Whale Oilers fed up with Whale Oil attempts to push JLR agenda

For about a week Cameron Slater pushed the Jami-Lee Ross agenda hard, then suddenly and mysteriously last week dropped out of sight. That could be through illness, or it could be a stunt. Whale Oil management has not informed the loyal following that remains (numbers suggest many have given up on Slater and WO) what is going on. Slater’s name is being used to promote a mail order meat business but otherwise has gone to ground.

SB has tried to keep stoking the Ross agenda, using similar techniques to Slater to smear and threaten by insinuation (presuming it is her writing the posts, uncertain authorship has long been a WO thing).

But apart from a few die hard supporters and sock puppets SB and Ross are getting a negative message from commenters at WO.

A post today:  How long can Simon Bridges avoid questions about Jami-Lee Ross?

Simon Bridges is trying the strategy of refusing to answer any more questions about Jami-Lee Ross.

This is not going to work out well for him. The media are following every tweet from Ross and are publishing it within minutes. Then there are the other questions the media want answers to.

Who is she trying to fool? Most of the media are over it. And going by this, so are the Oilers:

WIC:

I have said it before and I will say it aging. Except for the media, No One Cares.

rantykiwi:

I actually feel that ignoring the yappy little JLR who hasn’t yet managed to back up his words with evidence isn’t a bad strategy.

omlete:

from the transcript published yesterday it seemed like Simon and Paula were being pretty kind to JLR.

Jman:

I think the JLR story is pretty much over with the general consensus being that JLR has acted like a boofhead and Bridges and Bennett have come away relatively unscathed. If I’m being perfectly honest, I actually think Bridges appears to have handled this whole thing with some integrity. I say this as someone who has never been a Bridges fan.

kayaker:

If some people in the media persist in giving this oxygen (stalking JLR’s Twitter and reporting every little tweet, how sad are they), I hope they feel proud of themselves when JLR hits the wall again.

DJG:

I think ignoring JLR is the right strategy for now.
If he returns to parliament and starts to release more “tales out of school” I think the public will lose interest in him very quickly. It will not help his chances of re-election in Botany.
If he starts to “lift the bed sheets” on National the best solution would be to drop a current journo’s past in to the mix, the media will soon stop prodding JLR for gossip

Des:

It’s incredible how long the media have spent on this non-issue, as opposed to their efforts dissecting Labor’s policies…

Osiris:

Absolutely the right strategy.They should have started earlier, though. Nothing magic. It’s just the ‘in a hole, stop digging’ advice. Don’t comment and you can’t be questioned further. Well done Simon et al – at last.

Geoffrey Firmin:

I’m with Simon on this. I’ve read my last article about J-L Ross. I’d never heard of him until he went on mental health leave a few weeks ago. He’s a nobody getting far too much attention.

sarahmw:

And he has given his proxy vote to NZFirst ?Now why would Winston want or need that? I felt sorry for the guy but this dripfeeding of so called info is not helping him. I’m over it and hope the people advising JLR encourage him to take the time to get well.

Second time around:

The main thing the JLR saga has done is raise Dirty Politics again along with the Exclusive Brethren and the murky National Party back history. To a swing voter that is all poison and will undermine Judith Collins’ prospects of ever becoming party leader and PM.

kayaker:

Bridges has read it pretty well. People are over it. Those who remain interested strike me as ambulance chasers who have a ghoulish interest without any concern for the mental health of Jami-Lee Ross. This is another disaster (for JLR) waiting to happen and I hope someone who cares can get to him and help him soon. I’ve said before that I really feel for his family (especially his children), it’s hard to fathom that he wants to keep hurting them.

It looks like Whale Oil management has lost their own base on this, following eighteen months of pissing off their base with a torrent of attacks on National while promoting NZ First – who have decided to proxy vote for Ross in Parliament.

Slater and Peters supporting the most toxic MP in Parliament, while the Whale Oilers send a clear message they are over it all. If Whale Oil keeps trying to flog National dead all they may have to flog off is a dead whale without ant meat.

They have proven the blog can survive without Slater, sort of, but if they keep trying to be lame versions of dirt mongers they may become the tumbleweed.

What’s up at Whale Oil?

There have been noticeable changes at Whale Oil over the last couple of days. After a frenetic few weeks in a resurgence of activity from Cameron Slater there was a switch on Monday to self and site promotion, and then yesterday a noticeable absence.

Slater had been doing little more than going through the motions for months, with little more than two or three token posts per day, and little of note. He came back with a roar getting involved with the Jami-Lee Ross saga, in support of Ross and ramping up his long running attacks against the National Party, Simon Bridges and other MPs, as well as bringing up his gripes against John Key and Bill English.

He also did a flurry of posts on the release of the Craig v Slater defamation judgment, claiming vindication and victory, despite losing on two counts to Craig, and failing to win on his claims. No damages were awarded, with costs to be dealt with but little likelihood he would come out on top let alone breaking even financially.

On Monday he was still making big noises about revealing information and identities involved in the Jami-Lee Ross issues.

