A web of connections between the ACT Party, Taxpayers’ Union and National Party

Ex ACT party researcher Grant McLachlan has posted what he knows about the ACT Party and it’s many political connections with people with National Party and also with the Taxpayers Union and other activist groups.

Astroturfs: Act Three of ‘Dirty Politics’

Artificial grassroots organisations – nicknamed ‘astroturfs’ – are designed to mask the sponsors of a message or organization so to give the impression that there is support from grassroots participants. Often, they help politicians to find and mobilize a sympathetic public and create the image of public consensus where there is none.

The story of astroturfs is a hot mess of money, cliques of right-wing schemers, and dog whistle politics.

Astroturf origins

The history of astroturfs in New Zealand is closely associated to the history of the Act Party.

The Association of Consumers and Taxpayers was formed in 1993 by former Labour minister Roger Douglas and former National minister Derek Quigley. It started as an astroturf but, in the new MMP environment, decided to form a political party called Act.

McLachlan then goes through history of the Act Party.

Fast forward to 2011 when ACT had five MPs, Rodney Hide resigned and Don Brash took over.

Despite many in Act knowing about David Garrett’s convictions for assault and using the identity of a dead child to obtain a false passport, when it surfaced in the media David Garrett resigned. Don Brash then challenged for the leadership and Garrett’s replacement, Hillary Calvert, gave Brash a narrow victory.

Brash claimed his motivation for the coup was Act and National’s lack of fiscal prudence. Soon after becoming leader, however, Brash and Ansell ran an advert criticising the ‘Maorification of Everything.’

Assisting Brash was former Act MP Stephen Franks and a junior solicitor in his firm, Jordan Williams. It was during the 2011 election that Jordan Williams fronted the ‘Vote For Change’ campaign to get rid of MMP. Jordan’s strategy revolved around uniting supporters of the main parties by stigmatising Winston Peters as the bogeyman of MMP.

The 2011 election was a disaster for Act. Don Brash was a list-only candidate, their support dropped to 1 percent, and John Banks won Epsom to become Act’s only MP. The party touting itself as ‘The Liberal Party’ was now led by one of National’s most conservative former ministers.

It was during this period that Nicky Hager received material which would become the basis for Dirty Politics. Practitioners included Jordan Williams and National Party pollster, David Farrar. In February 2013, they incorporated the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

Farrar has well known connections to the National Party – see disclosure statement.

The Taxpayers’ Union promotes itself as a spending watchdog – WE CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY FROM GOVERNMENT SPENDING – but they have always looked like a political activist group to me.

They have just had a lame complaint to Broadcasting Standards Authority ‘not upheld’ which targeted Labour Party advertising – NEW ZEALAND TAXPAYERS’ UNION INC AND MEDIAWORKS TV LTD – 2020-116 (22 SEPTEMBER 2020).

Jordan Williams was involved in a political hit job on Colin Craig and the Conservative party, along with Cameron Slater, that has resulted inn expensive defamation proceedings.

The idea of a taxpayer union wasn’t original. Canada had a Canadian Taxpayers Federation since 1990. Act politicos Peter McCaffrey and David Seymour spent years in Canada at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy analysing local and central government accountability.

Dirty Politics was published in August 2014. In September 2014, the founding chairman of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, John Bishop, posted an article titled ‘Taxpayers’ Union has attacked National more often than any other party.’ Since then, the organisation has attacked politicians from every political party except one: Act.

Bishop, a former TVNZ political editor, was the Act Party ‘Constituency Services Manager’, working in Parliament during Richard Prebble’s leadership. His job was to co-ordinate campaigns and tours from within Parliament. At the time, I was a researcher and ‘electorate agent.’

Bishop’s son, Chris Bishop, is currently National MP for Hutt South.

During Bishop’s tenure at Act, Prebble used Parliamentary Service funding to employ a disproportionate number of staff in its leader’s office, using the ‘out of Parliament’ budget meant for electorate agents to instead work in Parliament. A bogus electorate office was set up at Prebble’s private residence on Little Pipitea Street. Despite none of the staff ever working there, we were instructed to say that we did.

I was employed as a researcher in Parliament for 8 hours a week and 32 hours as an ‘out-of-Parliament’ electorate agent.

During the almost three years I worked for Act, I only worked three weeks out of Parliament, which was spent in Newmarket at the party’s head office shortly after that meeting at the bogus office. Following my return from Auckland, I resigned.

Other staff embroiled in this scam included Peter McCardle (who was also juggling elected roles on the District Health Board and Upper Hutt City Council) and Roger Styles (who was also elected to the Hutt City Council and became deputy mayor). Press secretaries included journalists David Young, David Hargreaves, and public relations commentator Trish Sherson.

