We now we see these unelected journalists for what they really are?

This is remarkable commentary from Newshub’s ‘national reporter’ Patrick Gower: Simon Bridges is finished

I don’t think that it’s his call to make. It is the business of the National caucus. And if Bridges survives through to the next election, it will be up to voters.

It’s been 62 days since Newshub Political Editor Tova O’Brien got that excellent scoop of Simon Bridges’ limousine expenses.

An excellent scoop? It was a leak of expense information that was die to be released publicly in several days time. The story was not the expenses, which were high but explainable.

The story was the attempt to undermine Bridges by an MP who, later at least, suffers from bad enough mental health problems to seek several months leave from Parliament, and to be committed into mental care with claims of a suicide attempt (that was claimed by Cameron Slater so should be viewed with caution).

Tova O’Brien was effectively aiding and abetting a political hit job – and Gower appears to be doing likewise now.

This was a sophisticated hit from the leaker, setting in motion a political train wreck that’s now at bullet-speed – full-scale political carnage.

I guess it could be called ‘sophisticated’ as the political hit job was done with the collusion of a journalist and a media organisation.

Gower seems to see glee in setting in motion a political train wreck and precipitating ‘full-scale political carnage’ – except that he is over-egging a rotten pudding.

We now we see these elected representatives for what they really are; concerns over possible mental health issues have been tossed aside in the rush to the kill or be killed.

There is no humanity.

What we actually saw was non-elected journalists tossing aside mental health concerns as they shilled for a political kill – and now Gower seems to be ecstatic over the thrill of the kill.

This is alarming from a major media organisation. Is Newshub alarmed about what they have been used for?

Meanwhile, National isn’t addressing the important issues. There are not enough teachers for our classrooms and there’s not enough money in our wallets to pay for petrol.

Actually that’s bullshit. National have been accused more of the opposite – of criticising too many things. They have certainly been trying to address teachers and petrol prices.

The only thing in Bridges’ favour here is that National is short of contenders.

More bullshit. There may be one less contender in National, but they still have 54 MPs as alternatives to Bridges. Ity’;s just that now would be a stupid time to contest the leadership, which would reward the maverick MP and activist journalists for their hit job.

But back to Simon Bridges – this is about him and how he’s not handling the job – or connecting with the public.

This was obvious enough to political observers for months. It didn’t need an attempt to force Bridges out of the leadership role to point that out.

Ironically Bridges has probably strengthened his leadership after Newshub’s collusion in trying to have him dumped.

The only chance National has to get back in power is a deal with Peters.

More bullshit. That’s not the only way for National to get back into power. Currently their coalition options look grim, but under MMP there are a range of options, including:

  • Act could make a miraculous resurgence
  • Greens could support a National led government (unlikely at this stage but it can’t be ruled out)
  • Labour and National could form a grand coalition
  • the Maori Party could return and support a National-led government
  • a new party could emerge and beat the threshold
  • National could split and get enough votes between two parties to form a government
  • National could get enough votes to form a government on their own (they have come close in the past)

Last term Gower often obsessed over National needing NZ First to stay in government. Until the Little/Ardern switch it looked very unlikely Labour would have been able to form a government, so National were in the box seat.

And the way Winston keeps burning Bridges, that will never happen.

That’s why Simon Bridges is finished.

Winston burns anyone when it suits him – and then forgets all his rants and promises and flip flops if it suits him.

It may actually be more likely that Winston will be finished after the next election. There’s certainly a bigger chance that NZ First will crash and burn than National.

It doesn’t matter how many days are left, Simon Bridges, because there is no chance National can win in 2020.

That’s a pathetic claim from someone who remarkably used to be Newshub’s political editor.

And it hardly even makes sense – he implies that National has no chance regardless of Bridges leading them or not.

This is very poor commentary from Gower.

Worse – it seems that he supports and is ecstatic about collusion between an MP with mental health problems and journalists and media in a concocted coup attempt.

Gower can be dismissed as out of touch and irrelevant, but Newshub look very poor here and have seriously diminished their credibility as politically neutral media.

Bridges and National have problems – that’s normal for any political party. But National at least are likely to survive, and are likely to eventually get back into Government, with or without Bridges.

Newshub have a bigger challenge trying to survive. While the Jami-Lee Ross headlines may have given them a temporary boost to ratings and clicks, it has seriously damaged their already struggling reputation.

Gower hasn’t helped – he has emphasised how low they have stooped on this.

 

Journalism versus political hit jobs

There has been discussion and questions asked lately  about why some media (Newshub and RNZ in particular) have been publishing conversations that had been secretly recorded by Jami-Lee Ross. It has appeared at times as of they are aiding ongoing attacks on Simon Bridges and National on behalf of Ross and/or Cameron Slater and/or Simon Lusk. They have at least aided and abetted the attacks.

Some of the latest headlines on it from Newshub:

That ‘expert’ was an employment consultant, and the issue being covered had nothing to do with employment.

An indication of how agenda orientated these are is that this sort of article is being repeated at Whale Oil – and most other media are not covering it with anywhere near the same attack style.