But there were signs of change, with an admission that Whale Oil had been shedding subscribers due to his attacks on National, and a number of self promotion posts trying to say how great he was. Some of this sounded like jacked up endorsements.

Yesterday (Tuesday) there were a couple of posts under Slater’s authorship, but these looked like standard style scheduled posts that have been common for some time – often following the news by a day or two.

And Slater has suddenly stopped commenting – his last comment was on Monday night (9:25 pm).

It has been common for Slater to be away from the WO front line due to various commitments, like court appearances, but this was a sudden change from his recent activities and threats of revelations.

Also noticeable yesterday was a lack of input from ‘spanishbride’ – there were a few standard style and probably scheduled posts from ‘SB’, but also suddenly no comments.

The blog kept functioning with a normal range of innocuous posts from the various authors who have become involved over the last years or so, but there was a sudden subdued feel after the hectic couple of weeks prior.

Blogging can be a relentless job, especially when it is run as a business as is Whale Oil. And the way Slater operates, with his resurgence over the last couple of weeks attacking enemies and losing support, as well as getting some unfavourable and potentially costly court results, will have been tough.

For some time Slater has appeared jaded and worn down, and the lack of success in the recent flurry of attention and activity probably won’t have helped. He and SB have also talked of  health problems over the last couple of years.

There seemed to be a sudden and unexplained cessation of activity yesterday.

Slater had ‘good and lucid discussion’ with Ross just before ‘suicide’ text

Someone emailed me and pointed out what could be a significant part of Cameron Slater”s post Another hit job from David Fisher which I must correct and tell the truth that the National party fails to

Saturday 20th October – Jami-Lee Ross is back in Auckland, but he is homeless. He has slept in his car and hasn’t slept much over the past week. He phones me at approximately 8:30 pm and he is distraught. We had a good and lucid discussion. However, as he sat there in his car he began scrolling through his past messages and he came across the nasty text from the female MP. It set him off. At 8:51 pm he texts her and then turns his cell phone off. She frantically tries to respond via text and makes 4 phone calls to him. He turns his phone on and off over the next three hours.

This says that Ross was distraught before talking to Slater and before scrolling back through his texts.

There is very specific detail in this from Slater, in which he says he had “a good and lucid discussion” with Ross just before Ross scrolls through old texts and then replies “You get your wish” to a two month old text from a National MP which, Slater claims, triggers a suicide alert.

Slater says that the text “set him off” – but that wasn’t the only thing that would have been influencing Ross at that time, given he was having a discussion with Slater.

It could be that Slater was unable to de-distraught Ross, but that’s not the only possibility in this situation.

Also in the same paragraph:

At one stage, a journalist communicates with him. as her company had someone stationed near his house and had observed a Police i-car turn up. [WO:  The journalist concerned has contacted me to clarify this situation. I am satisfied that there was no company watcher in place] She was concerned. This short text conversation occurred at 10:25 pm as Jami-Lee Ross was driving to the Waikato.

Rather ironically in a post headlined “which I must correct and tell the truth” Slater stated as a fact something he now acknowledges was not the truth.

Craig v Slater – the biggest losers

Finally after waiting eighteen months for a judgment on their tit for tat defamation trial Colin Craig and and Cameron Slater are both claiming some sort of victory, but the overwhelming response is that they are both losers.

Craig technically won – he succeeded on two claims that Slater defamed him. But:

  • he lost most of his claims
  • there was no award of damages because “the reputational damage which Mr Craig suffered throughout the events traversed at length in the judgment resulted almost entirely from his own actions”
  • “It is true that Mr Craig was guilty of moderately serious sexual harassment of Rachel MacGregor, on multiple occasions”

Technically Slater succeeded in defending most of Craaig’s claims, but he failed on both his claims of defamation, as Craig was found to be “entitled to the defence of qualified privilege in reply to an attack on him by Mr Slater”, so no damages there either (he asked for $8,117,010).

Costs are yet to be decided. Craig represented himself so cannot claim much in the way of costs and disbursements.

Slater lost the case, and Craig won a part of his case, so Slater may have difficulty claiming much if any of what will be substantial legal costs. There seems no chance of him getting all costs, and any he might get will be going to his lawyers, so the dream of a legal fighting fund that was mentioned when Whale Oil eyes lit up when Jordan Williams was awarded over a million dollars (now quashed) is now a financial burden, if not nightmare.

Summary from Courts of New Zealand:

The claimant, Colin Craig, laid 15 separate defamation claims in relation to statements made by Mr Slater
either on his blogsite or in other media.

Mr Craig alleged that he suffered serious damage to his reputation as a consequence of allegedly untrue statements published by the defendants, Mr Cameron Slater and Social Media Consultants Limited (SMCl) (the company which establishes the Whaleoil blog).

Mr Slater made two counterclaims.

The matter was heard by judge-alone over 17 days in May – June 2017, with final submissions not received until September 2018.

