Slater threatens to continue Ross attacks on National

A hope that Cameroon Slater gets a chance to step back and reflect on what has been a tumultuous week for Jami-Lee Ross, whose attacks on Simon Bridges and National led to him being sectioned into mental health care.

In the heat of the moment yesterday Slater threatened to continue attacks on National this week. This could put his own situation under further stress.

Slater:

Not after developments today, where it will come out that he ignored medical advice and hounded a man to make an attempt on his life. He’s done, and I will make sure he never leads anything ever again,Paula Bennett is toast too.

Stop being heartless. It is very serious, i have been working on this since the early hours of the morning. I am rather humourless after finding out what I have found out about how National ignored medical warnings. So by all means joke about mental health but you won’t stay long.

They are. They are callous. They will do whatever it takes to stop him revealing all their rooting

It was never ‘rooting’ that was the problem. It was alleged harassment.

That disgusted me utterly knowing a few more details than what they are letting on.

Bridges and Bennett were well aware of the issues and implications and yet both decided to throw Ross under the bus. Moreover they lied about what they knew when and in fact orchestrated the Newsroom story with at least on of the first four being inveigled by Bennett more than a week before the hit job ran.

They very nearly had blood on their hands.

Watch what comes out over coming days.

It got very ugly when Ross was under extreme pressure. Slater could continue that ugliness in attempted retribution.

The part he has played in the attacks on Bridges, Bennett, Goodfellow and National is unknown, but now he has shown he is closely involved with Ross in the weekend at least there is a risk he will replicate the self destruction.

People who have been supporters and associates of Slater in the past appear aghast at what unfolded over the last week. Slater could isolate himself even more.

Slater has made it clear since ‘Dirty Politics’ broke in 2014 that he holds a major grudge against National, against John Key, Bill English, Paula Bennett and since he became leader, Simon Bridges.

He has given indications over the last few days that he wants them and National trashed. He risks further trashing what reputation he may have remaining, and potentially, like Ross, his own health.

I hope Slater is getting good support, and also good advice. Whether he can heed good advice is another matter.


Update: in a new post this morning Slater has confirmed what I think he had denied – that he has been working “to help Jami-Lee Ross” – National’s hit job puts JLR into care

Yesterday was a rather stressful day for me. I and a good friend have been working constantly over the last few days to help Jami-Lee Ross, who was to us clearly in distress. On Saturday night things took a turn for the worse and we received a text message at 0400 that indicated he was in care and not by choice.

National has zero concerns, they were told what might happen and they went ahead anyway. They had the hit locked and loaded.

The truth will come out. There are too many moving parts for it not to come out and people are going to be appalled. Not all those stories are true, they just used the #MeToo smearbook to get Jami-Lee Ross.

Slater then makes some allegations and insinuations.

That doesn’t pass the sniff test. What we have witnessed here is a continuation of the nasty way in which National rinses someone that is a risk to the leadership. It goes back years.

Right now I am more concerned about my friend who is hurting.

Other media are following the trail of destruction that the leadership of the National party has overseen. Let’s hope that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant. I’m just picking up the information from what they are saying and asking me. It seems they are asking the right questions.

Answers from Slater have proven to be unreliable in the past. He has clear destructive motives when it comes to National – much like Ross.

Slater in comments:

I’m also not blaming National for Jami-Lee Ross’s actions. He has to own those. But I do blame National and their leadership for creating the monster. Someone had to reward him for his work, promote him for his work and enable him. Those people were the senior National party leadership from John Key, to Bill English, to Paula Bennett, to Steve Joyce, to Simon Bridges.

He didn’t get to where is is today without enablers.

And:

Nice sentiment, but he didn’t learn his behaviour all by himself. Yes he is responsible for his own actions but his enablers over the years need to also be held to account.

You realise you’ve fallen into the position National want you to. JLR is scum because he did these awful things…nothing to see here…JLR is scum.

They want you to believe this so they can continue sailing on wrecking peoples lives.

This seems highly hypocritical given that Slater and Simon Lusk enabled Ross to win selection for a safe National seat.  And it’s unlikely that’s where their ‘enabling’ ended.

And given both Slater and Lusk being on record as saying they enjoy the thrill of wrecking people’s lives.

Again:

You know not which you speak of. Just wait and watch what happens this week.

Slater seems intent on continue the Ross train wrecking attempt of National.

I wonder how much of Slater’s emotion is due to the failure of the Ross (and possibly Lusk) plan to set bridges up and oust him.

 

Vindictive destructive politics

I’m not going to get into where Simon Bridges or the National Party stands on the issue of donations at this stage – there is still a lack of solid evidence, and the police are looking into it after a visit from Jami-Lee Ross today.

But the overriding sense I get from what Ross has done today is how vindictive, despicable and destructive he appears to be already, with more promised.

‘Dirty Politics’ haas been mentioned, and alongside the apparent involvement of Simon Lusk and the actions of Ross that’s how this looks – an orchestrated assault on Bridges and the National Party.

Ross seems to be trying to claim some moral high ground (after having been involved in what he alleges against Bridges), but his methods and his breach of trust seems to be substantial.

