Who could trust Jami-Lee Ross now?

Could any woman trust Jami-Lee Ross to be faithful and honest in a relationship?

Could any woman trust Jami-Lee Ross to not reveal private communications if a relationship turned sour?

Could any MP or politician or party official or party member or voter or colleague trust Jami-Lee Ross to be faithful and honest  as an MP?

Could any MP or politician or party official or party member or voter or colleague trust trust Jami-Lee Ross to not reveal private communications if a relationship turned sour?

Could anyone trust Jami-Lee Ross not to secretly record communications for the purpose of using against you in the future?

Trust is probably more scarce than votes would be if Ross stood for re-election.

The only ones who appear to be standing by Ross are those who seem to think he can be used for their political purposes. Such as Winston Peters and NZ First.

Cameron Slater was full on using Ross before that abruptly ended when he had his stroke, Simon Lusk was also involved – he is known to have worked with both Slater and Ross in the past. And is on record as getting a thrill out of trashing people’s careers and or lives.

I think that whoever is involved in the current operation to return Ross to parliament and keep him in his electorate there is very little that can be trusted about them.

And – isn’t a bit coincidental that at the same time as Ross is accusing someone of inciting him to suicide, Whale Oil has been doing exactly the same thing in relation to Slater?

‘Sick’ – Simon Lusk comes out at WO

It was unusual to see two posts from Simon Lusk at Whale Oil yesterday, he has fed content to be posted under ‘Cameron Slater’ for a long time but doesn’t often put his own name to it. This coming out may have been necessitated by  Slater having a break from posting, thought to be due to illness.

The Lusk posts revived attacks against the leadership of Simon Bridges after the Jami-Lee Ross debacle that backfired, probably bolstering bridges’ position as leader for the time being at least. Lusk was trying to stir up National MPs against Bridges.

His attempt at interference probably went down like a cup of cold sick in the National caucus, where it is thought that Lusk, Ross and Slater are politically toxic.

The first post: National’s polling released to caucus today

I think that is a regular part of National’s polling and caucus meetings so is hardly news. Lusk tried to suggest what the internal polling would show, but I would be very surprised if pollster David try to topple Bridges. So I think it is reasonable to assume that Lusk was guessing.

But apart from some of the usual sycophant and sock puppet type responses in comments, Lusk referring to a National MP as ‘sick’ (he repeated it three times) went down like a cup of cold sick at Whale oil.

ExPFC: Ok Simon. I guess maybe I’ve missed something so here goes anyway. Why “sick” Todd?

spanishbride: It is a silly ‘in’ joke. It is a criticism of his taste in something.

Jayar: “Silly” is the word. It’s demeaning and doesn’t seem to be deserved.

Cogito Ergo Sum: Yes, all A bit tiresome Mr Lusk. Riddles don’t add to the story. Neither does constant demeaning of people.

The ‘sick’ label can’t be passed off as a silly joke. Using ‘joke’ as an excuse for smearing name calling is an old trick.

The follow-up post: Polling advice for National MPs

An obvious overt attempt to influence National MPs. And to publicly promote dissent. And an attempt to get to pressure them – “Whaleoil readers should send a link to their local National MP”.

In this post Lusk repeated the ‘sick’ label five times. On this post the WO dissent cranked up straight away:

pisces: Why is he called ‘Sick’ Todd? I was under the impression this site didn’t nicknames etc

I think that nicknames are frowned on at Whale Oil except when Slater/Lusk/SB/Nige want to smear people – a typical double standard.

Terry: The repetition of such a demeaning nickname says much more about Lusk than it does about McClay.

Jayar: Absolutely agree!

Kaimai6: Thought exactly the same. The story could have been told without the use of the demeaning language. A bit pathetic really for a supposed political whizz kid.

The Lusk/Slater playbook is often pathetic, and impotent post ‘Dirty Politics’. Dirty attack politics is increasingly being seen as being as appealing as cold sick.

Talking of sick, Slater seems to have sufficiently recovered from his illness to start commenting again. Since his sudden silence three weeks ago, apparently suffering one or more strokes but not admitted in WO, Slater had posted (in comments) a couple of lame product promotions, but yesterday tried to bolster Lusk’s attacks. Weakly and poorly supported – there was far more support of the criticisms of Lusk.

While it still supports an active (but significantly smaller) community, as an activist attack blog Whale Oil is ailing.

Why has Lusk come out into open smear-mongering now? With Ross sick, and Slater sick, he may have had little option to dish up the cold sick himself.

