Russian judgment – “Winston Peters and Jeremy Corbyn are sane voices”

There have been claims that Russia has been set up over the allegations of nerve gas poisoning in Salisbury, England, ranging from valid questions to conspiracy theories.

Mike Smith at The Standard says that “Winston Peters and Jeremy Corbyn are sane voices calling for evidence” and suggests that there are “all the signs of another false flag operation” in Russian to Judgment.

The possible poisoning of Sergei Skripal and the consequent  hysteria have all the signs of another false flag operation, as we saw before the second American invasion of Iraq. The chain of circumstantial evidence has more holes in it than a swiss cheese, and while  attempted murder (if that is what it is) is a criminal act Winston Peters and Jeremy Corbyn are sane voices calling for evidence before any attribution still less action.

Smith questions whether anyone was poisoned at all – “possible poisoning”.

What we don’t know is what evidence may (or may not) have been circulated around intelligence agencies and governments.

Its not hard to see why the British government would like to draw attention away from the looming disaster of their bungled Brexit. The French and Americans are also unhappy about the continuation of Assad’s government in Syria. With the sudden firing of Rex Tillerson and the looming exit of McMaster, the neocons are firmly in charge in Washington and we know what that led to in 2003.

The situation now in Washington is very different to 2003, as the US reacted to the 911 attacks.

Helen Clark’s Labour-led government took a principled stance not to support George W. Bush’s  “coalition of the willing,” and no doubt had to withstand considerable pressure to do so. It is concerning to read that the British High Commissioner is briefing New Zealand media about Theresa May’s view of events, and sending out barely disguised threats in an attempt to interfere in our trade policies.

Smith seems to be a fan of Winston’s attempts to negotiate a trade agreement with Russia despite opposing the TPPA.

It is not as though we haven’t seen anti-Russian hysteria before. Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report seems to have gone full ‘Dancing Cossacks,’ following the lead of CNN which has led the charge in Washington since the election of Donald Trump.

Who sounds hysterical?

We live in a very uncertain and dangerous world and New Zealand is not immune. The Doomsday Clock is at two minutes to midnight. Now more than ever we do not nee to seed tensions escalate on such flimsy grounds as the latest beat-up. We need to maintain our independence and our principles, and not be sucked into other people’s wars.

Smith was asked in comments what signs there were of a false flag operation. He responded:

Signs of a false flag operation are those similar to the lead-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. I was in Canada in early 2002 watching hyped-up American television in my hotel room. I came back and reported to the Labour caucus that America was going to invade. A year later they did.

One sign is heightened tone in the media allied with treating allegation as fact.

Those signs sound flimsy – “heightened tone in the media” is hardly unusual, nor is “treating allegation as fact”.

A false flag operation is a terrorist act committed by one group for the express purpose of discrediting another group, which is framed for it.

Smith is suggesting that Russia has been framed, but he doesn’t specify who he thinks framed them, but the obvious implication is the UK and perhaps the US.

Smith also said:

Nobody’s giving deference to an oligarchy – just don’t want more war, and as for ramping up nuclear capabilities that’s more true of the US at the moment.

Few people want war, especially between nuclear powers, but as for ramping up nuclear capabilities – Russia’s Putin unveils ‘invincible’ nuclear weapons (BBC): The weapons he boasted of included a cruise missile that he said could “reach anywhere in the world”. He said of the West: “They need to take account of a new reality and understand … [this]… is not a bluff.”

What Smith asserts is at odds with our Government response. Jacinda Ardern on The Nation yesterday:

Okay. Well, let’s move on to an entirely different topic. Britain is out kicking 23 Russian diplomats, aka spies. Now, this is over the nerve-gas attack in Salisbury, and things are really ratcheting up. The US has issued sanctions; this is over interference with elections. So are we going to join any further sanctions in relation to Russia if we are asked?

Yeah, and, obviously, we’re working very closely with the UK and other partners. We’ve joined with them in saying these actions are repugnant. We’ve made strong statements in The Hague over it as well. The use of nerve agents–

But what about actual sanctions?

The use of nerve agents is an illegal international act. So at the moment, it is a matter of keeping in close contact with our partners to see what actions they’re taking. At the moment, they’ve isolated down in the UK and dealing with them at an individual diplomat level, but it is a matter of making sure that we’re in constant contact as those decisions are made.

So at the moment, you’re not ruling out the possibility of expulsions from New Zealand?

We haven’t ruled anything in or out at this stage, because, as we say, we’re working closely with our partners, and this is an ongoing matter, but we’ve been very clear this is an illegal act; it is a repugnant act.

A quite different view of Russia in Ardern stumbles badly on Putin-Peters axis:

…since invading and annexing the Crimea in 2014, Russia has:

  • Interfered with elections in the US, France, Germany, and possibly also in Italy.
  • Continued to carry out a clandestine war in Eastern Ukraine.
  • Provided military support in the form of soldiers, air power, equipment, and training to Assad’s regime in Syria which is again using chemical weapons on civilians.
  • Continued to murder and harass political opponents and journalists in Russia.
  • Continued to repress ethnic and minority groups within Russia.
  • And Putin has even revealed he’s antisemitic too in trying to blame Jews for any meddling in the US election!

Salisbury hasn’t changed anything. Russia is still the same brutal, aggressive, and repressive dictatorship that it was in 2014 when FTA negotiations were suspended over Crimea, the only thing that changed in that time was that Winston Peters had the balance of power following the 2017 election and used that power to wring a concession for a Russian free trade deal in his coalition deal with Labour.

It was a surprise concession considering Peters and NZ First had not campaigned on a Russian free trade deal.

It’s healthy to have some scepticism about what is asserted by the UK (or US or NZ) in situations like the Salisbury poisoning and the escalating diplomatic stoush. But it is also healthy to have some scepticism about Russian denials, and defence of Russia by people lie Smith.

I have seen some claim that Jeremy Corbyn is a sane voice on the current situation, but he seems to agree with evidence pointing to Russia – Jeremy Corbyn: Salisbury attack ‘evidence points towards Russia’

Jeremy Corbyn said the “evidence points towards Russia” being responsible for the Salisbury attack but he did not go as far as his shadow defence secretary.

He said the source of the chemical weapon used “appears to be Russia”.

Earlier, his shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith said the party accepted “Russia was responsible”.

The Labour leader condemned the “appalling” attack but pressed the PM on whether the UK had supplied traces of the nerve agent used in the attack to Russia for analysis before Wednesday’s deadline, as the Kremlin had asked.

