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.

Insight and Incite

The latest edition of Incite Politics includes some political insights and incites, but overall seems quite lightweight and I think it’s questionable whether it’s deserving of a premium subscription except for devoted fans of Cameron Slater and perhaps political obsessives who must have everything.


In this month’s edition we have contributions from Chris Trotter, Don Brash, David Farrar and Jock Anderson, as well as the usual contributions from Simon Lusk and myself.

  • Chris Trotter asks a very hard question
  • David Farrar provides some long-term predictions
  • Don Brash investigates Auckland’s affordable housing issue
  • Jock Anderson discusses a very interesting case before the courts

We will also be looking at potential leadership options, what Labour can do about their dead wood and John Key’s not-so-secret strategy that is bleeding resources and support from Labour.

We make more recommendations for our Political Read, Political Video and Political Websites so you can stay as informed as we do.

Farrar’s predictions of the chances of various coalition arrangements after the 2017 election are detailed and interesting but there’s no surprises.

Trotter’s contribution Should Labour Be Euthanased is not much different to his prolific output via media columns, The Daily Blog or his own Bowalley blog.

Don Brash writes about ‘the blindingly obvious’ and ‘the solutions are now well understood’ on the affordability of housing in Auckland. Again it’s interesting but not remarkably enlightening.

Jock Anderson’s ‘A Most Curious of Cases’ is a curious inclusion in a political newsletter. He writes about serious charges against two men, one “an extremely rare one”, and how everything about the case are suppressed. There should be very good reasons for justice not to be seen to being done. This may or may not all remain a secret as the trial progresses.

The rest comprises items and comments by Slater and Simon Lusk. For me this is the biggest problem with Incite, as these two have known histories of providing services to politicians and aspiring politicians for fees.

So it’s fair to ask whether Incite is independent of fee paying customers or if it is in part at least a service to customers.

Much of what Slater and Lusk write is not much different to what would have been seen as posts on Whale Oil in the past, so it appears as a move to paid content by moving to another outlet.

But in doing this they may be reducing the potential effectiveness of their political promotions and hit jobs because Incite will have a much smaller audience than Whale Oil.

There’s little point in trying to spread scandal to a very limited audience, unless they think it might be useful as veiled threats that could be publicised more widely.

Lusk and Slater continue a series on potential leaders of National and Labour. Curiously it states ‘Please note that these comments are considered accurate at the time of writing, but time and events may result in them changing.’

Their comments on Jacinda Ardern are not much different to what you might expect in a Womens’ Weekly article.

Their National target is Paula Bennett. I think this has to be looked at alongside the knowledge that both Lusk and Slater have or have had political and financial ambitions and interests, especially with the National party, National MPs and potential candidates for Parliament or for leadership.

Both of them pile dirt on Bennett. This wouldn’t look out of place on the old Whale Oil. And if Bennett’s political career and ambitions took a dive it would not look out of place for Slater to claim credit for it.

Without another Rawshark type there’s no way of knowing whether this is just political skulduggery or if it is also undisclosed services rendered for fee paying opponents.

Farrar has already indicated he’s happy to provide services for Incite for payment. Brash, Trotter and Anderson are presumably also doing it as professional writers and their contributions look much like columns you might find in a number of media outlets. That’s up to them

But they risk being seen as padding out a newsletter  that has other services involved.

Lusk and Slater could do something about this – they could declare that Incite: Politics was totally independent of any other business interests and not a part of paid for political services. But I haven’t seen them declare their interests before, so question marks are likely to remain.

INCITE review

The first newsletter from INCITE: Politics, edited by Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater, ws distributed yesterday. It has been promoted on Whale Oil and on Kiwiblog.

Whale Oil gave a summary of content. I’ll give some of my impressions.

In short it may be of interest to people keen on the machinations of politics but at $35 per newsletter the market may be limited.

Little in trouble – David Farrar writes about the fundamental problem for Andrew Little, his negative approval rating, and contrasts it with the very popular John Key.

This is backed by some interesting poll results but from a barely adequate 500 sample size, as shown by this.

M.E. = margin of error.

Farrar doesn’t provide any details of margin of error, polling method, polling period.

The Route to Victory – Simon Lusk considers the potential routes to victory and the relative institutional strengths of both the Labour and the National parties in the 2017 election.

Interesting but fundamental politics. Labour’s problems with fundraising have been well known for years. Little you wouldn’t see in public commentary.

Ten Questions – Winston Peters takes the time to give some thoughtful answers to some important political questions.

Peters sounds typically cagey, not much revealed here.

Politician of the Year – Review our choice for the inaugural INCITE: Politics Politician of the year.

Awarding this to Winston Peters seems funny, having got him to answer some questions. Sure Peters pull off a by-election heist but doesn’t seem to have built on that.

The Advent of the Media Party – Cam Slater writes about why the media have moved from neutral, dispassionate observers to players in the political game, and why the public no longer trusts them.

This is a continuation of a series of posts at Whale Oil that includes swipes at Dirty Politics, Nickey hager and Kim Dotcom so it’s more same old rant than revelation.