Trish Sherson is sometimes used as aa political commentator by media – she was a Newshub post-debate panelist on Tuesday night.

Styles and McCardle used Parliamentary resources to research demographic trends of their constituencies. Discovering the ‘gentrification’ of the Hutt South electorate, Styles had ambitions of winning the electorate for National off Trevor Mallard.

John Bishop’s son, Chris, would eventually gain the candidacy in 2014 and win the seat in 2017. Chris’ work colleague at Phillip Morris Tobacco, Todd Barclay, entered Parliament at the same time.

So the claim here is that Act Party research led to National winning Hutt South.

Despite John Bishop’s track record with Act, Bishop went on to campaign for the Taxpayers’ Union, ridiculing politicians for double-dipping and misusing taxpayer and ratepayer money.

John Banks became swamped by scandal as Kim Dotcom testified that Banks didn’t declare a donation to his 2010 mayoralty campaign. When convicted, Banks resigned and Act found a new leader, Jamie Whyte. David Seymour ran for Epsom. Whyte argued that incest between consenting adults shouldn’t be illegal and later back-tracked. While Seymour won Epsom, Act support dropped to 0.69 percent.

Seymour initially failed to gain traction and Act floundered around 1 percent in support. National introduced young liberal candidates, including Rodney Hide’s former staffer, Andrew Falloon, and Hamish Walker replaced Todd Barclay.

After being disgraced in 2017 Barclay didn’t stand for re-election. Walker and Falloon were both exposed for poor behaviour this year and neither will stand again in their electorates.

Houlbrooke. You might remember that surname when a Louis Houlbrooke fronted a ‘lobby group’ called ‘Take Back the Clocks’ in 2019 to abolish daylight savings. Or during the 2017 election campaign when Act’s Deputy Leader Beth Houlbrooke said, “The fact is, parents who cannot afford to have children should not be having them.”

Beth is Louis’ mother. She rose from Act candidate in 2014, to vice president and party manager in the same year, to deputy leader for the 2017 election.

Louis got his start as Act’s social media co-ordinator and media liaison for the 2014 election, whilst president of Act’s youth wing. Following the election, he was David Seymour’s press secretary for the term.

Following the 2017 election, Beth remained Deputy Leader while Louis transferred to the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union and rose quickly to become their campaign manager.

Louis Holbrooke is still TU Campaign Mananger.

The Taxpayers’ Union strategy changed overnight. Their coffers swelled to an annual budget of $831,848.22 by the end of 2019 and nine paid staff.

Their ‘Our Team’ includes 15 people with various roles.

The Union was on a roll. They renamed their annual awards for the biggest wasters of public money after Shane Jones.

That looks clearly like political activist targeting.

The more that the Taxpayers’ Union attacked New Zealand First, the better David Seymour looked.

Targeting NZ First’s core voters, Act then surprised many members by giving gun lobbyists high list rankings.

Louis helped Beth and Phelan set up Facebook ‘community pages.’ While Act ran a ‘Freedom to Speak’ campaign against Jacinda Ardern’s proposals to censor hate speech, Beth and Phelan censored and blocked criticism and debate. When brought to the attention of Act, Seymour claimed the community pages were ‘private property.’

As president of Act’s youth wing, Louis campaigned against compulsory membership of student unions. Beth and Phelan, however, have both pushed for ‘Business Improvement Districts’ throughout Rodney…

…But none of these examples got a mention at the annual ‘Jonesie Awards’, held in Parliament’s Legislative Chamber. Instead, awards were given to Wellington Mayor Andy Foster for wasting $30,000 on a leadership course, Racing Minister Winston Peters for providing funding for two upgraded training facilities, and a lifetime achievement award to Transport and former Housing Minister Phil Twyford.

(For an event to be held in Parliament, it has to be sponsored by a Parliamentarian. Every ‘Jonesie Awards’ event has been sponsored by National MP Chris Penk, whose electorate includes the Rodney Ward.)

It looks like a web of interconnections between ACT, National and the Taxpayers Union.

With Act, nothing is as it seems. The protests by gun owners in the South Island were ‘attended’ by ‘Firearms Safety Specialist’ and third-ranked Act list candidate, Nicole McKee. The ‘grassroots’ protest, organized by local pistol and deerstalking clubs, was repeated elsewhere.

What is certain is that Act is about money. Several of Act’s major donors live in the Rodney Ward near the controversial Auckland Shooting Club at Makarau. There are strong Act links to that club. Maybe the media should be asking one member why Beth Houlbrooke was demoted? What was Beth’s position on the controversial club?

