“Jacinda Ardern should have been able to recite the Treaty”

I thought this media nonsense over Jacinda Ardern not jumping to a journalist demand about literal knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi was over, but Heather du Plessis-Allan continues it with: Jacinda Ardern should have been able to recite the Treaty

That was embarrassing.

You’d be made of ice not to feel sorry for Jacinda Ardern. Put on the spot like that, asked to recite the articles of the Treaty.

Article One, what does it say? came the question.

“Oh. Article One? On the spot?”

You feel sorry for the PM because you know she’s not that unusual. How many of us can recite the three articles of the Treaty?

I’d guess that most journalists couldn’t recite the Treaty unprepared.

How can you deliver on the promise of the Treaty if you don’t know the promise of the Treaty?

Not being able to recite it has nothing to do with delivering on the Treaty.

David Farrar covered this well last Tuesday: PM fell for the quiz trick

The story here isn’t that the PM didn’t know what Article One says, and needed Willie to help her out.

The story is the media doing a “gotcha” story where they treat politics as a quiz night. You ask an MP a question with the hope they can’t answer it on the spot, and then have a story about how ignorant or out of touch they are.

The classic is how much is a loaf of bread. Others are what is the current inflation rate. Who is the best selling NZ musician etc etc.

MPs should refuse to play these games. If a journalist asks a question along these lines, the best responses are:

  • I’m a Member of Parliament, not a quiz show participant.
  • If you don’t know the answer, go Google it
  • This is silly gotcha politics and I’m not playing along

I think it is petty and irrelevant to what is important.

I wonder how many journalists can recite Article 1 of the  Press Council Principles:

1. Accuracy, Fairness and Balance

Publications should be bound at all times by accuracy, fairness and balance, and should not deliberately mislead or misinform readers by commission or omission. In articles of controversy or disagreement, a fair voice must be given to the opposition view. Exceptions may apply for long-running issues where every side of an issue or argument cannot reasonably be repeated on every occasion and in reportage of proceedings where balance is to be judged on a number of stories, rather than a single report.

Is it fair to demand precise answers to questions that are designed to try to catch politicians out?

I don’t think so. These are cheap shots by journalists, trying to create a story out of nothing of importance. And Allen is still milking it, five days after the non-story ‘broke’.


Are we a country of casual racists?

Apparently claims have been made that we are a country of casual racists because of something one person said on a ‘reality’ TV show. Mass blaming because of one comment seems ridiculous, but Heather du Plessis-Allen has written a column about it.

NZH: Give the prejudice test a go

Now seems an opportune time to test your bigotry, given claims that The Real Housewives of Auckland proves we’re a country of casual racists.

I don’t think a comment by one attention seeking housewife from Auckland has got anything to do with me.

In the latest – and most dramatic – episode, housewife Julia Sloane – who is white – refers to another housewife – who is not white – as a boat n*****.

Things go understandably awry.

There is crying, yelling and a champagne glass used as a projectile.

Call me cynical, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the term, that I would have thought was rarely used in New Zealand, was staged to stir up publicity. Isn’t that how those programs work? Yeah, I’m prejudiced against programs like that.

It’s a surprise anyone still uses the n-word this side of the millennium. It’s the second-most offensive word in New Zealand and has been for at least 17 years, according to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

But, it’s a little hysterical to claim this is proof New Zealand is populated by a horde of casual racists who treat other ethnicities with the kind of cavalier disregard suggested by a phrase like casual racism.

I don’t know whether the mass blaming was done hysterically or not but it’s both stupid and it’s offensive to me.

Still, the event has given us a good chance to have a hunt around the attic of our attitudes and toss out a few we don’t need anymore. This is, after all, week two of a debate about racism in New Zealand.

Last week we questioned whether Nikolas Delegat – the son of winemaker Jim Delegat – received a seemingly light sentence for assaulting a policewoman because he was white. We also asked why white first-time offenders are twice as likely as Maori offenders to be let off with only a pre-charge warning.

In the same week, I met a woman in a regional city who twice referred to Maori men as “boy”, in one case in the presence of the man in question, who looked like he’d seen about 40 more summers than your average boy.

Terms like “boy” are at worst loaded with connotations of slavery and oppression and at best patronising.

There is certainly quite a bit of racism and racist attitudes in New Zealand, but there is also quite a bit of blaming everyone for the sins of some.

So, perhaps now is the time to spring clean ourselves of our racist attitudes.

Give the prejudice test a go.

She is referring to what is claimed to be a simple test, but I don’t know how well it applies to New Zealand.

