Political operators and lobbyists being used by media promoting leadership coup

The media were always going to give a lot of coverage to a major party leadership challenge, as they did when Simon Bridges outed the challenge of Todd Muller and the subsequent showdown and change of leader. It was big political news and should have received prominent coverage.

But it also showed a major flaw of the media – their use of political operators and lobbyists to comment on the story.

Matthew Hooton is often used by the media in support of stories, even though he is a professional lobbyist. He was given a shot at promoting his agenda without having to disclose any possible involvement in the challenge.

And Michelle Boag suddenly popped up out of the woodwork to and was quoted a number of times in support of a change. She would be most unlikely to be an independent observer.

NZ Herald – Anatomy of a coup: How Todd Muller felled Simon Bridges and who helped him

This is behind their paywall, but a key part is repeated on Twitter:


RNZ 18 May: Labour surges, National plummets in Newshub-Reid Research poll

“Clearly the leadership has failed. Simon Bridges is down to 4.5 percent. The public simply does not like him, that isn’t fair, the public simply did not like Andrew Little.

“He’s a perfectly pleasant person Andrew Little but the public did not like him, and so Labour had no choice in the end but to get rid of him, and National is now at that point.”

RNZ 19 May: Political poll results with Hooton and Jones

“This is a 25-point gap between National and Labour and that’s simply extraordinary. And the National Party has to take that very seriously, they are taking it seriously, although they do expect another poll to come out on Thursday from TVNZ by Colmar Brunton, and they’ll just see what that has to say.

“If it is as bad as this, I would expect there would be enormous pressure on the current leader and deputy leader to at least offer their resignations to the caucus.

However, a better showing in the Colmar Brunton polling might give Simon Bridges a lifeline, he says.

A “hunk” of National MPs are reluctant to be responding to polls, Hooton says.

“Their views on this is what’s going to decide Simon Bridges future.”

RNZ 21 May (audio): Collins key to National Party battle – Hooton  Political commentator Matthew Hooton speaks to Kim Hill.

RNZ 21 May: Simon Bridges’ tactics likely to lose him the leadership challenge – commentator

Political commentator Matthew Hooton said Bridges’ move to call the leadership vote was an own goal.

“I think it was another example of the poor political judgement that has plagued his political leadership quite frankly.

“I think Simon Bridges’ move yesterday was probably one of the most extraordinary acts of political harikari that we’ve seen.”

Hooton said Muller’s supporters would likely have lost their nerve there would have been no challenge.

“But by taunting Muller, forcing him and … Nikki Kaye to act … there is now a vote on Friday.

“And I think, the way this is going, Mr Bridges will lose and Muller will become leader of the party.

If Bridges survived the leadership vote it would cost the party any chance of winning the election in September, he said.

If Muller and Kaye failed in their challenge Bridges would demote them to the backbenches which would cost the party votes.

“He cannot afford to lose Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye from his senior team, or else he will lose support from both farmers, provincial New Zealanders, and also urban liberals in Auckland.

RNZ 22 May (audio): Commentator backing Muller to win National Party challenge Political commentator Matthew Hooton is supporting Muller to win – Kim Hill asked him how close does he expect the vote to be.

But Hooton was promoting leadership change – in a last NZ herald column last month (24 April) Matthew Hooton (column): Simon Bridges’ leadership beyond salvaging

Hooton is a regular on RNZ and in NZ Herald and is usually a worthwhile commentator, but it’s fair to ask whether his opinions promoted this week were independent of the leadership coup.

If it turns out he was working for Muller that would not reflect well on him due to lack of disclosure, but woukld also refelct poorly onn the media who give him free publicity.

Michelle Boag is not a regular on media, but managed to be given a say on the challenge too.

Newstalk ZB 19 May – Michelle Boag: Bridges could be another victim of Covid-19 fallout

Michelle Boag says it’s no surprise people have responded positively to the Prime Minister – whose ratings shot up to almost 60 percent.

She told Chris Lynch Arden’s been visible everywhere during the pandemic and Bridges hasn’t.

“There is no doubt there’s a good chance of him becoming yet another victim of Covid-19.”