Act’s backers have mutated Astroturfs from a pressure group, to an attack weapon, to directly protecting the politicians they were indirectly meant to support, to having an unhealthy influence over a minor party. While they evolve, they still operate as dirty politics in plain sight.

This may be a distinction between ‘dirty politics’ and ‘Dirty Politics’, but there are a number of connections between ACT’s operations, the Taxpayers’ Union operations and National party interests.

McLachlan has followed up with another post.

Why we should have zero tolerance for Act

Sex, drugs, fraud and bullying. What the Act Party doesn’t want you to know this election.

He goes over a number of claims related to sexual harassment and drug abuse associated with the Act Party. Then:

Act now wants David Seymour to be perceived as a ‘fresh face’ and a clean slate. No he isn’t. He’s been around Act since I can remember.

I remember him as being good mates with disgraced former National MP Andrew Falloon when Falloon was Rodney Hide’s creepy staffer.

Seymour was then John Banks’ Ministerial Advisor while John Banks was being prosecuted.

Many who condoned the serious misconduct I’ve described are still active in the organisation. Seymour’s distancing from sexual harassment problems within Act’s youth wing is symptomatic of a party which places more importance on public perception rather than addressing the reality of its toxic culture.

But Act expects voters to have short memories. Seymour talks tough on ‘gangs’ when he and his party acted like one throughout its history. There are no signs that he will be any different as he tries to lure a new generation of voters.

Quite successfully it seems. Act are currently polling at 6-8%. National are still polling poorly so are unlikely to get to form a Government with Act, but if a sizeable ACT caucus gets established and doesn’t fly to bits they may be in a strong position to pull National and the country rightwards from 2023.

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68 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  2nd October 2020

    Interesting timing. I would be suprised if there wasn’t a connection between these groups.
    Toast and Jam. Labour and Unions. ACT and TPU. Sounds about RIGHT.

    Reply
  2. John J Harrison

     /  2nd October 2020

    Pete, a stunning post.
    As a foundation member of ACT I am blissfully unaware as to these allegations from an embittered ex member.
    The emphasis on alleged sexual misconduct within ACT pales into insignificance when compared to the Labour Party.
    I am also proud to be a financial contributor to the Taxpayers Union and nothing here would dissuade me to discontinue that relationship.
    They do a great job.
    The reason they do not attack ACT is because their financial projections pass muster – even Labour has found nothing untoward to bring them to public account.
    On Saturday I will party vote ACT ( as will an increasing number of voters ) and vote National for my constituency.
    New Zealand has a huge debt of gratitude to the founders of ACT.
    Despite all the rhetoric from Labour they have NEVER reversed anything Douglas, Prebble et al introduced to drag our country into the 20th ( at the time ) century with their economic plans.
    New Zealand is all the better because of these men.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  2nd October 2020

      -blissfully ‘unaware’!

      -‘pales into insignificance!–I see just a matter of ..degree.

      -TU -‘do a great job’…laughable..they had their hand out for gummint money


      Despite all the rhetoric from Labour they have NEVER reversed anything Douglas, Prebble et al introduced to drag our country into the 20th ( at the time ) century with their economic plans.’….um Douglas and PArebble were LABOUR CABINET MINISTERS,and traitors!

      Hopeless.

      Reply
    • Jack

       /  2nd October 2020

      I got so far as ‘blissfully unaware’ and ’embittered’ too.

      ‘Blissfully unaware’ I can accept. Good on you, you pure fellow.
      ‘Embittered’ is the typical thing though. The fellow with the good conscience gets labelled as the social outcast. We couldn’t have the person in the right seeming normal and happy could we? Must be embittered, perhaps mentally unstable!

      The attitudes here of Act members and David’s spiritual confusions, also the sexual abuse issues of which Brooke is useless, are the reasons I decided against voting Act.

      Now watch – Kitty doesn’t want me voting the same as her anyway. Cry to Pete? Or learn to moderate yourself consistently?

      Christians are allowed to go on the offensive. Kiwi Christians should

      Reply
    • JA75

       /  2nd October 2020

      I suppose you will dress less like a druglord now, JJH?

      Reply
      • Jack

         /  2nd October 2020

        A foundation member. Is blissfully unaware. Not was, maybe never

        Reply
      • John J Harrison

         /  2nd October 2020

        Ja75, if a drug lord is attired in 5 year old shorts, a NYC tee shirt and Brooks walking shoes while doing my morning constitutional around the Hill , then so be it.
        Your insightful contribution to this post is risible.
        Clearly, ad hominem attacks are the sum total of your intellect.
        Not a Labour Party member by any chance?

        Reply
        • JA75

           /  2nd October 2020

          Most of Napier still remembers you in your white suit and Panama hat. As classy as a rat with a gold tooth.

