On John Key lying

There was comment here yesterday on whether John Key lied or not over claims that Government officials visited homeless people with the Salvation Army in Auckland. The Salvation army denied the visits had taken place as described.

Social media jumped on the ‘Key lied’ bandwagon.

So did Andrew Little: Andrew Little: Prime Minister John Key ‘patently lied’ about homeless comments

Labour leader Andrew Little has accused the Prime Minister John Key of lying in comments he made about homeless people.

“I can’t think of a time when the Prime Minister and another minister [have] patently lied about something that … hasn’t actually happened,” Mr Little told reporters at Parliament this afternoon.

The Labour leader made the allegation after Salvation Army contradicted a claim by Mr Key that Government officials had visited homeless in an Auckland park this week and had their offers of help declined.

I didn’t jump in to this story because I wanted to see what facts actually emerged. I don’t know that we have the whole story yet.

Mr Key said yesterday that some people who were approached in Bruce Pullman Park in Takanini on Monday night declined offers of help.

“MSD and the Sallies went around and knocked on eight cars that they could find,” he said.

“All eight of those people refused to take support either from Sallies or MSD.”

In a statement today, the Salvation Army said they turned down an offer by MSD to accompany them to the park, which was one of its regular visits to the site.

“[The Prime Minister’s] statements are incorrect,” the charity said.

“The Salvation Army declined the offer by MSD officials to accompany The Salvation Army as some of these people are very wary of Government officials.

“The results of this statement, as well as recent images of homeless people living in dire material hardship disseminated by the media, have deeply upset these people and have put the relationship between them and Salvation Army personnel in jeopardy, weakening the Army’s ability to assist them.”

“The Salvation Army has spent years developing relationships and building trust with these people living on the outer margins of society — people who often have a deep distrust of officials.”

I think it’s reasonable to tale the word of the Salvation Army, in which case it appears that Key was wrong.

But that doesn’t mean he lied, and I would be very surprised if he deliberately lied about something like this.

It’s absurd to think Key would concoct a story like this out of nothing to deliberately mislead.

A spokeswoman for Mr Key said his comments were based on advice that was given to him.

“The point he was making is that people have been approached and offered assistance and a large number of them have refused,” the spokeswoman said.

So I think it is most likely that Key misunderstood what he was advised or he was given incorrect or misleading information.

Of course this hasn’t stopped the Twitterati and others from claiming that Key is throwing Paula Bennett under a bus or throwing officials under a bus. Many people have been trying to portray Key as an inveterate liar for a long time.

Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog: Key just lies about the Salvation Army helping the homeless for him – media ask him if he’d shoot a gorilla

So when Key claimed his Ministry Officials and Salvation Army advocates went out to ‘help’ the homeless, it turns out he was lying…

Some have taken a more reasonable approach, like Mickysavage at The Standard in Salvation Army contradicts Key’s homelessness claims:

Key ought to apologise to the Salvation Army and to the homeless people, preferably personally.  And he should get his facts right before commenting.

Fair enough, I think an apology is justified. But some of the comments that followed were typical of common left wing lines of attack:

save nz:

This government are serial liars and every statement seems to harm someone, even damaging the relationships and reputation of the Salvation Army.


Key only apologises to Slater.


Oh, look, John Key’s telling lies again. Well, I never!

Andrew Little:

“I can’t think of a time when the Prime Minister and another minister [have] patently lied about something that … hasn’t actually happened,”

Ok, that last comment wasn’t at The Standard but it is along the same lines of attack.

I hope Key does publicly apologise to the Salvation Army for getting things wrong on a very sensitive and difficult to deal with topic. But I won’t hold my breath.

The overreaction from the left once again makes it easier for Key to bat this away as just more over the top petty attacks, which is a shame as it gets him off the hook when the issue of homeless people deserves serious attention.

Key has done some harm through what appear to be inaccurate comments, and he should do what he can to rectify that.

Little’s response was disappointing but unfortunately that adds to a disappointing  performance in general.

The shrill shills on the left are probably doing more harm to the homelessness issue by trying to turn this into just another key bashing exercise.

And they are doing more harm to their powerlessness issue as well.

A BLiP flap flip

A BLiP flap over accusations of John Key lying quickly flipped to accusing a Newshub update of covering up the lying.