She says that will be up to the Caucus to decide the leader’s fate.

RNZ 21 May: Former National Party president Michelle Boag on leadership challenge Former National Party president Michelle Boag speaks to Corin Dann.

RNZ 21 May: Simon Bridges’ tactics likely to lose him the leadership challenge – commentator

Former National Party president Michelle Boag told Morning Report Bridges shot himself in the foot by holding the vote tomorrow rather than next week.

This was because it made it harder for other leadership contenders to jump into the race, and those unhappy with Bridges’ leadership could rally around one candidate rather than their votes being split between a number of challengers.

However calling for the leadership vote was the right decision, she said.

“I think it’s the right thing for the National Party to get this sorted as quickly as possible and I think the caucus will be really pleased to have an early opportunity to do that.”

She said the need for a leadership vote was not solely prompted by the recent poll.

“It is about months and months, and sometimes years, of these MPs having negative feedback about their leader, not only from party members but from constituents.

“So while the poll may have been the thing that sparked [it] – the catalyst for this challenge – there’s no doubt this has been building for a long time.”

Boag popping up in media is a sure sign that she is promoting some sort of outcome.

I think that with important political issues, and leadership changes rank right up there, media should take care not to promote people with interests in the outcomes.

Cameron Slater, one of the most agenda driven political operators around, was given some oxygen by John Banks on radio during the week to talk about the National leadership challenge, but the only leader Slater seems interested in promoting these days is Winston Peters.

Water debate continues


Labour left themselves open when they announced their water tax policy when they didn’t say how much would be charged. They said that would be decided at a later date (after the election) by an ‘expert group’.

As a result many claims and assertions and concerns have been made.

Stuff: Grapegrower blasts Labour water policy

Water royalties could put the $1.6 billion industry at risk, says Marlborough grower.

Some claims have been ridiculous.David Parker was interviewed on Q+A yesterday for clarification.

Michelle Boag made some claims on the Q+A panel that seemed to be serious miscalculations

The great water debate with our panelists Michelle Boag and Matt McCarten.

“Each apple would cost $2.80” says Michelle Boag.

That would mean you’d have a million litres to do a cabbage says Matt McCarten.

1 News: ‘They’d have to be the thirstiest cabbages on the planet’ – David Parker hits back at Horticulture NZ over water tax

Mr Parker said on TVNZ’s Q+A this morning that Labour’s new water tax would likely be 1 or 2 cents per thousand litres of water meaning the cost to the consumer “would be less than a quarter of a cent”.

It comes after Horticulture New Zealand claimed Labour “hadn’t done their homework on the issue of water tax” and it would be “like a speed camera on healthy food.”

Mr Parker said the statement was a “level of scaremongering that would make Donald Trump blush” and said Labour’s new water tax would raise “about $100 million across the whole of the country each year.”

When asked why he wouldn’t raise the tax on large foreign corporations like Coca-cola Mr Parker said they already pay “a dollar per thousand litres” and “we’re not going to charge them twice.”

Labour have a history of half baked policy announcements and leave themselves open to exaggerated criticisms.

UPDATE: Stats Chat looks at actual costs in Meters and litres

So a 1c or 2c per cubic metre water charge would come out to less than a cent per litre of milk.

I found an estimate that, it takes 237L of water to produce 1kg of cabbage, ie, less than a quarter of a cubic metre, so less than 1 cent.

Sounds a lot more believable.

Butcher, Bridger and Boag

The mad furore over Peter Leitch (the mad butcher), Lara Bridger and Michelle Boag continues into the end of the week – it has become a lot of news coverage for an off hand remark on a wine tour.

Michelle Boag acted as spokesperson for Leitch and gave the story another day or two – she says she thought she was making ‘off-the-record’ comments to a journalist but they are now very much on the record. She shouldn’t have been careless.

It’s now got to Editorial level with the Press having a go in What does a ‘white man’s island’ look like?

What does a “white man’s island” look like? Is it the sort of place fair-minded New Zealanders would want to inhabit in the 21st century?

The questions arise because of a controversial encounter between Sir Peter Leitch and a young Maori woman on Waiheke Island during a wine-tasting event.

