Little: “we won’t pull out” of TPPA

Andrew Little has caused further consternation and frustration on the left by restating that Labour won’t pull out of the TPPA, despite having sort of having said they oppose it.

Yesterday on RadioLive: Labour won’t pull out of the TPP – Little.

Mark Sainsbury: The thing that sparked all this off of course, the TPPA. Can I just get something straight from you, you’re opposed to us signing it. Does that mean if you become Prime Minister, Labour was in power, you would either pull out of the treaty as it exists, or would refuse to ratify it?

Andrew Little: Ah no, well hold on, we signed it long ago, it was a clerical exercise, it didn’t create the agreement, the agreement was already created.

Created is odd terminology. It wasn’t signed long ago, it was signed by the Trade Minister’s from all twelve participating countries in Auckland the day before.

Andrew Little:  Secondly ratification will happen over the next two years. Our Government has the numbers to do the New Zealand ratification regardless.

Mark Sainsbury: In two years time you could be Prime Minister Andrew Little.

Andrew Little: And so the question then is would we pull out of it, if it’s ratified, all the countries have ratified it would we pull out of it?

We won’t, and the reason why I am making the objection that I am making and the Labour Party is making, and indeed others are about provisions in it that cut across our sovereignty, is that I want to go back and say right there’s things in here that are wrong.

Things in here that we just shouldn’t have, and we will kick up bobsy-die about and put pressure back the way and that’s why New Zealanders are expressing a view about it it’s so important…

Mark Sainsbury: Hang on, it sounds like you’re trying to have a bob each way on this Andrew Little, on one hand you’re saying this is wrong, there’s all sorts of problems with it and things it does cover and flaws in the system, you’re against it. Will you vote against it in the House?

Andrew Little: Yeah we’ve already said um, if there’s, the legi, I mean, let’s go, we don’t get to vote on the TPPA. That’s done and dusted. There’s then legislation that covers some aspects of it that has to come to the House.

Anything in the legislation that cuts across sovereign rights we will oppose. Things that are, that support genuine free trade because we are a free trade party, we will support.

The train has left the station. So what we’re talking about now is how do we protect and preserve New Zealand’s interests under the TPP and that’s what we’re talking about.

Mark Sainsbury: But hang on, you can’t be a lion in opposition, a lamb in Government can you? I mean and it sounds like, while we’re in opposition this is dreadful, this Government sold us out, but if we’re in power we’d do the same thing.

Andrew Little: The Government sold us out on those parts of the TPPA that cut across sovereign rights in New Zealand, the rights for us to make our laws without undue influence and pressure from other interests. That’s what we’re talking about.

Yes there are other aspects that will help some exporters. There’s, you know, we’ve never shied away from that, um but lets be very clear.

The train left the station last October when Tim Groser signed off the agreement in Atlanta with the other Ministers, and what we’re dealing with no is what do we do to get ourselves in ship shape so that when Labour is next in Government and we’re dealing with other countries and big corporates from overseas breathing down our neck they won’t be surprised when we turn around and say ah-ah, this isn’t what New Zealanders want, we’ve opposed this, we’re opposed to it in principle and we’re going to fight against it and we’re going to protect New Zealand’s rights, but we’re not going to cut across um, they um you know our free trade credentials.

Mark Sainsbury: So you’re opposed to it in principle but not in practice.

Andrew Little:  Well if you want to break it down to um, if you’re desperate to have that there’s only one one you know ah one answer to this it’s either completely wrong or completely right. A six thousand agreement isn’t going to be like that.

Um and a free trade a free trade agreement that has some aspects of free trade but then has other things that have absolutely nothing to do with free trade but cut across New Zealand’s rights, I mean it doesn’t break down that simply.

So what I am talking about and what Labour is talking about is doing those things that are going to allow us to protect and preserve ourselves against the worst aspect of the TPPA that are nothing to do with free trade.

Mark Sainsbury:  So you want to fix it, but what I’m just saying, what you’re telling us today here is despite your public opposition to it right now, if Labour was in power, you are Prime Minister, you would not pull New Zealand out of that agreement.

Andrew Little:  Pulling out would would be um is way more difficult than it is to kind of roll off the tongue and lets pull out.

