Hager at Williams v Craig

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager gave evidence unwillingly in the defamation case between Jordan Williams and Colin Craig.

In the days leading up to this there was some PR positioning on Twitter, led by Matthew Hooton.

You know that was not true and the subpoena is pure PR.

I know first hand that: (1) it is true, (2) the subpoena is not just PR, & (3) you are spreading misinformation.

Geiringer has represented Hager. There was a lot more twittering over this.

This was clarified when Hager appeared in court yesterday – NZH: Colin Craig defamation trial: ‘Dirty Politics’ author Nicky Hager takes the stand

Hager originally agreed to give evidence for Craig but once the trial started he changed his mind.

“When the court case started it looked to be very personal and tawdry,” he explained.

“I did not want to be part of it anymore.”

He wrote to Craig’s’ lawyers and informed them of this, and in return was sent a subpoena ordering him to appear as a witness.

“Now, here I am,” he said.

There he was, for a short time. He read his statement and wasn’t cross examined.

Stuff summed up in Former Conservative board chair denies Colin Craig harassment allegations:

Hager gave evidence about the relationship between political blogs and the mainstream news media, and the media’s tendency to pick up stories of major political scandals broken by those blogs. 

He said Taxpayers Union founder Jordan Williams would “certainly have known” that Craig’s poem Two of Us would become a national news story after Williams leaked it to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.

“Mr Williams would certainly have known it would be picked up and publicised in mainstream media.”

Hager gave evidence to the influence Whale Oil had, making reference to the blog breaking the story of Auckland mayor Len Brown’s affair. 

At the Herald link  Colin Craig defamation trial: ‘Dirty Politics’ author Nicky Hager takes the stand there is video of much of Hager’s statement.

So Hager told the jury what is already widely known about Whale Oil and Dirty Politics. Craig’s defence team obviously thought it was important enough to get him up to Auckland to read for ten minutes.

But it didn’t end there, with both sides of argument claiming victory on Twitter on whether Hager volunteered to appear or not, with Hooton leading the storm.

There’s been a lot of side shows and interrelated issues and agendas surrounding this tawdry case.

 

Dirty local body politics?

A story of ‘political skulduggery’ in Marlborough from Stuff: Marlborough councillors brand Whale Oil leak ‘despicable’

Political skulduggery has again rocked the council chamber in Marlborough as lawyers are called in to investigate a secret recording of a committee meeting leaked to a right-wing blog. 

The leak to Whale Oil could see heads roll at the council, as councillors who attended the meeting are made to front up on Monday.

A recording of a tense behind closed doors discussion about the cash-strapped ASB Theatre was published on the blog site on Friday.

Council chief executive Mark Wheeler said if a councillor had leaked the public-excluded discussion he or she could be asked to resign. 

The committee meeting took place in April. 

Councillor Peter Jerram said the leak was “absolutely orchestrated” and smacked of “dirty politics” emerging in Marlborough. 

“Party politics are definitely involved. But worse than that, it’s gutter politics.” 

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the post was a clear attack on mayoral frontrunner Leggett, after a “very successful” attack on Sowman himself. 

Whale Oil involved in local body politics in Marlborough might seem a bit odd, they don’t usually do much about the provinces and most will have no idea who the current mayor of Marlborough is and who the candidates are.

But Whale Oil has had a number of posts on Marlborough local body politics over the last few months. Why? The Stuff article has a hint.

Political strategist Simon Lusk, who has links to Whale Oil, spoke at a local government seminar in Marlborough earlier this year attended by several council candidates. 

Lusk said at the time fighting for transparency was meaningless unless candidates opposed bad news being hidden in publicly excluded council meetings.

Lusk did not confirm or deny whether he was involved when contacted on Saturday. 

He was told information had come through on the blog’s tip line, he said. 

Why Lusk or Whale Oil might have such an interest in Marlborough local body politics is anyone’s guess.

There’s an unusual number of posts on Marlborough issues at Whale Oil going back to about June. No other regions have had this much attention so they stood out.

I never took much notice of the Marlborough posts apart from noticing they were there, they seemed local and not very interesting.

But what we have now is a story of wider interest:

  • a secret recording of a closed Marlborough District Council meeting in April
  • details of the recording published on Whale Oil in September, on the day that local body election voting papers are sent out
  • council chief executive Mark Wheeler said if a councillor had leaked the public-excluded discussion he or she could be asked to resign

Being asked to resign three weeks before the election closes might be horse bolted timing.