In Lara Bridger’s account, Leitch, the benighted Mad Butcher and Rugby League patron, approached her family, advised them against drink-driving and commented that they were not local. Bridger responded that, in fact, she was born on the island and was tangata whenua.

To give Leitch the benefit of the doubt, from his generational viewpoint he may have intended to be more casual than racist but, if reported correctly, his words were inappropriate in this day and age, and they caused offence.

But the people who responded with hate and threats, forcing Bridger to take down her post, were also in the wrong.

If New Zealand is to move forward as a harmonious bicultural and multi-cultural society, we need to treat each other with more respect.

We should give more thought to words and phrases and attitudes that could be offensive.

But the degree to which people take offence, especially on social media, has become a problem that amplifies things far more than they deserve.

Everything we all say and write can’t be filtered through a cultural sensitivity censor.

ODT: Reasons for offence

Auckland woman Lara Bridger (23) posted a video on social media on Tuesday, claiming Sir Peter had told her Waiheke Island was a ”white man’s island”.

In a statement, Sir Peter said he was ”extremely disappointed” a young woman had misinterpreted some light-hearted banter.

Sir Peter claimed he was joking with the young woman’s group about not drinking too much because there were lots of police on the island. Ms Bridger said she was tangata whenua and could do what she liked and Sir Peter said he responded with a joke about Waiheke being a white man’s island.

”When she later informed me she was offended by my comment, I apologised unreservedly. There is no way I can ever be accused of being racist.”

The matter should have ended there but social media whipped up a storm of controversy.

In the Internet age in which we live anyone could become the target of intense online and media attention for bugger all.

Unfortunately for Leitch his public exposure was made worse by his spokesperson, Michelle Boag.

However, instead of the matter dying away after a full apology, for some reason professional PR woman Michelle Boag – not unknown for causing controversy – got involved on behalf of Sir Peter. Ms Boag decided to describe Ms Bridger as ”barely coffee coloured”. Ms Boag also said Ms Bridger came forward because she wanted to be famous, telling media later her ”flippant” comments had been taken out of context.

Ms Boag claimed she was having a casual chat to the Maori Television journalist, except the conversation was held on a speaker phone and everyone in the Maori Television office was listening. After 40 or so years of dealing with the media, Ms Boag should have known better.

Quite a few people should now know better than to use Boag to speak on their behalf. Her mind might have been still half on holiday but she butchered her PR patch up job.

The most concerning part of the story is, for many, how soft we have become as a nation.

But if, as a people, we get upset by an older man remaining who he is, rather than who other people want him to be, then New Zealand really is becoming a strange place in which to live.

This has become a real issue in the online world. We haven’t become soft ‘as a nation’, what has changed is some people now have more opportunity to go public over offence taken. This is fine if it is done reasonably.

But when a bunch of online activists blow things out of proportion there is a real risk that both the offender and the offended get over exposed and publicly hammered.

The responsibilities lie not just with people who might say something that could be offensive to others, and not just with people who publicly show they are pissed off. These are natural human behaviours.

The new part of the problem that can make it far worse are those who jump in and take sides on their own accord, and make things far bigger than they deserve to be.

At 72, Sir Peter is at least two generations older than Ms Bridger who now, unfortunately, will have her private life scrutinised by some to find any weakness in her story or background to be exploited online.

Leitch made an off the cuff comment, Bridger was annoyed and said something about it on Facebook. Fair enough – neither had the time or took the time to think through the possible repercussions.

But those who had ample time to think through their actions, online social warriors and do gooders (who often do badly) and journalists, use a spat between others to promote their own agendas.

In New Zealand, haters will hate and Sir Peter and Ms Bridger are likely to be in for a tough few days until the news cycle dies. But thanks to social media and Ms Boag, Sir Peter will now pop up in online searches as an old white racist knight.

The wider issue here is the haters who seem to love to not just hate, but to amplify and spread that hate as much as they can.

New Zealanders need to look deeply into their reasons for offence and discover what really matters to them, other than light-hearted banter.

This is important on social outings on Waiheke Island, but more important in both traditional and social media.