And he asked what action the UK was taking with its allies through the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons.

The UK’s response, said the Labour leader, should be underpinned by support for the rule of law and international agreements and respect for human rights.

But in a later Facebook post, Mr Corbyn called for the Russian authorities to “be held to account on the basis of the evidence and our response must be both decisive and proportionate”.

Is that the sane voice that Smith was referring to?

Few have supported Winston Peters or called him a sane voice over the poisoning issue – he has been strongly criticised. But even he joined condemnation of the poisoning – NZ joins condemnation of nerve agent attack

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has grave concerns over the use of a chemical nerve agent in the United Kingdom resulting in critically serious injuries to some of those exposed.

“We share and support the concerns expressed by other nations about such use of chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons as a tool of war, or for murder or assassination is totally repugnant, and this incident is an affront to global rules and norms. As New Zealand has stated on many occasions, we are deeply disturbed at any use of chemical substances banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention,” he said.

“How this military grade nerve agent was transported from Russia and released abroad is the key issue here, and warrants urgent international investigation,” said Mr Peters.

 

Smith’s ‘sane voices’ seem to disagree with him.

 

Labour and “Denial in Politics”

Should Labour switch from ‘Key is crap’ to ‘better than ‘Bill’?

Mike Smith has a post at The Standard on ‘Denial in Politics’ – it begins with a focus on the Democrats in the US and Trump’s success, then turns to New Zealand:

Denial in politics can take a variety of forms. When you are in the middle of a campaign that is not going well, it is all too easy to construct and cling to an unrealistic path to victory, and even more importantly to underestimate the strengths of your opponent.

Labour did this in 2008; we built a  negative campaign around attacking John Key that was a mistake and did not work. As Bryan Gould has recently noted, we underestimated him to our cost.

Labour’s campaign style is still excessively negative, and not yet clearly focused. Now that Key has gone, it will be crucial that Labour does not underestimate Bill English.

Interesting from an ex Labour general secretary. Smith only occasionally posts at The Standard, and when he does there usually appears to be a specific party-related purpose.

He has many different and arguably more admirable characteristics than his predecessor. Nobody’s fool, he has been tested in the fire and not found wanting for some time now.

A reasonable assessment. English has flown mostly under the radar for years, and has surprised many now he has emerged from John Key’s shadow. He sounded like a well informed experienced Prime Minister as soon as he took over.

He does have some vulnerabilities with all his eggs in the so-called “social investment” basket, but they will need careful research and even more careful communication to be effective.

It’s unclear who Smith is directing that at.

It could be interpreted as support of English’s ‘social investment’ approach.

Or it could be suggesting careful research to Labour, advice they could do with heeding given their performance over the last eight years.

But certainly Labour should take note of “Labour’s campaign style is still excessively negative” – that continues to turn off voters and fails to present them as a viable alternative.

Social investment could be something that Labour embraces and supports in principle, but perhaps suggesting some different approaches and policy detail.

‘Better than Bill’ would be a hard idea to sell, but it would improve on their ‘Key is crap’ futility.

But on recent history it’s more likely Labour’s negativity will dominate their strategy.

Labour versus Leggett ctd.

Current Porirua mayor Nick Leggett resigned from the Labour Party earlier this year so he could stand for the Wellington mayoralty against Labour’s anointed candidate Justin Lester.

Leggett’s candidacy seems to be really bugging Labour. Recently Andrew Little attacked him and banned a Labour MP from attending an event Leggett went to. See Little trying to forbid MPs associating.

And the Labour campaign against Leggett seems to be continuing online.

Mike Smith seems to only post at The Standard when there is important business to attend to.

On Tuesday Smith posted Leggett in Parkin’s pocket?

Former Councillor Chris Parkin interviewed in Wellington’s DomPost shared his ambitions – investing in property in central Wellington, and getting Porirua mayor Nick Leggett elected in Wellington, of all places. Word has it that large billboards for Leggett around the town have been funded by Parkin. The last thing Wellington needs is a mayor who’s in a property investor’s pocket.

And yesterday Smith attacked again: Leggett in Gollins’ pocket too!!!

It gets worse – another property developer is rattling the tin for Porirua carpetbagger Nick Leggett for Wellington’s mayoralty. 

It seems Andrew Little might have been right to warn Stuart Nash MP off association with Leggett’s campaign.

Yes, this is worse – for Labour. It’s a sign that they are worried about Lester’s chances and worried that Leggett is taking votes off their candidate.

‘CC’ asks (currently unanswered): “This is getting pretty close to dirty politics isn’t it?”

Labour certainly seem to be filthy about Leggett.

And Smith is twisting what actually happened – the event Nash was warned off was in Auckland and had no connection to the campaign in Wellington.

I wonder if this has something to do with it:

Claire Robinson ‏@Spinprofessor
Little bird told me polling showing Wgtn mayoral rice tight tween Justin, Nick and Jo, but Jo getting more 2nd votes than others

It seems that politics hath no fury like a Labour Party challenged by one of their own.

 

 

Cullen analyses Labour’s challenges

Sir Michael Cullen discussed political strategy at the “Destination- Next Progressive Majority” seminars held recently by the Fabian Society in Auckland and Wellington.

It’s an interesting analysis – that highlights how far Labour is from recovery as a major political player. At best Cullen sees them as a combo with Greens and NZ First, and not a direct competitor with National.

Mike Smith has posted an interesting summary of Cullen’s speech (or you can listen to his whole speech here).

So many people on the left ignore that simple point – my view is that we get elected so that we can do some good things and shift the balance over time and win the debate over the direction of society.

Don’t get hung up about language of left and centre-left: we lost the vast majority of the population because they are not interested. We are interested in the left’s language because we are part of it and the distinctions are sometimes useful.

Even with the language of progressive and conservative we need to be careful because we need to attract the votes of people who consider themselves conservative.

In the modern world anything up to 50% of the population can be considered as swinging voters. We got 25% last time, National got 22% in 2002 and neither of us hit rock-bottom. To rephrase the obvious we have to persuade enough swinging voter to switch.

There are some facts we need to take into account.

First, John Key is a phenomenon – the modern-day Holyoake. We spent 12 years underestimating Holyoake to our cost – we’ve spent nine years underestimating Key. Every now and then we think the tide is turning but I see no evidence of that in the polling data. Key still has numbers which are stratospherically good by historic comparisons – we must recognise that, and the amount of time that we spend on attacking Key is largely a waste of time.