Lusk and Slater further connected to NZ First

Winston Peters has been a very successful political strategist over the decades, apart from the occasional hiccup, like losing the Tauranga and NZ First being dropped from Parliament in 2008, and losing the Northland electorate in 2017.

So it is odd to see him appearing to work with Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater. Slater is a discredited political activist and lacks support now even on Whale Oil. Lusk is not someone to promote on a politician’s CV given his negative methods and thrill of the political kill.

Richard Harman at Politic suggests more connections – Dirty politics, Russell McVeagh and Winston Peters. The bizarre story of two high priced dinners

One of the key players in the 2014 National Party “dirty politics” allegations appears to have become involved with NZ First.

The Hawke’s Bay political consultant, Simon Lusk, attended two recent NZ First “business networking” evenings with NZ First Leader, Winston Peters.

Lusk featured prominently in the “dirty politics” allegations along with his close associate, Cameron “Whaleoil” Slater.

The news of Lusk’s involvement comes at the same time as one of his longest term clients, Jami Lee Ross, has announced that he will give his proxy vote to NZ First but that they will cast it with National.

POLITIK has spoken to two business people who attended the functions.

They both said Lusk appeared to be very busy during the events in some sort of administrative role.

What is unclear is whether Lusk had any role broking the agreement for New Zealand First to cast Ross’s proxy vote while he is away from the House.

Peters and Slater share the same lawyer, Brian Henry who is also the NZ First constitutional officer who chaired the lengthy debate about re-writing the constitution att heir conference.

The impression must now be that Lusk and Slater are supporting New Zealand First and that Peters appears to go along with that.

Slater has shown obvious intent to inflict as much damage to National that he can since the party distanced themselves from him after Dirty Politics in 2014, and especially through last year’s election campaign and since Simon bridges took over the leadership.

This fits with Winston’s aims. Last year he had thought NZ First could take over Labour’s position as second biggest party, until Jacinda Ardern replaced Andrew Little.

He now seems to think that he can dump on National and take over from them, which fits with Slater’s agenda.

How will NZ First supporters and voters view this? Many of them were anti-National so may not be fussed on supporting New National.

And if NZ First score Jami-lee Ross as a candidate – see Ross to stand for NZ First in Botany – plan or joke? – that is not going to do much for their credibility. They already have a questionable line up of MPs.

Lusk has been promoted as some sort of master political strategist, but it’s hard to see a NZ First/Ross/Slater combination doing well with voters. Perhaps it’s the best of very limited options.

Harman:

The networking evenings bizarrely, were hosted in Wellington and Auckland by the top-drawer law firm, Russell McVeagh and drew around  60 prominent business people and industry lobbyists at each venue.

Among the attendees in Wellington, is believed to have been Business NZ CEO, Kirk Hope.

Some of the attendees are believed to have made substantial donations at the $300 a head functions to the party.

Perhaps Lusk and Slater don’t care as long as there’s money in it for them.

Attack on Bridges, attack on National part of a bigger strategy?

Are we witnessing a planned strategy to get Simon Bridges dumped, disrupt and split National, Trash National’s healthy polling, drive a wedge between National and Chinese and Asian voters to open the way for a Jami-Lee Ross win in the Botany by-election (an electorate with a lot of Asian constituents)?

After two days of all out attack on Bridges and the National Party by Jami-Lee Ross (and, it seems, shadowy political mercenary Simon Lusk) I felt that if this is how dirty politics gets I didn’t want to be a part of it, even from my remote interest. I wondered whether i should just pack up and walk away from political discussion.

Bridges was always struggling as leader, and this attack may destroy his chances of becoming Prime Minister. On it’s own forcing him out and forcing National’s hand on getting a new leader may do National a favour , except that Ross/Lusk are also waging a war on National.

Ross and Lusk are attacking democracy – I think that most people will deplore this sort of attack politics, and it is likely to turn even more people away from having an interest in politics and from voting.

But I’m going to keep at it, because I suspect this is a part of the Ross/Lusk plan (I don’t know how involved Lusk is but to me this has his modus operandi and goals written all over it), and I think that needs to be confronted.

It looks like current onslaught may have been planned for some time. It may have began months ago after Plan A, for Ross to be rewarded with helping Bridges win the leadership with extraordinary power, as suggested by Richard Harman at Politik:

POLITIK is independent; no ads, no sponsors and no corporate owners. Instead it relies on subscriptions. That’s why it is a breach of copyright to copy an article. You may, however, share it through email, Facebook or Twitter.