In brief, Mr Craig alleged that Mr Slater and Whaleoil caused him serious reputational damage by publishing untrue statements based on information leaked to him by a friend of Ms MacGregor, Mr Jordan Williams, and a Conservative Party board member, Mr John Stringer, about Mr Craig and the Party’s internal problems; electoral funding and the Party’s finances; and a rumoured sexual harassment claim by Ms MacGregor.

Mr Craig sought declarations under s 24 of the Defamation Act 1992 that the defendants are liable to him
in defamation. He also claimed general, aggravated and punitive damages of unspecified amounts and
costs.

Mr Slater counterclaimed, saying he was himself defamed in a booklet entitled Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas which Mr Craig published, allegedly in defence of the attacks he claims Mr Slater and others made upon him, following his resignation in 2015. The booklet was circulated to more than 1.6 million New Zealand homes. Mr Slater claims that the contents of the booklet defamed him by implying, among other things, that he developed or coordinated the strategy to defame and spread lies about Mr Craig and published material on his blog knowing it not to be true.

Mr Slater claimed general damages of $8,117,010 on a proposed basis of $5.00 for each of the 1,623,402 New Zealand homes to which the booklet was delivered.

The result and orders

Mr Craig failed on his principal causes of action against Mr Slater. He did so because the Court found, for reasons set out in full in the judgment, that Mr Craig had been guilty of moderately serious sexual harassment of Ms MacGregor; that he had made a substantial financial settlement with her on confidential terms in exchange for the withdrawal of her claims to the Human Rights Tribunal; and that he had deliberately misled the Conservative Party board about those matters.

The court found other statements and assertions were untrue statements. However, the court held that Mr Slater could rely on the defence of “responsible communication on a matter of public interest” with respect to all but two of these untrue statements and imputations.

This new defence was available to Mr Slater despite his personal animosity towards Mr Craig, because the Court found he was principally motivated to release into the public arena information which he believed to be reliable and which would inform public discussion on a matter of undoubted public interest.

The Court found that to hold that Mr Slater was deprived of the defence of responsible communication on a matter of public interest, merely because of his views about Mr Craig, would be to tilt the balance between freedom of expression on a matter of public interest and protection of reputation too far in favour of the latter. Such a finding would have an unduly chilling effect on political discourse of the kind which the public interest defence is designed to recognise.

HELD: The Judge declared, under s 24 of the Defamation Act 1992, that Mr Slater and SMCl are liable to Mr Craig in defamation for only two untrue statements:. The Court found Mr Slater had no defence for the untrue statements that Mr Craig:
(i) had placed Ms Rachel MacGregor under financial pressure to sleep with him; and
(ii) sexually harassed at least one victim other than Ms MacGregor.

The Judge dismissed the remaining causes of action in defamation, either on grounds that the defence of truth was upheld or on the basis the publications were responsible communications on a matter of public interest.

While this meant Cameron Slater and Social Media Consultants Limited were liable to Colin Craig in defamation for these two statements, the Court ruled he was not entitled to an award of damages because the reputational damage which Mr Craig suffered throughout the events traversed at length in the judgment resulted almost entirely from his own actions.

Mr Slater’s counterclaims

Mr Slater counterclaimed for allegedly defamatory statements made in the booklet.

The Court dismissed Mr Slater’s counterclaims against Mr Craig. It found that while many of the assertions Mr Craig had made about Mr Slater in his booklet Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas, were untrue – including the assertion that Mr Slater made up allegations and was a liar – Mr Craig was entitled to the defence of qualified privilege in reply to an attack on him by Mr Slater.

On that basis, Mr Slater’s counterclaim in defamation was dismissed.

From the judgment on costs:

Bearing in mind that each of the parties has both succeeded and failed in the proceeding in varying degrees, and having regard to the complexity and significance of the proceeding, it will be obvious that the determination of costs will require careful consideration by the parties and by the Court.

Costs are reserved for the exchange of memoranda and will be determined on the papers unless the Court directs otherwise.

This could take some time.

Full decision of J Toogood: PDF document icon CSEJ.pdf — PDF document, 1.82 MB, 250 pages

Craig has claimed a win but acknowledges that is limited. He says he is considering an appeal.

Mr ‘explaining is losing’ Slater has done a number of posts on the judgment at Whale Oil claiming some sort of victory and vindication, but it looks like trying to make a silk purse out of a boar’s bum. There has been only a a little bit of congratulations and support in comments, seemingly from a mix of blind supporters and sycophants with perhaps some sock puppets.

David Farrar seems to have obtained an advance copy of the judgment and what looked like a pre-prepared post that appears to be trying to paint lipstick on a pig – Zero damages in Craig vs Slater.

Comments there are overwhelmingly negative towards Craig and to Slater in particular.

There was a brief flurry of response on Twitter, largely critical of the two litigants, and also praising the ‘both losers’ result.

Craig’s reputation was already in tatters, this just reinforces that. The decision puts pressure on his ongoing defamation proceedings versus Jordan Williams – arguing appropriate damages in Williams v Craig, and his counter suit Craig v Williams.

Surely Craig must now drop his defamation claim against Rachel MacGregor.

And any political ambitions must be gone or futile.

