Mr Key and Dr Brash have both put a clean square bat to a tricky ball:
It went to my party email address, not my private one.
I received it, but I didn’t open it.
Well done, those men.
But wait a minute: aren’t we missing something? Look at what the email actually says. It refers to a meeting the Exclusive Brethren had with Steven Joyce the previous week.
… as backers of the recent "Wake Up NZ" campaign ($350,000) and as responsible for a very extensive election campaign ($1,000,000) with the sole goal of "Getting Party Votes for National" a meeting following on from our one last week with Steven Joyce is important.
Let’s think about this for a minute.
No-one in the National party camp seems to dispute that the Brethren had all this dough and wanted to spend it. Steven Joyce has not, as far as I can ascertain, denied that he was at the meeting the email refers to.
The only dot you have to join up, then, is this: in subsequent meetings that year in which Joyce was in the same room as Brash and/or Key, how much are you willing to bet that Joyce would not have referred to the friendly million-dollar campaign running in parallel with theirs?
If you’re about to say: “I’ll bet you anything you like it didn’t come up”, consider these factors:
-It’s an election year.
-Elections cost money.
-In an election, you try to maintain as good a picture of the field of engagement as possible: you want to know who else is on the field, what armies they’re wheeling out, and what their tactics will be.
Whether Brash, Key and Joyce saw them as friend or embarrassing acquaintance, the Exclusive Brethren and their election activity were undeniably an element of the campaign you would need to be watching.
I think we could do with hearing a little more from Steven Joyce, and if Brash and Key want to stick to their story that they had scarcely any idea what the Exclusive Brethren were up to, they really need to tell us how often last year they watched Joyce’s campaign briefings with their ears plugged and Neil Diamond at full tilt on the iPod.
People have been telling me they enjoyed taking the short John Key quiz, but have been a little abashed at getting only five or six answers right. I have been reassuring them that they are firmly in the majority, as the statistics show.
Ahem. I owe an apology to the people at Sir Humphrey's. I posted earlier that two of their number had claimed a score of 11 when that was not possible. The error was mine. I left a piece of four by two leaning against a switch on the database, so to speak, which I have now removed. Correct numbers are now on display.
Meanwhile, a further Update. A reader notes:
There is also the matter of the famous email from the Brethren being forwarded from Brash's address to Joyce. And the fact that on the same day, Brash emailed Diane Foreman and mentioned the Brethren campaign being an example of third party funding that he was describing to her ... so all of that also has to have an innocent explanation, along with what you point out as being simply implausible.