          Reply
          • John J Harrison

             /  2nd October 2020

            Ja75, you are clearly delusional.
            Never owned a white suit, nor a Panama hat.
            You have clearly mistaken me for ex MP Michael Laws.
            What a surprise.
            Not !

            Reply
            • JA75

               /  2nd October 2020

              No, I’m not mistaken. Michael Laws had a greasy perm at the time and a horseshoe moustache.

              You rocked a goatee, your single-breasted suit was off-white linen or cotton, white Panama hat, your shirt was pink, and you wore loafers and you wore a fake gold Rolex you picked up from Hong Kong. And this was years before the Art Deco Festival started!

              And your [deleted] home was bright pink: [deleted – don’t identify where people might live. PG]
              It’s best not try to attack Michael Laws. We all know how that back-fired against you, don’t we?

            • John J Harrison

               /  2nd October 2020

              Ja75, you are correct.
              I do own a Rolex, genuine and given as a gift on my retirement.
              Partridges would be rightfully appalled to learn of your accusation that my gold and diamond president watch was a Hong Kong knock-off.
              Your ranting about pink shirts, homes etc are those of a certified loon and totally delusional.
              Clearly one does not have to pass an IQ test to post unintelligible crap about another poster on this site.

          • Corky

             /  2nd October 2020

            That was Bertie. An Art Deco cad .

            Reply
          • Enough of this thread please – too personal.

            Reply
    • Why would I give a damn about which way you vote ? Don’t flatter yourself. I neither know nor care who you vote for.

      You are extremely judgemental about other people’s spiritual beliefs and states, despite the fact that you don’t KNOW these people and it’s none of your business what they believe. “Judge not that ye be not judged.” as the Bible says.

      David Garrett did NOT have a conviction for the passport thing; he was discharged without conviction. He never attempted to use it. He was young and did a stupid thing as most young people do.

      The assault was an attack to which he reacted as anyone would. I believe that there was CCTV evidence of this.

      Reply
      • There were witnesses who said that David was attacked from behind, and that he ended up with a broken jaw. The assailant was also charged with assault but the charges were dropped in his case. He had a black eye, hardly in the same league as a broken jaw. It was a set-up.

        Reply
        • The ‘why would I give a damn…..’ was to the egregious Jack, not JJH whose post somehow ended up in the middle.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  2nd October 2020

            The discharge was obtained by not revealing ‘other matters’ , as law students do.
            ‘In the passport application, which included the dead baby’s name, still suppressed by the courts, Garrett included a photograph of himself disguised with glasses and dyed hair.”
            ‘He was guilty as’… as they would say in Sensible Sentencing

            Reply
            • Guilty as what ?

              The court disagreed with you and gave him a discharge without conviction.

            • Duker

               /  2nd October 2020

              Silly comment …. he admitted it to police ..eventually , and would have plead guilty in court .
              Thats how discharge without conviction works , you have to admit your guilt, otherwise if you are found not guilty theres NOT the possibility of a conviction.
              Tied yourself in knots trying to divert , by making false claims

    • It wouldn’t be the first time you’ve condoned criminal conduct, would it John?

      Reply
    • Grant McLachlan

       /  3rd October 2020

      I am surprised that John Harrison has drawn himself into this argument. It is a shame that he is blissfully unaware of how Act perceives him. If Act was planning a race-based campaign, John’s name would be near the top of the list of potential racist donors, below Louis Crimp.

      And to proudly associate with the Taxpayers’ Union. He is nothing but a mark as they know how much he enjoys dirty politics. When Michael Laws accused him of dirty politics (and a few other nasty things), he sued him for defamation, lost, and had costs awarded against him. That’s an embarrassing indictment.

      I remember some of the racism his son would spurt with his mate, James Headifen. John and his family are nothing but bullies. Debt collectors who want a seat at the big boys’ table.

      Reply
  3. FarmerPete

     /  2nd October 2020

    So what!

    Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  2nd October 2020

      Have you noticed PG that the right have just about downticked your post on GD Kiwiblog out of existence Those rightwingers are VERY thin skinned,its saying things their way or its the highway

      Reply
      • Dave Davidson

         /  2nd October 2020

        You expected up-votes for this Hagar-esque smear just before the election? Try pulling this stunt on the standard or daily blog and see how long it lasts.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  2nd October 2020

          No one has said Hagars information was incorrect, in fact Slater went to court to get it suppressed because it was his social media stream ( he failed)
          he was using phantom facebook accounts to chat with La Diva Judith so his denial of using the ‘official one’ wore thin pretty quickly.
          The Princess Party part was most delicious, involving some of the names mentioned here and other unknown young women described as sluts in the transcripts

          Reply
  4. artcroft

     /  2nd October 2020

    And the big scandal here is….