The Newshub approach prompted an interesting discussion on Twitter:

Matthew Hooton: People complaining that is campaigning to get rid of Bridges don’t understand current media ethics. etc are doing . They think Bridges is too socially conservative so they think they need to protect NZ from him by getting rid of him

Tim Watkin: Matthew, I’m putting this into your ‘wind-up’ category. Because I assume you do actually know what advocacy journalism is… and know that’s NOT advocacy journalism.

Liam Hehir: Advocacy journalism is more like what John Campbell does – or did – right? What do you call it when you simply go out to wreck politicians and degrade public trust in the institutions of politics?

Time Watkin: Advocacy journalism explicitly advocates for a cause or argument. Sometimes for a group of people/victims. It takes a viewpoint & transparently says it’s not balanced. Saying Tova is not balanced is insulting & undeserved. I don’t like lazy insults.

Lawrence Hakiwai: I think what is saying is that there is a clear and obvious attempt by members of the media to unseat as leader of the National Party by using manufactured and imagined crises. The issues this Government faces are real and far more newsworthy.

Tim Watkin: Well if that is what he’s saying, then I think he’s very wrong. (And I’m sure he knows that’s not true). If any journalist in NZ set out to try to unseat a politician they would be fired. Anyone claiming that has never been in a NZ newsroom. Let’s value our independent media.

Matthew Hooton: Don’t make me laugh. Journalists of a certain kind constantly speak privately in terms of “we’re gonna get her/him” as you very well know. This is exactly what is happening in this case.

Russell Brown: On this one point, I agree with you. I hate hearing journalists brag about “scalps”, as if ending a political career is what they’re there for. But that’s quite different to your original allegation. It just happens to weakened leaders, because that’s safer and easier to do.

And I don’t even know that that’s what’s happening in this case. Maybe it’s more about a supply of newsworthy material for people who are under constant pressure to deliver news. That’s why some journalists used to hold their noses and deal with Slater.

Matthew Hooton: “used to”?

Liam Hehir: The nihilistic approach to covering political news here, with its emphasis on corroding trust in institutions & assuming the worst about everyone, will continue to have purchase since at any one time, half the audience just laps it up with little regard to how they felt earlier.

Matthew Hooton: It’s like the thing. A total colossal fuck up of course. But “gotcha” reporting didn’t start speculating on how it all happened (which would be of huge interest) but on whether he would resign (which is neither here nor there).

Russell Brown: To be fair, the gotcha was the key message of the Opposition party. National doesn’t *actually* think ILG has committed a resigning offence, but must be delighted that the more biddable commentators have bought into the idea.

Whether the sort of journalism being discussed is a result of pressure to produce headlines and clicks with a fast turnover of stories, or whether some journalists get sucked into the thrill of the political kill (there is probably some of both) this is a serious issue facing both journalism and politics in New Zealand.

One symptom is media making virtual demands that politicians resign over embellished stories that can look more like hit jobs than reporting.

Jami-Lee Ross continues attacks with another recording reported on

I thought hard about posting in this – another secretly recorded conversation between Jami-lee Ross and Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett. It appears to be released as another attack on Bridges and National, being headlined as ‘a cover-up’, but it looks to me like fairly normal political management, plus an attempt to go relatively easy on Ross.

Previous claims by Ross and released recordings have been more damaging for Ross’ credibility and more supporting of Bridges’ handling of an alleged miscreant MP.

Bridges promised to keep problems quiet, but Ross seems intent on broadcasting his own failings, and reinforcing again his serious breach of trust in making the recordings in the first place, and then giving them to media (I presume he has at least approved of the release of the recordings).

Newshub are the means of distribution again: New leaked recording suggests Simon Bridges, Paula Bennett planned Jami-Lee Ross cover-up

“You haven’t even told me what I’ve supposedly done,” Mr Ross says.

“Simon told you all about the disloyalty stuff Jami-Lee, and quite frankly if that was put to caucus, that would be enough,” replies Ms Bennett.

“The stuff around harassing staff which I reject, that is the worst. I don’t even know what that is,” says Mr Ross.

“Well you do know what the disloyalty stuff is, and that’s been put to you really clearly. If that was put to caucus, that would be enough,” says Ms Bennett. “We are trying to give you the lightest possible way out of this.”

Mr Bridges and Ms Bennett also take Jami-Lee Ross through a plan to minimise media coverage and the fallout for Mr Ross.

“I give you my 100 percent assurance that if you go with the statement along the lines we’ve talked about, I will never badmouth you in relation to this – privately, publicly, in background, off the record in any way,” Mr Bridges can be heard saying.

“I will do everything within my power to keep the things we talked about last week out of the public [inaudible]. I will do everything.”

And Ross seems to be doing everything he can to make it public. It’s hard to fathom what he hopes to achieve. Maybe he has trashed his own reputation so much he can’t damage it any more, so this is an attempt at dragging Bridges and National down.

Ms Bennett and Mr Bridges repeatedly say they care about Mr Ross and his mental health, adding that if he follows their instructions he could be back in Parliament next year – and could even be promoted.

No chance of promotion now, and I think also no chance of a return to any role in the National Party.