Don’t expect The Standard authors to heed that advice, they do little other than attack Key and National. Still.

Second, Labour is well behind on leadership and economic credibility – no-one has ever won government by being behind on both. Labour is the core of any progressive government so those things have to change one way or another.

Third in spite of false dawns, there is still a high level of confidence in the government  despite manifold problems with the excessively short-term focus.

What are the three things we have to do?

First establish emotional connection with swinging voters. In the Labour Party we are phenomenally bad at doing this – we see a swinging voter and whip out a manifesto. Secondly have credible policies that address the issues that voters care about – when we have identified the issues that voters care about we have to have answers that we believe in that they can believe in and are willing to vote for. Thirdly we have to develop an image and a reality of co-operative differentiation between the parties seeking a change in government.

Starting with co-operative differentiation. The parties are competitors. Excessive similarity will reduce the chances for a change of government. We can’t be identical twins or triplets – we have to maximise the total vote by maximising the vote each party can get. Labour’s vote is the key determinant but that creates tension – but we can also demonstrate that we can work together so there has to be some spoken or unspoken criteria as to how the parties can work together.

This is being done well – symbols are important – the key moment in Labour’s win in 1999 was Helen Clark being invited to address the Alliance conference. Broad areas of agreement on policy – sustainability which for me is the unifying over-arching concept. Issues of inequality and poverty – but let us talk about levelling up instead of levelling down – that is why growth is important because we have to redistribute the dividends of growth – no government has every got elected by redistributing a static cake. Third area is independent foreign policy.

Second credible issues of policy. Labour in particular has to stop its tendency to look inwards to talk about itself all the time, instead of talking about what other people want to hear about – which is what Labour is going to do to help them. Both New Zealand First and the Greens are much better at doing that.

Both Labour and Greens have tendency to drop into policy wonk mode and lose the emotional connection. Swinging voters are not that interested in politics, they have feelings but not great knowledge, and they are heavily influenced by popular media especially commercial talk-back radio most of which is very right-wing. Finally they are less rational than those committed to those who are committed to one party or another.

Third establishing emotional connection with voters. Policies can be a means to this but rarely the most important means. This is Key’s huge strength – he has enormous emotional connection with voters. The sloppy language we like to make fun of is the language most people speak, not like University lecturers like Helen, Steve and I. The casualness to turn things aside, not important, at the end of the day.

We have to understand that emotional connection but we have one significant advantage that he doesn’t have.  We are three significant parties and Greens appeal to youth, NZFirst has affinity with elderly, Labour’s ability to work the business of government, the stable rock around which the government can be built. Which is why when Labour looks unstable we are all down the tubes.

In terms of Labour itself there are four things we nee to recapture.

First is choice – for young people what they want to know is that we will enable all people to have choice.

Second is aspiration  – party that has stood for hundred years for opportunity has lost the concept that we help all people to get ahead. Need to be careful – attacking the super-rich easily turns into people feeling that we are attacking those who are trying to do well.

Third responsibility, to connect with people who are looking for parties who will talk about responsibility.

Finally  the notion of national pride and independence – we should be able to claim that concept away from New Zealand because we stand for an independent New Zealand.

Spell it out clearly and go out to the people and say this is about us as a people and what we can do. Make and emotional connection as Winston did in Northland – an emotional connection not a policy connection.

Labour are doing poorly on just about all these points.

Coincidentally “the notion of national pride and independence” has just been effectively rubbished by Trevor Mallard on Breakfast where he has talked against considering a flag change apparently because it was John Key’s idea. Petty politics put ahead of exploring a symbol of national pride and independence.

And the first response at The Standard:

Yeah, I’ve read this before from him.
This is a man who has chosen to have other people call him “sir”.
I think he has the intelligence to recognise the craven, self-serving nature of the status quo he continues to advocate in the face of the biggest challenges humanity and many, if not most, other species have ever faced.
Arise Sir michael.
And piss off.

That may effectively sum up Labour party and Labour left attitudes that are so negative and counter=productive.

Voters have been telling Labour to piss off for the last three elections, and the first reaction is to piss on intelligent analysis and discussion.

Cullen: “Labour is well behind on leadership and economic credibility – no-one has ever won government by being behind on both.”

At the moment there’s no sign of that changing.

And it’s notable that even if Labour do start to get leadership and economic credibility right Cullen still sees them as a combo option with both NZ First and Greens.

Labour seems to have resigned to being one of several minor parties.

Tracey Martin: Fabians and ‘co-operation for progressive government’

Interesting to see NZ First deputy leader Tracey Martin involved with this Fabian Society discussion and is speaking on “political co-operation for progressive government” along with the Green Party General Manager.

Destination: Next Progressive Majority

The Fabian Society invites all those interested to join a discussion with Sir Michael Cullen, Peter Harris, Sarah Helm, Tracey Martin MP, Richard Harman and Lyndy McIntyre at  St  Andrew’s on the Terrace, Wellington, on Sunday 10th May at 1pm. Ideas on strategy, economy, party relations, communication and organising will all be canvassed.

The Destination:Next Progressive Majority is a seminar intended for those who wish to see a change of government in 2017 to a more progressive social democratic policy agenda and ethos.

Speakers

Hon Sir Michael Cullen – an overall picture of what needs to be done politically to achieve a change to progressive government

Peter Harris – fiscal and economic policy for a progressive government

Sarah Helm/Tracey Martin MP – political co-operation for progressive government

Richard Harman – political communication in the 21st century

Lyndy McIntyre – community organisation for political change

Our MC will be Sandra Grey. The Fabians will be represented by Mike Smith.

Mike Smith is a former General Secretary of the Labour Party, since then has been employed as an advise to Labour leaders and is a trustee of The Standard blog.

Speakers:

  • Sir Michael Cullen was Labour Deputy Prime Minister from 1999-2008. 
  • Peter Harris is an economic consultant and director who has worked in unions and government. 
  • Sarah Helm is the General Manager of the Green Party. 
  • Tracey Martin MP is the Deputy Leader of NZ First. 
  • Richard Harman has had an extensive TV career in political reporting and comment and currently produces Politik. 
  • Lyndy McIntyre organises for the Living Wage campaign.

– source: http://thestandard.org.nz/destination-next-progressive-majority-2/

I wonder how Winston Peters would fit in here.

Mike Smith does a dirty on David Farrar

You might wonder if Mike Smith is being paid by the Labour Party to attack David Farrar through The Standard.

