Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dirty Politics

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  • st ephen, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I heard that back when Rogernomics was in full swing there was a proposal to privatise Foreign Affairs. Just contract in a service provider to do all that wine-and-cheesing, trade missioning, visiting stray kiwis in jail, diplomacy-type stuff. Someone like Alan Gibbs could have built up the business and flogged it off to the likes of Halliburton. I think in the end someone basically said to Treasury "FFS - we're either a sovereign nation or we're not".
    Thirty years later it seems we're not so hung up on notions of sovereignty, and we're running out of other ways to transfer public value to private individuals.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to st ephen,

    we’re running out of other ways to transfer public value to private individuals

    there's all those state-funded social services just waiting to be privatised..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Ah that explains a a certain bouncy person's new cabinet role

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Radio Live reporting that Nicky Hagar’s house raided by police looking for details of Rawshark. Worrying.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Deborah,

    Journalist Nicky Hager’s been the target of a police raid as they try to flush out the hacker who downloaded blogger Cameron Slater’s emails.

    The NZ Police are to be congratulated once again on their finely tuned sense of where the real problems lie.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    The Herald reports that the Police took away "Computer equipment" from Hager's home.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Nicky Hager’s own statement about the raid.

    The police spent over ten hours searching the house and removing property in an attempt to discover the identity of the person who provided information used in my book Dirty Politics.
    Soon after the police arrived, the lead detective stated that I was not a suspect in their case, merely a witness. I spoke to him by phone and informed him that he would find no information in the house about my source. Nonetheless, he and his four colleagues seized a large collection of papers and electronic equipment belonging to my family, including computers, drives, phones, CDs, an IPOD and a camera.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    According to Hager's own account, this raid took place last Thursday. I'm surprised that it wasn't made public a lot earlier.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    He spoke at the Wellington Medical School on Friday about the attacks on public health academics and the need for public health people to push back against the corporate lobbyists and their assistants.

    I don't recall that him mentioning the raid but he would have had his reasons.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls, in reply to st ephen,

    we're running out of other ways to transfer public value to private individuals

    The common-wealth is becoming invested in fewer and fewer hands. It's like the class system only even worse.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Except that my experience of MFAT is the complete opposite of what Rodney Hide describes. In my experience they are superb, highly professional, highly competent. I’m still surprised at how badly they apparently screwed up in this case.

    They’re ok, I’d be prepared to give them B, I give them a loss of marks for making we wait 3 days before acquiescing to accept cash for a new passport at the HongKong consulate (2012).

    Further marks lost in Beijing (2008); fully informed of a deadline the PSB had given me to replace a lost passport, Attache Christine Holah had promised me a 10 day turnaround on a replacement. On late delivery of the passport she appended it with a letter in which the acknowledgment of MFAT’s own liability was insufficient. At the end of the day, and it really was the end of the day, not long before closing, just as the minute hand had crossed twilight, I got yelled at by a PSB officer, a stamp was added to my blemish free Chinese record, and I walked away with a receipt or warning. It could have been worse but.

    However every other interaction I’ve had with them has likewise been superb, with a notable mentions to Rebecca Needham and the staff at the New Zealand Consul-General, Guangzhou and Chase Williams at the New Zealand Embassy Beijing.

    In Rodney’s article, I took the MFAT aspect as more of a preamble to criticism of the Ministers themselves.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to st ephen,

    Thirty years later it seems we're not so hung up on notions of sovereignty, and we're running out of other ways to transfer public value to private individuals.

    The only remaining example I can think of is a poll tax. We know how that turned out for Maggie Thatcher. If it ever gets implemented here, I'm prepared to risk jail not to pay it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to mark taslov,

    Further marks lost in Beijing (2008);

    That's odd. I've renewed my passport here twice now. First time the Embassy was totally up front about how they most likely would not be able to get the new passport back within the PSB's time limit, but would give me a letter to explain everything. The PSB officer didn't look happy and asked me if that really was as quick as I could get in to the PSB, and I said yes, I'd just come straight from the Embassy, then it was all good. Second time round the PSB officer didn't even grunt, just did it.

    We also had an incident here involving a staff member in distress (privacy; no details), and Chris Holah and her husband both went way above and beyond the call of duty helping us sort the situation out and get said distressed staff member safely on a plane home.