It may be that Ross thinks that he has done nothing wrong – whether that was the case before this blew up or not, he has done just about everything wrong possible in how he has dealt with this.

If Ross succeeds in doing what he appears to be trying to do, trashing Bridges and trashing National, he is substantially improving the chances o Labour having a long stint back in Government.

This looks like more self-destruction of Ross plus an ongoing attempt at destroying the prospects of the political right.

If it were possible this will make a return to Parliament even more difficult for Ross, and it may increase the prospects of a waka jumping bumping.

What has come out so far from secretly recorded conversations is in the main unremarkable private party conversations that highlight how untrustworthy Ross is. I wonder how he has lasted in national this long – has he made threats to try to thwart action against him? And is he now delivering? He seems to be digging his own political hole even deeper.

UPDATE – More from Newshub:

“So it would be for medical reasons?” asks Mr Ross.

“Is that what you want?” asks Ms Bennett. “I think either medical or family.”

“Medical is true,” says Mr Ross.

“That’s right,” says Mr Bridges. “There’s no shame in that.”

“And it means everyone will back off you too – the media and all that sort of stuff,” says Ms Bennett.

The media are doing the opposite of backing off, again now.

It seems to be trying to claim that Ross is an innocent victim, but it makes him look more of a political cretin than ever.

National rejects proxy vote offered by Jami-Lee Ross

Now-independent MP Jami-Lee Ross offered his proxy vote to National on Wednesday:

…but this has been rejected by National.

Stuff:  National rejects proxy vote offer from MP Jami-Lee Ross

In a statement, a spokesman said: “The National Party will not be casting Jami-Lee Ross’s proxy vote.

“Mr Ross is no longer a National MP, having been expelled from the Caucus on 16 October and resigning his membership of the National Party on the same day.

“The Party’s decision not to accept his vote is unrelated to the waka jumping legislation. No decision has been made on that.”

Sources close to Ross say he received the letter Thursday but was not intending to take any immediate action.

The letter arrived while Ross is on mental health leave, after earlier suffering a breakdown over allegations about his treatment of women.

Ross was later expelled from the caucus after leader Simon Bridges accused him of leaking details of his travel expenses.

The letter from party whip Barbara Kuriger informed Ross that he must confirm with the Speaker that he was no longer a member of the National caucus.

National don’t need his vote as they are a few short of causing any problems for the Government (they have 55 of the 120 seats after ejecting Ross from their caucus).

I think it is understandable that they don’t feel inclined to vote on behalf of Ross after he created chaos in the party and openly and extensively attacked party leader Simon Bridges.

Will Ross offer his proxy vote to ACT? I don’t know what other options he has. He may be left entirely on his own in Parliament. He may also have trouble finding willing staff.

Jami-Lee Ross gives proxy vote to National

After over a week of absence Jami-Lee Ross resurfaced yesterday with a notice that he has given his proxy vote to National. He is now an independent MP but hasn’t been in Parliament since he was hospitalised a week and a half ago.

Making a point about ‘the maintenance of proportionality’ may be an attempt to thwart possible attempts to have him removed from parliament under the new waka jumping bill (Simon bridges recently said he has no intention of trying to invoke that at this stage).

 

 

The non-naming of the National MP

The National MP who is alleged to have had a relationship with Jami-Lee Ross and is claimed to have played a part in precipitating a claimed attempt at suicide has not been named publicly by media. Ross did name her in a radio interview, but in replays her name was beeped out.

Discussions have continued on why she has not been named by media, and whether she should be named.

One of the strongest reasons put forward for not naming her is her well being. It has been claimed she is the victim of harassment, so naming her would add to the exposure and harassment.

It can also be asked whether there is public interest in naming her. Just about everyone with an interest in this probably knows who it is. I found out without looking for it. Naming her probably has more risks than good reasons.

But there could be some public interest in knowing of an MP who allegedly had a long term affair with another MP, and that that ended with a harsh text that some have claimed incited suicide (I don’t see that, especially looking at the timeline – the claimed suicide attempt event happened months after the text was sent).

And identifying the MP removes suspicion from other female National MPs, but this seems to be a minor consideration given that most people involved in politics will know who it is.

Why has the media not named her? Obviously they are not saying.

One risk that has been mentioned is the risk of it opening the floodgates of publicising Parliamentary promiscuity, and some journalists are alleged to playing a part in that generally, and accusations and names have been mentioned (no evidence that I’ve seen) that at least one journalist has been involved with Ross.

Do the public have a right to know if there is a compromised MP who may also be under severe mental health stress? That’s a difficult question. Usually there is no way of knowing which MPs are under health care. Most operate under some degree of stress. Medical information is governed by privacy laws.

It should be noted that Ross was the first to out himself as being subject to claims of harassment (as well as naming the MP on air).

Cameron Slater blames the MP (and a wider conspiracy) for Ross being dumped from the National caucus and for causing his mental meltdown (alleged, all we know about Ross’ mental state is what has been claimed by peoeple with vested interests, Slater being prominent.