Slater comes out of this with his reputation of a political activist and dirty attack blogger largely intact (remember that his attacks were based on information supplied by Jordan Williams in a breach of MacGregor’s privacy and highly questionable for a lawyer). His financial stress remains.

And Slater has another legal headache looming as he awaits a judgment on the Blomfield v Slater defamation case. This is similar in that involved a series of attacks on Matthew Blomfield via Whale Oil, but it is different in that Blomfield didn’t get drawn into a public spat and overreach like Craig. Blomfield just tenaciously pursued Slater through the courts, despite numerous appeals and delays.

Whale Oil has also suffered. Slater’s bold claims of legal success have proven to be like many of his claims, over-optimistic and overblown, so his credibility has taken another hit, at the same time that he continues shedding support due to his ongoing attacks on National.

In five consecutive posts on the decision at WO there have been a total of 56 comments (23 on one post is the most), compared to 85 comments on a single post at Kiwiblog.

 

Whale Oil at further risk over JLR fallout

Whale Oil is risking a further slide from influence and credibility in the fallout over the Jami-Lee Ross saga, with Cameron Slater threatening to run an attack campaign against Simon Bridges and national MPs and party officials. This is a continuation of a bitter war Slater has waged since he was ostracised and isolated from the party.

Whale Oil has slumped in influence, and it has also been sliding in support. This latest hissy fit is likely to drive more people away from the blog, at a time that Slater is trying to raise donations and revenue to pay for what be large and growing legal bills as a result of past campaigns of attack that have resulted in defamation actions against Slater.

Whale Oil grew to be the biggest political blogging and social media presence in New Zealand, peaking in 2014 before two major changes – first due the purges of commenters through the middle of the year to try to impose control and threats over messaging, and then the publishing of Nicky Hager’s ‘Dirty Politics’ in August.

WO has stumbled and fallen since then.

Most of the time now Slater seems barely interested or involved, posting a couple of token cut and paste moans a day. Most of the blog is now dominated with click bait filler, apart from the fund raising advertisements.

It is hard to know what WO site statistics are doing but they must be waning. A slump in the number of comments is noticeable, which suggests the support base is dwindling.

As well as being a shadow of his former blogging status Slater has kept annoying his base. He raised eyebrows and ire with his campaign against National through last year’s election campaign.

Slater was frequently questioned and criticised for his support of Winston Peters in what must be one of the most remarkable switches in support in New Zealand politics. Prior to this Peters had been a frequent target of Slater.

It seemed that Slater saw a rise in NZ First as the best way of dumping on National. It also coincided with Slater being represented in his defamation trial versus Colin Craig by Winton’s lawyer.

Since last year’s election Whale Oil has been reinvented as a multi author magazine style site with a bare minimum input from Slater. Numbers that matter seemed to be down but it chugged away with some remaining community support.

But last week on the bck of the Ross saga Slater re-emergence as a bitter opponent of Bridges, Paula Bennett, John Key, Bill English and just about everything National. He tried to distance himself from what Ross was doing, but has given contradictory signs of how closely he has been involved there.

In the weekend when he threatened to revive his war against National this week there was noticeable opposition in comments (there was some support but some of that at least looked like manufactured sock puppet support).

A slump in comment numbers suggests that WO support has taken another hit.

This isn’t good timing for attempts to boost site revenue that appears to be required to foot the growing legal bills. The Craig v Slater judgment is still not out (but lawyers tend to want their bills paid). Slater was back in court early this month after he ran out of delaying efforts in the defamation case Matthew Blomfield took against him.

Indications are that this didn’t go well for Slater and his company (Social Media Consultants are co-defendants). Slater has been publicly quiet about the outcome, which is a sign that things didn’t go well. The pre-trial confidence of ‘Bill Brown’ has dissipated. The trial was set down for 4-6 weeks, but it appears to have been over in about a week. These are all signs that the legal stress has ramped up.

So annoying remaining supporters is going to make things tougher, especially as more of them wake up to the bullshit and lies Slater has been spinning.

On Kiwiblog yesterday David Farrar suggested the opposite to Slater in Maybe time for media to pause also but more telling were some of the comments that would not be allowed on WO:

“However, Cam Slater has promised that there will be more action this week. I hope this is just his usual empty bluster.”

“I hope they pause today and realise nothing good comes of what is now looking like Slater’s personal vendetta against National with JLR as his and Lusk’s mouthpiece.”

“Yes, WhaleOil seems determined to bring down Simon Bridges. My opinion of Slater has sunk further after this sorry saga.

“As has mine and also that of his wife, who I used to think of as the sensible one in the marriage. After her weekends efforts on Twitter I see she is just as bad.”

“As an avid supporter of WO for a long time, I will not be contributing, or reading it again either.”

“I used to be a regular WhaleOil reader and considered Slater to be trustworthy and politically astute. I came very close to donating money to him. However, various things slowly turned me off. The final straws were the insane UN Resolution 2334 campaign and the NZ First endorsement.”