    As for Rodney, I thought he was just gratuitously slagging off bureaucrats because... well, I only bothered reading because you linked to it with a strong hint there was more to his rant than I normally associate with screeds written by Rodney Hide.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Key's Tone Kops...?
    The Police had better now - if they are being fair and balanced - exercise the same warrants for seizure at the Herald and Fairfax and perhaps they should seize Whaleoil's equipment so they can figure out how Rawshark got in... just in case, being thorough, you know all that painstaking process stuff.

    Looks like they are just using the Search and Surveillance Act to be obstructive if not vexatious and vindictive - at whose behest?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Meanwhile David Parker's letter gathers grease stains and dust, democracy checks her watch.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Chris Holah and her husband both went way above and beyond the call of duty helping us sort the situation

    I’m glad to hear this, as with any job, human error will be a factor. I guess my point is that it’s not in our democratic interests to absolve MFAT or any department of criticism based on our limited exposure. In fact it is often the case that criticism of a larger body such as an institution, department etc may facilitate change that enables individuals to be more productive.

    This is a matter of public of interest:

    Officials took it upon themselves to act contrary to our Government’s wishes and did so without advising ministry boss John Allen.

    The only other accountable individuals being name checked are:

    The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Murray McCully told us at the time that our Government had been strenuous in asking the Malaysian Government to waive immunity.

    That the conclusion includes one of the few non-ironic MSM references to #Dirty Politics for quite some time, is a bonus.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Hmm TV news says that "the police are asking for anyone who knows anything about the dirty politics case should contact them right away" .... so pick up that phone and read them a chapter

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to mark taslov,

    I agree. I'm just more inclined to give MFAT the benefit of the doubt than I am McCully or Key, and if Rodney Hide wrote it, I'm inclined to add the kind of grain of salt that would have even the most hard-boiled hutong born and bred Old Beijinger muttering "go easy on that".

    So, sure, if it was an MFAT screw-up - and they certainly do happen - then somebody should face the appropriate consequences. But I'm not convinced it was. Not yet, not from the evidence that's out there.

    A propos of nothing: Was at Chaoyang Park this morning. Patriotic music piped over the speakers. We were up the northeast side, where there was some Cross-Straits shindig going on. S3kurity. On our way out some fresh-faced lad who looked all of 18 and just in from some village on the outskirts of Dachang tried to smile at me as we left. In other circumstances, especially had he not been dressed in 特.警 style get-up carrying a truncheon at a gate swarming with other gu@rds, some dressed like him, others in normal uniforms, checking bags, m3tal detectors, I may have responded other than by glaring at him and walking on. My impression is the situation was more normal in other parts of the park away from the shindig.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Of course the US has 'privatised' its consulate in another way - basically they charge you by the hour to visit them (or talk to them on the phone) - better have a credit card if you have a question - and be able to travel to Auckland to renew your passport .....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Fran pretends to have grown a spine but I seem to recall a few anti-Feeley articles under her byline...

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    testing... 1... 2...
    Fairfax takes the Radio NZ Interviewers style debate from the Letters Pages to a brief article, promising comment from current RNZ boss (and ex-Fairfax exec and editor) on Monday...
    Oddly the example they have picked of so called 'feral' behaviour is one of Espiner's better moments - when he wouldn't let Key get away with parroting the party line on a question that needed an answer not a sidetrack...
    If that is setting the narrative - it's missing the point.
    To my way of thinking
    - which 'admittedly' can be fraught at times...

    My recollection of Thompson's time at The Press was that he was all about the changes...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to nzlemming,

    Like this.

    The linkages between Savage and Slater and now Odgers and O'Sullivan, really do make going back to the articles written previously an interesting exercise.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Slater's response to O'Sullivan's article includes threats to publish historic emails showing their alleged collusion. Interesting (de-linked).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Sacha,

    From the comments:

    I see O’Sullivan is now getting validation from Alastair Thompson and Giovanni Tiso. This is not going to end with any winners on any sides.

    Because when I try to visualise the archetypal O’Sullivan supporter, quite naturally it’s the epitomical Mr ‘validation’ Tiso who springs to mind.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

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