Smith is ex general secretary of the Labour Party and has worked in the Labour leader’s office during the last term. Is he still a paid advisor?

He is a trustee of The Standard, and has posted there:

Blowing smoke

You have to wonder if David Farrar is also being paid by the smoking lobby to attack plain packaging – he posts on it frequently. His latest quotes Australian research which the Melbourne Age describes as pushed by the smoking lobby. The post also  links to and misrepresents the views of New Zealand researchers.

“He posts on it frequently” looks a bit of an exaggeration. Smiths search link shows that Farrar has posted ten times on ‘Plain Packaging’ over the past two years, but four of those posts were on food and drink, not tobacco.

I have no evidence suggesting Smith is paid to post this, or has been fed this information from the Labour leader’s office or somewhere in the party.

But Smith has made an unsubstantiated smear suggesting Farrar might have been paid to post by the smoking lobby. That looks like dirty politics to me.

I’ve read a few of Farrar’s plain packaging posts and they seemed like personal comment to me.

And Smith is taken to task by Psycho Milt on his claim that the post “misrepresents the views of New Zealand researchers”.

You have to wonder if David Farrar is also being paid by the smoking lobby to attack plain packaging…

Dunno about him, but they’re certainly not paying me, and my reading of this is that the study he points to is as useful as anyone else’s study on this subject, all funded as they are by lobby groups with agendas, and that the Uni of Otago blog post he links to does indeed categorise plain packaging as “uncertain but possible” in terms of its likely effect.

Big tobacco companies are easy to hate, but that doesn’t mean any bunch of wowsers with an anti-recreational-drug-use agenda is automatically the good guys if theyr’e opposing ‘big tobacco.’ This ‘smokefree by 2025′ bullshit is a huge waste of taxpayers’ money, being doomed as it so obviously is to utter and abject failure – not that any of these wowsers ever accepts that any of their prescriptions for our betterment haven’t worked.

Just have a look at that Uni of Otago post – once plain packaging’s failed, they’re already cueing up measures designed to restrict supply of an addictive product, just as though it had worked for any other addictive drug in the history of the planet.

Smith’s co-trustee at The Standard has been deleting comments that don’t provide evidence for claims:

[deleted]

[lprent: I can’t see any evidence one way or another. That topic is off-limits unless I see a credible link. ]

I don’t expect Prentice to demand a credible link from Smith though. Many attacks and smears are made on The Standard without credible links being demanded.

Whether paid or not Smith’s unsubstantiated smear attempt on Farrar looks like a dirty deed from the Labour camp.

Standard revulsion, repulsion and expulsion

Blog mirroring party – Labour leadership and party in turmoil, and the two trustees at The Standard spatting openly as well, with  Standard revulsion, repulsion and expulsion following.

A guest post by Fleur – A paean about Grant Robertson – was given some unwelcoming treatment by boss bully boy Lyn Prentice (lprent) – he abuses and/or bans anyone attacking authors, usually, unless it’s him doing the attacking.

I’d point out that Fleur wasn’t responsible for the Title, front page Excerpt, front page Featured image, or the cartoon of Grant Robertson in the post. So don’t give her a hard time about them. She just wrote the post body.

The others came from my cynicism when reading the body. Call it an aged Labour member having looked at something like 12 Labour leaders and their youthful supporters. Besides it is a good reminder to people posting that if they don’t put provide these things in then I might add them as I put them up :twisted:

The Webb cartoon is just there because it is a great image. It sets the standard for subsequent posts to have ones as well.

If you don’t know what a Paean is, then I’d suggest that you need to rectify your knowledge of ancient Greek culture.

Co-trustee Mike Smith, a different far more reasonable character altogether, pointed out the obvious:

As an even more aged Labour member I think we should treat our guests better than this – let them have their own say. And I know what a paean is

I’m on Mike’s (and others) side on that one, the disarray in Labour has gone to lprent’s head.

The usual ‘double Standard’ on display:lprent:

…Cunliffe’s challenge of Shearer…

Sounds like another moron using the Chris Hipkins myth from 2012. I have had people confidentially asserting that there is a lot of evidence supporting that particular assertion Cunliffe was planning a coup. I have yet to see anyone producing any evidence then or later that there was one.

I think that it was some idiots in caucus lying to media after they got upset about members voting in the leadership voting rule changes. Why were they idiots? Because it pissed off damn near everyone who was at that conference trying to get the change through and many of those opposing it.

So this is a friendly warning, If you want to use it, then produce something substantive to back it. Otherwise I’ll start treating you like I would any other troll when I get around to moderating.

boyonlaptop:

That is a tremendous double standard.
If you demand sources for one claim in these comments you should for all claims and quite frankly if you want to moderate comments like mine but ignore “It was Grant’s crew that rolled Shearer” than you’re just openly displaying your bias towards Cunliffe and your complete disregard for any dissenting opinion. Especially when I acknowledged that caucus comments about Cunliffe holiday were stupid.

Especially if you leave disgusting ones like this, “How elitist you are. What you call ‘homophobia’ is actually far more common than you wish, and it’s one of the reasons why Robertson would be a disaster. Homosexuals are intrinsically untrustworthy, as aside from anything else, they have their own brand of nepotism – and the general public tend to not like that” untouched. Quite frankly if that’s the moderating standard you operate on I have no desire to comment further on the Standard.

The “Homosexuals are intrinsically untrustworthy” comment was made by Deb Kean. It wasn’t moderated but two moderators/authors reacted:

Stephanie Rodgers: That’s a really horrible statement, Deb. There’s plenty to criticise each of the leadership candidates for without that kind of bigotry.

Karol: Deb has been expressing homophobic hate forever, as far as I’m aware. No reasoning with her changes that. I’ve tried in the past – she hasn’t been around here much in the past year.

New commenters at The Standard are being dissed just for being new commenters – a standard practice to drive away unwelcome opinion. For example:

Don’t believe everything you read from the National Party’s Research Unit – or are you just a Nat troll.

Not agreeing with the entrenched activists doesn’t help of course.

‘red blooded’:

Well, I’m not new. I have been roundly abused many times for questioning what I see as group-think, though. In fact, Lprent told me yesterday that I am an idiot and must have been in nappies in the Clark years. (I have a Masters in Political Science and have been an activist since the Muldoon years.)