Yesterday BLiP posted Oooops! at The Standard which showed two headlines:


The first from NZ Herald timed and dated Tuesday 3 May 2016 12:32 pm:

Prime Minister John Key agrees lawyer’s email was ‘sloppily written”

Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Key said he had discussed the issue with Mr Whitney, who works at Auckland based firm Antipodes Trust Group.

He is absolutely confident my version of events is correct,” he said.

The second from Newshub times and dated Thursday 5 May 2016 8:49 am:

Key hasn’t spoken to his lawyer about email yet

Prime Minister John Key hasn’t spoken to his lawyer since it emerged he lobbied Inland Revenue against changes to foreign trust rules.

In comments a number of people accepted two non-specific news reports as gospel and as proof that John Key lied.

Lanthanide explains:

On May 3rd, Key says his lawyer agrees with him that the email was sloppily written and did not reflect what actually happened.

On May 5th, Key says he hasn’t spoken to his lawyer.

Both statements cannot be true together. At least one, most likely both, must be a lie.

Neither news report, as far as they are shown at The Standard, specify timing, nor which emails they are referring to.

Assumptions that most likely both reports “must be a lie” are not supported by anything quoting what Key said.

Magisterium went against the flow…

That’s not correct.

The Tuesday article says that Key spoke to Whitney to confirm that Key’s recollection of their conversation (“not my area, contact the Ministry”) was correct.

The Thursday article says that Key had not spoken to Whitney since it became known that Whitney had emailed the Ministry to lobby about tax policy.

These two articles do not contradict each other.

[BLiP: It is impossible for someone able to type, spell correctly, apply relatively competent grammar, and use the internet to be as stupid as you are trying to appear. For this reason, its obvious you are trolling. Banned for one week.]

…and was banned.

The New Student points out:

Perhaps Magisterium has a fair point, as it seems Satherley’s story has changed somewhat. All I can find by Satherley on NewsHub is “Key doesn’t hold a grudge against lawyer” Thursday 5 May 2016, 8.49 am. The line that’s in the above picture is nowhere to be found in this version of the article. I’m not terribly bright so you should check for yourself if I have it straight.

The quote is: “I haven’t caught up with him because look, I’ve been busy,” I can’t watch/listen to any media as I’m on crummy school computer at the moment.

From this article, the last time they “caught up” is not entirely clear. So going back to the articles on the sloppy email issue, the last time seems to have been whenever that discussion (supposedly) took place. Maybe that’s why the article has since been amended.

James also says:

Blip – you do know that the headline you are mentioning is completely gone right?

Its been completely updated. So perhaps there was a issue with the original article as opposed to Key telling a lie?

BLiP flips from accepting the word od two news reports as definitive proof of Key lying to accusing Newshub of “helping John Key cover the lie up”.

Yep, Newshub is helping John Key cover the lie up. If you click on the link you will see that the URL still contains the original headline.


With the MSM now actively colluding with John Key in deceiving New Zealanders, it always helps to get a screen cap. 🙂

The Newshub article now has a different headline and opening paragraph (although the time and date are the same and the URL matches the original headline:.

Key doesn’t hold a grudge against lawyer

Prime Minister John Key has revealed he met his longstanding lawyer Ken Whitney at antenatal classes more than 20 years ago, when Mr Key’s wife Bronagh was pregnant with their first child, Stephanie.

Mr Key says he doesn’t hold a grudge against Mr Whitney, despite the fallout from the lawyer’s lobbying of Inland Revenue (IRD) against changes to foreign trust rules.

“I haven’t caught up with him because look, I’ve been busy,” he told More FM’s Si and Gary show on Thursday.

Non-quoted ‘Key hasn’t spoken to his lawyer’ has changed to a quote “I haven’t caught up with him because look, I’ve been busy.”

That may or may not be contradictory. Catching up with someone may or may not be the same as speaking to them.

The Herald article also has a changed headline and appears to have additional detail or is rearranged:

Email was ‘sloppily written’: Key

Prime Minister John Key says his lawyer has agreed that an email that used Mr Key’s name to lobby a minister against a crackdown on foreign trusts was “sloppily written”.

Mr Key said yesterday that his personal lawyer Ken Whitney had misrepresented him in an email to former Revenue Minister Todd McClay.

The email, sent in December 2014, said: “We are concerned that there appears to be a sudden change of view by the IRD in respect of their previous support for the [foreign trusts] industry.

“I have spoken to the Prime Minister about this and he advised that the Government has no plans to change the status of the foreign trust regime.”

Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Key said he had discussed the issue with Mr Whitney, who works at Auckland-based firm Antipodes Trust Group.

“He is absolutely confident my version of events is correct,” he said.

“Maybe the email was sloppily written. I was certainly aware that we weren’t making any changes.”

Again, speaking with someone about a specific issue may or may not be the same as catching up with them.

I don’t think there is sufficient detail here to claim ‘Key lied!’ and then when the news story changes claim ‘Newshub covered up a lie!’.

News articles online are often changed, perhaps as more information comes to had, and sometimes due to feed back.

I have pointed out factual mistakes and as a result articles have been updated to be more accurate, not to cover up anything.

I would hope that an updated MSM article was more reliable than a BLiP on a blog flipping from taking vague reports as absolute evidence of a terrible lie to accusing the media of covering up lies when they change their content.

Mallard versus Smith again

Trevor Mallard as Assistant Speaker has clashed with Nick Smith in Parliament before, with Smith being sent from the House – see Trevor Mallard versus Nick Smith.

There was a curious wee exchange between the two of them last night in Parliament, where Mallard ordered Smith to leave the House, but then changed his mind and said that Smith could come back..Mallard may have erred.

This happened when Labour housing spokesperson Phil Twyford was speaking on the introduction of Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes bill and Smith interjected.

PHIL TWYFORD (Labour—Te Atatū): … Andrew Little’s bill will require under the standards that will be promulgated under regulations a modern, affordable, and fixed heating source. The other deficiency in Nick Smith’s bill, which Andrew Little’s bill fixed, is that it will mandate legislation standards to the state of the modern building code. Nick Smith’s bill will allow houses that are retrofitted, that are already insulated to the 1978 standard, which is this standard—

Hon Dr Nick Smith: That’s a lie.

PHIL TWYFORD:—Nick Smith’s bill will allow hundreds of—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Trevor Mallard): Order! The member will resume his seat. Nick Smith will stand, withdraw, and apologise.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I stand, withdraw, and apologise.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Trevor Mallard): The member will now leave the House. It is the second time. He knows how to withdraw properly. He will leave the House.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Sorry, what did I do wrong?

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Trevor Mallard): The member knows he makes no further comment, and he did.

The video shows no sign of Smith saying anything other than “I stand, withdraw, and apologise.”

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I apologise.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Trevor Mallard): Dr Smith, just come back. If it was a genuine mistake on your part and you give me that assurance, the member may stay.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: I genuinely apologise.

It seems to have been a mistake on Mallard’s part. That may be why he changed his mind and allowed Smith to return.

This exchange begins at about 3:10 in this video:

Prior to this while Smith was giving his speech on the bill:

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: …That means the very first home to get insulated under this bill would be July 2018, and last home to get insulated would not be until July 2023. That compares—

Andrew Little: You’re making it up.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: Read the bill. Read your own bill, because the Government’s approach provides that social housing must be insulated by 1 July this year, and all homes that are rented by 1 July 2019.

The Assistant Speaker didn’t intervene on “you’re making it up”, but accusing members of lying is generally regarded as going too far in Parliament. Smith will be well aware of this.

But it appears that Mallard may have got it wrong here.

Goff fibbed again?

In trying to diminish his responsibility for leaking the Gwyn SIS report Phil Goff has highlighted a discrepancy between his and Andrew Little’s claims.

Goff fibbed to Radio New Zealand about not lying or he has put his leader Andrew Little in an embarrassing position – actually this is awkward for Little regardless.

This what he said to Radio NZ yesterday:

“I didn’t lie about it, but I didn’t pretend that I didn’t make the comments and I apologised for being in breach of her embargo. I should have honoured it to the letter.”

Goff off the hook over leak

And this is what Andrew Little was reported as saying in defence of Goff last month:

“He’s given me those assurances, I’m satisfied with that,” he said on Firstline this morning.

“He hasn’t given the report to anybody, he declined media interviews until the report was released at 10am yesterday, so I don’t know where they came from and I’m satisfied they didn’t come from Phil Goff.”

Goff: SIS report leak ‘perfectly appropriate’

Someone has not been truthful.

Goff had presumably have talked to Little about whether he had leaked or not and will have known that Little defended him. Emphasising now that “I didn’t lie about it, but I didn’t pretend that I didn’t make the comments” highlights the discreoancy between Goff’s and Little’s claims.

Goff has put Andrew Little in a very difficult position here. The time of year might reduce the spotlight but it’s not a good look for a new era for Labour’s caucus under Little’s leadership.

