Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The perils of political confidence

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  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    Indeed, I find the circumstances of this recording weird. It could even be a trap of their own making, to try to make the opposition sound paranoid.

    In that case, Joyce should be taken out behind the barn and shot for breaking one of the Ten Commandments of Modern Electioneering.

    Thou shalt not get in the way when your opponents are doing the work for you.

    As Matt Nippert pointed out on Twitter, the Herald on Sunday did commit some actual journalism yesterday, even if they buried the evidence under a mound of tea pot tape and an allegedly wet! naked! angry! so-drunk-he-blacked-out! All Black! (Memo to self: Cold shower NOW.) Might even have been a more viable attack line for Goff than chuntering on about MP smuggling, but that would require strategic competence from Team Phil which I've seen precious little evidence of.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Paul Williams,

    That's much more plausible. Possibly Key provided a frank and critical appraisal of Brash and Banks agreed?

    It could be absolutely anything, given the tiny tidbits of nothingness we've got so far. Could be nothing more than a belief by the Herald people that the tone of two really rich and powerful guys who have known each other for years talking to each other comfortably might put off the populace who are sold on Key's folksy charm. That was one of the most interesting parts of The Hollow Men, the frank contempt that they held for "the punters in Punterland". Bad tone could be more damaging to Key than anything actually substantial, since they have no popular policy. It's vital that his mask does not slip. The last thing National need is a "We love you, Mr Lange" moment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    Bad tone could be more damaging to Key than anything actually substantial, since they have no popular policy.

    Not around here, anyway. (Sorry, needed to be said.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Sacha,

    Both Banks and Brash getting away with such minimal publicity about their involvement with Hujlich is revealing too.

    Yeah this still astounds me - especially when Brash came out last week clamouring for the abolition of Kiwisaver itself.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Deborah,

    I'm not sure that they can, given than John Key's movements are probably highly scrutinised at present, and a meeting in private might suggest that they really were plotting something nasty.

    I don't reckon, on either score. The PM can move in secret if he so desires, and has the secret service to give him an ability to do so. Not that there's any need to be cloak and dagger - they're fully allowed to meet whoever they like in private, and meeting their current coalition partners shouldn't even raise an eyebrow. Of course there's things to discuss with Banks. That's not news at all, never was until they stage managed it to be so.

    But it's not even necessary. Does anyone think for a minute that Key would not be in regular contact with the ACT party hierarchy? They're in government with each other right now. They would probably use the telephone, because it's obviously much more efficient anyway, doesn't involve wasting precious time during an election campaign.

    The thing about this "tea party" is that it's a contrived photo opportunity, designed quite carefully to convey key messages non-verbally.

    The first one is that such a meeting would be even needed, which implies that they're not that close. What bollocks, FFS Banks used to be in the National Party, and Brash used to lead the National Party. Hide was the guy who made the Supercity. They're in government with National right now.

    The second is that Key wants to send a signal to Epsom to support Banks, but he doesn't want to come out and say it, because he's fully aware of how unpopular ACT are. So he doesn't just come out and say it, but instead makes a symbolic gesture of friendliness, which commits him to nothing post election.

    The third is that both of them want to send signals that they're the kind of people who would take coffee in public, rather like most of the population of the country do*. I very much doubt this has been the case for either of them for a very long time. They chose tea rather than coffee because coffee has just that little bit of an elitist urban implication, wouldn't want to alienate the heartland. Who drink coffee anyway, indeed they probably drink good coffee. But it's something of a meme, mocking trendy people in their cafes.

    *ETA I should amend that to "like most of the population of the country would have no problem doing, when meeting someone to discuss something"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    the Zac Guildford story, which was a massive story by anyone's news judgment

    Not by my judgement. Gossip? yes. Sports news? yes. Worth a few sniggers on Twitter? definitely. Deserving most of every front page in the frickin' country? Hell no.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard, in reply to Deborah,

    a meeting in private might suggest that they really were plotting something
    nasty

    What, nastier than their actual manifestos and public statements? Now, that's scary.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I frankly think Labour and others should ignore this incident completely, since it is news manufactured by the Herald, and puts them at loggerheads with the Government. The Herald can handle it, they don't need any help at all making the news up, and if Key gets grumpy with them, they may well bite back. The other parties need nothing to do with this. If they want to hammer ACT, there's ample evidence that is both more damning and already public. Banks' outspoken positions over the years are damning enough, let alone his latest racist brain fart.

    I think there's a much richer seam in asking why the leader of the ACT party isn't the person representing the party in the electorate, as every other minor party ever has done in their most crucial seat. Is he really that embarrassing? Are they a party that divided that there will be a leadership bid before we even get a government?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    The thing about this “tea party” is that it’s a contrived photo opportunity, designed quite carefully to convey key messages non-verbally.

    I hadn’t watched Stuff’s video of the event until just now.

    It’s a right old pantomime. But Banks looks humiliated most of the time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    It's fine, he's not telling anyone how to vote, yo Banksie!