And he seems intent on continuing to keep destroying the party that gave him a political career.

If there genuinely has been corruption and illegal practices in the party then I have no problem with it being exposed, but the way Ross is doing it looks to be as damaging as he can possibly make it.

Does he realise exactly what he is doing? Is he being used by Lusk to split the National party apart? That seems to be the aim.

 

Hager recap on ‘Dirty Politics’

Nicky Hager has recapped what his 2014 Dirty Politics book was about at Newsroom.

Most controversial, the book revealed that prime minister John Key had a full-time dirty tricks person in his office researching and writing nasty attacks on opposing politicians, quietly sent through to Slater to publish as if they were his own.

Slater was genuinely powerful at that time because the media, to which he fed many stories, knew he was friends with Key and justice minister Judith Collins.

Key survived as prime Minister as long as he wanted to, but Collins copped a setback as a result of what Slater called embellishment and has probably had her leadership ambitions severely hobbled by it (Slater keeps promoting her on Whale Oil, reminding people of it to Collins’ detriment).

The book’s subtitle was “How attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment.” Does anyone think these aren’t issues deserving sunlight?

This certainly deserved sunlight, and good on Hager for doing that. I have serious concerns about illegal hacking (if that is what actually happened), especially in a political environment, but this was a serious abuse of political and media power that deserved exposure.

‘A boil that needed lancing’

When I decided to research and write about Slater and his associates, I knew I was taking a personal risk. They were well known for personal attacks and smears. They have hurt many people. I expected retaliation.  But I knew what I was taking on and felt strongly that this boil needed lancing.

While Dirty Politics lanced a political boil (in the Prime Minister’s office) and exposed Slater and Whale Oil, rendering them far less effective, it hasn’t stopped them from continuing with attacks and personal smears. Like many others I have been the target of dirty smears and legal attacks since Dirty Politics broke.

That they have been reduced from being a festering boil to being more like cry baby pimples that hasn’t stopped them resorting to dirty attacks. And it ‘is ‘they’ – Slater is aided and abetted on Whale Oil by others, in particular Juana Atkins and Nige who also seem to fucking people over is fair game, for click bait and seemingly for fun. I’m not sure how they sleep easy.

Dirty Politics hasn’t eliminated attack politics, but by exposing some of the worst of it the poisoning New Zealand’s political environment has been reduced. It needs more exposing and more reducing – as well as involving dirty personal attacks dirty politics is an attack on decent democracy.

Geddis on why the Hager apology matters

Law professor Andrew Geddis writes on Why the police’s apology to Nicky Hager matters (this has also been published elsewhere) – apologies for a near full repost but I think is important enough to warrant it.


In the wake of the publication of Dirty Politics back in 2014, the New Zealand Police undertook multiple unlawful breaches of Nicky Hager’s privacy. They’ve now apologised for that – but the important thing is to make sure it does not ever happen again.

Nicky Hager’s book was based on material obtained from the mysteriously named “Rawshark”, who in turn almost certainly obtained it by way of a criminal computer hack. Much was made of this fact at the time, with Mr Hager accused of using “stolen” information. If interested, you can read Mr Hager’s response to that charge here (at question #5).

Irrespective of the ethics of using the material, however, it was clear that Mr Hager had committed no crime. While we still do not know who Rawshark is, no-one seriously believed it was Mr Hager himself. Equally, there was no evidence that Mr Hager colluded with Rawshark in carrying out the original, unlawful hack.

Nevertheless, if you wanted to uncover Rawshark’s identity, Mr Hager was the obvious place to start. And the New Zealand Police decided they very much wanted to find out who Rawshark was – they very, very much wanted to do so. Quite why they felt such a desperate need to determine the perpetrator of this particular crime out of all those committed daily in New Zealand remains something of a mystery, but felt it they did.

For the police embarked on a really quite remarkably terrible investigation to try and trace Rawshark through Mr Hager, which today has led them to issue a comprehensive and I am sure highly embarrassing apology (along with money damages and payment of legal costs). Here’s what they now admit they did wrong.

First of all, they went to Mr Hager’s bank – which was Westpac, if you really want to know – and asked them to please pass over 10-months-worth of Mr Hager’s financial records. Which the bank then did quite happily, despite the police having no legal right to the information. You can read what the Privacy Commissioner thought of that behaviour here (spoiler alert: he was less than impressed).

Then, without even trying to talk to Mr Hager, the police decided he was an “uncooperative witness” in their investigation. In what appears to be an action without precedent in New Zealand, they instead went to the District Court and asked for a warrant to search Mr Hager’s house and remove all papers and electronic devices that might provide them with information that could identify Rawshark.

The problem being that they failed to tell the Court their target was a journalist whose material may be subject to journalistic privilege, as it had been obtained under a promise that its source would remain confidential. The High Court subsequently found that this failure breached the police’s “duty of candour” to the courts, thus rendering the warrant unlawful. In addition, the police now admit that their warrant was overly broad in the material it sought and should have contained conditions to address the possible privilege issues.

