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.

Whale shit

Bigger than bull at Whale Oil.

The campaign against Golriz Ghahraman is still rambling on at WO. Yesterday was quieter, with ‘just’ a lame cartoon plus another dirty Photoshop posted by Juana Atkins.

But they are back at it with two posts already today, with some Whale sized shit from Slater.

With all of the revelations we’ve seen about Golriz Ghahraman over the last week, I had expected the story to be picked up by the mainstream media.  That’s their job right? To report on facts and raise issues of concern about the current government, particularly when it comes to lies and deception peddled by our Members of Parliament.  Yet it’s been strangely quiet.

Media were all over it when the story broke, and for a day or two afterwards, and then it subsided, as is the norm for stories. What I think Slater means is that the media are quiet now while he is trying to beat a dead horse story.

So far, the mainstream media have stayed away from this story in droves.  They seem unwilling to publish anything that might make this Government look bad.  Stories the previous Government would have been castigated about for weeks seem to slip quietly under the rug.

From the 26th November (Tuesday) all the main media outlets covered the story. Therre is even a new opinion piece on Stuff today by Damien Grant: ‘Why I admire Golriz Ghahraman’:

We like to hold our elected representatives to an impossible moral standard. The few who can achieve such purity are so devoid of drive and ambition that they are ineffective in the blood-spattered arena that is modern politics.

Fudging your CV, embellishing the past and periodic acts of bastardy while appearing angelic – even as the viscera of your opponents taint the edges of your apparel –  are prerequisites for a successful life in politics.

John Key was called the smiling assassin. Jacinda Ardern’s first act as leader was to nudge Metiria Turei under a recycling truck while empathetically embracing the nation’s  impoverished children in a Kate Sylvester dress.

Ghahraman can have no complaint that Quin has brought these issues into the light. When you stand for office such scrutiny is expected but I do not care if Ghahraman fudged her CV or had photos taken with war criminals.

We vote for people because we want them to get things done. There isn’t any point in marrying a eunuch or voting for a saint.

Slater does not seem to favour the saintly style of blogging, but seems to expect unblemished politicians (except ones he is shilling for) and media.

He closes his post wanly:

We are long overdue some real balance by the mainstream media.

Unwittingly witty. He wants ‘real balance’ from other media. That’s kinda cute given his own degrees of imbalance.

Like this:

Photoshop of the day

by SB on December 2, 2017 at 1:00pm

Slater seems to have approved of this, he has commented in the thread.

This is whale sized shit.

And he wonders why media don’t continue his political attack campaigns any more.

Whale Oil dives deeper into dirt

Lurcher alerted me to this in a manner that was unsuitable for posting, but he makes a valid point – Whale Oil is sinking to shitty depths. One of the latest examples is a photoshopped image linking a Government MP to Charles Manson – I’m not linking to it and don’t want the image shown here.

It was posted under the authorship of ‘SB” – Spanish Bride, also known as Juana Atkins. She seems to have increased her management role at Whale Oil after the recent departure of Pete Belt.

Also posted under ‘SB’ recently was a  cartoon depicting African people as apes. Claiming ‘free speech’ is one thing but that doesn’t excuse being dirty and derogatory.

Posts under ‘Cameron Slater’ have also reverted to more of his bully blog style, with repeated petty labelling and name calling and derogatory comments. Political blogging reverting to it’s worst.

Yesterday alone, after other media had largely moved on, Whale Oil featured at least eight posts attacking MP Golriz Ghahraman and the Green Party.

That’s a gross misrepresentation, presumably deliberate, at best.

Whale Oil has also been running a sustained series of attack posts on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern which have been at times blatantly misogynist.

All this dirt does is discredits Atkins, Slater and Whale Oil even more (if that’s possible) and gives critics justification for proclaiming the return of ‘Dirty Politics’, which has already been done, associating David Farrar and Kiwiblog and Jordan Williams, who have also been attacking Ghahraman, and also the National Party by association.

This goes far outside acceptable standards of political coverage.

Dirty bully blogging is back as Whale Oil sinks into the mud, while hypocritically regularly applauding their standards.

Did Steven Joyce fail economic papers?

I’ve often seen it claimed that Steven Joyce failed economic papers. This came up again on Twitter on Monday:

This circulated on Facebook:

A version of the meme which claims to show Steven Joyce's university transcript from the 1980s. Image/Facebook

The claims seem to have become somewhat embellished. He got a fail mark in one, and did not complete or withdrew from seven economic papers.

