The joke’s on the nannies of Ratana

Ratana seems to get media attention due to being the first political gathering of the year, but it’s hardly a scene setting event.

Claire Trevett’s focus on what the nannies of Ratana laughed at trivialised what is in the whole scheme of our politics a fairly trivial event.

NZ Herald: Andrew Little survives at Ratana but Peters steals show

Andrew Little has survived his first address to Maori at Ratana but was well and truly upstaged by NZ First leader Winston Peters when it came to wooing the nannies.

Mr Little managed to get through his speech without looking at his notes. He even managed to get in a few jokes, saying of the prophet Ratana that he was “80 years ahead of Gareth Morgan. And he didn’t have a book to sell”.

However, he didn’t get many laughs…

Success at Ratana is how many laughs the politicians get?

If that’s the case Metiria Turei must have been the big loser, choosing to spit tacks at John Key.

But on the marae, Mr Little was followed by Mr Peters who had them rolling on the paepae with his first quip that politicians were “fast on the lip and slow on the hip”.

They were still laughing when he told them their koha “was in the email. We’re a modern party”.

Even Deputy Prime Minister Bill English managed to get more laughs than Mr Little…

That’s a serious dig being upstaged by dour Bill.

The nannies said afterwards that they thought Mr Little was a bit boring but gave him leeway as a first-timer.

They were far more enamoured with Mr Peters’ pitch. So the nannies will do their own annual review next year. Be warned, Mr Little.

Yes, be warned that some of the politicians and media think that Ratana is a joke.

But don’t be too worried about the nannies of Ratana. They’re hardly a pivotal political demographic.

Labour’s internal poll differences

Reports on Labour’s internal poll results have been disputed by Labour.

On Thursday Claire Trevett claimed in Collins soap opera gives Labour breathing space:

Last week, things were so fragile he might have been in with a chance. List MPs were doing the numbers as internal polling showed them diving into the low to mid-20s and Cunliffe with stratospherically high negative ratings. One poll was reported to have Labour only five or six points ahead of the Greens.

Labour insider Rob Salmond disputes this in a post on his Polity blog – Trevett wrong on polls:

Not very many people see any party’s internal polling. I am one of those who do within Labour, which is why I know Claire’s sources are wrong. Here’s where our polling says we stand:

  • No poll taken since David Cunliffe became the leader had showed Labour below 30% support.
  • No poll taken since David Cunliffe became the leader had showed Labour support at anything less than double the Greens’ support.
  • Our latest poll, which was taken before the extent of National’s horror period became apparent, shows the combination of Labour and the Greens more or less tied with National. This polling was not quite as positive for the left as the recent Roy Morgan, but I’ll await with interest how the next set of these come out.
  • Our latest poll has New Zealand First comfortably over the 5% threshold, and effectively in a position to choose the Prime Minister. This is consistent with Roy Morgan’s findings.

I don’t think there’s any good reason to doubt this. A couple of polls have dipped Labour just under 30% before coming back into the thirties, including one Roy Morgan poll, but it doesn’t sound as if Labour poll frequently so it would be easy for them to miss those dip periods or have a variation in a poll within normal margins of error.

So where did Trevett get this information? I don’t think she would have made up anything like that, a journalist simple wouldn’t.

I’ve been informed of Labour polling being in the twenties too from supposedly Labour sources. And I’ve been informed that National’s internal polling has Labour “stuck in the twenties”.

Salmond has disputed this and blames his opposition:

Journalists need to be aware that one of National’s strategies for the election is to talk up the Greens’ role in a centre-left government. Evidently, that now involves making up Labour’s internal numbers, in order to seed the false belief that voters’ choice will be between “National” and “Green/Labour.”

That’s possible, but I think that Trevett would have to have been informed by sources with clear Labour links on the polling and on other aspects of her story. Once again I don’t see how a journalist could report on anything as she did by taking the word of opposing party ‘informants’.

A Labour activist makes a bigger claim about dirty tricks collusion between ‘media’ and National. Anne at The Standard:

They are part of the oft mentioned Nat. Party dirty tricks brigade – the media delivery end of it. A quid pro quo kind of situation exists where you print out made up claims as if they’re facts and we’ll see you get the real stuff first.

How I will laugh and laugh if we have a Lab/Green/NZ First govt by year’s end. Their life of journalistic privilege will be over.

And ‘NZJester’ also commented at The Standard:

Claire Trevett’s sources are obviously National Party stooges pretending to be Labour Party insiders.
Either she is very easily tricked or she is putting on blinkers to the truth so she can report what she wants to hear.
The National Party for years now has employed the most highly rated international dirty tricks company in the business that knows how to fudge the truth and lead sympathetic Journalists by the nose.

NZJester is not a regular commenter mixing it at The Standard and seems to have popped up occasionally, this time apparently to push this meme, although they have criticised National working with the media before, and another of their total of eight comments starting a little over a month ago was also on a Polity thread -NZJester: Comment:Polity: Maori Party / Key fundraiser .

Coincidentally ex Labour president Mike Williams made an incorrect claim about a poll in his column in the Herald today – see Mike Williams wrong on Ohariu.

Just about anything is possible in politics but this sounds most likely to be deliberate misinformation coming from within Labour ranks.

Who would do that, and why?

State of the political journalist nation


At Kelston Girls’ ready for David Cunliffe’s state of the nation. There’s a BBQ after for the 5 people who don’t run off to watch Grammys

Political journalists more interested in lording over celebrities and pop songs than singing Cunliffe’s praises.

And a  Labour BBQ.  Isn’t there some history with them?



Dunne Speaks: the GCSB, journalists and data

As posted on Peter Dunne’s blog.

The New Zealand Herald’s Claire Trevett puts the current controversy  regarding the GCSB Bill and access to journalists’ phone records into its proper perspective: “The bill is completely unrelated to the issue of … phone records. In fact, … the GCSB itself could not have obtained the information the Parliamentary Service released so blithely …”

So the real question becomes why were metadata, swipe access and phone records released so freely? Was it because they were formally requested (if so, by whom)? Was it inadvertent (a mighty big piece of inadvertence if it was)? Or was Parliamentary Service just trying to be helpful (if so, to whom)?

In my case, my metadata and mobile phone records were accessed without my approval. I declined access to the content of my emails, and assume that was honoured. I agreed to my landline and extension phone data, and swipe card records being released for a specified period of time but it is seems likely they were provided for a longer period.

Andrea Vance’s “Mad as Hell” column makes the passing observation that “you can glean a lot from matching numbers, time and date of published stories.”

This is the real nub of the issue, insofar as the Henry inquiry, the DPMC, and the Parliamentary Service were concerned. But what is intriguing is how that links into Peters’ comments in the House on 30 May (not 5 June) about the phone records providing all the answers. Was that just inspired guess-work, or had  there already been a tip-off, and if so, by whom, for what purpose?

The Privileges Committee will probably never get to the bottom of these machinations, but its investigation will be critical in establishing the rules of engagement to apply from here on.

For what it is worth, here is what I think. Members of Parliament and journalists should not be tracked around the Parliamentary complex, nor should their metadata, phone or photocopying logs be accessed without their prior approval.

Even then, it should be for only the most specific of purposes and periods of time, relating to physical security or criminal investigations. And any such authority should approved by the Speaker before any data is released. Using such data for joining the dots inquiries that may or may not lead anywhere should not be permitted.

While all this has nothing to do with the GCSB Bill, the attention it is attracting might just be the thing to jolt the Parliament into becoming far more circumspect about the need to protecting the legitimate privacy of MPs and journalists.