What if the leaker is a candidate for the election? Their name is already printed on the ballot and posted to voters, but it could affect votes.

The Marlborough Express (Stuff) has followed up with Marlborough council announces investigation into Whale Oil leak ahead of final meeting

A secret recording of a private council meeting has triggered an investigation into all councillors and staff who were at the meeting. 

The investigation will require everyone at the behind closed doors discussion in Marlborough to sign a statutory declaration saying they were not behind the recording or it being leaked to a right-wing blog. 

It is a criminal offence to knowingly make a false declaration.

They are taking it very seriously.

Meanwhile Whale Oil had a string of posts on it yesterday too.

As predicted yesterday the Marlborough Express has written an attack piece on me. They didn’t even call for comment.

After we busted John Leggett and the Marlborough Express tried to ignore the story there still remain a number of unanswered questions that I am sure the ratepayers of Marlborough wants answers to.

The Marlbourgh Express doesn’t seem to know the first rule of politics. Explaining is losing.

That’s funny considering the number of posts explaining everything.

Locals don’t dare speak out because their lives will be made hell.  Local news doesn’t dare speak up because their commercial viability is under threat if they speak up against their biggest advertisers.

More explaining. They could be important issues for people in Marlborough, but that’s local stuff that most people are unlikely to be interested in.

So they act like they are violated, scream “Whaleoil” and hope that voters will forget what it is really all about.

What an utter waste of rate payers’ money to try and figure out who helped the truth get to the public.

Stop screaming my name, and start taking responsibility for your own words and actions.

That’s more interesting, to me anyway.

A secret recording was taken of a closed door council meeting and supplied to a media outlet and published during an election campaign.

The recording is a serious matter. If it was a councillor they could be asked to resign. If it was a staff member  I expect it would potentially be a sackable offence.

But Cameron Slater and Whale Oil don’t think that how the information was obtained matters, or is excusable as the story they want to tell is what is important.

Nicky Hager thought something similar when he published Dirty Politics.

Another thing that puzzles me about this – how much influence would Whale Oil have on the Marlborough election?

Most people are barely or not interested in local body elections. Most Marlborough voters are unlikely to read Whale Oil.

I’m baffled as to why Whale Oil is giving so much coverage over several months for a relatively low interest issue that can hardly be attracting many clicks or much advertising to the blog.

It will be interesting to see whether Whale Oil sees their whistle blowing coverage of sufficient importance and interest to continue their coverage after the election.

Williams v Craig – punching back

The legal punching back has begun in Jordan Williams’ defamation case against Colin Craig.

RNZ: ‘If someone punches, you can punch back’ – Craig’s lawyer

Former leader of the Conservative Party Colin Craig believes the man suing him for defamation had a strategy aimed at removing him from the leadership of the Party.

Mr Craig’s defence was opened by his lawyer Stephen Mills QC, who told the the court the case rested on his client’s right to respond to an attack on his reputation.

“If someone punches you can punch back, within reason. And that’s the type of qualified privilege that Mr Craig is raising as a defence here. That he was responding to an attack upon his reputation by the things the plaintiff did,” he said.

After Mr Mills finished his brief statement, Colin Craig took to the stand, watched by Jordan Williams and Cameron Slater, whose blog, Whale Oil, published allegations about Mr Craig’s relationship with his press secretary, Rachel MacGregor.

Throughout early June last year, Mr Craig came under increasing pressure from his board, who had been told the allegations against him were about to go public.

When various revelations about Mr Craig were made on the Whale Oil Blog, he described the media onslaught as unrelenting.

“It’s dynamic material. If you’ve got sex, poems and money – six figure sums – all covered up in secret and you put that into a blog, every person in the media is going to want a piece of that story.”

“And that’s exactly what happened,” he said.

Mr Craig spent much of his time on the stand listing the media coverage that he said left his reputation in ruins.

He told the court he suspected Jordan Williams was behind the leak of information, and he had been proved right.

The jury will get to decide whether the punching back was justified in the circumstances or if it unfairly smeared Williams.

But before that Craig will continue giving his evidence today. Perhaps cross examination of him will also at least begin.

There are a number of other witnesses lined up to support Craig’s case after he has finished

Craig’s case outlined

The last witnesses for Jordan Williams gave evidence this morning, and this afternoon Colin Craig’s lawyer outlined their defence and then Craig began giving his evidence.