But you can try it and see if you are a casual racist or not.

It looks like you are supposed to read the disclaimer, click on agree and then then choose the Race option.


Protests about TPPA protests

In his daily political roundup Bryce Edwards includes a few criticisms of  TPPA protests.

TPP protests under attack

Criticisms have been made of other protests lately – especially the anti-TPP protests in Auckland. Heather du Plessis-Allan complained that protestors were ignorant and inarticulate in her column, infuriating protest. She also suggested their tactics would backfire.

A number of media had interviews with protesters who, if they were representative samples, suggest a widespread lack of knowledge about what they were actually protesting about.

And Karl du Fresne argued “When idealism morphs into acts of violence, protesters relinquish any right to be heard” – see: The arrogance of the self-righteous. He also thought Josie Butler’s protest would be counterproductive: “No doubt she will have become an overnight hero of the Left, who are too absorbed in their own sanctimonious bubble to realise that offensive protest gestures ultimately boost support for the National government and play into the hands of the law-and-order lobby.”

I think Butler may fade away quite quickly – there were reports that other protesters were quite dismayed that her lunacy attracted most of the media attention they were seeking.

Paul Buchanan had some similar points to make in his blog post, Too Clever. On the TPP protests, he said, “Unfortunately, it has activists who seemingly are more interested in establishing and maintaining their street credentials as ‘radicals’ or ‘militants’ than using protest and civil disobedience as an effective counter-hegemonic tool.”

There are certainly indications that the TPPA is just the current in a line of excuses for protesting and trying to beat up on the Government.

Also from Buchanan’s post:

That is why things got too clever. As a tactical response to the police thwarting of the initial action, the move to rolling blockades was ingenious. But that bit of tactical ingenuity superseded the strategic objective, which was to draw attention to the extent of TPPA opposition.

In fact, it appeared that the Sky City activists were trying to outdo each other in their attempts to make a point, but in doing so lost sight of the original point they were trying to make. After all, blocking people from leaving the city after the signing ceremony was over was not going to win over hearts and minds when it comes to opposing the TPPA.

And praise and disagreement with Jane Kelsey:

On a more positive note, Jane Kelsey has to be congratulated for almost single-handedly re-defnining the terms of the debate about TPPA and keeping it in the public eye. As someone who walks the walk as well as talk the talk, she was one of the leaders of the Queen Street march and has comported herself with grace and dignity in the face of vicious smears by government officials and right wing pundits lacking half the integrity she has.

I disagree about the concerns she and others have raised about secrecy during the negotiations, in part because I know from my reading and practical experience while working for the US government that all diplomatic negotiations, especially those that are complex and multi-state in nature, are conducted privately and only revealed (if at all) to the public upon completion of negotiations (if and when they are).

Last term sustained anti-asset sales protests failed to awaken the sleeping giant missing million – most of whom are perpetually dozing politically.

More twists in Mediaworks firearm purchase

While journalists generally have been supportive of Heather Du Plessis-Allan over the Story rifle buying story, and scathing of the police for searching her home David Fisher and NZ Herald have been doing some actual investigative journalism.

Fisher reveals a number of very pertinent facts in The Big Read: Twist to TV gun-buying tale.

Elements of TV3’s gun buying story were contrived as documents show a production manager on the show may be directly implicated in the purchase and delivery of the .22 rifle at the centre of a police inquiry.

The Herald also understands Mark Weldon, the boss of TV3’s owner MediaWorks, appears to have personally approved the gun buying story.

During broadcast of the story, du Plessis-Allan was shown holding a piece of paper to the camera saying: “Normally you take this form down to the police station along with your firearms licence. The police officer checks that you actually do have a firearms licence and signs at the bottom of the form. We can tell you we didn’t take the form to a police station.”

In the wake of an outcry over the search, police put out a press release saying TV3 staff would not be interviewed so detectives took “steps necessary to obtain the information required to progress the investigation”.

Du Plessis-Allan told viewers that night TV3 had handed over information sought by officers.

“They asked me for the original mail order form – I handed it over. They never asked me for my handwriting samples and know that had they done it, I would have handed them over.”

The Herald has studied the copy of the mail order form used to buy the rifle from Gun City and compared it to the form shown in the broadcast on October 21. The documents are different – the “B” in “bolt”, the “R” in “rifle” and the “AC” in “action” most strikingly so.

It means detectives were confronted with the possibility of more documentation other than that which was used to purchase the weapon.

The existence of two forms would compel detectives investigating the gun buy to search for other documentation, according to Criminal Bar Association president and former police detective Tony Bouchier.