I don’t think it’s just in “recent years” that media have decided to engage in political activity.

Pundits & Media –  Cam Slater’s view on the New Zealand media, with a counter view from Simon Lusk.   

Little that he hasn’t been saying over and over on Whale Oil.

The Grey Economy – Carrick Graham writes about the massive amounts of taxpayer money that goes to nanny state promoting NGOs.

Interesting and informed comment.

How to win at Politics – Cam Slater builds a case for the need for politics to be meritocratic.

Slater dissing MPs he has slated on Whale Oil and promoting others  is a real problem, given that it’s known that Slater has promoted some MPs and attacked others for payment.

Maori Politics – Willie Jackson makes observations about the future of the Maori Seats, and whether the Maori Party can regain the seats it lost in 2014.

A bit of insight from a Maori perspective but little more than personal commentary.

Future Contenders – Simon Lusk explains the election process for Labour & National party leaders, providing background for a future series of articles on aspiring Prime Ministers and Leaders.

Mostly well known information with a small bit of commentary.

Sex Offenders –  David Garrett from the Sensible Sentencing Trust discusses how the justice system is still skewed towards the rights of sex offenders, not victims.

This looks odd in the mix promoting some policy by someone who doesn’t seem to have much say in party policy any more.

Local Politician of the Year – We have two contenders and people may be surprised by our choices.

Interesting but just commentary on the past year, which is funny given Slater’s comments promoting INCITE two days ago:

Firstly this report and the coming monthly reports are a bit different. All the contributors in the first issue and contributors in coming issues have signed up to deliver their thoughts in this report because it is going to be different. We are going to be forward looking not backwards looking. Have a look at all the political commentary since parliament rose for the break. It is all about what happened in the past year and nothing at all about what should happen.

There’s nothing wrong with looking back, as INCITE does naming  Politician of the Year and Local Government Politician of the Year, but Slater looks silly here.

Recommendations: Book, Podcast, Video & Web Site recommendations for those serious about politics.

Could be of interest to some people.

Another section called Dirty Rat is half a dozen snippets of political gossip without naming anyone. This seems odd.

Overall there’s some interesting sections in INCITE but it also seems to be an extension of Slater’s posts at Whale Oil that dtreact more than add value.

Spme will be happy to pay for this. Most probably won’t.

First INCITE: Politics newsletter today

The first monthly newsletter from INCITE: Politics is due out today. As it is by subscription, and as it is  featuring political and business mercenary Cameron Slater I won’t be paying for it and won’t be quoting it here.

The name INCITE is a curious choice – at a glance it might seem like it’s taking the piss but editors Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk appear to be serious about this project.

Lusk allowing himself to be promoted on Story with Duncan Garner recently may not have been a coincidence.

When launched launched last week – see Incite Politics by subscription announced – contributing commentators were listed:

Comment will be provided across the political spectrum with contributions from:

Carrick Graham, Matthew Hooton, David Farrar, Chris Trotter, Jordan Williams, Cam Slater, Simon Lusk, Willie Jackson and many others.

Graham, Lusk and Hooton are well known political and business lobbiests who promote business or political interests for fees. It is known that Graham and Lusk have paid Slater for posts at Whale Oil – there have been claims that they have written material that has been posted under Slater’s name.

There must be some scepticism about the claim INCITE will be “a practical, dispassionate analysis of politics”.

By yesterday the contributor list had shrunk.

Carrick Graham, Matthew Hooton, David Farrar, Cam Slater, Simon Lusk, Willie Jackson and many others.

There had been questions asked about why a political subscription newsletter would be launched just as politics is winding down for the long summer break. Slater tried to explain yesterday:

Well, there are a number of reasons for that.

Firstly this report and the coming monthly reports are a bit different. All the contributors in the first issue and contributors in coming issues have signed up to deliver their thoughts in this report because it is going to be different. We are going to be forward looking not backwards looking. Have a look at all the political commentary since parliament rose for the break. It is all about what happened in the past year and nothing at all about what should happen. In due course Fairfax will do their annual prediction post but that is more about flippancy than about accuracy.

Politics for me has been a life long addiction/hobby/career. Just because lazy and inept politicians and the equally lazy media have gone on holiday doesn’t mean we should stop talking about politics. The issues that matter to voters don’t go away over Christmas.

But interest in thinking and talking about the issues does dissipate for at least a month. It’s bills that don’t go away, and some have suggested this is an alternative revenue attempt as Whale Oil business model seems to be waning.

The launch of INCITE on Whale Oil last week didn’t attract much attention, with only ten comments, five of which were by Slater and Pete Belt. Yesterday’s promo only attracted one comment.

That suggests a lack of interest in paid content from Slater. His free content has hardly been riveting lately. Whale Oilers will also be aware that any criticism or questioning would be inviting bans. Message control has been draconian there for the last eighteen months.

In what looks like vote of no confidence in the Whale Oil readership yesterday David Farrar posted a discount promo: 15% off for Kiwiblog readers.

