‘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.

The BFD ‘nothing to do with Whaleoil’, except…

The BFD sold themselves as a new look to the old Whale Oil blog, but with the same authors and descriptions and promises of ‘moderation’ (effectively message control censorship). They even claim to be the same ‘fastest growing media site’ they same as they falsely claimed at Whale Oil.

But as legal pressures grow they are trying to claim that the new website is separate and nothing to do with Whale Oil.

A comment from All_on_Red at Kiwiblog yesterday:

‘ matter the Disqus list (note that the controlling login’s and associated passwords for the Disqus account is ‘property’
Sigh, I’m afraid I have to call it.
You’re an idiot.
Any blog can register with Discus to have Discus member sign in to use it.
WOBF doesn’t ‘own’ Discus members.
This has been explained to you multiple times but you still don’t seem to get it.
Now you are calling being banned a ‘criminal act’
Lol
Do you not understand TheBFD is a separate website and nothing to do with Whaleoil.
Are you retarded? It certainly looks so.

Resorting to personal abuse suggests they may be feeling some pressure. Making claims that conflict with what looks obvious won’t help their situation.

“TheBFD is a separate website and nothing to do with Whaleoil” – so why does whaleoil.net.nz have show this…

We have new home visit The BFD.

Don’t believe everything you read online, just login and enjoy.

..and link to The BFD?

Why does @Whaleoil @CamSlater on Twitter have http://www.thebfd.co.nz as it’s website and now solely consist of links to posts at The BFD?

Why does Cam Slater @whaleoil on Twitter have thebfd.co.nz as it’s website, and consists solely now as a promoter of TheBFD posts?

The last post at whaleoil.net.nz

Today it is a farewell to the site from the team and I and a grateful thank you to you all for being part of the Whaleoil community.

We are bigger now than just one man. We have a large community across the country and the site has constrained where we need to go to counter the increasingly shrill fake news that is delivered up by our mainstream media.

It is time to do something about that.

Join the new team and enjoy the new site where you will be able to enjoy the varied content along with features and functionality that a blog format could never deliver.

We have created a new home for our community. It is called The BFD.

  • It begins on the 1st of August.
  • It has a completely new look and feel.
  • All the same, writers you’ve enjoyed at Whaleoil will be on The BFD
  • Your existing subscriptions will be honoured at The BFDIn other words, just log in and continue as usual.

They claim a new team, but with “all the same writers you’ve enjoyed at Whaleoil”. This post was authored by SB/spanish bride/Juana Atkins, who appeared to be managing Whaleoil since October 2018, and is also prominent as an author at The BFD, with the same author description she used at WO.

When launched on 1 August The BFD content was all migrated from Whale Oil posts dating back to April 1 2019.

Whale Oil About states:

Most articles come from a centre-right political viewpoint, with constant analysis and commentary of political events. Whaleoil also breaks its own news, is a media commentator and provides other topics of interest and entertainment to its readers.

Whaleoil 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.

Whaleoil wears its opinions on its sleeve, allowing readers to be informed and entertained even though they may not even share the same position. Whaleoil allows comments from its readers, so any mistakes or excesses are quickly curbed.

Because of this, Whaleoil is also a community (The Ground Crew), with a vast network of people from all parts of the spectrum contributing and assisting in the effort.

If you are new to Whaleoil, we ask you to pop in once a day for a week and see if it suits you.

The BFD About states:

Most articles on the BFD come from a centre-right political viewpoint, with constant analysis and commentary of political events. The BFD also breaks its own news, is a media commentator and provides other topics of interest and entertainment to its readers.

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.

The BFD wears its opinions on its sleeve, allowing readers to be informed and entertained even though they may not even share the same position. The BFD allows comments from its readers, so any mistakes or excesses are quickly curbed.

Because of this, The BFD is also a community, with a vast network of people from all parts of the spectrum contributing and assisting in the effort.

If you are new to The BFD, we ask you to pop in once a day for a week and see if it suits you.

The only difference is the name.

I suspect that retarded idiots may be able to see some sort of a connection with all of this.

They have even replicated “The BFD is the fastest-growing media organisation” – this was a dated claim at Whale Oil, which has been waning since Dirty Politics lifted a scab in 2014, and Slater and WO was suddenly seen and treated as toxic by politicians and media who had helped WO grow. It is nonsense to transfer this same claim to The BFD.

The BFD allows comments from its readers, so any mistakes or excesses are quickly curbed” is another misleading claim. WO was notorious for censoring and banning comments that challenged or contradicted false claims in posts.

The day before The BFD was launched this was posted by ‘Nige’ at WO: A Message from a Mod

As we approach a new political cycle with the imminent appointment of a new National party leader and as we get closer to the election at the end of next year, I would like to make it clear that the Moderation team have certain expectations.

We expect our commenters to get back to basics as we want to run a tight ship. We will be paying close attention to the comment sections on serious “authored” posts.

The comment sections help commenters to express their frustration with the New Zealand mainstream media as well as the rubbish that is being dished out and sold to us literally as news via online publications and the dead tree media, which somehow still manages to exist despite plummeting readerships and sales.

They do irony well.

So it is with great pleasure that I announce on behalf of the moderation team that we will be buckling down and taking more of a quality over quantity approach for the next few weeks on serious posts.

I hope that those of you who are part of our community will be responsible for your actions and will not cry victim but will learn from your mistakes. This post is the warning shot over the bow.

Our deleted bin is going to overflow in the next few weeks as we ruthlessly cull unsuitable or unacceptable comments.

There will be no warnings, comments will simply be deleted.

Commenters seem to be used to support and add weight to posts no matter how ridiculous or extreme they are, with alternate views and corrections censored out.

That seems to be how Whale Oil operated, at times at least, so even that hasn’t changed.

In addition, the domain registration of both whaleoil.net.nz and whaleoil.org.nz lists ‘Andrea Parkes’ (email @whaleoil.org.nz) as Technical Contact.

The domain registration for thebfd.co.nz lists exactly the same person and contact details (including email @whaleoil.org.nz)

But All_On_Red claaims “TheBFD is a separate website and nothing to do with Whaleoil.” Who are they trying to kid? Possibly lawyers and courts. But lawyers and judges tend to not be idiots or retarded.

They are trying to be different things to different audiences – they promoted themselves as largely the same Whale Oil with a new name and website, they had to do that to move their audience across from the old Whale Oil to the revamped The BFD.

But this looks like it could cause them problems with the liquidator of the company that ran Whale Oil and the Official Assignee dealing with Slater’s bankruptcy, and legal problems with possible asset stripping and not coperating with their liquidator.

Claiming The BFD has nothing to do with Whale Oil has hints of desperation from people who have dug themselves into a hole.