Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dirty Politics

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  • simon g,

    24 hours on, the "story shifts", says Patrick Gower.

    No Paddy, the story is the one that it always was - who leaked and why? You and your colleagues simply chose the easier, noisier option instead. Not that Newshub is alone in this laziness - I'm sick to death of wannabe Woodsteins using words like "investigative" or "exclusive" when what they really mean is ...

    "A politician has given this to me so I can be their patsy. This involves very little work for me, so I'm fine with that. Serving the public by digging further would mean doing actual journalism, but also staying late at the office, so nah."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Alfie,

    and the deputy PM didn't bother to mention it to Bill?

    Was always part of the #dirtypolitics two-track approach - so the PM can make heartfelt statements of concern, winning voters over with his firm moral compass.

    National Party leader Bill English said, whoever was to blame, the privacy breach was a concern. "These are personal details of people's lives and people expect them to be treated confidentially."

    Real question is which of them told Nat campaign manager and long-standing power behind the throne, Mr Joyce?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    However it happened it seems an odd type of thing for National to intentionally leak, if they were thinking about it.

    A narrative of Winston over-claiming some super then paying it back doesn't seem ethically worse than Bill over-claiming a housing allowance then paying it back.... unless there were some presumption that Winston's more vulnerable to voters getting mad at him than Bill... although the housing thing was already out in the open and he's already the status quo, so maybe has a lesser effect by now.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to izogi,

    A narrative of Winston over-claiming some super then paying it back doesn't seem ethically worse than Bill over-claiming a housing allowance then paying it back....

    But it's somehow a complete nothingburger that Winston just had no idea he was getting the wrong rate of super for seven years, but Metiria Turei claiming a benefit she wasn't entitled to is an existential threat to civilization that required her (figurative) head on a pike?

    I know a week is a long time in politics, but this is absurd and more than a little dishonest.

    By the way, I have an honest to Blog pensioner in the house. He doesn't have any problem declaring his relationship status and every penny of income he's received every single time MSD asked -- which they've done more than once. He also knows what rate he should receive.

    If you think other beneficiaries -- who can't whip out the chequebook when they get caught out -- aren't routinely put through hell for a lot less, you're dreaming. (Funny how our media Winnie stans have never thought to ask MSD how many people they've investigated, slapped punitive sanctions or prosecuted for similar "trivial errors." Sure don't recall Peters ever voting against "cracking down on benefit fraud.")

    Still, I'm glad Winston is now all woke about privacy and "character assassination." Does this mean he'll stop doing it?

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

  • linger,

    What gets me is the constant MSM reference to the “no surprises policy” as if that excused privacy violation.
    Joyce in particular has been quick to claim that everyone was following the rules, even though admitting “we should have a look” at those rules. Joyce also suggested (on NatRad, 7:45 this morning) that once ministers get that information, it’s hard for them to hold on to it in the face of media questioning.
    Bollocks to all of that.
    (i) The time for “re-examining” policy around releasing details of individual cases was back when Bennett got caught doing it. That National simply ignored the issue strongly suggests they intended to keep indulging in Muldoonist character assassination.
    (ii) The solution is simple enough (and if the policy doesn’t already state it, it should): ministries might on occasion have to tell a minister that a particular case meets some unusual criteria that pose a problem for government policy, but there is no possible reason relating to government policy for passing along any individual’s name.
    (iii) In turn, there is no excuse for any minister passing along information on a ministry case that identifies an individual by name.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1940 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    There is nothing in the 'no surprises' policy about passing information to a party staffer like the PM's chief of staff. No defense for Tolley on that front.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    The public servants who made the decision to inform the relevant ministers did so after extensive consideration. I'm not surprised they went down this road given the very recent events surrounding Turei that resulted in significant political upheaval. It may not have been a good decision but I can understand why they made it.

    As yet there is no evidence of who leaked and why and indulging Peter's strategic self martyrdom complex on the basis of no evidence is just what he wants. The leak occurred after MSD had resolved the issue which is interesting timing. If it was National then they would have known that there was no real issue.

    Since Nov 2016 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Neil,

    If it was National then they would have known that there was no real issue.

    They may have been aiming for a modest publicity-driven voting change as Richard Harman suggests, which has nothing much to do with the truth these days.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Neil,

    there is no evidence of who leaked and why

    But if it wasn’t some inappropriately-briefed and unethically-minded National staffer, then we have even bigger problems with MSD’s lack of political neutrality and lack of respect for client confidentiality, wouldn’t you say?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1940 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Sacha,

    I was meaning more - if there was evidence Peters had been dishonest then there would be motivation for leaking. That there wasn't suggests National didn't do it as there was no advantage.

    Whoever leaked wanted this to be known publicly even though there was nothing untoward - they leaked after MSD had cleared Peters. Suggests something more to do with perceived double standards ie Turei.

    Since Nov 2016 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Neil,

    suggests National didn't do it as there was no advantage.