Kiwiblog readers who want to subscribe to the monthly newsletter can get a 15% discount at this link.

Discounting via a rival website just prior to the first edition is certainly an interesting move. The on Kiwiblog will not be encouraging for INCITE.

One example, from Jimbo:

Most of those named commentators are well known for pushing unacknowledged interests and crafting opinions for murky paymasters.

Not sure why you would want to keep that sort of company, DPF. I certainly won’t subscribe.

Currently 20 upticks, 1 downtick.

Farrar responded:

I am happy to write and do polls for whomever will pay me.

That confirms presumptions that Farrar’s Curia polling company will be involved in “exclusive polling and polling analysis”.

The cost to produce INCITE won’t be insignificant. Contributions from Slater, Lusk and possibly Graham may be for free – cynics may suggest that Lusk and Graham may pay to have their client’s views promoted as has happened at Whale Oil.

But polling isn’t cheap. Farrar says he will be paid for his contributions, and others may want something for their efforts sold as exclusive as well.

Unless special mate’s rates and deferred payments are involved the cost of each edition must be in the thousands.

One hundred subscriptions at the monthly premium of $35 is only $3,500 which presumably includes GST.

On subscriptions, Tom Barker at Kiwiblog:

Annual subscribers beware. Slater was appointed editor of “Truth”- and it folded five months later. Don’t expect a refund on the balance of your subscription when his latest venture does the same.

A three month subscription has no discount, so those who are curious and not winding down for the year may take a one off look. They may be satisfied enough to keep paying for more. Or not.

The last comment currently on Kiwiblog: “I dunno. I admire the chutzpah.”

NOTE: If anyone has subscribed it will be interesting to hear what you think. Quoting examples is fine (I think Slater quotes paywalled NBR articles) but as it is subscription not too much please.

Koha for votes?

An interesting issue arose out of Duncan Garner’s inteview of Simon Lusk around the use of koha or a form of financial encouragement to vote.

Garner wrote: Lusk goes public on ‘koha to vote’

Many people have asked me does political operative Simon Lusk pay people, on behalf of clients, to get a certain voting outcome – as I said on TV3’s Story last night.

This is his response he just sent me:

Get out the Vote, especially in local government elections, can have a real impact on results because so few vote, and so few minorities vote.

Local government, on the other hand, is relatively easy to run a legal Get out the Vote campaign. Provided you are not paying for votes or offering anything in exchange for a vote, or treating, there are few rules around GOTV, and small turn out changes alter results.

The one group in New Zealand that has the ability to mobilise a big database of people quickly and effectively is Iwi. Thanks to the Treaty settlement process Iwi now have extensive databases of members who they can easily mobilise. At local government, iwi can quickly mobilise people to ensure their members Get out the Vote, and get their candidates elected. Assembling a team of 50 or 100 iwi members to Get out the Vote is straightforward, legal and effective if it is possible to raise some koha.’

(That is edited)

This raised some discussion in the Social Media thread today but it deserves it’s own post.


From Lusk’s statement, I suspect something a bit more dodgy is at play here, and I suppose it’s the whole idea that has me gobsmacked.

Just thinking about it today has given me a strange possessive (? if that is the right word?) feeling about my right to vote and the fact that I would never sell it, for anything.

As the RNZ article says “But that statement didn’t answer key questions: How much was paid? By whom? And for what purpose? “

Pete Kane:

Three things here:

1. Were people ‘paid’ (if ‘koha’ for expenses still must be declared) to canvas/work in some way? (A problem if yes and not declared.)

2. Were people given a ‘koha’ to participate in the form of vote? (Big problem.) Were people given a ‘koha’ to participate in the form of vote – with implied (big, big problem) guidance or even clear ( HMP rock breaking problem) ‘guidance’ as to how said vote is ‘best’ cast?

3. Did Lusk admit to being hired by a third party to campaign for an election outcome (either Party Vote or TTT or both)? Was this declared under the EFA requirements?

Note: In the pragmatic sense – it’s really Mana/Internet vs Labour, National and NZ first here. Wouldn’t have a clue how the Greens might approach this (although Nicky vs Lusk?). So not easy – but I would think there are people, not only from Internet/Mana interests, but political and legal academia, just sneaking a little peep at all this.

Twyford shoots defiance in the foot

Duncan Garner’s two part piece on Simon Lusk exposed a murky political player who is best known for his links with National and some National MPs, and his collusiion with and payments Cameron Slater for services rendered on Whale Oil.

It also exposed an awkward link for Labour (I have known about this since last year but it hasn’t been aired much in media).

Nash embarassed by links to Simon Lusk

Story also revealed Labour MP Stuart Nash has used Mr Lusk’s services and showed Mr Nash’s friends paid $20,000 to Mr Lusk to see if Mr Nash could set up an independent political party and ditch Labour.

Mr Nash is now embarrassed, and his party is unhappy with the links to Mr Lusk.

Nash subsequently won the Napier electorate in last year’s election, helped substantially by a right wing split vote.