Joyce in a 2014 n interview with Victoria University’s student magazine Salient:

“I went to Massey University, from 1981 to 1985 in Palmerston North. I did a vet intermediate and didn’t quite make the cut for vet school so I did a zoology degree for two years,” he told the magazine.

“In the first three years I passed all my papers, I was very excited. And then I started in student radio. In my fourth year I was doing economics papers. I sat six and passed three.

“In my fifth year I enrolled for three and passed none. By that time I was fully into radio.”

That doesn’t quite match the student record – which is incomplete, it doesn’t show results from 1981 to 1983.

It was also was checked out by NZ Herald in September: Finance Minister Steven Joyce confirms he dropped out of uni economics papers

The Herald put written questions to Joyce, including whether the grades affected his ability to be finance minister.

His press secretary replied only that “Minister Joyce started but then withdrew from those papers because he was starting his radio company”.

Joyce and several friends, including More FM’s Jeremy Corbett, started New Plymouth radio station Energy FM in 1987.

He went on to develop a commercial radio empire and made $6 million when it was sold to CanWest.

Further details from Wikipedia:

After leaving university Joyce and a group of friends (including radio presenter Jeremy Corbett) started their own radio station, Energy FM, in New Plymouth.[4][5] With business partners, he built up RadioWorks over the next seventeen years, both organically and by acquisition, to a network of 22 radio stations and 650 staff. He retired as Managing Director of RadioWorks in April 2001, when CanWest purchased it, Joyce receiving $6 million for the sale.[5]

After RadioWorks he joined the New Zealand National Party, working as their campaign manager in both the 2005 and the 2008 general elections. He also served as CEO of Jasons Travel Media for two years until 2008.

That kind of suggests a lack of economic papers did not prevent Joyce from substantial commercial success. He became a list MP in 2008 when John Key led National into Government.

How important are economic qualifications for Minister of Finance?

Grant Robertson (current Minister of Finance, became an MP in 2008):

Studied politics at Otago, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in 1995. His involvement in the campaign against user-pays education led him to become President of the Otago University Students Association, and later Vice President and then Co-President of the New Zealand University Students Association.

After leaving university, Grant joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and was also posted to the United Nations in New York. On his return to New Zealand he became an advisor to then-Minister of Environment Marian Hobbs, then to Prime Minister Helen Clark.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_Robertson

Bill English (Became an MP in 1990, Minister of Finance 2008-2016):

…completed an honours degree in English literature at Victoria University of Wellington.

From 1987 to 1989, he worked in Wellington as a policy analyst for the New Zealand Treasury.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_English

Michael Cullen (Became an MP in 1981, Minister if Finance 1999-2008):

…achieved an MA in history at Canterbury University. Receiving a Commonwealth Scholarshiphe then gained a PhD in social and economic history from the University of Edinburgh. From 1971 to 1981 he was a lecturer at Otago University, with a term as a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University from 1975 to 1976.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Cullen_(politician)

Bill Birch (Became an MP in 1972, Minister of Finance 1993-1999):

He was trained as a surveyor, and established a business in Pukekohe, a small town south of Auckland.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Birch

Ruth Richardson (Became an MP in 1981, Minister of Finance 1990-1993):

Richardson gained a law degree with honours from the University of Canterbury. After graduating, she worked for the Department of Justice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Richardson

Roger Douglas (Became an MP in 1969, Minister of Finance 1984-1988):

He gained a degree in accountancy from the University of Auckland in 1957. Afterwards, he was hired by Bremworth Carpets in South Auckland as company secretary. He married and moved to Mangere in 1961, becoming President of the Manukau Labour Electorate Committee. He began to run the Bremworth division individually after the company’s sale to UEB in the mid-1960s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Douglas

Robert Muldoon (Became an MP in 1960, Minister of Finance 1975-1984):

He left school at age 15, finding work at Fletcher Construction and then the Auckland Electric Power Board as an arrears clerk. He studied accountancy by correspondence.