He has all but named her a number of times at Whale Oil, making it easy to work out who it is (his obvious intent). He has also complained bitterly about the media not naming her, but despite repeated threats to out her himself, and despite promoting himself as media, for some reason he doesn’t want to be the first to do so. One can imagine that if mainstream media do name her he will be using that as an excuse to continue in ‘full retard’ mode against the MP, Simon Bridges and National.

One thing holding Slater back may be finances. He is facing what could be some large legal bills for overstepping in the past on Whale Oil, and is now mired in multiple defamation actions. He may be reluctant to risk another.

And he has admitted losing subscriptions at Whale Oil over his ongoing campaign attacking Bridges and National, which he escalated on the back of the Ross revelations. Subsequent self praise promotions and promotions of Whale Oil by SB suggest that the loss of subscription revenue is of concern to them. The timing is bad.

And the motives and methods of Slater, who claims to be acting for Ross who has gone silent, are highly suspect. he haas admitted making incorrect claims, and it is sensible to be highly sceptical of anything he says that isn’t backed up by evidence – and that means more evidence than screen shots of communications that are not authenticated and could be cherry picked and at real risk of being out of context.

Slater will probably keep agitating and complaining, but most people who had an interest in the Ross and MP issue are largely over it. As are the media.

I have considered naming the MP but continue to choose not to. I’m not aware of all the facts so can’t justify the potential risks.

One possible risk is legal – given the silence on identity there could be legal injunctions that have gagged the media. Similarly as for court suppressions, these make things difficult for non-mainstream media like Your NZ – there is no way of me knowing what I am legally not allowed to say.

So no names and no hints here please.

It may be best to move on, and to ignore a Wail Oil desperate for attention and intent on inflicting political utu. he may eventually do what he has promised and name names, but Dirty Politics has done it’s dash and should be trashed.

A discussion on the naming or not here (Kiwi Journalists Association):

https://www.facebook.com/groups/216332661716385/permalink/2424609580888671/

Bridges versus Slater escalates

Cameron Slater seems to have been largely speculating from the sidelines of the Jami-Lee Ross saga, until the weekend when Ross was committed to mental health care. That is now getting very messy and ugly.

Yesterday from NZ Herald: National’s leader Simon Bridges rings Dirty Politics blogger to talk Jami-Lee Ross

The Jami-Lee Ross saga has forced National Party leader Simon Bridges into conversation with Dirty Politics blogger Cameron Slater, who is in close contact with the rogue and unwell MP.

Bridges’ office confirmed to the Herald that Bridges called Slater to give the right-wing attack blogger assurances over decisions about Ross having been made after taking proper medical advice.

The phone call confirms Slater’s key role in the Ross affair, which has caused the National Party more than a week of anxiety and chaos.

It is believed Slater has been personally supporting Ross since the weekend and his assistance extended to helping the MP in his release from Middlemore Hospital’s mental health facilities yesterday.

Slater’s role has also extended to briefing media on aspects of the Ross saga.

A spokesman said: “Mr Bridges contacted Mr Slater to make clear that he acted on appropriate medical advice throughout this process.”

The spokesman would not say how long the call was or if other matters were discussed, although said: “It was a brief conversation focused on Mr Ross’ health.”

The phone call was referred to by Slater in a lengthy blog post in which he accused the National Party of arranging publication of the claims by the four women who spoke out about Ross’ behaviour.

Slater wrote: “When I spoke to Simon Bridges on Monday he was continuing to deny a hit job.”

Last night Slater posted:

Thanks for calling by. Funny thing is…or concerning…is that when Bridges called me he had zero concern for the safety of JLR, despite his own office being involved int eh incident on Saturday night. Something he now denies. When confronted with some salient facts on the call all he did was lie and lie some more. The fact is his chief of staff contacted JLR’s doctor on the evening of the incident. There is a text record of it, and yet this morning he denied ever knowing what was going dow. Despite one of his MPs calling the police, despite the two members in his office and the MP fabricating their stories to Newsroom. Dear old Simon bridges knows nothing.

All Simon Bridges did on the call was explain and lie.

Even worse is this claim that he is the brilliant mastermind who leaked his call tot eh media. Idiots…I wrote about it this morning.

I’m sorry that you think caring for the life of a friend is more important that your stupid political party. You should distrust a political party that is prepared to kill someone by setting him up rather than a blogger who only seeks to tell the truth about people who lie.

You will find out at 1100 tomorrow how that works out for people who accuse me of lying.

And:

Yes I don’t like the smell either, of lying politicians who are prepared to kill people.

There’s a bit of hypocrisy here, given what Slater had suggested happen to the leaker. Earlier Slater has claimed “They do not have mental issues”, and said “He should be hunting down this person and cutting their throat.”see Slater reverses his claims about leaker.

There are also some serious accusations. It was hard to imagine this getting messier, but that’s how it looks.

A post just up on WO: Herald breaks news that Simon Bridges called me, after I already wrote about it in the morning

I have been piecing together the evidence. There is evidence. The stories of National, Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett don’t add up. They know they don’t add up, and so they roll out David Fisher to break the news I had already posted in the morning that Simon Bridges rang me.

The posts and comments of Slater don’t seem to add up either.