Something else that can out of ther interview was a threat that Labour MP Phil Twyford was one of Lusk’s next targets (to politically destroy).

So Twyford is justified in responding to this.

Phil Twyford won’t be intimidated by smear campaign

Labour MP Phil Twyford says he will not be intimidated by an alleged smear campaign that is apparently backed by foreign property speculators.

Labour’s housing spokesman will reportedly be targeted by controversial political consultant Simon Lusk at the 2017 election because of his strong stance on offshore buyers.

TV3’s Duncan Garner said last night he was told Mr Lusk was being funded by “Chinese money” to carry out a “direct mailout” that would focus on the Te Atatu MP.

Mr Twyford said he would not by silenced by “this kind of intimidation”.

Fair enough. Murky money and lurky Lusk versus elected MPs does not a healthy democracy make.

But Twyford didn’t just stand defiant. He stuffed his response by trying to turn it into a National smear job.

Asked to respond this morning, Mr Twyford said: “I think it’s interesting that foreign property speculators are so concerned to defend the tax-free mega-profits they’re making in the Auckland housing market that they’re willing to hire the National Party’s dirty tricks machine to do their work for them.”

Labelling Lusk as “the National Party’s dirty tricks machine” is silly and petty, especially when it’s not just National MPs who have used Lusk’s services – and many National MPs want nothing to do with the Lusk method.

Twyford would have looked much better sticking to defiance without resorting to stick his political boot in. He shot his response in the foot.

Mr Lusk has also been linked to Labour’s Napier MP Stuart Nash.

TV3 reported that Mr Nash’s associates reportedly paid Mr Lusk up to $20,000 to investigate the potential for an alternative centrist party, possibly headed by Mr Nash.

Mr Nash said today he knew nothing about the alleged “hit job” planned for his colleague.

“I have nothing to do with taking Phil Twyford out,” he said. “Phil is doing a fantastic job.”

Garner effectively skewered both National and Labour with his interview – and allowed Lusk to skewer himself.

Story on the Lusk for power

Duncan Garner ran a Story story on Simon Lusk last night.

Shadowy political figure’s motto: ‘Dominate, intimidate and humiliate’

This was a risky assignment – heading into the bush to shoot wild dear with a political hitman carrying guns.

Simon Lusk is ruthless, remorseless and has no boundaries.

He’s a hunter, a fisherman, and a shadowy, secretive and mysterious backroom political operator.

People pay him to win – to take out their opponents – and he calls himself a profession political campaigner.

He is best friends with controversial blogger Cameron Slater and this is their game.

Mr Lusk has been anonymous in many campaigns but has a massive reputation, is low-profile and is supremely confident.

Story went to investigate this figure whose motto is to ‘dominate, intimidate and humiliate’ and discovered who his next target is.

His next target was named as Phil Twyford. He claimed credit for Hone Harawira losing Te Tai Tokerau last election – but Kim Dotcom might claim that dubious honour.

Lusk also said he expected Paula Bennett to be National’s next leader, and that Judith Collins had blown her chance.

Has even Lusk cut off Cameron Slater, who has still been promoting Collins and attacking Bennett?

Lusk hit jobs used to provide Slater income but the blog begging bowl seems to predomionate there now.

While dirty politics Lusk style will never disappear altogether I think his influence is over-rated (by himself), and with increasing sunlight on murky political dealings politicians with a view to future prospects will be more wary of doing business with the politically toxic.

Hamish Price is obviously not a fan:

Simon is a bit of a fantasist, actually. Many of his candidates and campaigns have flopped.

I’ve only spoken to Simon once, when I taunted him about a campaign he’d just lost. Doesn’t speak much.

His disastrous vote for change anti-MMP campaign being the most visible.

His nutty plan to take over the public service didn’t demonstrate a lot of political brilliance.

The Brash coup in Act was after Lusk had ostracised himself from the Nats.

Lusk has come out of the shadows now because his pitches for sleazy local body campaigns haven’t won any business.

Lusk is legitimate light entertainment. A great political parody.

He’s a blundering assassin who tends to shoot himself and his hunting partner in the feet most often.

Slater goes hunting with him.

Garner disappointed me at the end, seeming to accept the dirty lusk for power as just part of the game. W\e don’t need to accept that nonsense.

While they score a few victories they seem to be self defeating anyway.

UPDATE: For previous exposure of Lusk see Seriously happy to upset the status quo (Andrea Vance, May 2013)

Hey Clint, that’s playing dirty politics

I found this at The Standard while I was searching for something on a post celebrating David Cunliffe’s success – And the winner is…


That’s ‘Hey Clint’ who was an author at The Standard under at least one name (dishonest practice) and has worked in the Labour, then Green, then the Labour leader’s office from the start of this year.

Insinuating any party would finance a ‘public’ poll is ludicrous and dirty politics itself without providing any facts to back it up.

And what did “Dirty Politics” say about iPredict?

