Winston Peters, WO/BFD and the Media Party meme

Winston Peters referred to “Media Party” in a tweet on 13 February:

This is more Wellington bulldust. The ‘Media Party’ are outraged because someone, not us, did to them what they do to others all the time. Corporal Jones was right, they dont like it up ’em.

That prompted suggestions on Kiwiblog that it sounded like CameronSlater/Whale Oil/The BFD language, for good reason. The post that started the furore that Peters was referring to closed with:

Corporal Jones was dead right when he said they don’t like it up ’em.

The BFD posted a transcript of Winston Peters’ Message to NZ First Supporters as a part of their ongoing support of Peters. It included:

That this is a political campaign by the ‘Media Party’ is clear.

The BFD keeps pushing the Media Party meme. One of their content contributors Chris Trotter has joined in with it in RNZ Must Have No Dogs In The September Fight.

Winston Peters is encouraging voters to think of RNZ as belonging to “The Media Party”. He wants them to see it as a politically partisan institution with its own, vicious attack-dogs in the electoral fight. If he succeeds, it will be, and probably should be, the end of public radio in New Zealand.

Trotter has defended contributing to The BFD:

I happily accepted Rupert’s cheques (even if they did bear the logo of INL!) Likewise, I’m happy to bank those from both “The BFD” and “The Daily Blog”. It’s called freelancing, mate.

It’s his choice of course, but he is looking a bit like he’s a member of the Winston/BFD party.

The BFD even include the term in their ‘dictionary’:

The Media party A Whaleoil blog meme to describe how the media act like a political party in opposition to the National government due to the woefully poor performance of the Labour party. It is a way of saying that, essentially, due to the gap left by an underperforming opposition, the MSM have stepped in to counter and criticise the government. They have made it their job so they have become a political party.

That’s ridiculous. A primary job of media in a democracy is to hold the Government to account, which includes criticism. NZ First is a part of the current Government, but are whining because the media are criticising them.

The media certainly deserve criticism at times, but in politics they get far more than they deserve when politicians


The “Media Party” meme seems to have been started by Slater in the first newsletter of the subscription INCITE in December 2015:

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.

And Slater/WO/BFD and now Peters have been banging the media bias drum ever since.

Media have been players in politics pretty much as long as there has been media, and accusations that they aren’t neutral have been around for as long, so this isn’t a big revelation.

Which is quite ironic really. Much of Winston’s past successes in politics is because he was accomplished at using playing the media and coaxing them into giving him free publicity.

And the success of Whale Oil was largely due to them feeding stories to the media, who then amplified them. Without the help of the media WO would never have succeeded like they did.

And now both Peters and The BFD grizzle when the media coverage isn’t favourable for them. They want media promotion, but get all cry baby when the media exposes their crap.

The media are far from perfect. In politics they can make or break candidates, and they can turn support for or against parties. They carry a huge democratic responsibility, and they don’t always do a good job.

But they are far better than the alternative, no media.

And they are far better than The BFD, who claim to be media:

The BFD is the fastest-growing media organisation in New Zealand. Its brand of news, opinion, analysis and entertainment is finding fertile ground with an audience that is feeling abandoned by traditional news media.

Whale Oil grew quickly, until Dirty Politics exposed them and the use of them by the National Party in 2014. John Key and National quickly distanced themselves, as did the media.

They were taken down due to financial and legal problems, but reappeared as The BFD. While they have some neutral content, one of their primary agendas is promoting NZ First and attacking National, National’s leaders, as well as Labour and the Greens.

In a post yesterday Why The BFD?

But if the media won’t do it The BFD is only too happy to oblige. If it weren’t for the majority of MSM sucking up to Ardern there would be no place for us here at The BFD at all. We only exist to fill the gap in the public’s demand for more factual, balanced reporting and a platform for honest, open discussion.

Do they really believe that?

Here at The BFD, unlike the MSM,we are free to declare our political allegiance if we choose to.

Funny. It’s obvious they are working for NZ First, but they choose to not declare what that relationship actually is.

The must be Big Dummies if they think they are fooling anyone.

The rest of the media are obviously not one ‘party’. They hold to account all parties to varying degrees, depending on what is newsworthy.

At The Standard they frequently claim that the media (companies and state run) are hopelessly biased towards National and the right, or worse.

At Kiwiblog they frequently assert that the media (journalists) are hopelessly biased towards Ardern, Labour and the left.

At The BFD they seem to think everyone is against them and NZ First. In other words everyone who calls bullshit on their agenda.

The “Media Party” is simply a figment of their perceived or claimed victimhood when their bias and agenda are exposed. s a meme it’s ridiculous.

The Winston Blog is closer to the mark.