So, the search of Mr Hager’s house and removal of his property was, the police admit, unlawful. What is more, by a remarkable coincidence the police search took place at a time when Mr Hager was in another city, meaning that it was an hour before Mr Hager was able to assert journalistic privilege over that property. Despite being alerted to that claim of privilege, the police nevertheless used photos they had taken of an email exchange and website login information to try and track Rawshark down.

Let’s just pause and recap at this point. The police admit that they misled a court by omission into giving them apparent legal authority to raid the house of not a suspect in a crime, but a witness to it. That witness, they knew, was a working journalist whose efficacy depends upon being able to assure his sources (be they law abiding saints or malefactor demons or somewhere in between) that their identity will remain confidential. And despite being alerted that there may be a legal bar on presenting in court the information they had seized, the police admit they went ahead and used some of it anyway to try and unmask their suspect.

Were this the extent of the police’s actions, they would be bad enough. But wait, for there is more. Even after conducting the raid and being told in writing by Mr Hager’s lawyers that he asserted journalistic privilege over all information that may reveal his confidential sources (such as Rawshark), the police continued to approach third parties like Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Customs and Paypal for information about Mr Hager’s activities. Some of it was sought on an informal “please tell us” basis, while some was obtained through formal production orders (which were in turn obtained from the courts without disclosing that they related to a journalist with confidential sources).

And in what is perhaps the most damning indictment of the police’s actions, they now admit that they told some of these third parties they wanted information about Mr Mr Hager because he was suspected of fraud and other criminal activities. This was what is known in legal circles as a complete and utter lie.

Hence the complete and comprehensive nature of the apology to Mr Hager from the police. As I’ve had cause to say about it in a quote that Mr Hager’s legal team included in their press release about the settlement:

The series of failures admitted by the police indicates a deeply concerning failure to both understand the legal constraints on their powers and the fundamental importance of individual rights. This comprehensive apology hopefully indicates that the message has been driven home and such behaviour will not happen in the future.

Because I accept that a political culture where individuals routinely turn to criminal activity to try and unmask their opponent’s claimed wrongdoings would be a bad one. James O’Keefe would not be a welcome fixture in our democratic process. And even criminal hypocrites like the target of Rawshark’s original hack have a general right to privacy that the law ought to protect.

So, seeking to identify and prosecute Rawshark was not in itself an unreasonable response by the police. However, turning the journalist who used the information gained through Rawshark’s actions into a virtual criminal co-conspirator from whom information will be obtained by any means necessary is completely unreasonable and dangerous to our democracy. It should never have happened, and should never happen again.

Police apologise to Hager and pay ‘substantial’ damages

The police have apologised to Nicky Hager for an unlawful search and investigation trying to find the source for ‘Dirty Politics. They have also paid ‘substantial’ damages but the actual amount is confidential.

I have always condemned the hacking of communications data of Cameron Slater and Whale Oil (and also condemned Slater’s attempt to solicit the hack of The Standard), but that’s another matter.

The police have a duty to follow legal procedures in investigating, and they obviously stepped well over an acceptable line here.

Press release from Hager’s lawyer Felix Geiringer:


Police apologise to Nicky Hager

In a settlement with far-reaching implications, the New Zealand Police have apologised to Nicky Hager for multiple breaches of his rights arising from their 2014 investigation into Dirty Politics.

Nicky Hager’s home was raided by Police in October 2014. The raid was part of an investigation into the source of Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics. In 2015, the High Court ruled that the warrant that was used for the raid was “fundamentally unlawful”. However, many more alleged breaches of Mr Hager’s rights were left to be resolved at a later hearing.

In today’s settlement, Police have accepted that they did not have reasonable grounds for the search, that they attempted to breach Mr Hager’s journalistic privilege in multiple ways, and that they unlawfully obtained his private information from third parties including his bank. [The full Police statement is included below.]

“This is a very important agreement,” said Mr Hager. “The Police have admitted that many things they did in their investigation and search were unlawful. This sends a vital message that people can share important information with journalists with confidence that their identities will be protected. The Police have apologised for threatening that confidentiality and trust.”

As part of the settlement Mr Hager is to receive substantial damages and a substantial contribution to his legal costs. Mr Hager said “Under the agreement, I am not allowed to name the figure. However, it gives the strongest possible indication that Police accept the harm they caused and are much less likely to treat a journalist this way again. The money will help support important work in years to coming.”

During a 10-hour search of his home in 2014, Mr Hager claimed journalistic source protection privilege. He later learned that Police officers breached express promises made during the search and photographed privileged documents to use in their investigation. Police also sought to circumvent Mr Hager’s rights to source protection by obtaining his private information from third parties such as Air New Zealand, Qantas, PayPal, Customs, WestPac, Vodafone, and Two Degrees. Luckily, none of this succeeded in exposing any sources.

“This has been a long fight, but we stuck at it because we believe what we were fighting for was important,” Mr Hager said. “I want to thank my legal team and all of the people around New Zealand who have cared about the case and supported it over the last three and a half years”.