Many Ministers don’t have relevant education for their portfolios. For example from the current Cabinet:

Kelvin Davis – Minister for Crown/Māori Relations, Corrections, and Tourism:

He obtained a Diploma of Teaching from Auckland College of Education (1985–1987) and taught at Koru School in Mangere (1988–1990), Bay of Islands Intermediate School in Kawakawa (1991–1993), before becoming principal of Karetu School (1994–1998). He then held employment with the Education Advisory Service (1998–1999) and the education improvement and development project Te Putahitanga Matauranga (2000). He was then principal of Kaitaia Intermediate School from 2001 to 2007.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelvin_Davis_(politician)

Phil Twyford – Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Transport:

After studying politics at Auckland University, Phil worked as a journalist and union organiser before becoming the founding Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand. Phil’s strong belief in justice led to him becoming Oxfam’s Global Advocacy Director, based in Washington DC.

http://www.labour.org.nz/philtwyford

Dr David Clark – Minister of Health:

Clark undertook university study at the University of Otago and Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen. He completed degrees in German and theology before a PhD on the work of German/New Zealand refugee and existentialist thinker Helmut Herbert Hermann Rex.

Ordained in 1997, Clark is a Presbyterian minister.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Clark_(New_Zealand_politician)

Dr Megan Woods:

Worked as a Business Manager at Plant & Food Research. She holds a PhD in New Zealand History from the University of Canterbury.

http://www.labour.org.nz/meganwoods

Chris Hipkins:

Completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics and Criminology at Victoria University.

After completing his study, Chris worked in the industry training sector. Before becoming an MP he also worked at parliament, first as Senior Advisor to two Education Ministers and later in the office of the then Prime Minister Helen Clark.

http://www.labour.org.nz/chrishipkins

Prime Ministers appoint MPs to ministerial roles based on much more than their academic background.

“Literally failed eight economic papers” is either deliberate dirty politics or a lazy attack line, and is a factual failure.

There was nothing dramatic or controversial in Joyce’s only budget as Minister of Finance in 2017.

Backward politics

I don’t know if this is part of the official Labour Party feud with the Maori Party, or one Labour candidate being nasty. Tamati Coffey:

CoffeyBackward

Coffey is Labour’s candidate for the Maori electorate Waiariki this year:

About

My name is Tamati Coffey and I am the Labour Candidate for Waiariki electorate in 2017. Authorised by Andrew Kirton, 160 Willis St, Wellington.

I don’t know of Kirton authorised his backward swipe at his opponent via that same Facebook account.

Coffey will be standing against Te Ururoa Flavell in Waiariki, who won against a different Labour candidate by 3,889 votes in 2014, with Mana’s Annette Sykes a close third about 350 votes back.

Mana won’t stand this year in an agreement with the Maori party so Coffey will have to do something extraordinary this year to stand a chance. Playing the backward card is unlikely to help his chances in the electorate. It will be interesting to see what sort of list position Labour give him – reward or not.

More Breitbart ‘fake news’

The Breitbart news site has been accused of spreading ‘fake news’ about an alleged Muslim attack on a church in Germany. This has been debunked by multiple sources.

This raises concerns for a number of reasons:

  • The ex CEO of Bretibart, Steve Barron, will soon become Trump’s chief strategist in the White House.
  • Breitbart plans to set up a German language site (and also a French site).
  • Germany is having elections this year.
  • Whale Oil wants to imitate Breitbart  in New Zealand.

Guardian: German police quash Breitbart story of mob setting fire to Dortmund church

German media and politicians have warned against an election-year spike in fake news after the rightwing website Breitbart claimed a mob chanting “Allahu Akbar” had set fire to a church in the city of Dortmund on New Year’s Eve.

After the report by the US site was widely shared on social media, the city’s police clarified that no “extraordinary or spectacular” incidents had marred the festivities.

The local newspaper, Ruhr Nachrichten, said elements of its online reporting on New Year’s Eve had been distorted by Breitbart to produce “fake news, hate and propaganda”.

The justice minister of Hesse state, Eva Kühne-Hörmann, said that “the danger is that these stories spread with incredible speed and take on lives of their own”.

Tens of thousands clicked and shared the Breitbart.com story with the headline “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve”.

It said the men had “chanted Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), launched fireworks at police and set fire to a historic church”, while also massing “around the flag of al-Qaida and Islamic State collaborators the Free Syrian Army.”

The local newspaper said Breitbart had combined and exaggerated unconnected incidents to create a picture of chaos and of foreigners promoting terrorism.

Dortmund police on Thursday said its officers had handled 185 missions that night, sharply down from 421 the previous year. The force’s leader judged the night as “rather average to quiet”, in part thanks to a large police presence.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily said Breitbart had used exaggerations and factual errors to create “an image of chaotic civil war-like conditions in Germany, caused by Islamist aggressors”.

Breitbart is unlikely to be deterred by belated debunking of their slanted and misleading campaigns.