A failed near megalomaniac grab for power appears to be the real reason that Jami Lee Ross fell out with National Leader Simon Bridges.

POLITIK has learned that Ross sought big rewards for his support for Bridges during the National Party leadership contest in February.

POLITIK is independent; no ads, no sponsors and no corporate owners. Instead it relies on subscriptions. That’s why it is a breach of copyright to copy an article. You may, however, share it through email, Facebook or Twitter.

(from http://politik.co.nz/en/content/politics/1452/How-ambition-brought-down-Jami-Lee-Ross-Jami-Lee-Ross-Simon-Bridges-National-Party-National-Party-caucus-suspension.htm)

So when Bridges won, he moved to claim his reward.

POLITIK has learned from multiple party and caucus sources that Ross wanted to be Shadow Leader of the House; Chief Whip and to sit on the front bench.

Along with those posts he also also wanted to be on the party board and to be in charge of party polling. In effect, he would have been a quasi-deputy leader with as much power as the leader himself.

Bridges said no and thus appears to have provoked Ross’s campaign against him.

That was in February. We now know that Ross was recording private conversations with Bridges in May. The recording that Ross has already released has hints of being a set up with the intention of using it later against Bridges.

Ross’ involvement in obtaining and dealing with donations in association with Bridges could feasibly also have been a part of the set up.

Then there was the leak of bridges expenses on August 13. The motive at the time was puzzling as the expenses were due to be released publicly on August 15 anyway. It seemed most likely to be a deliberate attempt to undermine Bridges – not by revealing information that would be made public anyway, but through the act of leaking to demonstrate instability in the National caucus and lack of confidence in Bridges’ leadership.

Following that were the multiple leak inquiries began, and on August 16 a text sent to Bridges, the Speaker and Newshub reporter Tova O’Brien on August 16, in which the anonymous sender (claiming to be a National MP) confessed to the leak and asked for the inquiry to be called off because they said they were at risk due to mental health issues.

This really stirred up speculation and motives, and put a lot of pressure on Bridges who pledged to continue his own inquiry into the leak after the Speaker dropped his inquiry.

Was Ross advising or encouraging Bridges on what to do at this stage? This festered on, until 2 October when Ross and bridges announced that Ross would take leave from Parliament for several months on medical grounds. From Ross’ statement:

Recently I have been dealing with some personal health issues.

There are times in life where you have to put your own health and family first. As a husband and a father I need to do that at this time.

That is why I have asked to have some time off on medical leave for a few months.

He asked for leave ‘for a few months’ to put his ‘own health and family first’. That ended up being two weeks – a remarkably quick recovery.

Parliament resumed from a recess this week. The PWC inquiry organised by Bridges was made public after Bridges and Paula Bennett showed it to Ross. Ross seemed to be remarkably well prepared for what unfolded over the last two days.

The National caucus met too consider Ross’ future in the National Party on Tuesday, but Ross set up a media conference to pre-empt them dumping him by resigning from the Party and from Parliament. He said he would stand for re-election in the by-election as an Independent. He seemed remarkably well prepared.

Ross also made serious allegations against Bridges (and National), and promised revelations.

Yesterday he made sure that media were aware of when he would arrive at a police station to make complaints about Bridges, claiming electoral law corruption.

Ross had promised to release a recording that would prove corrupt practice by Bridges, and he did that after talking to media at length after his visit to then police. It turned was regarded as not a ‘smoking gun’ as promised, and Ross was criticised for over-promising and under-delivering.

But the way things have unfolded this may have been deliberate. It had attracted media attention, and it looks to have been designed to cause disruption and division in the National caucus, and also may have been designed to drive a wedge between National and Chines and Asian supporters, donors and voters.

This could be a strategy to try to win the Botany by-election, where there are a lot of Chinese and Asian voters.

(Ross’ comments in the recording about Chinese and Indians may not have been good for getting their support though).

So this all could be a planned strategy to trash Bridges, trash National support, drive a wedge between National and Chinese financial and electoral support, and to win Botany as an independent.

But is that all? Remember that Lusk seems to be involved.

Back in 2013 from Stuff: Seriously happy to upset the status quo

Mr Lusk refers to himself as a “general strategist”. He is a National Party member, and “sometime volunteer”.

He says he prefers to work for individuals – and only those on the Centre-Right.

However, he saves his most scathing criticism for National: “They are only interested in preserving power for their existing MPs, and do not care about the future beyond this administration.”

He accuses the party of substituting “tenure for talent”.