Full text of Police acknowledgement and apology

  1. Mr Nicky Hager has instituted High Court claims against the Crown resulting from:
    1.1 the search of his property at Wellington on 2 October 2014 after publication of his book, Dirty Politics, and;
    1.2 information requests and production orders obtained in respect of Mr Hager’s information held by various agencies.
  2. As part of the settlement of Mr Hager’s claims, the New Zealand Police wish to acknowledge the following breaches of Mr Hager’s rights and to apologise for them.
  3. In September 2014, Police sought and obtained 10 months of Mr Hager’s banking transactions. This was done with an informal information request and without a production order. Police acknowledge that Mr Hager had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to that information. The Supreme Court have recently provided clarification on when a production order needs to be applied for. In light of that judgment, Police accept that they needed to obtain a production order in order to obtain Mr Hager’s banking information.
  4. At the end of September 2014, Police applied for and obtained a search warrant to search Mr Hager’s home. Mr Hager was not a suspect of any offending.
  5. Police failed to mention in their application for the search warrant that they sought information to identify one of Mr Hager’s confidential sources and failed to mention that Mr Hager was a journalist who could claim journalistic privilege. The High Court has found that in this regard Police failed to discharge their duty of candour and the warrant was unlawful. The High Court also expressed concern that Police lacked reasonable grounds to obtain a warrant. Police accept the High Court’s preliminary assessment.
  6. Police also now accept and acknowledge that in certain respects the search warrant was overly broad and should have contained conditions to address concerns raised to protect journalistic privilege.
  7. Police searched Mr Hager’s home for almost an hour before Mr Hager claimed journalistic privilege over his material at the time of the search of his home. Police accept the High Court’s position that they needed to give Mr Hager a positive chance to claim that privilege before commencing the search.
  8. During the search, Police took a photograph of a printed copy of an email exchange between Mr Hager and another person and used it to conduct enquiries. Police also photographed documents containing login information for web accounts and a cloud storage facility and tried to use that information to access those websites. Police also took copies of information relating to a cell phone and used that information to obtain production orders from phone companies. Police acknowledge that these were breaches of Mr Hager’s legal right to protect his sources and should not have occurred.
  9. Police acknowledge that lawyers for Mr Hager wrote to their lawyers on 7 October 2014 and told Police that Mr Hager also had claims of privilege over information relating to his private communications, or his other private documents, held by third parties.
  10. After the search, Police continued the investigation by seeking and obtaining Mr Hager’s private information from various third parties including Air New Zealand, Paypal, NZ Customs, and Jetstar. When Police used production orders, they should have and failed to disclose Mr Hager is a journalist who is entitled to claim privilege. They also failed to mention that Mr Hager had claimed privilege during the search on 2 October, or what his lawyers had said in their 7 October letter. These were breaches of their duty of candour in each instance.
  11. Police acknowledge that Mr Hager had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to information that could be used to identify his confidential sources. Police also acknowledge that there are legal protections in relation to such information that can only be waived by a High Court Judge. As such, it was not appropriate for the Police to seek such information from third parties without a suitable court order.
  12. In making some information requests, Police said that they suspected Mr Hager of criminal behaviour including fraud. Police accept that they had no basis for such allegations.
  13. Police acknowledge that in the respects outlined above they breached Mr Hager’s right under ss 14 and 21 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.
  14. Police acknowledge that the search of Mr Hager’s property caused distress to him and his family and threatened his ability (and that of the wider media) to access information from confidential informants.
  15. Police apologise unreservedly for these breaches of his rights and have agreed to pay Mr Hager damages and his legal costs.

Blomfield v Slater trial date set

A defamation proceeding brought by Matthew Blomfield against Cameron Slater that was started in the District Court in 2012 will finally go to trial in the High Court in October. It will be judge only (no jury), and is expected to run for four weeks or six weeks (two recent judgments give different durations).

Blomfield claims he was defamed in a series of thirteen posts at Whale Oil, while Slater claims that taken in context the posts were not defamatory, and also that the posts expressed truth and honest opinion.

The publications

[6] Each of the blogs was published between 3 May and 6 June 2012. They occurred after Mr Slater came into possession of a hard drive containing emails sent to or by Mr Blomfield. Other material was also stored on the hard drive, including photographs of Mr Blomfield’s family.

This is rather ironic given the complaints Slater has made about Nicky Hager obtaining material that was hacked from Whale Oil and Slater. I don’t know whether it has been established that the hard drive was obtained illegally or not.

[7] There is no dispute for present purposes that Mr Slater caused the blogs to be published on the Whaleoil website notwithstanding the fact that the website is apparently operated by the second defendant, Social Media Consultants Limited. There can also be no dispute that the blogs related to Mr Blomfield because he was named in each. Each of the blogs also contains material that is arguably defamatory of Mr Blomfield.

In late 2017 Blomfield made a successful application joining a second defendant Social Media Consultants Limited as a party to the proceeding. This was done after Slater pointed out that the publications forming the basis of the defamation claims
are posted on a website operated by that company.  Shareholders and directors of the company are Cameron Slater and Juana Atkins.

This information and an outline of the defamation claims are detailed in two judgments available at Judicial Decisions Online:

These two judgments cover interlocutory issues and an on application by Blomfield for summary judgment and/or strike out.

They show that Slater has incurred more costs awards against him, and an application by Slater that security of costs be paid by Blomfield was declined because Slater is acting for himself so won’t be able to claim costs, unless he engages a lawyer for the trial.