The search warrant of du Plessis-Allan’s home was for more than handwriting samples:

The single reference to the “original mail order form” by du Plessis-Allan has been the only comment about the documentation used to buy the rifle. Both Story hosts have spoken repeatedly of the search being to obtain handwriting samples, referring to police “looking for handwriting samples”.

There has been no reference to the second part of the search warrant – of which the Herald has a copy – and its second stated objective. The warrant specifically seeks “all copies of the Gun City mail/online order form, or other sheets of paper that have Justin Devine’s signature on it,” referencing a copy of the actual order form used to buy the weapon and the false name adopted for the purchase.

Another person involved:

Along with the order in the name of “Justin Devine”, the form carried a credit card number said to be in the name of “J Devine”.

Story’s production manager is Jayne Devine, according to her LinkedIn page. The address on the Gun City mail order form to which the rifle was delivered has been matched by the Herald with Ms Devine’s home address.

So the Story story was a packaged story that left out a few of the details. As has coverage of the search.

While a jail term is a possible outcome for forgery and impersonating a police officer I don’t think that would an appropriate penalty. But it seems reasonable for the police to investigate this.

And it’s good to see journalists like Fisher doing some hard core investigating rather than just jumping on the media bandwagon (and mutual defence wagon).


More on HDPA and firearms

The purchase of a firearm by Heather du Plessis-Allan for the Story programme on TV3 continues to get attention.

The police have issued a statement:


Like the police raid on du Plessis-Allan’s house this has been criticised. Rummaging through personal belongings looking for handwriting samples seems an odd step considering she had openly described what she had done.

However while many kournbalists are condemning the police action David Fisher has written a brave and thought provoking opinion column:

Heather du Plessis-Allan and the gun: Did she find a loophole or simply break the law?

Whoever filled in the form provided some of the required details by using a bogus name and credit card number.

The section seeking the number of a firearms licence was filled using an invented number. (The invented number was checked by Gun City staff and came back from police as genuine, clearing the way for the purchase.)

Lower down the form was a section marked “Police Use Only”.

Whoever completed the form created the name of a fictitious officer and included what appeared to be a police registration number.

The requirement for the police officer’s involvement is explained at the top of the form. It quotes section 43a of the Arms Act 1983. That’s the section of the law which makes it legal for guns to be sold by mail order.

Of interest to the Story team was the legal requirement for the form to be signed by the person buying the gun, and the legal need for it to carry the endorsement of a police officer who had seen the buyer’s licence.

The “Police Use Only” section wasn’t just for decoration – it was a stated legal requirement for a mail order purchase, as was the use of a proper name. There are penalties for selling a a gun without consideration of all those steps.

I believe there was great cause for serious thought before the form was completed using bogus details. There are serious penalties around forgery, with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

As Fisher goes on to say, this wasn’t a loophole, it appears to be breaking the law.

The law doesn’t stop anyone from walking onto the street and punching another person. It provides clear guidance why it should not be done and sets out penalties for stepping outside that law.

Almost always, a “loophole” is what is exposed when you do something the law does not cover but should. In my opinion, a “loophole” is not what you have when you break the law just to show how easy it is to break.

While it’s fair enough questioning how the Police are investigating, it’s also fair enough questioning whether the degree of law breaking was justified to point out a potential weak part of the online purchase process.




If she wants to be Australian she could move there

When Andrew Little visitied Australia last week ab Aussie senator suggested New Zealand become the seventh and eight states of Australia.

This became international news. The UK’s Guradian reported New Zealand should become ‘seventh and eighth’ states of Australia, jokes senator:

A direct appeal by New Zealand politicians for increased rights for expats living in Australia appears to have had mixed success, with one Canberra senator saying the country’s North and South islands could instead become Australia’s “seventh and eighth” states.

Andrew Little, leader of the opposition Labour party in New Zealand, and the former Labour leader Phil Goff appeared before select committees and met MPs and senators in the Australian capital on Wednesday to lobby for increased access to citizenship and improved benefits.

In a Herald column Heather du Plessis-Allan says Yes NZ, it’s time to become Aussies.

Sure, it’s not an immediately popular idea, but hear me out. Taking up the offer to become part of Australia could be a good thing.

The generous offer is renewed every few years, and this time it’s from a North Queensland senator who thought it a crafty way of putting a sock in complaining Kiwis.

It works like this: Australia gives Kiwis living over the ditch permission to access welfare support, medical help and, you know, other things their taxes pay for. In return, Kiwis give Australia everything we’ve got. Everything. Our whole country.