That could mean talent that Lusk approves of.

“When the National Party came whispering to me that being associated with Cam was bad for my career I told them that Cam’s tenure meant he was too important to drop as a career,” Mr Lusk says.

That talent is somewhat discredited – notably Slater seems to have been largely left out of the loop on the current play.

Mr Lusk is dismissive of the current leadership. “I act for individuals, not the party, which gives me the latitude to do what is best for them and the values we share, not what is best for the current party hierarchy . . . I am far more interested in advancing pragmatic, moderate, Centre-Right policy over the next three decades than I am helping any government cling to power.”

Slater did campaign last year to try to discredit National and have them dumped by voters. He promoted Winston Peters. Slater has largely been a tool of others so may have been encouraged there.

In 2014 (Newshub):  Labour MP Nash wanted own party

3 News has obtained an email showing MP Stuart Nash wanted to set up a rival party with help from a key figure in Nicky Hager’s book.

The email links Mr Nash to Simon Lusk, a notorious right-wing political operative, who usually works with National, is a close ally of Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and a key figure in Mr Hager’s book, Dirty Politics.

Nash was in Opposition then. Ross is in Opposition now.

So what is the aim of Ross and Lusk now?

Cripple National? Looks a likely aim. Drive a wedge between National and Chinese and Asian supporters. A possible aim.

Win Chinese and Asian support in Botany? Win Botany is a stated aim.

What then? Is this the beginnings of a plan to get a new party set up? No party has succeeded in getting into Parliament without a current or recent MP. Winning a by-election is an obvious toe on the door. It wouldn’t be difficult to build on that over the next two years ready for the 2020 election.

They might try to lure some National MPs across, so there may be more attempts at division there.

Such a party would be the right of National. Lusk has no doubt been studying the resurgence of right wing parties around the world.

I think there is obviously much more than a campaign of utu against Bridges going on.

Losing the unlosable election?

Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater are launching a book on the recent Auckland local body election. It has a curious title, considering Lusk was managing the campaign of one of the mayoral contenders.

Losing the Unlosable Election – How the Right Lost Auckland Again

unlosableelection

Yes the centre-right to right was fragmented and did poorly in Auckland. Again.

In 2011 John Palino was an odd contender for the mayoralty. He was the best of the rest but came a distant second to Len Brown.

Then just after the election there was an attempt to discredit Brown and have him dumped – the discrediting worked but Brown remained to see out his term. Palino was seen as linked to the virtual coup attempt even though I don’t think he could have stepped up if Brown had stepped down. Both Brown and Palino came out of it severely tainted.

So it was odd to see Palino stand again with Lush as his campaign manager. Slater tried to talk up a consolidation of the right wing candidates – which appears to have favoured Thomas and Crone stepping aside to give Palino a better chance against Phil Goff.

Palino never stood a chance, even if it was just him versus Goff. So Lush helped split and fragment the centre-right. And now he seems to be complaining about it.

The Auckland mayoralty was pretty much an unlosable election – for Phil Goff. As soon as he announced he was standing the media installed him as front runner and that’s how they played out the whole campaign, never seriously reporting a contest.

The media ended up giving a bit of consolation coverage to Chlöe Swarbrick, probably to try and inject some interest into a contest they had decided months previously.

There has been a lack of serious centre-right or right candidates in Auckland for some time. John Banks (versus Len Brown) in 2010 was hardly a great new talent, and Palino never looked like getting close in 2013.

This time the mayoralty was virtually unlosable for Goff as soon as he stepped forward.

And it was unwinnable for Palino, even if Lusk has persuaded the centre and right to back him exclusively. He was never going to be seen as a Trump.

To win mayoralties, especially in major cities, you need a credible candidate with good name recognition and a strong campaign team.

The Lusk formula might succeed in knocking a few contenders down, but it’s always going to struggle to get a top candidate and widespread support, even from the right.

But if you want his advise on how to not win an election – New book being launched Nov 7, pre-order now.

Ex MP fails in Marlborough

Ex National MP Colin King missed the mark by a long way in the Marlborough mayoralty, with John Leggett getting nearly twice as many votes as King.

RNZ:

John Leggett is the new mayor in Marlborough, replacing Alistair Sowman, who is stepping down after 12 years in office. He won 8992 votes, with his nearest rival Colin King  4741 votes.

Leggett was secretly recorded voicing concern about council spending on the cash-strapped ASB Theatre, a project he has always publicly supported.

