

Jacinda Ardern has remained fairly silent on the NZF/BFD issue, and has been widely criticised for this.

National Party leader Simon Bridges said there remained many unanswered questions about the “chilling” photos.

“It beggars belief to think that somehow by chance these journalists were photographed with Lester Gray and the photos somehow found their way onto a blog.”

if the National Party had been involved in such a thing, Labour and the Greens would be shouting from the rooftops.

“The Prime Minister appears to be hiding. Her silence is damning. Has she asked who took the photos, did they pay for it, and how did they end up on the blog?”

National were involved in this sort of thing up until 2014, but then distanced themselves from Whale Oil. Cameron Slater then turned his attacks on Key, National, Bill English, Paula Bennett and Bridges. This has continued at The BFD, although Slater now seems to have a more peripheral role.

While the change of position from National is stark it does turn pressure towards Ardern.

Asked about Bridges’ comments, a spokesperson for Ardern said the Prime Minister was focused on the issues New Zealanders care about.

“New Zealand First Party matters are for them to respond to,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

That is a very lame response. Ardern will no doubt be questioned about this in her weekly media conference – and will no doubt have some sort of response prepared. It will have to be much better than her spokesperson.

Leave a comment

34 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  17th February 2020

    My comment is not about people taking phots of journalists or politicians being involve in that. I’ve already seen a heading on the Herald site “Listen live: PM answers questions on NZ First Foundation saga.” I don’t care.

    My observation is about James Shaw commenting ‘carefully’ on NZ First handing photos to an attack blog.

    That will be a cause for disappointment and concern for media outlets. Just one different word might have allowed them to splash the headlines with ‘Shaw lashes out’ or ‘slams coalition partner.’

    It’s not fair that Shaw is trying to fashion an innings, work the ball around when the media want him to try to smash the cover off the ball with the chance he’ll come a gutser.

    Reply
  2. Corky

     /  17th February 2020

    Nothing like the prospect of electoral defeat to clear the head; open the sinuses… and take a candy floss dig at what is plainly corruption to most people. While unlikely, if NZ1 and the Greens were turfed out of parliament, that would create a bleak political landscape.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  17th February 2020

      And the $100k donation to national ? The talk of money to get a list spot for the son of a hidden donor?
      I dont think JLR is finished yet with his reveals

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  17th February 2020

        Who was the leader of the opposition ‘ringing around’ and threatening political editors with defamation laws?

        isnt that ‘chilling ‘?
        https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/107971088/the-jamilee-ross-saga–dirty-ugly-nasty-politics-with-no-end-in-sight

        Reply
        • David

           /  17th February 2020

          Must be a bit of panic setting in with the “look over there”, indefensible situation as Labour go down with the festering mess that is NZ First.
          The good news is we wont have to endure the Greens pontificating from there position of assumed sanctity of the moral high ground anymore. Russell Norman must be spinning watching all his hard work work being destroyed.

          Reply
      • Corky

         /  17th February 2020

        I think you are talking of hypocrisy. We know politicians of all colours are hypocrites.
        The problem you have Duker is National is not the government. The SFO is not investigating them. Live with the facts…accept the pain.

        As forJ LR. Who knows? Unless he has some earth shattering revelations, he is yesterdays news. Obscurity and a mediocre job await him.

        Reply
    • duperez

       /  17th February 2020

      Can you outline what is ‘plainly corruption’ in this situation. I accept it might seem a waste of time telling me rather than informing those charged with investigating events and relating them to the relevant laws.

      They’re probably waiting to hear from you.

      Reply
  3. lurcher1948

     /  17th February 2020

    God,feral NZ needs to grow up,pictures were taken,history was recorded,death squads were NOT deployed as in rightwing countries,the sheeple don’t care,and an own goal to the precious reporters Shock horror a NZ first supporter took some pictures…its end of times.

    Reply
  4. Ardern has spoken on it this morning – saying she isn’t going to say anything.

    But…

    Dene is ex political editor at ODT.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  17th February 2020

      It makes her look extremely weak, and it’s not the first time that she has done this sidestepping over issues.

      Reply
  5. Duker

     /  17th February 2020

    Photos arent ‘chilling’ as its not done by a state agency. In fact its called biased reporting.
    As far as ordinary citizens go they dont have give journalists any special consideration.

    In a reminder from a recent case with Bob Jones , he punched a journalist who approached him while fishing, yes he was convicted of assault. NO chilling…. no slippery slope

    Reply
  6. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  17th February 2020

    So we have a Prime Minister who is weak, unable to stem the distrust now swirling around her Coalition Government.

    Clearly Winston and his cronies are calling the shots and Ardern and her Labour mates are just the facade, behind which money is siphoned off to the Gee gees and dubious projects up Norf.

    Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  17th February 2020

      It’s back to the horrible national past under comrade Bridges,I think a few pictures of rightwing reporters will be the least of the poor New Zealanders voters problems,wait for the full force of” poor hatred”from the right,

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  17th February 2020

      its another non event ..Maggy.