What’s my point? It can be very intimidating to raise your head and question the general flow of discussion on TS. It can be simplistic and over-hyped, but it’s not easy to point that out to people who only want to hear from those echoing exactly their viewpoint. I find it refreshing to see a different viewpoint being discussed seriously and think it’s great to hear from some new voices. Labour (& the left more generally) clearly need to do some fresh thinking and hear from a new generation of commentators. renewal doesn’t occur just within a closed group.

lprent:

Read the policy. The place is set up for “robust debate” and that means you will get called names. The standard that is used about abuse that it is not allowed to be “pointless abuse”. So if you don’t like something then say why. If you think someone is being an idiot then say so and why. Just be careful about doing it for the authors of a post.

If you want nice pleasant and superficially congenial debate then go to Public Address.

There are right-wingers who survive easily around here. You just have to stop being so damn precious.

It really really pays to read the about/policy of any site you comment on. That is how you avoid the common pitfalls.

If you really don’t like it, then start your own site and attract your own audience.

red blooded:

Absolutely. That doesn’t make it wrong to look at the pluses and minuses of each candidate, though. We should be respectful if each other and of the candidates, but it’s still refreshing to see some positive discourse about someone other than Cunliffe on this site.

[lprent: Perhaps you should look back over the posts for the last 60 posts (there are about 30 per top page) back to a few days after the election and point to any egregious numbers of posts for Cunliffe? I just did, and essentially it is a list of the announcements and events as the leadership challenge unfolded. Basically the authors are leaning over backwards to try to be reasonably balanced at present.

Commenters are a different story of course. But they aren’t the people running the site.

Similarly the moderators are in charge of behaviour on this site. Not a random commenter. We really don’t like stuck up dickheads trying to tell us how we should run the site.

Go and read the policy. You’ll have time to do so as you’re banned for 2 weeks for stupidity and wasting my time checking. ]

That’s a blog that complains about dirty politics.

red blooded had also said:

I see Grant Robertson as likeable and articulate. He’s certainly Labour through and through. While he’s personally ambitious, that’s also true of Cunliffe. Some here are accusing him of not fully backing the elected leader: I would say,
1) He gave his all to the last campaign, and 2) if we’re honest, Cunliffe was less than fully supportive of Shearer.

I didn’t vote for Robertson last time, mostly because of concerns about lack of Ministetial experience (although he has plenty of policy and admin experience). I might this time, mostly because I think Cunliffe has shown himself to be deeply flawed as a leader (especially in his actions and comments since the awful election result). I’d still like a 3rd choice, though…

Prentice left that comment, presumably because it would look too obvious, but waits until what looks like a very reasonable comment and bans. Standard practice.

The Standard leans heavily towards Cunliffe so it’s inevitable that Robertson supporters will get the usual treatment, revulsion repulsion and expulsion.

A party that desperately needs some major repairs and rebuilding is poorly served by a blog that promotes the worst of Labour.

Is The Standard “a mouthpiece for Labour”?

Lynn Prentice keeps adamantly denying that his Standard blog is a mouthpiece for Labour. Technically he’s probably correct – but there’s no doubt many mouths of Labour are active at The Standard.

The denials of being very Labour are bizarre. It’s not like Peter three times denying Jesus on one day. It’s more like the twelve disciples denying Jesus throughout the writing of the New Testament.

In a radio interview yesterday Prentice was at best blatantly misleading – see Lynn Prentice on radio on The Standard.

Here’s a list of most of the current and recent Standard authors.

lprent (Lynn Prentice) – Standard trustee, editor, sysop, author  and chief moderator (banner of unwelcome opinions). Prentice is a long time Labour Party member, has often mentioned how much he helped Helen Clark in her Mt Albert electorate, attends Labour conferences but has pledged to vote Green this election. No disclosure on The Standard but this of the “brilliant blogger” is still at The Daily Blog.

lprent (also known as Lynn Prentice) is an ancient geek who fell out of management in the 90′s after getting irritated with accountants and doing an MBA and back into programming. During the process he became involved in real world politics as a reluctant socialist. He hasn’t really emerged from those twin obsessions since.

Lynn Prentice is Editor of The Standard, the largest left wing blog in NZ. Lynn is a brilliant blogger and resides in the high ranking Jedi Knight category. He likes Don McGlashan, a facebook page called Whaleoil Sucks and the Ponsonby Fish and Chips shop.

Currently he programs anti-collision devices in c++, linux, Qt, and touch screens. Since he also acts as the sysop of multi-author blog The Standard, that large left-wing nest of vipers that plague the NZ politicians of all hues. He finds the same predictive algorithms useful in educating the trolls who waste his time. Occasionally he finds time to write the odd blog post on whatever interests him.

Mike Smith – Standard trustee (since 2010) and current author. Retired as “the long standing party secretary of the Labour party in 2009”. Worked as an adviser in David Shearer’s leader’s office up until last year.

mickysavage (Greg Presland) – current author.  Former chair of David Cunliffe’s New Lynn electorate committee and presumably still on the committee. He was the lawyer who set up Cunliffe’s secret trust during the Labour leadership campaign last year.

Bunji – current author and active Labour Party member.

I’m a Labour party member – as I’ve mentioned that – and from my topics, that I’m based in Auckland. That’s further confirmed by the fact that I’ve blogged about Labour conferences in Auckland – which might cause an accurate assumption that I’m actively involved in my local Labour Electorate Committee.

Stephanie Rodgers – current author (also blogs elsewhere). On the Labour campaign team in Ohariu. Communications officer at EPMU.

Stephanie Rodgers is a communicator who lives in Wellington with her partner and two guinea pigs.  One of them was once the Dominion Post’s Pet of the Day (the guinea pigs, not her partner).  She is a communications officer at the EPMU and member of the Labour Party, but blogs in a personal capacity in her own time.  Opinions are her own.

UPDATE: Stephanie was grumpy at me because she has a disclosure statement – but it is on her own blog, not at The Standard. Some of her posts have a link to her blog ‘Boots Theory’ and if find a hidden menu with ‘About’ on it (the black square on the left) she has a different disclosure:

Disclosure statement

All opinions expressed on this blog are my personal views.

I work as a communications officer at the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.  I am a member of the Labour Party and have previously worked for Labour’s team in Parliament as a lowly receptionist.  Nothing on this blog should be construed as a statement made on behalf of any of these organisations.