Again the Herald coverage is excellent – Colin Craig’s lawyer: ‘This trial is not about Rachel MacGregor’

Colin Craig’s lawyer has opened his case at the former Conservative Party leader’s High Court defamation trial, saying the case is not about Rachel MacGregor.

Stephen Mills QC says while Craig’s former press secretary’s evidence is relevant in parts – the trial and the issue at hand was not directly related to her, her relationship with Craig or her shock resignation.

Mills told the jury they needed to reflect on Williams and his actions, and whether he “acted with honesty and integrity”.

He said his client’s reputation was “reasonably shattered” by the “rumours” and “untrue statements about him” spread primarily by Williams.

“The defences that are being raised here are very standard for a defamation case – truth, what’s called honest opinion and privilege,” he said.

After Craig those who will take the stand:

  • Craig’s wife Helen
  • Family First director Bob McCoskerie
  • Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar
  • Former members of the Conservative Party
  • Martyn Bradbury
  • One of Craig’s staffers.
  • Others involved in the publication of the contentious pamphlet

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hagar would also give evidence about how blogs influence the mainstream media.

Dirty Politics looks like a significant part of Craig’s defence. Stuff perhaps nails the crux of it in Colin Craig says he thought of Rachel MacGregor as ‘like a sister’.

Mills highlighted how Williams had not only approached Conservative board members regarding Craig’s alleged sexual harassment of MacGregor, but he also forwarded poems Craig sent MacGregor to blog site Whale Oil. 

“You might want to reflect on, as the trial goes along, about whose interests were being served when Mr Williams gave that poem to Whale Oil,” Mills said. 

That is likely to be significant. Williams had denied any ‘Dirty Politics’ type attack.

In his evidence Craig said that he knew his affection for his then press secretary went “too far” but says he thought it was reciprocated.

Williams v Craig – Friday

NZ Herald summarises today in Colin Craig defamation trial: everything you need to know so far:

FRIDAY:
Cross examination continued for most of the day, with Mills questioning Williams motives for disclosing the letters and poems. He suggested Williams was driven by a want to have Craig removed as party leader. Williams agreed with that, saying he felt Craig was an inappropriate person to lead a Christian movement based on family values given his inappropriate conduct towards MacGregor. He maintains he was acting in her best interests and had a moral obligation to tell the party what he knew.

More details from RNZ in Jordan Williams questioned over Colin Craig love poems (audio):

The man suing Colin Craig for defamation has faced questions in court about why he gave blogger Cameron Slater a copy of a poem the former Conservative Party leader had written to his press secretary.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/201815586/jordan-williams-questioned-over-colin-craig-love-poems#

Transcript:

John Campbell: The man who’s suing Colin Craig for defamation faced questions court about why he gave blogger Cameron Slater a copy of a poem the former leader of the Conservative Party had written to his secretary.

Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says he wasn’t trying to undermine Mr Craig, rather he was trying to set the record straight for Rachel MacGregor’s benefit.

Who would give embarrassing material to Slater for ‘the benefit’ of a woman who had asked for nothing to be passed on?

Sarah Robson: The jury has heard that Jordan Williams emailed Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater a poem that Colin Craig had written for Rachel MacGregor. The poem was published on the same day Mr Craig stepped down from the leadership of the Conservative Party in June last year.

Mr Craig’s lawyer Mr Stephen Mills QC cross examined Mr Williams on his motivation for sending the poem, and whether it was party of a strategy to undermine his client.

Stephen Mills: The objective of that strategy from your perspective was?

Jordan Williams: Ah well it was, it was to protect Rachel. I think that by particularly by this day I was very angry, um, but I don’t think there was a, from the beginning a strategy to undermine, I mean there definitely wasn’t um a strategy to undermine Mr Craig or specifically use the information against him.

Sarah Robson: Jordan Williams told the court he became aware of a blog post Cameron Slater was planning to publish, that was going to suggest that Ms MacGregor was obsessed with Mt Craig, and that there had been a sexual relationship. Mr Mills questioned him about the agreement he reached with Mr Slater to give him the poem so the other story did not go online.

Stephen Mills: And was the agreement that if you gave him some good raw meat, then he wouldn’t run that story?

Jordan Williams: That is an interpretation yes. Right, yes i accept that. I wouldn’t call it raw meat but…

Sarah Robson: Mr Williams was pressed on whether his actions really were in Ms MacGregor’s interests given the media fire storm that resulted from the publication of the poem.