 

 

Chris Trotter defending and supporting The BFD

Chris Trotter not only seems to support shutting down RNZ, in part for, as he asserts, “demonisation of The BFD”, but he also tries to justify his ongoing support of The BFD.

Bowalley Road: RNZ Must Have No Dogs In The September Fight.

That’s ironic as Chris is acting as a dog fighting for The BFD, which has much more of a (very narrow) political agenda than RNZ.

He does risk biting a hand that feeds him:

Nor should the mainstream news media be at all surprised that the photograph ended up on The BFD blog. Cameron Slater, of Dirty Politics fame, has publicly acknowledged his legal and personal connections with the lawyer Brian Henry. One of Winston Peters oldest and most trusted legal advisers, Henry also stood by Slater. Is this the explanation for what appears to be a decisive shift in the political allegiances of Slater and his colleagues from the National Party (which couldn’t distance itself fast enough from its favoured blogger following the publication of Nicky Hager’s book) to NZ First?

Such a shift would go a long way to explaining the rumours that NZ First is being assisted by one of Slater’s closest political allies from the Whaleoil years, Simon Lusk. A hard-bitten political operator, Lusk would have needed no instruction when it came to gathering intelligence on the two journalists responsible for revealing the closely-guarded secrets of the NZ First Foundation. The involvement of somebody like Lusk would certainly explain The BFD’s photograph of Stuff Reporter, Matt Shand. Recognising Espiner and Gray would not have been difficult. In that location, however, Shand was unlikely to be recognised by anyone not closely associated with the NZ First Foundation story.

But he then he switches to support of The BFD.

The demonisation of The BFD is yet another problematic aspect of RNZ’s coverage. Conservative blogs have every bit as much right to present their ideas to voters as liberal and left-wing blogs. In my time as a political commentator, I have contributed material to daily newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch, and a weekly business publication edited by a devotee of Ayn Rand. So, when Cameron Slater invited me – along with a clutch of other non-right commentators – to contribute to a new pay-walled section of Whaleoil, I did not refuse. Similarly, when The BFD was launched, I agreed to contribute to its pay-walled “Insight” section. Nothing builds up one’s understanding of the Right like writing for their publications! And, although I have always been scrupulous to submit material I would happily see posted on The Daily Blog, or my own Bowalley Road, I’ve never once been censored.

“The demonisation of The BFD is yet another problematic aspect of RNZ’s coverage.”

His defence and support of The BFD (that could stand for Bullying For Dollars) is what looks problematic to me.

he is not just providing material for an agenda driven attack blog but also trying to help them finance their operations.

If they were just a right leaning blog and and he was just providing a left wing perspective that would be fine.

But they are not just a right leaning blog. Their attempt portray themselves as some sort of alternative media is largely a front for a means of running dirty attack agendas.

So he is not just adding a different perspective on political topics. He is  effectively aiding and abetting their narrow, nasty agendas, and not just morally, but he’s helping them finance it.

They are widely seen as unprincipled, nasty and toxic. His association and promotion affects his credibility.

And really, he seems to want RNZ shut down unless they stop being mean to The BFD.

Juana Atkins responsible for dirty ops at The BFD

SB/spanish bride/Juana Atkins has added to the vindictive assaults at The BFD, yesterday attacking myself and commenters here.

Pete George ( yes I know none of you have ever heard of him) likes to pretend that he has a higher standard of ethics than other bloggers but here is just a sample of the kinds of comments that he allows on his tumbleweed blog site where ex commenters from well-moderated websites go to bitch in a nice little circle jerk of nastiness . . .

Very ironic and funny, but the post looks to be some sort of a threat. Atkins hid the rest behind their paywall, so few will see it.

The post looked like it was on Lauda Finem – it even looks like an old photo from a post at LF five years ago was used. It’s actually protected by ODT copyright, Atkins would know that if she sourced it from there.

Since the NZ First/journalist photograph issue blew up following a past at The BFD there has been a series of attack posts there, targeting the journalists Guyon Espiner and Matt Shand. They even had a go at Sean Plunket – possibly to try and attract some publicity on talk back radio.

Journalism 101: a Remedial Primer for Sean Plunket was also posted under ‘SB’. Yesterday Plunket was targeted by ‘Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary’ in Rank Hypocrisy from the Media Party. They are in full on attack mode, except when they are running defence posts for Winston Peters and Jami-Lee Ross. What a combination.

While Cameron Slater has received renewed attention (and brought some attention on himself) over the past couple of weeks, Atkins looks like an integral part of The BFD operation.

She appears to have managed The BFD since they shifted to it from Whale Oil a year ago to try to avoid legal and financial problems.

Just before Slater declared himself bankrupt he handed over his shares in Social Media Consultants Limited to Atkins, leaving her as sole director and shareholder. Then that company was put into liquidation. From the Six Monthly Liquidators Report:

Action from that may still be pending. In the meantime, it looks like registration of the BFD website has changed.