Bild, Germany’s top-selling daily, also predicted trouble ahead – pointing to the fact that Breitbart’s former editor Steve Bannon had been appointed as US president-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

It warned that Breitbart – which plans to launch German and French language sites – could seek to “aggravate the tense political climate in Germany”.

Meanwhile in New Zealand Whale Oil is trying to revive it’s imitation of Breitbart – and already has a history of anti-Muslim posts.

How Whaleoil can become New Zealand’s Breitbart

Whaleoil can become New Zealand’s Breitbart if the subscription numbers continue to grow. We will use the extra income to hire more staff and we will train interns. Given the appropriate resources, we will expand services which may possibly include news aggregation from sources you can trust.

When you subscribe to Whaleoil you become part of our plan to once again imitate what works overseas and to replicate its success here in New Zealand.

Sources you can trust? Breitbartising Whale Oil might appeal to those who want to be told what they believe, but the trust levels here are already very low.

Because of this Whale Oil rarely gets traction in social and mainstream media for any of the campaigns they try to run – they have been complaining about the lack of media interest in their daily barrage of pro-Israel anti-NZ Government posts.

Any ‘news’ posted by Whale Oil should be viewed with a healthy degree of skepticism, whether it is from their own ‘tip line’ or unnamed sources, or from ‘trusted sources’ like Breitbart. Both have records of political skulduggery and dirt – and Whale Oil has been promising to get dirtier this year.

Whale Oil on UN vote on Israel

It’s no surprise to see hard out support from Slater for the Israeli position after the UN Security Council voted 14-0 against them over settlements on disputed or private land in the Middle East.

There has been a string of supporting posts for Israel and against anyone involved in the vote against them by Slater. And he has often written (or had material supplied for) pro-Israel posts for years.

There have been 81 posts at Whale Oil tagged ‘Israel’ so far this year, and 209 since 1 January 2015.Of course they can post whatever they like, and many of these have only minor references to Israel (albeit tagged by the author) but this is a remarkable focus on Israel for a New Zealand blog.

And if you go back about 250 ‘Israel’ tagged posts, to August 2014, there are a string of posts reporting on a visit Slater made to Israel – a trip in part paid for by the Israel government.

Stuff reported at the time: Blogging, money and blurred lines

The man at the centre of the Dirty Politics firestorm sits on a leafy street in Tel Aviv, Israel, just a block from the shores of the Mediterranean, sipping a blended mint lemonade.

Cameron “Whale Oil” Slater is bleary-eyed, having spent 24 hours on a plane, and now finds himself in a war zone during a ceasefire. It’s Friday in Israel; Saturday back home.

He’s one of a group of international journalists invited to visit by the Israeli government, which has been earning bruising international condemnation over the civilian death toll in the Gaza conflict.

The Israeli embassy approached him about the trip, he says, and covered some costs, but he is paying for a significant portion of his travels. He has posted anti-Hamas and pro-Israel stories on his blog in the past.

And has continued to do that. Interesting that the Israeli embassy approached Slater.

The arrangement may sound vaguely familiar to anyone who has read certain chapters of Nicky Hager’s controversial new book Dirty Politics, which is based on thousands of emails stolen from Slater’s computer.

Besides his central claims that National used Slater’s Whale Oil blog as an conduit for “dirty” attacks on its political enemies, Hager also says Slater took cash in exchange for running stories for a range of commercial clients.

He writes that certain articles posted under Slater’s name were word-for-word reprints of material supplied by PR man Carrick Graham, whose clients include tobacco and alcohol companies. Hager writes that Slater was paid around $6500 a month by Graham, for work he estimates would have taken perhaps an hour.

When asked if he received any payment from Graham, his company or associates, and whether there was any understanding that he would run copy for that payment, Slater gives an emphatic “No”. He stands by his byline.

“Any copy I am using, I’ve had direct input into – I may have helped write it, I’ve certainly edited it.

“There are large corporates that I work with. They have particular issues and as a result of that those issues are then turned into an interesting story. I take stories, create stories, work on stories, provide commentary on a number of different things and whatever takes my fancy at the time.”

The Security Council vote against Israel seems to have taken Slater’s “fancy at the time”. Since the vote was announced these posts have been on Whale Oil:

The focus on the UN vote stands out amongst otherwise mostly Christmas or trivial posts.

Whether it’s a personal or a financial interest it’s a topic that Slater certainly fancies quite a bit.