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  2nd October 2020

      Misuse of taxpayer funds by ACT..
      It detailed the ‘arrangements’ during Prebbles time , of all then ACT list MPs had a tax payer funded ‘electorate type’ office in the same building in Wellington owned by Richard Prebble or his trust. [All other parties list MPs who have an office its usually in their home town. Hide was an electorate MP who had an office in Broadway Newmarket].
      I never realised the staff essentially never visited ‘the office’ and instead worked full time for the Party. Which isnt supposed to happen but they made the scam possible by having them “1 day per week” doing party work in Parliament…

      Reply
      • Any proof of all that ?

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  2nd October 2020

          The link from the Grant Mclaughan who was one of the people who didnt work in the ACT list Mps ‘offices’ in Prebbles Wellington building.

          have you not read the post PG put up and the source material ?
          ‘Parliamentary Service funding to employ a disproportionate number of staff in its leader’s office, using the ‘out of Parliament’ budget meant for electorate agents to instead work in Parliament. A bogus electorate office was set up at Prebble’s private residence on Little Pipitea Street. Despite none of the staff ever working there, we were instructed to say that we did.”
          All the ACT list Mps were supposedly had their’ non parliament’ office there, (it seemed to be a small block of townhouses) except for Hide who had a real office in his electorate

          Reply
  5. Blazer

     /  2nd October 2020

    Joining the dots makes quite fascinating reading…an alliance of cynical,dirty politics designed to enrich a handful ,as usual at the expense of….many.

    Reply
  6. La Cuchuraca

     /  2nd October 2020

    You missed a glaringly obvious connection, [Deleted, I’m well aware of that connection but you posting it here makes me suspicious given repeated attempts to set me up.]

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  2nd October 2020

      PG I have the feeling ‘certain elements’ will come after you with a big stick over this post.

      Bishop in Hutt South maybe soon looking for a job as ‘out of parliament’ electorate agent as his seat hasnt gentrified that much , the boundary changes which moved Taita from Hutt South to Remutaka were the cincher and the most recent changes all of the Western Hutt hill suburbs are now Hutt South, even including Haywards which is really in Upper Hutt.
      David Farrer has been the person for National closely involved in the census data for checking possible boundary changes, they probably use the US Republican electorate mapping software Red State
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REDMAP
      National made quite a stink of the bungled census ( which they as government pushed for the online only approachthat was used and the heart of the problems ) as they didnt want the results used for new electorates and were trying to torpedo them….the real reason was the US software might not have been used to advantage them)
      Many NZ electorates now have some of the hallmarks of gerrymandering like is common in US.
      Taranaki is cut into 3 electorates when it should be just New Plymouth and a single Taranaki electorate.
      Stratford is now in the Whanganui Electorate while Inglewood is in King Country which stretches to the outer suburbs of Hamilton,
      Rotorua includes Te Puke on the Bay of Plenty, while Napier includes the outskirts of Gisborne but the East Coast Electorate extends to nearby beach suburbs by Te Puke. ( Once East Coast really was East Coast including Northern Hawkes Bay.
      Cambridge is part of the Taupo electorate which includes Tokoroa and Turangi.
      The effect is Waikato is partly sliced up into neighbouring electorates and the same for Bay of Plenty.
      The ‘community of interest’ criteria for including a town is ignored as the RedMAP software is telling otherwise

      Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  2nd October 2020

        Reminiscent of how electorate boundary changes helped Muldoon win the Tongariro, New Plymouth, Gisborne, Helensville and Eden seats in 1981! 😀

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  2nd October 2020

          Tongariro didnt exist in 1981, the others were just marginal seats could have gone either way.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_New_Zealand_general_election
          The real issue was the National party got less votes nationwide than Labour but a comfortable majority, not helped by Social credit with 20% was splitter of anti government vote.
          provincial cities in those days were just the urban core , not like now and rural seats stayed along traditional provincial areas.
          eaxample Timaru forms a ‘knob’ in corner of an electorate centered on Ashburton
          And New Lynn suburb is sliced in two and part of electorate with Swanson
          Pukekohe isnt part of Judith Electorate but includes Te Kawhata
          Panmure isnt part of the neighboring National electorates in east Auckland but is included with part of Otara. The other part goes with Botany which includes part of Howick
          The boundaries are only something a gerry mander could love with lots of little shifts here and there
          https://vote.nz/map/index.html?id=7&modified=20200919150856

          Reply
          • Kimbo

             /  2nd October 2020

            Tongariro didnt exist in 1981, the others were just marginal seats could have gone either way.