This is deadly serious and sometime politics should be trumped by humanity.

Slater actually said that. Perhaps the problems Ross has have been a wake up call for him. perhaps.

Slater reverses his claims about leaker

Cameron Slater has reversed his claims about who leaked Simon Bridges’ expenses, switching from saying with some certainty that Jami-Lee Ross was the leaker to saying he wasn’t.

Slater often makes dubious claims, and often doesn’t back up his claims with facts. And when one of his claims later turns out to be true he claims to be some sort of brilliant sage – but he doesn’t mention the ones that are disproven or never proven.

So I think that most people are (or should be) very sceptical of what he claims without having or showing any evidence.

He also sometimes directly contradicts himself, as he has done over the expenses.

18 August: Who is the leaker?

The back channel chatter suggests that the leaker of Simon Bridges’ travel expenses is in fact a National caucus member.

My sources inside National as well as inside Labour are saying it is now known who the leaker is and it is only a matter of time before they are outed:

They will have to resign, because if it is a National MP it will have caused destabilisation of the leader and also no one will ever speak to them again. It was also a stupid move as there was no real gain and it looks like it will blow back on them bigly.

24 August: Who’s National’s dirty little leaker?

It is obvious that the leaker is connected to a caucus member. It is also obvious that people know who the dirty little leaker is.

Simon Bridges must act strongly on this, both the leaker and the caucus member who provided the details need to be rinsed very hard and very publicly otherwise he will appear weak. If Bridges fails to act strongly it is only a matter of time before he is stabbed and at a time that would be inopportune for him.

I still suspect the caucus member concerned is a member of “The Puddle”. I guess we will find out soon enough though because my caucus sources say that it is almost certain that the culprit/s will be found.

Here Slater suggests that the caucus member responsible may have used someone to do the actual leak.

And note he says that “the caucus member who provided the details need to be rinsed very hard and very publicly otherwise he will appear weak” – now Slater is blaming Bridges for pressuring Jami-Lee Ross.

24 August: Let’s play connect the dots to help find National’s dirty little leaker

I happen to have Mallard’s mobile number, and Bridges. However, I categorically deny that I have active mental health issues and further deny, since people are speculating, that it was me who leaked. I certainly would never leak to Radio New Zealand or to Newshub, especially to Tova O’Brien.

It is widely suspected that Slater leaked communications from Ross , claimed to be with Ross’ permission, to Radio New Zealand two days ago.

This was a stupid leak, that has achieved nothing, as it was all going to be public anyway, and Simon Bridges was just doing his job, using resources allocated to him for that purpose.

Frankly, I believe the excuse of mental health issues is just a bit too convenient.

An interesting comment given what we know now.

At this stage it appears that Slater doesn’t know the identity of the leaker.

26 August: Herald editorial on National’s dirty little leaker

Simon Bridges should have just shrugged and said that leaks happen, meh, and the information was going to be released in a few days anyway. He didn’t and so the mess he has is of his own making.

He still has a problem in that the leaker seems to have gotten away with it, and will now likely be emboldened to go again. It is also obvious that this was personal and political, an attempt to destabilise the leader. This hit failed, but ultimately it may well be the first of many cuts to come from National’s dirty little leaker. Bridges should give the task of outing the leaker to someone who can handle it. To do nothing will cement the impression that he is weak.

Here he appears to be trying to goad Bridges into doing more to out the leaker to avoid appearing weak. From this comment it sounds like Slater could know something about the campaign against Bridges.

27 August: When not if for Simon Bridges if he can’t find the leaker

Heather du Plessis-Allan thinks it is now just a matter of time for Simon Bridges’ leadership if he fails to find the leaker.

I still believe that this leak and the subsequent texts were from ‘The Puddle’ and people closely associated with them.

Either a diversion from Ross, or at this stage he doesn’t know who was responsible.

28 August: When not if for Simon Bridges if he can’t find the leaker

He said police told him they would ensure the person had all the wraparound support they needed.

Gay. He should be hunting down this person and cutting their throat.

He still gives no indication he knows who the leaker was, but proposes continuing the hunt and a ruthless response.

19 September (Newshub) – Winston Peters tells Parliament everyone there already knows who the leaker is, while looking at Jami-Lee Ross’ vacant seat.

“The New Zealand taxpayers paying for this absolutely mindless, hopeless inquiry, the end pathway and result of which we already know. So why don’t we just cut to the chase here? Pay the money over to us, and we’ll give you the answer. Ha, ha! It is phenomenal.”

22 September:  Winston to Bridges: “…reveal to the public who the leaker is, or I will”

Winston Peters says he knows who National’s dirty little leaker is, as do many, but he has upped the ante on this by saying that unless Simon Bridges names the leaker then he will.

I believe that Winston Peters does know who the leaker is. It is pretty much an open secret now among National people. I understand that the leaker has admitted as such to some Young Nationals in Auckland. I also know now who it is, and that is from many sources, all saying the same name. The clock is ticking.

So while Slater suddenly claims to know who the leaker is, after Peters indicated Ross in Parliament, he suddenly starts saying that the identity is widely known.