The recording was released to Cameron Slater’s Whale Oil blog leading to allegations a rival mayoral candidate had hired Mr Slater to reveal dirt on Mr Leggett.

The tactic failed spectacularly however with Mr Leggett gaining almost twice as many votes as his nearest rival.

Provincial politics is a lot different to big city party politics. Word can get around quite effectively, and relatively few there will read blogs or take them, seriously.

That could be an embarrassing defeat for King, an ex Member of Parliament, despite using Simon Lusk who has an association with Whale Oil.

 

 

Whale Oil’s Palino problems

Whale Oil has a number of tricky problems with John Palino’s second bid for the Auckland mayoralty.

Whale Oil broke the Len Brown affair story following the last election, and Palino’s first attempt since then to distance himself from attempts to force Brown out of office and promote Palino after coming a distance second in the election was a bit of a train wreck.

While Palino claims that Cameron Slater is not on his campaign team Slater is reported to have arranged a recent interview between Palino and Fairfax, and long time associates of Slater, Simon Lusk and Carrick Graham, are leading Palino’s campaign.

Lusk and Graham have used Whale Oil inn the past to promote things and to attack people.

Whale Oil has already run a number of attacks on other mayoral candidates, particularly current front runners Phil Goff and Vic Crone but he has also trashed Mark Thomas.

In the past Slater has been highly critical of Palino, having once said “He’s severely tainted and doesn’t deserve to have a second go, no matter how early his image revitalisation run is started” – see Slater: “Palino…severely tainted”.

But Slater has done a u-turn, unsurprisingly promoting Palino (and criticising Goff and Crone) following yesterday’s launch – Now Aucklanders have a choice…rates increases or rates decreases.

But even this received a lukewarm and critical response in comments.

Now anything posted on Whale Oil regarding the mayoralty will be viewed with even more suspicion than usual as to the motives, and whether content is being paid for by Palino’s campaign or not.

Any ‘tips’ and scoops will be scrutinised more for their likely source than their content.

As far as the mayoralty goes it’s hard to see and credible journalism or “Whale Oil Media”.

And the mainstream media – an essential component of a political campaign – are not going to do Whale Oil nor Palino any favours.

Whale Oil and Slater are as severely tainted as Palino.

 

Palino’s Whale sized problems

John Palino found out at his Auckland mayoralty campaign launch yesterday that he is going to find it difficult separating himself from Cameron Slater and Whale Oil.

In response to a question Palino said “Whaleoil is NOT working for me. Why do you keep saying that?”

The answer is obvious, and the question is likely to keep being asked through Palino’s campaign.

Palino has engaged one of Slater’s closest associates Simon Lusk to run his campaign.

Another long time Slater associate Carrick Graham was assisting Palino at his launch yesterday.

PalinoGrahamlaunch

John Palino and Carrick Graham at mayoralty campaign launch

And it was reported that Slater arranged an interview for Palino with Fairfax that was published in the weekend.

Slater was heavily involved in the Len Brown affair revelations after the last election, which included apparent attempts to force Brown out of office. There were suggestions of blackmail and fabricated evidence.

Palino says he knew nothing about all this but these associations are likely to hover over his campaign unless he can find a way of dealing with them.

At his launch Palino said “I don’t play dirty”.  So why his he using two central characters of ‘Dirty Politics’, Lusk and Graham, with the star of dirt Slater apparently involved?

At the very least that’s a very risky political gamble.

And his first response to media didn’t help his ‘no dirt’ insistence

“Look I don’t know why people are going on about that. I wasn’t the one caught with his pants down in the Ngati Whatua Room. Next question please.”

That low blow appeared like a hammy delivery of a prepared line straight out of a Whale’s mouth. In fact there are numerous examples of similar at Whale Oil. Like this from last June:

Today’s face of the day is Auckland Mayor Len Brown who may end up better known for breaking his promises to rate payers than being caught with his pants down in the Ngati Whatua room.

Palino has a huge challenge trying to separate himself from Whale Oil and dirt.

What is Palino thinking?

John Palino is expected to launch his second attempt at the Auckland mayoralty today.

He has some major association  problems to overcome.

He gave an interview to Fairfax and not surprisingly wants to put the debacle that followed his election loss in 2013 behind him.

John Palino: why it’s time to forget about Len Brown’s sex scandal

But let’s rewind to that kaBOOM – the detonation that appeared to destroy Palino, American-born restaurateur, TV personality and entrepreneur who’d picked up a handy 109,000 votes against Brown’s 164,000.