            Correct, and my apologies. I meant Taupo which actually went to Labour on election night I seem to recall (but my memory has already been proven fallible on this thread! 😉 ), but was lost on special votes.

            As I posted a few days ago, the law and order issue after the recently-completed 1981 Springbok tour (and Think Big, and the insipid Bill Rowling) likely played a big part in those predominantly rural/urban electorates going Blue…just. In contrast, National lost three urban Wellington seats and…Winston Peters lost Hunua. Labour stacked up big majorities in the cities, indeed pipped National for the overall popular vote.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_New_Zealand_general_election

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  2nd October 2020

              It was Social Credit who was the spoiler, you could almost think it was Nationals interest to let them syphon away a chunk of votes in plenty of seats ( they only won 2)…nowdays the Nats do things like have cadres ’embedded ‘ in small parties like they did with the original Conservatives with Stringer as the guy running things

  7. Gerrit

     /  2nd October 2020

    You would have to be living in outer Siberia on the Mongolian border not to know that those connections existed and flourish.

    ALL political parties horse trade and connive with others of like mindedness.

    It is naive to think otherwise.

    Reply
    • Jack

       /  2nd October 2020

      Of course. This is Politics.
      It’s Church which leads humanity. Has done for over two thousand years and always prevails

      Reply
      • Jack

         /  2nd October 2020

        The ‘Maorification’ of everything. Rude. Presbyterians never know whether they’re socialists or capitalists. They harm NZ.
        The reason we have Te Ao shoved down our throats is because of the Presbyterian cult. If they knew which god they served we would have a comfortable polite culture by now

        Reply
        • Jack

           /  2nd October 2020

          I mean, bilingual by love
          It’s rude of people like Mr Brash to complain about Te Ao.
          David should either resign his Presbyterianism or work harder to make that cult more loving

          Reply
    • Duker

       /  2nd October 2020

      “ALL political parties horse trade and connive with others of like mindedness.”

      What is keep hidden on the National and ACT side is the ‘party cadres’ who work in Ministers offices, become electorate agents but never go into that office, swap over to business which lobbies their own government and then parachuted into an electorate.
      Bishop for instance has never practised as a lawyer after graduating, he was probably working for National ‘part time’ while still a student, then into the Nats ‘research Unit’ and then when they get into government its a ministerial advisor.
      The image was National of farmers, professionals, community leaders then become Mps, instead the trend was professional cadres then an MP. Even English wasnt anything near the Soutland farmer he was portrayed but the former Treasury bureaucrat, lover of high culture from living full time in Wellington. The ‘farmer’ was a complete facade, when he preferred the ballet to the shearing shed.( it was only one of the brothers who stayed on the parents farm and took it over)

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  2nd October 2020

        As I said; you would have to be totally naive or a Siberian native to not know that was going on. Nothing hidden at all.

        I don’t think English ever claimed to have run the farm. Just that he was from Southern farming stock.

        Much like is made from Ardern running a fish and chips shop when in reality all she did was wrap the fish and chips and take the money.

        Interesting that the perceived “correct” method to becoming an MP is to go to university, get a communication degree, work in a parliamentary office, and get on the Labour list.

        The problem for ALL parties is the lack of real world experience. Hence all terms anyone can serve the people of New Zealand should be limited to three.

        That way the insidious nature of the peoples representative legislator is mellowed as it will be stocked by people who at least have experience in the real work place.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  2nd October 2020

          The recent national Mps who have ‘driven into a ditch’ have been essentially all party cadres
          Falloon seems to picked up some bad habits even before getting to be a national Mp, being an ACT cadre
          yes English played the Southland farmer shtick to the hilt , once claiming in an old party website I found ( Wayback) to be ‘ Regional Young Farmer of the year finalist’. The blurbs back them never mention the working at Treasury or his chair of the Haitaitai branch of the Nats. Even the time he got the taxpayers to pay him to live in his own Wellington home was because of the fiction his family was living in Dipton so was entitled to the costs of having his family in Karori ( his wife GP practice was always in Wellington)
          Ardern always said she worked in the shop as a student job. Even helen Clark grew up on a dairy farm, and would have known how to milk a cow.
          There was that forgotten guy who lost the Northland seat, he was a full time council bureaucrat but much was made of his ‘small business experience’ when all he did was help his wifes hair dressers salon with the accounts.

          Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  2nd October 2020

        Ok, fair enough and when you see guys who should never have passed muster like Todd Barclay, Andrew Falloon, Andrew Walker and earlier Aaron Gilmore and Jamie Lee Ross flame and burn

        …or people like Brash or Steven Franks attempt crossover

        …and assorted lobby and ginger groups doing their bit

        …then ok, you can see there is a common pool from which those dissatisfied with the standard centrist-alligning National broad-church are drawn.