Jordan Williams: Because the public um and the media picked up on that there was no sexual relationship because they assumed they um Cameron had a very good source because he had the some of the material.

Stephen Mills: So it made this a national issue

Jordan Williams: It already was.You saw it on the, Paul Henry that morning, it was all over the news regardless.

Sarah Robson:  Jordan Williams also faced questions from Mr Mills about why he chose to send the poem to Mr Slater using the name Concerned Conservative rather than his own name.

Jordan Williams: It is something that I didn’t want my organisation to be associated with or to come out in some expose in twelve months time, and so like many of the sources that provide information to the Taxpayers’ Union I created an account so that later on if Mr Slater was hacked or whatever it wouldn’t, it wouldn’t come back to me.

Sarah Robson:  Under cross examination Mr Williams was asked how this was different to Mr Craig using the name Mr X as a literary device in the leaflet at the centre of the defamation case. Mr Williams said Mr Craig was being dishonest.

It will be interesting to see what else comes out. I had heard that other witnesses including MacGregor were expected to be called starting yesterday so it appears as if the cross-examination of Williams is going on longer than originally anticipated.

This is the post on Whale Oil last year (June 19) when the poem was published:

EXCLUSIVE: THE POEM COLIN CRAIG DOESN’T WANT YOU TO SEE

WhaleOil Media can reveal that Colin Craig failed to tell the Conservative Party’s Board that he previously faced serious allegations of sexual harassment from a former staff member in a complaint laid with the Human Rights Commission. It is understood that the claim lead to a confidential payout which until recently the Board were unaware of.

We have been told by members of the Board that they were assured on multiple occasions by Colin Craig that no allegations of a sexual or moral nature were involved and relied on one element of the claim, a series of unpaid invoices or a dispute in relation to the employee’s hourly rate, to hide the more serious allegations.

WhaleOil Media understands that no sexual relationship resulted, but Colin Craig is alleged to have pursued the staffer including sending a large volume of text messages, letters and inappropriate touching.

A source, which was supporting the victim as the events unfolded last year, has provided WhaleOil Media with some of the letters and text messages.

We are still working through the material.

To give you a flavour here is  a poem and the end of one of the letters.

Free political advice for the next Conservative Party leader: When you’re writing letters you might be sued over don’t sign the end of the letter. That way you can at least claim it’s a fake…

Pete Belt’s take on it:

wocraigpoembelt1

And also he shares a tweet from Williams:

wocraigpoembelt2

Slater joins in:

wocraigpoem3

There’s a lot of other known information around this and I can think of a number of interesting questions and points but at this stage prefer to wait and see what comes out in court.

From what has already come up in court it appears that Williams and therefore presumably Slater and Whale Oil only had part of the communications between Craig and MacGregor, and nothing from MacGregor to Craig.

Williams v Craig – the other side

There was always going to be another side to the Williams/Craig/MacGregor/Slater story. Someone with Craig’s resources was not going to just go all the way to court to sit and take a hammering.

Some of the other side of the story started to emerge today in court.

Key points from NZ Herald in Revealed: Rachel MacGregor’s personal messages to Colin Craig

This afternoon Craig’s lawyer Stephen Mills QC has read a series of letters, cards and messages MacGregor wrote to her boss during the period when the alleged sexual harassment was occurring.

Mr Mills read the correspondence in a bid to show the jury that MacGregor had reciprocated Craig’s messages, and the information Williams disclosed to the other Conservative Party members was one-sided and “inconsistent” with reality.

The first message read was sent via her Conservative Party email account in response to a handwritten letter she had received from her then-boss.

“I just wanted to say thank you so, so, so, so, sooooo much for your letter. Some of the words in it are powerful, it means so much to me that you have taken the time to write it. Thank you. I am reading it and re-reading it. See you when you get in.”

There is more like that including a Christmas card signed “with love, Rach”.

It emerged today that hours before Williams disclosed the letters to the others, MacGregor emailed him and asked him not to share them with anyone.

“I do not want the letters to be used against Colin,” she told Williams in an email.

Believing it was in her best interests, Williams ignored her plea and shared them with party members including then-chief executive.

I expect that will be explored more.

Mills challenged Williams on the letters, which he had not seen until today.

He put to Williams that, had he seen MacGregor’s responses and not just the correspondence from Craig, that he would have had an entirely different take on the situation.