Stephanie has been a lowly staffer working for Labour in Parliament but that was before she began as an author at The Standard (which was in February this year, she was working at EPMU last year).

karol – current author (since 2012). Strongly promotes Greens. Previously used the pseudonym ‘carol’. A recent ‘Disclaimer’:

Disclaimer:  My primary political allegiance is to the Left. I am not now, nor ever have been, a member of a political party.  I don’t speak for any party.  I have party voted Green in recent elections, and intend to do so again this election.  I will give my electorate vote to Carmel Sepuloni.

James Henderson – author April 2010 until December 2013. Closely associated with Greens. There have been rumours he was Clint Smith who had authored under the pseudonym ‘Steve Piersen‘ until March 2009 when he went to work in Parliament for Labour.  Smith switched to Greens as media and political adviser (of “Hey Clint’ fame), and then in April this year switched back to work for Labour.

Rocky (previously as Rochelle Rees until 2009) – past author, has just started posting again (last posts before this week were in 2012). Prentice’s niece. Political and animal rights activist. Prentice blogged in 2008:

My niece Rochelle Rees has uncovered some unsavory practices operated by element of the NZ Police directed at peaceful protest groups.

You can read them either by buying the paper, or by these links to articles from Nicky Hager.
Police anti-terror squad spies on protest groups
Who the police were spying on
The activist who turned police informer
How Gilchrist was found out:

Twenty-two-year-old Rochelle Rees got involved in politics as a schoolgirl, determined to do something about issues such as cruelty in battery hen farms.

Since then she has handed out leaflets, been arrested for locking herself to a shop selling clothing made with animal fur from China and made the news during this year’s election campaign for a cheeky “Google bomb” calling John Key “clueless”.

Ben Clark – occasional author.  Labour Party member. Brother of Labour MP David Clark. Stood for Labour in North Shore in 2011 and was 69 on the party list. Not on the 2014 list.

Irish Bill – past author (last post September 2013). Earlier in 2013 Prentice denied – “Labour party member”.In the words of a Tui ad – “Yeah right!” but IrishBill corrected him:

We’re a loose collective at TS. I’ve a policy of keeping myself to myself outside of what I write there but would like to correct a couple of things here. I am a Labour party member (and have been on and off for a long long time) and my call for joining up certainly wasn’t tongue in cheek – having seen what happens when the broader left walks away from the party I’m very keen to see as many lefties as possible sign up now – it’s more important for us to be in the party now than it has been since the dark days of the 80s.

Eddie – author until January this year. Seems to have been strongly connected to one of Labour’s factions – see a post from March last year Labour’s three factions. Many rumours since way back about the identity, notably that it is a pseudonym that has been used by a number of Labour insiders or staffers, both male and female. The name Jennie Michie keeps coming up back a few years. Always denied. From Dim Post in 2009:

It’s rumoured that Eddie, the author of the rumour is a senior Labour comms advisor so if there’s a story to be found here I think it’s that Labour are begging the gallery to start smearing cabinet Ministers.

UPDATE: Eddie and IrishBill from The Standard refute the rumour that Eddie is a comms advisor with the Labour Party.

Comments:

“Eddie is not a comms adviser. You need to quote her job title 100% correct then ask her and Irish to deny it again. That is the game they play.”

“Does anybody actually believe Rob and Jennie when they keep denying who they are via their nom de blogs? Ridiculous.
“Senior EPMU staff member and labour staffer spend all day trying to smear and build mountains from molehills. Quelle surprise.”

“So Eddie aka Jenny Michie senior Labour comms wallah and IrishBill aka Rob Egan, Communications Advisor of the EPMU are getting their nickers in a twist over being outed ? Why don’t they just come out of the closet, it really would be much easier for them in the long run.”

An article on blogging in 2009 got a response from ‘Eddie’ plus a counter claim.

Eddie: Sandra. Sorry that we didn’t get back to you on your email about us commenting for this article. Clinton used to handle the public stuff and he tells me he got your email when he was pulling out of the whole blog scene, forgot to pass on the email.

I’ll take this opportunity to clear up a few things.

The Standard is a broad-Left blog, about half the regular writers support the Greens and the other half Labour. We don’t toe party lines and we’re more likely to write critical articles on the parties of the Left than supporting ones.

You could have found this info on our About page and might be nice if you could edit the text to reflect them, at least noting we dismiss Hooton’s conspiracy theories.

Hooton’s got no evidence of any association with Labour, much less than any of us are paid by them. It’s simple lies from a man who has made a career out of spouting extremist rubbish. How’s his blog doing these days? Oh yeah, it died.

Roger: Eddie at the standard is Jenny Michie who is the communications officer at the labour party. When she says there are no labour party link with the standard that isnt credible.

Zetetic – current occasional author. Obvious Labour/left leanings. Rumoured to be many people including Trevor Mallard (I don’t think that’s credible) or associated with Mallard (feasible). Another denial from Prentice here, this time about Zetetic’s Labour-ness.

I can’t remember Zet ever mentioning unions and his posts that even mention Labour are usually somewhat disdainful. However as he mostly stirs in his posts it is frequently difficult to see the difference. He said he was voting for the Mana party in 2011 (and RAM in 2008).

But Zetetic was quite clear here early last year. In For a February leadership vote

No one in Labour can deny there’s a real issue with internal disunity. Not only is the caucus divided (and more than ever since the Shearer camp’s handling of the conference fallout), but there’s a major breach between the membership and the caucus. Unless this is fixed and we can get the party united we’re looking at another term in opposition after 2014.

Increasingly, people are coming to the view that the only way to heal this rift and unify the party is for caucus to take the leadership issue out to the membership this February so we can put it to bed once and for all. That’s what the conference was about. We wanted to make sure we were never ignored again. We simply want our right to vote, and whatever the outcome is I believe that will settle it.

Nearly all of these authors are proven to have close Labour links or are likely to have close Labour links. There are union links as well which isn’t surprising.

Later in the day on Newstalk ZB ex Labour candidate Josie Pagani named three people including Clint Smith who she says blogged as staffers at The Standard. The other two were Neale Jones (ex EPMU) and Rob Egan.

I’m baffled why Prentice and others keep trying to deny that The Standard is closely associated with Labour.

Sure it may be a group of semi-independent bloggers. But most of them have an obvious strong common interest – Labour.

Why do they try to hide from this? Prentice told blatant mistruths on Radio New Zealand about The Standard and it’s authors.

I would have thought they would be proudly promoting Labour, but they seem embarrassed or afraid of something.

They could be a very effective mouthpiece for Labour but they want to hide in semi-anonymity and denial. It’s bizarre. 