        But, and not wanting to just do a whataboutism, but isn’t this what politics looks like? Am struggling hard to see anything different with say,

        …Labour and the Greens having natural affinities

        …people like Willie Jackson and Matt McCarten jumping parties and bringing their Rolodex with them

        …trade unions and conservation groups (Russell Norman leading the Greens, then Greenpeace, Nicky Hager and the Corngate and Dirty Politics “exposes”…right before an election 😳) pressuring and/or supporting Labour and the Greens with resources and personnel.

        But ok, if “astroturfing” is what NZ First’s millions bought from Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore…

        Reply
      • Jack

         /  2nd October 2020

        Mean comment about Mr English. You cannot know his motives. I remember him as my brother’s best man and Dad saying that he (and his nice wife came into the reckoning) could one day be PM.
        I always thought that English stood for nothing and didn’t have enough grasp of himself. People stuck in cults are like that. But it’s cruel to put forward his motives like you do Duker. Perhaps he might have naturally preferred to be on the farm. I understand his mother wanted one of her sons in Parliament. Perhaps she pushed and good boy obliged, who knows. Mr English is very intelligent.
        Your posts are often educational. Why do you ruin it with nasty judgemental swipes?

        The National Party describing themselves as broad church speaks volumes. I appreciate how Judith said she doesn’t support the old boys’ club way of doing things.

        Is Judith strong enough for the task ahead? She told us she’s a Christian. A Christian carries his cross. When he forgets (and politicians are bound to forget often, poor things) that it can only be carried for Church, he loses momentum for good.

        Perhaps Judith might be strong enough to say – “no more describing National as broad church. Let’s give up on cult.”

        Reply
        • She will never say such gibberish; she is an articulate and educated woman. I doubt if she sees National as a cult (note the article; cult is not a proper name) as she would be fully aware of what the word means.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  2nd October 2020

            “she is an articulate and educated woman. ”
            And the Dirty Politics leaks of her social media comments showed a mean spirited and quite nasty at times “articulate and educated woman”

            Reply
      • Wayne

         /  2nd October 2020

        Duker,

        Some pretty mischievous allegations there, most of which are wrong.

        At least for National, the people employed as “out of Parliament staff” do work out of parliament. List MP’s don’t have electorates, so don’t have electorate staff. They do have out of parliament staff, and these are employed out of parliament. In a city like Auckland a number of list MP’s might a group the out of parliament staff to work in one office to maximise their effectiveness. But not in all cases. Some list MP’s are strongly identified with a particular electorate (Alfred Ngaro) and the out of parliament staff have an office in that electorate.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  2nd October 2020

          Wayne, Grant was one of the people employed by ACT in a party office he never visited.
          Ask Maggy Barry about electorate staff doing ‘party work’, one of the staff said they were doing it. The pretence was that it was ‘in their own time’, no ones keeping track of course.
          Unfortunately its rife across the spectrum so they all now do it to ‘keep up’…many an MP in waiting is employed as an electorate agent in the year before election, door knocking in ‘their own time’ ….pleeeese.
          Electorate offices can be co-located with party offices on the same floor., Seymours is Goldsmiths ‘out of parliament’ office is co located with Auckland national party region HQ in Epsom.
          As Grant detailed it was on paper 8 hours in leaders office in parliament, and 32 hours per week in Mps office in Prebbles building around the corner in Little Pipitea St, that part didnt happen. Didnt anyone think it strange there was 6 or 7 list Mps ‘electorate ‘ offices all in Wellington , all in the same building. The Mps get offices in parliament.

          A charade to rip off the system and you understand that with twisting of ‘out of parliament staff’ when its supposed to be their ‘home base’ out of Wellington.

          Reply
  8. Kimbo

     /  2nd October 2020

    The ineptitude of Don Brash, who should always have been in ACT not National, was evident in his mishandling of what should have been the natural organic relationships (as distinct from any alleged astroturfing) between the two parties and other interest and lobby groups on the right.

    During his tenure as National leader and by taking his party rightward, he almost killed off ACT. Only Rodney Hide winning Epsom in 2005 kept them alive. Oh, yes, and Brash also plucked defeat from the jaws of General Election victory that year but not having a sufficient political radar to realise that there was never any benefit in meeting up with a bunch of whack jobs like the Exclusive Brethren. Did I also mention he helped undermine a good centrist National prospect in Katherine Rich while he was there?

    Then, when Brash finally joined ACT where he always belonged, indeed stepped straight into the leader’s role, he not only knifed Hide who had kept them alive in 2005 and 2008, but he also whistled up the most un-ACT MP he could possibly find, social conservative John Banks to replace Hide in Epsom?!