He accused Williams of taking a narrative about Craig that was “wrong” and asked:
“If you had seen [her messages] would you have taken a different message to the people you went to?” “Of course it would have been a slightly different message but I would have still been gravely concerned,” Williams said.

And, the fundamental point of the defamation action still stood.

“I do accept that [saying] there were no communications going back was wrong – but I did not lie,” he said.

Williams is admitting getting things wrong and not getting or asking for the other side of the story and ignoring MacGregor’s ‘plea’ not to reveal anything.

Stuff add some details in Colin Craig defamation trial: Messages ‘reciprocal’, lawyer says

Mills asked Williams about his own romantic relationship with MacGregor, which began in 2015.

Williams said their involvement began long after MacGregor told him about Craig.

That confirms that they had a relationship.

MacGregor took a sexual harassment complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal in 2014, after quitting as Craig’s press secretary. The details of that settlement are confidential.

The court was on Thursday shown messages from MacGregor’s lawyer in that hearing, Chapman Tripp employment lawyer Geoff Bevan, sent to Williams asking him for his assurance of confidentiality.

This was a pledge that Williams later broke by showing Craig’s alleged love letters to senior members of the Conservative Party – despite an email MacGregor sent to Williams asking him to get rid of the letters, Mills said.

“I do not want those letters to be used against Colin,” she wrote.

Mills said Williams went against MacGregor’s direct wishes, and breached MacGregor’s confidence.

This is going to be far from straightforward for either side.

Cameron Slater and ‘Whaleoil Staff’ and Spanish Bride have, I think, been a bit too open with their commentary about proceedings on Whale Oil. I expect them to be a bit more circumspect now.

Will this help Scott Simpson?

It’s hard to tell whether Whale Oil is trying to promote National MP Scott Simpson (Coromandel electorate), or trash his future prospects. He has been the Coromandel electorate MP since 2011 but appears to be ranked about 43 in National’s current pecking order.

On August 19, when Cameron Slater was still supposedly on a break, ‘Teknonym’ posted WHY DIDNT AUCKLAND FUTURE USE SCOTT SIMPSON?

Regular readers will know Scott Simpson is this blogs favourite National backbencher because he understands politics is a nasty brutal game and you have to be nasty and brutal to win.

He taught Cam most of what he knows when Cam was helping out in a variety of campaigns around auckland when he was still at school. Scott knows Auckland Politics inside out, even if he is now MP for Coromandel.

That isn’t a great endorsement considering how Slater’s “nasty brutal” tactics have been exposed and discredited.

Posted yesterday under ‘Cameron Slater’: IS SCOTT SIMPSON MOONLIGHTING IN TIMARU?

I learned a great deal of my dirty politics skills assisting Young Nats in Eden electorate like Scott Simpson. One thing we used to do is go around vandalising our own signs so our candidate could get in the local paper about the dreadful vandalism occurring in the election.

There is a real skill in doing over your own signs, not the least is the skill in not getting busted doing it.

As I said I learned all my best campaigning tricks from my longest friend in caucus, Scott Simpson.

Again this isn’t a great endorsement of Simpson, being associated with Slater at all let alone his “dirty politics skills”.

Today under ‘Cameron Slater’: IS IT TIME FOR SCOTT SIMPSON TO MOVE INTO CABINET?

There is some ironic advertising below this headline:

woscottsimpson

Once you get past the advertising:

Third term blues happen to all cabinets, and the only solution is to bring in people with the right skill set to deal with the media party and the opposition trying to trip you up at every turn. This is why John Key needs to promote my oldest friend in caucus, Scott Simpson, to Cabinet.  

This is why John Key needs to promote my oldest friend in caucus, Scott Simpson, to Cabinet.

Those who don’t know Scott won’t be aware he is a consummate backroom operator. His fingerprints are seen by those in the know whenever National in Auckland used to need someone to bail them out of the shit, and he is a genius at predicting where the shit will be, so helps people avoid stepping into it.

Scott Simpson would be a fine addition to cabinet and provide some mongrel and steel during election year.

“My oldest friend in cabinet” is an odd repeat description. Is Slater pointing out that he has no friends left in caucus who have been there more than five years?

Or is this association a deliberate poisoned chalice?

With Slater it can be difficult to know what is behind his campaigns.

He may think he is doing his “oldest friend in cabinet” a favour by promoting him.

It’s even possible Simpson is paying for this, Slater has been a hired political campaigner in the past.