Note: I’ll amend this with any credible corrections or additions. Put in comments or email me at petedgeorge@gmail.com

UPDATE: Duncan Garner writes in Politics is a sleazy business – regardless of who is in power

Senior Labour  ministers and press secretaries rang to point me toward The Standard, a Left-wing blog, to read its vitriol on certain days. Who had written those posts? I’m told many were written under fake names by Labour staffers paid by the taxpayer.

More Labour connections

The Standard re-posts from Polity by Rob Salmond:

Rob has wide experience relevant to public affairs. He has been a Parliamentary adviser to two leaders of New Zealand’s Labour party (Helen Clark, David Shearer), and through Polity continues to work with Labour leader David Cunliffe.

They also re-post from Imperator Fish by Scott Yorke:

My name is Scott Yorke. I’m a lawyer, but this site doesn’t really have anything to do with my day job, because, really, what kind of twisted job would that be if it did?

This blog is my own, and the posts do not represent the opinions of anyone other than me.

Nor does anything on this blog represent legal advice. This is my hobby, not a job. I don’t give out legal advice over the internet.

Disclosure

Yes, I am a bit left leaning. But some of my best friends, etc. etc.

I am also a long-suffering member of the Labour Party. Now you can’t say I didn’t tell you.

Scott is also active in electorate campaigning for Labour.

These are both very good disclosures and they both do some very good posts, but it makes a nonsense of The Standard claiming no Labour input into their blog. 

 

Lynn Prentice on radio on The Standard

Lynn Prentice from The Standard was interviewed by Guyon Espiner on Radio  NZ this morning.

Left wing bloggers defend their own work

Espiner: And joining me in the Auckland studio is Lynn Prentice from the left wing blogsite The Standard. Good morning to you.

Prentice: Good morning.

Espiner: Well, you heard Bill Ralston saying there that this has been happening for years and this is just the new form of it with websites. Is he right?

Prentice: Ah not for the left. Basically we don’t take material particularly from the parliamentary wing. We never have. other blogs might be we don’t.

Prentice doesn’t speak for “the left”. There are other major left wing blogs like Public Address and The Daily Blog – at the latter (which Prentice has been an author at) Martyn Bradbury was posting while a paid consultant to the Mana Party and while involved in the setting up of the Internet Party.

Espiner: So the Standard has never received any information from the Labour Party.

Prentice: We have but a long time back. If you go back you have to go back to the H-Fee back in 2008.

Espiner: So for the last, what, six years you’ve not received any information from anyone at all in the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Mike Smith was General Secretary of the Labour Party until August 2009.  He became Prentice’s co-trustee at The Standard in 2010 and became an author. He was an adviser in the Labour leader’s office (in Parliament) up until last year. He is still authoring posts as of today. (Source L Prentice).

Prentice: We will often get stuff pointing at stuff that is already in public.

Espiner: Right. So you have received material but just not fresh material.

Prentice. Nah, That’s right. The thing about it is…

Espiner: You’re in contact with the Parliamentary wing of the Labour Party surely?

Prentice: Yes.

Espiner: Yeah, ok. So you’re really just the left wing equivalent then of Whale Oil are you?

Prentice: No.

Espiner: What’s the difference?

Prentice? The difference is basically we sit there and write opinion, we don’t try to form it. We write our opinions about what we actually do, we don’t actually go off and try and say what everyone should be thinking. We’re not broadcasters in the same way.

Yeah, that’s an interesting explanation. They have even had a number of posts recently imploring people how to vote. See Get Out The Vote!

Espiner: Well that’s a fairly subtle difference isn’t it? You’re forming or making left wing opinions based on contact with the Labour Party at times. You’ve just said that.

Prentice: Not just the Labour Party, I mean we talk to the Greens…

Espiner: Other left wing parties.

Prentice: There’s maybe, I don’t know, fifteen or twenty people who’ve been active on the blog over time, some of them from the Greens, some of them just not affiliated at all like Karol.

Karol recently stated she was not a member of any party but “I have party voted Green in recent elections, and intend to do so again this election” and has been strongly promoting Greens and voting left.

Espiner: Was it originally hosted on the Labour Party server?

Prentice: Ah hem. There was a server courtesy of a, that was donated to the Labour Party which then got ported onto an activist, and we were hosted on the activists running it, and that was for a grand total of about six weeks until we found out that that was actually the case.

Espiner: Right, ok. Why don’t people on The Standard blog blog under their own names?

Prentice: Why should we?

Espiner: Well because when you’re putting an opinion forward, putting your own name to it …

Prentice: Because the fast way to have Cameron Slater go and try and trace you down at work.

Espiner: Well, no…

Prentice: It, it’s actually in my current job I had to actually go off and tell them if Cameron Slater finds I’m here he’ll attack me.

Espiner: Ok, but you could say look, Cameron Slater, no matter what you think of Cameron Slater, you know who he is.  He’s the son of the former National Party president. You’ve got no illusions about where he’s coming from whether you like his material or not. Yep I’m looking at The Standard website now and I have a bunch of people, Rocky, who’s Rocky?

Prentice:  Rochelle Rees, my niece. She’s well known.

She may be well known amongst the regulars at The Standard but will be unknown to casual readers. I check out The Standard quite often and either didn’t know who Rocky was or didn’t remember. Being well known to Lynn doesn’t mean everyone else knows her that well, but they don’t seem to get that.

Espiner: Ok, who..

Prentice: There’s Mike Smith.

Espiner: Who’s um, you’re lprent I presume.

Prentice: Yeah.

Espiner: Who’s Bunji?

Prentice: Bunji’e just one of the guys from Auckland.

Espiner: Who is it?

Prentice: I don’t know.

Espiner: You don’t know who that is?

Prentice? Well, I do know but ‘m not going to tell you.

First he lies, then he won’t say. Fair enough for the latter, except that Bunji himself did say a bit today.

There’s much more and this must surely rumble on, but for a start can I say that I’m unaware of any passing of gossip and scuttlebutt to The Standard – even if I don’t know all the authors.  I know that a few times Labour policy has been sent to us as it was to journalists with an embargo so we can have stories ready and scheduled when it’s announced.  But nothing more than that.

So they have received material before it goes public. A repeat from above:

Espiner: Right. So you have received material but just not fresh material.

Prentice. Nah, That’s right.

Bunji also said today:

People know where I’m coming from far more than whomever is doing today’s Herald editorial.