Relax. This could work.

I’m relaxed. And I think there’s no way this would work. It’s not even a starter for serious consideration.

Maybe she’s just joking. But it’s a silly joke.There’s a lot of Kiwis who have wanted to be Australian, so they moved there.

If HDPA wants to be Australian then she should move to one of the existing states of Australia.

HDPA should move to the mountainless, not try to bring the mountainless to her.


Sanity prevails

After a couple of weeks of escalating incursions and disruption here from certain parties it looks like sanity has prevailed, for now at least.

Perhaps it finally dawned on them what damage they were doing to their own cases.

It was interesting that after a bit of a frenzy on Monday Spanish Bride posted at Whale Oil on Tuesday about how moderation wasn’t working here. I think it worked ok a number of numpties attempting to disrupt and compromise this site. Your NZ kept operating, unlike Whale Oil when at times they have claimed to be under attack and have been unloadable.

Something interesting was pointed out last night after someone linked to an interview of Cameron Slater by Heather du Plessis-Allan shown in July last year on Seven Sharp.

Note that this was the month before Nicky Hager launched Dirty Politics and Slater’s world and probaly his contact list changed substantially.

Intro: Recently the Prime Minister told us where he gets some of his gossip from, one of the most controversial bloggers around. John Key and the guy known as Whale Oil apparently chat on the phone.

Apparently that is now history.

You may remember Whale Oil as the man who kept breaking name suppression orders or indeed revealed those details, remember this he revealed all the details about Len Brown and his penchant for the Ngati Whatui room.

So what’s the PM doing talking to him? Well Heather du Plessis-Allan found out he’s actually a changed man, sort of.

HPDA: I wouldn’t want to get on your bad side, I tell ya that.

Slater: That’s a very wise thing, you know you should put that, you know, you should put that in the show, now I don’t want to get on your bad side.

HDPA: Cam Slater has powerful friends.

Shots of Slater’s phone list were shown:


There’s some familiar names there.

HPDA: Judith Collins. Patrick Gower. Ooh, Paul Henry. Very nice.


HPDA: These are just his favourites, you know the ones he calls all the time.

He won’t be on the Favourites list of some of those names any more, including John Key given the amount of complaining Slater has done since about being cut adrift since he became politically toxic.

One or two of those at least would appear to be still working with Slater.

DISCLOSURE: I have never been on Slater’s unfavoured list let alone his favourite list.

The only list of is I’ve been on is his hit list, having got on his bad side around about when this interview was done actually, and he seems to hold grudges for quite a while.

He and his associates have chosen to “fuck over” (a term [Deleted as per court order]seems to like) many people. It was inevitable that eventually some of them would fight back.

Something else was raised here recently – a term Slater has often repeated about wrestling with pigs, like.

Politics ulimately is akin to wrestling with pigs. Two things are absolutely certain when wrestling with pigs, you’re going to get dirty and the pig will enjoy it. I suggest it is time for the Libertians of our nation to get a little bit dirty and learn to wrestle with pigs. Then we can truly get some of their fine ideals into the mix.

Slater only seems to know one way, doing politics the dirty way. It doesn’t have to be that way, and in my opinion it shouldn’t be.

If don’t allow political pigs to drag you into their mire they end up wallowing in their mud on their own.

If you fight them on your own terms using sunlight and a cleansing of the muck they don’t know how to deal with it. They seem unable to function without mud on their hands. Alongside rancid bacon on their plate they end up with egg on their faces.

Sanity can prevail if you don’t let them drag you down into their mud, and if you allow them to reveal themselves for what they are.

Illegally buying a firearm

Story (TV3) ran a story last night showing how Heather Du Plessis-Allan bought a firearm, pointing out how ridiculously easy it was to buy a rifle online.

This is a serious concern – but serious concerns have also been raised about the use of a fake name and a fake firearms license number, and also allegedly used the name, ID number and signature of a fictitious police officer.

(Reports refer to a gun license – they are called firearms licences. And the ‘gun’ that was purchased was a rifle).

What you should do is print off an order form, fill it in and then go to a police station with a firearms licence to get Police to verify it and sign the form.

The Story report simply says they didn’t visit a police station.

Highlighting a problem with the ease of purchasing firearms has some merit. But forging police officer details and ‘obtaining by deception’ are potentially serious offences and the police “would not rule out charging the woman who bought the gun”.

Story reports (video at the link): Loophole in gun laws needs to close.

Story was able to obtain a rifle, but it should not have been able to happen and it was too easy to get.

There is a serious weakness in the gun laws that should be closed.