Both the Registrant and Admin contact addresses are sb@thebfd.co.nz. And the Registrant Name and Admin Contact Name are Suva Media Company Limited.

This company was set up as Madas 117 Limited by an accountant on 25 February last year, around when The BFD was set up. The name was changed to Suva Media Company Limited a day later.

Atkins became a director on 6 March 2019, and the shareholding was transferred to her on 24 March. The initial director ceased on 7 August leaving Atkins as the sole director and shareholder.

While others may be acting as apparent agents of NZ First and Jami-Lee Ross on The BFD, attacking the National Party and it’s leadership in particular, and journalists who expose what they are doing, Atkins is clearly involved in the dirty politics too. And appears to hold financial and legal responsibility for the website.

NZ First, Jami-Lee Ross and The BFD seem destined for self-destruction, but will likely keep lashing out as they spiral downwards.

They should have learned by now, journalists like Espiner and Plunket, and I, won’t be intimidated into silence.

Winston Peters has more explanations than photos

Explanations from Winston Peters over who took photos and video of journalists and gave them to The BFD attack blog continue to change.

He originally said on Magic Talk Radio “we took the photographs”…”to prove that was the sort of behaviour going on”.

He later tweeted a different variation:

“NZF has no interest in following Mr Espiner or any other journalists. The very reverse applies. No private investigators have been engaged to follow Mr Espiner or anyone else. A supporter thought it odd seeing ex-president Lester Grey with Mr Espiner so took a photo. Simple.”

Yesterday he tweeted what appeared to be emphatic, but it didn’t actually refute the “we” and “a supporter” claims.

Let there be no doubt that after caucus today I can confirm no NZ First Minister or MP sent any photos to any website.

I think that no one thought that a Minister or MP was directly involved in taking the photos or giving them to The BFD, so this is nothing but (typical) bluster from Peters.

From NZ First Leader Winston Peters denies his MPs sent covert photos to far-right blog (NZH):

This morning, Peters would not answer media questions about the photos.

Instead, he directed reporters to an interview he did with Magic Talk earlier that day.

“I don’t know anything about it, and I’m not responsible for it,” he said of the photos.

This sounds similar to his claims he knew nothing about the NZ First Foundation but also claimed to know exactly how they had handled donations.

Speaking to Magic Talk again today, Peters said he had “no idea” how the photos and the videos ended up on the blog.

“I’m a busy man, I’m flat out – I’m not wasting my time with this. I have no idea who did what or when.”

So another variation. Of course he doesn’t want to answer questions about this. But fudging and playing music clips and trying to make a joke of it doesn’t reduce the seriousness of NZ First connections to The BFD.

It’s been obvious that Whale Oil and it’s replacement The BFD have been shilling for Peters and NZ First for three years, since before the last election.

Prior to being a Peters promoter Cameron Slater had been a dirty critic of Peters and NZ First. The sudden switch to doing dirty work for NZ First of course raises suspicions of why.

It’s also well known that Winston’s friend, NZ First Party lawyer and NZ First Foundation trustee Brian Henry represented Slater in defamation proceedings and will have clocked up big legal bills of some sort. That raises some obvious (unanswered) questions.

The “dirty Politics’ book provided evidence that Whale Oil was paid to attack a variety of people in the past, and that Simon Lusk was involved both in making payments to Whale Oil, and ghost writing attack posts that appeared under Slater’s name.

Since the journalist photos were used in an attack post both Slater and Lusk have suddenly been named several times at The BFD, they seem to be bragging about finally getting some media attention for one of their hit jobs.

But their ongoing attacks just draw attention to how the core Dirty Politics crew are back in action, how compromised Peters and NZ First are over this connection. No amount of shifting stories and shifty non-explanations will reduce the dirty stench.

The ongoing antics at The BFD, apart from keeping the ‘look at how dirty we are’ in the spotlight’, keeps emphasising their complicity with NZ First, which keeps Peters squirming and ducking.


And on cue Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary has just posted again, revisiting Hager and Dirty Politics and attacking media yet again. He mentions ‘Media Party’ more often than Peters did recently.

At least the National party has finally found a willing coalition partner, the Media Party, led by Guyon Espiner with Sean Plunket as the communications director.

All they need now is some candidates and a logo.

That’s very funny from someone who, sort of anonymously, is openly now doing the dirty work for a party that already has a logo and candidates.

Is he out of control? Or is this all with the approval of Peters? Either way it’s a political cluster fuck.

Slater, Lusk connection to The BFD confirmed

After staying under cover for a year Cameron Slater has started to openly comment and post at The BFD. And Simon Lusk’s association with the blog has also been as good as confirmed.