“When key left and Collins was not nominated as leader he just went into meltdown for no other reason that English was in the party when his father was kicked out, it has moved from an actual right wing political site to a more left wing site of ‘lets show the bastards I’m not to be ignored’ anti national site. And the site commentators dare not tell him him he is wrong or they will be banned. His site is quickly slipping into irrelevance.”

“WO must have got up this morning and sucked on half a dozen lemons because hes back at it this morning slagging off the National Party.”

“I for one will no longer give his rants my eyeballs and thus the clicks he so desperately desires.”

“Blinded by Utu – regardless of whether there was proximate cause several years ago is still blinded.

Slater has lost my respect – and I am someone who funded his court case and put a couple of hundy his way to help the blog a year or so back.

Maybe I am a slow learner and he was always a vicious nutter, but I thought he was a refreshing antidote to the PC bollox on the MSM.

Maybe he will be again one day, but this third rate attempt to create an Iago to take down National is just cretinous.”

“Yes and their Leader blubber is trying to turn it into a cult with his lies and innuendo, you only have to read the dozen or so posts on backchat by this idiot to see how most of the deluded followers jump in behind and praise his demented agenda. How the NZ Media can take comments from a person like this just show how immoral corrupt they are.”

Most of the media now ignore Slater, but he may have got some utu support from RNZ – see Slater threatened retribution for JLR, RNZ delivers.

But this is likely to help drive WO into irrelevance.

Yesterday Slater posted another anti-National moan: Of course they won’t use the waka jumping law, they’d confirm what a bunch of hypocrites they really are

Typically ironic Slater says in comments:

Amazing how quickly one can sell out their principles isn’t it?

Another commenter:

I don’t think journalists will be digging up much in the forseeable future. There’s total silence in the msm while Mr Ross focuses on his recovery. And it would be inappropriate for National to take any action while Mr Ross is resolving his own issues.

That’s ironic given Slater’s promise to dig and dish dirt. Another commenter:

Why would anyone want to do a`deal` with a person who has the propensity to wake up one morning and throw all the toys out of the cot, destroy his family due to his weaknesses and show neither trust or integrity in both personal and professional life? You sure as hell would not want someone like that standing behind you in the trenches.

Slater responded:

You really don’t know what you are talking about. You are only going on information that was fed tot eh media, designed to push people like you into a place where you only believe what you have read, Why don’t you pause and work out why it is that someone would have gone nuclear. Perhaps they had no more choices, they knew they were being lined up and did whatever it took. Think about that for a minute.

Trying to claim Ross is a victim with no choice but to lash out. But Slater has a long record of claiming the opposite of truth and reality.

The numbers say quite a bit. That looks like Slater’s main post on JLR yesterday. 42 comments.

The Kiwiblog JLR post had 171 comments.

Uncharted Waters at The Standard, 174 comments.

Even on this little blog Jami-Lee Ross ‘improving’, uncertainty over future has 78 comments.

In inverse proportion to the level of Slater whining Whale Oil was already waning. They may survive, at least until a defamation judgment hits them financially, but the Whale is sliding into further irrelevance as they annoy even those supporters who held on for years.

Slater on Whale Oil had already largely become Wail Oil, but now seems more like Whimper Toil.

Slater threatened retribution for JLR, RNZ delivers

RNZ’s Checkpoint has gone alarmingly low in support of a campaign of retribution.

In the weekend Cameron Slater threatened to go public with dirt targeting people in the National Party, in a knee jerk reaction to the Jami-Lee Ross revelations of harassment of multiple women (at least four and as many as fifteen are numbers mentioned). See:

On Checkpoint yesterday afternoon RNZ delivered what looks like the first shot, publicising details of a text sent from a possible victim of Ross to Ross. This dumped on a National MP on behalf of ‘a supporter’ of Ross.

Whether the text (and reportedly other communications) were supplied to RNZ by Slater or someone else associated with Ross or Slater doesn’t make much difference.

For obvious reasons it has been assumed by a number of people as Slater (there is no evidence of this except for Slater’s threats and his claimed support of Ross over the weekend).

Slater and Whale Oil have a reputation for dishing out dirt. The over the top attacks on Len Brown just after the 2013 Auckland mayoral election is a prominent example, but there are many others.

Ross reacted badly under self inflicted pressure last week. Slater has a long record of acting poorly under pressure, lashing out. Both try to claim they are in fact the victims (they may actually feel they are victims, but their actions and especially their responses under pressure suggest otherwise).

RNZ publicised an “abusive text” “believed to have been sent to Jami-Lee Ross in August” by a woman who had aapparently just ended a relationship with Ross.  RNZ did not quote the text, nor could they give any context, but out of a claimed 61 words they quoted just four – “you deserve to die”.

The text includes a slew of abuse and personal insults about Mr Ross’ appearance and personality.

That doesn’t sound good, but one could presume there was a lot of angst and emotion involved, as there often is when relationships turn sour.

The text sent in August was 61 words long. The message – along with other texts – was provided to RNZ by a supporter of the Botany MP with his permission.

Questions have been asked on RNZ on this.