It also makes Inspector General Cheryl Gwyn letting Goff off look weak when he then appears to mislead with impunity.

UPDATE: I posted on this at The Standard and a typical response – they have launched into attacks on me with little attempt to contest the facts.

One thing they’re expert at is drawing attention to things they don’t like.

After a pile of petty dirt it probably won’t be long before they accuse me of disrupting the thread.

UPDATE2: Tracey calls it as it is

When it was confirmed yesterday by goffs apology, i rolled my eyes. Just as I did when I saw he has a SST column. Little needs to do a Key and get Goff to state NOW that he is NOT standing at the next election.

IMO, Little saying nothing yesterday, to my knowledge, leaves open the strong suggestion that Little knew about the leak and it was part of a strategy.

So, PG, I deplore dishonesty in our leaders, and every elected MP imo is supposed to be a leader. It undermines our democracy and the trust people have in our systems.

If I were Little I would have announced yesterday that Mr Goff is gone.


Unless Little intends carrying on the awful tradition of planned leaking that some of our pollies indulge in, this was a chance to put his foot down.

It is unfathomable that Goff didnt know exactly what the media would do, sack him, show you have a genuine standard.

Goff blatantly lies about ‘dirty politics’

Phil Goff blatantly lied on Campbell Live last night when asked if he ever got involved in dirty politics. Goff said “No, no, not at all”.

Goff has a history of misleading and leaking and accusing others of lying. He has been involved in:

  • Leaking and misleading over the Don Brash ‘gone by lunchtime’ statement in 2004.
  • His office leaks from MFAT in 2012 which led to a fight through the courts to hide the identity of the Labour associated leaker.
  • A Goff office leak led to the forced resignation of National MP Richard Worth in 2009.
  • Goff “appears to have broken the law by releasing pages from a suppressed Court of Inquiry report into the death of a Kiwi soldier in Afghanistan” in 2013.
  • Accused SIS director Warren Tucker of lying about briefing him in 2011.

Yesterday morning Phil Goff claimed John Key was lying about not having been briefed by the SIS prior to an OIA release to Cameron Slater. During the day Key’s version was supported by ex-Director of the SIS Warren Tucker and Ombudsman Beverly Wakem – see Goff versus Key, Tucker and Wakem.

Last night Goff was interviewed by John Campbell. The prelude on Campbell Live did not give all the details this. It began:

Campbell: Phil Goff, who was at the centre of all this because these SIS documents were about you and they were really embarrassing for you and they were a big judder bar in your campaign in 2011 weren’t they.

Goff: Let me come back to what the Prime Minister said because it’s fascinating. This is somehow a smear campaign from the left. No, this is a campaign against smears and dirty tricks of which there is abundant evidence shown in the emails leaked from Cameron Slater. So that’s the critical point John

In the morning Goff said “It’s important because John Key is not being truthful in saying that he wasn’t told”. He seems to have moved on from that accusation.

Campbell: I couldn’t agree more that there is abundant evidence that Cameron Slater smears and is thoroughly unpleasant…

Goff: …and gets information from the Prime Minister’s office.

Campbell: Absolutely. Where does that lead back to the Prime Minister because I stood in that media conference as he answered question after question after question and he was emphatic he didn’t know?

Goff again ignores this and moves the story onto to something else.

Goff: What do we know about this for certain. We know that material was leaked from Security Intelligence to Cameron Slater. There were two possible sources. One is the SIS itself, and the second is the Prime Minister’s office. 

Now I’m not so conspiratorial that I would think that the SIS would leak that material. The Prime Minister’s office had the motive to do it and the close links with Cameron Slater. Any reasonable person will come to the conclusion that that leak came from the Prime Minister’s office. 

But Tucker the SIS were highly annoyed with accusations Goff had made about them so also had motive – in fact the SIS suggested that journalists make an OIA request after Goff had said effectively accused Tucker of lying – “I never read that document. Warren Tucker is wrong”.

Campbell: Can I ask you a question? You were a leader of the Labour Party, up against and extraordinarily popular Prime Minister John Key.

Did you ever seek to do what you’re accusing him of doing, or use your office to do it, which is to get really dirty behind the scenes, arms length?

Goff: No no not at all…

Campbell: Never, not once?

Goff: No, no, because fundamentally to me the integrity of our political system is important.

That’s an emphatic denial from Goff. It is brazen lie.