When Whale Oil was shut down and The BFD started up in February last year they tried to distance Slater from the new business, to try to avoid legal and financial problems – Slater had just declared himself bankrupt, and the company that owned Whale Oil, Social Media Consultants Limited had been put into liquidation. Just before liquidation Slater was removed as director and shareholder, leaving his wife Juana Atkins as sole director and shareholder.

Slater didn’t openly contribute to The BFD, but Atkins was had a prominent role under her pseudonyms SB and ‘spanish bride’. The content and style of some of her posts had a Slater look to them.

The pro-NZ First and anti-National agenda that Slater had been running at Whale Oil gradually emerged at the BFD, with familiar styles and targets.

Posts started to appear under the name Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary (who uses a photo of explorer Xavier Mertz who died in Antarctic in 1913), They had a similar style to some of the Whale Oil posts that had appeared under Slater’s name. And they continued the anti-National and pro-NZ First agenda.

A recent post by Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary got attention because it used photos taken by ‘a NZ First supporter’ who Winston Peters had initially referred to as ‘we’. This post was typical WO style dirty politics, attacking journalists and threatening them with legal repercussions. More posts from the same author have followed, attacking a number of other journalists and media.

Last week Slater posted under his own name for I think the first time at The BFD.

I Just Had to Let It Go

On the morning of October 28 2018, just four days from my 50th birthday, I awoke to find my life changed dramatically. As I travelled to hospital by ambulance I felt confused, sad, despondent and very, very angry. I didn’t know what the future would deliver anymore, my whole life was in tatters as a result of a stroke.

His life was already in tatters, facing massive court case losses and costs as his attempts to avoid being held to account for attack agendas ran out of options. The stroke just added to this mess, and the stress of his predicament may have contributed to it.

The rest of the  was available to subscribers only, so the need to encourage subscriptions seemed to be greater than the wish to getting his story out.

Another attack post by Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary yesterday –  Where Was Andrea Vance When Rawshark HACKED a Journalist? – was much the same as many past laments about the Dirty Politics exposure. It looked like a Slater post.

And in comments where someone may have been getting close to a sensitive topic Slater commented in response.

His denials can be taken with a grain of salt, as can his accusations aimed at National.

Today at The BFD is yet another attack on Paula Bennett in The BFD Face of the Day

Most of it is same old smear sort of stuff, but one paragraph stands out as significant.

This week she stated publicly that she and National have nothing to do with experienced political operator Simon Lusk and ex Whaleoil editor Cameron Slater. She is telling the truth because both of them have a no dickheads policy.

Apart from the hilarious ‘no dickheads’ irony, this appears to confirm that the old dirty partnership of Slater and Lusk is openly operating at The BFD.

This doesn’t help Winston Peters or NZ First, who have been getting a hammering for working with The BFD to run dirty politics attacks on media.

James Shaw speaks on NZF/BFD use of photos against journalists

After growing pressure to make some sort of statement Green co-leader James Shaw has commented carefully on NZ First handing photos to an attack blog who then threatened the journalists.

NZ Herald: NZ First Foundation saga: Greens break silence on ‘chilling’ photos of journalists

The Greens have broken their silence and expressed alarm at published photos of an ex-NZ First president with journalists who have been reporting on donations to the party.

The photos were published on website The BFD, which has been linked to Whale Oil, the blog at the centre of the 2014 book Dirty Politics.

The BFD has increasingly been used to promote NZ First and to attack the Greens, Jacinda Ardern, Simon Bridges, National and the media.

Shaw told the Herald that the details of what had happened were unclear.

“But regardless of who took the photographs and why, the fact they were passed to a blog that is designed to undermine trust in our political system is a concern.”

Shaw also took a step further in relation to questions about the NZF Foundation and whether it has properly declared donations to the NZF party.

“The allegations are concerning and due process must be followed while they are investigated,” Shaw said.

“We know New Zealanders will be looking at this issue and worrying about what it means for their democracy, which is why we are focused on making the system more transparent and fair.”

This is something, but seems a lot more measured than Green condemnation of John Key and National when Hager’s Dirty Politics in 2014 revealed the use of Whale Oil for political attacks.

Shaw has previously answered questions about the foundation by saying that the country’s electoral system needed to be strengthened.

He is now calling for an independent citizens’ assembly to “clean up” political donations, which have been clouded by questions over the NZF Foundation, as well as the SFO charges laid in relation to a $100,000 donation to the National Party.

Perhaps an alternative to fixing the laws would be a good idea, rather than politicians dominated by the large parties who receive large donations doing what suits their own interests.

Shaw’s response tends towards too mild and too late.

Jacinda Ardern has remained fairly silent on the NZF/BFD issue, and has been widely criticised for this.