    That's what Bennett is claiming today, sure. But not what Richard Harman said in the post I linked to above:

    National is now going to target Winston Peters and NZ First in the hope of winning one or two per cent of his vote back off him.
    ...
    Also fuelling National's strategy is polling it has which shows the Greens on around three per cent and Gareth Morgan’s Opportunities Party on two per cent.
    ...
    The strategy then is clear; to try and boost National's vote --- thought to be in the mid-40s – by two per cent or so, and then to rely on a high wasted vote from the Greens, TOP plus ACT to reduce the percentage it needs to get half the seats in Parliament.
    ...
    If the wasted vote is much the same as the last election, then National probably needs another two or three per cent to win a majority of the seats.

    Gee, who to believe? We know there does not actually need to be any truth in an accusation to shift some votes. It's the vibe, your honour.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Neil,

    Why don't you just paste Hooten and Farrar's tweets here, rather than paraphrasing them?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    To inflict maximum damage on Peters, the leaker would need to have acted before he paid the money back. Everyone would have been shouting "pay it back", and saying "of course I will" would not have defused the 'scandal', whereas "I already did" effectively has.

    So this phantom nothing-to-do-with-National person inside MSD is a bit thick. Or, you know, not real. Because more people knew about it after he'd paid it back, and we know who they were.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to simon g,

    nothing-to-do-with-National person inside MSD is […] not real

    Certainly, the amount of spin Joyce delivered this morning can only mean he believes the (ultimate) source is a National minister.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1940 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Sacha,

    Gee, who to believe? We know there does not actually need to be any truth in an accusation to shift some votes. It’s the vibe, your honour.

    True of any issue. I’m not relying on quoting other people, I’m just presenting my view.

    Since Nov 2016 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    The High Court has allowed a defamation action by three health professionals against Slater junior, Carrick Graham and Katherine Rich to proceed.

    The publication of Dirty Politics alerted the two professors and one senior public health advisor to the campaign being waged against them.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Alfie,

    The High Court has allowed a defamation action by three health professionals against Slater junior, Carrick Graham and Katherine Rich to proceed.

    Further reading.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    National's $604,802 song...
    plus legal fees - or is that 'pretty legal' fees?
    A steal at the price!
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/music/95132686/national-party-loses-court-decision-on-use-of-eminemesque-song

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell,

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/99999324/bsa-says-mike-hosking-mislead-voters-with-comments-on-mori-party

    BSA says Mike Hosking misled voters with comments on Māori Party
    Mike Hosking misled Seven Sharp viewers when he told them they couldn't vote for the Māori Party if they weren't Māori, the Broadcasting Standards Authority has found.
    ...
    Hosking attempted to clarify his comment the following evening, saying, "the fact that anyone can vote for [the Māori Party] as a list party I automatically assumed we all knew given we have been doing this for 20 years… and it went without saying. So hopefully that clears all of that up."
    However the BSA said the clarification was "flippant" and too general to correct the inaccurate information for viewers.
    "The incorrect statements made by Mr Hosking were presented at a critical time, when voters required accurate information to enable them to make informed voting decisions. In this case, the flippant apology provided did not reflect a genuine appreciation for the important role of media during this time," the BSA said in its decision.

    ...and someone will head south until this whole thing cools off...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    It doesn't really seem like Dirty Politics, though, at least in the sense of what Nicky Hager described.

    More like highly irresponsible broadcasting involving a highly partisan idiot and a public broadcaster that's strongly profit-driven at the expense of public service. Sure we could argue that government Ministers are responsible for the context which enabled Hosking to thrive (and just happened to work out in their favour), but it's not the same type of thing as subversive leaks and direct coordination between top level Ministerial officers and sewer dwellers like Cameron Slater.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to izogi,

    It doesn’t really seem like Dirty Politics, though, at least in the sense of what Nicky Hager described.

    Yeah, I know – but it seemed an apposite thread to add it to, tonally.
    – that or the 'death of mainstream media’ one

    Hosking continues to accentuate his inability to parse information:
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/100041896/mike-hosking-hits-back-at-bsa-calls-them-humourless-time-wasters

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    oh God! – he just keeps digging/ blithering…
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11963408
    he even says this:

    So, given it is my story, I am in the most excellent position to tell it like it is. And why I mention this is not because what is written about me is important, because it isn’t. But my real concern is it’s important to be accurate.

    This much vaunted accuracy was not so much adhered to in his mis-statements about voting eligibility.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Today's news (and "comment") on Clarke Gayford is a text book example of how and why dirty politics works.

    For "balance", various media report not only on the squashing of the lie, but on the PM's response to it. Which (for "balance", of course!) must then be critiqued.

    Imagine that happening in the reporting of court cases. "So, how did the victim of the unprovoked assault respond after the guilty verdict for her assailant? Well, let's give her 5 out of 10 for her response, because we're balanced!"

    So the dirt works, because our media let it work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I love that it’s been tagged ‘dirty politics’ rather than just ‘fake news’, which would have marginalised this sort of crap – because, strangely, these days crying ‘fake news’ seems to attach to everything around it, especially factual news about the same subject

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

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