So no, we won’t pull out, but what we will do is fight tooth and nail to stop those things that are undermining New Zealanders’ democratic rights. Cause we have too. Cause we stood for that for decades and we’ll continue to do that.

That’s quite a muddled interview with only vague assurances of protecting rights but stating Labour won’t pull out of the TPPA.

Trying to sound tough while conceding there’s not actually much if anything Labour would actually do.

The clearest thing he said was ‘um’.

Add to this a couple of Little’s responses to a Q & A at Stuff on Thursday:

In what situations do you see New Zealand utilizing the exit clause?

Should the agreement be ratified over the next two years, any question of leaving the TPPA would be a huge call. It is not something that I am contemplating. That’s why I’ve been saying I want the next Labour government to be in a position with a mandate from New Zealanders to re-address the things that cut across our citizens’ rights.

That says much the same thing.

Do you believe the TPP will be amended by the US and become even more draconian for NZ to push it through congress?

Talking to US administration officials and politicians at the end of last year, it was made clear to me that there is no more negotiation, and that the deal is as it is now. Under the US fast track law, there is no scope for individual representatives and senators to pull apart specific clauses and chapters. But in reality, with American politics who would know?

So while Little claims a Labour led government would try and negotiate changes he says here “there is no more negotiation”.


Labour have backed themselves into a corner on the TPPA and all Little can do is squirm.


Slater versus Boag (Sainsbury interview)

Yesterday Michelle Boag accused Slater of what sounded like receiving hush money (see Boag on paying not to be mentioned on a blog ):

Boag: I know people who pay money through an intermediary to a particular blogger so that he won’t mention their name.

That was followed by Slater responds to pay for silence accusation:

Slater:  Absolutely it’s a no. You can’t pay me to shut up.

Later in the day also on RadioLive Mark Sainsbury repeated some of Boag’s comments and interviewed Cameron Slater:

Sainsbury: Well pretty strong claims there because effectively what Michelle Boag is saying or inferring is that Camerosn Slater can be bought. That you can pay him not to say nasty things about you and if you want something nice said you pay three hundred bucks through an intermediary. So what does Cameron Slater make of it all. Good afternoon Cam.

Slater: Hey Sainso.

Sainsbury: Has she got you dead to rights?

Slater: No she’s making shit up as usual.

Sainsbury: So what you’re saying is that’s she’s lying.

Slater: Yeah she’s lying. There’s not a single person who has never paid me not to write anything about them, and if she knows of somebody like that then I want their name so I can invoice them.

Sainsbury: Because she appears to be saying that this is done through an intermediary, so supposedly meaning Cameron that you could then stand back and say”I’ve never done this”.

Slater: No well that’s not true. Ah you know I don’t take money to not talk about people. I mean for goodness sake I used to get calls from the ninth floor ah in the Beehive where they’d say “please Cam don’t say that about that Cabinet Minister” or “please Cam don’t say that” and I’d just say to them ah you know GFY basically, um listeners can work that out, I’m not going to say those words on radio.

That in itself is an interesting comment. Did people from the ninth floor of the Beehive ask Slater to pull posts that were already on Whale Oil? Or did he tell them in advance what he was goint to post and they asked him not to post them?

Sainsbury: Do you or have you ever offered good coverage to anyone in return for money?

Slater: No.

Chapter 7 of Nicky Hager’s book ‘Dirty Politics goes into detail that suggests otherwise. Hager claims that payments from lobbiest and friend Carrick Graham were a substantial part of Slater’s income. Rawshark revealed invoices.

And Slater’s response to Plunket in his earlier interview was wuite different, appearing to admit that he did (and didn’t deny it), saying “it’s a little bit sanctimonious of all these media organisations to point their fingers at me when they’re running native advertising, charging PR companies for putting product placement and all those sorts of things”.

Slater:I write what I want to write about ah anything that takes my fancy and if something’s ah poos then I’ll say it’s poos. You can’t pay me to say something’s nice if it’s not. And ah you know I’m certainly never going to say anything nice about Michelle Boag.

Sainsbury: Well certainly not now but ok you’re saying, because she was pretty clear what she was saying this morning and Shaun gave her the chance to, you know gave her the chance to be very clear about it, so what is it? You’re saying that she is lying.

Slater: Yes.

Sainsbury: And what motivated by what?

Slater: That’s not new from Michelle Boag though.