National Party leader Simon Bridges said there remained many unanswered questions about the “chilling” photos.

“It beggars belief to think that somehow by chance these journalists were photographed with Lester Gray and the photos somehow found their way onto a blog.”

if the National Party had been involved in such a thing, Labour and the Greens would be shouting from the rooftops.

“The Prime Minister appears to be hiding. Her silence is damning. Has she asked who took the photos, did they pay for it, and how did they end up on the blog?”

National were involved in this sort of thing up until 2014, but then distanced themselves from Whale Oil. Cameron Slater then turned his attacks on Key, National, Bill English, Paula Bennett and Bridges. This has continued at The BFD, although Slater now seems to have a more peripheral role.

While the change of position from National is stark it does turn pressure towards Ardern.

Asked about Bridges’ comments, a spokesperson for Ardern said the Prime Minister was focused on the issues New Zealanders care about.

“New Zealand First Party matters are for them to respond to,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

That is a very lame response. Ardern will no doubt be questioned about this in her weekly media conference – and will no doubt have some sort of response prepared. It will have to be much better than her spokesperson.

Links between NZ First and The BFD journalist threat agenda

David Garrett at Kiwiblog suggested I also post this here. Thanks for your advice David. Funny to see you playing interference for NZ First and The BFD.


In response to a post at Kiwiblog on The mute PM

Winston Peters “we took the photos” used in ‘dirty politics’ post at The BFD

It’s seemed obvious since before the last election that there were some sort of arrangements between NZ First and Whale Oil.  The replacement The BFD has been increasingly being used as a shill and dirty politics attack medium for Peters and NZ First.

Winston Peters now seems to have admitted “we took the photos” used in a recent post at The BFD that tried to discredit RNZ after the revealed details of NZ First Foundation donations.

RNZ – Winston Peters on photos of reporters: ‘We took the photographs’

NZ First Leader Winston Peters says he was involved in having photographs taken of RNZ journalist Guyon Espiner, Stuff reporter Matt Shand and former NZ First president Lester Gray.

The photographs, and a video, were posted on The BFD, a Whale Oil-linked website which has been running stories defending New Zealand First and trying to belittle reporting about the NZ First Foundation donations.

The photos ran with an article criticising the reporting, which Espiner and Shand have both been involved in.

The deputy prime minister has said two reporters were photographed going to a meeting with Gray “to prove that was the sort of behaviour going on”.

When the photographs were raised with him by Magic Talk Radio, Peters said “we took the photographs”.

The photographs were shown on this post – REVEALED: Source Behind RNZ Hit Job by Guyon Espiner

Which states:

The BFD. Lester Gray and Guyon Espiner. Photo supplied.

We have even obtained video of it: Lester Gray and Guyon Espiner from The BFD on Vimeo.

It would be good if the media now investigate who is operating as Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary at The BFD, and whether any business or financial arrangements are involved. And whether there is any association with the NZ First Foundation.


UPDATE

One News:  ‘No interest’ – Winston Peters backtracks on photos taken of journalists investigating NZ First Foundation

During an interview with Magic Talk Radio this week, Mr Peters discussed the photographs.

When it was raised to him, he responded: “We took the photograph just to prove that that’s the kind of behaviour going on.”

But tonight, after the RNZ story was published online, Mr Peters distanced the party from the photographs.

“In response to media inquiries, I can confirm that NZF has no interest in following Guyon Espiner or any other journalists. In fact, the very reverse applies,” he told 1 NEWS.

“No private investigators have been engaged to follow Mr Espiner or anyone else.

“A supporter did think it odd when they saw ex-president Lester Grey with Mr Espiner so took a photo. Simple as that.”

But it isn’t that simple. There was also a video taken.

And then the “supporter” seems to have passed the photos and video on – to the party ending up at The BFD in a dirty politics style post.

 

‘Dirty politics’ and NZ First financial issues

It looks like ‘dirty politics’ is back, with Winston Peters repeating insinuations made a number of times on Whale Oil 2.0 (The BFD) that look like trying to discredit an ex-NZ First official who has become a whistleblower.

On Wednesday at The BFD: Lester Gray & Nick Smith Playing Games with Parliamentary Processes

Lester Gray is using National MP Nick Smith to continue his wonky jihad against NZ First and now they are wanting to use parliamentary processes to try and destroy the party that Gray used to be the president of. Nick Smith seems intent on provoking the substantial lawsuit that is hanging over his head by continuing his own jihad against NZ First.

Smith went public revealing multi million dollar legal threat made against him by NZ First lawyer Brian Henry – see Brian Henry threatens Nick Smith and Guyon Espiner damages claim “as high as $30,000,000.00”.

‘Cameron Slater’/Whale Oil used too throw around legal threats (which turned out badly for Slater), but the Slater influence seems to have crept in to The BFD, which appears to have been set up to avoid court and liquidator actions.