Some of the arguments are related to the inability of Slater to provide emails as a part of the discovery process because they were deleted in the wake of ‘Dirty Politics’.

The judge notes that some comments in the posts “are clearly defamatory” but that Slater can argue truth and honest opinion.

[42] Despite the relatively extreme nature of Mr Slater’s assertions, and the sketchy particulars provided in support of the defences of truth and honest opinion, I am not prepared to enter summary judgment in respect of this publication. Sufficient particulars have been provided to enable Mr Slater to advance the defences at trial. He will obviously need to re-formulate his particulars so that they provide sufficient detail to enable Mr Blomfield to respond to them.

Most applications by both Blomfield and Slater were declined in the judgments. The need to finally get the proceeding to trial with no further delays was an overriding factor in some of the decisions.

This looks like a complex case. I have no idea of strength of the complaints or the defences. That will be for a judge to decide when it goes to a four or six week trial in October.

In other defamation proceedings, Slater is still waiting for a judgment in defamation claims and counter claims versus Colin Craig after a trial that concluded in June last year – see Craig v Slater – reserved decision.

Slater is involved in another defamation case started against him (and others) in August 2016, related to another series of posts at Whale Oil. This is summarised in SELLMAN & ORS v SLATER & ORS [2017] NZHC 2392 [2 October 2017]:

Summary

[1] Dr Doug Sellman, Dr Boyd Swinburn and Mr Shane Bradbrook are public health professionals. They allege they have been defamed in a series of blog posts by Mr Cameron Slater and comments on the posts by Mr Carrick Graham. They sue Mr Slater, Mr Graham and Mr Graham’s company Facilitate Communications Ltd (FCL). They also sue Ms Katherine Rich and the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council Inc (NZFGC) for allegedly procuring Mr Slater, Mr Graham and FCL to publish the substance and sting of the alleged defamations.

Both this proceeding and Blomfield’s allege that Slater (or Social media Consultants) was paid to do attack posts on Whale Oil. This was also alleged in Hager’s ‘Dirty Politics’.

One thing is clear – defamation proceedings can be complex, time consuming and very expensive.

A record of some rumourmongering

This is a record of one individual who has attempted some Gayford rumourmongering here, in a narrow focus on an issue that has been spread across various media. It doesn’t attempt to answer where the rumours came from (I think it’s likely they evolved from different sources and sort of coalesced).

‘Bill Brown’ threw a bit of a wobbly after an inevitable outcome here yesterday after blatantly ignoring clear warnings about what should not be said about the Clarke Gayford issue  – in particular promoting unsubstantiated (fake) allegations.

First, misuse of Gayford’s name as ‘Gaylord’, and indications of intent to attack him, were evident as far back as a 22 September post at Whale Oil, and on 24 October in comments on a personal attack post at Whale Oil comments suggest intent to target Gayford on ‘social media’ and on WO (two separate media):

Whale Oil has run a number of personal attack posts targeting both Gayford and Ardern since then, as recently as yesterday, but this is just some background to the wider attacks on Gayford in particular. Whale Oil have denied being involved in any way in circulating rumours that the legal letter relate to (some comments on WO have disputed this), but regardless of that they have been running a series of personal attacks on Gayford over a number of months (ample evidence of this remains public).

To ‘Bill Brown’, who has a record of interest in this issue dating back to two comments here on Your NZ on 26 November last year:

I wonder how Clarke Gaylorde is liking the DPS watching his every move ……

Also:

Lol. I was wondering about his [redacted]

That inferred allegations that I presume this week’s legal letter warned against disclosing.

Sunday 29 April 2018 (before this week’s story broke):

If the rumours are true the court appearance is already done. The DCJ is mulling the sentence options.

Unless the Police have lied in their statement this must be false. As far as I have seen this line of attack has largely been dropped since the Police statement. Also on Sunday:

Diplomatic passports a great thing when one is [redacted]

Another very specific reference, also with no evidence, and also false if the Police statement is accurate.

Thursday 3 May:

You are correct PG that it started around Oct last year – around the time [redacted]

Another specific reference.

Friday 4 May:

The Gayford story is one of the best examples of the Stresiend Effect ….. ever.

The  ‘Streisand Effect’ has also been promoted on Kiwiblog and Whale Oil (and probably elsewhere), but this has been somewhat thwarted by the media abiding by the legal letter and not publishing details of allegations. Trying to force a ‘Streisand Effect’ – provoking someone to deny (sometimes false or ridiculous) allegations to create negative publicity – is sometimes used as a dirty political tactic.

Saturday 5 May:

Clarke is [redacted]

With the charges rumours dealt to by the police statement this was a switch to another quite specific common allegation that I have seen around for a while, again with no evidence. Even if there was some basis it should be a personal matter and no business of the public – it is a form of dirty attack which appears to me to be an attempt to destabilise the Prime Minister and the Government (however I know of people who get some sort of perverse pleasure from just ‘fucking people over’).