Sainsbury: What, you’re saying she’s a serial liar?

Slater: Well I’ve said that on RadioLive before, she had a complete meltdown once and screamed down the airwaves ah while Mike Williams sat there chuckling ’cause she was upset because I’d um called her a poisonous lying scumbag. Um I didn’t disagree with her.

Sainsbury: Look people listening I mean to be honest people listening to this Cameron probably think this doesn’t reflect well probably on either of you.

Slater: Oh well I don’t really care. Um look Michelle has got um delusions of grandeur, she thinks she’s still relevant in New Zealand politics, but the reality is she’s a really old snarly ah hunk of rancid mutton dressed as rancid mutton.

Sainsbury: Ooh jeepers, Cameron…

Slater: She might think that I might hate her…

Sainsbury: But Cameron isn’t, look, look, I can understand people having a crack at people who are their political enemies if you like, but what it sounds like there, that sounds deeply personal and offensive doesn’t it?

Slater: Ah look, you know the history of our family and Michelle Boag goes back quite some way. Ah she keeps having a crack and ah I keep defending our family.

Sounds like more attack than defence. Sounds very personal and bitter.

Slater: She she might actually think that i hate her but look I don’t hate Michelle Boag, but I tell you what, I would unplug her life support to charge my phone.

Sainsbury: If what she says is so wrong Cameron Slater, if she’s effectively defaming you, why don’t you sue her?

Slater: Well look, you know that’s for cowards running off to court. It’s for gutless wonders um who want to make attention for themselves.

Slater didn’t call Jordan Williams in this post: Colin Craig Demation Filed

Slater: Ah I’ve got big broad shoulders, she can say whatever she likes, it doesn’t it doesn’t ah matter to me, ah, what does matter to me is that she spends every waking moment thinking about Cameron Slater.

Now I don’t spend any moments thinking about Michelle Boag.

He’s spent quite a few moments not just thinking but speaking about Boag, turning her accusation against him into an extended attack on her over two interviews.

And he posted this about it yesterday: Michelle Boag is a bitter old bag and wrong as usual – and also took the time to comment in the thread, as did his wife ‘Spanish Bride’ a number of times.

And Whale Oil started today with this attack on her: Face of the day (posted under ‘SB’ – Spanish Bride).

Sainsbury: She has been a past president of ther National Party. She has been involved with major corporations in this country. She’s been involved in all sorts of stuff. It is, you can’t just write her off as a nobody surely?

Slater: Well I can, I can write off on the basis of what I know about her past. Ah you know she was the first visitor when my father became the National Party President. She was his first visitor on the first day he was the president. She rocked up with three foolscap pages of names of people she demanded board positions for.

John Slater was National party president from 1998 to 2001. Michele Boag defeated him and was president 2001-2002.

Slater: Ah, you know this is these are facts. They’re indisputable. Um she, the cheek of the woman to actually do that when she’d been running the campaign of the person standing against my father just the the utter ah capacity of duplicity for her.

And then ah you know there’s just been a long standing campaign. She doesn’t matter very much. She might have been the past president of the ah of the National Party but her and Bill English have got the record for the lowest ever polling of the ational party so you know I’m happy to stand on my record, she can stand on her’s but she won’t be very tall.

Sainsbury: All right so what you’re saying is there’l be no lawsuit from you. You’re saying she’s wrong but obviously what we do take out of this is there is a lot of bad blood between Cameron Slater and Michelle Boag.

Very obviously,

He says he doesn’t “spend any moments thinking about Michelle Boag” but feelings seem to run deep on this.

You can see this in action by doing a search on Michellle Boag at Whale Oil.

But Slater’s outpourig of angst took over from the original question.

I’d be surprised if Slater threatens people with publication unless they pay him.

But if as it appears he has had a substantial income from PR and political posts there can be some fuzziness about what that money might be paying for.

And as far as Slater versus Boag goes, animosity appears to run very deep.

UPDATE: Slater has posted again on Boag: NO ONE LIKES A BOAG-UN

Mark Sainsbury wanted to get to the bottom of her allegations and I had 6 or so minutes to have a crack back at her outrageous lies.

He had a crack at Boag for sure but the allegations/lies didn’t get much attention. He seems to be promoting the interview as if it’s something to be proud of: