Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Privacy and the Public Interest

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  • simon g,

    Our independent institutions are under concerted attack. The public service can be bullied and cowed with leaks, the intelligence services are compromised, the fourth estate is feeble ... it's pretty grim.

    But I still have confidence in the judiciary, who are now the last bastion. (The prominence of so many lawyers in the Whale gang does threaten that confidence a little, but I'm assuming their sleazy mates didn't make it to the bench).

    Over the coming months, we will find out how strong our democracy really is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Bruce Ward,

    Perhaps part of the problem is indicated by the Fairfax papers this morning responding to the Stuff poll. Headlines subtly indicating that people need not get out to vote because, as Tracy Watkins item on the Stuff website states, it is "All over bar the shouting".

    Which is exactly what happened last time and from the same players.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Looks like Whaledump is calling it a day so the injunction maybe a waste of time and QC, as he says all further dumps are with journos.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • andrew r,

    If National do lead the next government. Can you imagine Key's pending utter flippancy during question time. It will be his final term, in fact on his own admission he's likely to chuck in the towel midway and head off to the golf club anyway. I think question time was one of the most appalling aspects of his last term. And the media very rarely called him on it. He just did not care. Which may well be the truer more correct Key than the front we see during an election campaign.

    auckland • Since May 2007 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Angela Hart,

    Yes, I agree with this concern too. The front page of the DomPost this morning was dominated by a huge story about how National seem to have it all sewn up, despite today's polls being substantially different to yesterday's. It seems self-fulfilling at some level and I wish it would stop.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz,

    I really don't know of whom I should despair more; the MSM who are happy to play along with the cognitive dissonance to the extent of putting up headlines that dissuade voting or the large chunk of fellow citizens who just refuse to see the threat to our democracy.

    Despite the flaws in the opinion polls, the fact that National support has not flagged makes me agree with Russell that National will be in the driving seat of the next government. Given we haven't seen any statement from them that comes even close to a rejection of the underhanded behaviour detailed since the release of Dirty Politics, it's hard not to conclude that they will carry on as before.

    Rawshark's exit and frustration evident in his last few tweets is totally understandable.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Paul Williams,

    That said, I can’t quite imagine what changes – rules and regulations in the Cabinet Manual presumably – could mitigate against this kind of maladministration when the PM can simply refuse to see it.

    I'm not sure if the Cabinet Manual is the right place to address this, but I'd be interested to see what a lawyer or two with constitution-type expertise might have to say about it.

    We don't directly elect the Prime Minister or other Ministers into those positions, and even if we somehow did then I'm not sure if it'd be adequate, yet they're right at the top of the accountability chain. As recent events have shown (except to people who prefer to keep their eyes shut), the presence of oversight seems to be littered with political conflicts of interest.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Judi Lapsley Miller,

    Russell wrote

    However we might might feel about the fact that Slater and Williams make vile misogynist jokes in their private conversations, it's harder to argue that revealing those conversations meets a standard of public interest.

    I disagree - there is a very real public interest here. Outing people who hold these vile opinions about half the human race may go some way to showing how unacceptable these opinions are, and perhaps provide a heads-up to the women who have to interact with them IRL. I read on twitter last night from a number of women who had had to interact with these low-lifes IRL. It also supports Hager's book where he revealed predatory behaviour on young Nat women. For many, rape culture is a bigger issue than political and business corruption.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • CJM,

    I despair.
    Where are we? This is the place to spill your effluent into the rivers, where mines explode and ships ground and children suffer 19th century diseases. Eat cheap shit and suck down the cheap grog, it's all good, mate.
    Deregulate to fuck every service, every public amenity, bowl down the statehouses, let the mentally ill wander and wonder, it's all good, mate.
    Starfuck the USA and sell out your soul to the TPPA, kill the terrorists by remote control, hand them the line that we're 100% pure, we're driven snow, we're the green fields, it's all good mate.
    This is the place where a liar prospers and fools flourish, you can cheat, you can swindle 'cos no-one's watching, no-one who matters really cares, and anyway, those that do matter are part of the club, they're sorted, it's all good, mate.
    Ethics? Fuck 'em. Scruples? Get real. Honour? Overated. Get yourself in the picture with the All Blacks, shoot the breeze with the brain-dead radio jocks, lean on the journos, bullshit and bluster, it's all good, mate.
    What's he building in there?
    The big lie. The biggest ever,
    Aah, Sweet!