But it’s just as likely to be some sort of utu if perhaps Simpson has distanced himself from Slater like most sensible MPs. Slater has a record of lashing out at and trying to trash people who annoy him.

Whatever it is, it’s an odd series of posts. Dirty politics and Slater associations are unlikely to be very helpful on any MP’s CV.

Shutting down Whale Oil “not that far off”

Cameron Slater has returned from his two month break (although he kept in touch with a few comments) and it looks like the financial pressure is on.

Yesterday SB posted a question: Would you pay for an ad- free Whaleoil?

If you are already supporting Whaleoil financially, please, for the moment, pretend you are not, then answer the questions on our Whaleoil survey.

In a comment in response Slater said:

Some of you are talking about ad blocking. I respect that you don’t want to see ads, but ad blocking will actually become self defeating, as more people use it the ad revenue goes down and then sites like this will cease to exist. So by all means use ad-blockers, but I don’t want to hear any moaning when I shut the site down because it is no longer sustainable….and it’s not far off that BTW.

This was promoted as a feature comment so it seems to have been more than a passing comment:

WhaleOilShutDownThreat

Whale Oil’s ad click model of funding is obviously under pressure. The donations are also presumably insufficient.

And it’s likely the pay per hit job revenue stream has dried up substantially as well. That relied on the mainstream media picking up stories and circulating them widely, which is ironic considering the level and nature of attacks Whale Oil has made against old media that Slater claims has failed.

Click bait advertising has problems problem across media types.

Was the shutdown threat an indication of unsustainable reality? It seems to be more than a grumpy moan. And being elevated to ‘Featured Comment’ suggests that Pete Belt may be in agreement with the comment.

Whale Oil still serves a useful purpose but after a short time as a pace setting, ground breaking influential media phenomenon it has now joined the ranks of the niche forums along with all the other New Zealand blogs.

The Whale used to blow hard and prominently on the media surface but now it is spluttering. Will it sink altogether?

Slater seems still worn down and demoralised rather than revitalised by his break.  That’s not surprising, he’s had a demanding decade and a torrid couple of years, and his bite is now largely toothless. For someone who thrived on the thrill of online and political warfare there may not be much left to sustain this. As well as the finances.

UPDATE: SB has posted on this again today: Would you pay for an ad-free Whaleoil?

Whaleoil will remain free to access to anyone.  We are just trying to ascertain if there is an interest in being able to pay to make the ads disappear.  One way or another, we need some money to pay for it all…

Hawkes Bay water and Whale Oil

Duncan Brown has sent this observation of a post and comments at Whale Oil on the Havelock North water problems.


On WhaleOil yesterday, in a post entitled, ” Did CHB shit cause the gastro outbreak in Havelock North?”, http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2016/08/did-chb-shit-cause-the-gastro-outbreak-in-havelock-north/ the ubiquitous and anonymous Teknonym published an old photo of the Waipawa River, with the following text:

“It is shit from the non compliant CHB waste water scheme running into the Waipawa river. Not far down stream this runs into the Tukituki River, which runs down through CHB into Hawkes Bay past Havelock North.

The water from the Tukituki could be contaminating the Havelock North Town Supply.
Remember this is water that the extremely dodgy Hawkes Bay Regional Council is allowing to be polluted because they are not enforcing the consents on CHB, who continue to pour their shit into our rivers.”

The key line, an absolute conjecture is in the second paragraph, “The water from the Tukituki could be contaminating the Havelock North Town Supply.”

Fair enough, WhaleOil can have their hobby horses, every blogger does. It’d be nice if they could add a bit of science, you know, balanced reporting and all that, as they so regularly demand from the MSM and anyone else they disagree with.

But the conversation gets interesting in the comments:

First out of his corner is F T Bear…

  • F T Bear11 hours ago

    If you are not going to take the time to understand the aquifer system and how it works, and just sit back making silly conclusions based on someones personal crusade. You become just like all the Duncan Garners and HDPA’s and all the other left leaning fools that get a hard time on this blog.
    The water in the Tuki Tuki river has NOTHING to do with the water taken from a well near Havelock North

Pete jumps into the ring, wearing his gloves AND his referee’s uniform, and throws a haymaker…

  • Pete Mod F T Bear

    Mayor Yule can’t get two back to back water tests to deliver a consistent result, yet you keep coming here and have all the answers. Everybody says they have no real idea, including Tonkin Taylor, and you come here and are ruling this out. You might be right, but the council could do with your knowledge, your confidence and blind faith. Don’t waste it here.