Three ill judged words don’t justify three or more days of headlines and online over exposure.

Bill English NOT on Q & A

Bill English, our Prime Minister next week, will be interviewed and analysed On Q+A today:

New Zealand will have a new Prime Minister on Monday. We’ll have in-depth interviews and analysis on what a Bill English led Government will do and how the landscape for next year’s election has changed.


Panel: Dr Raymond Miller, Marama Fox, Michelle Boag and Matt McCarten

Boag is an English fan so may give us more gushing than insight.

It will be interesting to hear what Fox (Maori party has to say, and also McCarten given that he is organising Labour’s election campaign in Auckland.

UPDATE: Some false advertising by Q & A – English pulled out but they haven’t updated their advertising on Facebook.

Steven Joyce stood in for a brief interview.

McCarten starts the panel by saying that we now have ‘an even contest’. That’s between National and Labour+Greens+?

Fox says the Maori Party is optimistic, English has been will yo work with them and Bennett is part Maori.

David Seymour is next up for an interview. He is pretty much campaigning for ACT.

Next up is Andrew Little – and he is in campaign mode as well, same old recitals.

James Shaw addresses the issues of the day more, saying English+Joyce won’t change much, but then goes to standard dissing, saying National have been grey and doing a minimum that they could get away with doing.


National battles in Clutha-Southland

There seems to be some taking of sides in the Clutha-Southland electorate after it was reported yesterday that someone is challenging MP Todd Barclay for the very safe seat that Bill English vacated in 2014.

ODT/NZME: Horse-trading begins ahead of Election 2017

Simon Flood,  a 52-year-old former Merrill Lynch investment fund manager, plans to challenge Clutha-Southland incumbent Todd Barclay.

It is understood Mr Flood was widely expected to get the selection in 2014 but pulled out at the last minute for family reasons.

Mr Barclay’s first term has been blemished by resignations of long-standing staff and reports of disputes.

Barclay was rated 2/10 by the 2016 Trans Tasman MP report.


John Key is staying neutralish: Bill English refuses to back embattled MP Todd Barclay

Prime Minister John Key says he has met Mr Flood before, but didn’t know him at Merrill Lynch, where he also worked.

“Firstly, he came from a different division of Merrill Lynch, it’s worth noting that,” he says.

Mr Key rejects the challenge against Mr Barclay has been orchestrated by the National Party hierarchy.

“We don’t engineer challenges, or stop them. If someone decides to go and challenge a sitting MP, they’re free to go and do that.

“If you’re a sitting MP who’s working hard, that’s developing your electorate, then the cards are stacked in your favour,” says Mr Key.

Bill English too: Bill English refuses to be drawn on Todd Barclay’s future

Finance Minister Bill English, who held the seat for 18 years before going list only, is declining to make any specific comments on Mr Barclay’s situation, or even saying whether or not he endorses him.

“I’m not a delegate, I’m not participating in it. It is a matter for the local party, that’s how the National Party runs these things.”

When specifically asked if Mr Barclay had done a good job in the role, Mr English said “he appears to have done a good job.”

But National MPs were prepared to state a preference. Judith Collins:


That was ‘liked’ by MPs Barbara Kuriger, Kanwaljit Bakshi and Sarah Dowie.


That was ‘liked’ by MP Tim McIndoe

Cameron Slater is clearly taking sides. Is this just a continuation of bad blood feuds or a vested interest?

Board skullduggery in the Clutha Southland Selection

There is skullduggery going on  in Clutha-Southland with a shabby move against Todd Barclay which is being orchestrated quietly by the former MP, currently residing in Karori, and assisted by at least one stroppy board member intent on taking the presidency.

This is a challenge being orchestrated by National Party Board Member Glenda Hughes, who is trying to muscle into the democratic processes of electorates selecting their own candidate, to force out Todd Barclay, the current MP. Hughes wants to appoint her chosen outside candidate, imposing her will on the Clutha-Southland electorate.

This is an absolute disgrace.

The National Party board should not be involved in selections in any partisan way. They should not be involved at all, except to undertake their constitutional duties and ensure local electorates select the person they think best suits their electorate. Board Members with integrity will not be involved the kind of tearing down of MPs that Glenda has been doing.