      Reply
  7. adamsmith1922

     /  17th February 2020

    Shaw’s response was weak and just what you might expect from him. By his behaviour he is complicit in enabling NZ First, in my view

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  17th February 2020

      So now you are for shutting down NZF ‘free speech’ and right to take photos in public ?

      You say nothing when Bridges threatens defamation against reporters, yet are willing to get the boot in for other parties.
      Your free speech claims is a charade for partisan posturing

      Reply
      • David

         /  17th February 2020

        Free speech, nice try. They are trying to intimidate and seeing as setting the lawyers loose aint working, blocking the merger between Stuff and NZME is no longer a viable threat/incentive they are resorting back to getting personal.
        This guy is in coalition with the saintly Ardern and the purient Shaw and its delicious to watch the infection spread, I hope you keep up your defense and she hangs in with Winston too.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  17th February 2020

          The journos want to shut down another point of view about whos leaking to 2 journos.
          What do you call it ?
          and one nutcase said
          “Has she asked who took the photos, did they pay for it, and how did they end up on the blog?”
          Definitely not the PMs business to look at ‘how they ended up on a blog’

          We do know how during Nationals time ‘how they ended up on a blog’, as it was Jason Edes job in the PMs office to supply material to Slater, Farrer and Tony Stuart/Keeping Stock

          Reply
      • adamsmith1922

         /  17th February 2020

        You are misrepresenting what I posted. I do not wish to shut down free speech,very far from it. What I wrote was a comment on Shaw’s weak condemnation and thus by implication his complicity in Peters campaign of misinformation and obfuscation.
        However as you seem determined to misstate what’s said,we will leave it there.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  17th February 2020

          Misinfo ?
          The photos speak for themselves…..leak ..leaker… Espiner

          Reply
          • It’s bit of a stretch that the same NZ First party member just chanced upon two different journalists in different locations, only one of whom was with Espiner at the time. Unless two separate party members happened to be able to take fortuitous photos. There’s still something quite suspicious about the explanations Peters has provided (and we know his claims can’t be relied on anyway).

            But again you’re avoiding the biggest part of the issue – what NZ First did with the photos and video. They gave them to a dirtbag blog (unless of course the party member happens to post for the blog), and then used them to intimidate and threaten journalists.

            Ardern has basically said that she doesn’t like the blog but whatever, it’s up to Peters and NZ First what they do – that’s a remarkable cop out from her.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  17th February 2020

              too,too funny…this ‘dirtbag blog’ was an integral part of the Key Govt’s PR machine…its main actor was feted and encouraged by the National Party…what ..fair weather friends ,they turned out to..be!

            • It was bad, but at least National dumped and ran as soon as it was exposed.

              There’s no sign of Peters disassociating himself or NZF from what is going on at The BFD.

              And Ardern has been very lame with her position (or lack of) on it. She has said she doesn’t like it but it’s none of her business. Except it is when her deputy PM is deep in it.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  17th February 2020

              She didn’t seem to think that the sex abuse allegations were her business, either.

              She is looking very ineffectual on this; as you say, it’s her deputy PM.

  8. duperez

     /  17th February 2020

    All these weak politicians eh? I remember when we had a strong leader. Man, did he ever sort out that Moyle chap.
    I expect after October Simon will be that sort of tough leader. Hopefully he’ll don the Taskforce Raptor uniform and stand in front of the cameras before the election. That’ll have the criminals quivering and the sycophants orgasmic. 😊

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  17th February 2020

      Someone will tell ‘tough on Crime ‘ Bridges about the 6 year plus freeze on police numbers during nationals government. And the police helicopters grounded as well.
      And Bridges was directly responsible as Minister of Transport of taking $150 mill funding from the police budget for his roads while road deaths rose for first time in 30 years
      SFO budget cut ..
      Crown Prosecutors budget cut …so more plea deals to avoid trials

      Reply
  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  17th February 2020

    Surely Jacinda could make Winston a new “No!” sign? His old one must be worn out by now.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  17th February 2020

      Peters said Yes we did …do try to keep up

      These journos are doing a full on beat up … as they want millennials click bait they attack NZ first.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  17th February 2020

        That was just Winston diverting as usual to answering the wrong question, Duker. Let’s try the right one: “Was Winston First engaging in Dirty Politics?”

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  17th February 2020

          That’s a sort of “Is the Pope Catholic?” question. I’m not sure if it’s hinting at him not being able to play the game as it is played.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  17th February 2020

            The Pope would be less likely to answer: “No!”.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  17th February 2020

              So now DP is a bad thing…when you smear someone else….I bet you loved it when the Beehive had its web of bloggers.

              Isnt the question: is a former official committing a crime by passing on private data to 2 journos.
              At least we arent wondering who its the nark

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