Palino looked a villain because it seemed kinda obvious he must have played a part: Wewege was his guy; Brown’s downfall could benefit him. More damningly, Chuang said just after the election, and just before she blabbed to Cook, she met Palino on a Mission Bay carpark and the pair talked for 90 minutes about the affair and how it might still be used to force Brown to step down. She said Palino offered her a job on his team. It sounded really bad.

Except, says Palino, it wasn’t true and he wants to set the record straight.

“I had nothing to do with it. I didn’t have sex with someone. I’m an innocent bystander who said I’ve got nothing to do with it. I’m sick and tired of the lies that I’m hearing.”

Except that even if the record is set straight and Palino was totally uninvolved in the Len Brown affair and the attempt to depose Brown just after he’d won an election he has some awkward things to try and explain.

He has plans to fix Auckland’s congestion, housing affordability, city intensification, unemployment, corruption – the works. He’s not a politician but that’s a good thing, and he knows about leadership: “I believe in hiring the right people for the job. The mayor is about managing those people.”

But his management of people he hired for his last campaign, Wewege and Chuang, raise serious questions about his ability to hire the right people for the job. Wegege was in a relationship with Chuang who had been in a relationship with Palino’s opponent.

And Wewege seems to have to encouraged Chuang to go public via Whale Oil to try and overturn a democratic result.

Won’t he get bogged down answering questions about Wewege? About Mission Bay and Chuang? About the culture within his last campaign? Three years ago commentators said his reputation was shot, so what’s changed? Or to put it another way: John Palino, are you fricken serious?

What has changed?

His campaign manager is changing. Last time it was John Slater. This time Palino has taken on

In light of that, here’s an interesting fact: Palino’s new campaign manager is Simon Lusk. (It’s Lusk, Palino presumes, who got Cameron Slater to approach Fairfax about this interview.)

Lusk’s critics see him as unapologetic avatar of the dirtiest of politics. His own website boasts of a track record working “behind the scenes” to “remove” MPs and councillors who have “caused problems”. Is Lusk the person Palino needs while still shrugging off his alleged connection to a famous smear campaign?

“I need good people and he’s good at what he does,” says Palino. “But I don’t want any dirty politics. It’s not me.

If someone wanted to separate themselves from dirty politics I’d have thought that some of the last people you would choose to associate with would be Lusk and Cameron Slater.

“I need to make sure my team doesn’t do things like that. It’s up to me.”

Who has ever succeeded in making sure Slater didn’t play dirty. He brags about how dirty he is, how dirty politics is and should be, and how no one controls what he does.

Palino may genuinely want clean but if so it’s extremely hard to fathom why he would choose some of the dirtiest political operators in New Zealand without being aware of the difficulty that would create for his campaign.

If Palino is intelligent he must know this. Has he been sucked in by Lusk and Slater? Or is his campaign some sort of very deliberate, cunning plan.

If it involves Slater’s cunning then Auckland could be in for a train wreck mayoralty campaign. How many people have been let down by him?

Update: And it’s been claimed that Carrick Graham is managing Palino’s launch today.

 

Lusk to run Palino’s campaign

It’s interesting enough that John Palino is standing for the Auckland mayoralty again. He did ok-ish last time in the absence of any strong opponent for Len Brown but came a distant second.

What happened after the election with the Len Brown affair might leave more question marks than how his campaign went, with Cameron Slater trying to get Brown dumped.

Slater’s father ex-National party president John Slater managed Palino’s campaign (before the election).

More interesting is who Palino is using to run his campaign this time – Simon Lusk, who has had close political and business associations with Cameron. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see Whale Oil being used as a campaign tool.

Details and History from Eebecca Wright: John Palino running for Auckland mayor, campaign led by controversial strategist

I know this because the man himself just rang me to let me know where and when he will be declaring.

I’ve also spoken to several people Palino has approached to be part of his campaign, all of whom – without exception – have run a mile.

That’s because Palino’s last tilt to become leader of our largest city went up in flames, just days after 100,000 Aucklanders put a tick beside his name.

Wright goes over the saga of the last campaign, especially just after it. Then:

The conservative establishment in Auckland is outraged he is going up against Victoria Crone and could potentially split the vote.

It’s also embarrassed that one of the sleaziest episodes in New Zealand politics is about to be re-litigated.

As one right wing insider summed it up – it’s either naive, or selfish – Palino was thrashed by Brown in 2013 when he was the only candidate on the right of the spectrum.

The person who is the happiest with this news is probably Phil Goff.