If Glenda Hughes wants to play political games in National Party selections she should do the honourable thing and immediately resign her board position. If she continues to interfere we will be forced to continue to draw readers attention to Hughes’ hamfisted attempts in other electorates selections, not just Clutha-Southland.

The last time the board tried meddling in a local selection it turned into a PR disaster for them. Do they really want that again?

Slater has a history of trying to meddle in candidate selections, prepared to dish out dirt to try to destroy the chances of some people. He tried this in Northland for the by-election. His motives weren’t clear there, but it would be odd if he tried to orchestrate a Winston win.

Is Michelle Boag spinning against Todd Barclay?

Hot on the heels of the attack on Todd Barclay in the ODT came a predictable attack on him on Radio Live. Radio Live reckon that Barclay is going to be beaten by challenger Simon Flood, “a Merrill Lynch Banker”.

The tip line is saying that Glenda Hughes’ ally Michelle Boag is all over this. Boag is forever meddling in electorates she has no business being in, and Hughes is stupid to get an Aucklander involved in the deep south.

Funny, is he aware at all of his hypocrisy? Slater is an Aucklander getting involved in the deep south. Does he have business there?

The article is from a journalist who simply doesn’t understand the National Party selection process, or who has spent any time on the ground in Clutha-Southland.

How does Slater know how much time Eileen Goodwin has spent “on the ground in Clutha-Southland”? She has been around down here for quite a while, reporting on Barclay’s employment issues earlier this year , and also on Clutha-Southland during the 2014 election campaign – see here.

What Glenda Hughes wants doesn’t matter. It is what the large number of delegates from around Southland want that matters. The media should stop buying into Glenda Hughes’ bullshit.

This could be just ongoing hits on Hughes and Boag, who Slater has bitterly attacked a number of times in the past.

Slater hasn’t always favoured Barclay. Last year he posted ‘Todd Barclay is a gutless little twerp.

English said, “It is a matter for the local party, that’s how the National Party runs these things.”

So why is there so much interest from Hughes, Boag and Slater?

Interestingly Boag is credited with helping recruit John Key as a candidate – along with Slater’s father, John.

Key went on to successfully challenge long serving MP Brian Neeson for selection to stand in Helensville.

Will history repeat itself in Clutha Southland?

Newshub – conspiracies as entertainment

Newshub have made a story out of the non-appearance of conspiracy crank David Icke on the ‘Paul Henry Show’ yesterday. Apparently Icke turned up for an interview but left the studio before it started.

Newshub are promoting all this as entertainment.

Conspiracy theorist David Icke mysteriously bails on interview
David Icke’s mysterious disappearance


What is mysterious to me is why Newshub and Paul Henry would try to interview Icke in the first place. Ok, it’s supposed to be entertaining.

Probably the most sensible comment in all of this in a lengthy article:

Michelle Boag, on the show to discuss Icke’s beliefs – among other things – had a theory.

“He’s clearly been abducted by the aliens.”

Or maybe aliens have taken over Newshub. One of their biggest stories of the day was about an interview of a foreign conspiracy nut that didn’t happen.

Whale Oil Edgelered

Cameron Slater has been running a campaign against Nikki Kaye and Vic Crone on Whale Oil – and yes, it’s fair to wonder if this is a paid for campaign or personal spite.

Today Slater claimed that “Nikki Kaye keeps getting it wrong”.




But along came Graeme Edgeler:


That’s called being Edgelered.

(Thanks for the tip PK)



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:

Slater responds to pay for silence accusation

In a panel discussion on RadioLive today Michelle Boag explained how on a certain blog you could pay $300 per promotional post and you could also pay not to be posted about.

Here is the transcript of that segment: Boag on paying not to be mentioned on a blog

Transcript of the follow-up interview, Shaun Plunket with Cameron Slater:

Shaun Plunket: During the course of the Friday panel this morning Michele Boag made the very clear suggestion that one blog site…Michelle Boag suggested that there is a well known blog site which you can pay through an intermediary to never be mentioned on…

That’s not how Boag put it.