Page 54:

The following week, on 28 March, Slater joked with Jordan Williams over Facebook about iPredict running stakes on who had leaked the Pullar e-mail. ‘See iPredict?’ Jordan asked? Slater asked on what and Williamns said the ‘acc leaker’.

‘Heh’, Slater replied, ‘who is winning?’Williams, who had been spending money to move the stakes, said ‘Collins or acc official. I’ve shorted Simon [Lusk] quite a bit, brought him right down’.

Page 64:

Slater also used a small sum of money provided by Lusk to manipulate Victoria University’s iPredict rankings of the Rodney candidates and then wrote posts using the iPredict results to reinforce their campaign.

Here are Slater and Lusk discussing iPredict” ‘Great post on ipredict,’ Lush said. ‘You like, i manipulate[d] scott to being the front runner before i posted, only took $5,’ Slater replied.’How much of the $200 have you got left?’ Lusk asked. ‘All of it,’ Slater replied.

Lusk and Slater were promoting one candidate for selection for National for an electorate.They were doing business on their own. It was dirtyish if Slater was using blog posts to make money on iPredict, but there is no indication that the National Party or ‘#teamKey’ were involved.

Clint Smith states he is still ‘Labour policy guy’. He gets involved in more than policy, he has been attacking Key and National through Twitter recently including today.

His association of Key with #dirty politics and his insinuation about ‘#’teamkey’ financing leader’s debates opinion polls, plus his misrepresentation of what was claimed in “Dirty Politics”, was playing dirty. And it was politics.

Conflicting claims over National’s Rodney selection

In the wake of “Dirty Politics” and associated data dumps there are conflicting claims by the successful candidate Mark Mitchell (who is now an MP) and Brent Robinson.

Mitchell claims he didn’t pay for help from Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk but a post by Slater in 2011 admits “If you want to be a National candidate there is a very small group of talented, experienced professionals who will greatly enhance your chances of winning. Yes they will cost…”

Newstalk ZB reported last Friday: National MP contemplates legal action against Nicky Hager

Rodney MP Mark Mitchell denies the suggestion he hired political strategist Simon Lusk and attack blogger Cameron Slater, to undermine his opponents for National’s candidacy in the seat back in 2011.

One of those opponents, Brent Robinson, told Newstalk ZB he’s considering legal action – as the revelations suggest Mr Mitchell broke the party’s rules to get elected.

But Mr Mitchell says that’s untrue – and after the election, he may take legal action of his own, over the book.

Robinson has just been interviewed by Radio NZ – Failed National candidate wants rogue elements kicked out:

Mary Wilson: A failed National Party candidate is demanding the party weed out rogue elements that he says sabotaged his campaign in rogue safe National seat of Rodney three years ago.  The Nicky Hager book dirty politics asserts party figures have used the Whale Oil and other right wing bloggers to attack opponents, but in this case the emails detail a campaign against one of their own during a candidate selection.

The emails between Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk discuss backing contender Mark Mitchell to prove they are crucial to people’s political careers. Mr Mitchell is now the Rodney MP.

Whale Oil blogs at the time attacked two other candidates, the front runners Brent Robinson and Scott Simpson.

Mr Robinson was called shameless, unethical, unscrupulous and unfit to hold office for signing up church members to the National Party. He says it was hard to take.

Brent Robinson: I’ve got to say the process itself was pretty atrocious. The accusations that were made slandered against my character, against my reputation, and it was very very hard on myself and on my wife and children. 

This was an orchestrated paid campaign to discredit other candidates.

And what was your sense in the electorate about how seriously these posts were being taken, and how much people believed them?

I think it made a significant difference to the selection process itself.  It was a tight run race, and there were seventeen National Party delegates that vote on it and I think it did make a difference.  Look whether I would have won or not, who knows, but the fact is it took place.

And were you signing up people from your church to become National Party members?

Look I’ve got an email from the National Party General Manager that he sends to all candidates encouraging people during the process to bring people in as members of the National Party.

So I think eleven people from my small church in Orewa joined the National Party..

As a result of a direct approach from you?

Yeah. Not for myself. Um there were all sorts of people wanting to join, and if someone came to me and said “I’d like to become a member of the National Party” I’d say goodie, here’s what you need to do.

But you were encouraging them, and there was nothing wrong with that?

No, no. And other candidates did the same thing. You know branches right throughout the Rodney area increased exponentially as a result of the selection process, but that’s not unusual, that’s what takes place during National Party selection processes. 

And so when you read this chapter, and I take it that you have…


…we see Simon Lusk saying to Cameron Slater “I’d really like Mark Mitchell to win to prove it can be done, and that you and I are crucial in people’s careers”. Simon Lusk says there is the option of course in relation to you, in reference to you, of playing the man if necessary.

Yeah and that’s certainly what took place. I found out shortly after the selection process, a number people came to me from inside and outside the National Party, and said “look you need realise what went on here”, and so there’s no great revelation to me when the came out. You know it’s interesting obviously to see it in chapter and verse in conversations between these people, and that’s pretty distressing itself…

So who came to you and explained what had gone on?