Word has it that NZ First are relishing Lester Gray and Colin Forster trying this on.

We have it on good authority that some of the likely questions the select committee may ask will be as follows:

1. Why did Gray resign rather than go through the judicial process over his bullying of other party members?
2. Why is Forster complaining now? Is it because he was voted out of his position by the party?
3. What has NZ First done to support those bullied by Gray?
4. Why won’t Gray & Forster face NZ First MPs in a select committee?
5. What is Gray’s mental health condition and why did he request NZ First not comment on it, and does he believe that he should be questioned about it now he has demonstrated he is fit to appear before the select committee?

They don’t seem to have thought this through. Labour and the Greens will hammer hell out of them at the select committee even if NZ First does not have any MPs present. Those questions may prove rather detrimental to any barrow they are trying to push.

That is posted under the author ‘SB’ (Spanish Bride/Juana Atkins) but looks to me like same old ‘Cameron Slater’/Whale Oil style dirty politics.

This is part bullshit. From “Word has it that NZ First” it looks like The BFD is straight out shilling for NZ First – are they being paid for this?

“We have it on good authority that some of the likely questions the select committee may ask” sounds like bull, unless NZ First were going to tell Labour MPs on the select committee what dirty ‘attack the messenger’ questions to ask.  That’s unlikely – the Labour MPs blocked Gray and Forster from appearing before the committee anyway.

This isn’t the first time The BFD has raised “Gray’s mental health condition”.

This hardly seems a coincidence: Winston Peters lashes out at ex-NZ First party officials for request to give evidence

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has accused his former party president Lester Gray of having “mental health problems” – a claim strongly denied by Gray, who has previously raised questions about the party’s finances.

The accusation emerged after National’s electoral law spokesman Nick Smith told Parliament that Labour MPs on the justice select committee refused a request for Gray and former treasurer Colin Forster to appear before it in a private session during their inquiry into the 2017 election.

Peters then suggested outside the House that Gray had mental health issues and it would not have been appropriate for him to give evidence to a select committee.

Ironic that Peters is using ‘mental health’ to try to discredit someone, when it looks to me like NZ First or one of their agents is using Slater’s dirty politics tactics at The BFD.

Smith said it was “appalling the lengths to which the Deputy Prime Minister is going to silence anybody that raises questions”.

Smith may have stepped over a select committee line (but claims not to have):

Labour is thought to be considering a privileges complaint against Smith to the Speaker for revealing closed business of a select committee – although MPs have absolute privilege in the House.

Gray and Forster made their request to appear in the wake of revelations about large donations to the New Zealand First Foundation, which funds party activities from donations that don’t have to be declared.

The pair wrote to the committee last week asking to be heard in its inquiry.

Specifically they cited “the recent serious revelations over the failure to disclose major donations, the significant expenditure on unauthorised campaign activities and the inappropriate running of a separate foundation without proper oversight of elected party officials.”

“The inquiry is a safe place for us to disclose our knowledge of what has taken place.”

Gray resigned in October two weeks before the party convention and according to Stuff, his resignation letter said he was unable to sign off the party accounts.

“I refuse to sign off the 2019 Financial Reports with the information I have been provided,” he wrote.

“As president, the limited exposure I have had to party donations and expenditure leaves me in a vulnerable position.

“This type of operation does not align with my moral and business practice values, and I am therefore not able to support the Party any longer.”

Peters outside the House questioned why Smith wanted to hear Forster and Gray.

“The reality is he wants to hear evidence from somebody who is no longer treasurer of the party and knew nothing about anything because he wasn’t there at the time so why would he be an expert witness on something he could not possibly know anything about?”

Asked about what would be wrong with Lester Gray giving evidence to the justice committee, Peters said: “Lester Gray’s lawyer wrote to me and my board and asked if we would have regard to his current then mental health problems and I have respected that letter and never said a thing about it but we are not going to sit here and take that sort of behavior hereon in.

“In short, if his lawyer pleads with us to give some understanding on his mental health problems, then perhaps the corollary should be that she should not try and think that some select committee because of his present state of mind is the proper place for him to make submissions.”

Someone seems to have provided The BFD with this mental health information some time ago. A post from 21 November: Brian Henry puts Bridges & Smith on Notice

Brian Henry has smacked Simon Bridges and Nick Smith hard, threatening to sue the cowards for smearing him in parliament.

So, Nick Smith is a coward and won’t repeat his allegations outside of parliament. The amount talked about are the direct provable losses that Simon Bridges and Nick Smith have caused Brian Henry because of their false accusations in the house.

That was posted under ‘SB’ but it doesn’t look like normal SB style to me.

Nick Smith also, rather stupidly, continued the attack with Question 9, despite having been informed of the action and then even more stupidly tabled his legal letter in parliament, though with some redactions regarding Lester Gray and the real reasons why he left NZ First.

The BFD has obtained copies of the letters and they are outlined below…

So, now we are starting to find out the real reasons behind the rather sudden departure of Lester Gray from NZ First.

Sources tell us…

There is also the rumour that …

Sounds very much like Slater/WO dirty politics (although the style hints that it may not have been written by Slater either).

…when this was discovered by people close to Lester Gray he suddenly had his “mental health” episode.

It looks to me like someone with close links to NZ First is providing information to if not writing posts for The BFD.

So Dirty Politics appears to be back, this time via NZ First/The BFD but with a lot of similar tactics used by Slater/Whale Oil.

Different poll reactions

It has been interesting to see different reactions to political polls from different political blogs. The Standard especially – in the past polls unfavourable to Labour or Labour+Greens were sometimes ignored by post authors and rubbished in comments , while favourable polls were trumpeted. Being a pollster himself David Farrar had to be more professional in his posting and analysis, but commenters are as selective (bad) with their bias as at The Standard.

Yesterday’s new Stuff/YouGov poll was good for Labour, Greens and NZ First (and ok for ACT), and not so good for National.

Kiwibloggers piled in with disbelief and conspiracies – from here in General Debate.

Captain Mainwaring:

That poll was utter crap, and since it was sponsored by Stuff, even more so.

RW Capitalist:

Yet EVERY other poll has National ahead of Labour and Arderns numbers going south

Zapper:

So Stuff has a poll out that is catastrophic for the future of New Zealand, if accurate. I may have missed previous polls, but how long has Stuff had polling and do they have a consistent record of accuracy?

I guess there’s no reason to assume it’s wildly inaccurate which means those polled have no level of incompetence and corruption they won’t put up with.

G152:

Stuff are the epitome of fake news.

KevO’Brien:

A Stuffed-up poll.

Tricati:

Labour must be getting desperate and getting Stuff to run an alternative political poll that shows some dubious results – Given the performance of the government over the last months the poll outcomes are laughable. Looks a bit like a ‘push poll’ to manipulate public thinking, but as the outcomes of this governments shambles starts to affect joe- public tax payer; no amount of BS is going to change the thinking publics view.

Even National stalwart Tony Stuart joined the affray:

Quite so Tricati. Instead of the traditional methodology of polls, this one operates from a web panel. Quite how they put together said web panel would be interesting to know, as it is likely to represent established political leanings rather than being a random selection of potential voters. It reminds me of the former Horizon poll, which was hopelessly out of step with other polls.

From the other side of the political divide, Blazer here at Your NZ:

This looks like it will become the most reliable poll.


Te Reo Putake was quick off the mark at The Standard: November Stuff Poll; Nats Knackered

Stuff have released their latest YouGov political poll. It’s grim reading for the Tories and current leader Simon Bridges.

It isn’t their latest poll, it is the first Stuff/YouGov poll, so they have no track record to compare with other polls or to give any idea of trends.

I think ‘Tories’ is supposed to be derogatory (a bit like calling Labour ‘Socilaists’), but it’s a lame dig. Most New Zealand voters will have no idea who it refers to.

Comments began from ‘mango’:

I Have to say that I am skeptical of all opinion polls. But at least this one counters the false narrative that the msm drew from the last couple of polls.

cleangreen:

Mango How cqn any poll be free of bias when every poll is either run by corporates or finance industry pundits?

At least Yougov was begun by a UK conservative politician and then listed on the public stock exchange for offer to the public so I am o/k with this pollster.

Anker:

terrific.  As it should be.  Aren’t YouGov known to be very accurate.?  Seem to remember exit polling on a British election

Sanctuary:

If this poll is accurate then it represent a huge defeat for the relentlessly negative culture war tactics of the Topham-Guerin social media strategy adopted by Bridges since the unexpected Liberal victory in the Australian federal election.

You would think alarm bells are ringing in National about strategy, and given how heavily Bridges is identified with the all-out online culture war approach the implications for him personally are dire.

I expect that National won’t be bothered much by this poll (apart from the bad publicity) unless it is in line with their own internal poll. I’m sure they are keeping a close watch on trends to monitor how their negative divisive advertising and leader’s dog whistling and barking at cars is going.

Anne:

A general observation:

Stuff have been doing some good stuff in recent times. Their extended Erebus podcasts (together with RNZ) has been riveting stuff.

Which is irrelevant to the poll but seems to be trying to give it some gravitas.

There were some more circumspect and intelligent comments. Observer made some interesting points:

Ardern’s 62% approval rating is entirely in line with the most recent TV3 and TV1 polls (Reid Research, Colmar Brunton).