Goff was prominent in an MFAT leak in 2012.– this had similarities to the current issue because it involved someone closely linked to the Labour Party.

Documents leaked to Labour foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff showed a reworked plan for the ministry would cut 146 jobs, down from 304.

He had also been leaked documents from trade negotiation staff which showed the restructuring had dented staff confidence.

There was la lengthy legal battle to keep the identity of Goff’s leaker secret. David Farrar in Opposition parties may look silly over Police complaints:

Yet in this case Labour have spent months arguing the leak should not be pursued, and that a leak inquiry is a waste of money. Flagrant hypocrisy. And I hope one day, we will be publicly able to publish why Labour is so frightened about the leaker’s identity being revealed, and any links back to them.

Someone with strong Labour Party links leaked to Goff.

Goff misled with his “gone by lunchtime” leak that was damaging to Don Brash. TVNZ in 2004:

Goff said Brash told the US delegation New Zealand’s current ban on allowing nuclear powered or nuclear armed ships into its ports would be lifted  “by lunchtime” if the National Party were voted in to power.

The comments were noted down by a Foreign Affairs Ministry official present at the January meeting, according to Goff.

Goff said of Brash’s comments: “That is deceit that is dishonesty and the public would expect that to be revealed.

“…either he was not telling the truth to the delegation or subsequently he was not telling the truth to the New Zealand public.”

More accusations of lies from Goff – and it turns out he was not being truthful again himself, as Fran O’Sullivan wrote:

Goff’s problem is that he is embarrassed by the WikiLeaks revelation.

He had no compunction using notes of a private meeting between former National leader Don Brash and a visiting United States delegation to claim New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy “would be gone by lunchtime” under a National government.

The WikiLeaks documents have something to say on this score too.

Former United States ambassador Bill McCormick wrote in November 2006 that Goff had “misquoted” an Mfat staffer’s notes from the meeting to claim that Brash had promised the nuclear ban would be “gone by lunchtime”.

“Brash denied he intended to get rid of the ban without a referendum, but was unable to respond credibly when Labour said that must mean he was planning to scrap the legislation, which many Kiwis view as an iconic part of the country’s identity,” McCormick said.

It’s notable that Goff refused the Herald’s request under the Official Information Act to release the full notes of the meeting that Brash had with the six visiting Republican senators.

Goff’s office leaked a rumour that led to the resignation of Richard Worth in 2009. NZ Herald:

It is obvious that Goff’s office first leaked the rumour to the Press Gallery that Labour had already warned Key of allegations of sexual harassment by Worth of another woman, who we now know is Neelam Choudary.

No one has come out of this business with their reputation enhanced by what now must be seen as a Labour Party dirty trick.

Goff has ducked for cover, after a couple of weeks of drip-feeding juicy tidbits to the media and taking the moral high ground. That can only be seen as an admission he was wrong.

Common elements – leaks from Goff’s office, moral high ground, dirty tricks, Goff.

In 2013: Goff leaks secret army death report:

Labour MP Phil Goff appears to have broken the law by releasing pages from a suppressed Court of Inquiry report into the death of a Kiwi soldier in Afghanistan.

Mr Goff has released part of the report into the death of Corporal Doug Hughes which he says reveals “critical deficiencies in the training and deployment of Kiwi troops”.

Phil Goff’s hands are dirty. It is dishonest of him to deny being involved in dirty politics.

It’s perhaps not surprising he is laying all the leak blame on Key’s office – Goff has a history of leaking from his own office.

No wonder much of the public dismiss all this with “they are all as bad as each other”. Goff and his staff and Labour friendly leakers look to be as bad as anyone.

Goff’s lying while reminding of Labour dirty tricks is not helping Labour’s Vote Positive campaign. Has he gone rogue or is he pushing this to keep a separation between dirty politics and David Cunliffe?


Green Dunedin candidate lies

Rival mayoral and council candidate Aaron Hawkins (standing for Green Dunedin) has posted at The Daily Blog in Dunedin Mayoral Hopefuls Do The (Climate) Denial Twist

Pete George has consistently refused to answer my question “Do you believe man made climate change is real and we need to take urgent action to address it”

I am not aware of Hawkins ever asking me any question like that. I have certainly not refused to answer.

Therefore this appears to be a blatant lie from Hawkins.

For the record:

I believe climate change is real, and we should be taking action. There is legitimate debate about what sort of action should be taken.