Well, people within the party that had various ideas about that, and i don’t want to publicly name who they are, you know they’re individuals and if they want to come forward that’s fine…

And Simon Lusk saying at one point that Mr Mitchell was saying that posts were having a massive effect.

Yeah and I would concur with that.

Simon Lusk to Cameron Slater “we want Scott Simpson, the other candidate, we want his people to lean on Brent to get him out first, then we can smash Scott”.

Yeah, it was interesting seeing that, and obviously Scott left, chose to leave the selection process and went on to become you know the MP over in Coromandel.

And was that part of it though that Scott Simpson’s people were leaning on you to get you out first, is that how this all works?

I can’t think of any particular recallation where you know anyone rang me up and tried to muscle me out of the process or anything like that. I think it was a bit more subtle than that but certainly well orchestrated.

Have you got any other evidence that Mark Mitchell paid for this to be done?

At the very start f the selection process I was advised to contact Simon Lusk because he helped people writing speeches and so I rang him up and Simon Lusk said “I’m sorry I can’t talk to you because I’ve been engaged by Mark Mitchell”.

And what were you expecting to have Simon Lusk do for you?

I was advised by another National Party MP who’d just been elected that he helped people write speeches. That’s fine. I had no idea of the for the lack of a better word the black ops type scenario that Mr Lusk did for his candidates.

Look Mark and I, I’m still a National Party member, Mark and I have worked on various things in Rodney since the selection process since mark’s been elected as an MP, and we’ve talked about it, we’ve openly discussed it, and I expressed to him my disappointment and disgust in what took place in the process.

So for Mark now to say that he didn’t engage these people, that he didn’t pay these people, I just find absolutely mind blowing.

But did he tell you that he’d paid them.


He told you that he’d paid both Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk?

Mark told me that he hired them to perform this programme of work for him to get him the selection.

The programme of work being a smear campaign?

Well yes. We’ve openly discussed it in the past. That’s why I’m really surprised by this.

And understand I don’t do this to get any form of retribution. My reasoning for now for answering questions to persons like yourself , is because I wouldn’t want anyone else who put their hand up to be involved in politics in New Zealand to go through what I’ve gone through and what my family’s gone through.

Well you’re saying that the National Party needs to clean up it’s act.

They’re your words not mine. Certainly there is a rogue element that’s grown in the National Party that I think needs to be weeded out.

That’s Brent Robinson. We’ve been unable to contact Mr Slater or Mr Lusk whp’s phone message says he’s away hunting til the end of the season.

The MP Mark Mitchell says he’s very surprised by Mr Robinson’s comments. He says he’s never had a discussion with him about the Rodney selection process, or Cameron Slater or Simon Lusk.

He says he has never paid a cent to either.

  Just after the Rodney selection in 2011 Slater posted this on Whale Oil – Rodney Selection Winners and Losers.

Mark Mitchell won the acrimonious selection in Rodney last night, and it was a privilege to have been in the room during the process.

Mark Mitchell: Mark’s reputation is such it would have been an absolute travesty not to have had him selected. Reputation alone is not enough, and delegates in Rodney have told me what a fantastic guy he is, very good with people, and very genuine. It is hard to remember the last time a National candidate met delegates by helping them bail hay and then had a few beers afterwards, but this kind of touch builds loyalty, loyalty that helped Mark win on the first ballot.

Peter Goodfellow: Peter was ultimately responsible for the selection process and deserve credit for taking bold decisions to stop a deeply flawed process. Good work Peter, you have done the right thing.

Losers (0r as Phil Goff would say Not Winners)

Brent Robinson: Brent was outed as a branch stacking, immoral fundamentalist, and his preachy style on selection night really grated. He should never have tried to rig the selection as he probably would have won if he had not tried to rig the process.

Cehill Pienaar: As branch chair this man tried to ensure the fundy take over of the electorate by colluding with Brent over membership and events. His horrible political past has been exposed, and his backing the losing candidate now makes it inevitable he will be told to resign if he does not resign himself.

Karen Rolleston: For someone I keep hearing such good things about she needs to stop making dumb decisions, engage proper professional advise and start listening. She was told by respect senior party people she would lose Palmerston North. She did. She was told she would lose Rodney. She did. She was told she could well win North Shore, and she ignored this, meaning Maggie Barry is now the presumptive candidate in a field of pygmies.

Amateurs: Some boneheads in the Auckland region hierarchy have been putting about that candidates should not pay for advice or pay for strategy. They are as prissy and as puritanical as the old amateur era rugby people and need to stop this silliness. Laughably the main proponents of this argument are people who earn a living by charging for their services themselves.

If you want to be a National candidate there is a very small group of talented, experienced professionals who will greatly enhance your chances of winning. Yes they will cost, but who else won’t you pay – your lawyer, your accountant, your printer, your speech coach, the petrol station for the gas to get to delegate meetings? Professional advice costs money all over town, why not in politics?