When ‘Bill Brown’ got the inevitable and obvious outcome for blatantly ignoring warnings and requests they responded:

Like I care you dick

Some may care about what he has tried to promulgate, alongside commenters at Kiwiblog (some tried again yesterday but DPF has been moderating now), alongside the Twitter campaign and alongside the targeting of Gayford on Whale Oil, and elsewhere. One unhinged website with extreme allegations on this and other issues has been linked to from various blogs (no name or links allowed here).

There is no public evidence that this is anything other than different people independently doing something similar – targeting and attacking Gayford and Ardern in a variety of ways.

Despite some alleging National Party involvement and others  alleging that it’s an internal Labour Party hit job I have seen no evidence of either.

In the absence of evidence any allegations or rumours should at least be regarded with much skepticism, if not discounted as made up fake allegations.

However I think that an unprecedented degree of targeting of the partner of the Prime Minister has been taking place, and this is an insidious turn for the worse in New Zealand politics. There are associated issues of importance, but I think the scale and type of attacks that have taken place and continue to take place need to be confronted and strongly condemned – with some legal caution.

Allowing discussion on this is important.

However any comments that I feel are too specific, name people with allegations with no evidence, are a potential legal risk, or I otherwise think are inappropriate, may be edited or deleted. Note that sometimes comments here can be parked out of sight until I have time to properly deal with them, and I am not always readily available.

Gayford fake smears exposed

So after months of hints and suggestions and insinuations that grew into some very specific accusations, the ‘rumours’ about Clarke Gayford have been exposed as dirty smears with no evidence.

The media had chosen to stay quiet on the rumours until David Fisher from NZH investigated, found there was no substance at all, and exposed the fact there was no evidence whatsoever of a police investigation. This was quickly confirmed by the police themselves who took the very unusual step of putting out a press release.

NZH – False Clarke Gayford rumours: Police and PM Jacinda Ardern respond to widely circulated fake slurs

Jacinda Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford has been under an unprecedented assault of baseless rumour and false innuendo with the apparent intent of dragging down the Prime Minister.

For the past seven months, Gayford has been the subject – on social media and via word of mouth – of untrue allegations and accusations.

The sheer scale and nature of the claims have led to Police Commissioner Mike Bush taking the extraordinary step of signing off a media release that rejects the speculation.

The Police National Headquarters statement said: “While in general we do not respond to enquiries which seek to confirm if individuals are under police investigation, on this occasion we can say that Mr Gayford is not and has not been the subject of any police inquiry, nor has he been charged in relation to any matter.”

This is very clear: “Mr Gayford is not and has not been the subject of any police inquiry, nor has he been charged in relation to any matter.”

Other media then reported the story, saying they had all heard the rumours but had chosen to not go public so as not to give any airing of claims that were baseless. Aided by a letter from Gayford’s lawyers warning that if any details of the allegations were publicised they would be treated as defamatory all that has been reported is the fact that that smears had been circulating.

A lawyer for Gayford has also written to some media warning that the unidentified rumours are defamatory – and publishing the allegations “is actionable.”

The letter is signed by Linda Clark, a former TVNZ political editor, who now works as a lawyer at Kensington Swan.

“The allegations (which the NZ Herald did not publish) are untrue and defamatory. The story included a statement from the NZ Police that Mr Gayford is not and has not been the subject of any police inquiry.

“We draw your attention to this for the purpose of putting you on notice that any publication of the substance of the allegations regarding Mr Gayford will result in proceedings being filed immediately.”

While I didn’t receive this letter (I know of one blogger who did) but it is a warning to anyone against publishing any details of the accusations here.

There are often rumours floating around, but I think the Gayford smears had to be exposed as such, they had been circulating and growing with embellishment for so long. NZH handled it very well – in fact their investigation probably prompted  the police to issue their statement.

Gayford said he did not want to comment.

Jacinda Ardern was inevitably asked to respond, and she had little choice to say something.

The Prime Minister told the Herald: “I won’t comment on dirty politics. It’s just not what I’m here for.”

Ardern stopped briefly on her way into a parliamentary event today to speak to media.

She said she had nothing further to say.

“This is not why I’m here, this is not why I’m in politics, and I’ve got a job to do and I’m going to do it.”

She did not respond to a question about whether she thought it was dirty politics.

But having mentioned ‘dirty politics’ this precipitated online accusations from many, including people with close associations with Labour and the Greens, suggesting that ‘dirty politics’ means that National must have been involved – more ‘rumours’ without and evidence. I have also seen some claims that Labour had a plan to link the Gayford rumours to ‘dirty politics’=National, but again, no evidence of this.

Winston Peters deserves a special mention. He has made insinuations without any evidence – as I think is is a common tactic from him. I think this is deplorable dirty opportunism. If he has evidence he should front up (he often doesn’t), otherwise he should act like a deputy prime minister, not a smarmy smearer.

I have seen no indication or evidence that the National Party played any part in starting or spreading the rumours (and I would be very surprised and shocked if they were). Some people linked to National did mention the rumours, but I think that was likely to be because they believed the rumours may be at least partly true so should be publicised rather than being a deliberate campaign to smear.

One of those who published material on social media did not respond to a request for comment.

The other said he did not monitor comments on posts because it was too time consuming. He was unaware such allegations had been made in comments on his posts.

He said morally and legally a person could not be held accountable “for something on a forum for something they did not see”.