But in comments:

So Winston proves he has no compassion, doesn’t this person have mental issues. Imagine if they topped themselves, how would Winston feel then.

Slater: They do not have mental issues. That was a ruse to distract from the real leaker and to smear other National party MPs who do have issues.

1 October: A history lesson for National’s dirty little leaker

National has a leaker. This person, who three days before they were to be released anyway, leaked the travel expenses of leader Simon Bridges.

To what end no one knows as apart from a pathetic couple of text messages to the speaker and Bridges himself they have remained silent. The brave leaker used the cowards device, a burner phone, but reportedly was traced anyway by police.

Leakers usually leak for a number of reasons, mostly it is hurty feelings at their perception of being treated badly. Sometimes it is a higher ethical rational, but not often .

3 October: A history lesson for National’s dirty little leaker

Bridges and especially Paula Bennett are trying to spread rumours. It will backfire, and seems to have backfired.

6 October: Yes Tracy, I think he is a dead man walking

There is a lot of water to go under the bridge yet on the leak scandal. I don’t think that Bridges will survive that now.

7 October:  Why the media beat-up on Simon Bridges?

I will admit that Bridges did not handle either the issue of the leaked expenses or Jamie-Lee Ross’s departure on medical leave very well. He could have done better on both counts but that doesn’t make him a ‘dead man walking’.

He is quite inconsistent at this stage. he has said he knows who the leaker is but hasn’t named them.

15 October: War breaks out in National as Jami-lee Ross named as leaker

This afternoon Simon Bridges released the report into the leaker and named Jami-lee Ross as the leaker. This confirms what I have known for more than a month.

Peters pointed his finger at Ross just under a month earlier. Slater showed no sign of knowing who the leaker was before that.

He now accepts that Ross was the leaker.

Simon Bridges is as exposed as Jami-lee Ross is right now. He is exposed for his weakness as a leader, in not dumping Ross weeks ago and taking the soft option.

My position as regards to the leaker is the same as it has always been. Find them, rinse them, move on.

Another suggestion to ‘rinse’ the leaker.

Slater in comments:

You need to read more carefully. I’ve been saying for months it was a National MP.

That was a fairly easy guess to make.

16 October: Career over for Jami-lee Ross, probably for Simon Bridges too

Jami-Lee Ross has been named as National’s dirty little leaker, and even though he is a friend my position remains the same. He’s finished as a National MP. No caucus member will tolerate him and it is unlikely that he can tough this out.

The caucus will vote to rinse Jami-Lee because he is a sneaky weasel who caused their privacy to be invaded when he knew all along it was him. That’s the politics. He could have said when Bridges announced his inquiry that he was the leaker and then dropped the recordings he says he has.

If he does have those recordings now is the time to drop them. It will finish off Bridges if they say what Jami-Lee says they say. He may as well drop them because his political career is over, and he may as well take Bridges with him.

Once Ross was named as the probable leaker Slater seems to accept that this is true. He doesn’t argue against it.

There is no coup, but there is huge disappointment in Bridges and the way he has handled this. He’s known for months who the leaker was. If I knew then so did Bridges.

But there is no indication that Slater knew who it was ‘for months’. It is common for him to try to sound well informed and in the know, but he tends to embellish this.

But over the weekend Ross was committed into mental care and Slater became closely involved. And his claims changed. He bitterly blasted Bridges for putting Ross under pressure – and he started to claim that Ross wasn’t the leaker.

22 October: Whaleoil backchat (Comments):

So Slater now claims that Ross didn’t leak the expenses? He has previously bragged about knowing it was Ross ‘for months’.

He could be technically correct – in August he said “It is obvious that the leaker is connected to a caucus member. It is also obvious that people know who the dirty little leaker is.” So Ross could have used a third party to do the actual handing over of the information to O’Brien – but if he initiated it he is still a leaker.

24 October: Despicable text sent to Jami-Lee Ross by female MP

Isn’t it far simpler to believe that what Jami-Lee Ross said was correct…

Ross denies being the original leaker. Slater is now suggesting that he be believed? On everything?

In comments:

So a hatchet job, against all medical advice ,that nearly killed someone…is hot air? Good to know.

Earlier Slater had claimed “They do not have mental issues”, and “He should be hunting down this person and cutting their throat.”

The point is there was no wrong doing. JLR didn’t even leak the expenses. So why the hatchet job…and now the cover up.

He now claims that Ross didn’t leak the expenses. This is quite a reversal.

The hit job was designed to utterly destroy any sympathy for JLR, not that I ahve any for his actions. he needs to own those and I’ve said constantly that he must. But there are other people acting in this, against JLR and they need to explain their own actions too. What was presented by the National party and the complicit media was a shabby, stitched up hatchet job. That hatchet job was against all medical advice and Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett are lying about what they knew and when. The state that JLR got himself into on Saturday is as much their fault as it is his. I am not defending JLR but I am holding the leadership to account.

It seems clear that suddenly Slater is talking to Ross and believing what he says. Ross has proven as unreliable in what he says as Slater.

“The media needs to focus on holding people to account for their actions and their continued lies.”

“The more they lie the more they will need to be corrected for their lies.”