Like why they are dishing out dirt on behalf of someone who was committed to mental health care on Sunday (now reported to have been released in the care of ‘a friend’), regardless of permission being granted or not. RNZ don’t say what form this permission took. I hope they relied on something more substantial than the word of ‘a supporter’.

And why are RNZ involved in what looks like vexatious utu, after Slater had threatened to do just that in what looks like another attempt to destabilise and trash National. Slater has been running bitter attacks against National leaders, MPs and party officials for years – ever since he was shunned as a part of the Dirty Politics fallout in 2014.

I hope that Lisa Owen and Checkpoint producers and RNZ reflect on what they have become a willing party to, and revise their standards. It is probably too late to undo the damage they have aided and abetted, but they should give some indication that being a sock puppet of Ross and Slater is not a good look, especially for a public broadcaster.

Ross has gone just about as low as any MP has gone.

Slater has a long reputation for attacking and trying to trash people, he is probably widely considered to be the lowest of New Zealand bloggers (he has called himself a journalist but he is more of a agenda, money and hate driven arse).

Do RNZ really want to lower themselves to those standards?


UPDATE: Slater appears to confirm things. he posted yesterday…

It’s going to get worse for National.

…with a link to the RNZ story. Also:

Two sides to every story is what I am seeing here…and now the second side is being told.

The Slater side of any story should always be viewed with a lot of scepticism. He is a self confessed ’embellisher’ and is known to say the opposite of truth and reality.

 

Bull and hypocrisy (again) from Slater

On Monday SB posted on Whale Oil:

Starting today Cam is back in the High Court for up to four weeks depending on how the trial goes.

A lot has changed on the blog since our last court case and the good news is that we now have an amazing Whaleoil team of writers who will be stepping up to fill the time slots that Cam usually fills.

Last time Cam was able to do some posts because we rented an apartment that was walking distance from the court so there was no long commute to and from the court each day.  This time around Cam will be doing the long commute between the city and Whangaparaoa each day instead.

Implying there would be no time to post.

I have done a Jacinda and made a Captain’s Call. I have put my foot down and told him that he is not to write on the weekends until the case is over.

But two days later, on Wednesday morning, Slater wrote a post called Battling Lawfare, which was loaded with bull and hypocrisy, plus a plea for donations to pay for legal bills (defamation proceedings lasting six years and defamation trials lasting 4 weeks can be very expensive regardless of any awards). Later in the morning the post disappeared, .with an explanation in  another post with the same headline

The earlier post regarding the current proceedings that Cam is involved in has been ordered down by the court.

Legal bills are mounting again so here is how you can continue to help us to fight the good fight.

There was no evidence given that the court ordered the take down, but there were some parts of the post that could cause concerns for the court – or for a defence lawyer. (Slater has had problems with this in the past – see Slater fined for contempt of court).

There was never any explanation of what the legal proceedings were about, apart from vague ‘fight the good fight’ and claiming victimhood. I posted some background here – Whale Oil be fucked? Defamation trial against Slater starting on Monday.

In his post yesterday Slater implied similar accusations to those he is being sued for defamation for. I won’t repeat them here.

Some things he said were more general, showing his habit of self interested bull and rank hypocrisy. Slater:

Legal action was started six years ago, but given the nature of [redacted], the plaintiff hasn’t actually been very keen to get the case before the court and has used every trick in the book to avoid this trial while I have fought to get the case before the judge.

I think that if you look back through the court judgments online (only some on the six year saga are online) you will see the opposite is closer to the truth.

This is an absurd claim from Slater. Blomfield has persisted for six years to get this to trial. As the Plaintiff, all he would need to do to “avoid this trial” would be to withdraw the proceedings. Slater’s “I have fought to get the case before the judge” sounds delusional, unless it is just bull to try to get sympathy and defence fund donations.

He claims to be a victim of ‘lawfare’ when he has attacked people via the courts himself.

I will not allow the use of lawfare by [redacted] to silence me.

That’s hugely hypocritical, given the involvement of Slater as informant and witness in four private private prosecutions (one against me), plus his association in an incompetent court order trying to silence me here at Your NZ, plus his association with other threats of ‘lawfare’ against me from Dermot Nottingham and anonymous comments posted here and posts at Whale Oil.

I will continue to fight for truth and transparency.

That’s just laughable – more so because Slater may well believe his own bull. He has been far from transparent even in his post yesterday, and the follow up post was far from transparent.

We must not allow the truth to be silenced, and with the invaluable support of family, friends and readers I will continue to fight for justice to the bitter end.

Very funny. The fighter for truth tried to avoid the current defamation trial for six years.

And he also fought to silence ‘truth’ in the Dirty Politics saga – RNZ: Court showdown over Slater’s hacked email

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater has launched court injunction proceedings in an attempt to prevent three of New Zealand’s biggest media companies from publishing more of his hacked emails and Facebook conversations.

Mr Slater has served papers on APN New Zealand, Fairfax Media and MediaWorks to try to stop them quoting from emails and other communications allegedly taken from his accounts.