…as well as being paid to be mentioned on or perhaps have nasty things said about your commercial or political opponents. You can actually pay this blog site not to be mentioned by the blog site.

And the blog site she confirmed that she was talking about was Whale Oil Beef Hooked and that is run, well The Boss he’s described as. Whale Oil Be Hooked is Cam Slater, and i thought rather than muck around and seek affidavits we’d just talk to Cam Slater direct and try and sort this out.

Look, what do you say. Essentially the information we have is that people pay you or can pay you via Carrick Graham to not appear on your website, on your blog. Is that true?

Slater: Well Michelle Boag is just a bitter old bag really…

Plunket: No No that wasn’t my question. Didn’t ask your opinion on Michelle Boag.

Slater: The answer is categorically no.

That’s no, I don’t receive any money from anybody to not be mentioned on the site. That’s just a, she’s got no evidence to support that, and if I was a sooky pants who was prone to conniptions and rushing off to lawyers then she’d be in trouble.

I’m not. She just wants to have a slag at me and that’s fine, she can be like that, she can purse her lips and ah roll her eyes and show her nasty side to herself all she likes. It says more about her than it does about me.

Plunket: Ok. And does Carrick Graham in any way work for you as a marketer or you know an intermediary?

Slater: I don’t discuss anything to do with how I operate um ah, my business or what I do…

Plunket: So Carrick Graham is part of your business.

Slater: Carrick Graham’s a mate of mine. We’ve known each other for many many years, it goes back to when he was even before he was dating my sister so you know we’ve got a long association, we’re bloody good mates, and ah and that’s essentially the basis of it.

Answer avoided.

But 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. You know I don’t really care what anyone says…

Plunket: Ok but you are saying today, absolutely categorically that you cannot pay, well you can obviously pay to be mentioned on your website right, you do admit you do that right?

Slater: Well just like every other media organisation in the country.

Excluding most if not all other blogs. And some other media organisations might argue that they don’t do paid political promotions presented as blog posts/articles like Slater does.

Plunket: Right. Ok, but you don’t disclose it always, they’re paying you. But you say that you do not like run a protection racket whereas I will not be nasty to you on Whale Oil if you pay me some money every month?

There’s a bit of wiggle room there.

Slater: That that, you know, that would be if I like I said if I was a person who was a sooky pants and ran off to lawyers that would be a highly defamatory comment. But I’m not like that. These are the slings and arrows…

Pluinket: So that’s a no. I just want to check, so that’s a no.

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

Plunket: Alright Cam, I will I accept that you have answered the call, you picked up the phone, you’ve answered the one question I wanted to put to you and you’ve answered it in the negative. And I would hate to besmirch your reputation further by paying this any more attention, this scurrilous accusation.

Slater: Well you know Michelle will hurl these things out there. That’s her business. She just looks like she’s incredibly focussed and still living in the battles of the nineties.

An odd close to a not very probing interview. In response to an oddly vague accusation from Michele Boag.

Boag Audio: Are Kiwi bloggers taking payment to stay silent?

Follow-up audio: Cameron Slater denies Michelle Boag’s claim he takes payment for silence

Boag on paying not to be mentioned on a blog

In a panel discussion on RadioLive today Michelle Boag explained how on a certain blog you could pay $300 per promotional post and you could also pay not to be posted about. She wouldn’t name the blog but Shaun Plunket made it clear it was Whale Oil (Cameron Slater).

Slater later denied paying for silence.

“I don’t receive any money from anybody to not be mentioned on the site,” Slater told Sean Plunket.

This is a transcript of the Boag segment:

Boag: Some particular bloggers I know who charge people not to mention them.

Plunket: Oh really?

Boag: Yep.

Plunket: Oh no hang on, let;s hold it right there. Tell us more Michelle.

Boag: No. Cause he’ll just have another go at me, but I know it’s happening.

Plunket: Ah this is Cameron Slater.

Boag: Not making any comment.

Plunket: Ah well, do you pay Cameron Slater not to say nasty things about you Michelle? Does he offer that…

Boag: I don’t. I don’t. In fact even if I did pay him he wouldn’t stop saying nasty things about me, but I know…

Plunket: Do you know people whom Cameron Slater has said if you pay me this money I will not say nasty things about you?