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    I frankly think Labour and others should ignore this incident completely, since it is news manufactured by the Herald, and puts them at loggerheads with the Government. The Herald can handle it, they don’t need any help at all making the news up, and if Key gets grumpy with them, they may well bite back. The other parties need nothing to do with this.

    Labour has joined the Greens in calling for Key to release the transcript:

    Labour's manager Grant Robertson believes the prime minister is trying to put up a smokescreen by focusing on the motives and legality of taping the conversation.

    ''Frankly that is a side issue to what was actually said between the two Johns.''

    New Zealanders should be able to judge for themselves whether the conversation was as bland as Key asserted.

    ''Otherwise speculation will continue to mount. What did they say about the role of other parties in the government they would like to form? Did the sale of further state assets come up?''

    Key and Banks put themselves into the public domain by hosting a media stunt, he said.

    And why not? I don't think there's as much potential for blowback as you suggest, and it's not as if they have anything to lose. No one thinks they did it (in contrast with the H-Fee debacle, which was fed to the HoS by Mike Williams). They can just declare that the PM should clear things up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Banks looks humiliated most of the time

    like an old dog, I thought

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    calling for Key to release the transcript

    I take it they have already established that the transcript is more damning than the verbal recording complete with tone.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • JLM,

    I'm assuming, probably incorrectly, that the item they don't want to be made public is a discussion about Banks taking over from Brash as leader of ACT...

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 241 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    I take it they have already established that the transcript is more damning than the verbal recording complete with tone.

    I think everyone’s over-thinking this! They’ve called for a transcript because Johns has said there’s a transcript. I seriously doubt they’ve heard the actual recording.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to JLM,

    I’m assuming, probably incorrectly, that the item they don’t want to be made public is a discussion about Banks taking over from Brash as leader of ACT…

    Or something of that order, yes. But that's a very good guess.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Johns has said there's a transcript

    oh, missed that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I don't think there's as much potential for blowback as you suggest, and it's not as if they have anything to lose.

    They do have something to lose - image. Key has gained popularity every time his honesty has been called into question by Labour. There is a risk that there's nothing whatsoever in this story, and he can appeal to middle New Zealand about the right of a good honest bloke to have a conversation without being taped. At this stage of the game giving Key opportunities to pull off a smile and wave in response to a question isn't in Labour's interests at all, and that may be all that is needed. They're making much better progress with positive politics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis, in reply to BenWilson,

    I agree, this is just a sideshow and it is a pity Labour and the media are being sucked in
    " Look over there"
    How likely is it these two would say anything incriminating with a scrum of journalists just through the glass, hopefully Key was saying he would not be voting for Banks which he did go onto say publicaly
    If there was a real story, it would out by now

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Looking at your photo Russell - of Johns X2

    There seems to be bugger all else on that table except a big black bag. I wonder if the conversation went like

    JB" eh John is that your manbag?"
    JK " not exactly Johnny B, I passed my bloke test, don't use manbags"
    JB " um whose is it then?"
    JK " dunno... um "
    JB " How about that Piri eh , love to kick arse like he does"
    JK " um yeah, whats with the marihuana and porn Johnny B? "
    JB " eh .....um "
    JK " What ever gets you through the night uh? "


    Dorks.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    oh, missed that.

    It was in Johns' Morning Report interview. He said that he hadn't heard the actual recording.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    How likely is it these two would say anything incriminating with a scrum of journalists just through the glass,

    Well, why clear out the journalists at a media event, then?

    hopefully Key was saying he would not be voting for Banks which he did go onto say publicly

    Sorry, no. I don’t think Milne, Fisher and Johns would fabricate the fact of an entire “wide-ranging” conversation, including “the pair’s assessment of the prospects of National, Act and NZ First,” and take it to their senior executives and royally piss off the government when such claims could be trivially disproved. That’s ridiculous.

    I think it’s a certainty that there is something at least mildly embarrassing in the transcript. Something of the order of JLM’s suggestion above.

    If there was a real story, it would out by now

    How?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    ‘’Otherwise speculation will continue to mount. What did they say about the role of other parties in the government they would like to form? Did the sale of further state assets come up?’’

    Oh, if Grant managed to say all that with a straight face I want to have his babies. FFS, Grant, you're not stupid - we all know what ACT's position on asset sales are. You don't have to be a genius to intuit that the further away the Greens and Hone Harawira are from meaningful influence the more "relaxed" Key would be. Sorry, but I don't think anyone is going to be clutching their pearls at the idea that, say, politicians talk politics. And, dare I say it, right-wing politicians might say a few things that won't go down well in enlightened liberal circles.

    Meanwhile, what about the serious allegations of influence peddling by Pita Sharples' electorate manager? Anyone have anything to say about that?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Well, why clear out the journalists at a media event, then?

    To give it authenticity as a cup of tea? And to avoid undermining the authenticity of it by having to actually script a careful conversation about politics, or undermine any political purpose in it at all by talking only pleasantries. It worked better as something seen but not heard.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell,

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 496 posts Report Reply

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