There are issues over the emails and online conversations being obtained illegally – but in his battle against defamation Slater himself used the contents of a hard drive containing data owned by Blomfield, allegedly obtained illegally, and at the very least I think used maliciously by Slater and others (Lauda Finem were given a copy of the contents).

The truth I don’t know whether or when Slater (and Nottingham and Spring et al) deliberately make things up and lie, and when they really believe the bull they spout.  Slater, like Nottingham, may really believe he is a fighter for truth and justice. If so that doesn’t mean what he says is accurate, or based on facts and reality, and without irony and hypocrisy.

I certainly think that their credibility is severely challenged.

No news on Blomfield v Slater

I previewed the defamation trial between Matthew Blomfield and Cameron Slater here: Whale Oil be fucked? Defamation trial against Slater starting on Monday

As far as I know the trial started on Monday but I can find no media coverage, which seems unusual. Perhaps Slater is too toxic for the media to cover him any more, but that seems unlikely.

It has been on the Court Daily List all week, but there is a curious change. On Monday and Tuesday it was shown as:

NO 8 COURT BEFORE THE HON. JUSTICE DAVISON
CIV2013-404-5218 MATTHEW JOHN BLOMFIELD (F E Geiringer) v CAMERON JOHN SLATER  (D Beard) & ANOR
Civil Proceeding – Defamation

But on today’s list (Wednesday) it has changed from to ‘Civil Proceeding – Defamation’ to ‘Pre-trial hearing’ I have no idea what that means. It could be just a mistake, I think there was a pre-trial hearing on Friday.

SB posted at Whale Oil on Monday:  Do you want the good news or the bad news?

Starting today Cam is back in the High Court for up to four weeks depending on how the trial goes. The battle royale starts today.

It certainly feels very bizarre to be back in the high court for a second case when the first case from over a year ago has still not concluded.

This time around I will not be able to accompany Cam as I was only a part-timer back then but I work full time, seven days a week for the blog now.

Last time Cam was able to do some posts because we rented an apartment that was walking distance from the court so there was no long commute to and from the court each day. In fact, we spent our 25th Wedding Anniversary there. This time around Cam will be doing the long commute between the city and Whangaparaoa each day instead. If the case goes for the full 4 weeks Cam will be spending his 50th birthday.

Last time was Craig versus Slater. The judgment is not yet out, well over a year after the trial.

I know from our last experience that Cam will be mentally, physically and emotionally drained at the end of each week so I have done a Jacinda and made a Captain’s Call. I have put my foot down and told him that he is not to write on the weekends until the case is over.

I have told him to rest on the weekends and that we will all just have to cope without him.

During Craig trial, and when Slater was ill early last year, there were some posts from Slater. Since then Whale Oil has become much less reliant on his input, with SB taking a much more active role and a number of others becoming regular contributors. WO seems to be chugging away ok there, although comment numbers seem to be lower.

We are VERY confident that we will win this latest court case but your guess is as good as mine as to how long it will take to get a judgement.

The Whale Meat Company is currently helping us to fund our court case so your support of our new business is not only feeding your family it is supporting ours while ensuring that Whaleoil will not be silenced.

There were supporting comments and commiserations for the fading political activist.

A curious comment from ‘Loki’ here yesterday:

Things went horribly wrong for our hero yesterday.
No court today !

That appears to be a sarcastic reference to Slater.

‘Bill Brown’, who keeps trying to disguise his association with the case, has not been here reporting any positives so his optimism that some claims had been dropped was a positive may have been premature.

Court cases can be a black hole for information if media don’t cover them, and if you can’t attend in person. I will keep an eye out for any developments, but for now there is little information available.

Craig and MacGregor admit defamation trial is of no benefit to either of them

The Colin Craig versus Rachel MacGregor defamation trial has now been going for a week. I don’t have any interest in rehashing old evidence dragged up again.

There are two things worth noting.

One is the bizarre situation where, accused of harassment but acting for himself, Craig is able to cross-examine MacGregor as a witness. Stuff:  Colin Craig begins cross examination of Rachel MacGregor in defamation trial

In an awkward interaction, Craig cross-examined MacGregor on Friday afternoon, with MacGregor refusing to look at her former employer.

It is the second time this has played out – Craig cross-examined MacGregor at his defamation trial against blogger Cameron Slater last year.

The second:

Craig told MacGregor on Friday he did not “consider that this proceeding is in the interest of either party”.

“Do you accept that?” Craig asked.

“Yes, I do,” MacGregor replied.

So why the hell is it happening? Courts are overloaded with important stuff, so this is a drain on limited resources.

I think it’s unlikely this is MacGregor’s choice. Craig seems to have become obsessed with using the courts to try to prove something. There has been:

  • Williams versus Craig (not Craig’s choice)
  • Craig versus Slater & Slater versus Craig
  • Craig versus Stringer
  • Craig verses Stiekema
  • Craig versus MacGregor & MacGregor versus Craig

Obviously the last of those is before the court still. Stringer may be finished with, but all the others are in various states of progress through the courts.