That’s what I’m doing here. But with Slater it can be difficult to separate bullshit, bluster and lies. in my experience people like him don’t seem to know when what they make up is incorrect or inaccurate.

 

 

Slater threatens to continue Ross attacks on National

A hope that Cameroon Slater gets a chance to step back and reflect on what has been a tumultuous week for Jami-Lee Ross, whose attacks on Simon Bridges and National led to him being sectioned into mental health care.

In the heat of the moment yesterday Slater threatened to continue attacks on National this week. This could put his own situation under further stress.

Slater:

Not after developments today, where it will come out that he ignored medical advice and hounded a man to make an attempt on his life. He’s done, and I will make sure he never leads anything ever again,Paula Bennett is toast too.

Stop being heartless. It is very serious, i have been working on this since the early hours of the morning. I am rather humourless after finding out what I have found out about how National ignored medical warnings. So by all means joke about mental health but you won’t stay long.

They are. They are callous. They will do whatever it takes to stop him revealing all their rooting

It was never ‘rooting’ that was the problem. It was alleged harassment.

That disgusted me utterly knowing a few more details than what they are letting on.

Bridges and Bennett were well aware of the issues and implications and yet both decided to throw Ross under the bus. Moreover they lied about what they knew when and in fact orchestrated the Newsroom story with at least on of the first four being inveigled by Bennett more than a week before the hit job ran.

They very nearly had blood on their hands.

Watch what comes out over coming days.

It got very ugly when Ross was under extreme pressure. Slater could continue that ugliness in attempted retribution.

The part he has played in the attacks on Bridges, Bennett, Goodfellow and National is unknown, but now he has shown he is closely involved with Ross in the weekend at least there is a risk he will replicate the self destruction.

People who have been supporters and associates of Slater in the past appear aghast at what unfolded over the last week. Slater could isolate himself even more.

Slater has made it clear since ‘Dirty Politics’ broke in 2014 that he holds a major grudge against National, against John Key, Bill English, Paula Bennett and since he became leader, Simon Bridges.

He has given indications over the last few days that he wants them and National trashed. He risks further trashing what reputation he may have remaining, and potentially, like Ross, his own health.

I hope Slater is getting good support, and also good advice. Whether he can heed good advice is another matter.


Update: in a new post this morning Slater has confirmed what I think he had denied – that he has been working “to help Jami-Lee Ross” – National’s hit job puts JLR into care

Yesterday was a rather stressful day for me. I and a good friend have been working constantly over the last few days to help Jami-Lee Ross, who was to us clearly in distress. On Saturday night things took a turn for the worse and we received a text message at 0400 that indicated he was in care and not by choice.

National has zero concerns, they were told what might happen and they went ahead anyway. They had the hit locked and loaded.

The truth will come out. There are too many moving parts for it not to come out and people are going to be appalled. Not all those stories are true, they just used the #MeToo smearbook to get Jami-Lee Ross.

Slater then makes some allegations and insinuations.

That doesn’t pass the sniff test. What we have witnessed here is a continuation of the nasty way in which National rinses someone that is a risk to the leadership. It goes back years.

Right now I am more concerned about my friend who is hurting.

Other media are following the trail of destruction that the leadership of the National party has overseen. Let’s hope that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant. I’m just picking up the information from what they are saying and asking me. It seems they are asking the right questions.

Answers from Slater have proven to be unreliable in the past. He has clear destructive motives when it comes to National – much like Ross.

Slater in comments:

I’m also not blaming National for Jami-Lee Ross’s actions. He has to own those. But I do blame National and their leadership for creating the monster. Someone had to reward him for his work, promote him for his work and enable him. Those people were the senior National party leadership from John Key, to Bill English, to Paula Bennett, to Steve Joyce, to Simon Bridges.

He didn’t get to where is is today without enablers.

And:

Nice sentiment, but he didn’t learn his behaviour all by himself. Yes he is responsible for his own actions but his enablers over the years need to also be held to account.

You realise you’ve fallen into the position National want you to. JLR is scum because he did these awful things…nothing to see here…JLR is scum.

They want you to believe this so they can continue sailing on wrecking peoples lives.

This seems highly hypocritical given that Slater and Simon Lusk enabled Ross to win selection for a safe National seat.  And it’s unlikely that’s where their ‘enabling’ ended.

And given both Slater and Lusk being on record as saying they enjoy the thrill of wrecking people’s lives.

Again:

You know not which you speak of. Just wait and watch what happens this week.

Slater seems intent on continue the Ross train wrecking attempt of National.

I wonder how much of Slater’s emotion is due to the failure of the Ross (and possibly Lusk) plan to set bridges up and oust him.

 

Herald aids harassment of National and Katrina Bungard

Two publications from NZ Herald yesterday have unfairly applied extra pressure on the National Party and National MPS and employees over the Jami-Lee Ross issue. They also add to the stress faced by one complainant, Katrina Bungard, who issued a statement yesterday which says she was appalled a meeting between herself and the rogue MP has been “rashly speculated” upon.