What I can’t understand is why paying for someone who gives you the best chance of a long career in politics is wrong or unethical or whatever else the buggers muddle in Auckland seem to think is reason for not engaging professionals. Aspiring candidates should call the tip line if they want introductions to competent political advisors.

Blog readers are well aware of my views on people who behave unethically, and the best way to out them is to publish information. I realise pride is a sin, but I’m feeling just a little bit proud that I have contributed so meaningfully to the selection of a really good candidate and future National MP. I am also proud that National know that they cannot cover up skullduggery in the party. The tipline callers are many and varied and the truth will out.

There’s a number of very ironic comments in that.

Slater makes it clear who he supported. He also makes it clear about the need to pay “professionals” for results.

The data dump of online conversations between Lusk and Slater also make it clear there was a relationship between Lusk/Slater and Mitchell and that money was involved:

Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:53pm


i’ll try to line up the woman in palmerston north

i can sort out mark no worries, he doesnt mind spending

i’d really like to have him win

to prove it can be done

and that you and i are crucial in peoples career
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 9:55pm

i want to stamp out the nasty whispering campaigns like those run by HP and the cunt in Rodney
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:55pm


which cunt in rodney?

i beleive in going negative if an opponent does
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 9:56pm

the one spiking the outsiders
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:57pm

i dont blame him, he has worked for it

and it isnt nasty yet, just patch protection

i want to see mark selected

but if brent plays fair i am going to play fair
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 9:58pm

well a post about sometimes when an MP has been there forever it is time to look outside the party hierachy because the MP has stifled the best
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:58pm

obviously with the option of playing the man if we decide it is necessary


and that we need a genuine star

someone that has made it on a global scale
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 9:59pm

Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:59pm

and while brent is a willing toiler for the party

we must stop selecting second raters
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 9:59pm

youve got it
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 9:59pm

i’ll have a proper post when we pull the trigger

nice but create doubts in the minds of the delegates
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:00pm

Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:00pm

frame the race as a very successful man who is turning down millions a year to do the best he can for NZ
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:00pm

Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:00pm

and from a family with a history of public service
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:00pm

succesful but tough
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:00pm

yes, is excellent under pressure
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:00pm

not a panty-waist
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:01pm

not a bent cop becuase he didnt go up the ranks
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:01pm

we can sex it up with the war sotries then the media will pick it up
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:01pm

his dog stories are awesome

czar nailed a lot of bad bastards

including ripping a monsoon sheild of a car to sort out three gang members that were taking on mark
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:01pm

hope it chewed on them hard
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:02pm

i believe it did

mark said you when they start screaming you know the fight will go out of them
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:02pm

Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:02pm

one other collar czar broke a guys elbow
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:02pm

so tough in business, tough in terrorists, tough on crime
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:02pm

that is fucken impressive, bite hard enough to break and elbow
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:02pm

just plain tough
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:02pm

compassionate though
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:03pm

doing for the underdog

nabbing bad bastards since xxxx
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:03pm

how good are your media contacts to get coverage of some of his stuff protecting his staffers after the iraqi terrorists killed lots of people
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:03pm

Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:04pm

all his non western staff were in the same gear as the westerners, same weapons, same everything

reckoned it worked a treat
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:04pm

once i start pumping his story they will pick it up anyway
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:04pm

we need to set the scene

brent is an ok guy, a bit arrogant and not good at pressing the flesh

people dont warm to him

dont want to waste as safe seat on him

can you start finding stories about him

i think it would also be worth talking to jason ede about mark, not yet but soon

saying that he is a good news story that will appeal to the masses
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:06pm

ok will work on that



another Gotcha
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:10pm

yes we need to think about this

how to tell the story about the nailing

that it isnt random

it is smart people making smart decisions to fuck up opponents

ede needs to know that it is your set up
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:12pm

he has two trips scheduled for next week

i bet the car drops him off and legs it into town
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:13pm

can you OIA mileage records?
Cameron Slater, 1/29, 10:14pm


SST is already doing it
Simon Lusk, 1/29, 10:14pm


Simon Lusk, 2/3, 9:01am

we need to sort out marks facebook page tomorrow if possible
Cameron Slater, 2/3, 9:02am

i need an awesome photo…i will make it look cool….we also need to ditch all the cheesy shit out of the photos and tidy up his personal info
Simon Lusk, 2/3, 9:03am

ok can you email me with what you need as far as photos go

i will write the story tomorrow though it might be tomorrow evening i have to get on a ferry at 110


Cameron Slater, 2/3, 9:05am

for the phot i need a high quality photo of him…doesn’t matter if it is warry…i’ll crop out an guns or stuff…just crisp and good quality, the bigger the better

I’m going to cut it into 5 and array them in his profile….it look scool done right
Simon Lusk, 2/3, 9:07am

hes got professional ones i have asked him for them
Cameron Slater, 2/3, 9:07am


send a selection

also need his login details for FB and I’ll get it sorted tomorrow
Simon Lusk, 2/3, 9:08am


good message that at risk stuff is always good


February 7, 2011
Cameron Slater, 2/7, 8:46pm

what time and where tonight
Simon Lusk, 2/7, 8:47pm

puhoi dunno the edetails will let you know after 3 when i have met mark off the plane