Related to these (having also been caused by posts on Whale Oil):

  • Blomfield versus Slater (due in court in October)
  • Sellman, Swinburn, Bradbrook versus Slater, Graham, Facilitate Communications Limited, Katherine Rich, New Zealand Food and Grocery Council Inc

The latter provides some insight into claims that seem to be common across all of these cases:

[11] In 31 causes of action the plaintiffs seek general damages, aggravated and punitive damages and costs from Mr Slater, Mr Graham and FCL in various combinations for defaming them in different combinations in the 31 posts. In nine more causes of action (numbers 32 to 40) the plaintiffs allege Mr Graham and FCL defamed them in various combinations in comments on the posts. In one cause of action, number 41, all plaintiffs seek general damages, aggravated and punitive damages and costs from Ms Rich and the NZFGC for procuring Mr Graham, FCL and Mr Slater to publish the substance and sting of the defamatory statements.

[12] The defendants deny the allegations against them and offer several affirmative defences

(a) a number of the causes of action are time-barred;

(b) all statements on all causes of action are true and statements of honest opinion;

(c) all statements attract qualified privilege as part of robust political debate about matters of legitimate public interest regarding the regulation of alcohol, sugar, fat and tobacco

Result

[125] I decline the applications to strike-out the causes of action except in relation to the pleaded meanings identified in the table annexed to this judgment.

SELLMAN & ORS v SLATER & ORS [2017] NZHC 2392 [2 October 2017]

That judgment was almost exactly a year ago. I presume this case is still progressing, slowly as defamation cases seem to. They tend to be drawn out and expensive.

What you see in news reports is mostly just on actual trials. There can be a lot of other processes including submissions, rulings and court hearings involved.

I doubt there will be any real winners in all of this. Some may get enough damages and costs to cover their expenses, but most reputations have been irreparably damaged, and that gets amplified by all the court carry on.

Hypocrisy on free speech

Cameron Slater would have been chuffed to be included as a ‘prominent Kiwi’ in a Dominion Post article on free speech: Speech: What it costs to be free

As part of that process, and in the quest for a little clarity, we approached a number of prominent Kiwis with some experience of free speech issues. They represent different sides of the debate.

We asked them for their thoughts on these key questions:

  • Is free speech the right to say anything you like?
  • Is there any point at which something is too offensive to be said in public?
  • Is there such a thing as “hate speech” and how should it be defined?
  • Is free speech under threat in this country? If so, where is the threat coming from?

Here are their responses. Massey University Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas declined to be involved.

There’s some interesting responses. From Slater:

Hurt feelings are not grounds for harm. Mostly they need a good cup of concrete to help them harden up.

Perhaps he should listen to his own advice. he is more inclined to throw lumps of verbal concrete than he is swallow them.

Free speech is under threat in this country. The threat comes from a lack of action standing up to those who would threaten it. For too long there have been cases of bullying people out of jobs, threatening their income, boycotting advertisers and deplatforming of speakers.

I largely agree with that. But it is a tad hypocritical given thaat four days ago Slater posted Some good ideas from David Farrar that included this specified as a Slater favourite:

5. Target Massey’s funding. Identify major donors to Massey and request meetings with them to make the case for why they should donate to one of the other universities that doesn’t ban speakers on the personal whim of the VC.

Slater from the article:

Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing. We have in recent years witnessed the demonisation of John Tamihere and Willie Jackson for daring to ask hard questions on radio, the hounding of Paul Henry out of television, the attacks on me by Nicky Hager, the media and the Left-wing for daring to be effective and challenging, the cancellation of speakers such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern, not to mention the recent attack against Don Brash.

It is laughable though for Slater to claim that “Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing.”

Slater admitted trying to procure a hack of The Standard in an attempt to discredit their speech.

Slater was a prosecution witness in a private prosecution (dismissed at trial) of Lynn Prentice (associated with The Standard) and APN News (NZ Herald) in what appears to be what Slater refers to as lawfare when others do it – see NOTTINGHAM v APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD [2018] NZHC 596 [29 March 2018]. He was also an informant.

Slater was an informant and was named as an ‘expert witness’ in a private prosecution versus myself (and Your NZ) and Allied Press (ODT) – charges were eventually withdrawn.

Slater supported his “good friends” in getting a court order against me and Your NZ trying to shut us up and shut us down. That was a farce that was quickly thrown out by the court, but it was an attempt to imprison me because they (including Slater) didn’t like being held to account.

Perhaps Slater has been slurping cement since then, or has gone a bit cold on court proceedings as he still waits for a judgment on Craig v Slater and prepares for Blomfield v Slater, both defamation proceedings.

The media by and large have forgotten their responsibilities to be truth-tellers and have in many cases joined in the witch-hunting.

A bit ironic, but Sslater is more of a heavily slanted activist than truth-teller.

Whale Oil is easy to ignore most of the time these days, but claiming that “Almost exclusively these actions come from within the angry Left-wing” warrants a bit of a serve.

Perhaps Slater has hardened up not get angry about his hypocrisy being highlighted this time.