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

Mike Wiliams: That is sensational stuff Shaun and you’ve got yourself a scoop.

Boag: There’s no more senstational than that intermediary saying to people “oh, if you want to get promoted on this blog it’s three hundred bucks a pop.

Plunket: Are you prepared to name the intermediary to me or make that information…

Boag: Off air I will.

Plunket: Ok Michelle, I would like you to do that after this panel and we will chase that story down. That is tantamount to a kind of formalised blackmail.

Boag: Well it’s not a kind of, it’s just typical tacky behaviour that you’d expect from that particular source.

Plunket: It’s like a protection racket.

Boag: And let’s wait and see what he says about me today. And he should take regard of the fact that there’s a cyber bullying law now.

Plunket: Michelle I’m just going to ask you did you come on the programme with the intention to make this disclosure today?

Boag: Not at all. I’ve known about this for months.

Plunket: Gosh. I wish you’d told me months ago. It would have been good for the ratings.

After a break:

Plunket: Oh yeah, and the Friday morning panel have just thrown a bit of a spanner in the works of the whole day I imagine, or the news cycle. Michelle Boag telling us that there is a blogger that I presume is Cameron Slater who has an itermediary who will go to people and say “Give us some money and we won’t mention you on our blog”.

Boag: No that’s not how it works. What I said was that the intermediary says if you give me, oh, if you wanna be mentioned on the blog or promoted in any way there’s a price on that. And then if you don’t like it you have to pay for them not to do it.

So he mentions people, right, and the you say hey it no longer suits me, I don’t want that going on, right, you pay and he doesn’t do it any more.

That’s still not very clear. Does she mean that you have a contract to be promoted and if you decide to stop part pway through you have to pay the full contract anyway?

Plunket: Whoa, doesn’t do what? Doesn’t mention you by name…

Boag: That’s right.

Plunket: …or attack your opponents.

Boag: No no. Mention you by name.

Plunket: Ok but who would pay to be mentioned by name in a bad way in the first place?

Boag: No not in a bad way. Look you look at the way bloggers operate. They promote certain people, they get involved in certain discussions and they say so and so’s a lousy candidate, so and so’s a good candidate, so and so deserves to be elected…

Plunket: Yeah, well I knew that was going on.

It’s well known that Slater promotes candidates, MPs and lobby interests and he attacks others as a paid for service – and it’s impossible to know in his posts whether he is doing posts for hire or just expressing his opinion.

But I don’t know of any other bloggers who operate like this. As far as I know it’s the way just one blogger operates.

Boag: Well that’s for sale. Right.

Plunket: So you can get coverage that will help you for a price.

Boag: Yes.

Plunket: Ok. So that’s like paying for advertising.

Boag: Yes except it’s not disclosed.

Plunket: But the more important thing is you’re also saying that if nasty things are being written about you you can get them taken off for a price.

Boag: Um I know someone who has paid not to be mentioned.

Plunket: Oh. Ok and what sort of money are we talking Michelle?

Boag: I’ve got no idea. But I know how much you pay to be mentioned.

Plunket: Ok how much do you pay to be mentioned? Three hundred dollars?

Boag: Three hundred bucks a pop. So if there’s six blogs in a day you’ve paid eighteen hundred.

Plunket: I’ve had all sorts of rubbish written about me on the Whale Oil site, I’ve never paid a cent. Is that ’cause he likes me.

Boag: Because he’s saying horrible things probably.

Plunket: Sometimes they’re nice, sometimes they’re horrible,

Boag: Well I’m not saying that’s what all the content is about. What I’m saying is there is clearly examples…

Williams: It’s a lucrative sideline…

Boag: Well it’s probably the only part that’s ah you know being economically efficient.

Williams: Viable.

Audio: Are Kiwi bloggers taking payment to stay silent?

Follow-up audio: Cameron Slater denies Michelle Boag’s claim he takes payment for silence

The transcript of the follow-up interview with Slater will be posted as soon as I get it done.