    Auckland • Since Aug 2014 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    I dunno. Seems to me the tide could be changing, which is why the MSM are playing up the polls in this way today. If only the polls/headlines could be challenged, Aotearoa might yet see its naked emperor for what he is.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    I simply don't believe those polls. I think they are as dubious as the MSM reporting of them. Post-election, I think we will have National sitting around 47% and still needing Winston to give them a third term. We have to convince NZ First that supporting that sort of awful, corrupt behaviour is not the right thing to do. I can't stand the lack of difference this all seems to have made to National voters in particular but I refuse to give up until Sunday 21 at the earliest.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson, in reply to CJM,

    Magnificent rant and thank you for the Tom Waits reference at the end.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Fofmer High Court judge Lester Chisholm will conduct the inquiry into Judith Collins and the SFO, reporting by 28 November.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    I simply don’t believe those polls. I think they are as dubious as the MSM reporting of them. Post-election, I think we will have National sitting around 47% and still needing Winston to give them a third term.

    Which is what the polls earlier this week said. Fairfax "calling" the election is some irresponsible bullshit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    CJM – truly eloquent. Rage/sadness/despair/rage.

    I refuse to give up until Sunday 21 at the earliest.

    And beyond, eh? Because if this all just slides under the table, we’re living in another country. And it’s a horribly f*cked up place.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to Luke Williamson,

    but I refuse to give up until Sunday 21 at the earliest.

    Giving up even then should not be an option. We may not have the government that many of us would prefer but we must still fight against this behaviour.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Nat Websta,

    when the PM can simply refuse to see it

    He doesn't not see it. He's just a jedi master at not addressing it. He looks at us all, and with a straight face, says "it's not real". I'm utterly flabbergasted by his dis-ingenuousness.

    And what has made me the most infuriated of all in the last few weeks is that most journalists are leaving it at that - allowing that to be his final response.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Dismal Soyanz,

    Despite the flaws in the opinion polls, the fact that National support has not flagged makes me agree with Russell that National will be in the driving seat of the next government

    It's likely, but it's far from certain. Even a one in ten chance of something else is pretty big shot, considering that the jackpot is control of the entire government. It seems closer than that to me at the moment. I'd say it's more like there's a 66% chance it will be National + Peters. Polls, schmolls - the real wild card is Peters himself, about whose thinking we have no current data at all. Which means that this election will not be over on election day if there are still substantial charges appearing. If National continues to get discredited hard after the election, he has every right to refuse to go with them. He could support a minority Labour government, as he has done before. It could be his Last Hurrah, his final cast to actually make good on his endless claim that he exists to keep the government honest. He's the kind of guy who could do that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Also: how's it not in the public interest to know that the Taxpayer's Union spokesperson also ghost writes highly misogynistic content that seems almost designed to put women off involvement in politics, acts in misogynist ways in public, & then also discusses women with his political allies in precisely those terms? It seems to me that it's pretty directly in the public interest to know that.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Judi Lapsley Miller,

    I disagree – there is a very real public interest here. Outing people who hold these vile opinions about half the human race may go some way to showing how unacceptable these opinions are, and perhaps provide a heads-up to the women who have to interact with them IRL.

    I have to say I agree, Judi. I think it's really important for women who may have to interact with Williams in future to know that he holds these views, for their own personal safety.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to BenWilson,

    I hope you are right.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Fofmer High Court judge Lester Chisholm will conduct the inquiry into Judith Collins and the SFO, reporting by 28 November.

    Mr Chisholm was also recently the chair of the Board of Inquiry with the Ruataniwha dam and irrigation scheme.

    Right. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • A S, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    This is what concerns me too. If these acts are allowed to slide, our parliamentary and public service frameworks are at risk of being hopelessly compromised, assuming they aren’t already.

    After everything that has come out, we can’t just look at Parliament, we also have to look at our public service. That the heads of the central agencies didn’t have an inkling of what was going on is pretty unlikely, and if those leaders who are supposed to champion free, frank, fearless advice to government were too cowed to speak, that has some horrible implications.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Also it's not like Jordan Williams was a misogynist "in private". Like if he was otherwise utterly blameless and pro-equality and a total ally but it turned out that occasionally with personal friends he indulged in offensive sexist banter, well, ok, that's one thing.

    But here's a guy who's apparently a creep, who writes misogynistic content for WhaleOil, and here he's being a misogynist with one of the guys who enables his public misogyny & is a horrific public misogynist himself. It's not a separate private thing, it's part of his public horribleness.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Spot the difference ...

    Herald:

    "The inquiry will begin on September 12 and is to report back to Mr Key by November 28."

    Stuff:

    "The inquiry is required to report back to the prime minister, whoever that may be, no later than November 28."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

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