Polls on party vote can jump around, and especially with minor parties, get over-analysed for statistically insignificant changes. But the approval rating is a very consistent pattern that can’t be dismissed as “rogue” or “margin of error” or “name recognition” like preferred PM.

And:

A couple more points on the details:

1) See the NZ First voters’ responses on Ardern and Bridges. Completely squashes the myth that they might favour National over Labour.

2) The combined vote for ALL “other parties” is 1%. So that’s Sustainable NZ (who?), the New Conservatives (who?), the Tamakis (who?), and any other fantasy partner for National.

And this is after Tava got his headlines from the launch.

There really is nothing there, and it’s high time lazy commentators stopped pretending there is.

But:

No need to “believe”. Simply read.

As I’ve pointed out, there is a trend, and it is across all polls.

While this poll can be compared to other polls it doesn’t say anything about trends because we don’t have any history for YouGov so there is no trend.


When they launched The BFD tried to distance themselves from Cameron Slater, which looked obviously because of legal and financial issues. But recently they have been naming Slater.

It now looks confirmed that Whale Oil morphed into The BFD, and the author ‘Cameron Slater’ (which looked like a cover for various authors) has morphed into ‘SB’, which while used by Slateers wife Juana Atkins looks increasingly a semi anonymous cover for Slater and possibly for paid for promotions. Same old.

Like the fading Whale Oil, The BFD is usually quite slow to react to topical stories but ‘SB’ was quick off the mark yesterday with National Slips Under 40 & No One Likes Simon Bridges – LATEST Poll

This continues the tone of the ‘Slater’  campaign against National and Simon Bridges.

National’s caucus and indeed media should ask Bridges to prove his claims that National’s internal polling is different from this poll. An unwillingness to share would be reveal the lie. Bridges knows that his own internal polling shows he is deeply unpopular, even amongst National supporters.

This looks like familiar Slater/Lusk (who is apparently now promoting NZ First, as Whale Oil did and The BFD tries to do) – innuendo and veiled claims to have inside information, but with no evidence.

“An unwillingness to share would be reveal the lie” is utter nonsense. I don’t think National ever reveal their own polling, and they are not going to do so in response to pathetic threats like that.

There was not many comments (The BFD looks to be struggling for attention) – but despite the post trying to make a political play on the poll there were a few disbelievers.

Huia:

This poll is almost certainly reflecting sample bias.

Bartman:

Let’s see – Stuff are involved, their track record of biased reporting is universally accepted, and we trust these results why?

rockape:

I am surprised someone experience in politics believes this poll for one second.

SB political posts have been getting some very negative reactions from the remaining participants.

(Some interesting comments at Kiwiblog on The BFD from here)


Later in the day Farrar posted on the poll at Kiwiblog: A new poll

Stuff has got back into the polling business, having published a poll done by YouGov.

It’s great to see another public pollster. Before this we only had One New Colmar Brunton and Newshub Reid Research. If Newshub dies, then we may have been left with just one public pollster.

A good point.

But fair to say the results of this poll are quite different to the two recent TV polls.

  • National – 38% (SYG), 47% (ONCB), 43.9% (NRR)
  • Labour – 41% (SYG), 40% (ONCB), 41.6% (NRR)
  • NZ First – 8% (SYG), 4% (ONCB), 4.0% (NRR)
  • Greens – 8% (SYG), 7% (ONCB), 6.3% (NRR)

So the three polls broadly agree with Labour and Greens but disagree on National and NZ First.

The differences for National and NZ First are well beyond the margin of error.

So what this means is that either there has been a massive change since the TV polls (mid Oct to early November) or one or more of the polls are wrong.

I think he’s overstating some of the differences. National on 43.9% (NRR) compared to 38% (SYG) with margins of error at about 3% are not really that far apart.

YouGov polls are done entirely through online panels. YouGov is a very good company globally and has a good track record in the UK of accuracy. In the US their record is more mixed. Five Thirty Eight gives them a B- rating.

As I said it is a good thing YouGov are now polling in New Zealand, but I’d caution against reading too much into their initial poll. As always, it is the trend that matters.

Yes, good to have another poll but interpreting their first result needs to be done with caution.

You have to give Farrar credit for another thing – he is very good at not revealing the polling he does for National. What this indicated at the same time that the YouGov poll was conducted would be very interesting, but he keeps that a secret.

Comments on the post at Kiwiblog are the same old dissing of unfavourable results. ‘chaos’:

When you are paying people to do the survey you get the answers people work out you want to hear so they get paid.

As I said elsewhere I had this survey and lied my ass off in it.

If true (I think that’s doubtful) it would have made very little difference to the overall results.

The vast majority of voters don’t read blogs so I don’t think stuff or YouGov will be worried about the negative reactions.