But he said he had an obligation, once alerted to improper comment, to take action and would remove defamatory or offensive comments. He was aware of the false rumours, he said.

It will be obvious to some who these sites refer to, but people who don’t know have no reason to know.

Both may have also got the Kensington Swan letter, or something similar.

The first one who didn’t respond did post a non-prominent comment warning against posting defamatory comments yesterday morning, and there was little discussion and I think no posts on the story. They must have been aware of the false rumours as they had been hinted on in posts and had come up in comments, and on that site comments are closely monitored and strictly moderated (when it suits them).

‘The other’ posted a prominent post warning against potentially defamatory comments. There was quite a bit of comment on the story on one thread, with some blatantly trying to suggest what the false accusations related to (this was quickly deleted) and trying to cast doubt on the story – there’s been a few ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ sort of nonsense.  Comments on this site are very lightly moderated and not generally monitored, and I think it’s quite feasible that the blog manager was not aware of the accusations being posted.

There is some interest in trying to work out where the smears came from. I am aware of the starts of this going back to last October – it appears that they started as fairly general slurs and insinuations and got more specific as time went on.

There was a lot of activity on Twitter pushing the story. This may have been coordinated to some extent but I think it was more likely that it was opportunistic jumping on a bashwagon, in the main at least.

Attempts have been made to seed the story here (as opposed to regulars here referring to the rumours). I have moderated any mentions of the rumours without evidence for a couple of reasons – to protect this site against legal action, and it is a site requirement that any accusations of this sort, or of any political smears or attacks, must be supported by evidence.

Dirty rumours often appear and some circulate for a while in small circles. This incident or campaign one was different – in the length of time they continued, in the way they became more specific, and in the serious nature of unfounded accusations.

Whether by deliberate design or growing opportunistic legs it appears to some degree to have been a deliberate attempt to damage the prime Minister and the Government, and this should be condemned in any decent democracy and country.

I believe people/persons with a history of online smears and attacks have at least repeated the smears from early on. They are not connected to any political party that I’m aware of.

I’m aware that some are investigating, trying to find out who started and promoted the stories as a possibly deliberate smear campaign aimed at harming the Prime Minister and the Government. I think that exposure of any sort of dirty smearing would be a good thing, it is an insidious assault on decent democracy.


NOTICE

As far as I’ve seen comments on this story here yesterday respected the legal situation. Thanks, and for now at least I’ll leave comments open here as long as everyone continues in a responsible way.

Please do not try to even hint at the nature of the accusations here. Any comment that I feel breaches this may be deleted in whole. If there are any risks to this site I may shut down comments on this thread.

Pawns, Bishop. Who to believe?

On February 13 this was posted by ‘Cameron Slater’: Bishop victim of blue-on-blue attack?

Several reliable sources are saying that Chris Bishop was the victim of some utu by Bill English and his faction after Bishop, Nikki Kaye and Todd Muller were held responsible for the chatter about Bill’s leadership and leaking to Barry Soper and Richard Harman.

The beauty of the hit on Bishop is that no matter what Bishop says Bill’s team have framed him…

Slater made a number of very low, dirty insinuations in that story (hence no link). He went on the surmise quote a lot considering he had claimed to have “several reliable sources”.

Hit jobs always leave trails, and murk, and make the target look over their shoulder. I should know better than most, having been the target of a few hit jobs. Don’t look at who was hit, or where the information originated… look at who benefits. Look for who isn’t in the mix. Once you establish those things then you are close to identifying who is behind the hit jobs.

Don’t look for what and who was in the books, look for who was missing. Then, look at who benefited from all of those hit jobs. Look for who had previously been hurt or harmed by the targets in some way.

Now look at the Bishop hit job with new eyes.

There’s enough murk to make the post looked like dual hit jobs against English and Bishop, totally unsubstantiated.

Slater made a number of other claims of sources in his scatter gun attacks during National’s leadership contest.

Today, a month later: Now we know why Bishop’s Snapchat issues were leaked

I looked back at the date that Chris Bishop’s little issue with Snapchat was released to media by Labour associated people.

It was 11 February, just two days after the alleged sexual assaults at the Labour youth camp.

Now we know why. Labour thought they were going to be the news after four youths were allegedly sexually assaulted at the camp.

Cue the attack on Chris Bishop.

Heather Du Plessis-Allan fingered Labour for it back then…

She mustn’t have been one of his sources back then.

In the end, Bishop’s Snapchatting was innocuous and not really a story…

That’s a change from Slater’s very dirty insinuations a month ago.

And – there’s an accuracy fail in today’s assertions. Going by The definitive timeline of Labour’s sex scandal (at Whale Oil):

10/02/18 Day 2 of Young Labour Summer Camp

The alleged sexual assaults are said to have happened late that evening or early the following morning.

11/02/18 Day 3 of Young Labour Summer Camp

  • NZME runs story on Chris Bishop about a mother upset at him for messaging her daughter and other minors.
  • Alleged 20-year-old offender sent home from camp.

Slater’s changed claim is that Labour initiated the attack on Bishop via a story that was probably running through the printing presses about the same time as the offences were happening supposedly happening.