Let me translate: It’s Mayor Yule’s fault, and because the results are inconsistent, HE is inconsistent. You obviously just don’t get it. No one really knows, and although you’ve obviously got your own opinion – and you might be right – any view other than Teknonym’s is not welcome on this blog.
Understandably, in the face of such worthy opposition, F T Bear backs-off, just a little, then jabs a bit

  • F T Bear Pete • But everything I have said is public knowledge. I just read and listen.

    The Tonkin Taylor report has nothing to do with Waipawa river, what I’m saying is you are misleading with your speculation.
    Since Saturday morning they have tested the water in Havelock every day and have no positive tests, to say he can’t put two tests back to back is also misleading.

Pete senses his opponent’s weakness, and gives him the old one-two…

  • Pete Mod F T Bear

    I just got it from the radio news where Mayor Yule said the latest test came back negative, so the previous one was a false positive. This is on the tanker.

    The point being that if these tests are so crap “publicly available” information is clearly not reliable.

    It amuses me that the first test was a false positive, as opposed to the second test being a false negative.

    You know. Spin, and all that.

    But that’s what this platform is for. And we don’t need your snide remarks. Just state your case, others, such as hard1 state theirs.

    ” You become just like all the Duncan Garners and HDPA’s” is sufficient to kick you to the kerb for trolling. I haven’t, because I’m sure it’s just a slip up. By all means defend your position, but don’t start kicking the moderators shins because they will eventually react.

Let me translate: My facts are better than your facts. We don’t like spin around here, unless it’s ours. Throw a punch we don’t like, even if it’s a legitimate comparison, that’s a foul and you’ll be out for the count. And don’t bother with any official protest, I’m the ref too, sucker!
And F T Bear whimpers a little, hits himself, throws his arms around a couple of times and throws in the towel…

  • F T Bear Pete

    Sorry, It is definitely not my intention to up set things, or you, I will give myself an uppercut.

    My points all along in this is that we jump to conclusions and start mixing fact with fiction that very soon becomes more fact.
    One of the issues is the terminology and on that I agree it could be better. As you and all your readers know sometimes our press are a bit fast and loose with the truth, misleading with bits and pieces just cause more angst.

    The problem with the test on the tanker that came back as a positive was the water was from a bore in Hastings which is why they chlorinated Hastings water. It is more than likely a tanker problem not a water problem. They haven’t had a positive test from the water in Havelock since the dosed it last Friday night.

    My other point is that the Waipawa river , RWSS, have nothing to do with this Havelock situation, I believe you only cloud and confuse by bring it up.

Translation: Thanks ref, I’m sorry I hit you where it hurts, here, I’ll do penance. Let me reiterate my point, but I’ll also blame the media cos I know that will make you happy. (whisper) And by the way, my points were valid.

And noting his opponent’s much subdued demeanor, the ref graciously doesn’t reply to the substance of his argument and declares himself the winner.

Judge’s decision: FT Bear loses the bout and might never return to the ring. The promoter loses cos he’s soon going to run out of fair-minded opponents. The audience loses and goes home disappointed to play tiddlywinks. The ref crows to his sycophants in the blue corner how once again he won the fight, fair and square, hardly noticing the rapidly emptying stadium beyond. The janitor of the once-worthy establishment prepares to turn out the lights, and heads off to the nearest bar to reflect on the good old days and weeps for what might have been.

Changed headline on failing students

A screen shot of a post at Whale Oil yesterday:

WOEducationscreenshot

An obvious faux pas. It was actually posted as two separate images.

SB commented:

Heaven forbid the government try to help failing students. The teacher unions can’t be having that. Failing students is their job!

But the headline doesn’t reflect what the unions said, going by the article.

The latest increase – $12 million – will be targeted to 150,000 students who have been identified as being most at-risk of under achievement.

“We absolutely appreciate that’s a good thing to do but not at the expense of the operations grant which actually provides support for all children,” NZEI national president Louise Green says.

So it would appear to be both the One News headline writer and SB who have failed here. Perhaps neither read the article properly.

One News have since changed the headline.

OneNewsEducationFailing

The original headline text is still on the photo but at least the headline is now more appropriate.

No correction from SB though.

And why are WO screen shots in pieces?  One aim seems to be to remove ‘Source One News’ and replace it with ‘Screenshot-whaleoil.co.nz’.