    Forget the hit jobs on Seymour and ACT. If you want to nobble them…just send in Don Brash! 😳😂

    Interesting to see Seymour linking up with the gun lobby courtesy of Nicole McKee’s high placing on the party list. As occurred when Hide tried broadening out their brand with Laura Norder by allying with the Sensible Sentencing Trust, and ended up with David Garrett, this may end in tears. Indeed, I think it will…

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  2nd October 2020

      the Gun lobby will be a ‘clear and present danger’ as they will certainly try a reverse takeover of ACT…. the sort of people who debate the Trump way….
      with their supporters to ‘stand ready’….

      Reply
      • Hardly. This is NZ. No one’s calling for open carrying of guns.

        Being a gun owner hardly makes someone a member of the ‘gun lobby’, whatever that means. This isn’t the US. We don’t have an NRA here and are highly unlikely to.

        What happens in the US doesn’t necessarily happen here. Can anyone see the sort of thing that’s in this photo happening here ? Get off the grass.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  2nd October 2020

          There is no issue with open carry of guns here…did you not know that.
          Concealed refers to handguns which we certainly dont allow for any but the most isolated cases
          You cant conceal an ARM or any long gun for that matter

          Reply
          • I saw it done on a television show, not long after one of the US school massacres. People couldn’t understand how the killers had brought these guns into the school unnoticed. The show host had a teenage boy walk onto the stage, wearing baggy trousers and sweatshirt, but not grotesquely baggy. He then produced a small arsenal of weapons, inc. a long gun of some kind. And he was still walking normally. No one would have suspected that he was a walking arsenal.

            Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  2nd October 2020

        the Gun lobby will be a ‘clear and present danger’ as they will certainly try a reverse takeover of ACT

        For one of the few times I can recall, I agree with you.

        The American NRA seems to stick its nose into lots on non-American jurisdictions, providing local gun lobbies with resourcing. Hence a lot of the rhetoric that NZ locals use, including their misunderstanding of our our Westminster constitution, are sometimes carbon copies.

        Good luck to any local lobby group or political party that wants to ally with the NRA, or any other foreign lobby group, be it Big Pharma, big tobacco, Scientology, whatever. It may be their prerogative but the average NZ voters who find out about it will likely judge the optics as…ugly. Especially as the only real reason the NRA does it is so they can stop in the American gun control debate any appeal to the example of gun controls in NZ, Australia, the UK, Canada, etc. Their 2nd Amendment and gun control laws are their business, just as our gun laws are ours.

        In short, the NRA can f*&% off out of NZ…

        Reply
        • As ACT is NOT calling for unrestricted gun ownership, the NRA would be wasting their time. Nutters keep insisting that ACT wants open season on guns of all kinds, but this is a lie and always has been. The NRA aren’t that stupid, I hope.

          Reply
          • Kimbo

             /  2nd October 2020

            No, but nonetheless the NRA will be seeking to influence our gun laws through both ACT and Nicole McKee as much as they can, including and especially opposing any proposed legislative restrictions. And ultimately for the domestic American political reasons I explained.

            Is up to ACT to what extent, if any, they allow that influence to have any effect. Is the same with any political party whose interests align with other parties a/nd/or lobby groups. The Greens and Greenpeace, Forest and Bird, NZ Climate Action Network, etc.

            McKee? As above, I have a feeling, as with another ACT “outsider” who was head-hunted by the party, David Garrett, I think it will end in tears.

            Reply
  9. Duker

     /  2nd October 2020

    From the Link
    “Despite many in Act knowing about Donna Awatere Huata’s fraudulent activities as early as 2001, it was covered up throughout the 2002 election campaign. She was expelled from the Act Party in 2003 only when the media found out.

    Similarly, in 2010, David Garrett’s criminal history was used in a plot to roll him and eventually Rodney Hide.”

    Reply
    • Kimbo

       /  2nd October 2020

      Go on, go all in and re-run the David Seymour and the sexual misconduct line that Winston’s anti-Brexit specialists have uncovered. You know you want to even if the dots you have to join are reeeeeeeally wide apart, maybe even on separate pages!

      You know you want to. 😳😂

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  2nd October 2020

        The temptation to say something nasty about someone overwhelms Duker daily despite my best efforts and gentle encouragement to focus him on the issues.

        Reply
      • Duker

         /  2nd October 2020

        It was from the story given by the person who worked at ACT….for such a small party they had far more MPs in the dock than NZF ever did
        Garrett
        Banks
        Awatere and her equally odious husband

        Reply
      • Duker

         /  2nd October 2020

        There’s sexual misconduct…????
        I didn’t get to that one, I’d always assumed Seymour was asexual…

        Reply

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