Simon Lusk, 2/20, 4:34am

can you tell hooton that mark is a good option etc

he will be asked about it on red radio tomorrow
Cameron Slater, 2/20, 4:34am



Simon Lusk, 2/21, 2:09am

you bet, the best way to be

did they work out you were on JLRs side

or think you remained neutral
Cameron Slater, 2/21, 2:10am

no they knew i was on jlr side

they have no idea that im on marks though

just that you are
Simon Lusk, 2/21, 2:10am

yes peter warned mark off me

in october


Simon Lusk, 2/21, 2:43am


mark has access to a good deer block

i think four private huts in the kaimanawas


Simon Lusk, 2/23, 6:56pm

there are a number of people who dont want scott

they should be paying you to write for them
Cameron Slater, 2/23, 6:56pm

lots of people should be paying me to write for them

i hope Mark is up with the play on these posts
Simon Lusk, 2/23, 6:57pm

yes am talking to him a lot

he is telling me that it is having a massive effect
Cameron Slater, 2/23, 6:57pm



Cameron Slater, 2/24, 6:48pm

i imagine my old man will explode

the pressure is going to be intense

the fact that Alistair is trying to knock out Mark shows that they know where the threat is from

he will shit himself reading that post that he is next to be outed
Simon Lusk, 2/24, 6:49pm

yes, and the extra time means mark can out compete him on the ground
Cameron Slater, 2/24, 6:49pm



Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:11am

Alistair was up seeing delegates directly, including John Evans

he is showing them the print out of the website article about mark and saying he has a dodgy past

Kate set John Evans straight…he will now be working aginst scott on that

bad move by Alistair

muckraking without substance
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:12am

he wants to be careful, mark likes lawyers
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:12am

lawyers take too long
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:13am

for a weakling like alastair

they dont

it is a threat
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:13am

I reckon a post saying that I have been asked to leak this article suposedly because it is about mark and a dodgy past
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:13am

he is not the kind of guy to say “Dear Lawyer”

please fuck off

yes thats a good idea
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:13am

by Simposn loyalists
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:13am

yes dirty pool
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:13am

, so I thought I would check a few things out before publishing it
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:13am

and apparetnly the 9th floor are furious

and those behind it are going to find it career limiting
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:14am

and the provide a link and an explanation
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:14am

why dont you write something, email it through to me, i will sort it out with mark and it can go online
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:14am


i’ll write it up about how they are saying it is supposed to be bad but not actually showing people the info, so in teh interests of getting things out in the open here it is…seems pretty above board to me etc etc
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:16am

yes thats a pretty sound idea
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:16am

then theirmuck raking is exposed, it turns out to be bullshit

and we can link alistaor to shopping it at the board level in an effort to have Mark chucked out because scott fears a fair fight at selection
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 4:17am

with the threat that you are hearing that legal action is almost inevitable in rodney no matter what happens

yes and we need boag in to crack heads and feast on corpses to make sure everyone stops playing silly games
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 4:17am

also fits with President’s claim that I was to be putting in teh hit on Mark

also call for Boag, Kirk and Slater to be appointed to oversee delegate selections


Simon Lusk, 2/28, 6:55am

the quote is taken from another web page and used out of context

mark reckons that the original quote is a real good one
Cameron Slater, 2/28, 6:55am

send me the link then
Simon Lusk, 2/28, 6:55am

so that needs to be in there, i have asked him to send the link

Simon Lusk, 3/3, 7:12pm

aotearoa legalise cannabis have a bloody funny earthquake policy

i might write something up on this, depends on how much work i do with mark i guess


March 28, 2011
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:23am

did you talk to mark?

he is pretty pissed of with scott et al going after him with an H fee type scandal
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:24am

not yet

another scandal?
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:24am

they are saying part of his business has a dispute with the US

it does but it is a separate subsidary
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:24am

the cunts
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:24am

no link to mark at all
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:25am

Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:25am

yes i think some lawyers letter sstart soon
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:25am

what are teh details
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:25am

you could tell your father that people need to be careful as mark has very deep pockets and is not interested in the results

just hammering opponents
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:25am

i will
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:25am

because he can afford it and they cant

cant remember the exact details but they found it on google
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:26am

give kate a call

does this mean he is still in rodney
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:26am

i told mark i am happy to make some calls
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:26am

Time for Julian Miles
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:26am

i think it is just a reflex reaction from scott and his mates

try ot run down anyone in any way possible
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:27am

so he has bolted and laid a minefield


Mark should sue them…is this recent
Simon Lusk, 3/28, 12:27am

i think we should play a big game of pker with them and bluff them out of the game completely

yes today

based on yesterdays article
Cameron Slater, 3/28, 12:28am

fuck they must be bitter about the sst articel

Well I will do what ever is required


March 29, 2011
Simon Lusk, 3/29, 3:00am

heard from mark?
Cameron Slater, 3/29, 3:02am


he has just rung