Going by comments, the WO army just lapped up Slater’s latest claims, as they believed his claims a month ago without question. One comment:

So the Chris Bishop smear article wasn’t “a blue on blue hit piece” originating from Bill English’s crew after all? It was Labour putting out covering fire a week before any trace of media coverage? Surely both scenarios can’t be true.

No, both scenarios can’t be true – but both were asserted and believed at WO.

Who to believe? The ‘Cameron Slater’ who wrote last month’s post, or the ‘Cameron Slater’ who wrote today’s post?

Also, this puts some doubt (if any where needed) on ‘several reliable sources’.

Bishop, Snapchat and Dirty Politics

The story about Chris Bishop’s brief use of Snapchat was known about and ignored by media before the election.

Several months later, it has now become a dirty politics style smear after the story surfaced at Stuff:  National MP confronted about his social media messages to teenagers

National’s Hutt South MP Chris Bishop was confronted before last year’s election by a mother upset at the older man messaging her daughter and other minors.

Witnesses said Bishop was taken aside and asked to stop what he was doing.

“I wanted to confront him as many parents felt very uncomfortable that their children were messaged,” said a mother who wanted to remain anonymous.

“He admitted it straight away and thanked me for bringing it to his attention.”

Another mother, whose 13-year-old daughter was allegedly in daily contact with Bishop for a week or two on Snapchat, took to Facebook to vent her frustration.

The mother, who also wanted to remain anonymous, allegedly wrote to MP Paul Goldsmith to complain about Bishop’s behaviour.

None of the parents were concerned that Bishop’s intentions were anything other than misguided.

Note: “None of the parents were concerned that Bishop’s intentions were anything other than misguided”. In other words, this was a non-story.

But it has become a dirty politics story, with claims that it was an internal National Party hit job, and counter claims that it was a diversionary hit from Labour.

When David Farrar posted about it at Kiwiblog as Anonymous innuendo – some will see some irony in his comment “Disappointed Fairfax has run a story like this, with anonymous sources” – Matthew Hooton both played down what Bishop had done, but blamed National party insiders:

I guess the problem with Snapchat is the lack of a record. But I have no doubt the exchanges were as anodyne as when MPs usually communicate with school kids who contact them. This is a hit job, presumably by people associated with Bill English against one of the new MPs seeking generational change.

Note ‘presumably’ – in other words, no evidence. And:

This is the sort of thing that happens when National has a subterranean internal war. People just forget, because it’s been more than 10 years since the last one. But Labour also on the suspect list, of course. But, if it was them, I think they would have dropped it during the election campaign.

Plus speculation that it could have been Labour.

Cameron Slater went further – much further, delving into extreme dirty politics with carefully worded (arse-covering) insinuations. I won’t repeat the dirt, but Slater claimed:

Yesterday there was a hit job on National MP Chris Bishop.

When someone commented ” I am also upset to see comments from some that they think it came from Bill English” Slater replied “Because it did. Join the dots.”

I’ll join some dots – Slater has no evidence, Slater has a long standing grudge against Bill English, Slater has attacked Bishop before, and Slater’s word is wothr bugger all, he has a reputation of being wrong and making up malicious shit. He repeats:

“Not the left. Internal Nat hit job.”

“My information suggests it was a Blue on Blue hit job.”

Note ‘suggests’. No evidence at all.

But Bill does, to protect himself. As Sally points out, if Labour had this they would have dropped it the week before the election. This is patch protection from National party players.

That sounds like nothing more than speculation laced with a long standing grudge.

Why the hell would National, who spent last week playing down leadership speculation and papering over any internakl division, do a dirty on a popular MP?

And Slater’s ‘Dirty Politics’ partner Farrar is notably in disagreement (or spinning a different line): HDPA on the Bishop smear story

Real dirty politics, but I predict no book written about this.

Labour just hate the fact Chris Bishop worked so hard that he won Hutt South off them, so this is what they stoop to.

Farrar referred to Heather du Plessis-Allan on Newstalk ZB (about 11:30): http://120.138.20.16/WeekOnDemand/ZB/wellington/2018.02.12-09.15.00-D.mp3

Why is this a story now? Because it’s a Labour Party hit job. That’s what I think.

I’ll be honest. I knew about this before the election. I knew there were messages about this. Guess how I found out? From the Labour Party. The Labour Party knew about this. So the only reason it has been delayed is probably because the parents would finally talk about it.

The Labour Party has probably been working on the parents to try and get them to talk to the media. So this in my opinion is a Labour Party hit job. And I think it’s actually disgusting to be honest.

And HPDA’s partner follows a similar line – Barry Soper’s The Soap Box: Vilification of Chris Bishop is sick

The vilification of Bishop is sick, mainly by those with warped minds, and is obviously politically motivated, curiously coming at a time when Labour was on the ropes over its unfathomable closure of charter schools!

Also no evidence that Labour was behind the stuff story. But this deserves more investigation, whether National or Labour are behind the attack smear.

This is dirty, and I think alarmingly so. Disregarding the Slater sleaze, the insinuations against Bishop, even though the original story said “None of the parents were concerned that Bishop’s intentions”, are dirty politics at it’s worst.