The National Party has received a lot of criticism for the way it has handled Jami-Lee Ross over the years, and how they have handled the leak and the following train wreck which has resulted in the commitment of Ross into mental health care.

I have no doubt that in some ways fault will be found with how National handled it, how Simon Bridges handled it, how Paula Bennett handled it, and how party president Peter Goodfellow handled it. It was an extraordinary situation and will have been very difficult to deal with, and mistakes are certain to have been made, and ‘best practice will be open to question, That’s all fair enough.

What isn’t fair is misrepresentation in media that has aided what amounts to harassment of National. Bridges, Bennett, Goodfellow et al may not be suffering from mental illness like Ross, but this will have put them under stress. Their mental health should also be considered.

The media have also had a difficult job to do over the last week in particular. They have also made mistakes and on review should find that they could have done things better.

Yesterday I saw two NZ Herald publications that added to what I think is unfair criticism and pressure on people from National.

NZ Herald: Jami-Lee Ross ‘sectioned’ to mental health facility

In this the Herald included a quote from the National Party which made it look like they were involved in the ‘sectioning’ of Ross. This resulted in criticism on Twitter and elsewhere in social media, where people claimed that National had had Ross committed to silence him.

Like ‘WeTheBleeple’ at The Standard:

Sounds like someone stamped some papers to shut him up. Can’t make coherent statements pumped full of drugs.

This is very seriously scummy.

Dennis Frank:

A reasonable point of view, given the history of how mental health diagnoses have been used to eliminate political rivals in various countries. We need to wait & see how the media report that police got involved today. Media haven’t reported any diagnosis from his prior breakdown(s) as far as I know.

To their credit several challenged this (and other similar comments), like:

Nonsense the police and health professionals do not use their powers to behave in this manner, frankly I find your assertion offenssive.

But it didn’t stop, Half an hour later:

Sounds very much like National did it “Out of concern for his mental health”.

If that is so, the entire party should be disbanded as a corrupt criminal organisation and charges laid against anyone and everyone obstructing the truth and the law.

This is repulsive.

The Herald was challenged on Twitter:

Two hours later:

The Herald changed their story, deleting the dated quote and saying this:

It is understood the National Party is continuing to offer Ross support, though it is unclear it if was involved in Ross’ admission to the facility.

Too late, the attacks on National were raging.

Another article (‘Comment)’at the Herald which posted online at the same time this was raging – David Cormack: National needs to learn to care about people which started:

It has not been a good week for the National Party. It has revealed a craven history of enabling alleged harassment and bullying, making it unfit for governing.

Cormack promoted that on Twitter where he was receiving support for sticking it to National.

Cormack responded with a link to RNZ National aware of Jami-Lee Ross grievances for years whikch opens with:

The National Party has known for a couple of years about grievances regarding Jami-Lee Ross’ conduct, and got one complainant to sign a confidentiality agreement, sources have told Checkpoint.

I replied with: That says “got one complainant to sign a confidentiality agreement”, which could be quite different to “made the complainant sign a non-disclosure agreement”. I have seen no indication she signed it unwillingly. Have you?

Cormack has not responded since then, but someone else did: FFS Pete, stop dissembling and nitpicking. Those details just don’t matter.

I think that details like that do matter. National has been hammered over the non-disclosure agreement. I think that whether an agreement should have been signed or not us up for debate, but what those slamming it seem to keep ignoring is what the person who signed it thinks.

Katrina Bungard put out a statement yesterday (Stuff): National Party’s Katrina Bungard received no money at mediation

National Candidate for Manurewa, Katrina Bungard, said there “was absolutely no exchange of money, or any documents signed that would suggest any kind of compensation”.

One of a number of women allegedly harassed by Ross, Bungard said she was appalled a meeting between herself and the rogue MP has been “rashly speculated” upon.

People with #metoo and political agendas have been either ignoring Bungard while using her to attack National, or have misrepresented what she has said or worse, they have disputed her motives and statements. They have added to the pressure on her in order to promote their own agendas.

In Katrina Bungard’s own words:

“I would like to set the record straight regarding the so-called ‘agreement’ made between myself and Jami-Lee Ross”.

“The party was simply doing their best to facilitate a meeting to bring an end to a situation which I had brought to their attention that was troubling me.”

Bungard said when it became clear issues between her and Ross were not able to be resolved, National Party president Peter Goodfellow orchestrated a mediation meeting where the pair discussed their grievances.

Bungard said a document was signed by the two in which they agreed “we would do our best to move on from what had occurred in the past from our fallout in 2016”.

“Unfortunately, despite president Goodfellow’s best efforts, I don’t believe the meeting fully brought an end to some of Jami-Lee’s behaviour that he still managed to get away with behind the scenes,” she said.

“Although it certainly did lessen many of the more public blows.”

Bungard said she was grateful to the party for the way it handled her complaints.

“[I] believe that they acted in the best way that they could have with the information that they had at the time.”

Unfortunately she is being disbelieved and she is being used by people intent on promoting their own political agendas.

I hope that now Ross is in care many people step back a bit and think through what they are doing. In particular they should consider the stresses and mental health of those they are ignoring, using and attacking. There are many people under pressure here.