Perhaps – but how tough should procedures be to prevent false claims and forgery?

It would be interesting to know what led to Story doing this? Did someone suggest it to them? Were the ways of faking application details also suggested?

A mail order form was printed off the gun dealer’s website. A fake name and gun license number was used, and the form was not taken to a police station.

Duncan Garner says “we bought it under the name who simply doesn’t exist and who doesn’t have a firearms licence” – obviously if they don’t exist.

The form was sent to Gun City and on the same day, Story received a call.

Two phone calls happened, but information was not checked either time.

A few days later, a parcel arrived.

I could imagine someone in a rural area wanting to obtain a firearm (legally) but why in a city like Auckland? It would be far quicker and easier to do it in person at a shop – and easier to check fraud. Firearms llcences have the holder’s photo on them.

Story wants to stress that someone with a current firearms license was nearby who took possession of the rifle. It was locked away in a steel cabinet as the law requires.

Complying with bits of the law is not a defence against others. Du Plessis-Allen says they also didn’t have any ammunition for the rifle (it was .22 calibre) – a firearms licence would be necessary to purchase ammunition.

And I presume ammunition can’t be delivered along with a rifle,

Gun City is taking a private prosecution against Story and does not believe criminals exploit this weakness, so think nothing needs to change. However, they have admitted they will make changes.

I can imagine them being very unhappy about being duped into selling a firearm to Story.


$300 sounds cheap for a .22 rifle but what do you expect when the manufacturer can’t spell Sporting on the instructions.

Stuff reports that Police are investigating – Gun shop owner vows to prosecute TV3 reporter:

A gun shop owner is vowing to privately prosecute TV3 reporter Heather du Plessis-Allan, claiming she bought a gun without a licence for her current affairs show.

Auckland City Police has announced it has opened a criminal investigation into the purchase of the gun over the internet.

The police investigation stemmed from a report “from a woman alleging that false details had been used to fraudulently obtain a firearm via an online dealer”, the police statement said.

“For anyone to possess a firearm without having the necessary license is a criminal offence and, if proven in court, could result in a sentence of up to three months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to $1000.

“Charges for obtaining by deception, if proven, carries penalties ranging from three months imprisonment up to seven years imprisonment depending on the value of the item obtained.”

And Gun City isn’t happy:

A gun shop owner is vowing to privately prosecute TV3 reporter Heather du Plessis-Allan, claiming she bought a gun without a licence for her current affairs show.

Owner David Tipple said the store had broken no laws – but claimed du Plessis-Allan and TV3 could be in trouble.

If police didn’t prosecute the journalists, he would take a private case against them, he said.

He claimed that: “We’ve done nothing wrong. We have completely and absolutely complied with the law.”

The form for the gun purchase had, he claimed, been forged, using a fake name against a fake gun licence number that just happened to be a valid number for a licensed New Zealand gun user.

Tipple said maybe du Plessis-Allan just got lucky with the licence number.

His bigger concern was that the gun form also featured the name, ID number and signature of a fictitious police officer.

That is a concern.

To what extent of illegality should journalists be able to go to prove deficiencies in legal procedures?

I could imagine Police not being very happy if Story did a story on how easy it was to buy drugs by buying drugs.

Cellphone zombies and large glasses

In her new Herald column Heather du Plessis-Allan writes about Table tweets terrible manners.

Surely we should by now have figured out how to use cellphones courteously. They have been around long enough.

It is a dilemma, given the point of the phone is to allow others to intrude – from a distance – into the moment we’re in. But too often we’re allowing that intrusion to replace the moment. I can’t remember the last time someone ignored their ring tone.

These people who can’t resist the siren song of their phones are called “cellphone zombies”.

A common complaint about cellphone rudeness. But in an opening story:

There’s a legend about a certain wealthy Wellington property developer in the early days of mobile phones. He and a friend were at dinner – or so the story goes – and the friend’s cellphone began to ring. Depending on who’s telling the story, the friend may or may not have answered the phone.

But the next bit, everyone agrees on. The property developer lunged across the table, grabbed the device and plonked it in the nearest water glass.

In the early days of mobile phones that would have needed to be a very large glass.

From  From 1G to 4G- Cell Phones Making Moves – “They were first manufactured in a size similar to a brick”

Neigbourhood cat with bird at Premier House

Last night a social event was held at Premier House with political and media attendees. Blogger David Farrar snapped a scoop of a trespassing neighbourhood cat with a bird.

Cat and bird

Gareth Morgan shouldn’t be too worried about that, I don’t think the Heather is a native bird.