They know I’m a Labour party member – as I’ve mentioned that – and from my topics, that I’m based in Auckland.  That’s further confirmed by the fact that I’ve blogged about Labour conferences in Auckland – which might cause an accurate assumption that I’m actively involved in my local Labour Electorate Committee.

Ok, so an active electorate party member. But again, ‘people’ don’t know this.  Some regulars will know but many won’t. I didn’t. Unless you happen to notice the comment amongst many that reveals a bit about someone you won’t know. None of the authors (or either trustee) has disclosures or any information about themselves that’s easily available.

Espiner: Ok, well this is the point though isn’t it, because people can’t make up their minds about…

Prentice: …about what they’re writing? Of course they can? It’s sitting right there on the page.

Espiner: Yes, but it’s anonymous, isn’t it.

Prentice: No it’s not anonymous.

Espiner: Well yes it is because we don’t know who these people are.

Prentice: No, but the thing about it is that it’s no more anonymous than the editorial of the Herald…

Espiner: Well let me put this to you.

Prentice: …who are completely anonymous, they don’t even put their names to it.

Not right – here are named people in editorial positions at NZ Herald.  No one is identified in About at The Standard, and rarely is anyone identified on posts apart from their pseudonym (with an exception or two).

Espiner: Yes, but we it could be couldn’t it that these people could be members of the Labour Party, could even be Parliamentary staffers for all we know, they could have very strong links to the Labour Party, so…

Prentice: Except I say they aren’t. Mike Smith says they aren’t, and we’re the people running the Standard.

That’s the Mike Smith mentioned above, who was himself an adviser in the Labour leader’s office not long ago.

Espiner: So none of these people are connected to the Labour Party?

Prentice: No, they might be connected to the Labour Party, they might be members, they might be supporters, but what you’re asking is are they MPs, are they staffers? Nah.

Espiner: Who are they?

Prentice: They’re basically people who’re interested in politics.

Like mickysavage (Greg Presland), who isn’t a staffer but works in David Cunliffe’s electorate committee and set up a donation trust for Cunliffe last year. And who else? No way of most people knowing.

Espiner: And why don’t they put their names to it?

Prentice: Because basically we’ve had people who go off and try to attack them at work, ok. And it’s a strange thing to do. If some of our people like Clint Smith for instance, basically went on as Steve Piersen on the blog, and eventually went off when he went off when he went off to work for Parliamentary Services. He just happened to be out in the open.

I’m not sure that he was out in the open. Clint Smith worked for Labour, switched to Greens (‘Hey Clint’) and earlier this year moved back to Labour. It had been claimed but wasn’t verified that Smith posted at The Standard as ‘James Henderson’ up until the end of last year, if that is true it was as a Green staffer.

Prentice: But the point about it is there’s a long tradition of being pseudonymous on the ‘net. That goes back thirty years…

Espiner: Ok, can I put a hypothetical to you. Someone comes to you with information which is hugely damaging to the National Party, and it’s four weeks before an election, around about where we are now, and what do you do, do you put it on a website?

Prentice: Ah, a lot of the time what we’ll do is just simply forward it to a journo.

A lot of the time?

Prentice: We’re not there to make news, we’re there to write opinion.

Espiner: All right, thank you very much for explaining that and for joining us, we really appreciate your time. That’s Lynn Prentice from the left wing blog site The Standard.

Some may not be interested in making news, but there is a lot of discussion at times about wanting to make news and to be noticed by mainstream media.

I think it’s fair enough that some people choose to use pseudonyms online. I don’t and being known makes me more of a target for personal abuse. I understand that some prefer to avoid that.

But using a pseudonym does alter perceptions of what is written, not knowing if it is just an ordinary unaffiliated person or David Cunliffe’s offsider.

Lynn hates getting advice (he bans people for it) but I’ll give him and Standard authors some – it would help if you had an ‘authors’ page (or add to ‘About’) with named authors with brief backgrounds plus authors with pseudonyms with brief descriptions of their disclosed background. It does make a difference if you know you’re talking to an active party member or a non-aligned individual.

The problem with avoiding saying anything about authors (apart from in comments scattered through the blog) is that it makes it much more likely people will speculate. If an author is hard out promoting a party but their background is unknown many people will presume they are working with or for the party.

They way things are at the moment there is doubt and there is mixed messages that are far from convincing.

UPDATE: Later in the day on Newstalk ZB ex Labour candidate Josie Pagani named three people including Clint Smith who she says blogged as staffers at The Standard. The other two were Neale Jones and Rob Egan.

There has been discussion about this at The Standard (including Prentice) and so far no denials. I’ll update if there is more on this.

Labour try diversion and counterattack

Some of Kim’s little helpers have been trying to counter attack against John Key over the growing Dotcom debacle. There’s been a bunch of bunnies on Twitter trying to suggest Key’s “accusation” that Peters visited Dotcom three times must have been through information received from the GCSB.

Mike Smith does likewise at The Standard.

Mindless questions

The question I’d like the media to ask is “Where did John Key get his information that Winston visited DotCom three times?” Most likely source it seems to me is the GCSB. I think Winston may have a point about his right to privacy.

The spies have always laced their briefings to the Prime Minister with political titbits, and now that Key has his old friend Ian Fletcher in the job, not to mention pressure from his golfing partner in Hawaii, I’d say its a reasonable question.

Key knows the gallery can always be side-tracked into their favourite, and utterly fruitless, game of Winston-bashing, as evidenced by this pointless piece of puffery from Audrey Young. They would do the rest of us a better service if they also questioned Key on his sources.

I don’t know if Mike still works in the Labour leader’s office, but he should tell Grant Robertson, Trevor Mallard, David Cunliffe , Helen Kelly et al that they should consult with media themselves – Winston’s visits first went public in the Herald last Friday. Key didn’t talk about them until yesterday.

So why is John Key so certain that Winston has visited Dotcom 3 times? Is the Gcsb still spying and passing info onto Pm? Are police?

Time for John Key to explain how he “knows” how many times MPs have visited Kim Dotcom. Who is his source?

Did @johnkeypm info come from SIS, FBI,GCSB, Police,or Parliamentary Service again – someones neck on the line http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9715006/Peters-visits-to-Dotcom-queried …

I hope the PM not using info provided by GCSB here. #thinkHoover Peters visited Dotcom three times – Key 

More in Winston Peters and Kim Dotcom

Audrey Young: Winston Peters resists excellent questions

Felix Marwick linked to audio of  the “interview”